These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 14, 2012.
Friday, 14 December 2012
Islamists' reign in Northern Mali grows more brutal
From the Independent
The Islamist radicals who seized a vast arc of territory in northern Mali in the spring are intensifying their brutality against the population, according to victims, human rights groups, and U.N. and Malian officials. The attacks are being perpetrated as the United States, European countries and regional powers are readying an African force to retake northern Mali, after months of hesitation.
That has raised fears that the extremists could consolidate their grip over the Texas-size territory in the north and further terrorize civilians, particularly women and children.
"The people are losing all hope," said Sadou Diallo, a former mayor of the northern city of Gao. "For the past eight months, they have lived without any government, without any actions taken against the Islamists. Now the Islamists feel they can do anything to the people."
Refugees fleeing the north are now bringing stories that are darker than those recounted in interviews from this summer. Although their experiences cannot be independently verified — because the Islamists have threatened to kill or kidnap Westerners who visit — U.N. officials and human rights activists say that they have heard similar reports of horrific abuses and that some may amount to war crimes.
Radical Islamists have transformed vast stretches of desert in the north into an enclave for al-Qaida militants and other jihadists. They have imposed a hard-edged brand of sharia law, echoing Afghanistan's Taliban movement, in this West African country where moderate Islam has thrived for centuries. People are deprived of basic freedoms, historic tombs have been destroyed, and any cultural practices deemed un-Islamic are banned.
In August, they began establishing courts, jails and police forces in major towns, according to human rights activists. The police scour neighborhoods for anyone who disobeys their decrees. "It's much more organized now," said Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher on Mali for Human Rights Watch, referring to the network of courts and police. "The Islamists have taken away the joie de vivre of the people."
On Oct. 9, Mariam Conate, 15, was walking to her uncle's house in Timbuktu. She had forgotten to fully cover her face. Two Islamist police officers confronted her, and "one held me, the other beat me with the barrel of his gun," Conate recalled. "They took me to their headquarters and threw me into a room. They locked the door and left."
Outside, her jailors discussed her future. One wanted to cut off her ears as punishment. The other wanted to send her to a prison where six of her friends had been raped, Conate said. She was also worried that she would be forced to marry a militant, a fate her cousin had recently suffered.
Conate was eventually set free after a cousin who knew one of the Islamists intervened. On Oct. 12, she fled to Segou, where she stays with an aunt in a small, crowded house.
In the town of Kidal, the Islamists are making lists of unmarried pregnant women to punish them and their partners, said U.N. and Malian human rights officials and local community leaders. "They are going around asking every pregnant woman who made her pregnant," said Alkaya Toure, an official with Cri de Coeur, a Malian human rights group. "They also rely on spies inside the populations in Gao, Timbuktu and elsewhere."
But as a reward for loyalty, the Islamists have found a religious loophole. They have encouraged their fighters to marry women and girls, some as young as 10, and often at gunpoint. After sex, they initiate a quick divorce. In a case that has shocked the country, a girl in Timbuktu was forced last month to "marry" six fighters in one night, according to a report in one of Mali's biggest newspapers.
In a telephone interview, a senior Islamist commander conceded that his fighters were marrying young girls.
"Our religion says that if a girl is 12, she must get married to avoid losing her virginity in a wrong way," said Oumar Ould Hamaha, the military leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the three radical groups ruling the north. The other two are al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the terrorist network's North and West Africa affiliate; and Ansar Dine, or "defenders of the faith."
Boys, too, are being abused. With a possible war looming, some as young as 10 have been taken to training camps, where they learn to use weapons and plant homemade bombs, U.N. officials and human rights activists say. And as the economy worsens in rebel areas, some parents have "sold" their children to buy food and to curry favor with the Islamists.
"They give $10 to impoverished parents to recruit their children in the name of defending Islam," said Gaoussou Traore, the secretary general of Comade, a Malian children's rights group. "The Islamists tell parents that their children will go to paradise, that they will benefit in the next world. The situation of children in Mali is normally very bad . . . With the arrival of the Islamists, it's become a lot worse."
In a few parts of the north, the Islamists have been more lenient with the locals because they are from the same tribes. But Timbuktu is controlled by hard-liners from all three groups, particularly AQIM, which is largely made up of foreigners. There, the sharia codes have been fiercely enforced.
Juddu Bojuama, 26, was thrown in jail, accused by the Islamist police of drinking a beer. His denials went unheard. "They beat me 100 times with a tree branch," he said, pointing at his back and legs.
Dedeou, the laborer, suffered even more. He recalled having no attorney when he stood before an Islamic judge on charges of stealing a mattress. Afterward, he said, police tied his arms and legs and took away his cellphone. They took him to a clearing near the Niger River, where a man gave him two injections that put him to sleep.
Dedeou woke up in a hospital. His right hand had been amputated.
An Islamist fighter, standing guard at his bedside, uttered a judgment that Dedeou said he could never forget:
"This is the punishment God has decided for you."
Posted on 12/14/2012 4:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 14 December 2012
Bonn bomb was 'as big as Madrid bombs'
From the German edition of The Local and Der Speigel
Police on Wednesday released two Islamists suspected of planting a bomb at Bonn's train station. But they also published a photo-fit image of a man seen near the explosive device, said to be as big as one that devastated Madrid in 2004.
Authorities first sought two men from Bonn's militant Islamist scene, who had previously been classified as "dangerous."
Omar D. and Abdirazak B. were arrested on Tuesday afternoon, security forces in Berlin confirmed, but have since been released. Somali-born Salafist Muslim Omar D., had been taken into custody at Cologne/Bonn airport in 2008 on suspicion of engaging in terrorist activities. Omar D.'s lawyer Mutlu Günal also confirmed the arrests, but refused to comment further.
The police investigation came after a sports bag was found on Platform 1 of Bonn's central station on Monday. Der Spiegel magazine reported that it contained four canisters of butane gas, ammonium nitrate, a metal pipe, and an alarm clock with batteries, though there appears to have been no detonator.
The area was sealed and the device was destroyed with a water cannon - which may have broken the detonator into "countless pieces," prosecutors said.
"It was an extremely dangerous explosive device," state prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum said on Wednesday.
The mass-circulation tabloid Bild reported Thursday that the Interior Ministry's "threat assessment" included warnings of an increased risk of attacks on German Christmas markets. With their open entrances and large number of visitors, the markets are "soft attack targets, which are difficult to protect," the paper quoted from the report.
Posted on 12/14/2012 4:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 14 December 2012
English: Devaluing The Treasure Of Our Tongue
From the BBC:
Users check Facebook in the Philippines
Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world. In the process, the language itself is changing.
When America emerged from the ashes of a bruising war with Britain in 1814, the nation was far from united. Noah Webster thought that a common language would bring people together and help create a new identity that would make the country truly independent of the British.
Webster's dictionary, now in its 11th edition, adopted the Americanised spellings familiar today - er instead of re in theatre, dropping the u from colour, and losing the double l from words such as traveller. It also documented new words that were uniquely American such as skunk, opossum, hickory, squash and chowder.
An American Dictionary of the English Language took 18 years to complete and Webster learned 26 other languages in order to research the etymology of its 70,000 entries.
The internet is creating a similar language evolution, but at a much faster pace.
There are now thought to be some 4.5 billion web pages worldwide. And with half the population of China now on line, most of them are written in Chinese.
Still, some linguists predict that within 10 years English will dominate the internet - but in forms very different to what we accept and recognise as English today.
That's because people who speak English as a second language already outnumber native speakers. And increasingly they use it to communicate with other non-native speakers, particularly on the internet where less attention is paid to grammar and spelling and users don't have to worry about their accent.
Unicode: Facilitating international languages
English remains the single most commonly-used language on the web. But in 2010, for the first time ever, the majority of the world's data was in non-English text.
That's because new computer technology has made it easier to read and write in non-Roman languages.
"Much technology was initially unreliable in languages other than those using Roman script," he says. "But the broader adoption of standards like Unicode means that this is changing."
Unicode enables a message generated in Chinese characters in Shanghai to appear the same when it's read on a computer or mobile device in San Francisco.
"The internet enfranchises people who are not native speakers to use English in significant and meaningful ways," says Naomi Baron, professor of linguistics at American University in Washington DC.
Users of Facebook already socialise in a number of different "Englishes" including Indian English, or Hinglish, Spanglish (Spanish English) and Konglish (Korean English). While these variations have long existed within individual cultures, they're now expanding and comingling online.
"On the internet, all that matters is that people can communicate - nobody has a right to tell them what the language should be," says Prof Baron. "If you can talk Facebook into putting up pages, you have a language that has political and social standing even if it doesn't have much in the way of linguistic uniqueness."
Some words are adaptations of traditional English: In Singlish, or Singaporean English, "blur" means "confused" or "slow": "She came into the conversation late and was blur as a result."
Others combine English words to make something new. In Konglish, "skinship" means intimate physical contact: handholding, touching, caressing.
Technology companies are tapping into the new English variations with products aimed at enabling users to add words that are not already in the English dictionary.
And most large companies have English websites, while smaller businesses are learning that they need a common language - English - to reach global customers.
"While most people don't speak English as their first language, there is a special commercial and social role for English driven by modern forms of entertainment," says Robert Munro, a computational linguist and head of Idibon, a language technology company in California.
Fragile languages find footing online
Unesco estimates that half of the world's 6,000 languages will have disappeared by the end of the century - but new research shows that social media and text messaging in particular are promoting and supporting language diversity.
Texting is now conducted by speakers of around 5,000 languages.
"Text messaging is the most linguistically diverse form of written communication that has ever existed," says Munroe.
"It's also become the first form of written communication of many of the world's languages," he says.
"Most have only ever been spoken. But the technology and economics of text messages and the proliferation of cells phones means it's the most economic option of communication."
"The prevalence of English movies in regions where there is not much technology other than cell phones and DVDs makes English an aspirational language. People think it's the language of the digital age."
In previous centuries, the convergence of cultures and trade led to the emergence of pidgin - a streamlined system of communication that has simple grammatical structure, says Michael Ullman, director of research at George Washington University's Brain and Language Lab.
When the next generation of pidgin speakers begins to add vocabulary and grammar, it becomes a distinct Creole language. "You get different endings, it's more complex and systematised. Something like that could be happening to English on the web," he says.
Hinglish is a blend of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English and is so widespread that it's even being taught to British diplomats.
Mobile phone companies are also updating their apps to reflect its growing use.
In Hinglish, a co-brother is a brother-in-law; eve-teasing means sexual harassment; an emergency crew responding to a crisis might be described as 'airdashing', and somewhat confusing to football fans, a 'stadium' refers to a bald man with a fringe of hair. There's even a new concept of time - "pre-pone", the opposite of postpone, meaning "to bring something forward".
The increasing prevalence of the internet in everyday life means that language online is not a zero sum game. Instead, it allows multiple languages to flourish.
"Most people actually speak multiple languages - it's less common to only speak one," says Mr Munro. "English has taken its place as the world's lingua franca, but it's not pushing out other languages."
Instead, other languages are pushing their way into English, and in the process creating something new.
Posted on 12/14/2012 6:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 14 December 2012
Tennesseeâ€™s Troubling Islamist Network
David James wrties at Frontpage:
The “red-green alliance” in Tennessee between the liberal-left and Islamists is alive and well but made even more novel with the participation of Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Never one to shy away from Obama’s agenda for the U.S., Governor Haslam’s push to elevate the political status of Muslims in his state must leave Tennesseans wondering if their Republican governor is actually a Democrat.
Governor Haslam’s promotion of the Islamist agenda in his state progressed from having his Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security work behind the scenes to support and partner with the American Muslim Advisory Council to having the Muslim Council train state law enforcement and Department of Children’s Services staff. Meanwhile, he appointed shariah compliant finance specialist, Samar Ali as International Director for the TN Department of Economic and Community Development.
Unfortunately for the Governor, his appointment of Samar Ali (whose donation to Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. and later the Obama Victory Fund didn’t raise an eyebrow) resulted in harsh criticism from Tennessee conservatives. Attempting to deflect criticism, the Governor’s office publicly released Ms. Ali’s credentials but was careful to redact her extensive experience and expertise in shariah finance. But the release included references to her father’s curriculum vitae to convince the public that this family from Waverly was 100% Tennessean.
No one can dispute the accomplishments of Dr. Subhi Ali, Samar’s father, but his very active Red/Green political life was conspicuously omitted by the Governor. For example, Dr. Ali and his wife were multi-year donors (see here and here) to pro-Hamas/anti-Israel Democrat Cynthia Mckinney, political support consistent with Dr. Ali’s long-standing service to the Jerusalem Fund.
The Jerusalem Fund – The Holy Land Foundation II?
The Jerusalem Fund (originally the American Palestine Education Foundation) was founded in 1977 by Dr. Hisham Sharabi who served as Chairman of the Board until he died in 2005. Despite self-description as “non-political”, review of the Fund’s leadership, programming, and issues of focus, reflects an overtly pro-Palestinian/pro-Hamas/anti-Israel posture. Documents currently available show that Subhi Ali joined the Jerusalem Fund’s Board in 2000, became Vice Chair in 2003 and has served as Chairman from 2005 until the present.
The Jerusalem Fund is comprised of 3 programs:
1) The Palestine Center offers Information Briefs such as the “Rising support for Hamas and the Roots of its Success in Palestine “ (“One of Hamas’ more distinctive qualities is its emphasis on Islam. In addition to its self-proclaimed role as a legitimate and honest replacement to Fateh, Hamas also acts as a religious alternative to the secular Fateh.”)
2) The Humanitarian Link, which provides grants for social services in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” and supports the Palestine Diabetes Institute.
(Originally named the “Occupied Land Fund,” the Holy Land Foundation was the largest Islamic charity in the U.S., which also claimed the need for humanitarian relief for Palestinians in the occupied territories. The Holy Land Foundation was successfully prosecuted in 2007 for funding Hamas).
3) The Gallery, which promotes the Palestinian and Arab cultures.
Fund founder Hisham Sharabi advocated a Palestinian “armed struggle” if necessary, to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. His 1998 paper “The Palestinians: Fifty Years Later,” called for Americans of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim backgrounds to organize using their “constitutional rights as Americans” to “influence a dangerously biased [toward Israel] American policy in the Middle East.”
Sharabi’s political activities also included serving on the board of World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), and along with Jerusalem Fund co-founder and board member, Dr. George Hishmeh, served on the Board of the American Committe on Jerusalem (ACJ).
You Are Known By the Company You Keep
WISE was founded, incorporated and led by Sami al-Arian who was subsequently sentenced in 2006 to prison and deportation because of his leadership of the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
WISE was named in a federal indictment as part of a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence including murder, extortion, money laundering, and fraud. They operated worldwide including the Middle District of Florida.
WISE Board members included:
Taha Jabir al Alwani – President, IIIT; cited as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s terrorism prosecution against al-Arian.
Basheer Nafi - charged with “conspiracy to murder, maim or injure persons outside the United States” and a significant leader of the PIJ; was indicted by the FBI in absentia.
Mazin an Najjar - a founding member of WISE, was arrested on secret FBI evidence that he supported terrorism and was associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a threat to national security. He was deported from the U.S. in 2002.
Ramadan Abdullah aka Ramadan Shallah - currently on the FBI Most Wanted List, co-founder of WISE, and listed as a “Specially Designated Terrorist.” He was named a leader of PIJ in 1995.
WISE served as the U.S. money-receiving front for PIJ and while Sharabi was a board member, funneled payments to the PIJ martyrs through the Islamic International Arab Bank (Arab Bank). In addition to a DOJ investigation begun in 2004, a lawsuit filed in 2007 by victims of the PIJ martyrs against Arab Bank (ongoing in 2012), alleged that Arab Bank financed Palestinian terrorism by using Hamas and PIJ “martyr kits” to make payments to suicide bombers’ surviving family members.
Samar Ali worked as a legal intern at the Arab Bank at the time the lawsuit was filed. How did she end up at a bank being investigated for laundering money for her father’s close associate’s organization? Does Governor Haslam know about this?
WISE was funded by the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute on Islamic Thought (IIIT). Tarik Hamdi, identified as an officer/staff member of WISE is listed in a federal affidavit as providing material support to Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden and the PIJ. He left WISE to work for IIIT. He subsequently left the U.S. and relocated to the Middle East.
The IIIT was named in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends.”
Under Sharabi and Subhi Ali’s leadership, the Jerusalem Fund partnered with Life for Relief & Development (LIFE) which was raided by the FBI in 2006 “less than two months” after CAIR sent out an “Action Alert” asking people “to aid in collecting and sending [relief] supplies to LIFE.” The final destinations of the supplies were Lebanon and Gaza, where Israel was battling Hezbollah and Hamas. LIFE has been a “partner” organization to numerous groups with terror ties, including Human Concern International, Jerusalem Fund, ICNA Helping Hand, Islamic Relief and Human Appeal International.”
Subsequent to the raid, LIFE’s public relations coordinator, Muthanna al-Hanooti was indicted as an agent for Saddam Hussein’s government paid to manipulate U.S. officials. He pled guilty and faces a four year prison sentence. Al-Hanooti had also served as executive director of CAIR Michigan in 2000.
It should come as no surprise to anyone to see CAIR pop up given that Sami al-Arian and Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook, co-founded the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the parent organization of CAIR. Marzook also established the Holy Land Foundation. Is it any wonder then that once again in the 2009 federal appeal, Judge Solis confirmed that there was “ample evidence to establish the associations CAIR, ISNA, NAIT with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine and with Hamas.”
Time and again cases are prosecuted and it is proven that an Islamic charity has been used to raise and funnel money to support Islamic terrorist organizations. Looking at terrorism financing cases such as the Holy Land Foundation, WISE, Kindhearts, Benevolence International Foundation, al-Haramain Foundation, Global Relief Foundation and others, shouldn’t a prosecutor be asking whether Hisham Sharabi’s legacy, the Jerusalem Fund now chaired by Dr. Subhi Ali, is following suit?
It looks like the Jerusalem Fund is registered in every state except Louisiana. Tennesseans and concerned citizens in other states should be looking carefully at who is doing what in their state offices. Be assured, the Red/Green alliance is busy while we sleep.
Posted on 12/14/2012 9:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 14 December 2012
Denmark: Jews advised to keep faith symbols hidden
From the Copenhagen Post
Jews in Denmark are advised to avoid wearing the Star of David or the religious headpiece, the kippah, in public according to advice given out by the Israeli Embassy and Jewish faith groups.We advise Israelis who travel here and want to go to the synagogue that they should only put their kippah on once they are inside,” Avon told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “They shouldn’t wear them on the street, even in areas that are considered safe.”
Avon and the Jewish faith group, Mosaisk Troessamfund, also advise Jews not to visibly wear the Star of David in public.
The Mosaisk Troessamfund has been informed of 37 cases of possible anti-Semitism this year, including an incident in November in which an elderly Israeli man had a necklace bearing a Star of David ripped from his neck while he was eating at a shawarma restaurant.
This incident took place in Nørrebro, a district of Copenhagen that has a large Middle-Eastern and Arab population, which according to the victims accounted for the majority of the physical and verbal attacks.
. . . police have also suggested that Jews need to take precautions while in Nørrebro. “In areas where it is known that there is conflict and a risk of confrontation and harassment, it’s best to stay away,” police commissioner Lars-Christian Borg told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s sad to have to say, but it is some of the advice we give.”
City councillor Lars Aslan Rasmussen (Socialdemokrater) said that it was “grotesque” and that more needed to be done to tackle anti-Semitism. “We often see racism as an issue of the majority against a minority. But we need to direct our efforts tackling anti-Semitism toward the Muslim communities,” Aslan told Jyllands-Posten.
Posted on 12/14/2012 11:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 14 December 2012
Four charged after arrests by Metâ€™s Trafficking and Prostitution Unit - Barking east London - Islamic names
Common sense suggested that this was not confined to Northern mill towns. From the Barking and Dagenham Post, the BBC and the CPS. HT Lisa.
Four men are to appear in court today charged with offences including controlling child prostitution.
Naeem Ahmed, 25, of Westminster Gardens, Barking, has been charged with controlling child prostitution, inciting child prostitution and five counts of rape.
Nabeel Ahmed, 23, of Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, has been charged with charged with six counts of rape.
Anas Mir Iqbal, 25, of Newham Way, Newham, has been charged with one count of paying a child prostitute for sexual services.
Hassan Raza. 23, of Westminster Gardens, Barking, has been charged with one count of sexual touching.
Officers made the arrests in the early hours of Thursday morning, acting on intelligence from Essex Police. A statement from the Metropolitan Police said four victims aged between 16 and 18 have been identified.
The blog of the Crown Prosecution Service says: The four defendants will appear before Barkingside Magistrate’s Court on 14 December 2012. They now stand charged with criminal offences and have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial."
Posted on 12/14/2012 1:00 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax