It’s just good old “muscular liberalism,” right?
Whatever it is, there is no doubt that the French government’s attitude towards Islam and its Muslim population has contributed to an environment where veiled women can and are attacked.
(h/t: Al-Kanz)Islamophobic Attack On A Veiled Mother in Moselle
Collectif Contre L’Islamophobie En France (Google Translate)
The incident occurred in the evening of Tuesday, February 18 around 18:15.
The victim, a young mother with her toddler, was violently attacked while returning slowly towards his home after shopping.
The attacker suddenly stopped his vehicle before verbally take the young woman, whom he accuses of wear the full veil ” The driver yelled at me: You have to go to Iraq eh [...]! In France, we do not dress like that! “ [...] “Go back to your country …”.
Very agitated, the individual is left to his vehicle, walked away, then eventually turn around to attack again to his victim and snatch her veil him shouting “It is forbidden by law [...] here, we respect women “ (assault a woman because of his religion and its origin is this definition of respect for women: ed.)
A man who attended the scene immediately intervened to assist the victim and stop aggression.
The victim is still very shocked and was very afraid for her child : “I picked races downed and taken my stroller, which under the impact of physical aggression, had rolled to the curb … I ‘ve found wobbly against the wheel of a parked car. He could have something happen to my son … the stroller could be completely reversed. “
Our legal team are currently in contact with victims to encourage them to complain and bring him any psychological assistance necessary.
The Zionist Clarion Project is funded by Aisha HaTorah, a pro-Occupation, pro-Settler colonization organization that seeks to foment anti-Muslim Islamophobic sentiment against Muslims in the West. They are known for such anti-Muslim screeds as Obsession, Third Jihad and Iranium. (h/t: JD)Meet Fox’s New Anti-Muslim “National Security Analyst”
Fox News has repeatedly hosted members of the fringe group Clarion Project, an anti-Muslim organization known for spreading Islamophobic fears, to discuss serious national security matters.
On February 20, Fox News hosted Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst from the Clarion Project, also known as the Clarion Fund, to discuss possible security threats on airlines. Mauro has recently appeared on Fox several times where he has argued that ‘Muslim patrols’ were a growing security concern for the United States, discussed the possibility of an anti-American alliance in the Middle East with Syrian Jihadists, and hyped fears that Somali refugees in the United States were becoming ‘homegrown’ terrorists.
But Mauro and other Clarion Project members are not credible sources to discuss issues such as these given their virulent history of Islamophobia. Clarion Project has been widely criticized for producing and spreading Islamophobic material including the movie, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, a film that depicted Muslims as terrorists seeking world conquest. Think Progress reported that this was only the first installment of “Clarion’s ongoing production of Islamophobic films.”
Mauro himself has penned numerous pieces for the anti-Islam blog Islamist Watch where he has tracked his progress in identifying “Muslim enclaves” in the United States that he says will become “‘no-go zones’ where governments admit to having little authority over Muslims living there” :
The construction of the building blocks for similar Muslim enclaves and “no-go zones” in the U.S. is one of the most disturbing programs of Islamist groups. If successful, these territories will be the first to establish Shari’a law in the country, thus offering a profound challenge to America’s constitutional order.
Other board members from the Clarion Project who have also made their way onto Fox include Frank Gaffney, one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes and Fox’s go-to anti-Muslim activist, Zuhdi Jasser. Gaffney has used funding for his Center for Security Policy to produce reports promoting the baseless myth that Muslims are conspiring to implement Sharia law in the United States.
According to a Center for American Progress report, the Clarion Project is funded by three of the seven top anti-Islam and anti-Muslim think tanks and organizations in the United States, including the Donors Capital Fund, Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker foundations and charitable trust, and Anchorage Charitable Foundation and William Rosenwal Family Fund. The Center for American Progress describes these donors as the “lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America,” and the report tracks how these donors use their money to support groups like the Clarion Project to “spread a deliberately misleading messages about Islam and Muslims that is fundamentally antithetical to our nation’s foundation and principals of religious freedom.”
Israel has been trying to transform indigenous farmers into an “urban proletariat” since at least the 1960s.
From The Big Benefits Row to Benefits Street, everyone in the media seems to want to talk about welfare these days. Or, more accurately, social security.
In an age of austerity, I won’t pretend to be surprised by the obsession with welfare and so-called “welfare dependency”, but there is a point worth making here: why do we obsess over handouts for the poor, rather than handouts for the rich? Why isn’t the scandal of corporate welfare the subject of fly-on-the-wall documentaries, too? When will my former colleagues at Channel 4 air a series called Bankers’ Street?
Ignore the media misinformation: spending on out-of-work benefits isn’t out of control, nor is the welfare state responsible for growing poverty. It cannot be repeated often enough: most of the social security budget (53 per cent) is spent on pensioners. That compares with a little over a quarter (26 per cent) on those much-maligned out-of-work benefits. Spending on the latter, as a proportion of national income, has been pretty flat for almost three decades.
The number of working households living below the poverty line now outnumbers the number of workless households – 6.7 million compared with 6.3 million. A life on social security isn’t the chief driver of poverty; a life on low pay is. Rather than decry the level of benefits that the jobless and the disabled are entitled to, perhaps politicians and pundits should focus on how four out of every five new jobs created under this government have been in low-pay sectors such as retail, hospitality and residential care. One in five of the UK workforce now earns less than the living wage and requires in-work benefits just to make ends meet – that’s five million people in total.
So let us turn instead to the real scandal, the issue that dare not speak its name: corporate welfare. Where is the ministerial or media anger over the activities of G4S and Serco, which are accused of ripping off the taxpayer but which make millions from lavish government contracts? Where are the howls of outrage over taxpayer-funded payouts to the fossil-fuel industry? The Met Office’s chief scientist may believe “there is a link” between the recent floods and climate change but the government continues to subsidise the coal, oil and gas industries to the tune of £2.6bn a year.
Why are the rail company bosses not household names in the same way as White Dee or Smoggy from Benefits Street? The UK has the most expensive rail fares in Europe and yet, according to research by the University of Manchester, the train-operating companies are completely dependent on public subsidies. The university’s June 2013 report for the TUC, aptly entitled The Great Train Robbery, revealed that the top five recipients alone got almost £3bn in taxpayer support between 2007 and 2011. Meanwhile, Network Rail, which is in charge of the UK’s rail infrastructure, receives an annual public subsidy of £4bn (roughly four times greater than the comparable cost under the publicly owned British Rail in the early 1990s).
Dare I mention PFI? Wait, don’t yawn at the back. The Private Finance Initiative, where construction and maintenance of schools, hospitals, roads and the rest are contracted out to private firms, was invented by the Tories in 1992, ramped up by New Labour over 13 years and continues under the coalition. As of 2013, it was forecast that 725 PFI contracts for public facilities across the UK, with a total capital value of £54bn, will cost the Exchequer more than £300bn by the time they are paid off. How’s that for a “something for nothing” culture?
Then there are the bank bailouts, perhaps the biggest act of corporate welfare in living memory. You want benefit spongers? Head for the Square Mile. As of 2013, the total level of financial support provided to the banks by the state, in the form of guarantees and cash outlays, amounted to £141bn, according to the National Audit Office. At the height of the financial crisis, the figure was an astonishing £1.1trn – enough to cover the £5bn Jobseeker’s Allowance budget for the next 200 years. And yet, in spite of being propped up by the taxpayer, RBS and Lloyds are expected to pay out roughly £900m in combined bonuses for 2013. Do I hear the word “scroungers”?
The truth is that the austerity junkies and deficit fetishists on the right aren’t bothered by welfare, or the cost of welfare, per se – only by the billions of pounds that go to the poor rather than the rich; to social programmes, job-guarantee schemes and housing for the homeless, rather than to the shareholders of multinational corporations and other financial institutions.
Remember: big business needs big government. The US economist Dean Baker rightly refers to “nanny-state conservatives”, whom he describes as “enthusiastic supporters of the big-government policies that send income flowing upward”. They are aided by their friends, allies and outriders in the right-wing media echo chamber, who have never had to endure the indignity of turning to payday lenders or food banks in order to survive. The callousness of commentators and columnists who kiss up and kick down, to borrow a line from the Labour MP Jon Cruddas, is unforgivable.
The job of the press, in the words of the Irish-American satirist Finley Peter Dunne, “is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. The modern media, however, with their relentless frenzy over social security payments to those at the bottom rather than corporate welfare payouts at the top, have shamelessly turned Dunne’s dictum on its head.
Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the political director of the Huffington Post UK, where this column is crossposted
It was reported today that there has been a rise in the number of teenagers under 18 admitted to adult psychiatric wards, and that these were sometimes hundreds of miles from home and often proved to be highly unsuitable places for them. The BBC reported this here and there is a video clip of a young girl recounting her experience of being sent away (the other reports at present are just wire copy rewrites.) I have seen other reports of this sort of thing happening because of local inpatient facilities closing, notably this disturbing report of a young girl from Hull with Asperger’s syndrome who had been raped, who was sent to a secure unit in Cheshire after her local unit was closed to inpatients and there were no beds on other units in Yorkshire.
The case in Hull demonstrates that in fact unsuitable adolescent inpatient care can be as bad as putting a teenager in an adult ward, particularly if it is far from home. Putting a group of teenagers with different mental illnesses in one small section of a building and locking them in can make it an extremely hostile environment for some of them if the unit staff are unable or unwilling to protect the weaker children. The report notes that “the social care regulator had received an alert about a 12-year-old being admitted to an adult psychiatric unit”, but the majority of 12-year-olds are children, not adolescents, and putting them on a ward with 16-year-olds could have been every bit as traumatic as 16-year-olds, in our culture, have less responsibility for their actions than 22-year-olds.
The report also shines a light on the policy of banning visits by “children” (i.e. under-18s) to wards, even when the patient is under that age. (This is one of the ‘blanket policies’ that restricts the freedom of people in mental health wards, often beyond what is necessary; these include, for example, bans on accessing the Internet; see chapter 3 of this PDF from the Care Quality Commission.) I am not sure what the reason behind it is, but when I was a child I visited my uncle (who was in his 40s, and I must have been about eight) at a psychiatric hospital near Croydon (now closed), and although the environment was grim (dark and smoky) and it was a bit upsetting, neither my sister nor I came away traumatised by it. Looking on the website of Southern Health, which runs a number of mental health inpatient units in southern England, visitors under 18 are not allowed to visit one of them at all, and are only allowed into the visitor area at another. As one of these units admits people from age 18 up, this means that younger siblings of younger patients would not be allowed to visit, and nor would patients’ children (this is also true at their learning disability inpatient units, including the scandal-ridden STATT unit in Oxford). No reason for this policy is given anywhere.
Some might argue that it could traumatise children to be on a mental health ward, and when I mentioned this to a friend on Twitter, she told me that her son had never forgotten seeing his grandmother in a nursing home; but surely this is a decision parents have to make, and in any case, children are not banned from visiting nursing homes, and there needs to be a distinction made between children and adolescents, particularly those over 16. It sounds like a policy made to minimise ‘risk’, i.e. the liability of the unit, rather than for the welfare of the patients or the visitors. If under-18s can be admitted to these units, surely they should be allowed to visit. As one of the former patients interviewed said, it made it a lot harder that her friends were not allowed to visit, and she was on the adult ward (at age 17) for eight weeks before being moved to an adolescent unit.
There is no secret that mental health is considered a “Cinderella” service, i.e. one that is hidden from view and not glamorous, rather like the long-term care of people with learning disabilities. It seems that the only money available is for crisis care, which is all very well but people need something to move on to and just going back to the status quo ante is not always possible — it may have been what caused the crisis. It is good that in the UK we do not use hospitals for the long term care of these people — a situation like that of Astrid van Woerkom, the Dutch autistic blogger who has been in institutions since 2007 because the state will not provide the care she needs in the community, would be extremely unlikely to happen here — but the more we cut inpatient mental health beds and community services for both these groups of people, the more we end up with people in crisis being sent miles away from home to units that are completely unsuitable and which make bad situations a lot worse.
To complain about the halal or kosher slaughter of battery chickens or factory farmed veal is a truly monstrous absurdity
"Animal welfare takes precedence over religion" declared Denmark's ministry of agriculture when a ban on ritual slaughter came into effect this week. There were immediate accusations of antisemitism and Islamophobia from Jews and Muslims, even though both communities are still free to import meat killed by their preferred methods, and even though no animals have in fact been slaughtered without pre-stunning in Denmark for the past 10 years.
These disputes may indeed cast some light on our attitudes towards outsider communities – I remember concerns about halal slaughter being expressed in Bradford in 1984 as part of an early row about Muslim integration and lack of integration. But what is really remarkable is the light that they don't cast on animal cruelty for secular reasons.
It seems to me obvious that the slaughter of animals at the end of their lives is of far less ethical importance than the way they are treated beforehand. The cruelties of factory farming extend over an animal's whole lifetime whereas the cruelty of ritual slaughter lasts minutes at most. To complain about the halal slaughter of battery chickens or factory farmed veal is a truly monstrous absurdity.
In a Danish context this is particularly obvious. The pig farming industry there, whose products are devoured by almost everyone in Europe who isn't an observant Jew of Muslim, is a monstrous engine of quotidian suffering, despite the pre-slaughter stunning. The new agriculture minister, Dan Jørgensen, has pointed out that 25,000 piglets a day die in Danish factory farms – they never even make it to the slaughterhouse; that half of the sows have open sores and 95% have their tails docked, a cruel (and under EU regulations, illegal) practice that is needed to stop them chewing and biting one another's tails in their concrete sheds.
This sort of cruelty is justified because it makes money for pig farmers, and saves it for consumers. There is no religious angle involved and few people see it as any serious ethical problem. I personally try to avoid chicken, pork and salmon in cheap food, from green motives and from a distaste for animal suffering but I am aware that this in one of the eccentricities that solvency permits.
There are two further ironies about the Danish case. The first is that the country was last week the focus of international indignation for slaughtering a giraffe, entirely humanely, and then using its corpse first to teach biology and then to feed lions, who must have had a treat. It is impossible to fault any of this behaviour on utilitarian grounds, or even, I think, on humane ones if we are going to have zoos at all. Certainly Marius the unhappy giraffe lived a short life infinitely better and more interesting than any of the six million pigs born and slaughtered in Denmark every year.
The second is that Jørgensen, who has formalised the ban on ritual slaughter (something inherited from his predecessors), is actually a notable enemy of factory farming. In a series of articles and speeches he has announced that Danish factory farming must clean up its act, and that the present situation is unendurable. He at least understands the potential hypocrisy of attacking only the cruelty around an animal's death and not that surrounding its life.
I suspect that there is some real substance behind the Muslim complaints that a ban on halal slaughter is motivated as much by the wish to cause fundamentalists suffering as to spare it to animals. But that tells us much more about human beings than about animal rights.
The first principle of serious ethical reason is surely "It isn't different when we do it" but at the same time it is an axiom of moral sentiment that it's different when other people do it.Andrew Brown
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Salam Alaikum. I have a problem that I am unsure of how to reconcile that I need your help with. In high school, my friends' group consisted almost entirely of girls. This was because the vast majority of guys in my school were not the type of people you'd want your children to hang out with: they did drugs, and used swear words, were not concerned with school, etc. I didn't want to hang out with those people because they were not my type of individual, and I feared I would become like them if I hung out with them too much. Instead, I hung out with my group of friends, mostly girls. These people were devout Christians (there were no Muslims in my grade besides me), did not swear, were studious, intelligent, kind, respectful, etc.
I rationalized my involvement with them by saying that they made me a better person, which I still honestly believe is true. I helped them with life problems (not little things, large issues, such as depression or sexual assault at home), and they helped me. I grew very close to these people, and still truly enjoy their company. However, over the past few months, I have grown closer to my deen, and I am starting to feel unsure of whether or not I can be friends with these people any more. I truly believe they are good people, and we are very close as friends, but I am unsure if it is Islamically permissible. I am running into the same issue in college. The majority of guys at my school are rowdy, swear excessively, and now, drink alcohol or do drugs. There are girls at my school who do so as well, but there are others who are more studious, kind, and sober people. I am befriending those type of girls, but I don't know if that's ok or not.
Occasionally, they'll ask if we can eat at the dining hall together, and while I know that it's not for nefarious purposes, I am unsure whether or not I can or should eat with them. My problem is two fold: I don't know what to do in terms of friends. I have a few, close friends who are guys who I talk to, some of whom are Muslim, and whom I trust very much. But most of the time, those people are far away (don't attend my school, are still in high school, etc.), and I am surrounded by the general non-Muslim population. I don't want to befriend most of the guys at my school, as I fear I will fall into the habits of drinking or other haram things. And the few guys who are good hang out with girls as well. So I'm unsure whether or not I can be friends with girls, or not.
Secondly, I don't know what to do about my high school friend group. I am back home for winter break, and I wish to see them, but I have been avoiding responding to their text messages because I do not know if I am allowed to do so. Would I like to catch up? Ofcourse. But I don't know if I can. So how do I handle these friends? Do I explain myself and then just cut these people out of my life, delete their numbers from my phone, delete them from my Facebook, and never speak to them again? In brief: Am I allowed to befriend these girls or not? I do not wish to go against Islam, but I don't want to fall in the same pattern as most guys at my school.
What do I do about the ones I have already befriended? Should I cut them off, or how do I proceed? Jazakallah ul Khairun, I appreciate this so much. This issue has been driving me crazy, and I fear I have done great wrong in the eyes of Allāh. Please help me understand what I need to do further. Salam AlaikumAnswer:
Bismillah wa ṣalāh wa salaam 'ala Rasoolillah.
Walaikum asalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu
I want to commend you for reaching out about this issue. This clearly shows that you are striving to gain the pleasure of Allāh and that you are seeking to stay away from that which displeases Him. I ask Allāh to reward you tremendously for that and always guide you toward that which is most pleasing to Him. āmīn.
Let me begin by discussing a few points from an Islamic standpoint:
Islamically, mixing and talking between men and women should be done only for legitimate reasons and if there is a need (e.g. you are classmates working on a joint project or coworkers, etc.) and even then a level of appropriateness and professionalism should be maintained. In terms of socializing, it is best to ensure that your close friends are of the same gender. Allāh says in Surah al-Nur, “Tell the believing men and women to lower their gaze and protect their chastity, for that is bound to render them purer. Allāh is aware of all that they do.” [Surah an-Nur 24:30]
Islam is a preventative religion and one of the things it seeks to prevent is engaging in inappropriate relationships. And Allāh commands us to avoid anything that may lead to that as he says, “O you who have believed do not follow the footsteps of Satan.” [Surah an-Nur 24:21].
One of the reasons behind lowering one's gaze is to prevent any thoughts, contemplations or desires that might take place between men and women. So the question is, would eating lunch with a few girls lead to the start of an inappropriate relationship? Probably not. However, it will increase your level of comfort with someone of the opposite gender, which can then lead to friendly texts, which can then lead to friendly phone calls, which can then lead to more “iffy” phone calls and conversations, and then to hanging out on your own… And, well, you know where I'm going with this.
This can also continue to be a struggle when you graduate college and start your career. One of the most cited reasons for infidelity is what is called “emotional infidelity” and it usually takes place in the workplace. That is because people spend most of their days at work with their co-workers in meetings, lunches, work-related parties, etc. A survey conducted by Randstad USA, a staffing and recruiting organization, found that 53% of women and 42% of men said they had an “office spouse,” which they identified means having strong emotional bonds similar to those in a marriage with someone of the opposite gender in the workplace. This can easily lead to sexual transgressions as found in a Yahoo Finance article published in 2011, entitled “Who's Cheating Who: Infidelity by Profession,” which states that 72% of bankers admitted to having had at least one affair and 87% of those were with a work colleague.
The Shaytaan would never attempt to push you into a compromising situation of engaging inappropriately with a girl right off the bat- he knows you're too devoted to Allāh to even try that. But he may push you down that path in very small, seemingly innocent steps. Therefore, it is best and safest to maintain only professional interactions with the opposite gender.
I also noticed you included a number of rationalizations regarding why being friends with the girls that you know has been beneficial to you. It sounds like you already know that these relationships may not be the best for you since it seems as though your moral compass is pointing you away from them, which is why you feel the need to rationalize them. It is natural to occasionally try to convince ourselves that certain things are good for us, even though internally, we know that's not true. And the number of rationalizations we give ourselves is often a good indication of whether something truly is good for us. If it was good for us, we wouldn't need all of these explanations.
You mentioned that you struggle to find guys with whom you can be close friends due to their behavior. It also sounds like there are certain qualities that your female friends possess that you have struggled to find in male friends. Oftentimes, girls are more open to listening to your struggles and have a softer way of providing feedback. Perhaps this is why you have not found many male friends whose personalities resonate with you? It may be difficult to find a guy you will feel as comfortable confiding in as you have felt in the past with your female friends but I want to reassure you that it is possible.
Men, oftentimes, connect by engaging in activities together (doing something, rather than just talking). Join your university's Muslim Students Association and an academic club where you can find like-minded men to spend time with. You may not find many male friends who are completely free of habits you don't approve of but try to take the good and leave the bad in these relationships. My rule of thumb when deciding whether you should take someone as a close friend and devote spending time with him is to ask yourself two simple questions:
- Can he be of benefit to me and impact me in a positive way? If yes, then great! If no, move on to the second question.
- Can you benefit him? If you answer “yes” to this question, go for it. If you answer “no” to this question, this means that you can't benefit him and he will, therefore, impact you negatively. If you find yourself getting swept into a negative habit or pattern, it is best not to take him as a friend.
Also, if you find yourself yearning for a strong relationship with a female friend, I would encourage you to begin your search for a wife when you feel you are personally ready to take steps toward marriage. Your wife can be someone in whom you confide, someone who can become your best friend and someone who you can support emotionally as well. This can help in filling the emotional gap that, perhaps, male friends cannot satisfy.
I would also encourage you to let your female friends know that you do not harbor any negative feelings toward them but you are, simply, trying to become a more faithful worshipper of God. You mentioned that they are religious Christians, so this may resonate with them and they may even respect you more for it.
I also want to reassure you that, in standing by your principles and seeking to please Allāh , only good can come from these efforts. I know it's a struggle to let go of friends but realize that our Prophet said, ”Whosoever leaves something for the sake of Allāh then Allāh, the Mighty and Magnificent, will replace it with something better than it.” [Ahmad]
Allāh has promised that after hardship comes ease and He will always reward those who strive to obey Him.
May Allāh bless you, grant you peace and reward you tremendously for all that you do for His sake.
Europe is paying for services that Israel is legally obliged to provide as the occupying power.
Your leader (17 February) forgets that the international community, particularly the European Union, has lost interest in Bosnia. The high representative's influence has considerably diminished in recent years; the international community has failed to contain the Republika Srpska (the Serbian entity) as it inches its way towards some sort of independence. Mostar remains a bitterly divided city – in spite of the symbolism of the restored bridge, there has been no local government since 1995. A recent survey by Mostar University shows how many Bosnian Croats want their own "entity" and, given the inability of many Bosniak politicians to put the interests of their country before their own, there is a worrying new development: the growth of radical Islamism, which will certainly thrive in a population where 57% of young people are unemployed. Officials from the EU do little but publicly reprimand politicians and urge them to show "leadership". But the recent protests offer new possibilities, particularly among a younger generation weary of the old nationalisms. Some NGOs are calling for a national dialogue. If politicians can't or won't wake up, then it will be up to these NGOs to take a lead in refashioning Bosnia's future – and the least the EU should do is to make funding available at once for such an initiative.
The Rev Donald Reeves
Director, the Soul of Europe
• Bosnia has indeed become "a mess of overlapping and competing administrations which turned into a happy hunting ground for ethnically based politicians, who could exploit its many possibilities for patronage and personal enrichment". This succinct and accurate description poses a stern question for those who have crowed over the break-up of Yugoslavia, the overthrow of Saddam and Gaddafi, and who act as cheerleaders for armed opposition to Assad. Does intervention by the US and its allies leave the situation in the country concerned better or worse?
University of Westminster and UCL
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Attackers of Plovdiv mosque fined for hooliganism
The first four people involved in a February 14 2014 mob attack on the historic Dzhumaya mosque in Plovdiv have been penalised under a fast-track procedure. Two were each fined 400 leva (about 200 euro), one was fined 300 leva and another was sentenced to two days’ detention.
A further four of the 120 arrested during the melee in Bulgaria’s second city on February 14 were to be penalised on February 17, local media said. By February 15, just 10 of the 120 initially arrested were still in custody, prosecutors said. Of those penalised, none was from Plovdiv. They were from Sofia, Varna, Vratsa and the town of Kozloduy. Police worked overtime at the weekend on preparing cases against those accused, according to the Interior Ministry.
The conduct of the police in Plovdiv during the incident, which saw not only the mosque targeted with paving stones, fireworks and bottles, but also the crowd of about 3000 march on the Turkish consulate and the city headquarters of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, has come in for criticism. Centre-right GERB opposition leader Boiko Borissov alleged on February 16 that police deliberately had been pulled back to allow the attack on the Dzhumaya mosque.
Borissov earlier hit back at criticism of Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totev, a senior GERB member, by Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetozar Lazarov, who said that Totev had been too tardy in responding to ministry requests to ban the march.
An article on local website Plovdiv24 also called into question police conduct during the protest. The article alleged that police had been slow to react when the mosque came under attack, and allegedly had been passive when the crowd moved on towards the Turkish consulate.
When the crowd moved towards the consulate, “instead of moving in a cordon around the protesters, the police walked along the main street, talking to each other quietly, as if they were guarding the protest and were taking a rest”. Police had acted only to defend the MRF headquarters and a Lafka kiosk, the latter a company said to be linked to the family of MRF MP Delyan Peevski, according to the article, which claimed that the protest had been aggravated by provocateurs “to serve the interests of the government and especially the MRF”.
The MRF, in a statement on February 15, strongly condemned the events in Plovdiv, asking what “dark forces” were behind the incidents that, the party said, were clearly intended at bringing down the current government by stoking ethnic conflict.
On February 17, Interior Ministry chief secretary Lazarov insisted that the ministry would not tolerate “any xenophobic and racist manifestations”. He was commenting on the events on Plovdiv. These had been followed on February 15 by the far-right “Lukov March” in Sofia in which, the ministry said at the time, there were people involved who were identified as having been present in Plovdiv during the events of the previous day. These were among 10 people arrested during the “Lukov March”, which proceeded with a police escort in spite of a belated order by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova to ban it. The order from Fandukova came through after the march was already underway.
Lazarov said that currently, there were attempts to “violate the balance of the ethnic model”. These attempts were a threat to Bulgaria’s national security, he said. “There is a pre-court proceeding in Plovdiv over preaching ethnic hatred. I recommend keeping an eye on which persons will be summoned for interrogation and I hope that this will be made public,” Lazarov said.
Meanwhile, by February 15 additional security had been placed around the Dzhumaya mosque, the Turkish consulate and the MRF office in Plovdiv, local media said.
The chairman of the board of the mosque, Ahmet Pehlivan, said that four bags of stones and missiles made from soft drink cans had been gathered up after the attack on the mosque. He said that during the attack on the mosque, there had been about 100 worshippers inside, who had been terrified as the missiles were hurled against the building, Pehlivan said.
* The Dzhumaya Mosque is believed to date from the time of the reign of Sultan Murad I in the second half of the 14th century CE. It was extensively restored between 2006 and 2008. Recently, a coffee shop offering delicacies imported from Turkey opened on the ground floor of the building, in the place of a former Turkish sweet shop. Restoration of the mosque took place in the framework of a bilateral Bulgarian-Turkish deal which also enabled restoration work on the Bulgarian St Stefan church – known as the “Iron Church” – in Istanbul.
Whether halal and kosher food is produced humanely is a matter of animal welfare v religious tolerance – and Denmark has made up its mind
From the Danish food ministry this is not great timing. Less than two weeks after the world was shocked by the slaughter of Marius the giraffe, halal and shechita slaughter – normal practices for millions of Muslims and Jews – have been effectively banned in Denmark.
The nitty-gritty is gruesome, but important. In most European countries, including the UK, the slaughter of an animal is considered humane only if it is stunned before having its throat cut. Muslim and Jewish rules, however, require an animal to be fully alive, healthy, and intact before being killed, and this is often interpreted to mean it must be conscious. Many Muslims and Jews insist the swift technique of ritual slaughter prevents the animal from suffering. But animal welfare activists and their supporters beg to differ.
Some Jews and Muslims are furious. A group called Danish Halal describes the change in the law as "a clear interference in religious freedom". "European antisemitism is showing its true colours," an Israeli minister said, incensing the Danish ambassador. Others Jews and Muslims are nonplussed – either because they get their meat through imports, which won't be affected, or because, the way they see things, pre-stunning is permitted.
This is far from the first flare-up over ritual slaughter. Last year, the constitutional court in Poland undid the undoing of a 1997 ban on it, causing most of its sizeable halal and kosher export trade to move elsewhere. (Then the Polish parliament rejected a government bid to overturn the undoing). The same toing-and-froing is repeated over the years in Germany, the Netherlands and France.
When the UK's independent Farm Animals Welfare Council reported on the matter in 2003, it agreed with the activists wholeheartedly, but was overruled by the UK government. The European Forum for Animal Welfare Councils strongly supports the activists as well. So far as anybody can tell, in short – and as you might expect – stunning before slaughter is more humane, and this is what Danish law now insists on, along with most of Scandinavia.Leo Benedictus
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In an effort to rectify a historic injustice Spain is offering Sephardic descendants of Andalusian Jews who were forced to adopt Christianity, tortured and or expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella automatic citizenship.
One has to wonder if Spain’s recognition of its historic injustice will also extend to Maghrebian descendants of Andalusian Muslims who faced a similar inquisition and expulsion?
Imagine the uproar if they were also included, cries of Islamization, creeping Shariah and dhimmitude would ring out far and wide in the looniverse.Spain Citizenship for Sephardic Jews ‘Automatic’ — No Discretion By JTA (The Forward)
MADRID — The conferring of Spanish citizenship to Sephardic Jews will be automatic and independent of the government’s discretion, the country’s justice minister told a delegation of American Jews.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon made the pledge during a speech Thursday before dozens of members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
He was referring to a bill on the naturalization of descendants of Jews who fled from Spain because of religious persecution during the 15th and 16th centuries. Spain’s Council of Ministers okayed the bill last week. To become law, the bill will need to pass in parliament.
“In Spain, a clear majority realize we have committed a historical error and have an opportunity to repair it, so I am sure that law will pass with an immense majority in parliament,” Ruiz-Gallardon said.
When it does, citizenship “will not be a discretional matter, it will not be subject to the good will of the government, because it is a right that anyone who meets the criteria is entitled to,” he added.
There will be several ways to obtain citizenship, he said. “One of them is through certification with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain. Another is certification by a competent, recognized rabbinical authority,” the minister added.
Led by the Presidents Conference’s chairman, Robert Sugarman, and executive vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein, the delegation has met with dozens of high-level Spanish officials during its four-day visit, including Spanish King Juan Carlos. In 1992 the king had said in a speech that Spain is the homeland of all Sephardic Jews.
“The clarity of your words is inspiring, as is Spain’s willingness to confront its history in a real way to build a better future,” Hoenlein told the minister. “I hope other nations will learn from your denunciation of the events of 500 years ago.” In meetings, the visitors thanked their Spanish interlocutors for promoting legislation on Sephardic Jews; confronting efforts to boycott and delegitimize Israel; and maintaining pressure on Iran over its nuclear program and on terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
Spain has announced that it will seek election to the U.N. Security Council this year.
The Presidents Conference delegation is scheduled to arrive in Israel over the weekend for its annual meeting.
Bristol EDL declares independence
Last month the English Defence League leadership – now a committee known as the Management Group, which is composed of the regional organisers – issued what was on the face of it a stern warning to EDL members against involvement with the various far-right splinter groups that have emerged from the movement over the past few years.
Accusing these rival groupuscules (quite accurately) of being “openly White Pride and racist”, the Management Group emphasised (albeit not very coherently) that “we will not stand with groups that do discriminate and are racist such as the Britain First/SEA/NWI/NEI/EVF/BNP/NF/C18 & White Pride or such like minded openly discriminating against any creed, race, colour other than white”.
EDL members were told: “If you wish to have unity with these groups then you have the option to leave the EDL as a supporter and join one or all of these groups. The splinter groups have minimal numbers and need unity with the EDL to make their numbers up not the other way. If you choose do so then we wish you good luck.”
However, for all their pious condemnation of racism and fascism, the Management Group was not actually proposing a general ban on EDL members participating in the protests organised by these splinter groups: “If any EDL supporter wishes to attend any of these other groups demos then all that we request is that you do not wear EDL colour’s or state you are in attendance as an EDL supporter.” In other words, the EDL leadership has no principled objection to its members’ active involvement with white supremacist, antisemitic and homophobic organisations – just as long as the EDL’s name is kept out of it.
Neverthless, as EDL News reported at the time, this provoked defections by a number of EDL divisions. One of them is in Bristol, where the leadership took badly to being given instructions by the national leadership. Leading local EDL activist Chelsea Anne White posted an indignant response to the new orders, complaining on the EDL Support Group’s Facebook page that “when i joined the EDL 3 years ago i was led to believe it was a street movement not a dictatorship”. According to White: “Good leadership dosen’t tell people what to do…..it is there to offer knowledge, assistance and support.”
Bristol EDL was originally headed by Mickey Bayliss, whose self-proclaimed opposition to racism didn’t prevent him from posting racist ‘jokes’ on Facebook. When Bayliss left to take over the organisation of Portsmouth EDL, he was replaced as leader of Bristol division by Ed Dowden, who combined that position with the post of Somerset and Avon district officer for the Mosleyite New British Union. So you can understand why Bristol division should resent being told not to openly associate with racists and fascists, given that the division has itself been led for years by proponents of racism and fascism.
As a result of Bristol’s refusal to accept the national leadership’s directive, there were for a while two Bristol EDL Facebook pages – the original one, which was in the hands of the dissidents, and a new loyalist page, English Defence League Bristol Division Official. At the weekend, however, the split was made official when the rebels took down their old Facebook page and launched a new one, in the name of the Bristol Defence League. Proudly announcing the formation of yet another far-right fragment, the BDL explains that “the true patriots of Bristol have left the ranks of the EDL behind and gathered together in the name of UNITY!”
This formal break with the EDL was evidently inspired by a far-right meeting held in Essex on 1 February, which brought together various groups and individuals who had split from the EDL, including the former Bristol division, under the umbrella of the United British Patriots. A committee was established which included representatives of the South East Alliance, March for England, the English Volunteer Force, Scottish Volunteer Force, Casuals United, East Anglian Patriots, South West Infidels, Patriots Unite and the former EDL Armed Forces Division (now renamed Armed Forces Patriots), with Mickey Bayliss (now presumably back from Portsmouth) representing the BDL.
In an ill-written mission statement, which characteristically mounts a defence of English culture while showing complete contempt for the English language, the BDL proclaims that it is “against Muslim extremists, the IRA and anyone that don’t want to live or integrate into the British way of life”. Predictably, however, it turns out that the talk of “Muslim extremists” is a just cover for inciting hatred aganst the entire Muslim community and its religious practices: “We Oppose Halal slaughter the building of Mosques and Islamic ‘Education’ centres and see them as places to spread more hatred of western values.”
Equally predictably, the BDL asserts that they are a “non racist/facist [sic] non political street movement”. Not entirely consistently, the statement goes on to declare that the BDL are “against mass immigration and believe this to be a tactic for the end game of white genocide”. So, no racism there, then.
It is easy to sneer at the small forces represented by the Bristol Defence League and its allies in United British Patriots. These are all tiny groups and even if they manage to maintain their unity, which is itself questionable, they are unlikely to succeed in mobilising significant numbers to take to the streets to protest, certainly not on the scale that the EDL did at its peak. The next “unity” demonstration is the English Volunteer Force protestoutside the Houses of Parliament on 15 March, which the BDL have been enthusiasticallypromoting, so we will see.
However, the threat posed by the Islamophobic far right doesn’t lie exclusively, or even primarily, in the holding of large-scale protests. The sort of hate crime inspired by the EDL, which has involved graffiti and arson attacks on mosques and Islamic centres, and racist abuse and physical violence against Muslims in the street, doesn’t require a large number of participants to have a serious impact. The crisis and fragmentation of the EDL is obviously welcome, but it won’t necessarily lead to a decline in such anti-Muslim activity on the ground.
In December the Bristol EDL division’s Facebook page featured calls for a proposed mosque to be firebombed, to the approval of the page’s admin, resulting in a police inquiry. Shortly afterwards, when two Bristol EDL members received prison sentences for their part in an EDL riot in Walsall, they were hailed as “patriots” by Bristol division, who told the jailed hooligans that they were “proud of you both”. Just because Bristol division have split from the EDL and adopted a new name and affiliation, that doesn’t mean there will be any change in their promotion and practice of intimidation and violence.
GOP congressman silent while racist Tea Partyer calls for Obama assassination
by John Aravosis, America blog
Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma was at a Tea Party event with constituents a few weeks ago when a woman went off about how President Obama needed to be killed.
The woman explained some bizarre conspiracy theory about the President “shipping” Muslims into our country through pilots and commercial jets.” She then exlained that, of course, President Obama needs to be executed as an enemy combattant.
All the while, Bridenstine looked on and offered no disagreement, or recognition of the fact that the woman had potentially just committed a crime.
“Obama, he’s not president, as far as I’m concerned, he should be executed, he’s an enemy combatant… the Muslims that he is shipping into our country though pilots and commercial jets… what’s, what this… I can’t tell you, I can’t say, because this is a public place, this guy is a criminal, and nobody’s stopping him.”
RightWingWatch, which discovered the Bridenstine video, has more on the “shipping Muslims” conspiracy. It’s, of course, based on the notion that President Obama is a secret Muslim, and therefore has stealth plans to ship 50 to 100 million Muslims from the Middle East to America, so that he can turn our “Christian” nation into a “Muslim” one.
So, in fact, the woman was being racist too. And not a peep from Rep. Bridenstine.
The event is illustrative of just how taken-over by extremists the GOP has become. Racism, and overt calls for the President’s death, are all ignored by Republican congressmen who will do anything to curry favor with the fringe that now controls their party.
Two weeks after the event, after facing a lot of criticism for remaining silent, Congressman Bridenstine did what any good Republican would do: He took umbrage at the fact that anyone would be upset at his silence in the face of a call for the assassination of the President:
Yes, how dare anyone criticize a US congressman for sitting there and not saying a word when a constituent tells them that the President of the United States should be killed. It’s a sign of how extreme the GOP has become that Bridenstine thinks it’s outrageous that anyone would expect him to counter the woman’s racist, extremist rhetoric. Even John McCain, during the 2008 campaign, stopped a woman at a campaign event from calling President Obama “an Arab.” But that was six years ago. Oh how the party has changed.
Oh, and when you watch the video, listen to Bridenstine closely. You might be surprised to find out that he’s virulently opposed to gay marriage as well. (Will the rightwing ever find a “defender of marriage” who doesn’t come across like a BOG?)
Circassians: Sochi Olympians ‘are skiing on the bones of our ancestors’
By Gena Somra and Ivan Watson, CNN
(CNN) – “They tried to forget us, as if we never even lived there,” says Circassian architect Abdullah Makhmudovic Berisov. Now 67 years old, Berisov speaks about the pain he feels when thinking of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and how the opening ceremony failed to mention the history of the Circassian people who once called Sochi their capital.
Berisov is not alone. Circassian artist Sheomir Guchepshoko, 32, says far from being a source of pride, the Sochi Olympics are a tragic reminder of what was lost during the Russian-Circassian war that ended in 1864.
“It was our land,” he says, “but during the opening of the Olympic Games, they said it was a Greek land, and then after that it was Russian land. They didn’t say anything about the Circassian part of Russian history. And it really hurt.”
And even more egregious than failing to be recognized, say some Circassian activists, is that the Olympic venue at Krasnaya Polyana was built on what they say is the mass burial site of the Circassians’ final defeat.
In these Olympic Games, “athletes are skiing on the bones of our ancestors,” one activist says, adding: “It would be like Germany deciding to build an Olympic Park on Auschwitz.”
Circassian historian Samir Khotko says the international attention on Sochi as the host city of the Olympics has awakened a movement to push the Russian government to officially recognize what he and others say was the Circassian genocide of 1864.
The Circassians lived in Sochi for millennia, says Frankie Martin, a research fellow at American University’s School of International Service in Washington. In the 19th century, Russia coveted their land — which is south and east of Russia proper — and brutally defeated them, decimating entire tribes, he says. Russia killed around 1.5 million Circassians and expelled a similar number.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who personally lobbied for Sochi to host the Winter Olympics, has repeatedly urged observers to avoid mixing politics with sport.
But activists say the effort to draw attention to their cause has come at a price. They point to what they say are campaigns of intimidation and detention by Russian security forces in order to silence criticism. Circassian activists say that on February 7, dozens were detained in the city of Nalchik while trying to peacefully protest the start of the Olympic Games.
In Maykop, the capital of the Adyghe region, about 150 miles north of Sochi, Guchepshoko’s sand art exhibit paints a tale of a 101-year-long war and the tragic exodus that he says is in danger of being forgotten.
The Russian conquest of the Caucasus is widely documented in Russian literature and history, yet Circassians say their portion of this history — a story of crushing defeat, widespread killing, and mass deportation to the Middle East and elsewhere — is strangely absent from Russian history books.
Guchepshoko says that as a child growing up in Russia, he knew very little about his ancestry.
Learning Circassian history was prohibited in school, he says. “When I was a child, it was if I was a guest in my own country. But slowly, I found some information about our history, and now I understand. I am a Circassian.”
“I started to think about it. It’s like there was a hole in my heart, and now I want it to be filled.”
When asked if he worries about angering the Russian government with his art, he admits there is some risk but adds that it is his duty to show younger generations, like his, what really happened in the Caucasus 150 years ago.
“I want to show the truth,” he says. “Because some young people, people who live here, they don’t know about their own history.”
An attempt to preserve culture
Circassian activists point out that there were efforts to preserve parts of their culture when the area was part of the Soviet Union. To this day, there is an autonomous region not far from Sochi reserved for the Adyghe, a subset of the Circassian people.
In Maykop, the Circassian language is spoken on the street and shares a place next to Russian on historic landmarks.
Last year, workers constructed a monument to the Circassian people in a scruffy park next to a mosque that was built in the 1990s. But the monument is still unfinished, its designer pointed out. It lacks a dozen bronze stars as well as lights to illuminate it at night.
Meanwhile, in the Olympic Park in Sochi, authorities had authorized the establishment of an Adyghe cultural exhibit.
But Adam Bogus, leader of a Circassian council in Maykop, says Russian Olympic organizers refused a number of specific requests, including the movement of the remains of those lost in the battle at Krasnaya Polyana to a separate cemetery and the creation of a special museum to house precious artifacts that would be recovered during that resettlement.
Bogus says those requests were denied, and instead of preserving the graves, construction crews desecrated many of them during the creation of the Olympic ski venue there.
Bogus says they also asked for a portion of the cultural program in the Olympic opening ceremony to acknowledge the Circassian chapter of Russian history. And he was hopeful they would honor that request. “We believed the Olympic tradition would be observed here … until the very last minute,” he says. “And that too did not happen.”
But even with the heartache Bogus says the Circassian people feel now as a result of these Olympic Games, he goes on to say that “Circassians are no enemies of Russia. Ever since Ivan the Terrible, Circassians have helped with the development of Russia.”
“We consider ourselves citizens of Russia, but we would like adequate respect for our culture,” he adds.
It is a sentiment shared by Guchepshoko. “I don’t hate Russia,” he says. “My wife is Russian. It’s complicated. I do not want this war to be repeated. I do want us to have our land, but I understand that is impossible. I don’t want blood. I don’t want wars. And that is why it is so complicated.”
“I want to show people what really happened. It’s a big tragedy for us, for our people. We lost land, we lost a thousand million people. That’s why we can’t forget.”
Another casualty of the Syrian Civil War has been honest and accurate reporting. Much of what is relayed from the civil war torn nation is overt propaganda and evidently biased depending on which side the reporter or news agency is supporting.
Recently, a picture has been making the rounds on the interwebs showing a woman being stoned to death by angry, Muslim men for the ostensible reason of having a Facebook account.
When one searches “Syrian girl stoned to death for using Facebook account” you get 294,000 results. iCNN, The Daily Mail, Breitbart, Tundra Tabloids, Examiner, India Today, Global Times, Israel Hayom, Daily Bashkar, FrontPageRag and numerous other news sites and blogs reported the story.
One immediately notices something wrong with the picture, it looks to be a still from a movie and indeed it is: The Stoning of Soraya M.
The story first originated ironically in Iran’s, Fars News Agency, which is pro-Bashar Al-Assad and cites the Arabic website Al-Rai Al-Youm as its source. It is ironic because the still that was used to claim that Syrian rebels were stoning a woman for having a Facebook account was originally about a supposed “true-story” recounting of the stoning of “Soraya M.” in an Iranian village in the 80s.
Iran’s government castigated the movie as false and Orientalist but apparently years later their news agency has no quibbles in pushing their own Orientalist style fear-mongering that eventually played into essentialized characterizations of Islam and Muslims.
Surprisingly The Blaze, not usually known for its accurate reporting about Muslims and Islam actually published a decent write up on the story, noting its origins and the way the unconfirmed reports spread like wild-fire across the internet. (h/t: Shuaib)
So, last week I got my replacement for my iPad, which I was dissatisfied with because of the completely inadequate Apple keypad (see earlier entry). I looked for a similar size Android tablet, because I did quite like the increased size of the iPad and my Nexus 7 was a bit long in the tooth. It seemed like the only Android tablet of similar size and with a decent screen resolution was the LG G-Pad 8.3, also known as the v500, which normally retails for around £250. However, I managed to get a last-minute discount as Amazon reduced its price to £200 just as mine was about to dispatch (if they’d dispatched a couple of hours earlier, they would have been £50 up) and they are still selling it for that price (make sure you get Amazon’s own deal, not the higher-priced one from LambdaTek). A major factor in my decision was that a version of CyanogenMod is available for this tablet, whose own OS is still two minor versions of Android behind (4.2 rather than 4.4). However, installing it on this tablet is much more involved than installing one on a Nexus, and somewhat riskier.
It has to be said that there is an awful lot of half-baked advice out there on modding this device, and much of it is incomplete and it relies on files that are often located on servers which also distribute junk software. Clicking the wrong link marked “download” means you will get some junk installed on your PC — I’m not sure if it’s malware as such but certainly it’s not the software I wanted (including a “malware checker” and a “file extractor”). Beware of unsolicited malware checkers; what they do is tell you you’ve got malware so you can pay them more to get rid of it.
There are three major differences to modding a Nexus phone. One of them is that you need Windows. The zip-files that root your tablet and install the recovery module (ClockworkMod Recovery) on your tablet only work on Windows, and the LG recovery software that you will need to use if you brick your tablet (which I did at first attempt) only works on Windows. The tablet does not have Fastroot, unlike the Nexus devices; it has LG’s “download mode” which only LG’s proprietary update app (which only runs on Windows) can communicate with.
The second, which they don’t tell you in the various how-tos that are out there, is that you need an SD card in the slot (a MicroSD card, not a full-size one that you will find on cameras). For some reason, neither the root script nor the ClockworkMod installer work if there’s no SD card.
The third is that you can’t sideload. I used sideload to install CyanogenMod and the Google Apps on my three Nexus devices; however, your computer will not be able to communicate with the phone when it is in recovery. The two zipfiles have to be on your tablet before starting recovery.
The question should be asked why you want to install CyanogenMod rather than use the supplied version of Android. In my case, it was because the supplied version is simply out of date, and also because I am used to the look and feel of that (and of stock Android, which are more or less identical — CyanogenMod offers more customisation). I also found that the interface was a bit buggy; when I double-tapped on the screen to enlarge the text when viewing websites in Chrome, for example, I sometimes found that it kept enlarging and then shrinking them again, and then would not enlarge again. This may be because double-tap is used to turn the device on and off, although in Chrome it did not do this. The website is not one that is particularly script-heavy. The supplied OS did not work with my stylus particularly well, nor with Swype, which would often not appear when I needed a keypad. LG’s keypad is better than Apple’s, but it’s nowhere near as good as Swype or SwiftKey (I could, however, use SwiftKey). I tweeted Swype to tell them of the problem.
First, you need the right tablet. If you’ve got the Google Play Edition (which is only available in the USA), this doesn’t apply — it’s only to the retail edition. GPE is model v510 and CyanogenMod is so far not available for it; this is only for model v500.
So, to start you need two scripts, a root script and a recovery install script. When the scripts have downloaded, extract them (you can do this by opening your Downloads directory in the Windows Explorer, right-clicking and selecting “Extract All”). You can find those files here (to save you going to those malware-ridden file-sharing sites). You need to install that SD card (the slot is at the top of the tablet, next to the headphone jack).
They need to be in the /sdcard directory, which is not the root directory of your SD card but is a directory on the tablet’s own storage — use the File Manager or Terminal Emulator to relocate them. You can either use the tablet itself to download them, or upload them from your PC using Windows Explorer.
Your tablet needs to be well-charged — 30% will do (if there’s not much charge left, ClockworkMod will just not work, and will show an android logo lying on its back with a red warning triangle).
You also need to enable the developer options. To do that, open Settings and find “About tablet” at the bottom, and then select “Software information”. Click where it says “build number” several times; you will get a message on the screen saying “you are now x number of steps away from being a developer” and eventually “you are now a developer”.
Then, go back to the main settings and find “Developer options” near the bottom. There should be an option “Enable USB debugging”; turn it on (and if it is greyed out, go to the top of the list, turn off “developer options” and then back on again; USB debugging will then be enabled and you can turn it on). Use the USB lead that came with your tablet to connect it to your Windows PC.
In your download directory, you should find two subdirectories called “root_gpad” and one beginning with “lg_g”; go into “root_gpad” and run the file called “root.bat”. (On the command line, just type “root”; you can double-click the file marked “root” if you’re using Windows Explorer.) Then follow the instructions on the screen; you will have to unplug and re-plug your tablet during the process. This will enable root on your device (which means allow you to act as a super-user, similar to an administrator on Windows) and upload programs that let you do this. Please note: some websites say that you can use a program called Framaroot to root your tablet. You can’t. I tried the latest version yesterday and it didn’t work; its developers state that it doesn’t support the G-Pad yet.
Then it’s time to install the ClockworkMod recovery utility; this is what will enable you to install CyanogenMod and the Google Apps. Using either the Windows command prompt, enter the directory (within your Downloads directory) that begins “lg_g…”. Now, you need to be able to see the batch file (name starts 1-click) because it opens up a shell program and doesn’t feed it the commands, so if you’re in Windows Explorer, right-click on the 1-click file and open it in Notepad (you can also open another command prompt and go to the same directory, and type “type 1-click…” — you can use the Tab key to complete the command). Run the script, and you will eventually see a prompt similar to “android:/ #”. This is where the authors of the script got it wrong and you have to feed the commands that appear below “adb shell” yourself. When you have done that, exit the shell by typing “exit” and it should return you to the Windows command prompt. Then type “adb reboot recovery” and it should then reboot and show you a menu: this is the ClockworkMod Recovery utility.
Using ClockworkMod Recovery
When in Clockwork, you use the volume switches to move up and down the menu and the Power button to select. You need to wipe the existing operating system before installing the new one; to do this, select where it says “Install zip”, then “Install from sdcard”; if you don’t find the two files containing CM itself and Google Apps, look in the subdirectory named 0. If it’s not there, then you need to reboot and make sure the files are there. If you proceed without making sure you have the two files, you may ‘brick’ the tablet (i.e. render it inoperable) and have to reinstall the old OS, which takes about half an hour.
Once you’ve found the two files, select “Go back” until you get to the main menu again. You need to perform the following operations:
- Do a “factory reset” from the main menu
- Wipe (format) the /system and /data partitions (DO NOT format /sdcard - that’s where the new OS is)
- Wipe the main cache
- Wipe the Dalvik cache (in the Advanced menu)
- Install the “cm” zipfile
- Install the “gapps” zipfile
- Return to the Main Menu and select “reboot”.
You should then see the CyanogenMod boot animation, and eventually it will prompt you to set up a CyanogenMod and a Google account (you can skip the first, as it’s really only of interest to developers at present).
If you brick your tablet
If you screw up your tablet (such as finding it only gets as far as the CyanogenMod boot animation or will only display the LG logo and does nothing else), you will need to re-flash the original operating system and then (if you want) start the whole process again. To do this, you need to make sure the tablet is turned off (I think you do this by holding down the Power and both sides of the volume switch until it turns off, and repeating until it doesn’t just turn back on again), then hold down the Volume Up and Down buttons and then plug the USB lead from your computer into the bottom of your tablet. A little box should appear in the middle of the screen which says “Download mode”. Start up the LG Mobile support program and then select the Recovery option from the menu at top right. It should then download and install the old OS, which takes at least 20 minutes on a decent cable internet connection.
The LG G-Pad is meant to be a mass-market Android tablet, and it is not a Nexus device, i.e. a device meant for running stock Android and made with developers in mind. That it requires Windows to do any hacking on it or to restore the OS shows that it was not made for modding. In addition, the port of CyanogenMod to this device is recent and appears to be unofficial, as there is no forum for this device on their website, and neither are there any instructions on the CM website, as there are for devices they actually support. So, it’s possible to install this and it works very well once installed, but it’s a very risky process. I’d advise it only if you really know what you’re doing and you can’t wait a couple of months to see if Google decide to bring out an 8in Nexus, as is rumoured they will.
In addition to being illegal, investing in Israeli settlements risks Dutch citizens’ pensions.