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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 1, 2013.
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Maddened Muslim Mobs

In Damascus, for example, in 1840, with a pogrom against Jews.

In Damascus, again, in 1860, against Christian Maronites.

In Baghdad, for example, in 1941, during the Farhud, with city-wide attacks on Jews.

In Cairo, against Copts and Jews, in 1941, following fiery speeches by Hasan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, grandfather of Tariq Ramadan.

In Tripoli and Benghazi, in Oran and Algiers, and in cities of Pakistan where Shi'a, Ahmadis, and Christians have been subject to mob attacks, and in Indonesia against Christians and Hindus in island after island, and in Nigeria, in the north and now in the center of the country, too, as Islam expands, against Christians in Kano and Jos, and in Pakistan, by Sunnis against Shia, Ahmadis, Christians, from Karachi to Quetta, and....oh, it's something you can fill up pages with, and you can do the research yourself. 

And in Mandatory Palestine, before the Jews had weapons and training and could defend themselves, attacks from Tel Hai to Jerusalem in 1921 (with Bertie Waters-Taylor, an English officer, egging the Arabs on even as he carefully made sure the Jews were defenseless), too, and of course in Hebron, in late August 1929, as recorded in the headline, for those who've forgotten that history,  here.

Posted on 01/01/2013 6:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Allah is Dead, a book review and commentary

by G.B. Singh (January 2013)

Allah Is Dead: Why Islam is Not A Religion is one fascinating and provocative book, worthy of serious inspection as well as furthering the dialogue on religion in general and Islam in particular. The book’s unusual title is enough to acknowledge that this author is bold enough to stick her neck out and let the chips fall wherever they might. My surprise was not this title in itself, but its contents which freely debated her own critical views against Islam and on top of that she extended her critical philosophical/opinions against the backdrop of the Bible.  This sort of writing is rare especially in today’s politically-correct charged atmosphere in our country.  more>>>

Posted on 01/01/2013 8:14 AM by NER
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Islamic Menace In Ethiopia

Ethiopia was once the mythical quondam kingdom of Prester John. the imagined powerful Christian king who, on the other side of Islam's vast domain, would -- in  the desperate imaginations of medieval Europeans -- be their Christian ally, come to their Christian rescue, against the ferocious Muslim foe, whose marauders continued to ravage, pillage, kidnap, up and down the coasts of Western Europe, for centuries.

In the 19th century, Christian Ethiopia was attacked by Muslim invaders from the Sudan. The fabled capital of Gondar, for example:

"Abdallahi ibn Muhammad sacked Gondar when he invaded Ethiopia June 1887. Gondar was ravaged again in 23 January in the next year, when the Sudanese invaders set fire to almost every one of the city's churches."

And here's a story of present-day Ethiopia, where Muslims are becoming ever more numerous and dangerous to this, the famously Christian land of Ethiopia:

From AP: 

Ethiopian court finds 10 guilty of terror charges

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ten men were found guilty Tuesday by an Ethiopian court of plotting terror attacks with Islamist extremist rebels from neighboring Somalia.

Judge Bahiru Darecha said the group was making plans and getting supplies to attack political and economic targets in Ethiopia. Eleven men were originally charged with the terror-related crimes but the judge acquitted one person. Six of the men found guilty were charged in absentia. Sentencing will be carried out on Jan. 15.

Prosecutors said the suspects, who include one Kenyan national, formed a cell that worked with Somalia's Islamist radicals, al-Shabab. Al-Shabab is affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The verdicts come amid signs of increasing militancy in the East African nation. Ethiopian troops moved into Somalia last year to fight al-Shabab.

Among those convicted is a Kenyan national, Hassan Jarso. When first charged in May, Jarso pleaded guilty to the charges but protested the assertion that he is a senior leader of the group.

"We did plan the attacks and to open the (training) camp but none of it was realized," Jarso had told the court.

He added that he was waiting for money from al-Qaeda agents to establish the camp and start a militant group, based in Ethiopia's Oromia region.

The other three convicts denied the charges. They are all religious teachers. In their defense they alleged that they were beaten by police to confess and sign documents and that exhibits were planted in their houses.

Ethiopia's late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in April told parliament that militants had formed al-Qaida cells in the country's southern Arsi and Bale areas.

Ethiopia's military campaign against militants in Somalia from 2006-2009 angered al-Shabab.

There are signs of rising Islamist militancy in Ethiopia. In late April four demonstrators were killed in a clash, after security forces arrested a Muslim religious leader in the Oromia region.

Ethiopia's Federal Ministry on May 3 issued a statement accusing an unnamed group of trying to declare jihad against the government and working to incite violence in a number of mosques across the country. The statement said a dozen suspects were recruited by the group from the country's Oromia, Tigray and Amhara regions to carry out illegal activities.

The government also expelled two Arabs who flew in from the Middle East on May 4. The government said the pair went to a mosque and tried to incite violence.

Posted on 01/01/2013 8:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
With An Arab Spring In its Step, Tunisia Welcomes The New Year

Tunisians urged to spurn New Year wishes

By: AFP | January 01, 2013

TUNIS  - A preacher from the hardline Salafist movement that has achieved growing prominence in Tunisia since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings told Tunisians on Monday that the exchange of New Year's greetings was un-Islamic. "Sharing the feast ...

Posted on 01/01/2013 9:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Book Shops in Britain and France

To live in two countries is to make comparisons, instructive or not as the case may be. And since I spend an unusually large proportion of my time in bookshops, it is unsurprising that I compare the book trade in the two countries in which I live, Britain and France.

In Britain, booksellers are allowed to discount books as much as they like; France, by contrast, maintains a fixed price for books, as did Britain until the 1980s. The effects of this difference are interesting: what appears to be a restraint on trade actually improves its quality.

About twice as many books are published in Britain annually as in France, although this difference may be as much the consequence of the much larger Anglophone market as of the difference in pricing policy. In France, few books are published initially as hardbacks, and newly-published paperbacks there tend to be about the same price as their hardback equivalents in Britain. The mass-market paperbacks, by contrast, tend to be cheaper.

The most obvious difference in the trade, however, is the survival of the small independent bookseller in France. Even small towns in France have booksellers. I can compare the two towns in England and France where I live, which happen to have very similar populations, at least in size. In the French town, there are two booksellers, who make their own choice of books and whose stock is therefore not identical: it is worth going from one to the other. Furthermore, they contain no trash and their cultural level is high. In the English town, there is a single place to buy books, a chain store called W H Smith.  The difference is very striking.

The chain store purchases books centrally: and while it is true that there is a larger stock in larger towns, there is a similitude to the stores throughout the country. Once you have been in one W H Smith, you have been in them all.

Naturally, the store is interested in selling relatively few items in as large a quantity as possible; so that if you go into one of the stores, you get the impression that, in Britain, reading is merely the continuation of television by other means. There are immense piles of picture books about television series or the celebrities who appear in them. Beyond these piles are books arranged according to their position in the best-seller lists (I confess that the idea of being guided or influenced in the purchase of a book by knowledge that thousands or millions of other people have bought it is completely alien to me). A large proportion of these best-sellers are also about television, film or sporting celebrities.

Beyond the best-sellers come the books divided into categories such as True Crime Stories and, immediately adjacent, Tragic Life Stories, mainly about the sexual or other forms of abuse suffered by the authors during their childhoods, an appetite for reading about which seems to be inexhaustible in W H Smith’s public. It would be an exaggeration to say that you can find nothing at all worth reading in W H Smith (using the criteria of literary or intellectual worth), but it is not always easy to do so.

It is quite different in France. The booksellers there want to make a living, of course, but that is far from their only motive. They are all interested in books as such. They have a pride in what they sell, and often their advice is worth seeking. In W H Smith, a book is merely one of many different things that the store sells, and the assistants have no more interest in them than in the bulldog clips, envelopes or various types of glue that the store also sells: it would be pointless to ask the staff about books. The result is that cheap trash (I mean cheap in the aesthetic and intellectual sense, not financial) is not to be found in France, at any rate to anything like the same extent as in Britain, where it predominates.

The presence in small towns of real bookshops rather than chain stores raises their cultural level. Of course, it might be argued that their presence is a symptom of a pre-existing higher level of culture, in other words that the demand calls forth the supply rather than the other way round, but I think it likely that the relationship is more complex than that: dare I say dialectical. If you give people a diet of W H Smith trash, then trash is what, in the end, they will demand – and not only in books.

Effective choice rather than theoretical choice of books is thus greater in France than in Britain, even though the latter publishes twice as many books. And when one considers that 6 times as many books are now published in France annually as in the United States or Britain in the 1950s, and that even the most avid reader is unlikely to read more than 300 books a year, one cannot say that the French reader is much deprived or denied choice.

Of course, as an ever greater proportion of books are bought on-line, or in e-book versions, the difference I have described will decrease in importance. But even if bookshops are destined to disappear entirely (I certainly hope that they are not, though I recognize that my pleasure in browsing among physical books of whose existence one previously had no knowledge is increasingly a minority one), my point is general.

It is not that uncontrolled markets lead to monopoly or oligopoly, which then ought then to be dismantled in the interest of restoring a market. It is that, even if it is decided that the British system of bookselling is economically more efficient than the French (which let us grant for the sake of argument), there are other things to consider. Economic efficiency is obviously desirable, but it is not the only thing that is desirable. The degree to which other considerations may interfere with economic efficiency is a matter of judgment, but it is a judgment that has always to be made, for which no single principle will ever be adequate.

First published in Library of Law and Liberty.

Posted on 01/01/2013 10:19 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
That Syrian Civil War

The population (excluding 3.5 million slaves) of the United States, north and south, in 1861 was about 31 million. Syria's population today is 23 million. Yet, according to recent studies, about 750,000 troops,  both Union and Confederate, died in the American Civil War, and an indeterminate number of civilians. So far, in Syria, about 45,000 people, military and civilian, have died,  which is roughly 1/17th the numbers of troops who died in this country's Civil War.

It is curious, then, never to have such numbers mentioned, and to read constantly, and hysterically,  about the enormous casualties, the fantastic carnage, in the Syrian Civil War. In reporting and commenting on war, as pn everything else, some knowledge of history, which can supply some sense of proportion, is welcome.

Posted on 01/01/2013 10:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
New Year’s Eve Jewish Stop And Think Moment

From Brian of London in Israelly Cool

Before you celebrate New Year’s eve you might want to read this:

Throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1 – supposedly the day on which Jesus’ circumcision initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism – was reserved for anti-Jewish activities: synagogue and book burnings, public tortures, and simple murder.

The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.). The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation. All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory. December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory.

I’m staying at home with a glass of Glenmorangie

Posted on 01/01/2013 10:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Valls Announces The Latest Total For Car Burnings By "Djeunes"


1193 véhicules brûlés lors de la nuit du Nouvel an (Valls)

Le Publié

Réactions (29)

1193 véhicules ont été incendiés dont 344 par propagation la nuit dernière sur l'ensemble du territoire, a annoncé ce soir Manuel valls.

En outre, trois policiers et quatre gendarmes ont été blessés, a indiqué le ministre.

Posted on 01/01/2013 12:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
A French Prof, Muslim Students, And The Collapse Of French Education
Watch, and listen, to the teacher describe her classroom calvary -- and who having endured it too long, finally resigned her post and left teaching -- here.
Posted on 01/01/2013 12:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Dann: The Bennet Threat - and why the pollsters are scared
Moshe Dann is a colleague who we have  published in the New English Review. Check out his latest article in the January 2013 edition, "A Garden in Shomron." - see below.
Dann has an op ed in the Jerusalem Post, "The Bennett threat - and why the polls are scared".

His arguments mirror  a recent Iconoclast post, "Naftali Bennett catches a wave in Israel’s January 2013 Knesset Elections," that tags Naftali Bennett,  leader of the revitalized National Religious Party (habayit hayehudi - Jewish Home) as a game changer in Israel politics, who appears to have displaced the Labor party in trending polls in Israel. Those polls show him possibly claiming upwards of 15 seats in the looming January 22, 2013 Knesset general election.  A recent New York Sun editorial, "Collision Course",  concluded that the impact of Bennett and Jewish Home in the Knesset general elections might also be felt here in the US:

The Sun isn’t making an endorsement in the Israel election. But if Jewish Home is the direction in which Israel’s voters turn out to be heading, it strikes us as a rational reaction to war from the Arabs and four years of pressure from an American administration that wants Israel to compromise with those who reject any Jewish state in the land of Israel. It would mark a significant turning point for Israel and constitute an answer by Israel’s voters to an administration that aims to elevate a figure like Mr. Hagel to a major role in American policy making.
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

The Bennett threat – and why the pols are scared


Bennett is different. He doesn’t play by the rules that have characterized the ruthless political game. Regardless of the party, with only some variance of dress codes and colorful attachments, twittering and texting, the candidates are all the same.

Naftali Bennett is a product of Israeli society; articulate and smart, a Sayeret Matkal veteran, he’s an insider that understands what’s going on.

He is also a financial success. But that is not what makes him dangerous to the establishment. The threat he poses stems not so much from his ideology, but rather from the fact that that he actually has one, that he articulates what he believes and stands for.

As refreshing as that sounds, it is a world away from most other politicians and so-called “leaders,” who pirouette on a shekel, or savage their opponents, depending on which way the winds of political success seem to be blowing. Bennett represents a kind of honesty and integrity that has not been seen in Israeli politics since Menachem Begin.

ISRAELI ELECTORAL campaigns and politics are all about personalities. Forget about ideology, forget about what they did or did not do, just “read my lips.”

Except that there are no lips. It’s all smiling faces and sloppy slogans about peace and security and social justice. Regardless of the party, with only some variance of dress codes and colorful attachments, twittering and texting, the candidates are all the same. They all want one thing and will do whatever they have to do to get it.

Bennett is different. He doesn’t play by the rules that have characterized the ruthless political game. His elbows are not sharp, and his tongue lacks the bitter taste of fury unleashed at anyone who differs. He is simply there. He is not in the race in pursuit of power for its own sake, or doped to the eyeballs with self-importance.

He is the spokesman for a genuine Zionist and Jewish ideological position.

The media doesn’t like such open and clear figures. More exciting is the flushed face, a toss of hair, the shrill scream of “justice,” with one hand in someone else’s pocket. The media trusts those they know cannot be trusted. That’s what they are used to. It’s all about political appetites, mythological feats, and ME! – my career, and what you can do for me.

POLITICS IS all promises and little or no delivery, and Israel is no exception.

Unlike other Western-style democracies, however, Israeli politics has made banality an achievement, passivity an honor and betrayal a profession.

Rabin and Peres brought us the Oslo Agreements, Sharon the disengagement and Barak the two-state delusion, and let’s not forget Olmert the feckless and corrupt, or Netanyahu – who still can’t decide what he really wants.

Along comes Bennett and says, “This is where I stand,” and he gets mauled by the media and his political opponents.

Instead of a dialogue on substantive issues, the campaign against Bennett sinks to the personal. It’s not about what he, or anyone else, actually thinks, but about demonizing the other. Forget about content, focus on form, on a PR label (“Center,” “Left,” “Right,” “ultra” etc – they are all the same).

If Bennett has a singular potential, it is to enliven our ability to think beyond the brainwashing ads, photo-ops and sound bites that have been substituted for intellectual seriousness. That is what makes him a threat.

PERHAPS BENNETT is naïve to think Israelis really do care about issues, that they can work their way through complexities and see things for what they really are. But he is not a politician like “The Politicians” that have sung us to sleep with lullabies of their virtues. He says little about himself, and much about the essential debate that needs to take place now. That is why his candidacy is important.

It’s not about him. It’s about us, the Jewish People in the Land of Israel.

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist.

Posted on 01/01/2013 12:23 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Semih Idiz: Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?

From Hurriyet Daily News:

Semih Idiz

Is Islam compatible with democracy?

Turkey is always highlighted when the question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy comes up. The reason is not hard to understand. For all its deficiencies, Turkey has had a working democracy which has weathered three actual and one “post-modern” military coup.

The fact that the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the 2002 general elections and went on to increase its support base in three successive elections is taken as proof that Islam and democracy are compatible. But these electoral victories happened in a Turkey whose system of government is staunchly secular, despite the country’s predominantly Islamic population.

The fact that the AKP emerged under this system is no proof in itself that Islam is compatible with democracy. What will really determine the truth or falsity of that contention for Turkey is whether the AKP, with all the political power it has mustered, will respect “democracy” as this form of government is defined by political science.

Unfortunately, for all the talk of introducing “advanced democracy” emanating from the AKP, the jury is still out on that question. To the contrary, there are developments prompting liberal democrats to fear that, far from “advancing,” Turkish democracy is in regression.

The way the government has been trying to impose its ideological outlook on society by means of education, by trying to interfere in lifestyles or family rights, or by subjective definitions of concepts like the freedom of expression or press freedom, feed this concern.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan’s self-declared antipathy toward the “separation of powers,” despite his attempts at backpedaling after his remarks, has caused a storm, and the ongoing efforts by the AKP to change the parliamentary system into a presidential one – with the president enjoying unencumbered powers – are other developments that fuel suspicions about this party’s real intentions.

Meanwhile, the developments in the Middle East and North Africa have not provided any evidence yet that Islam is compatible with democracy. All the elections in Egypt and Tunisia have spawned so far are governments led by the Muslim Brotherhood which have demonstrated that shariah is their main point of reference.

The manner in which the Egyptian Constitution was exclusively drafted and put to a referendum by Islamists does not bode well for democracy in that country. Media reports that Egypt’s top prosecutor has ordered an investigation into accusations that opposition leaders are inciting an overthrow of the regime, on the other hand, appears to reflect a copycat tendency, inspired by the Ergenekon and “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) cases in Turkey, designed to silence the opposition.

Neither has Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda, Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, been inspiring much hope in democrats. He was quoted by saying that Islamist movements would eventually become the reference point throughout the Arab world.

Ghannouchi, who does not have an official position in the government led by his party, but is one of the most influential people in Tunisia, was also quoted recently by Al-Arabiya calling for flogging as punishment for people charged with slander.

His comments reportedly came after a female blogger accused his son-in-law of corruption and of engaging in an affair. It appears civil law is not sufficient for this Islamist who prefers Islamic punishment, thus reflecting a mentality whose logical conclusion is cutting hands for stealing and stoning for adultery.

In addition to all this there is hardly any indication to show that what will come out of Syria once Bashar al-Assad is toppled is democracy. The opposite is more likely. In the final analysis, deeds, not words, will show if Islam is compatible with democracy. So the answer to this question has yet to come.

But the indications are not encouraging for the Arab world, and worrying as far as Turkey is concerned.



Click for Hürriyet Daily News comment guidelines

Robert Ellis

1/1/2013 2:41:43 PM

Prime Minister Erdogan's chief advisor, Ibrahim Kalin, let the cat out of the bag with his keynote speech at the Istanbul Forum in October. Kalin spoke of "a mental gap" between Islam and the West and concluded: "the European model of secular democracy, politics and pluralism seems to have little traction in the Arab and larger Muslim world." As Semih points out, we can already see this in Tunisia and Egypt and now in Turkey.

Richard Dickens

1/1/2013 2:02:25 PM

One-word-answer would do it, Mr Idiz:No! Islam (or any other religion) IS NOT compatible with democracy. If Turks wanna have a democratic country, they should change their mindset, unfortunately. By the way, the mildly islamist Justice and Development Party (Ak Parti) came to power in 2002, not in 1992. Thanks, though.

Rimon Tree

1/1/2013 1:53:15 PM

I believe that this is the wrong question! Any religion is compatible with democracy as long as it keeps a private faith. the question is if POLITICAL Islam is compatible. No, it is certainly NOT like every other monotheistic religion, which is combines with politics into a theocracy. That goes for Christianity (and we had it in Europe for centuries before enlightenment) as well as for Judaism.Whoevetr claims to have the one and only truth is lost for democracy.

Ozgur Erhan

1/1/2013 1:51:47 PM

Great article Semih Bey...but please don't get too courageous. Your readers would miss you. And there is one word missing in this article: Atatürk. I believe that he showed a way to combine modernity, Islam, and democracy. Turks should stick to this tradition.

andrew michael

1/1/2013 12:28:08 PM

NO! Islam is far from compatible with western democracy. In the west we are free thinking democrats whereas in Islamic countries democrasy is quasi.

Pawel Bury

1/1/2013 11:56:12 AM

It's obvious. There is not one single Islamic country in the world with established true democracy. I am talking of course about real western style democracy and not the Turkish way i.e. which holds a Guinness record on imprisoned journalists. On the other hand, it is a matter of the people. I am not convinced that everyone in world deserves democracy. In Islamic countries, religion, culture and education aim to produce subjects and not citizens. Democracy has to be won. It can not be "given".

Blue Dotterel

1/1/2013 11:22:30 AM

The question is "is Sunni Islam compatible with democracy?" Of its own accord, Shia Iran has created its own democracy, albeit with a theocratic oversight. Turkey's democracy was created by a secularist, and Sunni Islamists seem bent on undoing it. Democracy requires an ideological flexibility that is not realizable within rigid ideological parameters, whether religious or economic. This is why democratic secularism is under attack today throughout the world, not just in Turkey.

The Prisoner

1/1/2013 10:20:51 AM

One word - NO!

ilker avni

1/1/2013 4:52:48 AM

A very good article Mr Idiz.Demorcracy and Islam cannot coer exsit togeather,Islam does not do Demorcracy show me where it says or mention,s Demorcracy in the Koran.Mr Idiz is right to be worried where Turkey is heading with its Muslim brotherhood spreading across the ME,that means Sharia Law.Which will be seen as a threat to the Western system,another reason why Turkeys EU membership will never happen, and should not happen, if it adopts Sharia Law..

Tevfik Alp

1/1/2013 3:31:28 AM

Forget about the compatibility with democracy, how may islam countries can you show with the advanced in technology, medicine, fine arts, music and harmonized social living with equal rights on both sexes.

Posted on 01/01/2013 1:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Seven aid workers murdered in Pakistan

From The Telegraph

Gunmen on motorbikes ambushed and killed six Pakistani women charity workers and a male colleague in the latest attack on the country's humanitarian groups.

Police officers said their vehicle was riddled with bullets after they had left a community centre in north-western Pakistan. Their driver was also seriously wounded.

The centre is used for girls education and for child vaccinations — providing two possible motives for an attack in a conservative area where Islamic extremists have a record in bombing girls’ schools and killing polio immunisation volunteers.

Abdur Rashid, a senior police officer in Swabi district, about 45 miles north-west of the capital Islamabad, said four gunmen were waiting for the vehicle carrying staff from the charity Ujala, which means “light” in Urdu. “They were in a remote location and the gunmen ambushed them, killing six lady health workers and teachers, one man and injuring their driver,” he said. But he added that the motive was unclear as the charity had not received any threats.

Militants have singled out female aid workers in the past as punishment for taking jobs that mean they are seen in public.

Posted on 01/01/2013 1:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
A Musical Interlude: Why I Am So Romantic? (Lillian Roth, Hal Thompson))
Listen here.
Posted on 01/01/2013 6:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
2013: The Start of Israel’s Energy Independence


Tamar Natural Gas Project Israel                                                          Israel-Jordan Oil Shale Map

Source Nobel Energy, Inc.

At a holiday season gathering with neighbors at my Florida condominium on the Emerald Coast, I was asked about whether Israel would be here 25 years from now.  I answered  Israel may be surrounded by Islamic fundamentalists on all of its land borders and face threats of its destruction from Iran. However, I told them that the Jewish nation would survive and even thrive as a light to the nations of the world.  I cited the classic joke that when G-d parted the waters of the Sea of Reeds and the ancient Hebrews passed dry shod to the Sinai, escaping the pursuing Egyptians,  they made a wrong turn. They should have turned right to pick up all of that Saudi oil instead of turning left to enter the promised land of milk and honey.   They chuckled.  I commented that the joke is on the hoary joke.  

I noted that the mainstream media has neglected to inform the American public of Ha Shem’s great gift to Israel, the huge offshore natural gas fields about to begin production and the pilot tests of in situ oil extraction from the shale formation in the Shefla basin in 2013.  Those Israel oil shale reserves might even rival those of Saudi Arabia.   The development of these energy resources may enable Israel within this decade to become energy independent.  Those offshore gas and on-shore oil shale developments have the potential of making Israel an energy independent political power in the Middle East and player in the world energy markets. The energy developments could pour billions of royalty revenues into a newly authorized  Sovereign Wealth Fund that might significantly enhance the country’s high tech driven growth. Most importantly it would also provide the funds to enable the IDF to meet the threats arrayed against it.

We have written a number of Iconoclast and NER articles about both of these energy developments: Among them were: "Could Israel’s Oil Shale Development be a Game Changer in World Geo-Politics?" ( June 2011), "Israel’s Black Gold- an Interview with Scott Nguyen" [ of Israeli Energy Initiatives" (IEI)] (October 2011) and "Will Israel Win the Energy Prize in the Levant basin?"(December 2011)  

In the waning days of 2012, two  key  announcements  of energy developments in Israel  augur well for making 2013 the start of Israel’s  drive for energy independence and wealth creation.  

On December 24, 2012, the high court in Israel turned down a petition that would have prevented the start of a pilot oil shale extraction project for Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), the subsidiary of NYSE-listed, Genie Energy, Ltd. (GNE).  Note what this RTT report  said about this Israeli high court decision:

The Supreme Court of Israel has rejected a petition filed by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense against various ministries of the State of Israel, Israel Energy Initiatives and another Israeli oil and gas company, seeking to cancel the regulations governing the permitting process of oil and gas exploration, and seeking to cancel the exploration license granted to Israel Energy Initiatives.

In October, the court had rejected a previous petition filed by the Union challenging the issuance of exploratory licenses, including Israel Energy Initiatives’ license, issued pursuant to those regulations.

“The court’s latest decision clears a major legal roadblock and enables this nationally important project to move forward to the permitting phase,” Israel Energy Initiatives said in a statement.

Israel Energy Initiatives said that it now looks forward to the issuance of regulations by the Ministry of Energy that will enable it to prepare the environmental documents needed to file its pilot test permit application with the Jerusalem District Planning Committee.

This development clears the way for IEI’s pilot tests in the Shefla basin.  Dr. Scott Nguyen, Vice President for Technology  at  IEI in our published  NER interview noted  what will ensue given this important Israeli court decision:

Nguyen: The test phase will be conducted in 2012, once we have received permits and approvals from the Planning Committee in Jerusalem. In 2013 we will have our first drop of Israeli oil from shale in Israel, and the test phase will end in 2014. After that, we'll start planning for commercial scale production. Our first goal is to get 50,000 barrels per day, i.e. one fifth of the Israeli market, both civil and military.

Next, we will continue on a larger scale. Israel has enough resources to be fully independent. We could provide 250,000 barrels per day by the next decade. Towards the end of this decade, we will be able to deliver 50,000 barrels per day, and increase slowly to 250,000 barrels per day. This is a project that requires significant investment to reach that production target.

Nguyen’s IEI senior colleague Dr. Harold Vinegar, former chief scientist  and a 30 year veteran of unconventional oil developments at Shell Oil in Houston,  discussed  their development  at  a  Globes  Israel Business Conference in mid-December 2012.  Dr. Vinegar discussed why Israel’s oil shale formation lends itself to non-polluting oil extraction and the significance of the Shefla basin oil production technology.  He noted why the start of natural gas deliveries from Israel’s offshore platforms is an important complement. The gas would be used to heat the shale for release of oil at an efficient market price of less than $40 a barrel. A veritable win-win situation.

The Elders of Ziyon blog in a post noted that Dr. Vinegar   said,  “another Middle Eastern country that doesn't have much in the way of traditional oil reserves is also sitting on top of huge oil shale deposits”:

Jordan has approximately 40-80 billion tons of oil shale (about 34 billion barrels of shale oil) that could last for over 900 years at current consumption, said a top official at an Estonian company tapping the Kingdom's reserves of oil shale.

Watch this You Tube video of Dr. Vinegar’s briefing  on  IEI oil shale development project:

The Israeli high court decision on December 24, 2012  cleared the way for the IEI/Genie Energy Shefla Basin project.  
Next was the announcement of natural gas production from the Tamar platform located 24 kilometers offshore of Ashkelon in the Mediterranean Exclusive Economic Zone of the Jewish nation. The Tamar natural gas well cost the equivalent of $3 billion to develop.  On December 30, 2012, Globes reported the start up Tamar production flowing onshore to Israel in April 2013:

"The Tamar project is the greatest production platform in Israeli history," said Minister of Energy and Water Resources  Dr. Uzi Landau at Friday's inauguration of the Tamar natural gas field production platform.
[ . . .]
Landau said that these remarks were backed a few days ago by Israel's supreme economic authority, Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer, who revised upwards his 2013 growth forecast for Israel on the strength of gas production from Tamar. He added, "Natural gas will not only make electricity production more efficient, cleaner, and cheaper, it is a giant step toward freeing us from dependence on foreign energy sources, especially Arab oil. Although the reservoirs are located thousands of meters below the seabed, as far as the possibility of exploiting them is concerned, the sky's the limit."
[. . .]
The gas produced by the platform from wells located 90 kilometers west of Haifa will flow to the Ashdod terminal via a 150-kilometer 16-inch undersea pipeline.

In a statement, the Tamar partners - Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), Delek Group subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L), Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L), and Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE:DRAL) Alon Natural Gas Exploration Ltd. (TASE: ALGS) - said, "Inauguration of the platform is an important step toward the flow of natural gas to Israel from the Tamar well.” .. This is the realization of the vision and dream of the developers behind Israel's largest ever infrastructure project. The production of natural gas from the Tamar well brings Israeli closer to energy independence for the first time since the country was founded, and will save billions of shekels, partly from the conversion of electricity production to natural gas."

The  Tamar partners starting production of offshore natural gas in 2013 should boost the prospects of the IEI/Genie Energy pilot test and the future of oil shale development in the Shefla Basin. The combination of offshore natural gas production coupled with on-shore oil shale extraction is a geo-political game changer for Israel and the world energy markets.  These developments in late 2012 marked the beginning of Israel’s long sought energy independence further enhancing the country’s economic growth and stability.

Posted on 01/01/2013 6:02 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Islam Revealed - Again

The mainstream media just couldn't bring themselves to report the following horrendous item of news over the festive period. All the news that they could be bothered to report was just palliative nonsense about prominent Mohammedans being nice to some Christian priests or other at formal events (such as those in Bethlehem) designed primarily to enable western photojournalist to lie to their public - the lie being that Christians (the most persecuted people on earth according to the Pew Research Center report at are regarded by Mohammedans as worthy of respect and liking. In fact, as the piece below demonstrates quite clearly, the Christians are always blamed for everything by Mohammedan authorities and in this case they were barricaded into their ghettos by the local police who are still maintaining even today that the Christians were responsible for the psychotic Mohammedans murdering them in cold blood, thus demonstrating that the psychotically twisted Mohammedan mind has a complete inability to accept any responsibility for even the most heinous and disgusting of crimes. Quite frankly, the 'they-made-me-do-it' excuse that the deranged Mohammedans trot out at the drop of a hat is just rubbish - it's time that they addressed their own inability to control themselves in the way that we do and acknowledged that their devil-worshipping cult is chiefly to blame for their failure in this respect, and in all others.

From :

"When President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman ruling Pakistan Peoples Party PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were cutting Christmas cake presented by National Harmony Minister a Pakistani Catholic Dr. Paul Bhatti and photo session was being enjoyed by Archbishop of Karachi Bishop Joseph Coutts and Karachi Diocese Bishop of Church of Pakistan Sadiq Daniel in Karachi on December 25, 2012, a Muslim mob equipped with lethal weapons was firing at innocent Christian worshipers who were coming out of different Churches in Iqbal Town of capital city of Pakistan Islamabad.

It was 12:00 noon, in Iqbal Town in Islamabad, on December 25, 2012, when Christian worshipers were coming out of different Churches after performing Christmas prayers, more than one hundred Muslim extremists equipped with automatic rifles, pistols and sticks attacked the Christian women, children and men.

Ashraf Masih, when running to save his life was hit with bullet in his leg, Iqbal Masih received bullet injuries in his leg and arm, Shahzad Masih was injured fell on ground and was beaten with sticks mercilessly by mob, Yousaf Masih was seriously injured while more than one dozen Christian women, men and children received injuries.

The area police of Shahzad Town Police Station arrived on scene to maintain law and order and arrested only two Muslims named Mohammad Khalid and Mohammad Riasat Satti and sent injured Christians for medico-legal in hospital.

The case under Section 452, 109, 324,148,149 PPC was registered in First Information Report FIR number 669/2012, in Shahzad Town PS against 35 unknown and 4 nominated Muslim attackers but police released one nominated arrested accused Mohammad Riasat Satti same evening of December 25, 2012.

The tension was high all over Pakistan and special security arrangements were adopted by government after a religious decree of one Muslim cleric against celebrations of Christmas and participation of Muslims in it.

A religious decree (Islamic Fatwa) issued on Facebook by one Muslim cleric Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer as "We should be tolerant towards people of other religions but we cannot participate in religious ceremonies and events of non-Muslims. Christmas is religious event of Christians and according to their theology Jesus was son of Allah born to Allah on this particular day so we need to avoid this event and should not greet them. Muslims can eat their food and are allowed to marry chaste women of Christians but Christmas cannot be celebrated by Muslims because it is against the concept of monotheism in Islam"

The National Harmony Minister Dr. Paul Bhatti and State Minister Akram Gill were also busy in photo shoots with high ranking officials and Shahzad Town Police Station officials were not arresting Muslim attackers but twisting incident in communal riots.

Mr. Basharat Khokhar, a human right activist, based in Islamabad was first to reach Iqbal Town today to negotiate with administration to remove blockades from areas of Christian residents who were under siege from Christmas day and running out of food supplies and milk for children on fear of safety and security of life from further attacks of Muslim mob.

Pakistan Christian Post contacted DSP Arshad Ali Khokhar and SHO Fiaz Ahmad Ranjha of Shahzad Police Station for information on not arresting Muslim accused in FIR but none was available to respond.

The news of this attack on Christians on Christmas Day was intentionally blocked by media and administration of capital city Islamabad."

The bold emphases are mine. You will note the downright lie told by the Mohammedan cleric, Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer, in the seventh paragraph, about Jesus. Christians do not believe that Jesus is a separate God but a member of the triune Godhead - an aspect of God if you like - which does not compromise the Christian and Jewish idea of monotheism. Either he is astoundingly ignorant (in common with almost all Mohammedans) or he is being deliberately provocative. Either way, he, in common with almost all Mohammedan clerics, is not a fit person to be making public pronouncements. In a just world people like him would be legally silenced, but then, in a just world Christians would be allowed to go about their business on Christmas Day without being molested and killed by delusional, rampaging, cognition impaired, murderous, megalomaniacal Mohammedan mobs consisting of individuals whose folie de grandeur is only surpassed by their ignorance and brutality, and who, in their behaviour, emulate their barbarous, violent, devil-worshipping, so-called prophet absolutely perfectly and demonstrate to the world just what Islam really is.

Posted on 01/01/2013 7:06 PM by John M. Joyce
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
In "Liberated" Libya, What Did You Expect?

Libya's Christians Face A Rise In Deadly Extremism

International Business Times-by Jacey Fortin-10 hours ago
A deadly attack in Libya's western town of Dafniya has shed new light on a religious minority whose presence in the post-Arab Spring country ...
Show more
Posted on 01/01/2013 10:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Muslims In Australia Have Big Plans For The Country
Watch, and listen, here.
Posted on 01/01/2013 10:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
"Australians" Visit Gaza
Watch them, expressing their solidarity with Hamas, here.
Posted on 01/01/2013 10:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Finally, A Dignified Debate Among Arabs
Watch it here.
Posted on 01/01/2013 10:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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