“The Israelis had turned the most vital center of Palestinian life into something resembling a vast, maximum security prison,” Murray J. Gart observed.
A German scheme to deradicalise young jihadis through community support and persuasion is to set up a London office with backing from the UK government in a sign that the Home Office is looking for alternatives to punitive legal measures in the fight against radical Islam.
Despite growing calls for a crackdown on radicalised youths, with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, chief constable of the Metropolitan police, adding to Boris Johnson's calls for a return of control orders, the Home Office is poised to fund the scheme which encourages parents to stay in touch with their children, even if they do go to Syria.Continue reading...
Some call it Isis. Others say it's Isil. The group itself prefers Islamic State, or IS. And in the Middle East, its critics call it Da'ash.
Now Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been given a fifth name, and perhaps its oddest: QSIS. Standing for al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria, the rebrand is an influential Islamic institution's attempt to stop the militant group smearing the reputation of Islam.Continue reading...
Good analysis and breakdown by Bob Pitt at IslamophobiaWatch.:
London mayor Boris Johnson devotes his column in today’s Daily Telegraph (“Do nothing, and we invite the tide of terror to our front door”) to the murder of James Foley and ISIS’s success in extending its control over areas of Syria and Iraq.
Johnson asserts that we “need to be far more effective in preventing British and other foreigners from getting out there”.
In order to suggest that this is a specifically British issue, he adds sarcastically: “I am interested to see how many Belgians are there.” Obviously not interested enough to check the figures, though. A report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation estimated that, as of December 2013, up to 296 Belgians had travelled to Syria to participate in the resistance to Assad. The figure for the UK was 366.
Johnson, however, apparently knows better than the ICSR’s researchers how many fighters from the UK are in Syria. He tells his readers that there are “perhaps five or six hundred Britons currently out there”. Where he gets that statistic from is unclear. Five hundred – the figure suggested by Sir Peter Fahey of ACPO – is at the top of the range of official estimates of the number of people who have gone to Syria to join the opposition forces since the outbreak of civil war there in 2011.
It is thought that half of these individuals have since returned to the UK, while as many as 40 fighters have lost their lives. So the number of people still out there is probably little more than a couple of hundred. Furthermore, there is no reason to suppose that the majority of them joined ISIS rather than the other anti-Assad opposition forces – who have been engaged in armed conflict not just with Assad’s regime but with ISIS too.
The majority of young Muslims who travelled to Syria would have been motivated, not by the desire to join a murderous gang of fanatics, but by the entirely admirable wish to defend the Syrian people against the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. It seems likely, therefore, that the number of UK citizens who have joined ISIS is in the dozens rather than the hundreds.
Not that any of this enters into Johnson’s assessment of the situation. He writes: “The police can and do interview the returnees, but it is hard to press charges without evidence. The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a ‘rebuttable presumption’ that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose.”
So it isn’t just all individuals who have been fighting the Assad regime who are to be automatically categorised as terrorists, but anyone who has visited the conflict zones for whatever purpose. While everyone else in the UK is entitled to the presumption of innocence, Johnson proposes that the principle of “guilty until proven innocent” should be applied to Muslims. He thinks this represents only a “minor change” in the law.
Johnson appears oblivious to the fact that is it precisely such grotesque double standards that intensify the alienation and resentment among Muslim youth and provide the conditions in which a tiny minority of them can fall for the propaganda of organisations like ISIS.
Of course, Johnson isn’t bothered about that. All he’s interested in doing is throwing some red meat to the Tory rank and file in order to further his ambitions to take over the Conservative Party leadership.
Update: See “Former MI6 counter-terrorism chief warns against rush to overhaul UK laws”, Guardian, 25 August 2014
Khaled Hamad was making a documentary about paramedics during the current attacks on Gaza.
This is cross post, you can find the original here
director of donor development at ANERA
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has now registered one million Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon to escape the war back home. They account for one fourth of Lebanon's population.
But that figure sadly does not take into account more than 50,000 Palestinian refugees from the Syrian conflict who are now in Lebanon, too. They are not covered by the UNHCR and have found shelter in Palestinian refugee camps that are administered by the UNRWA, the UN agency that is solely responsible for caring for Palestinians. Living conditions in Lebanon's overcrowded refugee camps were already appalling and the influx of new refugees is straining UNRWAs resources beyond measure. Yet, the international community appears to have mostly ignored their plight.
I was in Lebanon to visit projects that the nonprofit I work for has implemented to provide relief and support to Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict. My first stop was Shatila camp, five minutes from the center of cosmopolitan downtown Beirut. It may as well have been a world away.
Shatila was set up in 1949 and remains today a maze of mildewy, dark alleyways between ramshackle apartment blocks that are stacked so close to each other the sun never makes it through the windows. Webs of wires and cables hang overhead and kids play in sewage.
I am originally from Gaza, and thought that nothing could be worse than conditions in the camps there. But the night after I went to Shatila, I could not sleep. Believe me, I tried. But what I saw in Shatila was so hopeless. My stomach was upside down. I felt like an only child who had just discovered that all along he had a big family who spoke just as he spoke, valued what he valued, and who lived not too far from where he had lived.
Shatila has little to offer its 15,000+ desperate Palestinian refugees but hundreds still continue to arrive — fleeing the violence in Syria. These newcomers find themselves trapped in a paradox where they have to start again from zero in a place that has virtually nothing to give.
I visited a school named after the Palestinian city of Ramallah where classes are running in two shifts to reach all the children. Yet, access to education for these new refugees is problematic.
Families who fled Syria with just the clothes they were wearing can hardly afford to put food on the table in their makeshift shelters, let alone pay for transportation, school supplies or any education-related fees. Most families are crammed into small rooms or makeshift tents, without proper lighting or sanitation, making it nearly impossible for children to study.
Teenage boys are more focused on finding odd jobs to help support their families and often drop out of class or attend school only occasionally. Some have been out of school for two years or more.
There is rising concern now that a whole generation of future decision-makers and professionals will be lost.
The next day I went up north to Nahr El Bared camp where metal trailers are serving as homes for Syrian and Palestinian families. These boxes were installed as temporary shelters seven years ago in the wake of military clashes that left most of the camp destroyed. Now, rusted and disintegrating, they provide poor protection from the cold, heat or rain. I met a handicapped Syrian man there who had found shelter inside a trailer. Even though the community has little, long-time camp residents collected a mattress, blankets and kitchenware to give to his family. ANERA-sponsored plumbing students installed a new bathroom in his trailer that he can use with ease — something that restores some dignity in his life.
In southern Lebanon I visited the largest camp, Ein El Helweh, home to 70,000. There I met Palestinian refugees from Syria who feed themselves by dumpster-diving and collecting rotten produce from the local market. They are among 60 families living in camp-within-a-camp in makeshift tents. I talked to a father of four whose family was pleased to receive quilts and other relief supplies from ANERA. A successful blacksmith back in Syria, he wondered where he could find work in Lebanon to support his family over the longer term.
Looking around the camp, I spotted Ahmed, a six-year-old boy from Syria who was collecting flowers. I asked, “What for?” He said, “For Auntie Sahar, my teacher!”
Despite all the destruction and uncertainty, this youngster still finds a way make people smile. He, like others I met on my journey around Lebanon's camps were positive and resourceful in spite of nearly impossible conditions. But, for how much longer?
For more than 45 years, ANERA has provided humanitarian and development assistance to Palestinian refugees and marginalized communities in the Middle East.
The rapid advance of Islamic State (Isis) through Iraq has produced panic in the west not all of it irrational. In part this comes from a dawning recognition of the scale of the disaster that western intervention has inflicted throughout the region. By dismantling Saddams regime the west broke the Iraqi state. There were no jihadist groups operating in Iraq before regime change. Now the country has been torn apart by one of them. The same is true in Libya, where the overthrow of Gaddafi has produced a complete collapse of government and an Islamic Emirate was recently declared in Benghazi. Grandiose schemes of regime change aiming to replace tyranny by democracy have created chaos, leaving zones of anarchy in which jihadist forces can thrive.
Western intervention played an important role in the rise of Isis. By backing the Syrian rebels against Assad another secular despot the west gave the group an impetus it would otherwise not have had. With jihadist forces including Isis being funded from Saudi and Qatari sources, there was never much chance of a moderate opposition taking over in the event of Assads defeat. A radical Islamist regime, another failed state or some mix of the two were and remain the likeliest upshot. As things stand, there is not much the west can do to disable Isis in any lasting way. No one can seriously believe that this now self-financing, media-savvy and militarily skilful organisation will be snuffed out by a bombing campaign. At the same time the prospect of being sucked into an unending ground war is deeply disturbing.Continue reading...
Every time a controversy plays out, more conditions are added to our being tolerable. We deserve our rights including to places to practice our faith without political interference
Everyone knows the game. Its called asking the Muslim question. Weve been playing it a lot this year. Can Muslims be trusted with a mosque in Bendigo? Are Muslims who travel overseas going to fight as terrorists? Are they Australian if they are prepared to speak about honour killings? Do Muslims turn the suburbs in which they live into monocultures?
Yassir Morsi describes this questioning as a ritualised act, eerily religious in form. The answers which are churned out time and again are a ritual too: yes, no, not all of us.Continue reading...
Double standards applied to Steven Salaita shows how Israel trumps free speech on campus.
A mosque’s minaret and the entrance were vandalized with the Nazi symbol in Austria:
The Nazi symbol was sprayed in black paint overnight on Tuesday, around the entrance to the mosque and on some mosaic tiles.
It is not known who defaced the mosque but the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has launched an investigation.
The mosque was opened in 2001 by the local Turkish cultural association. However, many locals protested in 2005 when the cultural association announced that it wanted to build a minaret to accompany the mosque.
Among the roughly 15,000 residents of Telfs, about 2,400 people signed a petition against the building of the mosque, and nearby homeowners threatened lawsuits.
Locals objected that the minaret would attract crowds and cause traffic congestion. Others complained that the minaret would represent a victory of Islam over Christianity.
A compromise was reached wherein the mosque’s minaret would be only 15 meters tall, rather than the 20 meters originally planned by the cultural centre. It was also agreed that there would be no muezzin call for prayers from the minaret.
For the second time this year the same mosque has been targeted in France.:
According to AFP, swastikas, Celtic crosses, and slices of ham were found on the walls of the mosque in Cognac on Sunday.
The same source said that the imam of the mosque discovered the misdeeds early Monday morning when the went to the mosque to perform the Fajr prayer, the first prayer of the day.
Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, a component of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM), told AFP that “slices of ham were spread on the steps of the entry and two crosses painted on the walls.” “This is the same group wanted to celebrate the anniversary of the degradation of the mosque last year,” Zekri estimated, confirming that a complaint was filed.
Zekri expressed his support for the Muslim community in France, calling on them to stay calm against these provocations. He recalled that Islam has nothing to do with the horrors committed in Iraq against the Christian community.
Early in 2013, a report of “l’Observatoire de l’Islamophobie” found a recent increase in anti-Muslim acts in France, a growing phenomenon that concerns the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM). “At least 50 anti-Muslim acts have been registered by the police and gendarmerie for the first quarter of 2013, up from 40 during the same period in 2012, an increase of 25%,” the document says.
Read the rest…
If you had any doubts of the type of cretins we are dealing with look who flew-in just for the anti-Muslim, pro-Israel massacre on Gaza rally.
Yesterday Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s American Freedom Defense Initiative held a rally in Union Square, New York, under the slogan “We the living support Israel”.
In an apparent attempt to boost turnout – even Geller must be aware that the vast majority of New York’s Jewish community, including committed supporters of the state of Israel, will have nothing to do with her – the event was subtitled “And minorities persecuted under Islamic rule”.
According to Geller, an individual who enjoys at best a tenuous relationship with reality, the event attracted “thousands” of AFDI supporters, though it’s odd that her website contains no pictures of this vast throng. From photographic evidence, it looks as though the attendance was at most a couple of hundred. A report at the Huffington Post puts it at “around 150″.
The speakers included Israeli academic Mordechai Kedar (pictured), who flew to the US specially to address the rally. According to Geller’s report, he devoted his speech to showing “how the jihadists are proceeding according to quranic imperatives”.
You’ll remember Kaidar. He’s the man who recently hit the headlines after he argued that the only thing that would deter attacks on Israel would be if the sisters or mothers of the perpetrators were raped.
A little late in posting this article but this should come as no surprise to those who have read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath,” or otherwise been following news from Israeli society.
What if they were Muslim?
A bride who converted from Judaism to the Muslim faith and a Muslim groom were married on Sunday to cries of “Death to Arabs” as Israeli police held back about 200 angry protesters.
The protesters, many of them young men wearing black shirts, denounced the bride, who was raised Jewish and converted to Islam before the wedding, as a “traitor against the Jewish state”. They sang a song that urges, “May your village burn down.”
A few dozen left-wing Israelis held a counter-protest nearby holding flowers, balloons and a sign that read, “Love conquers all.”
The groom told Israel’s Channel 2 TV the protesters failed to derail the wedding or dampen its spirit. “We will dance and be merry until the sun comes up. We favour coexistence,” he bravely said.
Several dozen police, including members of the force’s most elite units, formed human chains to keep the protesters from the wedding hall’s gates and chased after many who defied them. Four protesters were arrested, and there were no injuries.
A lawyer for the couple, Maral Malka, 23, and Mahmoud Mansour, 26, both from the Jaffa section of Tel Aviv, had unsuccessfully sought a court order to bar the protest. He obtained backing for police to keep protesters 200 metres from the wedding hall in Tel Aviv.
The far-right group Lehava has harassed Jewish-Arab couples in the past but has rarely protested at the site of a wedding. Sunday’s demonstration was a sign of how tensions have risen during the war in Gaza.
A protester against the wedding, Ofer Golan, told France 24, “It’s time that the Muslim will leave Israel. That’s it. This is a Jewish country, they don’t belong here, they don’t have to be here. They have 22 countries; they can go anywhere they like.”
But one of the left-wing Israelis supporting the couple, Merav Ronen, told France 24, “This is the country of Israel. Yes, it’s a Jewish state, but it is also a democratic state. People cannot live their lives according to what anybody else tells them.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, sworn in last month to succeed Shimon Peres, criticised the protest as a “cause for outrage and concern” in a message on his Facebook page.
“Such expressions undermine the basis of our coexistence here, in Israel, a country that is both Jewish and democratic,” said Rivlin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud bloc.
Lehava spokesman and former lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari denounced Jews intermarrying with non-Jews of any denomination as “worse than what Hitler did,” alluding to the murder of 6 million Jews across Europe in World War Two.
A surprise wedding guest was Israel’s health minister, Yael German, a centrist in Netanyahu’s government. She told reporters as she headed inside that she saw the wedding and the protest against it as “an expression of democracy.”
Arab citizens make up about 20 percent of Israel’s majority Jewish population, and the overwhelming majority of Arabs are Muslims. Rabbinical authorities who oversee most Jewish nuptials in Israel object to intermarriage, fearing it will diminish the ranks of the Jewish people. Many Israeli couples who marry out of their faith do so abroad.
Malka’s father, Yoram Malka, said on Israeli television he objected to the wedding, calling it “a very sad event”. He said he was angry that his daughter had converted to Islam. Of his now son-in-law, he said, “My problem with him is that he is an Arab.”
See also “Extremists’ hatred poisons Mahmoud and Morel’s wedding”, Haaretz, 19 August 2014
The United Nations said on Sunday it had evidence that fighters from Islamic State (Isis) had killed as many as 670 prisoners in Mosul and had carried out further abuses in Iraq that amounted to crimes against humanity.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said Islamic State and allied fighters were committing "grave, horrific human rights violations" on a daily basis. These included, including targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery and sexual abuse, Pillay said.Continue reading...
Police confirmed that they received a report of the attack in the Favoriten area of Vienna, and are currently investigating.
The perpetrator was a 30 to 35-year-old man who spoke and insulted the woman using a strong Viennese dialect.
Another nearby woman was also knocked down by the man, according to reports. Nearby teenagers who came to the assistance of the old woman were unable to prevent the man from escaping after committing the assault.
According to the IGGiÖ, the Turkish woman, who uses a cane, was initially in shock and could not be interviewed by police. She was taken to the emergency hospital in the 20th district.
A police spokesman said that investigations are ongoing, while the police wait to speak to the victims of the attack and are calling for witnesses.According to the IGGiÖ, the case is unique in its brutality and shows that the xenophobic mood has further escalated. “As bad as this incident was, we hoped that it can strengthen opposition to trends of Islamophobia,” it said in a press release.
Just under a decade ago, a battered militant group then known as al-Qaida in Iraq decided it needed rebranding. A new structure and name were introduced to a sceptical public. The formation of the Islamic State of Iraq, complete with designated ministers, was announced.
The ISI's leaders lacked credibility and its supposed administrative structure lacked substance. That the "state" in the title was nothing more than an aspiration was clear to all. But the scepticism with which the ambitious name was once greeted is now looking misplaced. The ISI eventually evolved into the Islamic State, which now controls a swath of land from western Syria to western Iraq running religious schools, bakeries and power plants, exporting oil, levying taxes and organising parades of tanks, a potent overseas outreach operation and fighting a war on several fronts.Continue reading...
Islamic State or Isis have emerged as the most recent form of radical jihadism and we in the west feel bewildered by their ferocity and brutality, especially towards minorities. First, the Iraqi Christians, then the Yazidis hundreds of them being forced to either convert or be killed.
The recent beheading of the American journalist James Foley is only one act of defiance towards US airstrikes, with threats of more reprisals. With Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and now Isis never has it been easier to instil fear, it seems, into the most powerful nations in the world.Continue reading...
Ferguson Protests: Missouri Cop Suspended after ‘I’m a Killer’ Video Circulated
By Mark Piggot (IBTimes)
One of the police officers tasked with keeping security in riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri has been placed on “administrative leave” after a video circulated in which he appears to rant about Muslims and Barack Obama – and boasts about killing people.
Officer Dan Page, who during the Ferguson unrest was filmed pushing CNN TV reporter Don Lemon and other protesters, was giving a speech to the St. Louis/St. Charles chapter of the Oath Keepers, which according to its website is “a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’”
In his talk, which apparently took place on 22 April and was uploaded soon after, Page makes a number of extraordinary boasts, including ones about his being a multiple-killer.
“I personally believe the Lord Jesus Christ is my saviour, but I’m also a killer,” he is seen saying. “I’ve killed a lot and, if I need to, I will kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me.”
In the speech Page, a former Vietnam veteran and military reservist, rails about black people being “little perverts”, homosexuals, and the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court.” He tells someone in the audience: “Policemen are very cynical. I know I am. I don’t trust anybody. I hate everybody. I hate y’all, too. I hate everybody. I’m into diversity – I kill everybody. I don’t care.”
The head of the St. Louis County police department. Jon Belmar. told CNN the video was bizarre and found the boasts about killing particularly disturbing: “As a police chief, that’s something I’m not going to be able to endure.”
A psychiatric evaluation of Officer Page will now take place.
Police in Ferguson have been strongly criticised for the shooting of Michael Brown which sparked the riots, but the events have also seen rising concern over the increasing militarisation of police.
Under the “1033 program” hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan has been passed on to local police forces across the US including grenade-launchers and armoured vehicles.
On Iraq, Isis and the much discussed domestic jihadi threat, David Cameron last week managed to often simultaneously accelerate, reverse and put his foot on the brake, as he motored to and fro from his holiday home in Cornwall. He left a cloud of confusion in his wake.
The prime minister started the week by warning of an existential threat and promised to use "all the assets we have", including our "military prowess". By Thursday, he was suggesting that "patience" and no significant policy changes were required in the aftermath of the barbaric murder of James Foley.Continue reading...
Thankfully, Jean-Marie Pire has been arrested for assaulting a woman wearing the veil, in the process ripping off her earrings, leaving her with cuts and bruises.
Strangely reports on the assault have been describing Pire’s attack in mild terms, as if he were simply “removing the veil,” or “taking off the full-face veil.” Grabbing and ripping off a woman’s veil is should never be described as “removing” or “taking off,” it is plain and simple assault!
A senior Belgium diplomat has been arrested for taking off the full-face veil of a Qatari princess after she asked him for directions, in a case that has highlighted difficulties in imposing the so-called “burka ban” in the country.
Jean-Marie Pire, who apparently specialises in protocol, went about removing the woman’s niqab, a black full-face veil, when approached by her on the street in the Belgian capital, Brussels.
The 60-year-old diplomat, who did not know the identity of the wealthy royal, took offence to her clothing when she approached him with two other women last week, asking for directions.
“I said I don’t talk to anyone if I can’t see their face,” Pire said, according to The Times. “With this reply, I wanted to make it clear that the veil is banned in Belgium,” he added.
“Because the person asking me a question didn’t seem to hear me, I lifted her veil. I know I shouldn’t have done that, but what she did wasn’t legal either!”
Belgium, along with France, banned full face-coverings in 2012, imposing fines for wearing veils.
Local officials have reportedly already given the unnamed woman a fine of around £115 for breaching the ban on face-coverings. She also faces up to seven days in prison for wearing the garment in public.
The woman, who has not been named, has made an official complaint to Brussels prosecutors, who may now charge Pire with assault.
She said she suffered cuts and bruises after her earrings were violently dislodged, along with her veil.
Photojournalist Silvia Boarini documents the atrocities revealed during the days of ceasefire.