A hardline Muslim cleric who sparked anger across the U.S. with his anti-American comments in a television interview this month is to hold a protest outside the White House.
British extremist Anjem Choudary - who once said 'the flag of Islam will fly over the White House' - has announced he will lead a demonstration calling on Muslims to establish the Sharia law across America.
The rally, planned for March 3, is to take place just weeks after his on-screen row with Fox News presenter Sean Hannity.
Mr Choudary, 43, called Americans 'the biggest criminals in the world today.'
The former leader of outlawed group Islam4UK told the Daily Star 'we expect thousands to come out and support us.'
Mr Choudary said the March rally was organised by the Islamic Thinkers society, an extremist group based in New York.
Two other British extremists, Abu Izzadeen and Sayful Islam, have also been asked to speak at the demonstration.
Izzadeen is the hate preacher who caused fury last year when he called British soldiers 'murderers' the day he was released from jail after a three-and-a-half year sentence for inciting terrorism.
Mr Choudary told the newspaper: 'The event is a rally, a call for the Sharia, a call for the Muslims to rise up and establish the Islamic state in America.'
However, whether the three will be able to enter the U.S., especially Izzadeen, remains to be seen. Even a tourist visa requires applicants to answer questions on whether they have been involved in acts of terrorism or plan to commit crimes in the U.S.
'This is a unique event taking place in Washington, outside the White House which, Inshallah, (God willing) will garner huge support.'
If Choudary, Izzadeen, and Islam are allowed to enter the U.S. in order to stand in front of the White House and call for the overthrow of our government and the replacement of our system of laws with Islamic sharia law, it will be a new low in our immigration policies.
He hit U.S. headlines just two weeks ago after his furious exchange with Mr Hannity on Fox News. The presenter became so enraged with his anti-American comments he ended the interview by calling him a 'sick, miserable, evil S.O.B'.
The East London-based cleric's anti-American stance is well-documented. Last year he led protesters in burning the American flag outside the U.S. embassy in London on September 11.
And in October, he told an ABC chat show that 'one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.'
He told the Daily Star: 'They have seen our activities in the UK and Europe and have decided they want to challenge the vacuum in freedom and democracy and the people in the front line of the struggle against Islam and Muslims - the American government and the establishment.
'They have invited and myself and Sayful Islam from Luton to come over to address the crowd and rally support.'
'We are going to address corruption in the Senate, corrupt foreign policy, the mayhem around the Muslim world, the drug and alcohol culture, promiscuity and the pandemic of crime in America.
'It is only right the call is made in the heart of Western civilisation in front of the biggest pharaoh that exists today, which is Barack Obama.'
I don't think Obama's policy of "reaching out" to Muslims is paying high dividends.
He added: 'I think the American people’s hearts and minds are open to receive Islam as an alternative way of life. We expect thousands to come out and support us.'
The owner of three Cumbrian Indian restaurants has been jailed for two years for employing illegal immigrants. A judge at Carlisle Crown Court told Mohammed Hifzuil Rahman, 46, he had “exploited” vulnerable people in pursuit of money.
“I find it very difficult to accept that this was done for humanitarian reasons,” Judge Peter Hughes QC said. “I don’t accept that you were motivated simply by altruism or compassion.”
police and UK Border Agency officers found a total of seven illegal immigrants living and working at two of his restaurants – the Red Fort in St John’s Street, Keswick, and the Taj Mahal in Main Street, Sedbergh. . . the men were failed asylum seekers, whom to Rahman gave food and accommodation in “basic and cramped conditions” in return for work.
In mitigation, defence counsel Andrew Ford said that though Rahman had been responsible for the men working in his restaurants, they had been overseen by managers, not by him. He said Rahman had warned his managers about illegally employing asylum seekers, and their continuing to do so was due to their “incompetence”.
He admitted Rahman had not been sufficiently “rigorous”, but suggested it was better for the men to be given work rather than be allowed to “disappear”. “Giving them succour is better than the gutter,” he said.
Judge Hughes said the case was aggravated by way Rahman had gone on employing the immigrants “in defiance” of the three warnings he had been given. He rejected Rahman’s claim that, as a devout Muslim, he was bound to provide shelter for other Muslims. “We are all subject, in equal measure, to the laws of the land, whatever our faith and whatever our cultural background,” he said. . . illegal immigration into this country was such a serious problem that those assisting it had to be dealt with severely.
Indrit Krasniqi, 23, Iliyas Khalid, 24, and Quam Ogumbiyi, 29, entered former general Radislav Krstic's cell at top security Wakefield Prison and slashed him with knives or blades in revenge for his role in the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. The Muslim defendants, who are serving life sentences for murder, were cleared of attempted murder by a jury at Leeds Crown Court but convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following a two-week trial.
The three defendants are all convicted murderers serving life sentences. Krasniqi, an Albanian national, is serving a life sentence of at least 23 years for the 2005 kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Mary-Ann Leneghan in Reading, Berkshire, and the attempted murder of her friend.
Khalid was jailed for life in 2008 and told he must serve a minimum of 30 years in prison for the murder of 23-year-old Stacey Westbury. He was jailed under his previous name - Christopher Braithwaite - for sexually assaulting and killing Miss Westbury whose body was found at her home in Fulham, west London, in August 2007. Ogumbiyi is serving a life sentence for stabbing a man to death with a knife on the doorstep of a flat in Haringey, north London, in 2003. His minimum tariff was set at 14 years.
Krstic is a Bosnian Serb national who was serving a 35-year sentence for his involvement as a General-Major in the Bosnian Serb Army which killed many Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995. His conviction was later reduced on appeal to aiding and abetting genocide and his prison term was reduced to 35 years. He was transferred to the UK to serve his sentence in 2004. He is serving part of his sentence in a British jail because the UK has a treaty obligation to take some prisoners from the War Crimes Tribunal.
(The) prisoners have been handed additional life sentences. . . The sentences will not affect their minimum terms but could affect parole. As they have proved their individual use of knives to kill (or attempt such) was not an aberation I hope they will now be held under the strictest conditions, and that life imprisonment for them will mean full term life.
Sorry to report that Amazon.com is not doing a good job of keeping Allah is Dead in stock so we have decided to add it to the NER bookstore (see here) as well. We will also be exploring other distributors and we apologize for the difficulty in finding it - we honestly didn't expect it to take off like it has. We're already looking at a second printing and possibly a French translation.
A Revealing Interview With Souad Mekhennet, N.Y. Times Reporter
From Al Asharq Al Awsat:
Asharq Al-Awsat talks to the New York Times' Souad Mekhennet
By Mohammed Al Shafey
Souad Mekhennet is a New York Times journalist of Turkish – Moroccan descent, born in Frankfurt, Germany. She worked for the Washington Post before joining the New York Times, covering conflicts and terrorist attacks in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. She worked on the feted New York Times series "Inside the Jihad", speaking to a number of prominent Islamist figures. She is also the co-author of two German language books that deal with the issues of political Islam and jihad, "The Children of Jihad" and "Islam." [did the N.Y. Times study these books, and what they say, and do not say, about Islam and Jihad, before hiriing her? No? Why not? No one on the Times needs to look into how a Muslim reporter presents Islam to Westerners? That's not, these days, important or relevant?]
The following is the full text of the interview:
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
[Mekhennet] I am a reporter for The New York Times and since 2004 I have sometimes worked for German public TV. Before working for the New York Times I was a reporter for The Washington Post, and some German newspapers and magazines. Since 9/11, I have travelled and covered many conflicts and terrorist attacks in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. I am the co-author of two books, "The Children of Jihad" and "Islam", both published in Germany. My colleague Nicholas Kulish and I are also currently working on a book. I attended the "Henri – Nanina" journalism school in Hamburg and I also hold degrees in Political Science, International Relations, History and Psychology.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What was it like growing up in Germany as the child of Muslim immigrants?
[Mekhennet] It is the normal struggle that immigrants, and especially Muslim immigrants and their children, go through every day in European countries. Growing up as a child of a Muslim family in a non-Muslim society is not always easy. People see you differently and treat you differently. You never feel that you belong no matter how hard you work. Social status plays a much bigger role on how one is viewed and treated. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany and am the child of a working class family. My mother is Turkish and my father is Moroccan. They both worked in manual jobs; my father as a cook and my mother as a laundress and cleaning lady. They worked very hard and sacrificed a lot so that my sisters, brother, and I could do well at school. I always felt I should work harder and do better than German kids, and still, I never felt that I was fully accepted. This is, unfortunately, the story of many immigrant families throughout Europe.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What first attracted you to journalism?
[Mekhennet] I wanted to become a journalist from the age of 13, and when I turned 17 I founded a school magazine in high school. Journalism gives you the possibility to uncover hidden things and hopefully contribute to changing them through writing, giving people who are seldom heard from a voice. You also get to deal with all kinds of people, the poor, the rich, the oppressed, the powerful, and be present and ask the questions.["the Muslims, the non-Muslims" -- this is absent from her list]
[Asharq Al-Awsat] During the recent anti-government demonstrations in Cairo, you were detained by the authorities. Was that your first experience of this?
[Mekhennet] I have been in difficult and sometime dangerous situations. The "Inside the Jihad” series which I did for the New York Times took me the back streets of Zarqa in Jordan where I interviewed young men who went fighting in Iraq. I travelled to the barren tribal areas of Waziristan, Afghanistan and Iraq. I visited places where the smell of gunpowder hanged permanently in the air. I encountered men who had been detained in prisons and spoke with tears in their eyes of torture and rape. I have been in other situations where I was the one being interrogated. But what was difficult to bear in Egypt was hearing people being beaten and hearing their deafening screams through the walls. It was harrowing.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Can you tell us how you came to be detained in Cairo?
[Mekhennet] We were on our way back to Cairo after spending a few days reporting on the protests in Alexandria for The New York Times. My colleague and I were travelling back to Cairo with other journalists from the German public television station ZDF, a normal practice in such conditions — safety in numbers. There was a very tense environment throughout the country, we’d heard of television crews being attacked and accused of creating anti-Egyptian propaganda. A day before our trip back to Cairo, we were caught in the middle of a riot with our German colleagues.
At the outskirts of Cairo, we were stopped at what looked like a civilian checkpoint. We had been through many checkpoints without any problems, but this time when our driver opened the trunk of the car, an outburst came out from the crowd, when they saw a large black bag with an orange ZDF microphone poking out. It turned out that our colleagues at ZDF had mistakenly put their equipments in our car, camera bags, camera, equipment to send films via satellite and money. The crowd shouted and banged on the car, pulling the doors open. The ZDF crew in the other car managed to drive off, whilst we were detained.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Who detained you? And where and how long were you detained for?
[Mekhennet] My colleague Nicholas Kulish and I were detained on Wednesday afternoon and it was the beginning of a 24-hour journey through an Egyptian detention facility, ending with – we were told by the soldiers who delivered us there – the secret police. We asked our jailers to identify themselves but they refused.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] In the article you wrote about this disturbing experience, you said that you could hear the sound of other detainees being beaten, how did this affect you?
[Mekhennet] We felt powerless, hearing people scream out in pain, the loud beatings and you feel there is nothing you can do. It was the worst part of our detention, seeing – and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility – Egyptians who had taken part in the protest or had spoken to media, being abused at the hands of their own countrymen.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Was your interrogation conducted in English or Arabic?
[Mekhennet] I was interrogated in English.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] As an American journalist, do you think that this had any bearing on the manner in which you were treated?
[Mekhennet] Well, I am not American. I do hold a German passport and I am of Moroccan -Turkish decent but my colleague is American. As we’ve written in our article for the New York Times, no physical harm was done to us, we made sure to point that out, but we also made sure to point out the contrast of how Egyptians at this detention centre were being abused. I later heard from foreign reporters who had been through similar experiences in Cairo, some were treated the same way [as we were] and others told me that they got a beating. It is just hard to know what the criterion was for such illegal and inhumane behaviour.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Did your ability to speak Arabic assist you in any way?
[Mekhennet] It helped in some situations, especially when it came to talk to some of the men who kept us [detained] and who did not speak any English.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Has this experience altered the way in which you view Cairo or the Middle East?
[Mekhennet] No, not at all; Cairo or the Egyptian people have nothing to do with that and I was really touched when I saw all the e-mails that I received from Egyptian people who said that they were sorry about what happened to us. Furthermore, if we were to be turned off of a city or a country because of an unfortunate incident, we, as reporters, will not be left with many places to cover. I also covered rendition and arrests stories in the region. But when I was sitting in the cell during our detention witch my colleague, and our driver, hearing what was going on around us, I thought of my grandfather, Abd-el-Kader (may god bless his soul), who had been detained and tortured by the French in Morocco during the struggle for independence. He was a member of the Moroccan resistance fighting the French occupation. Whilst in that cell I also thought, "what is it with our region?" People like my grandfather who fought the occupation must never have thought that one day an Arab would torture his fellow countrymen, just because they dared to talk to the press or take part in a peaceful protest. This is not the world that they imagined they would leave for their children and grandchildren.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are you still covering what is happening in Cairo?
[Mekhennet] I am following very closely what is going on in Egypt and I am in touch with people there and now, following what has happened [Mubarak's resignation], I will certainly go back at some point.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion about the 'Egyptian Revolution?
[Mekhennet]From the journalistic point of view, what has happened in Egypt will definitely have an impact on other leaders in the region and elsewhere and how they think about their relationship with their population, and by the way I don’t think that this [revolution] is something specific to the Arab world. People have rebelled against oppressive regimes throughout history and all around the world. There comes a day when one says enough is enough and I won’t take it any more. What has been achieved in Egypt and Tunisia, from a journalistic or people perspective, is incredible. A few weeks ago nobody would have guessed this, and that’s what make both uprisings, in Tunisia and Egypt - and who knows what other countries might follow- a very interesting historical event. Historians and political scientists will be studying both revolts for years to come.[but surely the question to ask is: what is it about Arab and other Muslim countries that make despotism the rule, not the exception? What is it in the teachings, or the atmospherics, of Islam that makes the Arab definition of "democracy" -- mere head-counting rather than enshrinement of the rights of the individual, as in the advanced West -- such a dimidiated and paltry thing? Souad Mekhennet does not sound like someone who has thought about this matter]
In Alexandria I spoke to many protesters, they were all unified in their call for Hosni Mubarak and the government to step down but depending to which group they belonged to, their wishes and expectations differed. This is both amazing but also difficult to analyze. For sure, at some point when all the dust settles, not everyone who took to the street and raised her or his voice, will be fully satisfied with the outcome, but this has always been the very nature of revolutions.
The hope now is that the post Mubarak era will lead to a prosperous and democratic Egypt. What happened in Tunisia and Egypt is also a big lesson for people in the West to recognize that Arabs too, no matter what religion they belong to, women and men, old and young, rich and poor, can also strive for freedom and work tirelessly to bring about real change through peaceful protests. [as above, we see the pseudo-American-politician's-list of "women and men, old and young, rich and poor" but where we expect, instead of the "black and white, Jew and Gentile," an apt variant on it -- "Muslim and non-Muslim" -- that phrase, in the Arab version, is absent. Not a single Muslim in Egypt has been reporting as uttering "Muslim and Copt." The absence is telling.]
[Asharq Al-Awsat] As a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs, do you think that you have an advantage particularly given the important news coming from the Middle East these days?
[Mekhennet] Indeed, I believe that my own personal background and my language skills are an advantage. It puts people at ease when you communicate with them in their own language; it also helps to know the culture and how things work in the region.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Which of your articles do you believe has had the greatest impact, either on yourself or your readers? And which article did you find the most challenging to write?
[Mekhennet] There are three stories that I can think of: the story that we broke for the New York Times about the kidnapping and rendition of Khalid El-Masri, a German of Lebanese decent who was kidnapped by the CIA and it later turned out to be a case of a mistaken identity. The second story is the personal story about what happened to my colleague and I in Egypt. The third story is about a Pakistani woman, and in this story one could clearly see the common hypocrisy that exists in both the Muslim and Western worlds. She was abused by her husband, who cheated on her and without shame or embarrassment told her about it, a Muslim man who thought that he is entitled to do this to his Muslim wife. She also experienced the increasing anti-Muslim sentiments that are becoming prevalent and fashionable in the western countries nowadays. [why, Souad Mekhennt might ask, are "anti-Muslim sentiments becoming prevalent and fashionable in the western countries" -- might it have anything to do with the observable behavior of Muslims in the Western world, and in the treatment of non-Muslims in the Muslim-dominated countries? Could it have anything to do with the greater knowledge about Qur'an and Sunnah, and the understanding that these texts are immutable, not subject to further interpretation, and inculcate hatred of Infidels, and further require of Muslims that they participate, directly or indirectly, individually or collectively, in working to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam?]
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What do you think of the situation for Muslims today in the west?
[Mekhennet] Europe is unfortunately moving more and more to the right and politicians are finding anti-Muslim and racist rhetoric sellable and not condemnable. Anti-Muslim sentiments has always existed in the West but as the economic crisis deepens, European Muslims are becoming an easy targets of blame and are finding themselves being cornered and labelled as backward and potential threats to the national security of these countries. These Muslims are citizens of these countries and should be protected by their laws. But it is harder to censor hate speech in European countries especially when the recipients of this hate are the vulnerable Muslim communities. However it is also an imperative for Muslims to get better organized and stop always looking for the differences between them, but rather focus on the things they share in common. There are so many groups in Europe who say they are representing Muslim communities and who don’t get along with each other, because of different interpretations of Islam, as they see it, or because they belong to different schools of thoughts. And it is really important, that people have to be aware that this is neither helping their religion nor themselves or their children. Differences are always going to exist but there are so many things that these groups share in common and they would have a tremendous impact if and when they realize that. [note that for Souad Mekhennet cannot believe that there is anything legitimate in the increasing Western "hostility" to Islam -- Islam and what it inculcates is apparently not to be understood by the West -- and this merely reflects (this is a new refrain) "economic difficulties" and not a rational, and overdue, analaysis of Islam and greater awareness of what it teaches and how it acts on the minds of those who take Islam to heart. And note too how Souad Mekhennet laments the absence of appropriate "hate speech" legislation -- that is, finds that the ability to censor comments on Islam sadly insufficient, to date, in the West. But don't worry, in reporting for The New York Times, Souad Mekhennnet will find a way, within the "ethical limits" of the paper, to protect and promote the interests of, the image of, the goals of, Islam.
What is needed is not only a change of Muslims' situation in the world, but also in the Islamic world. For the last ten years I have covered militancy in Europe and the Islamic world. There are things that I think the peaceful protesters in Egypt have in common with all these men and women – whom I interviewed in the past –who at one point in their lives decided to take up arms and go to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Yemen or Somalia: They lacked role models in the Islamic world, and had lost all trust in their leaders and politicians, whom they viewed as being corrupt and out of touch with reality. They felt that their grievances are not taken into consideration. Of course, the Egyptian protesters opted for peaceful means to change their lot, and they should be commanded [sic] for that. So, I think there is a serious need for role models in the Islamic world and building trust between those who govern and the people.
The Muslims in the West also lack role models they can look up to. Whenever I speak to school kids in Germany I always emphasize that nothing should be taken for granted in their lives and that they have to work hard in order to realize their potential. Like myself, many of my friends do not come from rich or influential backgrounds, but still through hard work, we were able to become who we are. From the age of 14 I worked at a bakery next to my school cleaning floors, I [also] worked at a hostel for old people, and I am proud of that and I always tell these kids to look ahead and that, with hard work and perseverance, everything is possible.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are there any particular regions that you still want to cover or does it simply depend on where the story is?
[Mekhennet] It’s a mix of both; there are definitely some people that I would like to interview, but of course I also look for breaking stories.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Have you found there to be any major differences between working for an American publication in comparison to a German one?
[Mekhennet] I can only speak of my experience with the newspapers that I worked for; certainly the New York Times and Washington Post have both very high ethical standards. One of the biggest differences with the German press, for example, is that as a reporter with the New York Times or the Washington Post, you are not allowed to bring your own opinion or analysis to an article. This is different in Germany; they want the reporter to say what their point of view is.[now, thanks to this interview in Al Asharq Al Awsat, we know a lot more of what we already suspected from certain stories, about the "point of view" of Souad Mekhennet]
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you believe that hard-copy newspapers are being threatened by the internet and the free and easy access of information there? What do you think about the proposed decision for online news content to be placed behind a pay-wall?
[Mekhennet] Well, I am sure that people will understand that quality has a price, and of course it is an investment for a paper to send a reporter or a photographer to places to cover a story, especially when doing investigative journalism, which is very important, and is a big investment for media organizations. Undoubtedly access to information is changing and with it we will see a change in habits and cultures. But I believe that there are still people who prefer the feel of the paper in their hands.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you have any final words of wisdom or advice for aspiring Arab journalists?
[Mekhennet] I have met some very brave and great journalists who live and work in the Arab world and I admire them for the work they are doing. But I also came across some people who would publish rumours in their stories as ‘facts’ and not think it important to double-check their information. So if there is any advice I would give to young aspirant journalists, it is to always double check your information. Credibility for a journalist and a newspaper or any other media outlet is extremely important in this business. Having more that one source will help to weed out rumours and ensure that your information is sound and corroborated.
LONDON -- Britain's close relationship with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has come under attack from U.S. officials, human rights campaigners and victims of the Lockerbie bombing after the North African dictator ordered a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Louis Susman, the U.S. ambassador in London, condemned the British government's efforts to reintegrate Gadhafi into the international diplomatic community. "I would suggest that to deal with [Gadhafi is] to give him greater stature, greater ability on the world front to look like he is a good citizen is a mistake," he told the BBC on Sunday. "I would hope that the whole concept of how people deal with Gadhafi will be under review." [and this is true of all the Arab and Muslim despots who are supported, o have excuses made for them, or their regimes made the recipients of Western largesse or otherwisere propped up, in one way or another, by the indulgent West The American government did it with the stratokleptocracies in Egypt and Pakistan, the British government , nakedly intent on financial gain, did so with Qaddafy in Libya, and of course the E.U. did so in its favoriring and fawning over the man who, if we factor in the GDP of his "people" was far more corrupt and greedy and ruthless than Mubarak ever was - Yassir Arafat, who helped himself to billions in aid money]
Susman's criticism was seemingly directed at former Prime Minister Tony Blair's attempts to bring the pariah nation in from the cold. In 2004, Blair held a historic summit with Gadhafi in Tripoli, where he announced a "new relationship" between the U.K. and Libya.
The North African leader agreed to join the fight against al-Qaida, stop funding terrorism and abandon his weapons of mass destruction program. In return, British businesses would set up profitable operations in the country. That same day, Libya announced a $900 million exploration deal with Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell. Three years later, BP signed a comparable offshore oil-exploration deal with Gadhafi.
British arms companies have also profited from the detente. In the first nine months of 2010, British daily The Guardian reports, the U.K. government approved the sale to Libya of military and crowd-control equipment worth $325 million. Items authorized for export included tear gas canisters, small arms ammunition, weapon sights and sniper rifles.
The U.K. Foreign Office revoked all export licenses to Libya this weekend. However, it didn't explain why those exports had been approved in the first place. According to official guidelines, the government is not allowed to "issue an export license if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression."
Libya would appear to have met the criteria for a "clear risk," as human rights groups have long blamed Gadhafi for the systematic torture, murder and imprisonment of opposition figures.
Mona Rishmawi, a legal adviser to the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights, said there was now a "real question mark" over arms sales to the regime, The Daily Telegraph reported. More than 300 people are thought to have been killed in the Libyan government's crackdown on protesters -- some of whom may have been fired on with British weapons -- and Rishmawi said there was a "possibility" that the U.K. may be guilty of "complicity in human rights violations."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has loudly condemned the killing of protesters and told Sky News that he intends to "increase the international pressure" on Gadhafi's regime. But he defended Blair's friendly approach to Libya.
"The improvement in relations with Libya during the 1990s did help to ensure that Libya stopped pursuing a ... weapons of mass destruction program," he told the British broadcaster. "So there were important gains for the international community in trying to normalize relations with Libya."
The critics contend that Libyan agents armed the Irish Republican Army with explosives and guns, which were used in terror attacks in the U.K. and Ireland. Then, in 1984, British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed by a gunman who fired from inside the Libyan Embassy in London. No one has ever been prosecuted for her death.
Four years later, Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people. The Scottish government's decision to allow convicted bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi, who was suffering from terminal cancer, to return home to Libya in August 2009 angered many American and British relatives of the victims. U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have since revealed that the U.K. government secretly advised Libya on how to secure Megrahi's release.
American Susan Cohen, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora died in the Lockerbie bombing, said the government in London must accept some of the blame for the violence now unfolding in Libya.
"This is what you get for appeasement," she told the Daily Mail. "The dreadful bloodshed we are seeing on the streets of Libya is in part due to the disgusting behavior of the British government."
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has condemned literature distributed at an event at a local Muslim group's center last week that suggests Jewish leaders in World War II Germany worked with Nazis to get permission to settle in Palestine.
A flier distributed by the International Jewish Anti- Zionist Network – an event co-sponsor – said: "As part of this collaboration, Zionists … even kept silent about impending plans to deport Jews into Nazi death camps.
"Zionism both exploited and hinged upon the rise of Nazism, and later, the Holocaust, to transform what had been a small nationalist movement with little support … into one capable of achieving statehood, based on support from the U.S. and other imperial powers."
Steinberg said that "in essence, they are saying the Jews orchestrated the Holocaust. Talk about blaming the victims."
About 500 people attended Wednesday's address at the SALAM Islamic Center by Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer, 86, who compared what happened to him and other Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s to Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [Hajo Meyer-- is his mental conditioin one of longstanding, or is it possibly age-related? Others who know him will have to answer that question]/
Mona Alfi of Congregation B'nai Israel – one of 13 rabbis who had asked SALAM to cancel or boycott the event – said Sunday that "there is no comparison" between the ways Jews in pre-war Germany and Palestinians have been treated.
"There are Palestinians in the Israeli government, there are universities with full participation," Alfi said. "There are real political problems between Palestinians and Israelis, but it's not what happened in Germany in the 1930s."
She called the flier alleging some Zionists were Nazi collaborators "a disgusting lie."
"To belittle the murder of 6 million Jews is a very raw subject for us," Alfi said. [hyper-litotes]
In his open letter to Jews, Muslims and civil rights leaders after the event, Steinberg said he was "heartsick and saddened."
Steinberg – founder of the Capital Unity Council creating a center for tolerance here – has championed Sacramento's diversity and built bridges between Jewish and Muslim leaders to fight bigotry.
Steinberg didn't attend the event, but Susan McKee, his district director, did, picking up the flier.
Event sponsors challenged Steinberg's assertion, saying they heard nothing anti-Semitic from either Meyer or Palestinian activist Hatem Bazian, a University of California, Berkeley, professor.
"They made it very clear they're not saying the Jewish death camps were the same as the tragic conditions the Palestinian live under," said Andy Noguchi of the Florin Japanese American Citizens League, one of Sacramento's oldest civil rights organizations that supported the event.
"None of the people I contacted got the flier," Noguchi said,[oh, that's okay then -- the people you know didn't "get the flier" so the flier itselfhardly matters] noting Meyer did say that leading up to the death camps, there were similarities in the treatment of Jews in the 1930s and Palestinians today, "when it comes to discrimination and segregation." [and -- let me guess - you no doubt also believe that the internment camps in California, approved of in wartime by that celebrated liberal Earl Warren, were practically like Auschwitz, like Belzec? What a dreary and predictable type this fellow is].
The Florin JACL supports the lessons of the Holocaust, "and we're concerned about human rights for Palestinians, just like we are about the people in Egypt and people in North Korea," Noguchi said. "If the event was anti-Semitic we wouldn't be within 20 miles of it."[insist on this again, or a hundred times, and it still won't make it so -- Res Ipsa Loquitur, I'm afraid, here and in many other cases]
Meyer had fled Germany for the Netherlands when he was forbidden to study in German schools after a November 1938 pogrom against Jews. He said he returned to Germany in 1943, joined the underground and was captured and sent to Auschwitz.
After the war Meyer got his Ph.D in theoretical physics and became managing director of Philips Physics Laboratory in the Netherlands.
"I can identify with those Palestinians who undergo slow-motion genocide when they are not allowed to go their places of education," Meyer said. "Those who can't realize their ambitions are slowly killed. … I'm afraid many, many, many Israelis are so brainwashed, their feelings of empathy are largely reduced."
David Mandel of Jewish Voice for Peace, another event co-sponsor, didn't completely agree with Meyer's "strident rhetoric," but called the forum "an unusual opportunity for a lot of people in the Muslim community to hear from an authentic and honest Holocaust survivor." [an "authentic and honest Holocaust survivor is one who, in the eyes of the jewish-voice-for-peace people, compares Israel's attempt to prevent terrorist attacks by those conducting nonstop Jihad against it, and to assert its own legal, historic, and moral rights, as akin to what the Nazis did to Jews]]
Mandel said he wished there were opportunities to have a more "toned-down" discussion about the Palestinian issue at local synagogues, which he claimed don't allow significant criticism of Israel.
Alfi said there are plenty of discussions among Jews on the Palestinian question. "It's a very touchy topic, but these conversations go on all the time."
Imam Mohamed Abdul Azeez, whose mosque rented its hall for the event, said the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims, SALAM, didn't see or approve of the flier before it was distributed.
"We reject any remote suggestion that Jews have colluded with the Nazis," Azeez said.
But the event – drawing the largest crowd in five years to the mosque – "changed a lot of things," Azeez said. "Instead of demonizing Jews, it contributed to a positive perception of the Jewish community that some Jews, while upholding their Jewish faith will speak out against aggression and injustice against Palestine." [yes, as long as Jews abandon Israel to its fate, and take the side of the Arab Muslim shock troops leading the Jihad locally -- the soi-disant "Palestinians" -- those Jews are just fine by Imam Mohamed Abdul Azeez]
Bahrain's Shia Start To Demand That The Sunni Ruler Be Removed
From the Guelph Mercury:
Bahrain youth protesters seek ouster of royal family
Bahrain protests. A Bahraini anti-government protester takes a picture with his cellphone of a chair with a sign in Arabic below it reading, "And does the throne of the oppressor stay", at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, Monday. Hassan Ammar/The Associated PressSource: The Associated Press
By Barbara Surk, Hadeel Al-Shalchi
February 21, 2011
MANAMA, BAHRAIN — A group of young protesters camped out in Bahrain’s capital Monday called for the ouster of the entire ruling monarchy as part of sweeping demands to call off a weeklong uprising in the tiny, but strategically important Gulf nation.
The call stakes out the most uncompromising demands of protesters to date, most of whom have only called for weakening the powers of the monarchy and it was impossible to determine how much weight they have in the country as a whole.
Tensions are still high in Bahrain after see-saw battles that saw riot police open fire on protesters trying to reclaim landmark Pearl Square last week. At least eight people have been killed and hundreds injured in the clashes since the unrest spilling across the Arab world reached the Gulf last week.
Abdul Redha Mohammed Hassan, 32, who was shot in the head by security forces while trying to march to the square Friday, died in a hospital Monday, his relatives said.
Bahrain holds particular importance to Washington as the host of the U.S. navy’s 5th Fleet, which is the main U.S. military counterweight to Iranian efforts to expand its military influence into the Gulf.
A manifesto Monday from a group calling itself “Youth of Feb. 14” — after the day of the first marches — apparently seeks to raise the stakes of demands ahead of possible talks between the opposition and the monarchy.
“We demand the overthrow of the oppressive Al Khalifa regime,” the manifesto said, referring to the ruling royal family. “The people will choose the system they will be subjected to.”
To underline their contempt for the monarchy, the protesters set up a chair resembling one belonging to a royal with a sign beneath it that says in Arabic “And does the throne of the oppressor stay?”
It was not clear what their relationship is with the official Shiite opposition that includes 18 members of the 40-member parliament who resigned in protest Thursday.
But their manifesto shows the range of demands among the opposition, from the all-or-nothing youth group to others who would let the monarchy survive but with many of its powers and privileges turned over to parliament.
The weeklong unrest has already affected Bahrain’s economy. An international rating agency has cut the government’s credit ratings because of concerns about political turmoil as the crown prince was deciding on the fate of the March 13 season-opening Formula One race, the kingdom’s biggest international event it has hosted annually since 2004.
Standard & Poor’s cut the ratings Monday for Bahrain’s long and short-term sovereign credit ratings, as well as those for the island nation’s central bank and the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
Hundreds of protesters spent the night at the square, and thousands of government opponents have gathered at the site by the afternoon. The mood was upbeat and many appear to be camped there for the long haul, with makeshift kitchens serving meals to those who live in the small tent village.
At several stalls, demonstrators queued for hot tea and joked about the weather, which turned windy and whipped up sand and trash.
In the statement, the youth group called for authorities to be put on trial for attacks on protesters last week and demanded an elected government. They said the first priority should be the cancellation of citizenship for thousands of foreigners who receive it as part of an effort to change the sectarian balance in the island nation. Few policies anger Bahrain’s Shiite majority more than bestowing citizenship to outside Sunnis, mostly Arabs but also from Pakistan and other South Asian countries.
Shiites in Bahrain have often complained of discrimination by the Sunni rulers. The Al Khalifa royal dynasty has been in power for 200 years and has strong backing from other Gulf Arab leaders, who fear that Shiite powerhouse Iran could gain further footholds through the uprising led by Bahrain’s Shiites.
Bahrain’s rulers have offered talks with opposition groups to try to defuse the showdown, but the opposition appears to be in no hurry to talk with Crown Prince Sheik Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been delegated by the king to lead the dialogue.
The leaders of the official Shiite opposition said they are not refusing to talk to the crown prince, but want guarantees the rulers’ words will be backed by action.
The main opposition demand is the resignation of the government that is responsible for this week’s bloodshed and has been led by the same prime minister — the king’s uncle — for 40 years.
Other demands include abolishing the monarchy’s privileges to set policies and appoint all key political posts, along with addressing long-standing claims of discrimination and abuses against Shiites, who represent about 70 per cent of Bahrain’s 525,000 citizens.
“Allah is Dead – Why Islam is Not a Religion”
New book by Rebecca Bynum
Reviewed by Louis Palme
The duck-billed platypus is native to Australia. It is an amphibious egg-laying mammal which has a duck-like bill, web feet, and fur. It electrocutes its under-water prey of worms, shrimp, and larvae, but it also has a venomous claw that can paralyze land-based animals and people. It stores food in pouches in the mouth, but it has no teeth. When the babies are hatched they nurse through the skin, as the platypus has no nipples. One could not imagine a stranger animal on the face of the earth.
So it is not a casual remark when Rebecca Bynum calls Islam the duck-billed platypus of belief systems. This is because Islam is really an all-encompassing hybrid religio-socio-political system that cannot be compared with Christianity, or any other major religion, for that matter.
Why Islam is Not a Religion
Just because people profess a faith in an ideology doesn’t make it a religion. In our lifetime, people swore loyalty to Communism and Nazism with religious fervor, but those ideologies were never granted a “religious” status. Also in America, one so-called “religious” practice – polygamy – was so offensive that the Mormon church was forced to discontinue it to gain legal acceptance. There are definite limits to what can be deemed a religion, even in First Amendment America.
In addition to being a hybrid, Islam is wholly materialistic. The Quran takes on an almost fetish character, where the book itself is “sacred,” not the contents. The focus of prayer and the object of pilgrimage and veneration is a black rock. The rewards for dying in the cause of Allah are completely material — virgins, food, and sensual ambiance. Finally, Islam is the only religion where territorial sovereignty is more important than the inner spiritual sovereignty over men’s hearts. Mankind and territory are divided between the world of “submission” and the world of “warfare.” Whereas Judeo-Christian religions focus on the righteousness of individuals, the emphasis in Islam is the collective –the ummah.
When it comes to a concept of a god, the Allah of Islam predestines mankind’s lives with both good and evil outcomes. The submission to “Allah’s will” means not only that man has no personal responsibility, but Allah’s powers are unlimited and often whimsical. Good and evil cannot be determined rationally, but only by the dictates of the Quran and the example of Muhammad. The Judeo-Christian God, on the other hand, is characterized by loving kindness (checed), and mankind can use reason to distinguish between good and evil without relying on a written scripture or religious teaching.
Ms. Bynum concludes, “So what the Islamic system has done is usurped the place of God in the lives of believers. It has made a spiritual God unnecessary. The Islamic system is all one needs to know and obey. One must memorize the fixed words of the Quran, but knowing God as a living spiritual being is not required. . . The freedom Muslims are promised is of course entirely delusional because the reality in Islam is a life reduced to utter slavery – physical, psychological, and spiritual – without balm, without rest, without peace.“
What Should the Response to Islam Be?
“Compassion demands that we see Muslims as human beings first. . . Should we not then thoroughly examine the fundamental error of Islam, that is, of seeing the world’s peoples as divided and fundamentally separate, that Muslims and non-Muslims are not only different, but Muslims are more and non-Muslims less? If God’s love is divided, then God who is love must be divided, and though Muslims claim otherwise — that they worship “one God”– their theology in this regard is contradictory and insupportable. Judged in this light, is it not incumbent upon us to seek to free individual Muslims from the totalitarian thought-system of Islam, just as we once sought to free Eastern Europeans from the totalitarian system of communism on the basis that it is fundamentally in error?”
“Real peacemaking is the result of the stout and unyielding defense of the values our civilization was founded upon. . . . Islam is deeply and profoundly wrong. Pretending it is right only worsens our situation by delaying actions that must be taken if our own civilization, however imperfect and unseemly it may be, is to be preserved.”
“Religion must hold to the transcendent purpose of reconciling man to a greater reality – it must lead man to God and bring God, or Love, if you will, into the life of man in ever increasing measure. Religion must always stand apart from the social and political institutions of the society in which it exists. Its function is not to uphold the status quo; its function is to show man a higher reality.”
“One of the most important points to make about Islam is this: the purpose of Islam is only found in the perpetuation of Islam. Islam literally has no higher purpose. . . [That’s one of the reasons Islam is not really a religion.] There is no greater integrating or unifying force than religion. Without religion, we have absolutely nothing with which to counter Islam. . . Only faith in a loving God and the conviction that truth, beauty and goodness are real can oppose faith in a God of hate, a God of untruth, ugliness and cruelty. Religion itself is not the enemy and should not be treated as such.”
Rebecca Bynum’s book is a rational and compassionate discussion of the numerous disconnects between Islam and the Judeo-Christian ideologies. While it will be disturbing to Muslims who have never considered the theological and spiritual merits of Islam, it will empower non-Muslims to challenge the deeply worn “riverbed” of Islamic traditions which have very little to do with the sustaining “river” of a spiritual faith in a living God which should be central to any true religion.
Of course you are. You hope it continues for a long, long time, without easy resolution.
And what else do you look forward to in the Muslim Middle East where The World's Great Age Begins Anew? In Bahrain, a permanent standoff, or ideally, a situation where fellow Sunnis rush aid to the embattled King and the Sunnis who, being Sunnis, deserve their superior status. And perhaps, as a result, attacks by Sunnis on Shii'a in Pakistan (oh, that happens anyway, without any uprising in Tahrir Square), in northern Lebanon, in northeastern Yemen (or attacks by Shia on Sunnis, it hardly matters), and meanwhile, the realization, all over the Western world, that the excistement, nearly hysterical at times, among some in the Western press -- see the hallucinating Nicholas Kristof -- has made a mountain -- ideally, the descendant of the one that famously refused to go to Muhammad -- out of what will turn out to be, not a molehill, but at most.... a hill.
Christian Union Senator Roel Kuiper wants to amend the Dutch constitution to include a ban on Sharia, Islamic law. . . because it is "not rooted in principles which form part of Dutch culture. Our rights, the way we treat each other, our norms of good and evil have all been molded by Christianity."
Senator Kuiper also wants to regulate the flow of money from Arab countries to Dutch mosques. The Christian Union politician says these measures are necessary "to take the Islam debate in the Netherlands a step forward". Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has enthusiastically welcomed Senator Kuiper's proposal.
Nicholas Kristof's Delirium Leads To Hallucinations
Two days ago, Nicholas Kristof reproted from mild-mannered Bahrain (no attempts to report from violent Libya for Nicholas Kristof) on the "delirium of joy" felt by the protesters against Things As They Are -- that is, the Shi'a who want power transferred, ideally, from the Sunni king to them [they appear not to be thinking ahead, for the first thing the Saudis would do, in such a case,is seal off the causeway to avoid contagion, and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council would have little to do with a Shiite-dominated Bahrain (native population: 525,000; oil and gas resources: none).
Today, in another vacuous column, Kristof continues the theme of Delirium because now he hallucinates, and declares that what he calls "the Arab spring" (like the Prague Spring, with sad-eyed, dignified Dubcek) is akin to America in 1776. I can't stand this stupid and ignorant man, who in his globe-trotting has seen so much and understood so little, possessed of a kind of stolid assurance that comes not from superior intellect but from being well-credentialed in the obvious ways, first having obtaining the right-sounding degrees --one from Harvard, and then, having won a Rhodes for being an all-round good guy and Leader of Men, rather than for academic brilliance, another from Oxford in law, i.e., a second undergraduate degree), and then further inflated in his own estimation with various prizes, including the Pulitzer that both he and Tom Friedman have won (which tells us something about the standards of the Pulitzer Committees in the relevant years).
To compare the the rising ("Thawra") in Bahrain, which so far consists not of some articulate platform, but merely of peole walking into and around Pearl Circle, with the Americans in the War for Independence, is grotestque. In Bahrain, the issue is this: the Shi'a simply want what they see the Sunnis getting from a Sunni-staffed state, and if they could have their druthers,, they would delightedly deny it, in turn, to the Sunnis. Those groups of chanting people whom he finds so inspiring, and whomintelligent Westerners should find so disturbing, is being compared by Nicholas Kristof, determinedly ignorant of Islam, to the Americans who, chafing under British taxes and distant rule and, having won a war that lasted a half-dozen years, managed then to construct the most intelligent political order, for a certain kind of people, that is Western man, that the world has ever seen.
In order to understand why the various commotions and upheavals in this or that Arab country will lead to a lot less than meets the astonished eye of Nicholas Kristof, a good place to begin is Bernard Lewis's "The Political Language of Islam" to understand what such words as "freedom" and "democracy" mean in Arabic, that is mean to Arabs. Or, if you want an even shorter introduction, read Lewis's discussion of uprsing, al-thawra, in that famous footnote 27 in "The Question of 'Orientalism," his feline dissection of the ignorance of the egregious Edward Said.
Arabs raging (rightfully and righteously) against the grand and continuing theft committed by their rulers does not amount to what the Americans, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Jay, Hamilton, and those others -- whose law, language, literature, were all English --accomplished in and around and after 1776. In Islam, there is a tradition, an encouragement, of submission at every level., , but little else save a cargo-cult wish for "democracy" to descend (preferably from great big American planes also carrying plenty of goods and money and services), without any real understanding of what advanced Western democracy is all about. Just as Muslims want the material goods the West supplies, and
In Islam, the child submits to the parents, and the father, and close male relatives, can control that child, punish that child, even -- if the child is sufficiently refractory or tought to have by some action have dishonored the family -- kill that child, with impunity, in the view of Islam. In Islam, the woman submits to the man. In Islam, any questioning of the contents of Qur'an and Sunnah are to be suppressed, ideally suppressed by the person who for some reason allows himself to have such doubts.
Islam encourages, in every way, the habit of mental submission. And this has consequences for the religio-political order in Muslim countries. In the advanced West, the legitimacy of government is located in how well that government reflects the will expressed, however imperfectly, by the people through elections.. In Islam, the legitimacy of any regime is located, rather, in how well that regime reflects the Will expressed by Allah iin the Qur'an, as glossed by the Sunnah.
The "rising up" is not new to Islamic societies. But the invocation of the word "democracy" is new. It's a function of some Arabs knowing a bit more -- not enough -- about how things are done, and what things are called, in the great world of Infidels. But use of the word is not enough, and those who fail to realize what "democracy" in the Western sense entails, and what is necessary in the minds of men for such democracy to be created, are going to be disappointed, one assumes, and confused.
And they will not be able to recognize, much less analyze, how it is that Islam itself, not Western "colonialism" (which was so tangential, and so brief, in Arab Muslim hjistory) explains the political, as it explains the economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures, of Muslim polities and peoples. And since the cause of their own deep and continuing failures is something they cannot permit themselves to recognize, those failures, with other regimes, other forms of theft, will continue.
And the West? The West should be making plans to have as little to do with the world of islam --just in and out, to pay for the oil and gas, and that's about it -- as possible. For more contact, as in the squandering horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan, or with the Muslims allowed into Western Europe who, having reached sufficient numbers, are the cause of great daily unpleasantness, expense, and physical insecurity, that only a few leaders in Europe dare to recognize or, as yet, truthfully discuss. .
The Telegraph reports the rumor that Qaddafi -- weren't you too wondering where he might possibly end up, since no Arab regime would at this point take him in -- is headed toward Venezuela, where his good friend and admirer and emulator Hugo Chavez, with whom he has exchanged so many warm visits, might be wiling to take him in.
Wouldn't that be great?
Just think of it. The "Arab Spring" won't, because of Islam, lead to those great changes Nicholas Kristof is expecting. But if Qaddafi can end up in Venezuela, that will be the end, quite soon, of the Dictatorship-of-the-Proletariat that the los-de-abajo military man, Hugo Chavez, has been creating for the Greater Good of Venezuela and, just like Qaddafi with his Green Revolution, for himself.
What if the major achievement of the "Arab Spring" had nothing to do with the Arabs, permanently in thrall to Islam, which they cannot possibly revolt against, but with the end to the reign of Hugo Chavez?
The Americans Should Long Ago Have Stopped Funding Egypt's Army
Egypt has an army of a half-million regular soldiers,and a half-million reservists. The American government funds it with about $1.3 billion dollars a year -- that is one-third of Egypt's military budget. In addition, the American government gives other aid, economic in nature, that has been used by the corrupt rulers -- Mubarak is but one of them, for there is an entire class of stratokleptocrats -- "stratokleptocracy" is a word I had to invent to fit the Egyptian case, and it means "rule by the thieving military"). But Egypt has no need for military aid. It's army has no threats. The only conceivable use of Egyptain military force is against Israel. And since the American government, or rather Carter and Brzezinski, forced Israel to make a ludicrous -- from Israel's point of view -- agreement with Saint Sadat at Camp David, and since Carter and Brzezinski, and subsequent American adminisetrations, have never tried to get Egypt to honor the terms of that agreement that were so important to the Israelis (the ones about ending hostile propaganda in the Egyptian press, and about encouraging friendly relations with Israel, and about allowing Israelis to attend such things as film and book fairs in Egypt, and about encouraging travel by Egyptian tourists to Israel), but decided to do nothing to offend Egypt, and meanwhile, simultaneously, decided that Egypt "deserved" -- though only Israel made tangible sacrifices by giving up the entire Sinai (about as important a buffer to Israel against future attack from the southwest as is the Pacific Ocean to the United States) --all kinds of aid, nearly$3 billion a year in aid, for graciously deigning to accept back the Sinai, together with oilfields discovered by Israel, the tourist resorts built up by Israel on the Red Sea, and other infrastructure that the Israelis had built (including three modern airfields) and that were either destroyed or provided intact to Egypt).
There is no need for any aid to Egypt. Such aid merely provides, as in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, as in Yemen, as in Jordan, as in Pakistan,either the means for certain countries to pursue -- as Pakistan did and is doing -- expensive projects in weapons-of-mass-destruction manfucture (Egypt is now engaged in nuclear -weapons research, and hopes to have its own bomb someday, which Israel can never permit), or to supply funds so that the corrupt military (and civilian) rulers have more of something, in poor countries, to be corrupt with. The Americans should distance themselves from such rulers, and in Egypt, the barrier to a fair and deliberately secular state, or a state as secular as these thousands of young-turk Ataturks, the ones made so much of by Western reporters in Tahrir Square, can secure, is that army, with its tentacles everywhere, its ownership of property visible everywhere. Egypt's army should not be propped up by the Americans. And the Egyptians shoudl ask for economic aid not from the put-upon non-Muslim taxpayers of the West, who have far greater security expenses now, and forever, because of the threat of those who take Islam too much to heart, but should rely, instead, on the rich Arab oil states. Let the unity of the Umma be put to the test. If it meets that test, fine. And if it doesn't, when it's a question of sharing wealth? Even better.
East London - Muslim men convicted of attack on Christian RE teacher for 'teaching other religions to our sisters'
I posted about this attack on the RE teacher at my cousin's old school last year.
I said then that a Christian man teaching religion to Muslim girls was a victim waiting to happen. It was the obvious motive. The assailants have been apprehended and convicted, although there are questions to be asked about the Police intelligence of the impending assault. From the Daily Mail .
Four men launched a horrific attack on a teacher in which they slashed his face and left him with a fractured skull because they did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls.
Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, attacked Gary Smith with a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement.
Mr Smith, who is head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, also suffered a fractured skull. The four now face a jail sentence.
Detectives made secret recordings of the gang's plot to attack Mr Smith prior to the brutal assault. The covert audio probe captured the gang condemning Mr Smith for 'teaching other religions to our sisters', the court heard.
Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse told the court: 'The evidence from what was said on the probe points overwhelmingly to a religious motive for this attack.'
Judge John Hand QC remanded the defendants in custody until sentence on a date yet to be confirmed.
I'm glad to be wrong about two other points. The national press have taken up the trial of these jihadi assailants when I predicted it would be another short paragraph in the East London Advertiser, if, not when, they were apprehended. And I thought the official line would be 'a motiveless and inexplicable attack' but counsel for the prosecution is spot on when she says the evidence points "overwhelmingly to a religious motive for this attack". That's a change in attitude in less than a year - its been hard work and we have a long way to go.
Could Bahrain Become the Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century?
Shia Protests in Bahrain
The tiny sheikdom of Bahrain, with a majority Shia population ruled by the autocratic Sunni al-Khalifa family, erupted in protests in mid-February raising serious national security issues, given the presence of the home port for the US Fifth Fleet. Additionally, it must raise concerns in the adjacent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia about the restive Shia population in the Eastern province who sit atop the virtual lake of oi on the Persian Gulf.
Dr. Col. (IDF ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has raised the prospect of a possible toppling of the al-Khalifa hegemony in Bahrain that could lead to establishment of an Islamic Republic outpost across the Gulf from Iran on the Arabian Peninsula. In an analysis released today, “Could the Kingdom of Bahrain Become an Iranian Pearl Harbor?”, Dr. Neriah notes:
· The headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet is in Bahrain. Iran does not need to employ its air force against the U.S. naval facility, but only to topple the pro-American regime of the al-Khalifa family and replace it with a new Bahraini regime backed by the Shi'a majority which seeks the immediate withdrawal of the fleet.
· Even more worrisome for the U.S. is the fact that the Shi'a protest could easily expand to the neighboring eastern Saudi shore of Al-Ahsaa where most of the population is also Shi'a.
· Iran has already identified a situation of American weakness in protecting its allies in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Iran therefore is increasing its support to subversive elements throughout the Persian Gulf and especially in Bahrain.
· If Iran perceives a situation where the U.S. would treat the King of Bahrain as it treated Mubarak earlier, this would definitely encourage Iran to increase its offensive subversion in Bahrain and possibly in eastern Saudi Arabia.
· In 2005, Shi’a demonstrators marched in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, showing their support for Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Three years later in 2008, Shi’a demonstrators waved Hizbullah flags in Manama and called for closing U.S. bases in Bahrain.
Dr. Neriah uses the Wiki-Leaks discussion about Bahrain to point out some of the possible dynamics of leading to Shia takeover in Bahrain and insurgency in Saudi Arabia’s oil rich eastern province. The Saudis have yet been able to bring under control the Shia al- Houthi rebellion in the Northern Yemeni Sa’dah region, even with the assistance of Jordanian forces and construction of a virtual fence with contractor BAE Systems.
Bahrain’s relations with the Islamic Republic have become increasingly strained. Bahraini officials have publicly stated that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program in violation of its Non-Proliferation Agreement obligation. Moreover, according to the WikiLeaks document referring to Bahrain, dated August 2008, roughly 30% of the Bahraini Shi’a follow clerics who look to more senior clerics in Iran for guidance. The majority look to Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq and a few to the late Muhammad Fadlallah and others in Lebanon. Bahrain’s most popular cleric is Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has occasionally endorsed the Iranian regime’s doctrine of “velayat-e-faqih” (guardianship of the jurist – the Supreme Leader). According to the same WikiLeaks report, a number of Bahrain’s middle-aged clerics studied in Qom during the years when Saddam Hussein obstructed study in Iraq.
In other words, Bahrain rulers are practically sitting on a barrel of explosives whose detonator lies in the hands of the leaders of Iran. Bahrain’s precarious regime lies on a very unstable social fabric:
a. 60-70% of Bahrain’s 500,000 citizens are Shi’a, while the other half-million residents are guest workers.
b. Shi’a are poorer than Sunni Bahrainis.
c. About 15% of Bahrainis are Persian and speak Persian at home and tend to belong to the professional classes.
Neriah notes some of the background including US analysis from Wiki-Leaks about Bahrain’s relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hizbullah and Al Qods Force activities and Shia clerical training in the Iranian Holy City of Qom
Nothing could be as descriptive of its unique situation as the narrative of the American analyst whose paper was leaked to the public through WikiLeaks: “The Sunni ruling family of tiny, Shi’a-majority Bahrain have long recognized that they needed outsiders – first the British, then the United States – to protect them from predatory neighbors, Iran foremost among them. Both Shahs and Ayatollahs have asserted claims to sovereignty over Bahrain from time to time. While keeping close to their American protectors, Bahrain’s rulers seek to avoid provoking Iran unnecessarily, and keep lines of communication with Iranian leaders open.”
Tensions between Bahrain and Iran developed again in February 2009 when Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain. He called Bahrain Iran’s 14th province (Saddam Hussein called Kuwait Iraq’s 19th province during the 1991 Gulf War). Bahrain halted natural gas negotiations with Iran in protest of the comments and demanded an official apology. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki visited Bahrain at the time and presented an official apology.
[. . .] According to another leaked WikiLeaks document of April 2008, on the eve of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Bahrain in 2008, the king reiterated that his number-one security concern was Iran. The king told the American who prepared Rice’s visit that the purpose of the meeting was to demonstrate that “we have an alliance that will not stand by and watch countries fall to Iran one by one.”
Bahraini officials often tell their American counterparts that some Shi’a oppositionists are backed by Iran. The king himself has claimed that members of the opposition have received training in Lebanon with Hizbullah officers (even though the Americans were unable to confirm this report).
[. . .]
The Bahraini government presented evidence in Washington that the Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards was involved in a 1995 Shiite uprising.
Nevertheless, as neighbors, Iran and Bahrain have had a long relationship centered largely around bilateral trade, though basic tourism and necessary regional cooperation also play a part.
[. . .]Moreover, according to the WikiLeaks document referring to Bahrain, dated August 2008, roughly 30% of the Bahraini Shi’a follow clerics who look to more senior clerics in Iran for guidance. The majority look to Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq and a few to the late Muhammad Fadlallah and others in Lebanon. Bahrain’s most popular cleric is Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has occasionally endorsed the Iranian regime’s doctrine of “velayat-e-faqih” (guardianship of the jurist – the Supreme Leader). According to the same WikiLeaks report, a number of Bahrain’s middle-aged clerics studied in Qom during the years when Saddam Hussein obstructed study in Iraq.
Back in 2006, Ralph Peters wrote about redrawing of the Map of the Middle East, “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle east Might look.” While we find his analysis a bit naive when it came to the carving up of Iran in to Azeri, Kurdish, Persian, Shia Arabs and Belukha states, he did note the rise of ethno religious states. One of these was a so-called Arab Shia state. Note Peter’s comments:
True justice — which we might not like — would also give Saudi Arabia's coastal oil fields to the Shia Arabs who populate that subregion, while a southeastern quadrant would go to Yemen. Confined to a rump Saudi Homelands Independent Territory around Riyadh, the House of Saud would be capable of far less mischief toward Islam and the world.
The city-states of the United Arab Emirates would have a mixed fate — as they probably will in reality. Some might be incorporated in the Arab Shia State ringing much of the Persian Gulf (a state more likely to evolve as a counterbalance to, rather than an ally of, Persian Iran).
Time has passed and Peters Map has been obviated given the rise of Iran’s hegemony and threat to stability in the geo-resource strategic Gulf Region. Any Arab Shia states that might arise in the wake of current turmoil would be satraps of the Ayatollahs in Tehran as Mahdist dominated mini-states. US would have to move the Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain to bases on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, ceding the Straits of Hormuz to the Islamic Republic. The House of Saud, the al-Khalifa clans and the UAE Sheiks must be in a panic state given these looming prospects. For those of us in the fossil fuel hungry developed world, especially the US, the toppling of the al-Khalifa clan in Bahrain would mean an immediate spike in oil futures significantly impacting on the lackluster economic recovery. The Obama West Wing in the White House doesn’t have a clue about what to do about these dangerous prospects to our national security. This Middle East fiasco started with President Obama's speech to the Muslim Ummah at Al Azhar University on June 5, 2009. That led to the inevitable train wreck that passes for our non-existent foreign policies in the region.
Two Libyan Air Force Mirage jet fighters unexpectedly flew to Malta this afternoon with their pilots claiming they escaped to Malta after having been ordered to bomb protesters who have taken control of the second city of Benghazi.
The pilots told the Maltese authorities that they left from a base near Tripoli. Their aircraft were armed with air to ground rockets. The pilots initially asked for emergency clearance to land and for refuelling. Upon landing they were questioned by the police and sought political asylum.
Their arrival followed shortly after the arrival of two civilian helicopters which flew in and landed at Malta International Airport this afternoon carrying seven people.
[originally posted on September 30, 2005 and re-posted without change]
Egypt has so far received nearly $60 billion in jizyah [by now almost $80 billion]--- Protection Money that the Infidel donor of such money is afraid to stop, for fear of the consequences -- from the United States alone. Why? Did Egypt need to be bribed into accepting the entire Sinai, its oilfields, its infrastructure, all put in place by the Israelis? Did Egypt in 1979, or 1988, or 1993, or 1999, or today, show any signs of fulfilling its solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords?
No? Well what about its attitude, as demonstrated in its government-monitored and controlled press, toward the United States? Do you find great gratitude for that $60 billion? Any gratitude at all? Do you not find, instead, all over the Egyptian media, the most murderous hostility, the most venomous antisemitism (including a television series based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"), and the most sickening and predictable anti-Americanism?
How long should American taxpayers put up with the misreading of Islam by our rulers, who have given every indication of understanding Islam less well than many of those in the general population (a sampling of whom come to Jihadwatch), or not at all? We are under no obligation to respect their choices, or to believe that they "know more" about Islam and the Middle East than most of us. We are simply taking in the world as it is and making sense of it by taking into account the main fact in Egypt, as in the other Muslim countries: the fact of Islam.
Long ago, in his "Manners and Customs of Modern Egyptians," Lane noted that Egyptians would often begin the day with prayers of imprecation against the Infidels, prayers of hate. That was in the 1830s. What has changed since? A brief interregnum, when the British brought some modicum of efficiency to Egypt's government. And during the ancien regime of King Farouk, the presence of large numbers of Italians, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians helped to give a veneer of civilization to Alexandria and Cairo, with the Muslim masses either held in thrall as fellahin or whipped up by the Muslim Brotherhood to attack foreigners, Copts, and Jews. Then came the colonels, who overthrew Farouk, and primus inter pares, the bullying blustering Star of the Arab World, the deplorable Gamal Abdel Nasser. He managed to offend even that philo-Arab, that godfather of the Arab League, Anthony Eden. He also managed to split the United States, under that dimwitted "anti-colonial" John Foster Dulles, from its traditional allies England and France over the Suez business, when the slapping-down of Nasser might have at least delayed the day of Muslim self-assertion that has become, because it can, full-fledged Jihad using whatever instruments present themselves.
Why has no one called for hearings on the nature of our aid program to Egypt? Why has not a single member of Congress cried aloud about this little fact: though Egypt is a poor country, a small class lives fantastically well on the largesse that American taxpayers, many of them are living lives far more difficult than that led by the Egyptian ruling class, are forced to supply year after year? No aid comes from rich Arabs. It is not expected to. It is not demanded. It is the Americans and other Infidels who are now expected to supply such aid, year after year....or else. Or else what, exactly? Nothing could do as much good to get Egypt's attention, and make America less unpopular among the Egyptian masses, as to withdraw all aid from Egypt -- not merely to threaten to cut a small sum. After all, all it took was the threat to cut $30 million to get the Egyptian government to arrange for a new trial, and a new verdict, for Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
And here is one more thing for you to write your Congressman about. Egypt is a poor country. It receives more than $2 billion a year from the United States. But in the last full year for which there are records, 2004, Egypt stood third among all the countries in the world for the amount it spent on buying foreign armaments. It was third -- after China and India. Why did Egypt, a poor country, spend $7.5 billion on arms? Who threatens Egypt? Not the Sudan. Not Libya, that has just disarmed and whose ruler has other fish to fry, what with his pan-African schemes and dreams. Surely the Egyptians do not think that Israel intends to attack, now that there is that "Peace Treaty."
Could it be, might it be, is it just possible that -- Egypt is preparing for a future campaign against Israel, the Infidel enemy, the once and future enemy, the enemy with which a permanent peace, according to Islam, can never be made?
Is this a question that someone can please raise in Congress? Can someone ask the Administration to explain the American aid and what the Egyptians are doing with it, and the anti-American attitudes fostered in Egypt by the government and by the Egyptian elite -- attitudes which might be lessened among the masses if they did not think, correctly, that American aid simply goes to prop up a band of thieves at the top? Can someone ask about this, please? Because nearly 300 million Americans do not relish having sent $60 billion to a country whose government and people dislike or even hate us, and do not wish us well.
Is that so hard for our rulers and increasingly un-representative representatives, of both the 2-year-term and 6-year-term varieties, to understand?
Wilders WSJ Op-ed: "European Free Speech Under Attack"
Geert Wilders in Amsterdam District Court
Geert Wilders, Dutch Parliamentarian and leader of the Party for Freedom, whose show trial continues in the Amsterdam District Court, speaks eloquently in this Wall Street Journal op-ed "European Free Speech Under Attack" about the blatant lawfare in the EU against Free Speech conducted by public prosecutors brought by leftist allies and local Muslim groups. He discusses his show trial in the Amsterdam District Court in Holland, Lars Hedegaard's recent trial and acquital on a technicality in Copenhagen, Denmark and Elisabeth Subaditsch's Wolff's trial, conviction and fines last week in Vienna, Austria as examples of a co-ordinated attack on free speech in the EU by the forces of Islamization and allied multiculturalists. The charges in this trio of cases infringe on the free speech of each defendant ranges from violation of hate speech laws to denigration of religion. All because Wilders, Hedegaard and Subaditsch-Wolff had the effrontery to criticize Islam in its own words captured in Qu'ranic Suras, Hadiths- the alleged sayings of Mohammed and the Sira, his biography.
The subtext of Wilders' op ed about these blatant violations of free speech criticizing Islam is akin to the question we have posed about Islam: "Is Islam a religion or a totalitarian doctrine with a thin veneer of religious practices". In our colleague, Rebecca Bynum's book, Allah is Dead she argues that Islam is not a religion but, instead, a morally corrupt totalitarian doctrine depriving believers and unbelivers alike of basic Western values of human liberty and freedom. As Elisabeth Subadfitsch Wolff told me in an email shortly following her conviction, she will continue to expose Islam for what it is, because of she wants to guarantee a future for her daughter and because she loves her country too much to let Islamization run roughshod over basic human and civil rights.
"The lights are going out all over Europe," British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey famously remarked on the eve of World War I. I am reminded of those words whenever I read about Europeans being dragged into court for so-called hate-speech crimes.
Recently, Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, president of the International Free Press Society, had to stand trial in Copenhagen because he had criticized Islam. Mr. Hedegaard was acquitted, but only on the technicality that he had not known that his words, expressed in a private conversation, were being taped. Last week in Vienna, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an Austrian human-rights activist, was fined €480 for calling the Islamic prophet Muhammad a pedophile because he had consummated his marriage to a nine-year old girl. Meanwhile, my own trial in Amsterdam is dragging on, consuming valuable time that I would rather spend in parliament representing my million-and-a-half voters.
How can all this be possible in supposedly liberal Europe? The Dutch penal code states that anyone who either "publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way that incites hatred against a group or people" or "in any way that insults a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their hetero- or homosexual inclination or their physical, psychological or mental handicap, will be punished."
Early in 2008, a number of leftist and Islamic organizations took me to court, claiming that by expressing my views on Islam I had deliberately "insulted" and "incited hatred" against Muslims. I argued then, as I will again in my forthcoming book, that Islam is primarily a totalitarian ideology aiming for world domination.
Last October, my former colleague in the Dutch parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wrote in these pages of the way in which Islamic organizations abuse our freedoms in order to limit them. "There are," she wrote, "the efforts of countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference to silence the European debate about Islam," citing their strategy "to pressure international organizations and the European Union to adopt resolutions to punish anyone who engages in 'hate speech' against religion. The bill used to prosecute Mr. Wilders is the national version of what OIC diplomats peddle at the U.N. and EU."
Indeed, in 2008 the EU approved its so-called "Council Framework Decision on combating Racism and Xenophobia," and the EU's 27 nations have since had to incorporate it into their national legislation. The decision orders that "racist or xenophobic behavior must constitute an offence in all Member States and be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties." It defines "racism and xenophobia" so broadly that every statement that an individual might perceive as insulting to a group to which he belongs becomes punishable by law.
The perverse result is that in Europe it is now all but impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam, or about the effects of immigration of Islam's adherents. Take my own case, for example. My point is that Islam is not so much a religion as it is a totalitarian political ideology disguised as a religion. To avoid misunderstandings, I always emphasize that I am talking about Islam, not about Muslims. I make a clear distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and Islam, recognizing that there are many moderate Muslims. But the political ideology of Islam is not moderate and has global ambitions; the Koran orders Muslims to establish the realm of Allah in this world, if necessary by force.
Stating my views on Islam has brought me to court on charges of "group insult" and incitement to racial hatred. I am being tried for voicing opinions that I—and my constituents—consider to be the truth. I am being tried for challenging the views that the ruling establishment wants to impose on us as the truth.
When I stand before my judges I do so in defense of free speech and human liberty. Freedom is the source of human creativity and development. People and nations wither away without the freedom to question what is presented to them as the truth. There is reason for concern if the erosion of our freedom of speech is the price we must pay to accommodate Islam. There is reason for concern if those who deny that Islam is a problem do not grant us the right to debate the issue. I want to be able to make my case without needing to fear criminal prosecution. It is already bad enough that I have been living under permanent police protection for more than six years because jihadists want to murder me.
My trial is a political trial. It is tragic that after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, political trials in Europe were not cast onto the ash heap of history. Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has previously referred to the European Union as the "EUSSR." One of his arguments is that in the EU, as in the former USSR, there is no freedom of speech.
I should be acquitted. My trial in Amsterdam is not about me, but about freedom of speech in Europe. As Dwight D. Eisenhower, Europe's liberator from Nazism, once warned, freedom "must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." Today in Europe, freedom is being neither earned nor refreshed.
Mr. Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament. He is leader of the Party for Freedom.
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More Infidel Aid Will Not Help --Much Better To Spend The Money On Ships To Interdict The Boats
EU Vows to Aid North Africa Amid Concern Over Illegal Migrants
By Leon Mangasarian - Feb 21, 2011
The European Union pledged aid for democratic and economic transformation in North Africa amid concern that Libyan violence may fuel an exodus of illegal immigrants seeking refuge in the 27-nation bloc.
“We’re ready to put together real support,” the EU’s foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told reporters after a meeting of foreign ministers today in Brussels. A statement by ministers pledged “support packages” yet didn’t include any concrete sums of aid money or any mention of liberalizing trade rules to allow more North African farm products enter the EU, as was sought by Germany.
The EU statement condemned “all acts of violence against peaceful demonstrators” and called for an immediate halt to the use of force against protesters in Libya.
Violence in Libya, Africa’s biggest holder of crude-oil reserves, has spread from the east of the country to the capital, Tripoli, where security forces and protesters fought overnight with snipers shooting from rooftops. Libyan unrest follows popular protests that toppled autocratic rulers of Tunisia and Egypt. Unrest has also flared in Yemen, Djibouti and Bahrain as governments have sought to crack down on calls for political change.
The EU statement underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation to address illegal immigration.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini warned that his country is on the frontline for illegal migrants coming from North Africa.
“Italy, as you know, is the closest neighbor both of Tunisia and Libya so we are extremely concerned about the repercussions on the migratory situation in the southern Mediterranean,” Frattini said.
In the past month, more than 5,000 North Africans have reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the Italian Interior Ministry. About 110 kilometers (70 miles) separates Lampedusa from Tunisia, making it a favored entry point for illegal migrants from Africa.
EU foreign ministers earlier said the bloc cannot intervene in Libya.
“It’s not our job to change the leader of Libya,” Finland’s Alexander Stubb told reporters. Frattini said Europe “shouldn’t interfere,” while expressing alarm over what he said was “the self-proclamation of the so-called Islamic emirate of Benghazi.”
“Would you imagine to have an Islamic Arab emirate at the borders of Europe?” Frattini said. “This would be a really serious threat.”
Frattini said EU assistance will be crucial for North Africa. EU aid for 10 North African states was 3.3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in 2007-2010, with 2.8 billion euros planned for 2011-2013, according to EU data.
UNITED NATIONS -- Key Libyan diplomats disowned Moammar Gadhafi's regime on Monday and the country's deputy U.N. ambassador called on the longtime ruler to step down because of its bloody crackdown on protesters.
The Libyan ambassador to the United States also said he could no longer support Gadhafi, and the ambassador to India resigned. Almost all Libyan diplomats at the United Nations backed deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi's pleas to Gadhafi to end his 40-year rule and to the international community to intervene.
As diplomatic support for Gadhafi began to crumble, Dabbashi warned that if he doesn't leave, "the Libyan people will get rid of him."
Gadhafi's security forces unleashed the most deadly crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, with reports Monday that demonstrators were being fired at from helicopters and warplanes. After seven days of protests and deadly clashes in Libya's eastern cities, the eruption of turmoil in the capital, Tripoli, sharply escalated the challenge to Gadhafi.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Monday expressed outrage at the reported aerial attacks, saying they would be "a serious violation of international humanitarian law," and again called for an immediate end to the violence, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Earlier Monday, Ban spoke to Gadhafi for 40 minutes urging a halt to the bloodshed, respect for human rights and protection of the civilian population.
Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, told BBC World that the reports of firing from warplanes spurred his decision not to support the government any more.
"To me it is a very sad moment seeing Libyans killing other Libyans," he said. "I'm not supporting the government killing its people. ... I'm (not) resigning Moammar Gadhafi's government, but I am with the people. I am representing the people in the street, the people who've been killed, the people who've been destroyed. Their life is in danger."
Dabbashi, the deputy U.N. ambassador, also said he and the U.N. diplomats were not resigning because they served the people of Libya and not the regime.
"This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyan people," he told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyan diplomats. "The regime of Gadhafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people."
Dabbashi said he was writing to the U.N. Security Council calling for action to stop the bloodshed.
Libya's U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham was not present at Dabbashi's press conference. He told the U.N. correspondent for the pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, that all diplomats at Libya's mission supported Dabbashi "excluding me." Shalgham said he was in touch with the Gadhafi government and was trying "to persuade them to stop these acts."
Libya's Ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, told the BBC he had resigned because of "massive violence against Libyan civilians," while Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, who resigned Sunday as Libya's ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, demanded Gadhafi and his commanders and aides be put on trial for "the mass killings in Libya."
"Gadhafi's regime is now in the trash of history because he betrayed his nation and his people," al-Houni said in a statement.
A Libyan diplomat in China, Hussein el-Sadek el-Mesrati, told Al-Jazeera, "I resigned from representing the government of Mussolini and Hitler."
Gadhafi appeared very briefly on Libyan state television early Tuesday to attempt to show he was still in charge and dispel rumors that he had fled.
Gadhafi is reportedly using mercenaries against the protesters and Dabbashi urged the international community to impose a no-flight zone "on the cities of Libya so no mercenaries, no supplies of arms will arrive to the regime."
Dabbashi also urged the international community to establish safe passage for medical supplies from neighboring Tunisia and Egypt to get across the borders to Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, which was the scene of the heaviest fighting. By Monday, protesters had claimed control of the city, overrunning its main security headquarters.
"We also call on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by Gadhafi against the Libyan people," Dabbashi told the Associated Press.
The best scenario, he said, "is to have him before the court, to prosecute him and to know from him everything about the crimes he committed before, whether it is ... the genocide he is committing now or the disappearance of certain important personalities... and all the other crimes he has committed during the 42 years in power."
Dabbashi also called on all countries to refuse entry to Gadhafi if he tries to escape and to monitor financial transactions if he tries to send money outside Libya.
Some 70 human rights groups called for immediate international action "to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people."
The groups urged the U.N. Security Council to meet and take action to protect Libyan civilians from "crimes against humanity," and they urged the U.N. General Assembly to suspend Libya from membership on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
The signatories included the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy, Physicians for Human Rights, Geneva-based UN Watch, and groups from many other countries including South Africa, Switzerland, India, Nigeria, Germany, Pakistan, Venezuela and Britain.
Tension escalates in Bahrain as hard-line Shiite leader urges end to monarchy
By Michael Birnbaum and Janine Zacharia
The Washington Post
February 21, 2011
MANAMA, BAHRAIN - A key hard-line Shiite leader called for an end to Bahrain's monarchy on Monday and another made plans to fly back to the country on Tuesday, escalating tension and threatening to open fissures in the opposition as protests stretch into a second week.
Bahrain's crown prince called off a mid-March Formula One race, a major source of revenue and pride for the government and a sign that this tiny nation's leaders do not expect the conflict to end soon.
Many moderates encamped at the Pearl Square roundabout in Manama said on Monday that they simply want Bahrain's royal family to look more like Britain's, and that the country's Shia majority deserves the same opportunities as the minority who, like the royal family, are Sunni.
But calls for the royal family to go escalated on Monday, and it remained unclear what changes would be necessary to satisfy protesters - and even who could credibly negotiate on their behalf.
"The government goes back on its promises," said Ghadeer Kadhim, 34, who works in an oil field and was in Pearl Square. He said he is not convinced that Al Wefaq, the main Shiite political party, can speak for protesters. He said he wants equal opportunities for Shiites.
"They say we are loyal to Iran," he said. "That's not true. We are loyal to this land."
But outside Manama in poorer Shiite villages, where the modest but tidy homes receive fewer government services such as road maintenance and street lights, calls for the king's ouster grew stronger.
In an interview at his home in Nuwaidrat, a village south of Manama, Abdulwahab Hussain said that he and the officially illegal Wafa movement that he founded would not accept any deal short of the king's departure.
"The people are now asking the regime to step down," he said. After the violence of the past week, "the regime doesn't have the legitimacy to be ruling the people."
Analysts and moderate political leaders said that those calls could further radicalize the opposition, and that the situation could grow even more tense with the planned return Tuesday of the secretary general of Haq, the the other large hard-line Shiite opposition movement. Hassan Mushaima was a leader in a major Shiite uprising in Bahrain in 1994 and has been living in London since last year after seeking medical treatment.
"If he is arrested, it's going to cause a lot of problems. If he is denied entry, it also could cause a lot of problems,'' said Jassim Hussain, a member of Al Wefaq, which is seeking more moderate political reforms, including transforming King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa into a constitutional monarch.
Hussain's party, which fears alienating protesters in the roundabout by entering into talks with the government, was still deliberating on Monday whether to meet with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
Political observers said that the hard-liners remained marginal, but that the crown prince is harming the chances of a successful dialogue with Hussain's party by not offering to speak with them.
"If any mistake is committed now by the Wefaq people, it means that popular support . . . might shift" toward hard-liners, said Mansoor al-Jamri, editor in chief of the independent Bahraini newspaper, Al Wasat.
"The shouting now of bringing down the monarchy is only taking place because everybody is very angry at the killing of people. Many of them could be tamed down if there's a credible response from the ruling family," Jamri said.
In Manama on Monday night, streets were gridlocked with thousands of cars streaming toward Peal Square and to a competing government-organized rally at the city's Grand Mosque. Village streets outside the capital city were deserted, as everyone had gone into the city to rally for one side or another.
A major opposition protest is planned for Tuesday afternoon at Pearl Square. Also planned for Tuesday is the funeral of zoo worker Abdul al-Redha, who died Monday after being shot by Bahrain's military last week.