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9901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 21, 2008, 12:59:48 AM
**All the oil wealth, and where does it go?**

Saudi Charity Begins...Nowhere   
By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 07, 2006


Upon hearing Warren Buffett’s announcement on June 25, 2006, of giving $37 billion to charitable foundations, mostly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Nihad Awad, declared that Muslim organizations “are lagging behind,” only because of intimidation by the West. The Muslims, he said, are in “the cycle of fear,” [of] “being accused of funding suspicious organizations that fall under the scrutiny of anti-terrorism investigations.” One wonders why they are funding “suspicious organizations” in the first place.
Instead of blaming America and the West, as CAIR constantly does, it could initiate the establishment of a new Muslim foundation with a similar mission to that of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This new Muslim foundation could supply immunization, HIV and anti-malarial medication, and medical means to reduce cervical cancer incidence and deaths in poor Muslim countries, feed millions of refugees from Muslim atrocities in Darfur, and generally “bring innovations in health” to Third World Muslim countries. Indeed, Awad himself pointed out that, “We in the Muslim world are lagging behind when we should be pioneers as per our Islamic beliefs.”
 
To be sure, there is no shortage in oil billionaires in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. According to Forbes Magazine 2006 list of the World’s Richest People, Saudi and Gulf billionaires are worth at least $134 billion. Muslim billionaires in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon are worth additional $29.4 billion. This is not taking into account Muslim billionaires and millionaires in Asia and elsewhere. Moreover, the oil boom in the Middle East generated at least 300,000, new wealthy millionaires in the region.
 
According to the Department of Energy, Saudi Arabia is estimated to gain $154 billion in oil revenues in 2006, alone, and has at least $110 billion in foreign assets.
 
Yet, despite all this wealth, Muslim charities do not focus on alleviating the suffering of millions of poor Muslims and provide for their economic development the way the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) does. Instead, Muslim charities, led by the Saudis, continue to pour billions into madrassas to spread Wahhabism and hatred of the West around the globe – and not only in the Muslim world.
 
Testifying before the House International Relations Committee on June 29, 2006, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer stated, “Saudi Arabia has become a leading financier of the Islamic takeover of Somalia.” And in the Middle East, Saudi and Gulf cash, smuggled into Gaza under the watchful eyes of the Egyptians, helped Hamas pay the salaries of at least 130, 000 employees of the Palestinian Authority, according to Middle Eastern sources. And more money is coming. On July 5, The Arab League announced in Cairo the transfer of $50 million to the West Bank and Gaza, and $15 million to pay for o Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to employees and diplomats in Palestinian embassies and Palestinian representative. In addition, the U.S. “good ally,” Saudi Arabia, “also provided $50 million.” This is at the time that President George W. Bush, declared: "In order for there to be peace, Hamas must be dismantled."
 
Two years ago, the Saudi government gave at least $12 billion per year to Muslim charities. In light of their growing oil revenues, it is reasonable to assume that they are contributing more now.
 
According to testimony  given before the Senate Banking Committee by Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey on on April 4, Saudi money “is going to Iraq. And it's going to Southeast Asia and it's going to any other place where there are terrorists.” He added Saudi promises to stop the financing of terrorism “haven't been uniformly implemented.”
 
While the Saudis work hard to fight domestic terrorism, they have yet to turn off the flow of money from wealthy Saudis and their charities that continue to fuel terrorism against the West. Instead, the Kingdom increased its public relations offensive in the U.S., spending tens of millions of dollars on Washington lobbyist, and in contributions to U.S.-based Muslim organizations such as CAIR, who oppose the government’s condemnation of Palestinian terrorism and Hamas.
 
Last month, CAIR announced that it was “launching a massive $50 million media campaign involving television, radio, and newspapers as part of its five-year program to create a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the U.S.” Following their Saudi paymaster’s lead, CAIR now orchestrates a media offensive demanding that President Bush come to Hamas’s rescue and condemn Israel.
Clearly, the idea that the $50 million CAIR spends to promote Hamas’ culture of death can instead help millions of Muslims to live better, just did not cross Awad’s mind.



Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed—and How to Stop It, Director of American Center for Democracy and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. She is the world’s leading expert on Narco-Terrorism and a noteworthy authority on international terrorism, political corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Most recently, she was a consult for the Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Strategy.
9902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 21, 2008, 12:49:37 AM
JDN,

You are avoiding the point. We aren't the only country that gives out money, and many arab nations are far from poor, so why the difference in outcomes?

__________________________________________________________________

ARAB BANK PAYS OUT BLOOD MONEY
Life Insurance for Palestinian Suicide Bombers

By Christoph Schult, Britta Sandberg and Ansgar Mertin
An Arab bank pays a type of life insurance to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. But now it could soon face a lawsuit from American lawyers representing the victims.


REUTERS
Palestinian suicide bomber Bassam Takruri killed seven people when he blew himself up on a Jersualem bus on May 18, 2003. His family then received $200 a month for over a year, after opening an Arab Bank account.

On the morning of the day before he planned to blow himself up, Bassam Takruri wore a freshly ironed shirt, a blazer and polished shoes. At 10 a.m., the student said goodbye to his father, who gave him ten shekels in pocket money. It was a beautiful Saturday in May in the Palestinian town of Hebron.

Everything seemed normal, at least for the rest of the family. The 18-year-old Bassam, a boy with dark, earnest eyes, was ambitious. He wanted to become an engineer. His father called him his best son. But he spent the last night of his life away from this family -- something many suicide bombers do so as not to lose their nerve at the last moment.

On the Sunday morning of the day Bassam picked for his terror attack, Steve Averbach strapped on his pistol in a Jerusalem suburb just as he had been doing for years. Averbach was a police officer. It was early, not even 6 a.m. and his two small sons Sean and Adam and his wife Julie were still sleeping. At a stop in the northern part of Jerusalem, he boarded the No. 6 bus, a green accordion-stretch model. At around 5:45 a.m. it reached the stop at French Hill.

Averbach scrutinized each new passenger. After serving in the anti-terrorist unit of the Jerusalem police department, he was now teaching the police, civilians and private security how to handle a weapon. His colleagues even called him "Weapon Steve."

As the bus began to pull away, a man ran up to the side and the bus driver stopped and opened the door. The man was wearing the black suit and skullcap of an observant Jew. But his beard was too thin. Seeing a bulge underneath the man's jacket, Averbach quickly stood up and headed toward the stranger. But Bassam, disguised as a devout Jew, was quicker than Averbach and he ignited his belt of explosives.

Bassam died and Averbach survived seriously injured for life.

A few weeks after the suicide bombing, the phone at the home of Bassam Takruri's parents rang. On the other end of the line was a representative of Muassafat Usar al Shuhada, or "The Organization of Martyr Families." He told Bassam's mother that the family had received money, but that they would have to open an account at the Arab Bank in order to withdraw the first deposit. The Takruris were puzzled, but they did what the man said. Shortly thereafter money was transferred to the new account. From then on, Bassam's family received $200 (€152) each month for more than a year.

The Arab Bank is one of the largest and most important financial institutions in the Arab world. The Jordan-based private bank, of which 40 percent is still held by the founding Schuman family, is active in 28 countries. The Jordanian monarchy even awarded Abd al Hamid Schuman a medal for his achievements and services to the country.

But the bank has long been suspected of directing money used to finance terrorism in the Palestinian Territories. And accounts at its Palestinian branches are also supposedly used to pay a type of life insurance to the families of youthful suicide bombers, who blow themselves up with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible. The blood money paid for a son turned murderer is 20,000 Saudi riyal -- roughly €4,000 or $5,000. The funds take a circuitous route to the accounts of those families that prove the death of their son by showing a death certificate at the Arab Bank branch in the Palestinian Territories. Then monthly deposits are made just like in Takruri's case.

Suicide bombers with foresight can take care of all the necessary paperwork before they blow themselves to smithereens. A so-called Martyr Kit includes everything from a death certificate from the Palestinian Authority to an account card at the Arab Bank.

The attack carried out by the student Bassam Takruri on May 18, 2003 was one of the worst at the time. He had several kilograms of explosives strapped around his waist and the power or the blast was so strong that the bus was catapulted from the street. Seven people died and 20 were injured.

As the police found Steve Averbach's body inside the bus, his finger was still on the trigger of his pistol. He told them they should be careful since the weapon's safety was off. Then he lost consciousness. He spent five weeks in intensive care. Shards of glass had punctured his lungs and a ball bearing had penetrated his neck to become lodged between his third and fourth vertebrae. Since that day, Averbach has been paralyzed from the neck down.

A year after the attack he got himself an attorney, an American named Gary Osen from New Jersey. He now wants to sue the Arab Bank on the basis of a 1996 anti-terrorism law making it illegal to support terrorists financially. The 37-year-old Osen has a neat haircut, a sonorous voice, a sober demeanor -- and plenty of experience in damage compensation cases. In Germany, he represented the heirs of the Wertheim family against major retailer KarstadtQuelle. "In our suit we accuse the Arab Bank of supporting the funding of extremist Palestinian groups," says Osen. "Our goal is to make it much more difficult for them to access the money."

His law office represents 200 US clients who lost relatives in Israel in terrorist attacks. The law firm of US star attorney Ron Motley, who led a class-action lawsuit for the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, is representing another 700 people seeking compensation. The lawyers are optimistic they can at least reduce the flow of money coming predominately from Saudi Arabia via Arab Bank accounts into the Palestinian Territories.

According to the lawsuit complaint, the blood money was often collected in Saudi Arabia and then sent via the Arab Bank's New York branch in US dollars to either the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. Much financial support is thought to come from the Saudi Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada, a charity headed by Saudi Interior Minster Prince Nayef. "This committee," says Osen, "is nothing more than a fundraising organization to support the Palestinian resistance." But a spokesman for the group in the Saudi capital Riyadh denies supporting the families of suicide bombers, claiming the committee only works with official Palestinian organizations and ministries.

But an ad published in the Palestinian daily newspaper Al Quds in November 2001 supports the theory of the US attorneys. The committee placed an advertisement listing the names of injured and imprisoned Palestinians, as well as the names of a few suicide bombers. Their families were instructed to go to a local branch of the Arab Bank in order to receive donations from the committee.

In February 2002, a similar ad was placed in another publication, Al Hayat Al Jadeeda, again asking families of "martyrs" to go to the Arab Bank in order "to receive the tenth payment, totaling $5,316 for each family, donated by the Saudi committee." The generous donors ended up giving $1,594,980 to some 300 families in the occupied territories via the Arab Bank.

Representatives of the financial institution deny that the bank knowingly takes part in such transactions. "Our bank has nothing to do with terror financing," says Bob Chlopak, the Arab Bank's spokesman in the United States. "But a bank isn't a law-enforcement agency. It can't google every single one of its clients before they make a transfer. And no bank is perfect."

Apparently not the Arab Bank either, which had its New York branch on Madison Avenue essentially shut down by the US banking authorities for not having sufficient internal controls on money transfers. In 2005, a unit of the US Treasury Department also slapped a $24 million fine on the bank, which can no longer carry out dollar-denominated transactions and international transfers.

The Israeli army also found documents during searches in the West Bank years ago that allegedly substantiate charges that the Arab Bank has been used by Saudi organizations to finance terrorism. Funds supposedly were transferred to both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Confiscated Arab Bank documents from 2003 intimate that fund transfers via the New York branch ended up with the Tulkarm Charitable Society, which has ties to Hamas.

The 40-year-old bombing survivor Steve Averbach now lives in Ganei Tikva, "the garden of hope," in a quiet street in a quiet suburb of Tel Aviv. In front of his house is a silver van with a blue wheelchair sticker on the back window. Averbach now needs care 24 hours a day. He can't talk on the telephone without help, nor can he feed himself. He can speak, nod his head, laugh and cry. When he cries his caregiver has to wipe away his tears. Every day he has to swallow 40 different pills and his body slumps in his wheelchair.

"I'm not the victim of terrorism," says Averbach looking at his wife Julie. "The victims are my wife and my children." Julie quit her job as an accountant and the Averbachs are living on his meager police pension. If his lawsuit against the Arab Bank is successful he could end up getting a few million dollars in three or four years.

The father of the bomber lives in the Ras al Jura part of Hebron. Jamal Takruri sits on his yellow sofa, a small man with a friendly face. Behind him on the wall hangs a photograph of his son Bassam. The likeness is unmistakable -- the big eyes, the high forehead, the bushy eyebrows. Since their son blew himself up, the family has been living in a small apartment. Israeli bulldozers flattened their house a few weeks after the attack. The apartment that is now their home belongs to the Organization of Martyr Families -- the very group that suddenly offered them the generous financial payments.

Bassam's father has never questioned whether he should accept the funds sent to his Arab Bank account. "We needed the money," he says lighting up a smoke. "We suddenly no longer had a house."

Correction notice: The headline text of this story has been changed to reflect the original German version. In English, it read: "An important Arab bank in the Arab world offers accounts paying a type of life insurance to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers." However, in the original German version of the article it read: An Arab bank pays a type of life insurance to the families of suicide bombers." The text has been corrected to reflect this inconsistency.


URL:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,465438,00.html
9903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: September 20, 2008, 11:00:14 PM
OUR SISTER SARAH PALIN'S ANTI-ELITIST CHARM


Palin: Yes, she's 100 percent Ivy-free.


Posted: 3:26 am
September 20, 2008

I KNOW Sarah Palin, and so does my wife.

Neither of us ever actually met the governor of Alaska, but we grew up with her - in the small-town America despised by the leftwing elite.

One gal-pal classmate of my wife's has even traveled from New York's Finger Lakes to Alaska to hunt moose with her husband. (Got one, too.) And no, Ms. Streisand, she isn't a redneck missing half her teeth - she's a lawyer.

The sneering elites and their mediacrat fellow travelers just don't get it: How on earth could anyone vote for someone who didn't attend an Ivy League school? And having more than 1.7 children marks any woman as a rube. (If Palin had any taste, her teenage daughter would've had a quiet abortion in a discreet facility.)

And what kind of retro-Barbie would stay happily married to her high-school sweetheart? Ugh. She even kills animals and eats them. (The meat and fish served in the upscale bistros patronized by Obama supporters appears by magic - it didn't really come from living things. . .)

Palin has that hick accent, too. And that busy-mom beehive 'do. Double ugh! Bet she hasn't even read Ian McEwan's latest novel and can't explain Frank Gehry's vision for a new architecture. She and her blue-collar (triple ugh!) husband don't even own a McMansion, let alone an inherited family compound on the Cape.

And she wants to be vice president?

The opinion-maker elites see Sarah Palin clearly every time they look up from another sneering article in The New Yorker: She's a country-bumpkin chumpette from a hick state with low latte availability. She's not one of them and never will be. That's the real disqualifier in this race.

Now let me tell you what those postmodern bigots with their multiple vacation homes and their disappointing trust-fund kids don't see:

Sarah Palin's one of us. She actually represents the American people.

When The New York Times, CNN, the NBC basket of basket cases and all the barking blog dogs insult Palin, they're insulting us. When they smear her, they're smearing every American who actually works for a living, who doesn't expect a handout, who doesn't have a full-time accountant to parse the family taxes, who believes in the Pledge of Allegiance and who thinks a church is more than just a tedious stop on daughter Emily's 100K wedding day.

Go ahead, faux feminists and Hollywood deep thinkers: Snicker at Sarah America's degree from the University of Idaho, but remember that most Americans didn't attend Harvard or Princeton as a legacy after daddy donated enough to buy his kid's way in.

Go ahead, campaign strategists: Mock Americans who go to church and actually pray. But you might want to run the Census numbers first.

And go right ahead: Dismiss all of us who remember how, on the first day of deer season, our high school classrooms were half empty (not a problem at Andover or Exeter).

That rube accent of Palin's? It's a howler. But she sounds a lot more like the rest of us than a Harvard man or a Smithie ever will.

Why does Sarah Palin energize all of us who don't belong to the gilded leftwing circle? Because she's us. We sat beside her in class. We hung out after school (might've even shared a backseat combat zone on prom night). And now she lives next door, raising her kids.

For the first time since Ronald Reagan, our last great president, we, the people, see a chance that one of us might have a voice in governing our country.

Speaking of Reagan (Eureka College, Illinois), every chief executive we've had since the Gipper snapped his final salute as president has had the imprimatur of an Ivy League university. And we've gone from bad to worse:

* George Herbert Walker Bush: Yale.

* William Jefferson Clinton: Georgetown, Oxford, Yale Law.

* George W. Bush: Yale and Harvard Business School.

The first lacked the sense to finish the job in Desert Storm; the second lacked the guts to go after al Qaeda when it was just a startup - and the third, well, let's just say he disappointed our low expectations.

Now we have the Ivy League elite's "he's not only like us but he's a minority and we're so wonderful to support him" candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (Columbia and Harvard Law).

Our country can't afford another one of these clowns. Harvard isn't the answer - Harvard's the problem.

So here's the message Palin is sending on behalf of the rest of us (the down-market masses Dems love at election time and ignore once the voting's done): The rule of the snobs is over. It's time to give one of us a chance to lead.

Sen. John McCain's one of us, too. He raised hell at Annapolis (quadruple ugh: military!), and he'll raise the right kind of hell in Washington.

McCain's so dumb he really loves his country.

Sarah Palin's dumb that way, too. How terribly unfashionable.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."
9904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 20, 2008, 08:47:24 PM
September 19, 2008, 7:00 a.m.

Obama 101
My firsthand lesson.

By Amir Taheri

On Monday, in an opinion piece published in the New York Post, I suggested that Senator Barack Obama had urged Iraqi leaders to postpone making an agreement with the United States until there was a new administration in Washington.

I said this because Obama himself had said it.

In an interview broadcast by NBC on June 16, 2008, Obama said that he had told Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari that “the Congress should be involved in any negotiations regarding the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq” and “suggested it may be better to wait until the next administration to negotiate such an agreement.”

I said it because Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said it.

In an interview published by the pan-Arab daily Asharq Alawast on September 11, 2008, Zebari raised the issue at length. This is part of what he said: “Obama asked me why, in view of a change of administration, we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of a new administration next year to agree on some issues and matters.”

I said it because my Iraqi sources, who asked not to be identified because they do not wish to pick a quarrel with someone who could be the President of the United States next year, said it.

A day after my op-ed was published, Obama’s campaign issued a statement, in effect confirming what I had said.

It said, in part, “Senator Obama has consistently said that any security arrangements that outlast this administration should have the backing of the US Congress — especially given the fact that the Iraqi parliament will have the opportunity to vote on it.”

On Wednesday, the senator issued another statement — also in response to my op-ed — denying that he had ever opposed “a redeployment and responsible drawdown” of U.S. forces in Iraq. But I never said he did. I also never said that he opposed motherhood and apple pie; In any case, no one would oppose “redeployment and responsible drawdown,” something that is happening all the time. Redeployment means moving some units from one location to another. Drawdown means reducing the size of the expeditionary force in accordance with the task at hand. Right now troops are being redeployed from Anbar province to Salahuddin. There is also drawdown: The number of U.S. troops has been drawn down to 136,000, the lowest since a peak of 170,000 in 2003.

What Obama hopes his more radical followers will not notice is that he is no longer speaking of “withdrawal.”

He also hopes to hide the fact that by telling the Iraqi leaders that a putative Obama administration might scrap agreements reached with the Bush team, he might have delayed the start of a process that should lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces within a mutually agreed timeframe. The later you start the negotiating process, the later you get an agreement. And the later you have an agreement, the later you can withdraw your troops based on the agreed necessary security arrangements to ensure their safe departure.

By trying to second-guess the present administration in its negotiations with Iraq, Obama ignored a golden rule of American politics. I first learned about that rule from Senator Edward Kennedy more than 30 years ago. During a visit to Tehran, Kennedy received a few Iranian reporters for a poolside chat. The big question at the time was negotiations between Washington and Tehran about massive arms contracts. When we asked Kennedy what he thought of those negotiations, his answer was simple: He would not comment on negotiations between his government and a foreign power, especially when abroad. That, he said, was one of the golden rules of American politics.

A few years later, I spent a day with Ronald Reagan during his visit to Iran. I asked what he thought of the strategic arms limitation talks between the U.S. and the USSR. He echoed Kennedy’s golden rule: He would not comment on his government’s negotiations with a foreign power, especially when abroad.

A couple of years ago, I ran into that golden rule again. At a meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington, I asked what she thought of the Bush administration’s negotiations with the Iraqis concerning security cooperation. She said she would not second-guess the president and would wait for the outcome of the negotiations. In a statesmanlike manner, Senator Clinton reminded me of the golden rule—one that is common to all mature democracies where the opposition is loyal and constitutional.

Today, Senator Obama is the leader of a loyal opposition in the United States, not the chief of an insurrection or a revolutionary uprising. What we are witnessing in the U.S. is an election, not an insurrection or a coronation, even less a regime change.

Obama should not have discussed the government-to-government negotiations with the Iraqis. That he did, surprised the Iraqis no end. Raising the issue with them, especially the way he did, meant that he was telling them that he did not trust his own government. The Iraqis could not be blamed for wondering why they should trust a government that is not trusted by the leader of its own loyal opposition. (There was also no point in raising the matter, because Obama did not know the content of the negotiations.)

An opposition leader’s foreign trips are useful as fact-finding missions. This means that the opposition leader listens to the locals, asks questions, and tries to get the political feel of the place. He is not there to lecture the natives or bad-mouth his own government back home.

Obama might have attended a session of the new Iraqi parliament and congratulated the people of Iraq for defying death to go through one referendum and two general elections to build a new democracy.

He might have visited some of the good work done by over 1.2 million Americans, both military and civilian, who have heroically served in Iraq since its liberation.



He might have visited some of the wounded victims of terrorism, both U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians, to comfort them, and assure them of continued U.S. determination to fight the forces of evil.

He did none of those things during his eight-hour photo-op visit.

In the American system, the administration can conclude agreements with foreign powers on a range of issues backed by an executive order from the president. I am no expert, but the U.S. has signed scores, maybe hundreds of such agreements with many countries across the globe. To be sure, the U.S. legislature always has the power to seek the abrogation of any of these agreements. When it comes to treaties, however, they cannot come into effect without full Senate approval.

However, Iraq and the U.S. are not negotiating a treaty, and, if they were, Obama could have waited until the draft text was submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by his vice-presidential running mate Joseph Biden.

In any case, every agreement and every treaty contains mechanisms for its suspension or abrogation. Therefore, even supposing Bush was negotiating an absolutely terrible agreement with the Iraqis in which he would be selling the family silver, Obama should have waited until he saw the text, and then demanded the cancellation of the accord through the constitutional channels.

One key feature of all mature powers, at least since the Congress of Vienna, is the reliability of their international commitments. Even putschists who seize power in a military coup make sure that their first pronunciamento includes this key sentence: We shall honor all of our country’s international obligations and commitments. Even regime change does not absolve states from their international obligations. The new Iraqi government, for example, has not rejected the estimated $100 billion in foreign debt left by Saddam Hussein.

Instances of a state reneging on all its obligations as a result of change are rare in history. One instance came in 1918 when Trotsky, appointed Commissar for Foreign Affairs by Lenin, announced that he had abrogated all of Tsarist Russia’s treaties with foreign nations and ordered the texts burned to heat the rooms of an empty foreign ministry.

What Obama was attempting, however, was more original. It amounted to preemptive diplomacy used against one’s own government: opposing an agreement not yet negotiated and of the content of which he knew nothing. A neophyte in matters of politics and diplomacy, the young senator is certainly not wanting for originality.

Since I do not wish to become involved in an Alphonse-and-Gaston number with Obama, I suggest that we focus our attention on the fact that the nominee is left without anything resembling a policy on Iraq. So, rather than coming out with another denial of something I never said that he had done, the esteemed senator should ponder these questions:

Does he still believe that toppling Saddam Hussein was illegal and “the biggest strategic blunder in U.S. history”? If yes, we might wonder why he is prepared to deal with the new Iraqi leaders who, by definition, have usurped Hussein’s power in Baghdad with American support.

Does he still want to withdraw from Iraq or does he want to stay, doing a bit of “drawdown” and “redeployment” every now and then? And, if he wants to stay, on what basis, for what purpose, and for how long?

Is Senator Biden’s plan to carve Iraq into three separate states still a live option or has it been thrown into the dustbin where it should have been from the start?

Would Obama now support the conclusion of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and a Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) through negotiations between the Bush administration and the Iraqi administration of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, also a “lame duck,” as it faces elections early next year?

— Amir Taheri’s new book, The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution, is due for publication in November.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWI3MDQyNGIwOTczMTU2YmI1NjE5OWMxMGJkYTQzZTg=
9905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 20, 2008, 06:41:28 PM
We give lots of money to those entities surrounding Israel too. So where is all of the accomplishments from the neighboring arab nations? Why the difference in outcomes?
9906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 20, 2008, 06:38:06 PM
http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3362402,00.html   

Israel still top recipient of US foreign aid

President Bush's administration to submit proposed budget for US foreign aid in 2008 to Congress; requests over 12 percent increase in foreign aid from 2007; Lebanon to receive some USD 52 million, Israel to get USD 2.4 billion
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush's administration will submit its proposed budget for US foreign aid in 2008 to Congress on Wednesday, requesting USD 20.27 billion - a more than 12 percent increase in foreign aid from 2007.
 
However America's foreign aid budget composes only a small portion of its overall budget of USD 2.9 trillion.
 
Israel, long since the US' top recipient of foreign aid, will receive USD 2.4 billion. Since 1979 and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israel has annually received up to USD 3 billion in aid.
 
As part of with an initiative by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the civilian aid has been steadily decreased over the course of the past 10 years, going from USD 1.2 million to being completely cancelled this year. At the same time military aid to Israel has increased from USD 1.8 billion to USD 2.4 billion.
 
Egypt received the second largest aid package from the US and will receive USD 1.3 billion in military aid as well as USD 415 million in civilian aid. Jordan will receive USD 264 million in economic aid as well as USD 200 million in military aid.
 
Aid to the Palestinian Authority has been frozen following Hamas' victory in the recent PA elections. Despite this President Bush has asked Congress to authorize the transfer of USD 63.6 million in aid to the Palestinians, to be appropriated by the United States Agency for International Development.
 
Lebanon is expected to receive some USD 52 million in aid in 2008, this in addition to the special aid the administration already sought for Lebanon in 2007 – totaling at USD 580 million.
9907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 20, 2008, 03:07:37 AM
http://www.israpundit.com/2008/?p=1740

Does Obama Have Cocaine-Related Mental Impairment?
Cocaine is a risk factor for permanent mental impairment, and disqualification for access to nuclear weapons

The Obama campaign, as shown by material on my.barackobama.com over which the campaign’s staff exercises editorial control, sanctions the spread of rumors to the effect that John McCain has an age-related neurodegenerative disease. The Obama campaign is apparently unfamiliar with the adage about glass houses and stones. Let’s begin with the facts, as stated by Barack Obama himself.

I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though… (Barack Obama, “Dreams From My Father,” page 93, paperback edition. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/streetterms/ByAlpha.asp?strTerm=B, “Blow” = “Cocaine; to inhale cocaine; to smoke marijuana; to inject heroin”)

While the Obama campaign sanctions supporters’ use of McCain’s age (younger than Dianne Feinstein, Robert Byrd, and Ted Kennedy by the way) to suggest that he might have a neurodegenerative disease, Obama’s admitted use of cocaine puts him at higher risk for mental impairment. It also disqualifies him from access to or control of nuclear weapons under the Armed Forces’ Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1739

Cocaine is one of the most potent, addictive, and unpredictable recreational drugs, and thus can cause the most profound and irreversible damage to the nervous system. The high risk associated with cocaine remains the same regardless of whether the drug is snorted, smoked, or injected into the user’s bloodstream. In addition to the intense damage cocaine can cause to the liver, intestines, heart, and lungs, even casual use of the drug will impair the brain and cause serious damage to the central nervous system. Although cocaine use affects many components of the body, including vision and appetite, the most significant damage cause by cocaine takes place in the brain and central nervous system.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3503931.stm adds,

Taking cocaine could cause irreversible brain damage, scientists from Edinburgh University have warned.

Tests on genetically modified mice showed that cocaine inhibited the brain by destroying a key protein responsible for learning and memory.

Abusing the highly addictive drug can lead to long-term memory loss and learning difficulties, say experts.

The fact that cocaine use increases the risk for permanent mental impairment does not make such impairment automatic, just as age does not make neurodegenerative diseases automatic. On the other hand, if the Obama campaign wishes to tacitly albeit not actively suggest that the country should not take a chance on McCain because of his age, we are quite prepared to argue that the country should not take a chance on a former cokehead–and the Armed Forces’ Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program agrees. While pre-service marijuana use does not automatically disqualify a service member from access to or control of nuclear weapons, pre-service cocaine use does.

(2) Drug Abuse

(a) See definition 15. in enclosure 2. It is not the intent of this
Directive to automatically render ineligible for the PRP any individual
who, before the effective date of this Directive, has disclosed
pre-Service drug abuse, or who has not yet been asked to make such
disclosure, and who is currently certified for PRP duties after having been
formally screened in accordance with then-existing guidance. Further
recertification of such individuals for future PRP status shall be in
accordance with this Directive, except that previously disclosed and
considered drug abuse and pre-Service drug use not required previously
to be disclosed, shall not be sole grounds for denial of
recertification or for mandatory decertification.

(b) Except for the category of individuals identified in
subparagraph B.2.a.(2)(a), above, or otherwise provided in this
Directive, any pre-Service use, admitted or otherwise discovered, of illicit drugs such as heroin, heroin derivatives, cocaine, “crack,” phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ecstasy,” or other “designer” drugs, amphetamines, barbiturates, or other narcotic drugs not prescribed by proper medical authorities, and anabolic steroids shall
render an individual ineligible for admission to or retention in PRP
duties. The individual shall not be certified into the program or shall be permanently decertified, and those actions shall be made a matter of
permanent record.

The reference adds that prior marijuana use (to which Bill Clinton as well as Barack Obama admitted) is not an automatic disqualifier. The bottom line is, however, that prior history of cocaine use disqualifies a member of the Armed Forces from touching a nuclear launch key, or indeed any access to weapons of mass destruction. The idea of giving someone with that kind of history the authority to order the use of such weapons, or even access to the codes for launching such weapons, should therefore appall all Americans. This document from the Secretary of the Navy adds,

b. Drug Abuse. Drug abuse is a violation of the law. It
demonstrates a behavior pattern or action which is reasonably
indicative of a contemptuous attitude toward the law or other
duly-constituted authority. Any conduct which falls within the
definition of drug abuse may be grounds for disqualification or
decertification.

(1) Any personnel determined to have pre-service or inservice abuse
of any drug will be disqualified prior to initial assignment to a PRP
billet or, if currently assigned, will be permanently decertified except:

(a) pre-service or in-service cannabis use which was acceptably
screened under previous PRP guidance will not be the sole basis for
disqualification or decertification,

Again, PRP refers to the (Nuclear Weapon) Personnel Reliability Program, and pre-service marijuana use is not an automatic disqualifier. Any history of cocaine use, however, does permanently disqualify an individual from access to or control of nuclear weapons, because the Armed Forces cannot afford to take the slightest chance on a person with impaired judgment having access to weapons that can kill millions of people.
9908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 20, 2008, 03:04:14 AM
**Sounds like Mr. Cafferty was confused.**

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/...0,675980.story

By Karen Freifeld
Staff Writer

August 5, 2003, 3:37 PM EDT


Like most journalists, CNN morning anchor Jack Cafferty would prefer to cover news than make it. Especially when it's bad news.

But Tuesday, a stunned Cafferty was greeted by photographers as he went into a midtown Manhattan court to plead guilty in connection with a hit and run accident.

According to the criminal complaint, Cafferty was driving a Cadillac with a New Jersey Press license plate on Ninth Avenue near 42nd Street May 14th when he allegedly made an abrupt turn and hit bicyclist Billy Maldonado.

About five people tried to stop Cafferty by running after the car, waving their arms and yelling, "Hey Stop," according to the complaint, but the newsman allegedly continued through at least two red lights, while dragging the bicycle underneath the vehicle.

Maldonado, who was knocked to the ground, suffered bruises.

Cafferty was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, assault and harassment.

But Tuesday he was allowed to plead guilty to only a traffic violation: Operating a motor vehicle knowing or having cause to know property damage had been caused. He was sentenced to 70 hours of community service, with six months to complete it, and a $250 fine. He also apparently made restitution.

Cafferty had no comment yesterday but the criminal complaint said Cafferty told police he saw the bicyclist get off the ground but didn't realize he had hit him. "I am unaware I was in an accident," he said.

Cafferty's attorney Seth Rosenberg insisted his client had acted responsibly ."This was never anything more than a traffic violation," he said.

Attorney Suzanne Holzberg, who represents Maldonado, expressed disappointment. "He did not plead guilty to the more serious charge of leaving the scene knowing he caused personal injury," she said. "I think he got off pretty easy."

Maldonado, she said, wasn't as lucky. Bruised up from the fall, she said, he still needs an operation on his right elbow.
9909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 20, 2008, 02:40:37 AM
I saw Obama looking extra-nervous recently, is he back on coke? Did he ever quit?
9910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2008, 04:17:18 PM
Ok, so aside from new and exciting forms of terrorism, let's see this list of "palestinian" contributions to humanity.

The floor is yours, JDN.


9911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2008, 04:13:08 PM
http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/article/107

DESPITE REJECTION AND ISOLATION, ISRAEL KEEPS GIVING

by Richard Baehr
inFocus
Spring 2008

In 60 short years as a modern state, Israel has become a nation of remarkable achievements. Over 2.9 million Jews have moved to Israel since 1948 from Africa, Arab nations, Europe, India, Latin America, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, not to mention 1.1 million persons from the former Soviet Union. Over the years, the Israeli population has grown from an estimated 750,000 to over 7 million. This includes a Christian and Muslim Arab population that comprises nearly 20 percent of the current population. Thanks to basic laws that defend democratic principles, all of these peoples and religions are provided the opportunity to join the Israeli "melting pot," similar to that of the United States.

The unlikely story of Israel does not end there. Israeli entrepreneurship and research have improved the lives of people in a variety of areas: medicine, agriculture and irrigation, communications, computer technology, security, aviation safety, alternative energy development, business services, and disaster relief and rescue, to name just a few. This has been accomplished by a nation with barely 0.1percent of the world's population, which has been forced, due to the unremitting enmity of its neighbors, to devote an astronomical 10 percent of its GDP to defense.

Despite these amazing achievements, no country in the world is more roundly rejected by the community of nations.

Location, Location, Location

It is Israel's misfortune to be the only non-Muslim state located in the center of the Arab world. Reborn in war in 1948, Israel has never since been free from the threat of war or terror directed against its population from surrounding state and non-state actors.

Despite repeated attempts (some successful) to make peace with its neighbors, Israel is treated as a pariah state. While most of the criticism is focused on the measures that Israel takes to prevent its citizens from being harmed by terrorism, the scorn can be traced back to the very founding of the state. Indeed, the anger at Israel persists, not because of its policies, which have shifted dramatically over the years, but because many of Israel's Arab neighbors still do not want to recognize it. This is the case despite peace agreements with two of its neighbors - Egypt and Jordan - in addition to intermittent peace negotiations with the Palestinians for 15 years. In fact, the isolation and hostility have, if anything, worsened.

International Isolation

Israel's isolation is not only regional. Approximately 40 percent of all resolutions passed by the United Nations at the behest of Arab nations have condemned Israel for its security policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians or Arab nations. Human rights commissions, and international courts have convicted Israel of all kinds of alleged violations of international law and international human rights standards, while ignoring truly atrocious human rights violations, including suicide bombings, and the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars at Israelis. They also neglect to mention the continued threats to "wipe Israel off the map" (Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) or "drive the Israelis into the sea" (Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar).

While Israel fights for its survival, the international community routinely calls Israel's very legitimacy as a nation into question. Entire international conferences such as those at Durban in 2001, and the upcoming "Durban 2" are devoted to the "scourge" of Zionism.

In the face of this constant drubbing, Israel has repeatedly sought to explain itself to the world. Efforts at hasbara, or public relations, have repeatedly failed. The Palestinians have cornered the "victim" market, making it nearly impossible for Israel to gain world sympathy. Israel has thus taken upon itself to create a "rebranding" program, to attempt to communicate its achievements and contributions, instead of the steady and unrelenting coverage of war, terrorism, and the rebuke from other nations and international bodies that issue most reports on the country.

Business and Technology

For 60 years, Israel has given the world the products of its high tech society. These are innovations to make life better for billions of people on the planet. Quietly, Israel has become one of the world's leading technology, science, and medical research centers.

Much of Israel's innovation can be traced to an unusually well-educated workforce. Israel has the highest number of university degrees per capita in the world, with a high concentration of them in science, medicine, and engineering. Half of Israelis with degrees also hold advanced degrees. This commitment to higher education occurs in a country where most students do not even begin university study until after their military service is completed, usually at age 22. Israel's science and technology universities - including the Technion, Weizmann Institute, and Talpiot program of the Israel Defense Forces - graduate some of the best-trained scientists and engineers in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation in the world, and has one of the highest rates of per capita patents filed. Israel is the nation with the highest number of scientists and technicians per 1,000 in the workforce, with far higher levels than in the U.S., Japan, and Germany. Over 25 percent of Israel's workforce is employed in technical professions, putting Israel first in the world in this category, too.

Thus, it is not by accident that Israel trails only the United States in the number of startup technology companies. In fact, Israel ranks behind only the United States and Canada in NASDAQ-listed companies. It is also number two in the world in the allocation of venture capital funds, after the United States. Israel is the only country outside the United States where Cisco Systems and Microsoft have located R & D facilities. Google, IBM, and Intel all have large operations in Israel.

In the area of software and communications, products that are a part of every day life around the world owe their development to Israel's high tech industry. These include: voice mail technology, AOL's Instant Messenger, Intel's Pentium 4 microprocessor and Centrino chipsets, most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems, the original cell phone made by Motorola, the first PC anti-virus software, the first key-chain storage system, the largest communications router in the world from Cisco, and other advanced computerized security systems.

Thanks to these innovations, Israel has achieved remarkable and consistent economic growth, with a current per capita income of approximately $20,000 per resident, and a GDP approaching $150 billion. Indeed, Israel has become a developed country, much like many of the nations in Western Europe.

Tikkun Olam

Israel's relative wealth is only one part of the picture. One of the bedrocks of the Jewish faith is a concept known as tikkun olam, or repairing the world. As such, Israel has emerged as a leader in the field of medicine and medical research. Indeed, Israel has been on the cutting edge of embryonic and adult stem cell research, including research in neurodegenerative disease, such as ALS, and the regeneration of heart tissue.

Israeli researchers developed the first instrumentation to diagnose breast cancer without radiation, the first ingestible video camera inside a pill to view the small intestine for cancer and digestive disorders, and a computerized system to ensure proper administration of medications in institutional settings. They also developed the Ex-Press shunt to treat glaucoma, and were in the forefront of the introduction of both bare metal and drug-eluting stents.

Israelis developed a device that helps the heart pump blood, a blood test for MS, a new acne treatment that causes bacteria to self-destruct without damaging skin or tissue, a vaccine against mosquito-borne West Nile virus, a new painless device to allow diabetics to inject themselves with insulin, a device for monitoring coronary disease inside a cell phone, a bone "glue" for faster recovery from injuries, a DNA nano-computer to detect cancer and release drugs to treat the disease, and a nose drop that serves as a five-year flu vaccine.

Due, in part, to its innovations in medicine and, in part, to the fact that Israel has too much experience with disaster resulting from war, Israelis are on the cutting edge of search and rescue. Israeli teams are often called on to help locate and rescue victims after earthquakes and other natural disasters. The experience and knowledge gained in rescuing Israelis from buildings and buses blown apart by terrorists, have been applied to save victims of natural disasters in Turkey, Greece, Mexico, Cameroon, India, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, and Sri Lanka, as well as victims of violence in Bosnia, Romania, Kenya, Kosovo, Rwanda, Argentina, and Cambodia.

Green Machines

Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had a dream of "turning the desert green." While Ben Gurion was dreaming of expanding Israeli agriculture to arid environments, subsequent generations of Israelis had different visions of "green." Israel is now a leader in environmentally-friendly technologies.

Israel is the only country in the world that is rapidly increasing its number of trees. Israelis developed and installed (in California) the first large-scale solar powered and fully functional electricity generating plant. Israeli scientists have developed sensors that pick up signs of stress in plants, the technology for an all electric bus for urban use, an engineless nano remote-piloted vehicle, the world's first jellyfish repellent, a toilet system with small and large flushes that saves billions of gallons of water per year, and a nano-lubricant that could end the need to change car oil.

All the while, Israel continues to chase Ben Gurion's dream. With the help of science, Israelis have made vast desert areas of their country bloom. They have done so through special drip irrigation and water desalination systems that Israeli scientists and agronomists have since introduced on all five continents, including projects in India, China, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and Jordan.

Looking Back

What is particularly remarkable about these achievements is that Israel has created all of it amidst a constant barrage of terrorist attacks, not to mention full-scale wars every few years. As such, Israel has shown that it is a resilient nation; it will not be brought to its knees by war, terror, boycotts, and international isolation. Unfortunately, this success is one more source of intense envy and resentment for Israel's Arab neighbors; Israel is a key innovator in modern science and technology, and they are not.

As Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary in May 2008, the Palestinians will expectedly mark the day as al-Naqba, the disaster. To the continued amazement of those who understand Israel's achievements in recent decades, much of the world will offer its condolences to the Palestinians, and share the Palestinian belief that the world might have been better without Israel's creation in 1948.

For the foreseeable future, most of the world (with the United States as the principal exception) will continue to enjoy the innovations that Israel produces while simultaneously berating the Jewish state for defending itself. For its part, Israel will continue to provide the world with the fruits of its labor with the ironic hope that, one day, the Jewish state will simply be seen as one state among many.

Richard Baehr is a visting fellow at the Jewish Policy Center, and co-founder and political director of The American Thinker, a web-based policy journal.

9912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2008, 04:08:31 PM
http://mideastoutpost.com/archives/000121.html

December 31, 2004
BOYCOTT ISRAEL? DO IT PROPERLY..

Ed Weiss

(Editor's Note: Now that doing economic damage to Israel is the moral fashion, with European groups organizing boycotts, the Presbyterian Church voting to "selectively" divest from companies doing business in Israel and the Episcopal Church suggesting it may follow suit, the following article is a welcome reminder of the damage the boycotters, if they were -- perish the thought -- consistent, would do to themselves.)

O.K. So I understand that you are ticked off at Israel, and in love with the Palestinians. That's fine with me, as long as you have truly weighed up all the facts.

So, you want to boycott Israel? I'll be sorry to miss you, but if you are doing it—do it properly. Let me help you.

Check all your medications. Make sure that you do not have tablets, drops, lotions, etc., made by Abic or Teva. It may mean that you will suffer from colds and flu this winter but, hey, that's a small price for you to pay in your campaign against Israel, isn't it?

While we are on the subject of your Israeli boycott, and the medical contributions to the world made by Israeli doctors and scientists, how about telling your pals to boycott the following.....

An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. So, if you know anyone suffering from MS, tell them to ignore the Israeli patent that may, more accurately, diagnose their symptoms.

An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries. If you wish to remove this hope of a better quality of life to these people, go ahead and boycott Israel.

Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. Please tell anxious mothers that they shouldn't use this device because of your passionate cause.

These are just a few examples of how people have benefited medically from the Israeli know-how you wish to block.

Boycotts often affect research. A new research center in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research.

A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.

Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko's research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.

The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel's Hadassah Medical Center has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.

For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the ExAblate 2000 System offers a non-invasive alternative to surgery.

Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.

These are just a few of the projects that you can help stop with your Israeli boycott.

But let's not get too obsessed with medical research, there are other ways you can make a personal sacrifice with your anti-Israel boycott.

Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. So, set a personal example. Throw away your computer!

The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrium processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R.& D. facilities outside the US in Israel.

So, due to your complete boycott of anything Israeli, you now have poor health and no computer. But your bad news does not end there. Get rid of your cellular phone!

Cell phone technology was also developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its biggest development center in Israel. Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists.

Feeling unsettled? You should be. Part of your personal security rests with Israeli inventiveness, borne out of our urgent necessity to protect and defend our lives from the terrorists you support.

A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and law enforcement authorities have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Enter Israel's Netline Communications Technologies with their security expertise to help the fight against terror.

A joint, non-profit, venture between Israel and Maryland will result in a five day Business Development and Planning Conference in March. Selected Israeli companies will partner with Maryland firms to provide innovations for homeland security.

I also want you to know that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita -- 109 per 10,000 -- than any other nation. Israel has the highest number of start-up companies per capita and in absolute terms, the highest number, except for the U.S. Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley. Israel is ranked second in the world for venture capital funds, behind the U.S. Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.

Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.

Believe it or not, Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year.

So, you can vilify and demonize the State of Israel. You can continue your silly boycott, if you wish. But I wish you would consider the consequences, and the truth.

Think of the massive contribution that Israel is giving to the world—and to you—in science, medicine, communications, security. In relation to our population we are making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.

Ed Weiss lives in Ra'anana, Israel
9913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 04:02:23 PM
http://www.ajcongress.org/site/DocServer/congressmonthly_energy_new_.pdf?docID=1441

Q: When we reach our goal of independency from oil-soaked nations that use their oil for terror, then what do you see becoming of them if they no longer have wealth? Will they be forced to educate themselves and develop with the West? Will poverty force them, as in Afghanistan, to turn to drug trafficking? The populations are generally poor or nowhere near the level they should be with such oil wealth, except for the Emirates. Basically, what is their future?

A:They will have to get work. Twenty-one Arab nations, plus Iran, have about the same population as the United States and Canada. Other than fossil fuels—mainly oil, of course—they export to the world less than Finland, a country of only 5 million people. If the world moves away from oil, these countries will have to learn from countries like Finland that have no oil but that produce decent lives for their people by educating their women, teaching engineering, math, and science in their schools and colleges—not just the rote memorization of religious texts—and otherwise move out of the 7th century. Indeed there is a fine role model quite near them, a nation that operates in this fashion, practices freedom of speech, press, and religion, and has a GDP per capita of over $18,000 per year (as contrasted to Saudi Arabia's of some$13,000 per year). This country—Israel—has virtually no natural resources except for farmland it has reclaimed from the desert. Tours should perhaps be organized for those who want to learn how to start with little more than sand and resolve, and from those create a prosperous democracy in the Middle East.

R. JAMES WOOLSEY served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1993-95. During a long career in government service, he served both Republican and Democratic administrations.
9914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 03:48:50 PM
The last time I drank wine, it was red and came out of a box. I couldn't tell the difference between a cuban cigar and a Philly blunt without looking at the label. I'm a blue collar guy, what can I say?
9915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 03:33:22 PM
A while ago I posted to the effect, "... Muslims getting blamed for everything."  Perhaps it's not true, yet if I read this forum, especially GM's posts, it seems all the evils of the world are caused by and propagated by Muslims.  Otherwise, America is perfect; Europe is perfect, Israel is innocent, etc.  yet it is simply not true. 

**Lacking any valid point, all you can do is offer this pathetic straw man argument? Where have I ever said that all the world's evils are caused by muslims, or asserted that the US, Israel or europe is perfect? Answer: I haven't.**


 There is plenty of blame to pass around if one just looks for it.  And many of the problems are multidimensional; it is not black and white.

**This is why some people actually bother to read up on and study issues rather than endlessly parrot the same mindless talking points. Yes, not every muslim is a jihadist, but EVERY jihadist is a muslim, and is motivated by core elements of islamic theology. I actually read up on a topic before rendering an opinion, you might give it a try sometime. I've made an in depth study of islam and islamic theology a major aspect of my life since 9/11 and have spent endless hours reading about the theological roots of violent jihad. I don't love wading through fatwas and the writings of Ibn Taymiyya and Sayid Qutb, I do it to understand what we face today with a complex understanding of the multidimensional nature of this problem.**

I worked out at my gym with my attorney friend yesterday (Cambridge - Law; not as old as Al-Azhar or equal to Columbia  smiley  but not shabby either).  He is from England (Wales). His comment was that yes, the Muslims are a problem, not necessarily for religious reasons, but rather poverty and ignorance.  He lived through the Irish times; they were much much worse he said, although not that much different.  Today, Ireland is doing great.  He went on further to say that the Muslims, "are really not a big deal", they "just get bad press".  As for arbitration, he said that arbitration has existed for many years and often religious leaders from all denominations will intercede. 

After we finished our beer, he left, but I had scotch  smiley in the Library and picked up this month's Foreign Affairs Magazine (I should be grateful to this forum; a few months ago I might have picked up a wine or cigar magazine while I drank).   grin

**I don't doubt that your are much more qualified to render an opinion on cigars or wine than I am. I'll defer to you on these topics.**

Now as I read this forum, especially GM's posts, Muslims, the Palestinians, seem to always be the "bad guy"; I rarely if ever (did I miss a post?) see a positive article by GM on Muslims or Palestinians.   

**Ok, let's post in the Israel thread. I'll post all the scientific advances, books published, nobel prizes and contributions to medical science that have come from Israel. You can do the same for that "Palestinians". Want to wager as to who will have the longer list?**

Yet, as I read the article/review by Shlomo Ben Ami, the former Israel Foreign Minister I realized that two sides do exist.  I love his line, "The ability to engage in a sober inquiry, into the past (or present) is an essential test of free democracies."

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080901fareviewessay87511/shlomo-ben-ami/a-war-to-start-all-wars.html

Now, I am sure he is a good Jew and that he truly loves Israel, but the article goes on to honestly talk of the atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers.  And how "Zionists deliberately killed far more civilians and prisoners of war and committed more acts of rape" than the Palestinians ever did.  In a similar manner, instances exist where America has done wrong, Europe, and other allies of ours have done wrong.

My point is that all sides often contribute bad and nearly all sides can and do contribute good.  A balanced approach or at least one that is not so biased might be better?  I think a "sober inquiry" means an open mind; one that is not blinded by racial or ethnic prejudices.  Lately, this forum, led by GM seems to be a "dump on Muslim" forum. 

**A rational examination of the global jihad and the theological roots behind it isn't just "dumping on muslims". Again, Islam isn't a race or ethnicity and more than Roman Catholics are a race or ethnicity. Just as there are blue eyed, blond catholics, there are blue eyed, blond muslims. The majority of the planet's muslims live in asia, not the middle east. There isn't a muslim "race" or ethnicity.**

I think there are good Muslims, frankly I think most Muslims are good, just as I like to think most Christians, Jews, Buddhists are good.  And, there are a few bad apples.  I am not defending the "bad apples".  Those of ANY religion that publicly promote FMG, violence, killing of gays, etc. should be stopped, arrested, incarcerated and frankly, if they don't stop I don't care what you do to them.  But don't only blame the Muslims; there are many other participants and religions to share the blame.


http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

Christianity: 2.1 billion

Islam: 1.5 billion

According to the website below, the global jihad's deadly attacks since 9/11/2001 is 11490 as of 7/21/2008.

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

Can you provide stats for attacks by "christianists" worldwide? So then the question would be, if islamic terrorism is from a "tiny minority of extremists" from out of the larger muslim population, and the number of christians is larger than the number of muslims, then why the "extremist gap"? Please explain.**

9916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 02:03:38 PM
http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2008/01/22/clarification-of-islamic-law-support-for-female-genital-mutilation-by-dr-mark-durie/

Clarification of Islamic Law Support for Female Genital Mutilation, by Dr. Mark Durie
January 22nd, 2008 by Andrew Bostom |



Indonesian toddler following her ritual FGM

Dr. Mark Durie is the author, most recently of Revelation? Do We Worship the Same God?—Jesus, Holy, Spirit, God in Christianity and Islam, 2006. His cogent analysis, “Isa, the Muslim Jesus,” is available online, here. 

Dr. Durie has also studied the Acehnese (i.e., from Aceh, Indonesia), and published many articles, and books (here, here, and here, for example) on their language and culture. 

Dr. Dure writes—

In Februrary 2007 Dr Muhammad al-Mussayar of Al-Azhar University, referring to reliable hadiths from Muslim and al-Bukhari, stated: 

“All jurisprudents, since the advent of Islam and for 14 centuries or more, are in consensus that female circumcision is permitted in Islam.  But they were divided as to its status in the sharia.  Some said that female circumcision is required by the sharia, just like male circumcision.  Some said this is a mainstream practice, while others said that it is a noble act.”

Of the four Sunni schools of sharia, it is the Shafi’is who have said that circumcision of girls is compulsory. The Reliance of the Traveller, a respected manual of Shafi’i jurisprudence, states  “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris” (section e4.3).  [The English translation by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (certified by Al-Azhar University) disguises the true meaning of the Arabic text by offering the following bogus English ‘translation’: “For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).” ]

As Indonesia is a country in which Shafi’i Islam predominates, it is hardly surprising that female circumcision is commonly practiced among Indonesian Muslims, from Java to Aceh. There is a close correlation between Shafi’i Islam and the frequency of FGM.  Regions where the Shafi’i school predominates are also the places where FGM is more frequent.  These include Egypt, southern Arabia, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Somalia, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The oft-recited claim that FGM is not a religious practice is proved false, not only because it is more frequently found in Shafi’i areas, but also because it was introduced, along with Shafi’i Islam, into Southeast Asia, a part of the world where it had previously been unknown.

It is only the teachings of the sharia  which account for this practice being followed in Bandung Java today, and specifically the doctrinal formulations of the Shafi’i school of sharia.  Imam Shafi’i may be long-dead, but he has a lot to answer for to the Muslim women of the world.
9917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:01:49 PM
JDN,

When are you flying off to Al-Azhar university to lecture those islamic theologians on the un-islamic nature of female genital mutilation?

Gosh, did I miss a day of geography class?  To be fair, it's been a while.  But, I mean, isn't Al=Azhar University still in Africa?Huh?  Or did it move and I missed it?

**I guess I need to help you out in reading the important parts of what I post.

"Today, Al-Azhar is not just a university, but an institution that vanguard the teachings of Sunni Islam, and an umbrella body to which thousands of ulama affiliate themselves with. "

Al Azhar is the most important theological institution in the world for sunnis. You not knowing this is like not knowing that Vatican City has a global impact on catholic theology and trying to assert that theology being formulated in the Vatican applies only to southern europe. There is no hierarchy in islam like the pope and college of cardinals, but you are very mistaken in trying to assert that what theologians in Al Azhar say doesn't sway sunnis around the planet. My state has a law specifically banning female genital mutilation. Can you guess why? Last time I checked my map I live a long distance from North Africa.**


Wasn't I (I'm sorry I mean WHO and UNICEF) clear enough in my post above that this is an "African problem", a terrible problem, but it is not necessarily an Islamic problem and rarely does it appear
among practicing Muslims in the Middle East or Europe or the US? 

**The UN and it's WHO UNICEF are hardly fair and impartial. Would you like me to deconstruct this assertion? What is "rare" when it comes to female genital mutilation outside of africa?

"That book "Fatwas of Muslim Women" says that women who lie deserve 100 blows and the husband's duty of care for his wife is negated if she refuses him sex or leaves the home without his permission. One of its most controversial aspects is the call for Muslim girls to be circumcised."

Why would this book be sold by a mosque in the Netherlands if FGM is just "an african problem" and has nothing to do with islamic theology?**


 To answer your question, No, I don't plan on going to Al-Azhar in Africa, or Ethiopia, or Somalia, or Yemen,
or ...... or any other place in Africa and lecture on female genital mutilation.

**A perfect example of your utter ignorance on this topic.**

http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/mashaykh_azhar.htm

Al-Azhar is the world's oldest university, older than Cambridge or Oxford. Situated at the heart of Cairo, Egypt's capital, Al-Azhar has been the greatest learning centre for Muslims since it was first built by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD. 

The Fatimids were of Shiah belief. They erected Al-Azhar as an institution to propagate the teachings of the Isma'iliya madhhab. When the Ayyubids took over Egypt, they turned Al-Azhar into a school that taught the Sunni understanding of Islam.

Rich in tradition and knowledge, Al-Azhar had produced brilliant ulama throughout history. Examples of Imam Suyuti, Imam Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani and Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami bejeweled its glorious past. Contemporary ulama produced by this university include Shaykh Ghazali and Shaykh Sha`rawi. With thousands of others, these giants of Islamic knowledge became the symbol of Al-Azhar supreme position among Muslims, something unrivalled thus far.

Today, Al-Azhar is not just a university, but an institution that vanguard the teachings of Sunni Islam, and an umbrella body to which thousands of ulama affiliate themselves with. The Head of Al-Azhar, called the Grand Imam (Imamul Akbar Shaykhul Azhar), was previously appointed by a committee of Azharian top scholars (shuyukh). But now it is under the appointment from the Egyptian President from the advice of the committee. Recently however, the Egyptian government is getting inclined to leave the matter of appointment purely in the hands of the Azharian ulama.


Ahhhh GM I never said Al-Azhar university isn't a fine university or isn't "rich in tradition and knowledge"; I (a study by WHO and UNICEF - read unbiased source) simply stated that FMG is an AFRICAN PROBLEM ergo Al-Azhar being in Africa represents an African take on the problem.  IF Al-Azhar was in in the Sudan or Ethiopia or Somolia it would be the same; they are all in Africa; got it?  FMG according to unbiased references (often you seem to have a hard time finding these) is a result of poverty and ignorance; yes Islam in Africa supports FMG as does a dozen or more other religions in Africa. And elsewhere, people talk of it, a few people are proponents of it, but not a significant number and even then in nearly every case they are from Africa. That one or a very few Islamic individuals promote it does not make a majority of Muslims supporting it. Most Muslims abhor it and do not practice FMG.  Again, my point, the vast majority of Muslims are good people as are most Buddhists, Christians and Jews, and most....  but all religions have extremists and they are dangerous.  But to bash all Muslims seems wrong to me.


9918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:56:20 AM

Hirsi Ali: shut anti-woman, anti-gay Dutch mosque

22 April 2004

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=6851

AMSTERDAM — Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali demanded on Thursday the closure of an Amsterdam mosque that sells books supporting female circumcision, beating wives and the murder of gay people.

The Dutch Parliament is to hold an emergency debate about the El Tawheed mosque next week. MPs want Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk to explain what they intend to do about the book "De weg van de moslim".

The publication — translated as The Way of the Muslim in English — is said to advocate violence against women and killing gay people

Gay people should be thrown head first off high buildings. If not killed on hitting the ground, they should then be stoned to death, the book allegedly suggests.

In her column in newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Hirsi Ali — who was raised as a Muslim — went one step further and called on the government to close the mosque. The MP has been a strident opponent of Islamic teachings on women and gay people.

The Liberal VVD party MP said it was time for the Justice Ministry to indicate whether it intended to go to court to have the mosque banned.

Hirsi Ali said the latest revelations about the book advocating beating women and killing gay people was the last straw. Closure of the mosque was a question of "political will", she wrote.

"This mosque has been warned repeatedly by the authorities that intolerance against non-Muslims and undermining the law is unacceptable in the Netherlands," Hirsi Ali said.

"The Way of the Muslim" is one of the publications on sale at the El Tawheed mosque. Earlier this month the mosque was at the centre of a storm about another book available at its open day organised to help combat the mosque's negative public image.

That book "Fatwas of Muslim Women" says that women who lie deserve 100 blows and the husband's duty of care for his wife is negated if she refuses him sex or leaves the home without his permission. One of its most controversial aspects is the call for Muslim girls to be circumcised.

A fatwa is an official statement or order from an Islamic religious leader.

MPs in the Dutch Parliament have indicated they want the second book, "The Way of the Muslim", banned if it supports violence towards women and killing gay people.

VVD parliamentarian Geert Wilders has called for the emergency debate next week.

Another MP, Mirjam Sterk of the Christian Democrat CDA, said imams (Islamic religious leaders) must distance themselves from the book's content. If not, the imams must be prosecuted or deported.

An Islamic cleric was deported from France to his native Algeria on Wednesday after he caused uproar by his endorsement of wife-beating and polygamy.

Clerics at El Tawheed feel they have been unfairly singled out in the media as part of a wider campaign against Islamic institutions in Europe.

MPs and media commentators attacked the Amsterdam mosque previously when one of the imams referred to non-Muslims as "firewood for hell". He also forbade Islamic women from leaving the family home without the permission of their husbands.

RTL Television reported on Thursday a cameraman was assaulted when a news team attempted to buy "The Way of the Muslim" at the mosque.

Eventually RTL's female reporter managed to buy the book, albeit while accompanied by police protection.
9919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:51:00 AM
FIGHTING WORDS
The Caged Virgin
Holland's shameful treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, May 8, 2006, at 3:44 PM ET

Three years ago, at a conference in Sweden, I was introduced to a Dutch member of parliament named Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Originally born in Somalia, she had been a refugee in several African countries and eventually a refugee from her own family, which had decided to "give" her in marriage to a distant male relative she had never met. Thinking to escape from such confines by moving to the Netherlands, she was appalled to find that radical Islam had followed her there—or in fact preceded her there—and was proselytizing among Turkish and Moroccan and Indonesian immigrants. In ancient towns like Rotterdam and Amsterdam, where once the refugees from Catholic France and inquisitional Spain had sought refuge, and where Baruch Spinoza had been excommunicated and anathematized for his opposition to Jewish fundamentalism, there were districts where Muslim women were subjected to genital mutilation and where the Dutch police were afraid to set foot.

Entering politics to try to alert the European left to this danger, she was first elected as a deputy for the Labor Party, but after 9/11 she changed her allegiance to the Liberals. This, she explained, was because many Labor spokesmen preferred to think of immigrants as possessing "group rights." They had become so infatuated by their own "multi-culti" style that they had ignored the rights of individuals—especially women and girls—who were imprisoned within their own ghetto. (That, by the way, was precisely Spinoza's problem as well. The Dutch rabbis cursed him and condemned him in their own sectarian "court," of which the Christian authorities approved because it took care of dangerous secularism among Jews.)

At the Swedish event, Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke calmly and rationally about the problem. I never know whether or not it's right to mention, with female public figures, the fact of arresting and hypnotizing beauty, but I notice that I seem to have done so. Shall I just say that she was a charismatic figure in Dutch politics, mainly because of the calm and reason to which I just alluded? She was the ideal choice of collaborator for the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (a distant descendant of the anguished painter) on Submission, a film about the ignored problem of enslaved and oppressed women in Holland. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay and provided the movie's voice-over.

You probably remember what happened next: Van Gogh was bicycling to work one morning in 2004 in the capital city of one of Europe's most peaceful and civilized countries when he was shot down in the street and then mutilated in a ritual fashion by an Islamist fanatic. The murderer (who had expected to become a martyr but who was only wounded in the leg by the gentle Dutch cops) left a long "martyr's letter" pinned to van Gogh's corpse by an equally long knife. In it, he warned Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she was the next target, and he gave a long and detailed account of all the offenses that would condemn her to an eternity in hell. (I noticed, reading this appalling screed when it was first published, that he obsessively referred to her as "Mrs. Hirshi Ali," as if trying to make her sound like a Jew. Other references to Jews in the text were even less tasteful.)

She has had to live under police protection ever since, and when I saw her again last week in Washington, I had to notice that there were several lofty and burly Dutchmen acting in an unaffected but determined way somewhere off to the side. I would urge you all to go out and buy her new book, The Caged Virgin, which is subtitled An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam. The three themes of the story are: first, her own gradual emancipation from tribalism and superstition; second, her work as a parliamentarian to call attention to the crimes being committed every day by Islamist thugs in mainland Europe; and third, the dismal silence, or worse, from many feminists and multiculturalists about this state of affairs.

Before being elected to parliament, she worked as a translator and social worker among immigrant women who are treated as sexual chattel—or as the object of "honor killings"—by their menfolk, and she has case histories that will freeze your blood. These, however, are in some ways less depressing than the excuses made by qualified liberals for their continuation. At all costs, it seems, others must be allowed "their culture" and—what is more—must be allowed the freedom not to be offended by the smallest criticism of it. If they do feel offended, their very first resort is to violence and intimidation, sometimes with the support of the embassies of foreign states. (How interesting it is that the two European states most recently attacked in this way—Holland and Denmark—should be the ones that have made the greatest effort to be welcoming to immigrants.) Considering that this book is written by a woman who was circumcised against her will at a young age and then very nearly handed over as a bargain with a stranger, it is written with quite astonishing humor and restraint.

But here is the grave and sad news. After being forced into hiding by fascist killers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali found that the Dutch government and people were slightly embarrassed to have such a prominent "Third World" spokeswoman in their midst. She was first kept as a virtual prisoner, which made it almost impossible for her to do her job as an elected representative. When she complained in the press, she was eventually found an apartment in a protected building. Then the other residents of the block filed suit and complained that her presence exposed them to risk. In spite of testimony from the Dutch police, who assured the court that the building was now one of the safest in all Holland, a court has upheld the demand from her neighbors and fellow citizens that she be evicted from her home. In these circumstances, she is considering resigning from parliament and perhaps leaving her adopted country altogether. This is not the only example that I know of a supposedly liberal society collaborating in its own destruction, but I hope at least that it will shame us all into making The Caged Virgin a best seller.


Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2141276/
9920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:44:37 AM
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP127406

Special Dispatch Series - No. 1274
August 31, 2006   No. 1274

Saudi Historian: Muslim Student Organizations in U.K. are Rife With Extremism, Xenophobia, and Discrimination Against Women
On August 21, 2006, the online Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya published an article by Saudi university lecturer Dr. Hatoon Ajwad Al-Fassi titled "The Extremism of the Muslims in the West and Our Responsibility." In it, she wondered how it could be that the Muslim students on U.K. university campuses conduct, along with the usual student activity, Islamic activity that is rife with racism, separatism, extremism, and discrimination against women.

The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

"Manchester... was Jam-Packed With Young British-Asian Muslims Who Realized That Education was the Way to Fight... Marginalization"

"... In my previous article, I wrote about the elements of the identity of the Muslim community [in the U.K.], that range from British racism and socio-politico-economic marginalization [of the Muslims], to the winds of [Muslim] extremism that have reached from the [Arab] deserts to the island [of Britain] and begun [to sweep over] the Muslim youth that is in constant search of its self.

"In the 1990s Manchester was - and still is - jam-packed with young British-Asian Muslims who realized that education was the way to fight this marginalization, and we began to see them in not insignificant numbers at Manchester's four universities. Furthermore, [the Muslims] maintained a strong presence [at these universities] by establishing Islamic associations under the [general] students' unions at each of the universities. This enabled them to hold many Islamic, humanitarian, and social activities, such as breaking the fast [i.e. banquets] for the fasting students, holiday celebrations, etc.

"[The participants in these activities included] many male and female students, who succeeded in attaining a high level of coordination among the Islamic associations at the universities... By means of democratic struggle, these associations managed to obtain a permanent place allocated to prayer at the university, which the male and female [Muslim] students took care to use constantly, not only for prayer but also for holding religious study groups and Koran study... Fridays presented a wonderful picture, as the Muslim students of this city answered the call [to prayer, and prayed] before they scattered to eat lunch at the kebab and shawarma restaurants in the area, or returned to the lecture halls and the library..."

"I Don't Remember a Single Week in Which I Didn't Sense Provocation Rising From the Friday Sermons"

"But perhaps here I need to fill in the picture with what was happening on the sidelines on Fridays, and especially in the sermons. I don't remember a single week in which I didn't sense provocation rising from the Friday sermons. There was usually a different preacher every week, in accordance with whoever was available.

"Rarely, one of the students would take it upon himself to deliver the sermon. But in most cases the person giving the sermon was someone considered to be capable and successful in public speaking. Because people like this are hard to find, we were witness to sermons that dripped with the smell of racism, separatism, extremism, and discrimination against women. Since most of the worshippers were young people with no religious experience, such as, for example, the [experience] provided by our [Saudi] environment, they accepted these statements submissively and thought that Islam advocates discrimination against women, against every Muslim who disagrees with us, or against 'the People of the Book' [i.e. Jews and Christians] among whom we live...

"Only rarely did the preacher address the women, whom he couldn't see during the worship; the sermon was meant only for the men. The situation reached the point where the preacher would [sometimes] deliver his sermon in Arabic, and say that every Muslim should know Arabic thoroughly, and if he did not, this would detract from his religion. This made the Western Muslims [feel] a permanent sense of inferiority to the Arabs, who present themselves as the only ones bearing [the message] of the true religion, while [in fact] they ignored the true call of Islam, to whom it was addressed [i.e. to all humanity], and who raised its banner. Many statements [in the sermons] were, in my opinion, loaded with racism and one-sidedness - and I try to clarify to women... that the preacher was expressing his personal opinion, and not the religion of Islam in all its wide scope."

Despite University Regulations Against Discrimination, "Women Heard [the Lectures] From Behind a Partition"

"Gradually, we found that the activity of the Islamic association was characterized by an extremist character, which is in fact contradictory to its status [as a student organization], as well as to the places where these activities were being held. For lectures to which speakers from outside Manchester were invited, two halls were allocated - one for women and one for men, such that the women heard [the lecture] from behind a partition, or through a microphone [i.e. speaker], because closed-circuit TV technology had not yet reached them. Or else you would find them allocating seats in the back for the women, as though we were worshipping at a mosque. Or, they were fearful of the presence of women, and didn't know what to do and how to act with the British women - who in no way accept the discriminatory positions against women that were taken at such events. And then, [because of our objections,] the event's organizers would retract their statements - thus entering into [a state of] internal contradiction.

"What was even stranger was that all these activities were carried out on the university campus, one of whose statutes forbids discrimination among students on the basis of gender, race, or religion, and where all these [male Muslim] students studied together with their Muslim sisters at lectures, morning and evening, as well as with the non-Muslim [female students]...

"On the sidelines of these meetings, one could find religious pamphlets with fatwas on issues of how to act towards a non-Muslim, towards a woman, and other matters of controversy in day-to-day life, translated into every language, and especially into English. These pamphlets bore the imprimatur of councils of the most prominent 'ulama in Islamic countries, which, as far as [these students] were concerned, constituted the source of authority on [proper] behavior and religious law."

Before These Youth Understood Islam’s Spirit, Morals, Tolerance, and Lofty Message… They Had Already [Absorbed] Hatred of Non-Muslims and... of Anything Coming From Western Civilization

"Before these young people have understood the morals of Islam, its tolerance, its spirit, and its lofty message that led people far and near to embrace it... they already diligently [absorbed] hatred of non-Muslims and hatred of anything coming from Western civilization - or even from [non-fundamentalist] Islamic civilization, and have already discussed controversial issues such as veils for women, music, and even photography, as part of the religious guidelines that they receive from the sheikhs who occasionally visit from [Saudi Arabia], Pakistan, and other countries, where they have this same dogmatic [system of] single-sex schools...

"I saw many young people, men and women, who are sick to death of the activities of their colleagues, which are contradictory to their European environment and even to their Pakistani or Indian environment. Some of them have begun to withdraw and to try to ignore anything having to do with Islam, while others find extremism to be [a tool] by means of which they can benefit from an authority that they do not have in their regular surroundings."

[1] http://www.aleqtisadiah.com/article.php?do=show&id=2979 , August 21, 2006.
9921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:29:00 AM
JDN,

When are you flying off to Al-Azhar university to lecture those islamic theologians on the un-islamic nature of female genital mutilation?

Gosh, did I miss a day of geography class?  To be fair, it's been a while.  But, I mean, isn't Al=Azhar University still in Africa?Huh?  Or did it move and I missed it?
Wasn't I (I'm sorry I mean WHO and UNICEF) clear enough in my post above that this is an "African problem", a terrible problem, but it is not necessarily an Islamic problem and rarely does it appear
among practicing Muslims in the Middle East or Europe or the US?  To answer your question, No, I don't plan on going to Al-Azhar in Africa, or Ethiopia, or Somalia, or Yemen,
or ...... or any other place in Africa and lecture on female genital mutilation.

**A perfect example of your utter ignorance on this topic.**

http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/mashaykh_azhar.htm

Al-Azhar is the world's oldest university, older than Cambridge or Oxford. Situated at the heart of Cairo, Egypt's capital, Al-Azhar has been the greatest learning centre for Muslims since it was first built by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD. 

The Fatimids were of Shiah belief. They erected Al-Azhar as an institution to propagate the teachings of the Isma'iliya madhhab. When the Ayyubids took over Egypt, they turned Al-Azhar into a school that taught the Sunni understanding of Islam.

Rich in tradition and knowledge, Al-Azhar had produced brilliant ulama throughout history. Examples of Imam Suyuti, Imam Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani and Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami bejeweled its glorious past. Contemporary ulama produced by this university include Shaykh Ghazali and Shaykh Sha`rawi. With thousands of others, these giants of Islamic knowledge became the symbol of Al-Azhar supreme position among Muslims, something unrivalled thus far.

Today, Al-Azhar is not just a university, but an institution that vanguard the teachings of Sunni Islam, and an umbrella body to which thousands of ulama affiliate themselves with. The Head of Al-Azhar, called the Grand Imam (Imamul Akbar Shaykhul Azhar), was previously appointed by a committee of Azharian top scholars (shuyukh). But now it is under the appointment from the Egyptian President from the advice of the committee. Recently however, the Egyptian government is getting inclined to leave the matter of appointment purely in the hands of the Azharian ulama.
9922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 01:10:27 AM
Do you know the importance of the Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim ahadith in sunni theology?
9923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 18, 2008, 12:00:55 AM
JDN,

When are you flying off to Al-Azhar university to lecture those islamic theologians on the un-islamic nature of female genital mutilation?
9924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 11:58:50 PM
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP148307

Special Dispatch Series - No. 1483
March 1, 2007   No. 1483

Al-Azhar University Scholars Argue over the Legitimacy of Female Circumcision Practiced in Egypt on Al-Arabiya TV
The following are excerpts from a TV debate between Egyptian Al-Azhar University scholars Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mussayar [1] and Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur, who is a member of Al-Azhar's Islamic ResearchAcademy (or Islamic Research Council) on the issue of female circumcision. The debate aired on Al-Arabiya TV on February 12, 2007.

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1392
Mahmoud Ashur: "Female circumcision is a traditional custom, and not a religious act. All the hadiths dealing with female circumcision are unreliable. Moreover, the hadith cited by those who support circumcision calls to refrain from it more than it calls to perform it.

[...]

"Female circumcision is not part of Islam. Rather, it is a traditional custom. Under no circumstances should we follow this custom, because it leaves a deep wound in the souls of these girls, which has a psychological, emotional, and social impact on their lives. Female circumcision does a lot of damage. This damage is harmful, and it shatters the girl's soul. Therefore, it is absolutely forbidden to perform this custom. No person should do this, because it is harmful and causes damage.

[...]

"This is a despicable, ugly, and evil custom. It is performed by a woman who uses inappropriate and non-sterile instruments. She may be passing on to the girl a terrible disease, or causing her a wound that never heals, because the person who performs this custom lacks expertise and experience, and does not know how to sterilize the instruments, and therefore she inflicts terrible diseases upon the girls."

[...]

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "All the jurisprudents, since the advent of Islam and for 14 centuries or more, are in consensus that female circumcision is permitted by Islam. But they were divided with regard to its status in shari'a. Some said that female circumcision is required by shari'a, just like male circumcision. Some said this is the mainstream practice, while others said it is a noble act. But throughout the history of Islam, nobody has ever said that performing female circumcision is a crime. There has been a religious ruling on this for 14 centuries."

[...]

Mahmoud Ashur: "In the days of Jahiliya [i.e. the pre-Islamic period] and in the early days of Islam, a man whose mother carried out this custom was scorned by people who called him 'you son of a clitoris cutter.' This proves that it was never part of the religion of Islam. As for male circumcision, it is the approved mainstream practice, as determined by Islam and as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad."

[...]

"There is no doubt that we must reach agreement on this issue. There must be a decisive view and a resolute decision on this custom especially, because it is evil. When people perform it, they do so out of extreme ignorance, and it has a severe impact on marital life."

[...]

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "First of all, there are reliable hadiths in Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim which support female circumcision. The Prophet Muhammad said: 'If a circumcised woman and man have intercourse, they must undergo ablution.' Unreliable hadiths do not cancel out the reliable ones. We have unreliable hadiths regarding prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. Should we abolish prayer and charity just because some hadiths are unreliable? According to some hadiths in Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim, 'If a circumcised woman and man have intercourse, they must undergo ablution.' People would curse one another by saying: 'You son of a clit woman' - the son of a non-circumcised woman. The objections to circumcision are illogical and unnatural.

Interviewer: What is the justification for doing this?"

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "First of all, allow me... Regarding the claim that the instruments are not sterile - this is the reality and is not part of religious law. If there are dentists who do not sterilize their instruments, should we abolish medical faculties and dental clinics, or should we demand that they rectify the situation? Flawed reality cannot serve as a religious argument. The claim that female circumcision leads to barrenness is not true. The Muslim woman bears more children than any other woman. It is the Western woman who is barren, even though she is not circumcised. Moreover, when talking about nervous breakdowns... This is considered a day of celebration for the family."

Interviewer: "A day of celebration for the family?! Let me begin with the psychological effects. According to some studies, when there is a celebration, and sweets are given to the girl, and then an act is performed in which the girl's flesh is cut off... this makes her lose trust in her family, first of all. This generates an inner problem. As for the medical, physical problem, there is a problem in childbirth. There are lacerations, microbes, deformities - this is what the doctors say."

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "Sterilization is necessary in such cases. Cutting off a part of the human body does not mean a violation of its sanctity. How many human body parts are cut off in plastic surgery, and so on, yet we do not consider this offensive to the woman?"

Interviewer: "What is the reason for circumcising girls?"

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "First of all, the claim that this is a Pharaonic or Jahili practice..."

Interviewer: "Let's assume that this is a religious requirement..."

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "It isn't..."

Interviewer: "Nevertheless, hypothetically speaking, what is the main reason for this?"

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "Some sources said: 'Reduce, but do not remove.' In other words, it is neither about removing the organ, nor about leaving it. It is a trustworthy Muslim doctor who makes the decision. She decides whether the girl needs it or not. We do not obligate every girl to undergo circumcision. We say it should be left up to the doctor, and she can evaluate the case and determine whether the girl needs circumcision or not."

Interviewer: "Why would she need it? Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur, would you like to comment? What are the reasons that one could say... Go ahead..."

Mahmoud Ashur: "If it is left up to the doctor, then it is a custom and not part of the religion."

[...]

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "Female circumcision is no less valid just because it was practiced in Pharaonic times and in the Jahiliya. Islam accepted some customs, which were harmonious with human nature, and rejected others, which contradicted human nature."

[...]

Interviewer: "Some studies show that the upbringing at home is the main thing, and that 95% of all prostitutes [in Egypt] are circumcised."

Muhammad Al-Mussayar: "And 100% of the prostitutes in the West are not circumcised, so what is the problem?"

[1] For more on Muhammad Al-Mussayar, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 183, "Al-Azhar Sheikh Al-Mussayar: Instead of Merely Defending Islam, Muslims Must Confront Non-Muslims," July 12, 2004, http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=183 , and MEMRI TV Clip No. 102, "Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mussayyer on Wife Beating in Islam," June 7, 2004, http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=102 .
9925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 04:45:00 PM
**Here is the WHO's numbers. I notice they don't want to use the "I" word in their fact sheet. I saw another stat that had 97% of all Egyptian women were mutilated.**

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/print.html

Female genital mutilation




key facts

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.
The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by medically trained personnel.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Procedures

Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types:

Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, rarely, the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris) as well.
Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina).
Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, and sometimes outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
Read more about types of procedures [pdf 3.35Mb]

Health consequences

FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies.

Immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.

Long-term consequences can include:

recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections;
cysts;
infertility;
the need for later surgeries. For example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening (type 3 above) is surgically changed to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth, and sometimes stitched close again afterwards;
an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
Who is at risk?

Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women. In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.

Between 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about 92 million girls age 10 years and above are estimated to have undergone FGM.

The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among certain immigrant communities in North America and Europe.

Causes

The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities.

Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice.
FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is believed by some to reduce a woman's libido and help her resist "illicit" sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3 above), for example, a woman is physically hindered from premarital sex. Afterwards, a painful procedure is needed to reopen the closure to enable sexual intercourse.
FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and "beautiful" after removal of body parts that are considered "male" or "unclean".
Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
In most societies, FGM is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.
In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighbouring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement.
In some societies, FGM is being practised by new groups when they move into areas where the local population practice FGM.
International response

In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a joint statement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) against the practice of FGM. A new statement, with wider United Nations support, was then issued in February 2008 to support increased advocacy for the abandonment of FGM.

The 2008 statement documents new evidence collected over the past decade about the practice. It highlights the increased recognition of the human rights and legal dimensions of the problem and provides current data on the frequency and scope of FGM. It also summarizes research about why FGM continues, how to stop it, and its damaging effects on the health of women, girls and newborn babies.

Since 1997, great efforts have been made to counteract FGM, through research, work within communities, and changes in public policy. Progress at both international and local levels includes:

wider international involvement to stop FGM;
the development of international monitoring bodies and resolutions that condemn the practice;
revised legal frameworks and growing political support to end FGM; and
in some countries, decreasing practice of FGM, and an increasing number of women and men in practising communities who declare their support to end it.
Research shows that, if practising communities themselves decide to abandon FGM, the practice can be eliminated very rapidly.

WHO response

WHO efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation focus on:

advocacy: developing publications and advocacy tools for international, regional and local efforts to end FGM within a generation;
research: generating knowledge about the causes and consequences of the practice, how to eliminate it, and how to care for those who have experienced FGM;
guidance for health systems: developing training materials and guidelines for health professionals to help them treat and counsel women who have undergone procedures.
WHO is particularly concerned about the increasing trend for medically trained personnel to perform FGM. WHO strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures.

For more information contact:

WHO Media centre
Telephone: +41 22 791 2222
Email: mediainquiries@who.int
9926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 01:22:34 PM
Sexual Amputation and Silence   
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 02, 2004
The mutilation of Muslim girls’ genitals is on a steady rise throughout Europe.

Young girls born in Europe to immigrant Muslim families, mostly from Africa, are being assaulted with female genital mutilation (FGM).

No one, save a handful of courageous activists, is doing anything about it.
 
The Scotsman.com recently reported that Waris Dirie, the Somalia-born supermodel and best-selling author, who has campaigned to stop female genital mutilation (which disfigured her at age five in her homeland), has stated that approximately one out of every three African families in Europe is secretly perpetrating this crime against their daughters. Germany, the Netherlands and Austria are the main scenes of this barbarity -- where approximately 8,000 girls have been assaulted.
 
European authorities, with the exception of those in France, are benignly standing by, operating according to the progressive Party Line that disallows any criticism of Third World cultures in general -- and Islamic culture in particular. Police officers, social workers, teachers, doctors and nurses operate under the social obligation not to report this crime.
This sexual lobotomy of women is usually performed on girls at the age of seven or eight, right before their menstrual periods begin. The impulse behind this savagery is clear: the hatred of women and the terrifying fear of their sexuality. Demonizing female sexual desire and pleasure -- and annihilating it -- becomes the priority. To successfully achieve female genital mutilation, therefore, the mutilators have to legitimize and institutionalize it. As a result, they socially construct the pathological ideology that a girl’s genital area is “dirty” and, therefore, unacceptable. In Egypt, an uncircumcised girl is considered nigsa (unclean). The way she becomes non-nigsa is to have her clitoris sliced off. In Sudan, the term used for getting rid of the clitoris is tahur -- which means “cleansing” or “purification.”

Africa and Arabia are the regions where misogynists carry out the highest number of these “purifications.” Muslims serve as the principal religious group that bestows this cleansing gift unto women. In Egypt, 97 percent of girls are circumcised. Nawal el Saadawi, a leading Egyptian feminist and author, describes in her autobiography, The Hidden Face of Eve, how, at the age of six, this monstrosity was violently perpetrated against her -- while her mother stood by and smiled proudly.

While Egyptian girls’ clitorises are amputated (clitoridectomy), in countries like Sudan the purifiers are not so kind: all the women’s external genital organs are completely removed. In a crime against humanity called infibulation, the clitoris, the two major outer lips (labia majora) and the two minor inner lips (labia minora) are amputated.

Many of the “purified” victims lose their lives during this torture – which is often inflicted with broken glass. Most victims suffer from severe and chronic infections and pain for the rest of their lives. With serious and disabling lifelong consequences, the mutilation robs women of their equilibrium forever. It deprives them from enjoying the fullness of their sexuality and the completeness of their lives.

More than a hundred and thirty million women living today have been victimized by this horrifying crime, and more than two million girls are assaulted by it each year. In other words, we are talking about 6,000 girls every day -- 6,000 girls today.

In terms of sexual pleasure, we know that approximately 75 percent of women cannot achieve orgasm without clitoral stimulation. In other words, the possibility of orgasm has been obliterated for all of these millions of victims. And since the psychic, mental and physical health of women cannot be complete without sexual pleasure, it means that all of these millions of women as beings are mutilated.

Female genital mutilation is a holocaust.

But because most of the victims of this holocaust are women behind the Islamic Curtain, the world turns a blind eye. Since the Left moulds the West’s boundaries of permitted discourse, criticism of cultures -- and especially adversary cultures -- is taboo, unless, of course, it is criticism of American culture, then everything is fair game. Thus, harsh judgement of American culture is not only permissible but highly promoted, while the slightest criticism of Third World cultures represents a violation of the progressive Party Line.

To add to this tragedy: whenever the genital mutilation holocaust is raised, the first chorus that comes from the Muslim community is that this genocide is not rooted in Islam and predates Islam. Well then, why are Muslim girls this genocide's greatest victims? And why do so many Muslims spend more of their time and energy arguing that female genital mutilation is non-Islamic than campaigning to stop this “un-Islamic” barbaric practise from violating their women and defaming their religion?

The answer is simple: female genital mutilation produces the oxygen that Islamic fundamentalism needs to breathe. It helps militant Islam keep intact the foundation on which its life depends: the subjugation and enslavement of women under a rigid system of gender apartheid.

Thus, Islamic clerics and educators do everything in their power to keep this mutilation in place. No wonder the Eqyptian government’s efforts to protect little girls’ sacred body parts are crushed every time. Any hint of opposition to mutilation is consistently met with furious resistance from Islamic clerics, who fervently emphasize that female genital mutilation is Allah’s will and point to the Prophet’s sanctioning of female circumcision in the hadiths to prove it. Umdat al-Salik, e4.3, therefore, a manual of Shafi'i Islamic law, which is endorsed by Al-Azhar University of Cairo, Egypt (the oldest and most prestigious university in the Islamic world), states that circumcision is obligatory for both men and women.

The prominent Egyptian Sheikh Mustafa Al-Azhari is one of the heroes of the pro-mutilation movement. He has led the way by insisting, among other things, that the attempt to stop female genital mutilation is a Western conspiracy designed to spread promiscuity among Muslims. For him, the Egyptian media’s attempt to stop female circumcision is a “crime.” Surgical specialist at Al-Azhar University, Dr. Muhammad Rif'at Al-Bawwab, meanwhile, puts it more simply: the pleasure that women derive from the clitoris is simply just unnatural and abnormal -- and leads to moral degradation.

In terms of the free West, Muslim girls in Europe are not the only tortured victims of mutilation. The savage practise is also perpetrated right here on our continent. And what are North American Muslim leaders and clerics doing about it? What are we doing about it?
 
Many of our own political leaders and authorities are not doing anything about this silent holocaust  because protecting Muslim girls from this sexual genocide would mean criticizing Islamic culture, which would mean the unimaginable: violating the liberal sacred cow of multiculturalism. The Left feels too good about itself and its tolerant ways to get off track by protecting innocent young girls’ genitals from mutilation.
 
Once again, therefore, the Left has succeeded in continuing its dark tradition of sacrificing human blood on the altar of utopian ideals. The 100 million human corpses socialism engendered in the 20th century were, apparently, not enough.
 
And so, one heart-wrenching and disquieting question remains: when the next Muslim girl, perhaps right next door to us, is forcibly held down and her genital area is attacked with a piece of broken glass, who will hear her cries?
9927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 01:08:32 PM
Jewish Life in an Increasingly Muslim Europe
by Daniel Pipes
Sat, 31 Jan 2004
updated Sun, 27 Jul 2008
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2004/01/jewish-life-in-an-increasingly-muslim-europe.html

 
In a caustic piece last month titled "A French Lesson for Tom Harkin," I noted that due to the hostility coming from the Muslim population of France, nearly half of the country's sizeable Jewish population is considering emigration. In this space, I shall provide occasional updates, in reverse chronological order, on the reasons why Jews of Europe, having survived the Holocaust, again worry about their future.

__________

"The 19th arrondissement of Paris has become a war zone between Jews and North Africans": Tiberge writes in the Brussels Journal about the most recent flare-up of Parisian violence on June 21: "A 17-year old Jewish boy suffered several broken ribs and skull fractures during a violent assault by Mulsim youths. The boy was hospitalized in an unconscious state at Cochin Hospital where he is currently being kept in an artificial coma. The boy, who was wearing a kippa, was walking on Rue Petit, in the 19th, when he came upon a group of 30 young persons of African origin who insulted him before beating him. Five minors were arrested, said a police source, but they have not been identified by witnesses. According to the police, the assault must be put into the context of "brawls" between groups of young Jews and North Africans. One such brawl is said to have occurred just before the beating." (June 24, 2008)

"Jews fleeing Paris suburbs for ‘ghettos' where life is safer": Devorah Lauter writes for JTA that in a period of just three years, roughly half the Jewish families in Villepinte, working-class suburb north of Paris, 150 out of 300, have left due to anti-Semitism, fleeing to other suburbs, Paris neighborhoods considered safer for Jews, or out of France entirely. Symbolic of this flight, Villepinte's 40-year-old synagogue, already torched in 1991 and 2001, might close because it often lacks a minyan. "By the next generation there will be practically no more Jews in the northern Paris periphery," says Maurice Robert Fellous, the president of the Jewish community in Noisy-le-Sec, a northern Paris suburb. More broadly, more than 16,000 Jews, or roughly two-thirds of the mostly Sephardic Jews who once lived in the Seine-Saint-Denis region have left due to the surge of anti-Semitism in the period 2000-05.

As the Jews move tighter together, observes University of Paris sociologist Shmuel Trigano, a self-ghettoization is taking place. "It is a general shift, not a passing crisis. The Jewish community is becoming a ghetto. It is no longer a community of choice but a community of necessity. In a democracy that shouldn't happen."

Many Sephardic families compare this migration and their families' escape from North Africa in the 1960s. "They chased us from Algeria and they followed us here," Robert Sebbane, 81, of Creteil. In 2000, "we were shocked because we didn't think this would happen here." (March 12, 2008)


Dov Hikind, New York State Assemblyman.
American politician urges special refugee status to European Jews: Dov Hikind, a Democrat who represents Boro Park in the New York State Assembly, characterized anti-Semitic incidents in Europe as "staggering," said anti-Semitism has made life intolerable for Jews in England, France, Germany, and Belgium, and called on President George W. Bush to grant Western European Jews special refugee status. (Dec. 4, 2007)

French woman attacked for wearing Star of David: An unnamed French woman, 22, reported that two youths of Middle Eastern origin snatched her Star of David necklace at an underground train station in Marseille, lifted her shirt, drew a swastika on her stomach, and then fled. (Apr. 26, 2007)

Belgian Jewish group attacked by Turks: Sixty or so teenage Hasidic Jews from Antwerp, out on a trip, were attacked on Nov. 30 in the town of Beringen. The MSM ignored the incident for three days. The blog "Islam in Europe" has stitched together this account:

The incident started when a group of Orthodox Jewish kids ages 13-15 came with several adult escorts to the town in order to spend the weekend. The kids had spent the day having fun and had come to Beringen to sleep over at a youth hostel [in a largely Muslim neighborhood, adds the JTA]. Once the kids stepped out of the buses, they were immediately attacked by a group of Turks who threw stones at them and yelled anti-Semitic slurs. The Jewish kids took cover in an inner corridor of the youth hostel. The Turks threw stones and concrete blocks, breaking dozens of windows in various buildings. Glass and stone fragments littered the floor and beds.

The police showed up but the violence continued for about another hour. Even after police managed to get things under control, the Turkish youth kept hanging round the building. The police informed the organizers of the trip that they could not guarantee the safety of the children and at that the organizers decided to cut short the trip and the group returned to Antwerp [accompanied to the highway by a police escort, adds the JTA]. Ten people were arrested later on, among them six minors and four adults.

(Dec. 5, 2006)

Norwegian Jews warned to lie low: After a man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted on an Oslo street on July 22, the Jewish communal body in Norway, called the Mosaic Religious Community, issued an advisory urging Jews to be discreet. "We have encouraged our members to avoid speaking Hebrew loudly on the street," Anne Sender told the newspaper Vårt Land. To Norwegian Broadcasting she suggested that men reconsider wearing a yarmulke. Despire these warnings, Sender stressed that "the situation for Jews in Norway is better than it has been for a long time." (July 20, 2006)

Murder of a Parisian Jew: Ilam Halimi, 23, was a mobile-telephone store clerk who was lured by an Iranian woman, then abducted, tortured, and murdered by a Muslim gang over a 24-day period. (February 2006)


Denmark's "Jewish" cookies.
Denmark's offensive Jewish cookies: It's a small thing in the greater scheme of things, but indicative of three trends. First, Danish Muslims are refusing to buy or eat a cinnamon and hazelnut confection known as the "Jewish cookie" because they don't like the name, reports Yigal Romm in the European Jewish Press. Second, Ole Poulsen, the head of something called the "public food consumer department" noted that this boycott could effect sales, in which case, "we would be obliged to do something about it," i.e., change the product name. Third, noting that the "Jewish cookies" are popular in the pre-Christmas period and have nothing specifically Jewish about them, Denmark's chief rabbi, Bent Lexner, is easy with a change in name. "There is nothing Jewish in it and I wouldn't mind another name," though he does add that "it would be better to educate Muslims to respect the culture of the majority in Denmark, if they want the majority to respect their culture."

Comment: What Poulsen and Lexner both seem to miss here is the consequences of giving way to rank Muslim antisemitism. Winning this small cookie victory inevitably will lead to a push on larger issues. (Dec. 6, 2005)

Former chief rabbi: European Jewish history nearing its end. Israel's former chief rabbi, Meir Lau, yesterday predicted that European Jewish history is nearing its end for the slightly more than one million Jews now living in Europe. He warned that antisemitism is on the rise in nearly every European country and quoted survey data released in recent days indicating that 62 percent of Germans are tired of hearing about the Holocaust. "I see the end of the Diaspora of Jews in Europe. I call on the government to prepare for a new phase in the spiritual and physical absorption of European Jewry before they consider emigrating to the United States or Australia." (Dec. 3, 2004)

Denial of Antisemitism: It's horrible enough that Moshe Yitzchak Naeh, 26, a Hasidic Jew, synagogue sexton, and the father of four, was shot in the head and killed while walking down the street in Antwerp early in the morning on Nov. 18. The fact that Naeh was carrying a considerable sum of money (€1,400) which was not stolen, plus that he had no known criminal connections and was walking near a predominantly Muslim area all pointed to the crime being anti-Jewish in nature. That, however, is not what the Belgian authorities have concluded. "There are no signs that racism was involved," stated Dominique Reyniers, a spokeswoman for the Antwerp prosecutor's office. (Nov. 20, 2004)

French Government Re-authorizes a Terrorist Television Station: France's Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) reached an agreement on Nov. 19 to permit Hizbollah's al-Manar TV to continue broadcasting throughout Europe using the French satellite operator Eutelsat. (The United States and Britain classify Hizbollah as a terrorist group.) This decision followed an attempt by the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF) to have al-Manar's local operations shut down due to its drama "The Diaspora," depicting a Zionist plot to dominate the world. CSA called the "Diaspora" program "intolerable" but permitted al-Manar to go on operating if it agreed to a list of commitments to unbiased journalism. Al-Manar readily agreed to the list but also said it foresaw no changes following the agreement. CRIF president Roger Cuikerman responded to this agreement that "We French citizens are under attack as Jews by this television. The Republic should protect all its citizens and not give in to external pressures." (Nov. 20, 2004) Dec. 13, 2004 update: France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, today banned al-Manar from Eutelsat, a French satellite service, thereby becoming the first country partially to ban the station (it continues to be broadast on GlobeCast, another French satellite). Dec. 16, 2004 update: The New York Sun ascribes this decision to the efforts of Natan Sharansky.

Moving to Israel: The New York Times reports that "The Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental body responsible for settling immigrants, reported a doubling in the number of French Jews who arrived last year and in 2002, to more than 2,000 each year, compared with about 1,000 a year in the previous three years. By contrast, worldwide immigration to Israel has sharply declined during the Arab-Israeli violence." (July 4, 2004)

Only Jewish student: Today's International Herald Tribune recounts how the only Jewish student in a French public school outside Paris with a large Muslim minority stopped eating and had nightmares due to the incessant insults and attacks against her, until she and her mother moved to the south of France, where the 13-year-old enrolled in a new school. (Feb. 10, 2004)

"Teacher told to drop Star of David": That's the headline in Norway's Aftenposten. Curiously, the teacher in question, Inge Telhaug is not a Jew but wears a 16-millimeter (0.6-inch) Magen David around his neck, usually under a T-shirt, as a religious symbol: "I see it as the oldest religious symbol we have in our culture, because without Judaism there would be no Christianity." But he was informed by Kjell Gislefoss, principal of the Kristiansand Adult Education Center, where he teaches immigrants about the Norwegian language and culture, that wearing the star could be deemed a provocation towards the many Muslim students at the school. "The Star of David would be a symbol for one side in what is perhaps the world's most inflamed conflict at the moment. Many [students] have a traumatic past that they have escaped and then we feel that if they are going to learn Norwegian then they can't sit and at the same time be reminded of the things they have traveled from." Telhaug refuses to acquiesce and has hired a lawyer. Heidi Hauge Uldal, head of the Education Association in Kristiansand, deemed the school's decision "unacceptable." (Feb. 5, 2004)

Death Chants: During a Belgium-Israel football game on January 28, 2004, reports Le Soir (Brussels), Muslim fans pulled out Hamas and Hezbollah flags, then cried out "Jews to the gas chamber!" "Death to Jews!" and "Strangle the Jews!" To make matters worse, a Belgian soccer player named Mustapha Toukouki, is said to have encouraged these chants. (Jan. 31, 2004)

9928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 12:55:55 PM
It's the slow motion, semi-peaceful conquest of europe. Already, there are places in western europe where jews must hide their jewishness and non-muslim women must wear the hijab just to walk through their neighborhoods in peace. Just wait to see what the future brings.
9929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 11:23:48 AM
GM: As established over and over ad nauseam, Sharia Courts are CIVIL COURTS; that is the basis and foundation for this whole discussion.  Given that they are Civil Courts, yet not really even a "Court", but rather a VOLUNTARY (both parties must agree) binding place of arbitration, it has no basis or relevancy to the criminal system or English Criminal Law.  In your example above "the women withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the Police, who then called off the criminal investigation."  In similar matters, it's the SAME in America; no complaint, usually no investigation or charge.  Yet IF the women had chosen to pursue CRIMINAL CHARGES, the Police would have finished their investigation and the Prosecutor, both here and in England, would bring CRIMINAL charges IF appropriate.  Their decision to bring charges and the severity of the punishment thereafter, if appropriate, would have NOTHING to do with the decision of the Sharia Court or any other Voluntary Arbitration or Civil Proceeding.

It varies from state to state, I can tell you that my state has very strict laws regarding domestic violence. The state, not the victim pursues charges related to domestic violence. My state statute requires that any time a peace officer finds there is probable cause to believe that dv has occurred, he/she SHALL make a custodial arrest. Failure to do so is official misconduct. If a peace officer in my state were convicted of official misconduct, kiss your career in law enforcement bye-bye.

So, what's the endgame? If it's just civil arbitration, why push sharia courts?

9930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 09:30:32 AM
According to the last article I posted above, the sharia courts have already addressed domestic violence cases. Just wait and see what happens.
9931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 08:04:13 AM
Britain’s Sharia Courts   
By Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Muslim Sharia courts have been operating throughout England for more than a year. This startling fact came as news to not a few UK residents when the Sunday Times broke the story last week. Officially called “arbitration tribunals,” these courts already have ruled on over 100 cases, including divorces, financial disputes and domestic violence cases – even though the latter is a criminal and not a civil matter. As such, they represent a worrying advance for Islamic law into the heart of Europe.

According to the Times, the rulings of these courts are now legally binding. Previously, their judgments could not be enforced unless all parties involved agreed to abide by them. As of August 2007, however, “[r]ulings issued by a network of five Sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.” To match their growing authority, the courts themselves are proliferating: Two more Sharia courts are planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Those who monitor the spread of radical Islam throughout the Western world were quick to take note. Robert Spencer warned, “Britain will come to regret this, but whether or not it will before it's too late is an open question.” Author Melanie Philips, while cautioning against undue alarmism, observed that, “Sharia law is not compatible with English law or the principles of equality and human rights that it embodies. The result – regardless of the fact that this is not, as the Sunday Times claimed, anything new – is that Britain is allowing the development of a de facto parallel legal system in Britain, thus destroying our society's cardinal principle of one law for all.”

How did it come to this? Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs these courts, told the Times that he and other Sharia supporters were simply exploiting a legal loophole: “We realized that under the Arbitration Act [1996] we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals.” Indeed, Jewish Beth Din courts have operated in UK for more than a century. “If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish,” insisted Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain, “so must the Sharia ones.”

This plausible-sounding defense is in fact specious. As Robert Spencer points out, “Jewish courts do not rule on the basis of a law that Jews are laboring to impose upon the whole of British society. Sharia courts are.” Therein lies a crucial distinction, and one that Sharia advocates fail to mention.

Sheikh Siddiqi and Bunglawala may have been inspired on by the example of some Canadian Muslims. Back in 2004, Muslims in the province of Ontario also used the existence of long-standing provincial Catholic and Jewish arbitration tribunals to campaign for the establishment of Sharia courts. When some expressed concern, Sharia supporters accused their critics of “Islamophobia” and paranoia. Undaunted, one intrepid reporter took the time to visit the website of the pro-Sharia Canadian Society of Muslims. What he found there was chilling.

“As Canadian Muslims, you have a clear choice,” wrote the group’s president Syed Mumtaz Ali. “Do you want to govern yourself by the personal law of your own religion or do you prefer governance by secular Canadian family law? If you choose the latter, then you cannot claim that you believe in Islam as a religion and a complete code of life actualized by a prophet who you believe to be a mercy to all.” The punishment for apostasy under Sharia law is death.

Eventually, Ontario’s Liberal Premier Dalton McGinty responded to the controversy – which included anti-Sharia protests in London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dusseldorf, and local protests by Canadian Muslim feminists -- with a decidedly un-Solomonic gesture: he shut down all religious tribunals, even though Catholic and Jewish arbitration had operated without controversy for generations.

(Interestingly, two vocal Canadian Sharia law proponents, Syed Soharwardy and Mohammed Elmasry, went on to sue publisher Ezra Levant and author Mark Steyn, respectively, for “Islamophobia” using Canada’s Sharia-like Human Rights Tribunals. As well, Elmasry recently endorsed the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming federal election. It was a former NDP attorney general who first proposed bringing Sharia to Ontario.)

The “Labor government has colluded with extremist Muslims” before, wrote A. Millar in the Brussels Journal, “Ken Livingstone, the former Left-wing Mayor of London, has openly embraced Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a man who believes that wives can be beaten into submission, that homosexuals should be executed, and pregnant Israeli women should be murdered.”

Earlier this year, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams shrugged that the formal adoption of Sharia law “seemed unavoidable” given Britain’s ever-growing Muslim immigrant population. Shortly thereafter, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips endorsed the use Islamic courts to deal with family, marital and financial disputes. Thus was the path for the mainstreaming of Sharia cleared by left-leaning members of Britain’s political and religious establishment.

Among the many troubling issues raised by this new parallel Muslim justice system is the fact that Sharia law doesn’t not recognize the equality of men and women. Sheik Siddiqi admitted as much to the Sunday Times when he conceded that “the courts can favor men.” The Times reported that already, “in the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.” Each woman subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police, who then called off their criminal investigations. For his part, Siddiqi viewed these outcomes as a triumph because “marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.” Similarly, in a recent inheritance dispute heard before a UK Sharia court, a Muslim father’s estate was split unevenly, in compliance with Sharia law: each son received twice as much as each daughter.

Violent crimes, too, have fallen under the purview of Sharia courts. Last month, the Evening Standard revealed that “a teenage stabbing case among the Somali community in Woolwich had been dealt with by a Sharia ‘trial’” instead of by the secular justice system. Incredibly, after the victims told police that “the matter would be settled out of court,” officers released the suspects in the violent attack on bail.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is Patrick Sookhdeo’s assertion in his book, Faith, Power and Territory: A Handbook of British Islam, that the “Sharia Council of the Darul Uloom London even appears to assume the possibility of child marriages, as there are instructions on its website for how to deal with the divorce of a girl who has not yet reached puberty.”

Surveying these developments, it seems that Britain has failed to heed the warnings of a 2005 study on “Islam and World Domination” by the U.K.’s Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, which monitors the advance of Sharia in England. Back then, said the ISIC, Sharia was “already practiced unofficially.” The institute warned that, “Muslims find it difficult to assume minority status in a majority non-Muslim society. More than other minority communities, they constantly, sometimes subconsciously, strive to redress the balance and assume an expanding and dominant position in their host countries.”

That conclusion may have been dismissed as unfounded speculation in 2005. But with Sharia courts growing in stature, the verdict is decidedly in.
9932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 12:34:51 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/04/print/the_muslim_brotherhood_and_isl.php

Counterterrorism Blog

The Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic law in Europe

By Lorenzo Vidino

Over the last few days various contributors to the CT Blog have debated the real aims of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in the West. Another indication of what the Ikhwan really want came just a few days ago from Sweden, where the country’s largest Muslim organization, the Brotherhood-linked Sveriges Muslimska Förbund (SMF), published a serious of demands addressed to all Swedish political parties (note the text-in Swedish only- “we demand,” not “we ask” or “we suggest”). Among its many demands, SMF stated Swedish Muslims should be given time off work for Friday prayers and Islamic holidays and that imams should approve all divorces between Muslim couples. Basically, SMF is asking for a partial introduction of sharia law in Sweden and the creation of a separate legal system for Swedish Muslim, something politicians from all sides of the Swedish political spectrum and moderate Muslim organizations have immediately condemned as completely unacceptable.

The Swedish case is hardly unique, but mirrors the demand of Brotherhood-linked organizations throughout Europe. For example, in Germany, the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD), the country’s largest Muslim organization, has stated in its official publication Al Islam (here, page 48): “In the long run, Muslims cannot be satisfied with the acceptance of German family, estate, and trial law. … Muslims should aim at an agreement between the Muslims and the German state with the goal of a separate jurisdiction for Muslims.” In Great Britain, the UK Islamic Mission, has the stated goal of conducting a “continuous campaign for the establishment of Muslim family laws,” and to “establish Islamic social order in the United Kingdom in order to seek the pleasure of Allah.”

The Ikhwan organizations of Europe follow the teachings of Sheik Yusuf al Qaradawi, who outlined the methods that these organizations should follow in order to achieve their goal of establishing sharia in Europe in his book Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase. In spite of the European Brothers’ pro-integration public declarations, Qaradawi urges them: “Try to have your small society within the larger society…Try to have your own ‘Muslim ghetto.’” Qaradawi clearly sees the role that the Ikhwan organizations would play in creating these separated Muslim communities, running the mosques, schools, and civic organizations that will shape the daily life of the desired “Non-territorial Islamic States in Europe,” as Reuven Paz calls them. Qaradawi also suggests that sharia law should govern the relations among inhabitants of these Muslim islands, affirming that Muslim minorities “should also have amongst them their own ulema and men of religion to answer their questions when they ask them, guide them when they lose the way and reconcile them when they differ among themselves.”

Unlike the Salafis, the Brothers use a cunning double-talk when dealing with Western elites, advocating integration and dialogue. Yet the plans of the two movements, two different faces of the same coin, are eerily similar. Abu Qatada, al Qaeda’s “ambassador” to Europe was clear about the mujaheddins’ goal: “Muslims’ target is the West. We will split Rome open. The destruction must be carried out by sword. Those who will destroy Rome are already preparing the swords. Rome will not be conquered with the word but with the force of arms.” This is how Qaradawi sees the same issue: “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice…I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.” Different methods, but same goal. Are we sure the U.S. government should use the Brothers as partners in the dialogue with the Muslim world?

By Lorenzo Vidino on April 30, 2006 10:25 PM
9933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2008, 12:21:36 AM
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,474629,00.html

03/29/2007
 
GERMAN JUSTICE FAILURES
Paving the Way for a Muslim Parallel Society

A recent ruling in Germany by a judge who cited the Koran underscores the dilemma the country faces in reconciling Western values with a growing immigrant population. A disturbing number of rulings are helping to create a parallel Muslim world in Germany that is welcoming to Islamic fundamentalists.

She didn't know it, nor did she even expect it. She had good intentions. Perhaps it was a mistake. In fact, it was most certainly a mistake. The best thing to do would be to wipe the slate clean.

Last week, in the middle of the storm, Christa Datz-Winter, a judge on Frankfurt's family court, was speechless. But Bernhard Olp, a spokesman for the city's municipal court, was quick to jump in. Olp reported that the judge had been under emotional stress stemming from a murder that had been committed in her office 10 years ago, and that she was now planning to take a break to recuperate. He also mentioned that she was "outraged" -- not about herself or her scandalous ruling, but over the reactions the case has triggered.

PHOTO GALLERY: DOES GERMANY ALREADY HAVE SHARIA LAW?
   Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (8 Photos)
The reactions were so fierce that one could have been forgiven for mistakenly thinking that Germany's Muslims had won the headscarf dispute and the controversy over the Mohammed cartoons in a single day and, in one fell swoop, had taken a substantial bite out of the legal foundations of Western civilization.

The ensuing media furor came from both sides of the political spectrum. The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung ran a story on the case titled: "In the Name of the People: Beating Allowed," while the right-wing tabloid Bild called it "An Outrageous Case!" The same unanimity across party lines prevailed in the political realm. "Unbearable," was conservative Bavarian Interior Minister Günther Beckstein's ruling, while Lale Akgün, a member of parliament of Turkish origin and the Social Democratic Party's representative on Islamic issues, commented that the Frankfurt judge's ruling was "worse than some backyard decision by an Islamist imam." Even the deputy head of the Green Party's parliamentary group, Hans-Christian Ströbele, noted that a German judge is obligated to uphold German law.



The original purpose of the case was not to carry the clash of cultures into the courtroom. Instead, the case brought before Frankfurt's family court was that of a 26-year-old German woman of Moroccan origin who was terrified of her violent Moroccan husband, a man who had continued to threaten her despite having been ordered to stay away by the authorities. He had beaten his wife and he had allegedly threatened to kill her.
But German law requires a one-year separation before a divorce can be completed -- and exceptions for an expedited process are only granted in extreme situations. When the woman's attorney, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, filed a petition for an expedited divorce, Judge Christa Datz-Winter suddenly became inflexible. According to the judge, there was no evidence of "an unreasonable hardship" that would make it necessary to dissolve the marriage immediately. Instead, the judge argued, the woman should have "expected" that her husband, who had grown up in a country influenced by Islamic tradition, would exercise the "right to use corporal punishment" his religion grants him.

The judge even went so far as to quote the Koran in the grounds for her decision. In Sura 4, verse 34, she wrote, the Koran contains "both the husband's right to use corporal punishment against a disobedient wife and the establishment of the husband's superiority over the wife."

A disturbing pattern of rulings

Put plainly, the judge argued that a woman who marries a Muslim should know what she's getting herself into. In Germany, no less. Leading German feminist Alice Schwarzer argued that this was tantamount to a "softening of our legal system" that is "by no means a coincidence." Germany's only minister of integration at the state level, Armin Laschet, a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from the state of North Rhine Westphalia, sees the Frankfurt ruling as the "last link, for the time being, in a chain of horrific rulings handed down by German courts" -- rulings in which, for example, so-called honor killings have been treated as manslaughter and not murder.

This, says Berlin family attorney and prominent women's rights activist Seyran Ates, is part of the reason one should "be almost thankful that (judge Datz-Winter) made such a clear reference to the Koran. All she did was bring to the surface an undercurrent that already exists in our courts." Out of a sense of misguided tolerance, says Ates, judges treat the values of Muslim subcultures as a mitigating circumstance and, in doing so, are helping pave the way for a gradual encroachment of fundamentalist Islam in Germany's parallel Muslim world. It's an issue Ates often runs up against in her cases. "In Frankfurt," she says, "someone expressly openly for the first time what many are already thinking."
9934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 11:58:53 PM
Yet.
9935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 11:32:53 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1578119/Sharia-law-already-enforced-in-10-courts.html

Sharia law already enforced in 10 courts
 
By Gordon Rayner and Duncan Gardham
Last Updated: 2:24AM GMT 09 Feb 2008

The extent to which sharia law already operates in Britain was the subject of concern yesterday after it emerged that at least 10 Islamic "courts" are sitting across the country.
The existence of the courts, in towns and cities including London and Birmingham, heightened anxiety following the Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks that the introduction of some elements of Islamic law was "unavoidable".
The majority of cases heard in the courts involve divorce or financial disputes, but one reported case involved a gang of Somali youths who were allowed to go free after paying compensation to a teenager they had stabbed.
Extremists were said to have used the spread of sharia courts to justify calls for Islamic law to be adopted "wholesale" for Muslims living in Britain.
Anjem Choudary, a solicitor and former senior figure in the banned organisation Al-Muhajiroun, said: "Some element of family law or social and economic law will not work. It has to be adopted wholesale. It will not happen tomorrow but it is inevitable because sharia is superior and better for mankind."
Despite grave warnings from lawyers about the dangers of a dual legal system, criminal cases are already being dealt with by some of the unofficial courts.
In 2006 an Islamic Council sitting in Woolwich, south-east London, heard the case of the Somali gang, who had been accused of stabbing another Somali teenager and were reportedly arrested by the police.
Aydarus Yusuf, a youth worker, told Radio 4's Law in Action programme that the suspects were released on bail after the victim's family said the matter would be dealt with by the Islamic community. "All their uncles and fathers were there," said Mr Yusuf.
"So they all put something towards that and apologised for the wrongdoing." The Metropolitan Police said it was unaware of the case, but admitted that officers sometimes did not proceed with assault cases if the victim decided not to press charges.
Mr Yusuf told the programme that he felt more bound by sharia law than by the laws of his adopted country.
"Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law,'' he said. "It's not sharia, it's not religious, it's just a cultural thing.''
He said sharia's great strength was that those who appeared before religious courts would avoid re-offending so as not to bring shame on their families. The first sharia court in the UK started in Birmingham in 1982, and others have followed in London, Rotherham and Dewsbury, West Yorks.
Although their rulings are not recognised by English law, participants often agree to abide by the court's decision in the same way that Jewish civil disputes are often settled in their own court, the Beth Din.
Divorces must still be ratified by civil law courts. **Not anymore.**
Omar Bakri Mohammed, the former leader of Al-Muhajiroun, who is banned from entering the UK, said: "If sharia law were introduced it would have all kinds of benefits. It would get rid of drinking, night clubs, casual sex, homosexuality, prostitution, gambling and usury."
David Pannick QC, a leading human rights barrister, said that if criminal law and marriages were dealt with by sharia courts
"it would lead to the breakdown of society, if some groups could just ignore laws that applied to others".
9936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 11:19:06 PM
**"The water feels fine", said the frog.**

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hqiCwPO2NHjLstgMZcot-vSzFq0w

First sharia-compliant insurance firm launched
Jul 27, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Britain's first sharia-compliant insurance company was launched Monday, offering motoring policies in line with the Islamic legal code.

Salaam Halal insurance uses Takaful principles, whereby the risk is spread between all policy holders. In contrast, conventional insurance policies shift the risk from the policy holder to the insurance firm.
People taking out a policy with Salaam Halal pay contributions into a pool, with that money then put into sharia-compliant investments -- avoiding companies that are involved in alcohol or pay interest.
The central pool of funds is used to pay any claims that arise, and at the end of the year, if the pool is over-funded, the excess will be distributed back to policyholders through a discount on their next premium.
The policies are aimed at Britain's 1.6 million Muslims, who constitute 2.7 percent of the total population, according to the 2001 census.
"The launch of Salaam insurance -- the first independent, fully sharia-compliant Takaful operator available in this country -- is a significant step for the growth of Islamic finance in the UK," said Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, the chairman of Salaam insurance.
The group, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, an independent watchdog, hopes to launch home insurance policies later this year.
Their call centres in Britain can take calls in English, Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati or Urdu.
In 2004, Britain authorised a 100 percent Islamic bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain. And the traditional bank Lloyds TSB last year launched Islamic finance products targeted at businesses, and offered sharia-compliant bank accounts.
9937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 16, 2008, 11:10:08 PM
Obama is a US citizen. He was born in Hawaii and this lawsuit is silly and going nowhere. God help us if he's elected, but he is eligible to be president.
9938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 11:01:37 PM
http://womenagainstshariah.blogspot.com/2008/07/uk-forced-marriage-victims-betrayed-by.html

WOMEN AGAINST SHARIAH
ABOUT US

The mission of Women Against Shariah is to prevent and outlaw the imposition of shariah law in the United States for both Muslim and American women as either a parallel legal system or a replacement for existing laws. Additionally, we hope to empower women worldwide to resist shariah.

It is our position that shariah law imposes second class status on women and is incompatible with the standards of liberal Western societies and the basic principles of human rights that include equality under the law and the protection of individual freedoms. The shariah code mandates the complete authority of men over women, including the control of their movement, education, marital options, clothing, bodies, place of residence and all other aspects of their existence. Further, it calls for the beating, punishment, and murder of women who don’t comply with shariah requirements.

In our efforts to stem the encroachment of shariah in the West, we are focusing on the following objectives:

Education of the American public about the inherent human rights violations and the attempt to undermine or replace U.S. law and American statutes with Islamic shariah

Publicizing of important issues related to sharia requirements such as honor killings, forced marriages, child marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation, violence against women, etc.

Alerting policy makers and legislators to potential human rights and equal rights violations and working toward the development of possible remedies and legal actions

Building coalitions with like-minded organizations to develop policy initiatives and interventions for victims of shariah.
________________________________________________________________________________
FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2008

UK: Forced Marriage Victims Betrayed by Doctors
Doctors and Job Centre workers are breaching confidentiality rules and passing on vital information to families, allowing them to trace and punish Asian women who are attempting to escape coerced marriages and "honour"-based domestic violence.

Commander Steve Allen, who is the spokesman on forced marriages for Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), revealed that some doctors have informed girls' families that they have asked for the contraceptive pill, placing them at risk from fathers or brothers who believe this means the family's honour has been besmirched.

Cmdr Allen also told The Sunday Telegraph that Job Centre workers have accessed the National Insurance details of women who flee violent husbands, tracing where they collect benefits and passing the details on to their families so they can be found and forced back to their marital home.

In one case the family of an 18-year-old Pakistani woman attempted to kidnap her from a south London Job Centre after being tipped off by a member of staff. The plot was only foiled because her boyfriend intervened.

Cmdr Allen, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "GPs will tell fathers their daughter has seen them and is on the pill. That can get a girl killed. Public sector employees will pass on to a family member an individual's National Insurance number knowing it can be used to trace their new whereabouts around the country.

"There is collusion by certain public servants and people in a position of authority, such as doctors, which supports these offences. It means many victims don't have the faith or the trust to be able to report their situation."

Cmdr Allen revealed the problem is compounded by some police offices treating women fleeing a forced marriage as 'teenage runaways' and returning them to their families – unwittingly placing them in danger. This has led to a breakdown of trust in some areas, with young Asian girls scared to tell the police of their plight for fear their families will be told.

He also said that in some Asian communities women do not trust the police because they suspect local officers will inform their families if they attempt to flee a forced marriage. ACPO is now taking urgent steps to address the problem by increased training for officers in how to deal with cases.
9939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 10:53:03 PM
Omar Bakri can see it, why can't you? You should fly to Beirut so you can lecture him on his anti-islamic beliefs.
9940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 10:46:07 PM
http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD205008

Special Dispatch Series - No. 2050
September 12, 2008   No. 2050

Lebanese Islamist Sheikh Omar Bakri: Britain's Problem – 'Its Law Is Not the Law Sent Down by Allah'; Terrorism by Mujahideen is 'Blessed'; 'Within 20 Years, British Society Will Have A Muslim Majority'
Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Islamist sheikh Omar Bakri, which aired on OTV on August 22, 2008.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1848.htm .

"The Problem With Britain Is that Its Law Is Not the Law Sent Down by Allah"

Sheikh Omar Bakri: "This is true Salafism: Pure and complete religious preaching, and we only brandish our weapons against those who fight us. If we are fought and prevented from calling people to join Islam, a right that everybody has... You call this 'freedom of expression,' but I call it a religious duty to preach for the sake of Allah. If I am prevented from performing this duty, I must either defend myself or emigrate. They prevented me from doing this in Britain, so I emigrated to Lebanon."

Interviewer: "What is your problem with the British? We all know that you left before they decided you would not be allowed to return, and revoked your British citizenship, even though your family still has citizenship."

Bakri: "The problem with Britain is that its law is not the law sent down by Allah. This country says that it implements democracy, freedom of expression, personal liberties, and the right to own property, but when I expressed my belief by preaching to Islam - there was an impressive response in the universities, and George and Michael became Omar and Abd Al-Rahman, and Jane became Hadija...

"Within 20 Years, British Society Will Have A Muslim Majority"

"When they saw that Islam was spreading in British universities at an unprecedented rate, and that the non-Muslims - the Hindus, the Christians and the Jews - were accepting Islam at an average rate of 21 people a day, it began to endanger their society. Within 20 years, British society will have a Muslim majority. Of course, this cannot be allowed by this secular regime, which wants to strip society of any religious values connected to Allah.

[...]

"In cases of self-defense, there are victims, who are not intentionally targeted. They are killed by mistake, as collateral damage, not intentionally... When America bombs Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq, and sows destruction, the Muslims have the right to retaliate, and then there might be victims.

[...]

"Why do people say that Islam is being distorted today, when these are jihad operations against an enemy occupying Muslim lands? What's the difference between America in Iraq and Israel in Palestine?"

Interviewer: "There is a difference between fighting an American or Israeli soldier, who is occupying my land..."

Bakri: "When the American soldier takes off his uniform and wears pajamas, it becomes forbidden to fight him?"

"There Are Two Types of Terrorism, Blessed and Deplorable - [The Mujahideen's] Terrorism is Blessed"

Interviewer: "Was there a military base in the Twin Towers, which were destroyed?"

Bakri: "It was not just the Twin Towers, but also the U.S. Department of Defense... The 9/11 operation is a matter subject to personal judgment. Some people were against, and others supported it…"

Interviewer: "When explosives are placed on trains and in coffee shops... If I am under occupation, and I carry out attacks against it, that's one thing..."

Bakri: "You can call such operations terrorist operations par excellence. But today, America represents the camp of Western terrorism, and there is another camp of terrorism within Islam. But there are two types of terrorism: Blessed and deplorable. The same is true with regard to violence. Violence can either take lives or save lives. In both cases, it is violence. America's violence is meant to take lives, and so its terrorism is deplorable, whereas the violence the mujahideen use for defense and retaliation is meant to protect lives and defend honor. Their terrorism is blessed. Not all terrorism is deplorable.

[...]

"The problem with Hizbullah is that it believes in resistance for the sake of the land. We believe that fighting for the sake of land..."

Interviewer: "... is forbidden, because fighting should be for the sake of Allah."

Bakri: "I was created from mud, I fight for the mud of Shaba', and I will be buried in mud - my entire history is muddy... I fight for the sake of God who lives and does not die. I fight to glorify the word of Allah. If in Lebanon, they would fight to glorify the word of Allah, I'd say: Fine, let them fight for Shaba', liberate it, and instate the law of Allah. But if all they want is to liberate the Shaba' Farms, and then instate what is known here as the 'Lebanese law' - I do not accept this."

Interviewer: "You are talking about Lebanon as if you do not belong here."

Though I Was Given British Citizenship, "I Refused to Swear That I Would Obey the Queen or the Laws - I Obey Only Allah and His Messenger"

Bakri: "I belong to Islam. I did not belong to Britain when I lived there. I was a Muslim living in Britain, now I am a Muslim living in Lebanon, and tomorrow I will be a Muslim living in Iraq. God only knows, I may be a Muslim in prison."

Interviewer: "So why did you take British citizenship?"

Bakri: "I didn't take it. They gave it to me."

Interviewer: "So why didn't you reject it?"

Bakri: "I did not carry their ID. I did not have a British passport. I used a Lebanese passport to get back here."

Male guest: "They took it away from him."

Interviewer: "Why didn't he reject it beforehand?"

Bakri: "They took away my right to become a citizen. They didn't give me a passport because I refused to pledge allegiance to the queen. My wife and children got passports because they were born there. I refused to swear that I would obey the queen or the laws. I obey only Allah and His Messenger."
9941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 10:18:44 PM
Sharia law condones domestic violence, given that it's the husband inflicting violence on the wife. Now that sharia law is creeping into the UK's legal system, you'll see the system empower abusers via the sharia courts, just as sharia courts do around the globe.
9942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 07:07:54 PM
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/003-wife-beating.htm

Domestic violence, now with the force of British law! Woo hoo!

"Woo hoo!" maybe, but NO WHERE in you link or anywhere else for that matter does British Law condone or provide the "force of law"
allowing domestic violence.  It's simply not true! It's a fabrication without basis for fact.  Apparently you don't like Muslims, any Muslims,

**I don't like Islam's theology of violence.**

but like Christians, Hindu's, Jews, et al there are good ones and bad ones.  Did you ever notice there is a lot of domestic violence here
in America among so called, "Christians"?

**If you'd bother to actually read up on islamic theology, you'd see that wife-beating is mandated by "allah".*
*
9943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 07:04:29 PM
004.034
YUSUFALI: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
PICKTHAL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Book 004, Number 2127:
Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi' (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you.
9944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 02:21:06 PM
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/003-wife-beating.htm

Domestic violence, now with the force of British law! Woo hoo!
9945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 02:16:49 PM
Independent.co.uk
A question of honour: Police say 17,000 women are victims every year

Ministers are stepping up the fight against so-called 'honour' crime and forced marriages. Detectives say official statistics are 'merely the tip of the iceberg' of this phenomenon. Brian Brady investigates

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to "honour" related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs.

And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the "honour" of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest.

The crisis, with children as young as 11 having been sent abroad to be married, has prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to call on British consular staff in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan to take more action to identify and help British citizens believed to be the victims of forced marriages in recent years.

The Home Office is drawing up an action plan to tackle honour-based violence which "aims to improve the response of police and other agencies" and "ensure that victims are encouraged to come forward with the knowledge that they will receive the help and support they need". And a Civil Protection Bill coming into effect later this year will give courts greater guidance on dealing with forced marriages.

Commander Steve Allen, head of ACPO's honour-based violence unit, says the true toll of people falling victim to brutal ancient customs is "massively unreported" and far worse than is traditionally accepted. "We work on a figure which suggests it is about 500 cases shared between us and the Forced Marriage Unit per year," he said: "If the generally accepted statistic is that a victim will suffer 35 experiences of domestic violence before they report, then I suspect if you multiplied our reporting by 35 times you may be somewhere near where people's experience is at." His disturbing assessment, made to a committee of MPs last week, comes amid a series of gruesome murders and attacks on British women at the hands of their relatives.

Marilyn Mornington, a district judge and chair of the Domestic Violence Working Group, warned that fears of retribution, and the authorities' failure to understand the problem completely, meant the vast majority of victims were still too scared to come forward for help. In evidence to the home affairs committee, which is investigating the problem, she said: "We need a national strategy to identify the large number of pupils, particularly girls, missing from school registers who have been taken off the register and are said to be home schooled, which leads to these issues. Airport staff and other staff need to be trained to recognise girls who are being taken out of the country.

"We are bringing three girls a week back from Islamabad as victims of forced marriage. We know that is the tip of the iceberg, but that is the failure end. It has to be part of education within the communities and the children themselves."

Women who have been taken overseas to be married against their will are now being rescued on an almost daily basis. The Government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) handled approximately 400 cases last year – 167 of them leading to young Britons being helped back to the UK to escape unwanted partners overseas. And it is not just women who are affected. Home Office figures show that 15 per cent of cases involve men and boys.

In an attempt to crack down on the crimes being committed in the name of honour, police are to introduce a new training package that will give all officers instructions on handling honour cases. In addition, detectives are believed to be conducting a "cold case" style review of previous suicides amid suspicions that cases of honour killings are more common than previously thought.

Almost all victims of the most extreme crimes are women, killed in half of cases by their own husbands. Sometimes murders are carried out by other male relatives, or even hired killers. The fear that many thousands are left to endure honour violence alone may be supported by the disturbing details of the incidence of suicide within the British Asian community. Women aged 16 to 24 from Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds are three times more likely to kill themselves than the national average for women of their age.

A report published last week by the Centre for Social Cohesion found that many women felt unable to defy their families and therefore "suffer violence, abuse, depression, anxiety and other psychological problems that can lead to self-harm, schizophrenia and suicide". James Brandon, co-author of Crimes of the Community: Honour-based Violence in the UK, said: "The Government is still not taking honour crime seriously. Until this happens, the ideas of honour which perpetuate this violence will continue to be passed on through generations. Religious leaders, local authorities and central government must work together to end such abuses of human rights."

The human cost of honour crime was vividly captured in a haunting video message from murdered Banaz Mahmood, who revealed how her own father had tried to kill her after she abandoned her arranged marriage and fell in love with another man. In the grainy message she told how he plied her with brandy – the first time she had ever drunk alcohol – pulled the curtains and asked her to turn around.

The 19-year-old fled, but less than a month after making the grainy video on a mobile phone, Banaz was dead. Her naked body was found buried in a yard in Birmingham in 2006, more than 100 miles from her London home. She had been raped and tortured by men hired by her uncle to kill her. Mahmood's father, uncle and one of her killers were sentenced to a total of 60 years in jail for the murder.

And the fatal potential of honour disputes was laid bare last month when a coroner said he was convinced that a Muslim teenager who feared she was being forced into an arranged marriage by her parents had suffered a "vile murder." Ian Smith said the concept of an arranged marriage was "central" to the circumstances leading up to the death of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed, whose decomposed body was discovered on the banks of the River Kent at Sedgwick, Cumbria, four years ago. After running away from home in February 2003, Shafilea told housing officers: "My parents are going to send me to Pakistan and I'll be married to someone and left there." The tragic story of the bright teenager who wanted to go to university and study law is far from the only example of the anguish suffered by British teenagers in recent years.

Toafiq Wahab, British consul in Dhaka, Bangladesh, recalls a "rescue mission" to recover a 17-year-old who called his office from Sylhet. "We had to track her down and 36 hours from taking that call, we had turned up at her house with an armed police escort," he said. "The house was filled with over 20 of her relations, most of whom were from Britain and stunned to see me. They obviously did not want her to leave. We simply asked her if she wanted to leave and go back to the UK in the presence of all her family and she agreed. I then spoke to the family and explained what we were doing and tried to make them understand. In the end, we had to get the police to assist in helping us to leave."

Former Bradford policeman Philip Balmforth, who works with vulnerable Asian women, said he saw 395 cases of forced marriage in the city last year. "I had a case of a 14-year-old girl at school," he recalled. "The teacher tells me that the girl claims to have been married. So I went along to the school with a Muslim colleague. We saw the girl. We asked her a few questions and we were not sure. Then the girl said: 'If you don't believe me I have the video at home.'"

In Bradford alone, a total of 250 girls aged between 13 and 16 were taken off the school rolls last year because they failed to return from trips abroad. Campaigners suspect many were victims of forced marriages.

"If contacted by concerned young British men and women in the UK, the FMU provides free and confidential advice on the potential dangers of being forced into marriage overseas and precautions to take to help avoid this happening," said a Foreign Office spokesperson last night. "If we learn that a British national overseas is being forced into marriage, or has already been forced into marriage, we look at various means of consular assistance ranging from action through the courts to rescue missions."

"The FMU can also help to arrange accommodation for victims for when they return to the UK and can refer victims to counselling and supports groups, legal centres, and so on.

"When it is necessary, the FMU and our embassies and high commissions work closely with the police and judiciary overseas in order to organise emergency rescue and repatriation missions."

Britain's hidden scandal

The kidnap victim

In June 2000 Narina Anwar, 29, and her two sisters claim they were tricked by their parents into going on a family holiday to a remote village in Pakistan, where they were held captive for five months in an attempt to force them to marry three illiterate villagers. The sisters fled to Lahore and contacted the British High Commission, which persuaded their parents to hand over their children's passports so they could return home.

The 'slave'

Gina Singh, 28, sued her former mother-in-law for £35,000 in 2006 after she was forced to work 17 hours a day around the house. Ms Singh, from Nottingham, was forbidden to leave the house on her own after an arranged marriage in 2002.

The runaway wife

In 1983, Zana Muhsen and her sister Nadia, from Birmingham, were pushed by their father to visit Yemen and forced to marry. Zana, now 35, escaped eight years later. Her father had sold her for a few thousand dollars. The experience is recounted in her book, 'Sold'.

The murder victim

Surjit Athwal disappeared with Bachan Athwal, her mother-in-law, after a family wedding in India in 1998. Her body was never found. Bachan later boasted that she arranged for her son, Sukhdave, to murder Surjit after finding out that she was having an affair.

The attempted suicide

Shafilea Ahmed was the victim of a suspected honour killing. The 17-year-old's body was found months after she had returned from a trip to Pakistan in 2003. On the trip she drank bleach. The coroner said he saw it as a 'desperate measure' to avoid a forced marriage.
9946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 16, 2008, 02:07:04 PM
http://www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=7068

Sharia law is now legally binding
Monday, September 15, 2008

It’s been described by one commentator as an example of Great Britain ‘surrendering’ itself and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was criticised for saying it will happen, but whatever the reaction, Islamic law now officially operates in the UK.

Whereas before rulings by sharia courts in Britain could only be enforced if all parties in a Muslim civil case agreed to abide by them, now what the courts say will be legally binding, backed by county courts or the High Court.

The five sharia courts are Birmingham, Bradford, London and Manchester with others planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. They will be run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal whose Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi said: "We realised that under the Arbitration Act [1996] we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals."

Muslim tribunal courts have been running since August 2007, hearing cases of divorce, domestic violence and much more. Jewish Beth Din courts have been in the UK for over 100 years.

However, Siddiqi admitted that the courts can favour men, with several cases of domestic violence ending with husbands receiving little punishment other than being made to take an anger management course. In every case, the women later withdrew their claims.

Tory shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve was amazed that sharia law had been made legally binding. "If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so."

And Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: "I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state."
9947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: September 16, 2008, 01:14:00 PM
The sad thing is, the above article is one of the more reasonable hit pieces written by the MSM.......   grin
9948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: September 16, 2008, 12:03:20 AM
What Was Feminism?   
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | Monday, September 15, 2008

The media went hysterical over Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and Republican nominee for vice president. She may have appeared to the public as an independent, capable professional woman, but to a particular elite she couldn't possibly be a real feminist or even a serious candidate.
And that raises questions about what is — and what is not — feminism.

Feminism grew out of the 1960s to address sexual inequality. At an early age, I was mentored on most feminist arguments by my late mother. She graduated from Stanford Law School in the 1940s but then was offered only a single job as a legal secretary. Instead, she went back home to raise three children with my father, a teacher and farmer, and only returned to legal work in her 40s. She was eventually named a California superior court judge and, later, a state appellate court justice.

Hers was a common and compelling feminist argument of the times, and went something like this: Women should receive equal pay for equal work, and not be considered mere appendages of their husbands. Childrearing — if properly practiced as a joint enterprise — did not preclude women from pursuing careers. A woman's worth was not to be necessarily judged by having either too many or too few children, given the privacy of such decisions and the co-responsibility of male partners.

In such an ideal gender-blind workplace, women were not to be defined by their husband's or father's success or failure. The beauty of women's liberation was that it was not hierarchical but included the unmarried woman who drove a combine on her own farm, the corporate attorney and the homemaker who chose to home-school her children.

Women in the workplace did not look for special favors. And they surely did not wish to deny innately feminine differences. Instead, they asked only that men should not establish arbitrary rules of the game that favored their male gender.

Soon radical changes in American attitudes about birth control, abortion, dating, marriage and health care became, for some, part and parcel of women's liberation. But in its essence feminism still was about equality of opportunity, and so included women of all political and religious beliefs.

That old definition of feminism is now dead. It has been replaced by a new creed that is far more restrictive - as the controversy over Sarah Palin attests. Out of the recent media frenzy, four general truths emerged about the new feminism:

(1) There is a particular class and professional bent to the practitioners of feminism. Sarah Palin has as many kids as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she has as much of a prior political record as the once-heralded Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who was named to the Democratic ticket by Walter Mondale in 1984 - and arguably has as much as, or more executive experience than, Barack Obama. Somehow all that got lost in the endless sneering stories about her blue-collar conservatism, small Alaskan town, five children, snowmobiling husband and Idaho college degree.

(2) Feminism now often equates to a condescending liberalism. Emancipated women who, like Mrs. Palin, do not believe in abortion or are devout Christians are at best considered unsophisticated dupes. At worst, they are caricatured as conservative interlopers, piggybacking on the hard work of left-wing women whose progressive ideas alone have allowed the Palins of the world the choices they otherwise would not now enjoy.

Apparently these feminists believe that without the ideas of Gloria Steinem on abortion, a moose-hunting PTA mom would not have made governor. The Democrat's vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, said Mrs. Palin's election, given her politics, would be "a backward step for women."

(3) Hypocrisy abounds. Many female critics of Mrs. Palin, in Washington and New York politics and media, found their careers enhanced through the political influence of their powerful fathers, their advantageous marriages to male power players and the inherited advantages of capital. The irony is that a Sarah Palin - like a Barbara Jordan, Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher - made her own way without the help of money or influence.

(4) Most Americans still believe in the old feminism but not this new doctrinaire liberal brand. Consequently, a struggling John McCain suddenly has shot ahead of Mr. Obama in the polls. Apparently millions of Americans like Mrs. Palin's underdog feminist saga and her can-do pluckiness. Many are offended by haughty liberal media elites sneering at someone whom, politics aside, they should be praising - for her substantial achievements, her inspirational personal story and her Obama-like charisma.

This last week we were supposed to learn about a liberated Gov. Sarah Palin. Instead the media taught us more than we ever wanted to know about what they now call feminism.

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author of "A War Like No Other" (Random House).
9949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 15, 2008, 11:52:11 PM
**What of the other 67%?**

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1124/p06s01-woeu.html

BRITISH MUSLIMS PUSH TO INTEGRATE
Members of Britain's growing Muslim population are working to repair an image tattered by homegrown radicals - and to find a place in mainstream society.

By John Thorne | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
LONDON –

Hunched in black robes over his microphone, Sheikh Omar Bakri suddenly heaves himself upright in rhetorical climax and pounds the table. "Embrace capitalism or Christianity, you go to hellfire!" he bellows. The crowd of men seated before him nod in agreement as Sheikh Bakri warns against misplaced sympathy for Western society.
"Don't think that because [the unbelievers] give us income support we should have less hate," he continues. "Because we hate not for our sakes, but for the sake of Allah."

03/31/04

With successful raids, British chip away at terror threat

His point made, Bakri sinks into his chair and indulges in a bit of Islamist bravado by cracking a dark joke about stabbing people in the guts. A low murmur of laughter passes through the men, while at the back of the room their wives, wrapped in chadors, remain still and silent as columns. A few children scamper in the aisles.
Hard-line Islamists like Bakri have become the bête noire for Britons who question whether the growing ranks of Muslims here want to integrate more fully into society. This anxiety, felt throughout Europe, has intensified after weeks of headlines played up the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist.

It's an anxiety felt acutely by Britain's 1.8 million Muslims. They are one of the country's fastest-growing, poorest, and least educated minorities. But many are struggling to repair a reputation tattered by home-grown radicals like Bakri and find a place in mainstream society. And despite setbacks to their image, they are making progress.

• Muslim leaders supported a government initiative to filter out extremists by imposing an English test on foreign imams seeking work permits.

• Mosques are transforming themselves into community hubs in an attempt to dampen the mistrust and alienation that observers say can cause some young Muslims to turn to radicalism in the first place.

• Many mosques now host regular interfaith discussions, organize after-school youth groups, and have worked with local police to foster goodwill.

• Muslims voted in record numbers at this summer's European elections, defying both radical imams' and some non-Muslims' view that Islam and democracy don't mix.

"The Muslim community has to stand up and be counted as a British Muslim community," Khurshid Ahmed, spokesman for Muslim issues at the Commission for Racial Equality, told the BBC.

Many Muslims seem to agree. A recent poll commissioned by The Guardian newspaper showed that 33 percent of Muslims wanted more integration into mainstream British culture.

"The generation that's grown up here calls itself British and Muslim," says Imam Yunus Dudhwala, "and I don't think that's a contradiction."

But the same poll showed that 26 percent of British Muslims felt integration has gone too far.

"We have pockets who ... feel that even integration is a threat to their way of life," explains Ibrahim Mogra, head of the Muslim Council of Britain's Imams and Mosques Committee.

Indeed, Muslim parents often worry - with some justification - that their kids will pick up un-Islamic behavior from their English peers.

"Muslim girls aren't supposed to smoke and drink and hang about out on the street like boys," says Ima, a Muslim woman out shopping for a new sari in her Muslim neighborhood.

But when she slips into a side-street for a quick cigarette, she confirms fears that mainstream British culture will corrupt traditional Islamic values.

At the same time, moderate Muslims worry that the British media's focus on the few bad apples creates a false, sinister image of all Muslims.

"The reality [of extremism] is that there is almost nothing there," insists Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, the country's foremost Muslim lobby group. "The rhetoric about the Great Satan and the Islamic superstate can seem daunting. But it's just rhetoric."

Yet a handful of British Muslims have turned such rhetoric into action.

• In 2001, Richard Reid, a British convert to Islam, boarded an American Airlines flight with shoes packed full of explosives. (Crew members restrained him before he could set them off.)

• In 2003, two British Muslims blew themselves up in a Tel Aviv bar, killing three and wounding 55.

• British-born mujahideen were found fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

• Last spring, British police foiled a massive bombing plot by Muslims targeted inside Britain.

• And three British Muslims are alleged to have joined the radical insurgency of Al Qaeda affiliate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

Although some blame the media, many Muslims - especially younger ones - complain that their community lacks unity and strong leadership.

"I don't think there are inspiring spokespeople for mainstream Islam, and that's a major problem," says Wasif, who runs a graphic design business.

Above all, moderates say, mainstream Muslims must confront the extremism that has taken root in Britain.

"Much of the Muslim leadership has not only denied the problem, it has maligned and ostracized those who have attempted to address it," stormed Fareena Alam, the managing editor of the Muslim magazine Q-News, in a column for The Observer newspaper last April.

Muslim leaders are beginning to respond. Mosques have adopted a policy of vetting would-be imams and blackballing radicals like Bakri, who are forced to preach in hired halls.

Affirming British identity is what mainstream Muslims claim they must do if they are to capture the limelight from the extremist minority and shake off the stigma of terrorism.

But for integration efforts to bear fruit, the British public will have to take notice. "Non-Muslims need to have an open mind," says Bilal, an Islamic studies student, "and we need to be better examples."
9950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 15, 2008, 11:31:18 PM
A certain percentage directly engage in jihad, many others directly or indirectly support jihad against the unbelievers and under sharia law, submissive jews and christians are only allowed to live as second class citizens and those that convert from islam or are polytheists face death. Aside from the brutal oppression, it's wonderful.
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