Speaking from her prison cell, Asia Bibi has voiced her “pain and concern” following the assassination of Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan.
Bibi compared Bhatti to slain Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who defended her publicly “and paid with his life,” her lawyer told Fides news agency. The Christian mother is presently in an isolation cell in a Punjab jail for allegedly violating the country’s strict blasphemy law. She is still afraid that she could be the next target of violent Islamic groups. Posters have appeared inside the jail showing images of Taseer and Bhatti with a large question mark and the threatening phrase “Who will be next?”
“Asia says that part of her hope died with Bhatti, but there are other things that give her hope: the support of all Christians in Pakistan and around the world; the visit of her children,” which was recently made possible after bureaucratic problems, according to Bibi’s lawyer.
Bibi’s legal team said that it would be preferable to delay her case before starting the appeal process, given current tensions. They emphasized the need to defend religious minorities in Pakistan
On March 7 the Christian Lawyers Association in Pakistan organized a public demonstration in Lahore in response to Bhatti’s murder. Participants marched from the Palace of the High Court to the Palace of the Parliament in Punjab.
The association’s president Akbar Munawar Durrani said that the killing is a tragic testimony to the terrorism and extremism raging throughout the country. He called for the abolition of all discriminatory laws, and a ban on publications which feed hatred against religious minorities. He also urged the legal prosecution of radical leaders who have publicly called for the deaths of religious minorities because they favor revising the blasphemy law. On Dec. 3, 2010 the imam of Peshawar’s oldest mosque, Maluna Yousaf Qureshi, offered a 500,000 rupee (about $5,800) reward to anyone who killed the woman if the court failed to execute her.
Shahbaz Bhatti has been declared a martyr for the Christian faith by both the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. Asia Bibi reminds me so much of Esther John, a Pakistani Christian convert who was murdered in 1960. A statue of her is on the front of Westminster Abbey (left) in a group of Christian martyrs of the 20th century.
I do not want Asia Bibi, mother of a young family to die that way. I want her to be honoured as a servant of Christ for her work for her neighbours during a long life.
This headline is a representative example of today's many offerings on-line of gross solecisms -- of spelling, grammar, syntax, you name it . Unimportant by itself, it should be regarded as emblematic, though not in a quarlesian sense.
THE whole purpose of insurance is to spread risk. In order to know how much to charge as a premium, those who offer insurance must know how likely the event being insured against is to occur – and how costly that event will be if it does occur. For example, if you live right on a river bank you would expect to pay more for insurance against flood than if you live many miles from the nearest river, for the most obvious of reasons.
And the greater the value of the contents of your house the more you would expect to pay, again for the most obvious of reasons. Now the European Court of Justice has said that young women must pay the same for car insurance as young men, even though they are much less likely to be involved in accidents.
This is like not allowing life insurers to take into account the age of the person whose life is to be insured: in short, to demanding that a 95-year-old should be able to insure his life on the same terms as a 25-year-old, even though his chances of dying in the near future are not only many times greater but very great. There is only one word for this:
What lies behind the absurd ruling? It is the arrogant and sentimental desire to make the world completely fair by means of law. The judges of the court, who mostly have doubtful legal credentials at best, obviously cannot distinguish between justice and fairness, which is a crucial distinction. It is unfair that I am not as handsome as Jude Law but it is not unjust.
It is hard luck for young males who are not boy-racers that they should have to pay extra premiums because so many of their fellow young males are but this is the kind of unfairness which we should have learned to cope with at primary school. If insurance companies are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of sex there is no reason why they should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of anything else either.
Why should young people have to pay more than the middle-aged for car insurance? No one can help being the age he or she is any more than anyone can help being the sex he or she is. To make the young pay more for their car insurance is discriminatory, according to the logic of the court.
Discrimination is the very essence of proper insurance: risk cannot be assessed without it. Of course this discrimination has itself to be discriminate, which is to say proper, but to say of an insurance company that it gives policies indiscriminately is about as damning an indictment of it as anyone could make. The court’s ruling is as intellectually fatuous as it is politically tyrannical.
A towering, square-jawed Nigerian, his forearms swollen from years of building furniture in Libya, Mr. Aliu, 26, arrived at this sprawling camp on the Tunisian border after fleeing the violence in Tripoli. Destitute, his $2,600 in savings stolen by Libyan fighters, he now hopes desperately to reach a stable, prosperous country. Europe beckons.
There are thousands like him here, on the northern coast of Africa, and almost certainly tens of thousands more trapped in Libya. They had left their home countries for an oil-wealthy nation offering abundant employment and higher wages. They shrink from the prospect of returning penniless to the corrupt governments and stagnant economies they first fled.
“There is something I want you to know,” Mr. Aliu told a United Nations aid worker. “I’d have preferred to die in the war zone in Libya than to go back to Nigeria.”
“Do you know what it’s like to be a man who has lost everything?” he asked, plaintive, staring blankly at the ground. The aid worker, David Welin, moved close to Mr. Aliu.
“I’m sure that what you lived in Libya, what’s awaiting you in Nigeria, is not good,” he replied. But the United Nations would probably not be able to help, Mr. Welin said. For the time being, Mr. Aliu and thousands like him, principally from sub-Saharan Africa, are left to contemplate the 70 miles of sea that separate Tunisia from the Italian island of Lampedusa, and the European continent beyond. Some have begun to make arrangements with Tunisian traffickers for an illegal crossing.
“So many Nigerians are wanting to go over,” said Stanley Tawaris, 42, a slender Nigerian welder who lived for a decade in a two-room cinder-block lean-to in Zawiyah, west of Tripoli. “We struggled in Libya and acquired nothing. The best thing for us is to go forward, and not to go back to our country.”
His three children live in Nigeria; he sent $200 or $300 most months, he said, and worries he would never be able to provide so much if he returned to Nigeria. He hopes to join relatives in Germany, France or the Netherlands, Mr. Tawaris said, and find work.
“Anything,” he said. “Even if it is labor work, I don’t care.”
He hopes the winds that have whipped through this dusty camp will soon ease, and leave the Mediterranean calm; a friend has been arranging for a boat.
There are currently 15,000 migrants here, but there are provisions to accommodate as many as 30,000, organizers say. Bulldozers are clearing ground for an additional two camps nearby, and humanitarian groups continue to stockpile food and supplies in anticipation of thousands upon thousands more fleeing migrants, as Libya descends further into civil conflict.
About 1.5 million foreign laborers were thought to reside in Libya before the outbreak of violence last month; about 200,000 have since fled the country.
What little they had to lose was often lost in their flight out of Libya.
It is perhaps a measure of their desperation that they had chosen to stay in Libya at all. Workers here offer accounts of harassment and violence directed against the foreign laborers who worked on Libyan oil platforms, kneaded Libyan bread and built Libyan houses.
In Libya, “dogs are treated better than black Africans,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration. Because many of them enter the country illegally, he said, they “have no official status, no visibility.” They have come to constitute a sort of abusable underclass.
“This country is racist, there’s no other word for it,” said Mansouria Mokhefi, the director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations. “There is a hierarchy of races.”
Blacks are widely referred to as “Abd,” or slaves. Bangladeshis are viewed as little better, and even Arab Egyptians and Tunisians are considered to have limited rights.
Migrant workers tell of the “gangsters” who hold foreigners at knifepoint in the Libyan streets, stealing their money and telephones with impunity.
At night, said Francis Appiah, 35, a Ghanaian mason who fled the western Libyan city of Zuwarah, “you weren’t able to go out to buy anything,” for fear of attacks. He added that thieves had once stolen a DVD player, a television and speakers from his home.
“I didn’t go to the police, because sometimes they arrest black people for no reason,” he said. His landlord once had Mr. Appiah arrested, he said, because he had requested payment for plastering the interior of the man’s house.
A small, broad-smiling man with angular cheeks and no front teeth, wearing a faded Levi’s denim jacket, Mr. Appiah said he had come to Libya two years ago hoping to move on to Europe. Now, he said, perhaps he will. “I’m here with nothing,” he said. “Where there is money, where there is work, I will go.”
“If Africans were not poor, they would not be in Libya,” said Mr. Tawaris, the Nigerian, who was once stabbed repeatedly in the thigh by a thief who attacked him in the street. Though he found a Libyan doctor willing to stitch up a black man’s wound, he could not find a doctor willing to remove the sutures; he removed them himself. “If you are not strong, you cannot live there,” he said.
He has been languishing in his tent here, drawing slowly on cigarettes sold at the edge of the camp by local Tunisians, hoping for a boat.
“If our country was a very nice place to be,” said Mr. Tawaris, his face stern, “we would not have gone to a place like Libya.”
Verdict on â€œAnti-Muslim Riotâ€� Exposes Human Rights Bias
When I tell people I do human rights work, they immediately assume I am some sort of leftist. (Now, if people also know that I have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League University, live in Chicago, am a vegetarian, and am also Jewish; it seems impossible for me to be anything else.) Their assumption is wrong, however, as I like to characterize my work as “human rights from the right.” The assumption exists, however, because the left claims a monopoly on human rights work, has appropriated its language for its dubious purposes, considers conservatives—the way our First Lady described the US—as “downright mean”; and the media and other opinion makers promote those assumptions. The self-styled human rights standard bearers—Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Human Rights Commission—act on the belief that the United States is the “evil empire” and that Israel’s sole raison d’être is to oppress Muslims. The human rights deception is not only false but destructive as well because it recognizes collective rights when asserting individual rights is the way to oppose oppression and pull out of abject poverty. It also self-servingly defines human rights activism in terms of handouts (read: redistribution) and anti-US, anti-Israel screeds. A verdict last month in an Indian courtroom on one of the left’s and Islam’s biggest human rights shibboleths, however, exposed this deception.
In 2002, Hindus in the Indian state of Gujarat attacked local Muslim communities, resulting in death and destruction. Now, to be clear and before people cry that my piece justifies the collective attacks, there can be no justification for deliberately targeting innocents, regardless of people’s anger or the events that sparked it. I will leave that sort of dubious morality to those who ignore Arab attacks on innocent Israelis in Sderot and elsewhere. What is also not justified, however, is the way the “usual suspects” have defined the actions as “Hindu extremism” and used it to throw rocks at every effort from the Indian Right. Their definition has now become “common knowledge” and another bit of evidence that seems to support the Muslim community’s attempt to paint itself as an international victim. The aforementioned verdict exposes that lie.
Gujarat, however, was not an anti-Muslim event, so much as it was an inter-communal event with blame enough for both Hindu and Muslim communities. In the left’s rants about the riots, it conveniently forgets to highlight the grisly event that sparked them: the crime of arson on a train of Hindus returning from a religious pilgrimage that also caused death and destruction. On February 21, 2011, an Indian court ruled that the arson was deliberate and the work of Muslim community leaders. Demonstrating that the court was not biased, it actually acquitted two-thirds of the defendants, convicting 31, ten of whom received a death sentence. Moreover, while it took nine years for India to admit that the inter-communal violence was the result of a planned event by Muslim leaders, while it long ago arrested others for their part in the riots that followed—including a Member of Parliament and other prominent individuals. But it did not stop the left from demonizing Hindus and the Indian Right.
What’s the point? After almost a decade of biased reporting, no verdict will remove from the public minds the false claim that Gujarat is evidence that Muslims do not enjoy equal rights in India; another screed that demonizes the Indian Right as deadly and bigoted. Just as Muslims, the left, and the uniformed still believe that Israelis killed Muhammad al-Dura and in the phantom Jenin massacre; even though both accusations have long ago been proven false.
Call them co-conspirators or simple useful idiots, but through its blind adherence to ideology over people, those elements in the international human rights industry that are wedded to leftist ideology and the petrodollars that fund them have become an indispensible cog in the wheel of international jihad—instead of representing the best in all of us.
PLANELOADS of bodies, dead and alive, flew back to West Africa from Tripoli this week, after Libya’s worst outbreak of anti-foreigner violence since the expulsion of Italians and Jews in Muammar Qaddafi’s coup in 1969. Survivors told of pogroms.
Emeka Nwanko, a 26-year-old Nigerian welder, was one of hundreds of thousands of black victims of the Libyan mob. He fled as gangs trashed his workshop. His friend was blinded, as Libyan gangs wielding machetes roamed the African townships. Bodies were hacked and dumped on motorways. A Chadian diplomat was lynched and Niger’s embassy put to the torch. Some Nigerians attacked their own embassy after it refused refuge to nationals without proper papers—the vast majority.
Libyans sheltering Africans were warned that their homes would be next. Some of Libya’s indigenous 1m black citizens were mistaken for migrants, and dragged from taxis. In parts of Benghazi, blacks were barred from public transport and hospitals. Pitched battles erupted in Zawiya, a town near Tripoli that is ringed with migrant shantytowns. Diplomats said that at least 150 people were killed, 16 of them Libyans. The all-powerful security forces intervened by shooting into the air.
African migrants, unfairly blamed for the disaster, were detained en masse. They once numbered over 1m but diplomats say that they have now mostly disappeared from the streets, and are in hiding or in camps pending expulsion. Over the past fortnight, hundreds of thousands of black migrants have been herded into trucks and buses, driven in convoy towards the border with Niger and Chad, 1,600km (1,000 miles) south of Tripoli, and dumped in the desert.
Migrants from countries without land links to Libya, including 5,000 Nigerians and nearly the same number of Ghanaians, are being airlifted out. Hundreds more are languishing in three scrubland camps ringing Tripoli airport waiting for flights. There is no medical care for the black Africans, many of whom have broken limbs or stab wounds.
Anti-black violence had been simmering for months, fired by an economic crisis. Colonel Qaddafi heads Africa’s richest state in terms of income per person. This year oil will earn him $11 billion. But Libyans, feeding their families on monthly salaries of $170, see the money squandered on foreign adventures, the latest of which is the colonel’s pan-Africa policy. As billions flowed out in aid, and visa-less migrants flowed in, Libyans feared they were being turned into a minority in their own land. Church attendance soared in this Muslim state. So did crime, drugs, prostitution and reports of AIDS.
A history of racism fanned the flames. Libyans were slave-trading until the 1930s and, under Italian colonial rule, they saw themselves as Mediterranean, calling Africans chocalatinos. Black-bashing has become a popular afternoon sport for Libya’s unemployed youths. The rumour that a Nigerian had raped a Libyan girl in Zawiya was enough to spark a spree of ethnic cleansing.
Some African governments—the benefactors of the colonel’s pan-Africa policy—have kept their criticism mute, amid allegations that ministers have pocketed Libya’s offers of compensation. Nigeria’s minister for co-operation, Dapo Sarumi, has described the deportees as “an embarrassment”. Chad and Sudan have made robust protests. But President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana was alone in taking action. He flew to Tripoli on October 7th and brought 250 Ghanaian workers home the next day.
Libyans will be hoping that they have not just ousted the migrants, but have also ousted Colonel Qaddafi’s hated pan-Africa policy. Only last month, in front of 11 African leaders, he was preaching open borders and a single currency. The United States of Africa was due to be declared in his home-town of Sirte next March. It is now hard to see African heads of state rushing back to Libya.
Observers detect yet another U-turn in the offing. As his Africa policy unravels, Colonel Qaddafi is back befriending the Arabs, with visits this week to Jordan, Syria and even his old foe, Saudi Arabia. In their rampage on migrant workers, the Libyan mob spared Arabs, including the 750,000 Egyptians. Now that the UN’s sanctions have gone, the African states who dared break the air boycott have served their purpose. The more lily-livered Arab states, who shunned Libya, can now perhaps be forgiven, under the latest banner, Arab-African unity.
Arab Despots, And Their Sometimes Chic Wives, Are So Last Year
March 10, 2011
Wall Street Journal to Vogue: Dictators Are So Last Year
Bari Weiss and David Feith of the Wall Street Journal skewerVogue's "decision this month to publish a 3,000-word paean to that 'freshest and most magnetic of first ladies,' Syria's Asma al-Assad." They write:
The Assad family—first Hafez and now his son Bashar—has ruled Syria since 1970. In that time, they've killed 20,000 Syrians to put down an uprising in Hama, provoked civil war in Lebanon and then occupied the country to "keep peace," built a secret nuclear-weapons facility modeled on North Korea's, and established Damascus as a hub for terrorists from Hezbollah to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. All part of keeping their countrymen under foot for 40 years.
No matter. The only feet that seem to interest Vogue writer Joan Juliet Buck are the manicured toes of the first lady. Mrs. Assad reveals a "flash of red soles," we're told, as she darts about with "energetic grace."
The red soles are an allusion to the signature feature of Christian Louboutin designer heels—easily $700 a pair—that Mrs. Assad favors. . .
And her parenting? "The household is run on wildly democratic principles," Vogue reports. "We all vote on what we want and where," says Mrs. Assad of herself, her husband and their children.
For the people of Syria, not so much. Outside their home, the Assads believe in democracy the way Saddam Hussein did. In 2000, Bashar al-Assad won 97% of the vote. Vogue musters the gumption only to call this "startling." In fact, it's part of a political climate that's one of the world's worst—on par, says the watchdog group Freedom House, with those of North Korea, Burma and Saudi Arabia.
ABravo to young James O'Keefe for smoking out NPR leaders with their inflammatory outrageous anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, pro- Palestinian, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, anti-GOP and anti Tea Party biases with his and his colleagues' undercover reporting.
Watch O’Keefe’s covert filmed interview masquerading as a Muslim Brotherhood Front seeking to donate $5 million to National Public Radio (NPR) with fired former NPR development officer, Ron Schiller and associate Betsy Liley, the latter still at NPR, but for how long we don’t know.
Vivian Schiller, no-relation, and former CEO of NPR was summarily ousted by the board of NPR, yesterday. This episode has raised the ire of the GOP dominated House now eager to eliminate taxpayer funding of NPR. If the Senate goes along with this belt tightening move NPR would be forced to become a competitive national radio network using existing endowments and programming ‘carriage’ fees charged local affiliates.
Melanie Philips in her Spectator blog post, “A Lid is Lifted at the NPR” of this ‘shootout’ at the NPR had these telling comments:
Now NPR is trying to pretend that the views expressed by Schiller and Liley are abhorrent and totally contrary to what NPR stands for. Hello?? CAMERA has assembled over a long period of time overwhelming evidence of NPR’s ignorance, selective reporting and boiler-plate left-wing prejudice on the Middle East in particular. The only thing said by the NPR duo that really does seem to be anathema to NPR was to question whether it still needed any public funding.
. . . NPR’s President and CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) has also resigned – apparently forced out under the combined weight both of this debacle and the previous furor over the firing of NPR political analyst Juan Williams (for saying on Fox News that he got nervous when seeing people in Muslim garb boarding an aircraft) a firing for which she received much criticism. Schiller V says that she is departing to enable NPR to move on (why do such people invariably sound like one of their own cliché-ridden scripts?).
It is exceedingly unlikely, however, that NPR will move at all away from the attitudes which have mired it in scandal. Given that there has been zero acknowledgement by this public disservice broadcasting network that Schiller R and Liley were in fact mostly reflecting all too accurately the odious ideological prism through which its reporting is filtered, these changes in personnel suggest not so much a cleansing of the Augean stables as a mere replacement of the air freshener.
This episode is akin to what I experienced back in 2003 organizing, with a network of other local pro-Israel activists, a simultaneous 30 plus city protest against NPR biased reporting. I led the local protest in Fairfield, Connecticut against the NPR affiliate, WSHU. One of my earliest, published articles was about the Baltimore, Maryland NPR affiliate promoting anti-Israel pro-Palestinian positions, "Baltimore's Tough Jews take on NPR”, Front Page Magazine, March 28, 2003. I had lots of conversations by email and cell phone with the Ombudsman and VP for news at NPR, who had the chutzpah to tell me that NPR wasn't biased and not tilted towards anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian positions favored by the leftists who controlled the content of public broadcasting. I told them that many of us who organized the nationwide protests against NPR were unconvinced and so were hundreds of thousands of others in their listener audience.
The departure of the two Schillers is welcome, but so would be the elimination of Federal funding for NPR. The NPR boards ouster of Vivian Schiller is especially sweet, as she came from the New York Times, the malefactor of its credo, "all the news fit to print'. Witness this week, yellow journalism on the news and editorial pages of the 'grey lady" whipping up hysteria and dissing Rep. Peter T. King who launches his House Home Land Security Committee Hearing, today, into how home grown Islamic terrorists are radicalized within the American Muslim community. The Muslim Brotherhood fronts like CAIR are clearly 'upset' at being brought to account about hatred in core Islamic doctrine towards America and our core Judeo Christian values. However, neither NPR and the New York Times and much of what passes for mainstream media are not convinced of that argument-quite the contrary. They contend that American Muslims have given aid to our law enforcement and homeland security echelons identifying ‘fringe radicals’. They further argue speciously that the hearings are racist, unfairly impugning a ‘peace –loving majority’ of American Muslims. Tell that to the victims of home grown radicalized terrorists infused with Jihadist hatred in the core of Qur’anic Islamic doctrine who have killed or attempted to kill fellow Americans. A USA Today –Gallup poll indicated that a majority of Americans -Over 52%, thought that Rep. King’s Hearings were appropriate.
There is a reality check on how federal funding of NPR can be eliminated. NPR obtains the bulk of its funding from so-called “carriage fees” charged affillate local radio outlets for their national programming. Moreover, NPR was the beneficiary of a huge endowment of over $200 million, gifted in 2003 by the late Joan Kroc, the widow of Ray Croc, who made a fortune by transforming the McDonald's fast food format into a globe girdling chain. The Late Ms. Kroc also endowed a University of Notre Dame Peace Institute that invited Prof. Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al Banna, and Hamas supporter, to assume an endowed professorship. Turning NPR into a competitive commercial national radio chain could be done with a few lines eliminating all taxpayer support in a budget appropriations bill by the GOP-dominated House. We would hope that the Democratically-controlled Senate would have the good sense to pass a similar measure. Then we'll see how many of those allegedly devoted 170 million Americans listening to the biased leftist, multiculturalism views expressed on NPR will continue supporting the network via periodic fund raising drives, commercial ads and those carriage fees enabling NPR to pump out biased programming. NPR might become self- marginalized like the left extremist Pacifica radio and the failed Air America networks , eventually disappearing from the air waves. Bravo to young Mr. O'Keefe. Your covert unveiling of the hatred and biases of the leadership of National Public Radio may finally, with Congressional action, eliminate NPR from the radio dial.
For The Mediterranean, Not No-Fly But A No-Float Zone
Italy -- see the Tunisians going right over or under or through the so-called fence meant to keep them from escaping on the island of Lampedusa, as I did on the Telegiornale last night --- and after Italy, all members of Schengenland -- have a stake in preventing immigrant hordes from their raspailian efforts to arrive by sea. And since the "revolutions" -- Tunisian, Egyptian, Tunisian -- will not change, by one whit, the self-created problems of grotesue and heedless overpopulation, and miserable educational systems, and failures to create modern economies, all the result, one can figure out, of Islam, and as they realize this they will want ever more to flee to generous non-Musllm lands, to exploit the Infidels, and what they have built, and what they offer,, to the fullest, but without themselves giving up but rather bearing with them, as carriers, the very Islam whose effects, in their own countries of origin, they wish to flee, they will try even more determinedly to smuggle themselves into Italy, into France, into Spain.
They must be stopped. They must not be allowed to do so.,
A No-Float Zone in the Mediterranean, to interdict all such boatloasts, one in which the navies of NATO (save for that of Turkey, which no longer serves any useful purposee in that organization, as it once did) all participate.
A No-Float Zone, not the No-Fly Zone that our enemies, the O.I.C.and the Arab League, demand grandly that we, the Western countries,enforce (why don't the Arabs and Muslims -- why don't the Turks?-- do it themselves, if it matters so much to them?
His belief in Israel, David Cameron announced last week, is indestructible. This statement of bomb-proof support was made at the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust, a group that tracks anti-semitism in Britain and provides security for organisations considered at risk of attack.
The CST’s most recent report found that 2010 was another year for marked aggression against Judaism in Britain. Most Jewish schools, it is depressing to note, now require round-the-clock security. “I will always be a strong defender of the Jewish people. I will always be an advocate for the state of Israel,” the Prime Minister said.
So why, then, is Israel so uneasy about Britain? What is it that prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to tell The Daily Telegraph, just days before Mr Cameron spoke, that he is “worried” about this country? Why, when our Prime Minister speaks of his “indestructible” support, did Mr Netanyahu raise the “huge issue” of the decline in backing for Israel in the West and notably in the UK?
The truth is that relations between Jerusalem and London are bad, drifting to worse. British diplomacy has lost interest in Israel as an interlocutor; Israel, in turn, is increasingly of the view that the UK has turned from an indestructible ally into a gullible host for the global campaign to undermine its legitimacy. At a time when the affairs of the Middle East should preoccupy us all, Britain gives the impression of being indifferent to the concerns of a country that is not just the only democracy in the neighbourhood, but also one of our paramount allies in the fight against militant Islamism that Mr Cameron professes to consider a priority.
It is too easy to miss the importance that Britain, and London in particular, has acquired in the insidious campaign that is patiently hacking away at the global foundations of Israel’s existence. Dressed up in modish arguments about human rights, there has been an inexorable rebranding of Israel as an oppressive colonial power. Those who peddle this idea are happy to let the unspoken implication eat its way into the public consciousness: colonial powers eventually have to pack up and leave.
Mr Cameron is not the first premier to laud the reach of the English language and the clout it gives us in a globalised world. What he does not mention is that English is being used to spread the “deâ€‘legitimisation” argument, and we are providing the megaphone. Together, the BBC and the internet act as an echo chamber for a coalition of religious and political campaign groups and academics of all stripes – some of them Jewish – pumping out a propaganda campaign of explicit and implicit hostility to Israel. No other country has a media with a global reach to match that of the UK, and yet the overwhelming message that it sends around the world is that Israel is the cuckoo in the nest, the obstacle to peace and prosperity in the Arab world.
That there exists a vocal, influential and organised claque against Israel is nothing new. On the Left, there has long been an appetite for a narrative that pits ruthless bourgeois oppressor against downtrodden people. Except in this case, the narrative has been perverted. The persecuted minority – the Jews – has been turned into the steel-booted oppressor.
The creation of a democratic and prosperous homeland for the Jews has always stuck in the throat of those on the Left who like their prejudices raw. How could a people that have faced arguably far greater and longer-lasting prejudice than any other on earth, have been so successful? The rowdy, cantankerous democracy that is Israel – with its emphasis on faith, hard work, family values, equal rights and the cherishing of education – stands as a perpetual reproach to all the tropes about oppressed people being powerless to shape their destiny.
Israel’s opponents have adapted their critiques of empire and colonialism to include the Jewish state. The London School of Economics, for example, offers courses on Israeli colonialism. London acts as home-in-exile to the brains of the Muslim Brotherhood, who can go about their business of sponsoring the deadly work of Hamas unmolested, and now work on activating their networks in Egypt and Tunisia ahead of elections that will give them a hold on power. A recent paper by the Israeli academic Ehud Rosen, detailing Britain’s place as the engine room of the global campaign to deny Israel’s right to exist, should be required reading for ministers. Ron Prosor, Israel’s astute and soon-to-depart ambassador to London, recently warned that the undermining of Israel even reaches “back to Her Majesty’s Government”, though he notes the personal commitment not just of Mr Cameron but also of significant figures such as Michael Gove and George Osborne.
The de-legitimisation lobby existed long before the Coalition, but there are specific complaints about this Government that explain why tension prevails where none should exist. William Hague, in enough trouble this week for his inexplicable decision to make public his uncertainty about being Foreign Secretary, has made no secret of his frustration with Israel. He returned from his difficult first visit last year furious at the way he was treated and has yet to calm down. Diplomats blame this for his foot-dragging over amending the law on universal jurisdiction, which makes Israeli political and military figures wary of visiting the UK for fear of arrest on trumped-up war crimes charges. But they also point out that some in the FCO see Israel as an obstacle both to trade deals in the Gulf and to the Middle East peace process. FCO policy centres on the belief that all problems in the region can be traced back to Israel’s failure to back down over its settlements, so much so that the Government was willing to break with America and vote for a UN resolution critical of Israel last year. Yet demonstrators from Oman to Morocco are patently angry not about Israel’s settlements policy but about the absence of democratic and economic opportunities in their own countries.
There are areas of optimism. Britain is deeply involved in efforts to stymie Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But with Lebanon taken over by Hizbollah, Gaza in the hands of Hamas, Egypt on the turn, Jordan teetering, and Iranian ships operating in the Med, the existential threat Iran poses to Israel is now more than ever a threat to us all. “We are you and you are us,” Mr Netanyahu told the Telegraph. In 2008, Gordon Brown became the first British prime minister to address the Knesset and, in perhaps his greatest speech, described how “Britain is your true friend. A friend in difficult times as well as in good times; a friend who will stand beside you whenever your peace, your stability and your existence are under threat; a friend who shares an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice. And to those who mistakenly and outrageously call for the end of Israel, let the message be: Britain will always stand firmly by Israel’s side.”
It seems that Mr Netanyahu is unlikely to visit the UK this year. And I am told that there are no plans for Mr Cameron to visit Israel. Yet it is more essential than ever that the relationship between the two countries be strengthened, rather than be allowed to weaken. For once, next year in Jerusalem is not good enough. The Prime Minister should find a reason to visit his friends and tell them, face to face, why our links are indestructible.
RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi police shot and wounded three Shiite protesters in the oil-rich Eastern Province on Thursday while trying to disperse a protest calling for the release of prisoners, a witness told AFP.
The shooting happened when around 600-800 protesters, all Shiite and including women, took to the streets of the city of Al-Qateef to demand the release of nine Shiite prisoners, said the witness, requesting anonymity.
"As the procession in the heart of the city was about to finish, soldiers started shooting at the protesters, and three of them were wounded," the witness said.
The three wounded, all men, were hospitalised but their injuries were "moderate," he said, adding that the shooting continued for about 10 minutes and around 200 policemen were present.
The incident came as the OPEC kingpin braced for street protests on Friday after calls on Facebook and Twitter.
In Washington, the United States said it would closely monitor unrest in Saudi Arabia and restated its support for universal values.
"We will of course continue to monitor closely this particular situation," said Ben Rhodes, a senior foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
"What we have said is that we are going to support a set of universal values in every country in the region."
The authorities on Sunday released Shiite cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Aamer whose arrest last month provoked demonstrations.
Several hundred people had protested in the east on Friday after Aamer was arrested on February 27, reportedly for calling for a constitutional monarchy in the kingdom, which is an absolute monarchy.
Shiites, who are mainly concentrated in the oil-rich Eastern Province, make up about 10 percent of the Saudi population and complain of marginalisation in a country dominated by the puritanical Wahhabi Sunni doctrine.
The eastern province borders Bahrain, a Shiite-majority kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty that has been rocked by anti-government protests since February 14.
Europe finally appears to be waking up to the dangers of multiculturalism. Last October German Chancellor Angela Merkel confessed that multiculturalism was "a total failure" and British Prime Minister David Cameron more recently agreed, even linking "state multiculturalism" to Islamic terrorism. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the latest to join this chorus and France now has a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. Anti-immigration political parties in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and France have raised similar qualms.
Though welcome news for defenders of Western civilization, this new awareness only begins reversing years of misguided policy. Far more is involved than requiring immigrants to speak Dutch or insisting that Mahomet treat Fatima as an equal. More painful will be altering the thinking of proper Europeans (and Americans) about what the multicultural threat entails, and without this altered perspective, turning the tide is futile. It takes two to tango, and this also applies to reversing the multicultural damage -- we, too, have to change.
Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy, among many others, misdiagnose the problem. All speak as if cultural/ethnic separatism were the chief culprit. Not entirely true. That incomplete assimilation co-exists with Islamic terrorism does not mean that imposing assimilation will cool the urge to dominate host nations. Undigested ethnic and religious enclaves do not necessarily threaten national survival. In the United States, for example, the Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jews consciously reject much of the outside world while applying religious law within their communities. Countless European nations have flourished despite permanent undigested "foreigners" living within their borders. Finns are not worried by ethnic Swedes residing in their ancestral homeland.
The problem is boiling hatred of the west and a willingness to pursue this hatred, not physical or cultural separatism per se. Lack of cultural assimilation does not breed terrorism; rather, the urge to destroy the host nation impedes assimilation. Assimilation is a choice, not a permanent condition created by inadequate opportunities to fit in. Nor will economic integration via affirmative action-like policies necessarily quell the hatred. During the Cold War many American treasonous communists were home-grown and more than a few had graduated from elite universities and enjoyed all the bounties of American capitalism. Recall that UK terrorists were more assimilated second-generation immigrants, even doctors, not just-off-the-boat impoverished Pakistanis. Moreover, upping involuntary nationalist instruction -- a modern Kulturkampf -- might be interpreted as an assault on one's heritage and may well exacerbate hostility. Heightened nationalistic indoctrination is, at best, a crude scattershot solution whose chief benefit may be only the therapeutic feeling that we, finally, "doing something."
So, if assimilation campaigns are incomplete answers, where does the counter-attack begin? It begins by identifying the toxin that lies at the heart of multiculturalism -- the dogmatic belief that all cultures are equally "valid" and worthy for believers, a view construing culture as a choice no different than preferring vanilla over pistachio at the local Baskin Robbins. Rejecting this equivalence of cultures is a change for us, not them -- Islamic fanatics hardly embrace cultural relativism. It is this wooly-headed cultural relativism permeating the west that permits the triumph of zealots against those who barely lift a finger to protect their own culture. The battle is a mismatch if one side refuses to defend forcefully its own heritage. Multiculturalism is political AIDS -- nobody dies of AIDS, they die of something else since AIDS "only" destroys the immunity system.
This understanding means that wemust be free to defend our values as superior and this inescapably means offending our enemies. There is no "polite" way to accomplish this defense, so say goodbye to a political correctness (PC) whose first commandment is "Thou Shall Not Offend." To continue the AIDS parallel, PC prevents the AIDS-infected patient from strengthening their immunity system since fighting back might "offend" deadly microbes (who can say what life form is better than any other?"). This "we are better than you" is the first line of defense against a rival convinced of their own cultural superiority. People will not die defending diversity, speech codes and unconditional inclusion but they are pushovers for those who reject those values.
Unfortunately, David Cameron and untold others focusing on physical assimilation fail to understand this reality. In his "wake-up" speech he said, "So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious frankly -- frankly, even fearful -- to stand up to them." His approach -- which he labeled "muscular liberalism" -- is that we can now, at long last, criticize our enemies when they attack our values, but, if our rejoinders are racist (or otherwise "offensive,") we still must keep silent.
This approach invites disaster given how "racism" has become so effortlessly leveled. Try imagining a rejoinder to militant Muslims that escapes charges of "racism," "ethnic stereotypes" "hate speech," "Islamophobia," and all the rest? Cameron offers a weak arsenal to defend the west. Our enemies already shout "racism" and all the rest at every criticism, and since political correctness is based exclusively on victim feelings, our defeat is foregone. Cameron's advice is a limp strategy suitable to polite drawing room debate.
We must convince our enemies that there is a new Sherriff in town who will crush enemies of western civilization, not just offer inoffensive verbal rejoinders to threats. Rather than push assimilation on those reluctant to embrace western values, just let it be known that you better assimilate since your old non-western ways have no future. My way or the highway, as the old cliché goes. This shift is just a matter of political will and far cheaper, and much more effective, than trying to entice Kurds to master German so as to become "good Germans." Let me suggest that the British Prime Minister make the following points in his next public speech. Note well, everything he would say is well-known, factually accurate so the point of saying the obvious only serves to announce that the days of passive acquiescence are over.
Western societies have lower rates of crime than Third World societies populated by "people of color" and Third World arrivals bring their crime with them, and this criminality persists across generations. This criminal proclivity will no longer be tolerated as "a cultural difference." We have one law and this applies equally to everyone.
Third World immigrants come to the west to enjoy the benefits of western civilization -- superior health care, a modern economy, first-rate education, democracy, law and order, among countless other virtues. You are here to partake of these advantages not re-create the tribulations you left behind.
If you insist on blasphemy laws, Sharia, female genital mutilation, honor killings and wish to behead those who insult the Prophet, just stay home in Pakistan. If here already, we will help you return home so you can better practice your cherished culture. Otherwise, you're in England now and behave like a proper Englishman.
These politically incorrect statements send a powerful message: we are no longer afraid to offend when protecting the west and so the days of politely looking the other way are over. Moreover, we will not be intimidated if called racists, right-wing-Nazis extremist and all the rest. If you feel that you can't live among "racist Nazis," return home. Ironically, this strategy mimics the "in-your-face" militant gay liberation movement -- we're here and we're Queer, get used to it.
To repeat, being terrified of the "racist" label," the refusal to defend one's own civilization so as not to offend those who hate us only emboldens the miscreants. Who wants to assimilate to a civilization too scared to defend itself? What a terrible investment for the future. Far better to let our adversaries know that they are up against a strong people who love their civilization and will go to any length to defend it. The message must be unequivocal: we really are superior and are not embarrassed to admit it. Don't mess with the west. Machiavelli put it succinctly, "Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking," and nobody fears those who will not defend their own civilization. Time to take the gloves off.
The father of a former Tennessee State University student charged with killing an Army private in 2009 urged lawmakers on Thursday to act against Islamic extremists such as those who he said "brainwashed" his son.
Marvin Bledsoe said his son, Abdul Hakim Muhammad, was influenced by Muslim leaders in Nashville, where he converted to Islam while attending the university in 2004.
"Something is wrong with the Muslim leadership in Nashville," Bledsoe, of Memphis, told the House Homeland Security Committee. "What happened to Carlos at those Nashville mosques isn’t normal."
Define "normal." Are the teachings of the Koran that exort Muslims to violence, a "normal" part of religion as we have understood it for generations? No. Is it a "normal" part of Islamic teaching? Yes.
But leaders at Nashville's mosques say they do not tolerate any violent behavior or anti-American sentiments in their communities. They say Abdul Hakim Muhammad, formerly Carlos Bledsoe, attended prayers at the Al-Farooq mosque and the Islamic Center of Nashville for a short period of time.
We know nothink!
Then he disappeared.
Rashed Fakhruddin, who attends prayers at the Islamic Center of Nashville, said Muhammad learned extremism after he left town.
“What we know is that he left Nashville—and then became he what he was,” said Fakhruddin.
The ICN is not the al Farooq mosque and this fellow isn't the imam, he just attends prayers.
He said that he understands Muhammad’s father’s grief over his son’s behavior.
Fahkruddin said local Muslims cooperate with the FBI, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies.
By what authority does he speak?
If Bledsoe had expressed support for terrorism while in Nashville, local Muslims would have taken action.
“We’d report him,” he said.
Right. I wonder why the al-Farooq imam isn't talking. Is he under investigation?
New York Republican Rep. Peter King called Thursday’s hearing to investigate the rise of homegrown terrorism in the U.S., saying Muslims in America haven’t adequately condemned Islamic terrorism or aided police efforts.
"If you are part of American society, if you are in American society, you have an obligation to abide by the laws of that society and work within it, and not look for excuses to justify murder and carnage the way too many people have done when it comes to terrorist attacks," King said after the hearing.
King’s critics, including Democrats in Congress, say the hearing risks demonizing American Muslims and fueling al-Qaida’s rhetoric that the U.S. is at war with Islam.
Emotions ran high during Thursday’s testimony.
Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, broke down in tears while describing a Muslim paramedic and police cadet who died doing rescue work at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001. One man in the audience could be heard muttering that the hearing was ridiculous because "Islam is a peaceful religion."
Bledsoe told the panel that his son grew up in Memphis a "happy-go-lucky kid." But after his conversion to Islam, Muslim leaders in Nashville "manipulated" him into moving to Yemen in 2007 to teach English at a British school in Aden, Bledsoe testified. He said the school was a front for a training camp run by terrorists and a former imam at the Al Farooq Mosque in Nashville wrote the recommendation that got Carlos the teaching position in Yemen.
I would imagine that former imam is in Yemen now.
Muhammad is charged with killing Pvt. William Long and wounding another soldier outside an Army recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark., in 2009. His trial is scheduled for July.
Bledsoe said the Federal Bureau of Investigation followed his son’s actions for years but never told the family.
"If we knew how serious his extremism had become, we could have put in every effort to prevent the tragedy in Arkansas from even happening," Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe told lawmakers that homegrown terrorism is "a big elephant in the room" caused by a fear of offending the country’s Muslim minority. He said Americans need to learn more about "what Islam is and what Islam is not" and be alert to any suspicious changes in their children’s behavior, because radicalization can be a gradual process.
"...learn more about 'what Islam is and what Islam is not....radicalization can be a gradual process."
"It’s my son’s tragedy you are hearing about today. But tomorrow it could be your son, your daughter," Bledsoe said. "We are losing American babies. Our children are in danger. This country must stand up and do something about the problem."
Awadh Binhazim, a board member of the new Islamic Center of Tennessee in Antioch, said he’d heard Melvin Bledsoe’s claims that “hunters” had recruited and brainwashed his son in Nashville.
Uh, how else did he end up in Yemen -at a terrorist training camp with a letter of recommendation from the Nashville imam?
“I don’t think Nashville is a hotbed of these types of hunters,” he said.
No, goodness me, not a hotbed, just a few.
And he said that Muhammad, was an outsider who was not living in Nashville at the time of his arrest in 2009.
“ This person was from Memphis, he said. “I don’t know what happened there.”
He was attending TSU and attended the Al-Farooq mosque when he converted, changed his name, started wearing Muslim clothing. Why wouldn't he have learned about jihad?
Muhammad had a criminal history before converting to Islam to 2005.
On February 24, 2004, according to police reports, Bledsoe was arrested in Knoxville after police found a shotgun and a loaded assault rifle in a car he was riding in. During a 2010 mental health evaluation to see if he was fit to stand trial in Arkansas, Muhammad admitted that he had been a gang member and had used alcohol heavily and used marijuana regularly before converting to Islam.
“As you can see, a lot of people are still in denial,” Bledsoe said. He said he wanted to talk to the American people so that children like his 9-month-old grandson “don’t get caught up in that same trap.”
Both Bledsoe and Bihi spoke of the lack of cooperation they got from the mosques their relatives belonged to, with Bledsoe saying he never got an apology from the Al-Farooq Mosque in Nashville, whose former imam, he said, wrote his son’s letter of recommendation to go to Yemen.
Mohamed-Shukri Hassan, a spokesman for the mosque contacted by phone this evening, said that Carlos Bledsoe was “just a normal kid and, all of a sudden, he disappeared.” He said the mosque had no role in his going to Yemen and cooperated with federal authorities when they made inquiries.
We know nothing. Again notice how the current imam isn't talking, just the "spokesman."
Charles Jacobsâ€™ Letter to WSJ Exposes Harvard Connection with Assad Syrian Dictatorship
Syria's First Lady Asma Al-Assad
Hugh Fitzgerald posted a Wall Street Journal (WSJ ) features column earlier today,“The Dictator’s Wife wears Louboutins,”excoriating the charm offensive by the Syrian Assad regime and its stylish First Lady, Asma al-Assad, the wife of Ba’athist regime head, Bashir Assad. That WSJ article prompted letters published today in the WSJ by Charles Jacobs, of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) and Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to the US. Jacobs pointed out that a Harvard alumni event in Damascus scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th as well as the thought control exercised by the Syrian regime to stifle unrest and opposition. This faux pas by the Harvard Alumni Association is occurring while the rest of the Sunni Muslim ummah is in turmoil, including Wahhabist Saudi Arabia with its Day of Rage about to erupt tomorrow.
Below are the letters to the WSJ by Jacobs of APT and Syrian Ambassador to Washington presenting contrasting views.
Letters to the Editor:
Not only has Asma al-Assad, wife of the brutal Syrian dictator, charmed the editors of Vogue, it looks like she's also captivated fair Harvard. Under Mrs. al-Assad's patronage, Harvard's Alumni Association is sponsoring a conference in Damascus on March 17, at the posh Four Seasons Hotel. The university's vice provost for international affairs, Prof. Jorge I. Dominguez, will deliver the Harvard guest address.
At a time when the peoples all across the Middle East are risking their lives to be free of tyranny, why in the world would Harvard partner with a ruling family that has brutally dominated Syria for 40 years and runs a country on the State Department's terror list? Since the al-Assad family took power in 1970, a state of emergency has remained in effect that gives security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention.
Syria, a one-party state with no free elections, harasses and imprisons human-rights activists and other critics of the government. The most basic human freedoms-of expression, association and assembly-are strictly controlled. Indeed, Facebook, which has functioned as a tool for liberation across the region, is blocked by the Assad regime.
Clearly today Harvard would not sponsor events with the Ben Alis of Tunisia, the Mubaraks of Egypt or the Gadhafi clan. Must Harvard administrators witness a bloody revolt by Syria's freedom-starved people to withdraw from the embrace of a tyrant?
Charles Jacobs, Boston
Syria Responds to Op-Ed on First Lady Asma al-Assad
Instead of targeting Vogue's profile on Syria's first lady, the anger and indignation emanating from Bari Weiss and David Feith's op-ed "The Dictator's Wife Wears Louboutins" (op-ed, March 7) should be directed toward matters of grave proportions, such as the recent killing of nine boys in Afghanistan by the U.S. military, the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis as a result of the U.S. invasion, or the "war crimes and crimes against humanity" committed by Israel in Gaza (as reported by the United Nation's Goldstone Report).
Indeed, such vitriol on behalf of Ms. Weiss and Mr. Feith begs the larger question: Why does the Journal turn down op-ed submissions on the aforementioned momentous topics, and instead devote so much space for an op-ed that finds as a grievance the first lady's "manicured toes"? One possible explanation: Vogue succeeds in showing a side of Syria that the editors at the Journal don't want, or refuse, to see: "a country that's modernizing itself, that stands for a tolerant secularism in a powder-keg region, with extremists and radicals pushing in from all sides," as a Western ambassador observes in the article.
Make no mistake, this is what angered the authors, not red soles on a first lady's feet.
Imad Moustapha, Washington
Ph.D. Ambassador of Syria to the U.S.
Fulton was working for the BBC when he travelled to Karachi, Pakistan, to launch a BBC produced political talk show on Pakistani politics called Question Time Pakistan. Following which he produced BBC's Hard Talk Pakistan. He was then offered to do a reality show, George Ka Pakistan, by Pakistan's Geo TV based on his experiences in Pakistan. During the show which was a success, he married a Pakistani, Kiran.
Today George Fulton was interviewed on NPR. He has left Pakistan, which he now describes as a hideous place consumed by its own unstoppable fanaticism, for which he believes there is no possibility of a cure, or a return to semi-sanity.
QUINCY — The author of a book on the Oklahoma City bombing says a homeless man arrested in Quincy on Wednes day is the same man identified by several witnesses to the bombing as having been with Timothy McVeigh on the day of the deadly attack.
Quincy Police on Thursday spoke with the author and noti fied the FBI of the arrest of Hussain Al-Hussaini for slash ing a man’s face with a beer bot tle.
Capt. John Dougan said the man arrested in Quincy on Wednesday has the same name as a man featured prominently in the 2004 book “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Con nection to the Oklahoma City Bombing.”
Both Dougan and the author of the Oklahoma City book said the man arrested in Quincy also has a tattoo on his arm that matches the description of one on the arm of the man in the book.
“His age, his name, the pic ture, the mug shot, that’s him,” the author of “The Third Terror ist,” Jayna Davis, told The Patri ot Ledger in a telephone inter view.
Davis said she saw the Al- Hussaini she wrote about during depositions for a libel suit he brought against her.
Davis said the Al-Hussaini she wrote about is a former Iraqi solider who was seen with McVeigh in the weeks before Oklahoma City and on April 19, 1995, the day of the bombing, which killed 168 people.
McVeigh was executed for his role in the bombing. The Al- Hussaini seen with him was never charged.