One minute Gordon Brown is telling a voter in Rochdale it’s been lovely to meet her and she has a lovely family. The next he is in his car, forgetting he’s got the radio mike on, turning to an aide and saying “that was a disaster,” “you should never have put me with that woman … Who’s idea was that?”
He’s asked by the aide what did she say? Oh, says the Prime Minister, “she’s just a sort of bigoted woman who says she used to vote Labour.”
There are briefer clips out there but I recommend listening to all of this. First for the valid concerns raised politely by Mrs Duffy on tax, education, tuition fees, pensions, health and immigration and Brown's sickly response to her, followed by his outburst in the car. So now we know what he thinks of voters.
The voter Mr Brown was apparently talking about, Gillian Duffy, 65, said she was "very annoyed" . Mrs Duffy, a widow from Rochdale, said: "I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but if that's what he said I'm very upset. When she heard of Mr Brown's remarks, Mrs Duffy said that she was "very upset and angry".
During their conversation, she had told the Prime Minister that she was concerned that vulnerable people were missing out on support while those who did not deserve them where able to claim benefits. She went on: "All these Eastern Europeans, where are they coming from?"
Mr Brown said that a million Europeans had come to the United Kingdom, but that a similar number of Britons were now living on the continent.Mrs Duffy told him that she felt that the issue of immigration was not being discussed properly for reasons of political correctness. "You can't say anything about immigrants," she said.
The difference is, Obama's star was on the rise, and Gordon Brown, the unelected, profligate, tyrannical one-eyed Scottish idiot, is heading down the black hole.
Gordon Brown, a snob, as only a Socialist can be, insulted a lifelong Labour supporter from Lancashire. Gillian Duffy is from Rochdale, where Gracie Fields was born. She is a grandmother, a widow, a pensioner, and has worked with disabled children. If this were a box-ticking exercise, the pity would be only that she is not black. But it isn't a box-ticking exercise; Mrs Duffy is deserves better. I disagree with Mrs Duffy's politics - Socialism is wrong, especially for the poor - but she is old-style Labour, from a time when the party had principles. The questions she asked were legitimate, and are on the lips of many working-class white voters: what has Labour done for me lately? She asked about the national debt, tax rises, undeserving welfare recipients and above all, immigration. Do those questions, especially the last, make her a bigot?
Here, by way of an answer, are some facts about Rochdale from the Daily Mail:
Ethnic populations in Rochdale, ten miles north of Manchester, have been rising so fast that the Home Office has been warned it is at risk of race riots and the council has had to draw up a special housing plan for minorities.
Government research last year showed more than a quarter of primary school pupils in Rochdale spoke English as a foreign language. At one school, Heybrook Primary, every single one of the 453 pupils spoke English as a second language.
Census figures have shown that while the white population is actually falling by 2.3 per cent a decade, the Asian population is doubling every 20 years thanks to high birth rates . One church has reacted by offering services in Urdu and Punjabi.
Statistics produced in 2006 counted 16,000 people of Pakistani-origin in Rochdale, one in twelfth of the population, along with 3,100 Bangladeshis, and another 8,000 non-whites.
On top of that there were another 5,000 eastern Europeans and other non-British whites.
Yet even in the four years since those figures were produced, the ethnic minority numbers have grown rapidly.
The Daily Mail found that numerous Poles were working in a Woolworths depot in Rochdale, while sleeping up to 13-at-a-time in cramped terrace houses.
Rochdale Borough Council recently produced a special 'Black and Minority Ethnic' housing strategy for the town 'in recognition of the increasing ethnic diversity in Rochdale' and the minorities' 'level of housing need'.
The council document notes: 'In 2007, Rochdale borough had a black and minority ethnic population of 12 per cent, which is projected to increase to 20 per cent by 2021.'
Three years ago it was reported that taxpayers were funding the refurbishment of 500 homes a year for asylum seekers in Rochdale - at a cost of £3,000 a time, with fittings including, freezers, microwaves and even ash trays.
Aren't these legitimate concerns, especially if you are not comfortably cabined at the taxpayers' expense like Gordon Brown and his favoured diversity groups, but cast adrift?
Your Mother Was Right: Don't Talk To Strangers (Stephen Hawking)
From The Sunday Times
April 25 2010
Don't talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking
THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.
The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.
Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”
The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals — the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.
One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.
Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.
He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
The completion of the documentary marks a triumph for Hawking, now 68, who is paralysed by motor neurone disease and has very limited powers of communication. The project took him and his producers three years, during which he insisted on rewriting large chunks of the script and checking the filming.
John Smithson, executive producer for Discovery, said: “He wanted to make a programme that was entertaining for a general audience as well as scientific and that’s a tough job, given the complexity of the ideas involved.”
Hawking has suggested the possibility of alien life before but his views have been clarified by a series of scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery, since 1995, of more than 450 planets orbiting distant stars, showing that planets are a common phenomenon.
So far, all the new planets found have been far larger than Earth, but only because the telescopes used to detect them are not sensitive enough to detect Earth-sized bodies at such distances.
Another breakthrough is the discovery that life on Earth has proven able to colonise its most extreme environments. If life can survive and evolve there, scientists reason, then perhaps nowhere is out of bounds.
Hawking’s belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. In his recent Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too, suggesting Mars, Europa and Titan, a moon of Saturn, as likely places to look.
Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.
“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” he said. “Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”
Ellesmere Port Mother’s anger after daughter told trip to mosque is ‘compulsory’
It isn't actually the trip to the mosque that has annoyed the parents, but the dress code imposed, over and above normal school uniform. From the Ellesmere Port Messenger.
A MOTHER is keeping her daughter off school after refusing to give her permission to take part in a trip to a Liverpool mosque. . . no choice but to keep 14-year-old daughter Amy Owen at home today after Ellesmere Port Catholic High School’s headteacher Peter Lee tried to encourage the pupil into participating.
Miss Davies said: “I objected to Amy being made to dress like a Muslim girl, the original letter from the school gave a dress code for the visit, including long skirts, leggings or tights and covering up her head. She's been brought up in the Catholic faith and religion, Amy is not a Muslim and shouldn’t be told to dress like one.”
Miss Davies handed in a letter setting out reasons why she wouldn't be attending and the school asked if it was a problem with payment. She said: “I asked them not to patronise me, it's £3 to cover the cost of the bus.”
Miss Davies was upset to hear that Amy had been pulled out of her lessons and told that the mosque excursion was ‘compulsory’. Miss Davies, who knows a number of other parents who have refused permission, also received a letter from Mr Lee, further insisting that Amy attend. She said: “At the end of the letter, underlined, it says: ‘I must require your child to participate in this trip’.
In a written statement, Mr Lee refused to comment on the compulsory nature of the trip, but did say: “In keeping with accepted good practice and the school’s status as a humanities college we are pleased to provide students with an experience of a visit to a Mosque and the chance to talk and question a representative of the community which it serves.”
Miss Davies added: “I'm all for her being educated in all areas of religion but she's not Muslim and she shouldn't have to dress like one.
As this is a Catholic School I cannot imagine that normal school uniform, correctly worn, is anything other than properly modest for girls aged 14. What is suitable for Catholic Mass is quite suitable for elsewhere.
Iran has warned suntanned women and girls who looked like "walking mannequins" will be arrested as part of a new drive to enforce the Islamic dress code. Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran's police chief, said a national crackdown on opposition sympathisers would be extended to women who have been deemed to be violating the spirit of Islamic laws.
He said: "The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehaviour by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins. We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them."
Another preacher warned Tehran's citizens to flee before the inevitable punishment for flagrant behaviour was visited on the city. "Go on the streets and repent for your sins," Ayatollah Aziz Khoshvaqt, one of the country's highest clerics, told worshippers during a recent sermon in northern Tehran. "A holy torment is upon us. Leave town."
Murderous Attacks On Women In Algeria Continue Unpunished (In French)
Algérie, le lynchage des femmes de Hassi Messaoud se poursuit, par Nadia Kaci
LEMONDE.FR | 22.04.10
es faits extrêmement graves ont eu lieu ces deux derniers mois dans la ville de Hassi Messaoud, base pétrolière du sud algérien où une chasse aux femmes s'est organisée. Ces dernières, venues des quatre coins du pays, travaillant dans des multinationales afin de subvenir aux besoins de leurs familles, se sont fait agresser régulièrement la nuit. Leurs maisons ont été saccagées et pillées par des hommes armés de gourdins, de haches, de couteaux, qui agissaient cagoulés, ou même à visage découvert. La plupart du temps, les femmes avaient beau hurler, aucun voisin ne leur venait en aide. Lorsqu'elles se rendaient au commissariat, elles devaient supplier des policiers méprisants pour que leurs plaintes soient enregistrées. Dans la nuit du dimanche 11 avril 2010, les agressions ont redoublé. Aucun auteur de ces crimes n'a été poursuivi en justice. Aujourd'hui, si un certain calme est revenu, les femmes subissent des pressions et intimidations en tout genre.
Ces crimes ne sont que la continuité de la tragédie du 13 juillet 2001, dont il est important de rappeler les faits : plus d'une centaine de femmes furent violées et torturées à l'appel d'un imam, par quatre cents à cinq cents hommes – l'une d'elles fut enterrée vivante ! Sur cette foule ayant commis ce pogrom, seuls vingt-neuf hommes ont été accusés. Parmi eux, seuls trois hommes ont réellement purgé leur peine. Les autres ont été condamnés par contumace, ou encore innocentés ! L'imam, lui, a été arrêté quelques heures et relâché sur injonction d'Alger !
Le Code de la famille voté en 1984 à l'Assemblée nationale algérienne est pour moi l'un des facteurs qui a rendu possible le lynchage des femmes de Hassi Messaoud. Il régit le statut personnel de la femme au sein du couple, faisant d'elle une mineure à vie, passant de la tutelle du père à celle du mari, devant obéissance à ce dernier, et pouvant être répudiée à n'importe quel moment, le mari ayant le droit de garder le logement conjugal pendant que la femme se retrouve dehors avec ses enfants. Et même si ce code a connu de légers amendements, en 2005, il reste profondément inégalitaire et criminel. En fragilisant les femmes et leurs enfants, c'est une société tout entière qu'il a fragilisée. De plus, en mettant les femmes à la disposition et sous le contrôle des hommes, ce code envoie un message fort à toute la société et aux hommes en particulier : "Si vous avez des problèmes, de mal-être, ne nous cassez pas la tête avec vos revendications, défoulez-vous sur les femmes !" Comme dit le proverbe algérien : "Tekber ou tansa wou ttaffrha fi'n'sa", "Tu grandiras, tu oublieras et tu le feras payer aux femmes."
Le deuxième facteur important est le travail de grande envergure des intégristes qui, pendant des années, ont imprégné tout le tissu social de leurs discours profondément haineux et misogynes, en désignant les femmes comme la cause de tous les maux de la société. Ils ont détourné les textes religieux de façon à renforcer la suprématie des hommes. Pendant les années de terrorisme triomphant, à la menace des femmes qui ne se soumettaient pas, s'est ajouté l'enlèvement de plusieurs milliers d'entre elles dans les maquis par les groupes armés intégristes. Elles y furent violées, torturées, soumises à l'esclavage. Beaucoup d'entre elles ont été assassinées ou ont disparu dans la nature. Leurs bourreaux ont très peu été inquiétés, voire pas du tout. Aujourd'hui, on les appelle des repentis sans qu'ils se soient repentis de rien et ils se meuvent dans les villes en toute impunité.
Partout en Algérie, des femmes humiliées n'arrivent pas à faire valoir leurs droits à la sécurité pourtant inscrits dans la Constitution.
Voilà comment ces dernières années les violences à l'encontre des femmes a augmenté de façon alarmante.
Si ces dernières nuits les femmes de Hassi Messaoud ont pu dormir tranquillement, je sais à quel point leur répit est fragile et temporaire : ceux qui leur en veulent d'avoir crié à l'aide savent attendre…
Aussi, j'en appelle au gouvernement algérien pour faire respecter la Convention internationale sur l'élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination à l'égard des femmes, qu'il a ratifiée en 1996.
J'en appelle à la cinquantaine de multinationales qui emploient ces femmes pour les protéger au lieu de les fragiliser en les menaçant de licenciement, comme certaines l'ont été pour cause d'absence provoquée par leurs agressions.
Et si, aujourd'hui, plusieurs associations algériennes se sont mobilisées, j'appelle le peuple algérien à exprimer son désaccord sur ce qui entache son intégrité.
Hassi Messaoud n'est pas une affaire de femmes, c'est une affaire d'État. C'est aussi une affaire de droits humains. En somme, c'est notre affaire à tous !
Nadia Kaci est comédienne, coauteure de Laissées pour mortes. Le lynchage des femmes de Hassi Messaoud, Max Milo éditions.
There's no snob like a Socialist snob. For all their talk of equality, when confronted with a real prole, a Socialist will shrink away and shudder. Gordon Brown puts his foot in it in a gift of a gaffe. From the BBC:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a "bigoted woman".
Sixty-five-year-old Gillian Duffy had challenged Mr Brown on a number of issues including immigration and crime.
As he got into his car, he was still wearing a broadcast microphone and was heard to say "that was a disaster".
Mr Brown later phoned Mrs Duffy to apologise after the tape was played to him during BBC Radio 2 interview.
After listening to the recording, with his forehead resting on his hand, he said: "I do apologise if I've said anything that has been hurtful."
The comments were made after the conversation with Mrs Duffy which ended with him complimenting her and her family.
Off camera, but not realising he still had a Sky News microphone pinned to his shirt, he was heard to tell an aide: "That was a disaster - they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It's just ridiculous..."
Asked what she had said, he is heard to reply: "Ugh everything! She's just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous. I don't know why Sue brought her up towards me."
Mrs Duffy, a widow, said after hearing of Mr Brown's comments: "I'm very upset. He's an educated person. Why has he come out with words like that?
"He's supposed to be leading the country and he's calling an ordinary woman who's come up and asked questions that most people would ask him... It's going to be tax, tax, tax for another 20 years to get out of this national debt, and he's calling me a bigot."
The had earlier told reporters she was a lifelong Labour voter and described Mr Brown as being "very nice".
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said it was a disaster for the prime minister because it showed the gap between his public face and private face.
"For those of us who have known Gordon Brown for many years, what we have seen is no huge surprise. He has got better and better at handling himself in public, but quite often he flares up in private, expresses frustration," he said.
Nick Robinson added that the irony was that if his comments had not been picked up, it would have been a lively election exchange which would have been seen to do him credit.
Speaking on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show, Mr Brown said: "Of course I apologise if I've said anything that's been offensive and I would never put myself in a position where I would want to say anything like that about a woman I'd met.
"I blame myself for what is done, but you've got to remember that this was me being helpful to the broadcasters, with my microphone on, rushing into the car because I had to get to another appointment and they have chosen to play my private conversation. These things can happen, I apologise profusely to the lady concerned."
Gordon Brown has since telephoned Mrs Duffy to personally apologise for the comments, telling her he was very sorry and said she "is a good woman".
When asked did this in any way make up for the comments she said "no - absolutely not".
A spokesman for the prime minister said: "Mr Brown has apologised to Mrs Duffy personally by phone. He does not think that she is bigoted. He was letting off steam in the car after a difficult conversation.
"But this is exactly the sort of conversation that is important in an election campaign and which he will continue to have with voters."
The Conservatives said Mr Brown's comments spoke for themselves.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "That's the thing about general elections, they do reveal the truth about people."
Chancellor Alistair Darling said Mr Brown's apology was profuse and he was well aware he should not have made the comments.
"The election campaign will be decided not just on individuals but what the party stands for. There are big issues at stake. Gordon is a man of considerable strength, considerable resilience and considerable substance," he said.
"I hope people will judge him in the round. The fact we are coming out of this recession is down to him in no small part."
Update: I see Esmerelda has also posted this story. Still, the more often the better.
I am soliciting all thoughts and information on this very important rezoning issue.
Is it an issue on the simple give and take of a proposed building plan that deals with the normal traffic building design and setback concerns?
An issue of practicing more religious tolerance & diversity in the quiet hamlet of Brentwood versus the more dangerous lack of diversity and tolerance practiced in nations where Islam enforces the harsh "rule of sharia law"?
Investigation, education and amiable civil discourse needs to be practiced and required by all.
Your thoughts ?..........Comment or e-mail me ([email protected]) Please let me know if you would like your comments or information public or private and I will honor your request.
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Hundreds of Somali soldiers trained with millions of U.S. tax dollars have deserted because they are not being paid their $100 monthly wage, and some have even joined the al-Qaida-linked militants they are supposed to be fighting, The Associated Press has learned.
The desertions raise fears that a new U.S.-backed effort beginning next month to build up Somalia's army may only increase the ranks of the insurgency.
Somalia's besieged U.N.-backed government holds only a few blocks of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, while Islamic insurgents control the rest of the city and most of the country. That turmoil — and the lawless East African nation's proximity to Yemen, where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is based — has fed fears that Somalia could be used to launch attacks on the West.
It turns out that while we are spending $1 trillion fighting "them" in Iraq so that we don't have to fight "them" here, "they" are also active in Somalia. And Yemen. And Pakistan. And...
In an effort to rebuild the tattered Somali military, the United States spent $6.8 million supporting training programs for nearly 1,000 soldiers in neighboring Djibouti last year and about 1,100 soldiers in Uganda last year and earlier this year, the State Department and Western diplomats told the AP. The troops were supposed to earn $100 a month, but about half of those trained in Djibouti deserted because they were not paid, Somali army Col. Ahmed Aden Dhayow said.
And why did the police and soldiers join the jihad? Because we didn't give them enough money of course. Not for any ideological reasons.
The development highlights a key problem facing efforts to rebuild the bankrupt nation's army — guaranteeing funding for soldiers' salaries, not just their training.
Failure to resolve the pay issue could threaten the success of a U.S. and European Union training program beginning in Uganda next month that has been touted as the biggest effort to rebuild the army in 20 years.
"Some gave up the army and returned to their ordinary life and others joined the rebels," he said.
Somalia's state minister for defense, Yusuf Mohamed Siyad, confirmed some trainees had joined the al-Shabab militants, but he declined to specify the number of deserters.
"Both the police and soldiers need to feed their families," Geyson said. "They need to be paid every month. Otherwise they have to find other solutions."
Guaranteeing longer-term wages for the soldiers may be difficult. Many donors are reluctant to contribute money to an army once notorious for crimes such as rape, kidnapping and murder.
Police are arguably underpaid in the U.S. But I doubt that if they went unpaid, that that would cause them to join the ranks of the criminals they were trained to fight. They would not turn to rape, kidnapping, and murder. And how exactly does rape or murder help pay the bills, anyways? Contrary to popular belief among the kuffar, money is NOT the root of all evil. Sometimes evil is committed for other reasons, religiously motivated reasons.
Why does "finding other solutions" mean joining the jihad and committing rape, kidnapping, and murder? Why doesn't it mean farming, opening a street-vendor cart, doing automobile repair, constructing houses, or other value-creating activities?
The problem is not the money (or lack thereof) that the kuffar are providing. The problem is in the culture of Somalia, which is based on the teachings of the Qur'an. Regulating the amount of money spent in Somalia will not, cannot, serve as the solution.
The bottom line is that the U.S. has spent tens of millions of dollars training and arming soldiers and police who will use that training and those weapons to further the Islamic jihad.
Dhimmitude Shocker: Allahu Akbar in Major L.A. synagogue
Janet Levy sent us the latest example, perhaps the worst, of what we have taken to call “Chelm Across America:”Jewish rabbis and communal leaders who fecklessly dialog with Muslim leaders. She wrote about this event that occurred in Los Angeles’s Sinai Temple, a major Conservative synagogue, headed by powerhouse Rabbi David Wolpe, who, according to Newsweek in 2008 , is America’s top-rated pulpit.
Here is what the L.A. Jewish Journal reported. in an article, “Religious Leaders Meet for Interfaith Dialogue at Sinai temple,” filed after the April 20th event. It looks like pure kumbaya Judaism to this observer. Watch a video of the discussion here.
As extensive security and police cruisers guarded the entrance, Rabbi David Wolpe, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Najeeba Syeed-Miller, CEO of the Center for Civic Engagement and Dialogue, and Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired pastor of First AME Church came together at Sinai Temple in Westwood on Tuesday, April 20 for an interfaith dialogue in honor of the 62nd anniversary of Israel’s independence. Moderated by Tavis Smiley, PBS National Talk Show host, the event was also hosted by America Jewish Committee (AJC).
During the hour-long dialogue, Smiley directed pointed questions to each of the guests. Without shying away from the difficult issues, Smiley pressed them on questions of church and state, the value of inter-religious dialogue, and the reality of what could be accomplished through events like this.
Mentioning the introduction by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel of Martin Luther King prior to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech nearly 40 years ago, Smiley asked the group to address the fact that “it seems like this kind of inter-religious dialogue has been going on for years.”
“I could suggest that the evidence suggests that it ain’t yielding a whole lot,” he said.
In response, Warren was frank: “I don’t think that dialogue has a very good track record, but working together does have a good track record. I don’t think you have to agree to get things done.”
“Tolerance is, you have your opinion, it’s wrong, but I’m not going to hurt you for it,” Wolpe said. “Love is, you have something to teach me, I have something to teach you, we have a connection that goes deeper even than our teaching. I see in you another image of God.”
In sharp contrast here is what Janet Levy wrote about the same event that occurred at Sinai Temple on Israel’s 62nd birthday at which the left’s and Obama’s favorite Christian Evangelical, Rick Warren, and Imam Jihad Turk appeared.
Rabbi David Wolpe invited Imam Jihad Turk and Friend of CAIR (Muslim Brotherhood) - Sheriff Leroy Baca - to Israel Birthday Celebration!
ISNA pal, Pastor Rick Warren, spoke at the event as well. In July of 2009, Warren spoke at the Islamic Society of North America's annual conference. ISNA is a Saudi Wahhabist-funded organization that focuses on Wahhabi theological indoctrination in North American mosques. ISNA exercises total authority over at least 80% of American mosques (estimated at 4,000-6,000) and their teachings. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization has held fundraisers for Hamas terrorists and invited Al Qaeda supporter Qaradhawi to speak.
Rick Warren has apologized to Muslims for the Crusades, although the Crusades were not a war on Muslims to win converts but an action to stop worldwide Muslim subjugation. In addition, Pastor Warren has expressed regret for the overzealous prosecution of the war on terror by Christians.
She sent this letter from an outraged congregant of Rabbi Wolpe’s at Sinai Temple, a Holocaust survivor:
April 22, 2010
Rabbi David Wolpe
10400 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90024
Dear Rabbi Wolpe,
I was very much looking forward to your celebration of Israel's 62nd Birthday and Unity Concert, but during and throughout I was very disappointed and distressed.
The "Unity" theme totally overshadowed the essence and importance of the evening-- the guest of honor, Israel, the consul general and most importantly the ceremonial march of the Israeli flag were missing. Pastor Rick Warren's speech was too short and Sheriff Baca is probably a better friend of CAIR than the Jews.
All the participants spoke of love, helping each other, cooperation, hope and peace and extolled the name of God, but having survived the holocaust, escaped from communism and having studied the Qur'an during the past few years I got sick to my stomach when I heard Allahu Akhbar chanted in a synagogue. Islam's god is not our God. Unfortunately, many people didn't recognize the words being chanted so they were not upset.
Muslims do not love God, they submit to Him. Allah represents a rigid, oppressive and intolerant religious/political entity. Islam has not and will not cooperate with other religions and they are totally opposite to the Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Imam Jihad Turk's remark, 'religions should come together to create peace' is a lie on his part. The Quran and Hadith tell it otherwise. Turk is a masterful practitioner of taqiyya, (practice of deceit). (Q.8:38-40 'O believers! Fight them until there is no more oppression and until the whole Deen (Way of life) is for Allah alone'. Q. 9:28-29 'Fight those people of the Book (Jews and Christians) who do not believe in Allah…' Hadith Sahih Muslim 41:6985 says "... Muslims will fight against the Jews and ... would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree... there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him..."
You may hold interfaith dialogues for your congregation, but during Israel's Independence Day Celebration, Israel and its numerous accomplishments should be highlighted and praised not the name of Allah.
Robert Reyto, DDS
Here is what Rabbi Wolpe said in his reply to Dr. Reyto’s criticism:
Dear Dr. Reyto,
We all have an obligation to listen to one another, and certainly an obligation to listen to one such as yourself who has endured such horrific experiences as a Jew. Nonetheless, I think you severely misjudge the events of the other evening. Any Jew, upon seeing a Muslim with the courage to pray in a synagogue on Israel Independence Day should applaud his fortitude and the risk he is taking. Apparently you do not. “Allahu Akbar” is the chant of ALL Muslims, everywhere in the world, not especially of those who commit atrocities, and bombers say it because all Muslims say it. Shall we reach out to other religions only if they say precisely what we wish, when we wish it? Shall all the talk about searching for “Muslim moderates” NOT include Muslims who would come to a synagogue, pray alongside Jews, join an Israeli singer in a Hebrew song (as the Jordanian musician did), and stand as we sing “Hatikvah?” Since all of that happened and you came out unhappy, it seems none of that is enough. I wonder what your standard for acceptance might be? Your letter declares all one billion Muslims in the world, whatever they say or do, our implacable enemy. Is this a judicious stance? Is it a Jewish one? We are a small people. To disparage those who stand with us is both uncharitable and unwise.
2,000 people from different faiths stood and cheered as one. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and many Jews of all denominations honored Israel and God -- and each other -- together. Sadly, this left you "disappointed and distressed." I regret that you could not appreciate what others saw: a remarkable celebration offering glimmers of hope and possibility.
With profound but respectful disagreement I remain,
A member of the Conservative rabbinate had this comment about Rabbi Wolpe:
When last I heard two or three years ago, Wolpe’s salary was reported to be $400,000 a year. It may have gone up since. He is a conservative rabbi, the son of a conservative rabbi. Undoubtedly, he is very influential at the financially challenged JTS and the United Synagogue. I would guess that the congregation contributes very heavily to JTS and the United Synagogue. The accolades from NEWSWEEK etc undoubtedly convince a politically illiterate West Coast Jewish leadership that his “outreach” is going in the right direction. I guess we know where the heart of the Conservative movement is. Beneath contempt.
Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein had this observation about Rabbi Wolpe:
Wolpe is way off base when he sees inter-religious progress in the presence of Muslims proclaiming “Allah hu akhbar” in his synagogue on Israel Independence day. According to Islamic tradition, all of Israel-Palestine is a sacred trust (waqf) granted by Allah to his believers and can never be negotiated away (see the Charter of Hamas, Article 11 (See:
By proclaiming “Allah hu Akhbar” in a synagogue, the Muslims were asserting that Allah has the power to “restore” the so-called land of Israel to those upon whom Allah has bestowed it and will do so, thereby negating the whole idea of Israel Independence Day.
Talk about abject dhimmitude, this bizarre episode at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles wins the prize for Chelm Across America.
Is the appearance of Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT! For America at Sinai Temple on April 29th an antidote to Rabbi Wolpe’s permissive attitudes about dialoging with Muslims at his synagogue? We don't think so. Sic Gloria transit dhimmitude in America.
Once Deathotel Dignitas has got your money and bumped you off, what does it do with you? The ash cash has come in and you're no longer a nice little urner, so what option does it have? From The Times:
'We stopped counting after 50': urns were found at bottom of Lake Zurich
The controversial Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas is likely to come under fresh scrutiny after divers discovered dozens of cremation urns on the bed of Lake Zurich.
“After 50, we stopped counting,” Roman Ruetz, a police diver, said. “They lay there in a big heap.” On being brought to the surface the urns were found to contain ashes.
There is little that directly connects Dignitas, which operates near by, with the urns, apart from the fact that they carried the logo of the Nordheim crematorium used by the suicide clinic.
One former employee and long-standing Dignitas critic, Soraya Wernli, told The Times 18 months ago that the clinic had dropped at least 300 urns in the lake.
Ludwig Minelli, the founder of Dignitas, refused to comment yesterday.
The clinic has assisted in the suicide of about a thousand people, most of them terminally ill, and at least 115 Britons have travelled to the Zurich apartments run by the organisation to end their lives. The clinic is shrouded in secrecy, operating within cantonal law yet exploiting the loopholes in legislation from across Europe. Most secret of all is the disposal of remains: for some families touched by so-called suicide tourism, it is unthinkable to bring back bodies or ashes.
However, the question of what happens to the remains is important because the essence of Dignitas is that it promises death with dignity.
“If water burials are being conducted on a commercial basis and any promised ceremonies are not being performed, then that is unacceptable,” Nicolas Mori, a spokesman for the Zurich church council, said. “It is like throwing out rubbish.”
The grisly find has prompted authorities to investigate whether the disposal of the ashes contravenes environmental protection laws or violates the dignity of the dead and the contract between cremator and bereaved family.
Wolfgang Bollack, a spokesman for the local construction and environmental agency, said: “We have filed a criminal complaint against unknown persons for disturbance of the dead.”
Disposing of large numbers of urns containing human remains requires a commercial licence in Switzerland. Breaches carry a maximum three-year jail sentence or £30,000 fine.
Normally, when Human Rights Watch is criticized, the group retaliates with harsh and aggressive attacks on its accusers. Ken Roth, the head of HRW, is famous for this. When it was disclosed last summer that HRW went to Saudi Arabia to raise money for its “fights with pro-Israel groups,” Roth told Jeffrey Goldberg that Israel’s “supporters fight back with lies and deception.” When HRW’s founder, Bob Bernstein, criticized the group in a New York Times op-ed, HRW fired back by egregiously misrepresenting Bernstein’s argument and then denouncing it in classic straw-man fashion.
A couple of days ago, a long investigative piece was published in the New Republic, which contained the most damaging revelations yet about the group’s hostility to Israel, the sloppiness of its work, and the opinions of some of the crackpots who work in its offices. I was expecting Roth and his goon squad to go nuclear, as they normally do, with wild accusations of lies and right-wing smears. Strangely, nothing of the sort has happened. HRW’s defense comes in the form of a short, passionless statement of support by a board member who seems to be the go-to person for defenses of HRW’s treatment of Israel, and who incredibly insists that HRW is “actually good for Israel.”
There is no attempt to refute the carefully documented facts contained in Birnbaum’s TNR piece; there is no smear campaign against the author; there are no fervent letters to the editor insisting on HRW’s invincible moral authority. Instead, there is silence. I think I know why: HRW has been beaten. The case against it has become too strong and too airtight, and HRW’s attempts at self-defense, as the group learned from its attempt to trash its own founder, are so implausible and desperate that they only make the situation worse.
With the TNR piece, we enter a new phase with Human Rights Watch, in which the group no longer tries to marshal a spirited defense of its conduct and reputation. This is how we know things are going the wrong way for HRW: when self-defense becomes so embarrassing that it’s better to keep quiet and hope everyone’s attention shifts to other subjects.
The problem is, that’s not going to happen. It’s time to batten down the hatches at Human Rights Watch.
The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.
At a Roman Catholic church in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mass is said once a month in Garifuna, an Arawakan language that originated with descendants of African slaves shipwrecked near St. Vincent in the Caribbean and later exiled to Central America. Today, Garifuna is virtually as common in the Bronx and in Brooklyn as in Honduras and Belize.
And Rego Park, Queens, is home to Husni Husain, who, as far as he knows, is the only person in New York who speaks Mamuju, the Austronesian language he learned growing up in the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi. Mr. Husain, 67, has nobody to talk to, not even his wife or children.
“My wife is from Java, and my children were born in Jakarta — they don’t associate with the Mamuju,” he said. “I don’t read books in Mamuju. They don’t publish any. I only speak Mamuju when I go back or when I talk to my brother on the telephone.”
These are not just some of the languages that make New York the most linguistically diverse city in the world. They are part of a remarkable trove of endangered tongues that have taken root in New York — languages born in every corner of the globe and now more commonly heard in various corners of New York than anywhere else.
While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city’s public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York’s most diverse borough, listed on their 2000 census forms.
“It is the capital of language density in the world,” said Daniel Kaufman, an adjunct professor of linguistics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “We’re sitting in an endangerment hot spot where we are surrounded by languages that are not going to be around even in 20 or 30 years.”
In an effort to keep those voices alive, Professor Kaufman has helped start a project, the Endangered Language Alliance, to identify and record dying languages, many of which have no written alphabet, and encourage native speakers to teach them to compatriots.
“It’s hard to use a word like preserve with a language,” said Robert Holman, who teaches at Columbia and New York Universities and is working with Professor Kaufman on the alliance. “It’s not like putting jelly in a jar. A language is used. Language is consciousness. Everybody wants to speak English, but those lullabies that allow you to go to sleep at night and dream — that’s what we’re talking about.”
With national languages and English encroaching on the linguistic isolation of remote islands and villages, New York has become a Babel in reverse — a magnet for immigrants and their languages.
New York is such a rich laboratory for languages on the decline that the City University Graduate Center is organizing an endangered-languages program. “The quickening pace of language endangerment and extinction is viewed by many linguists as a direct consequence of globalization,” said Juliette Blevins, a linguist hired by City University to start the program.
In addition to dozens of Native American languages, vulnerable foreign languages that researchers say are spoken in New York include Aramaic, Chaldic and Mandaic from the Semitic family; Bukhari (a Bukharian Jewish language, which has more speakers in Queens than in Uzbekistan or Tajikistan); Chamorro (from the Mariana Islands); Irish Gaelic; Kashubian (from Poland); indigenous Mexican languages; Pennsylvania Dutch; Rhaeto-Romanic (spoken in Switzerland); Romany (from the Balkans); and Yiddish.
Researchers plan to canvass a tiny Afghan neighborhood in Flushing, Queens, for Ormuri, which is believed to be spoken by a small number of people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Endangered Language Alliance will apply field techniques usually employed in exotic and remote foreign locales as it starts its research in the city’s vibrant ethnic enclaves.
“Nobody had gone from area to area looking for endangered languages in New York City spoken by immigrant populations,” Professor Kaufman said.
The United Nations keeps an atlas of languages facing extinction, and experts there as well as linguists generally agree that a language will probably disappear in a generation or two when the population of native speakers is both too small and in decline. Language attrition has also been hastened by war, ethnic cleansing and compulsory schooling in a national tongue.
Over the decades in the secluded northeastern Istrian Peninsula along the Adriatic Sea, Croatian began to replace Vlashki, spoken by the Istrians, what is described as Europe’s smallest surviving ethnic group. But after Istrians began immigrating to Queens, many to escape grinding poverty, they largely abandoned Croatian and returned to speaking Vlashki.
“Whole villages were emptied,” said Valnea Smilovic, 59, who came to the United States in the 1960s with her parents and her brother and sister. “Most of us are here now in this country.”
Mrs. Smilovic still speaks in Vlashki with her mother, 92, who knows little English, as well as her siblings. “Not too much, though,” Mrs. Smilovic said, because her husband speaks only Croatian and her son, who was born in the United States, speaks English and a smattering of Croatian.
“Do I worry that our culture is getting lost?” Mrs. Smilovic asked. “As I get older, I’m thinking more about stuff like that. Most of the older people die away and the language dies with them.”
“A language reflects a singular nature of a people speaking it,” said Professor Vrzic, who recently published an audio Vlashki phrasebook and is working on an online Vlashki-Croatian-English dictionary.
Istro-Romanian is classified by Unesco as severely endangered, and Professor Vrzic said she believed that the several hundred native speakers who live in Queens outnumbered those in Istria. “Nobody tried to teach it to me,” she said. “It was not thought of as something valuable, something you wanted to carry on to another generation.”
A few fading foreign languages have also found niches in New York and the country. In northern New Jersey, Neo-Aramaic, rooted in the language of Jesus and the Talmud, is still spoken by Syrian immigrants and is taught at Syriac Orthodox churches in Paramus and Teaneck.
The Rev. Eli Shabo speaks Neo-Aramaic at home, and his children do, too, but only “because I’m their teacher,” he said.
Will their children carry on the language? “If they marry another person of Syriac background, they may,” Father Shabo said. “If they marry an American, I’d say no.”
And on Long Island, researchers have found several people fluent in Mandaic, a Persian variation of Aramaic spoken by a few hundred people around the world. One of them, Dakhil Shooshtary, 76, a retired jeweler who settled on Long Island from Iran 45 years ago, is compiling a Mandaic dictionary.
For Professor Kaufman, the quest for speakers of disappearing languages has sometimes involved serendipity. After making a fruitless trip in 2006 to Indonesia to find speakers of Mamuju, he attended a family wedding two years ago in Queens. Mr. Husain happened to be sitting next to him. Wasting no time, he has videotaped Mr. Husain speaking in his native tongue.
“This is maybe the first time that anyone has recorded a video of the language being spoken,” said Professor Kaufman, who founded a Manhattan research center, the Urban Field Station for Linguistic Research, two years ago.
He has also recruited Daowd I. Salih, 45, a refugee from Darfur who lives in New Jersey and is a personal care assistant at a home for the elderly, to teach Massalit, a tribal language, to a linguistic class at New York University. They are meticulously creating a Massalit lexicography to codify grammar, definitions and pronunciations.
“Language is identity,” said Mr. Salih, who has been in the United States for a decade. “So many African tribes in Darfur lost their languages. This is the land of opportunity, so these students can help us write this language instead of losing it.”
Speakers of Garifuna, which is being displaced in Central America by Spanish and English, are striving to keep it alive in their New York neighborhoods. Regular classes have sprouted at the Yurumein House Cultural Center in the Bronx, and also in Brooklyn, where James Lovell, a public school music teacher, leads a small Garifuna class at the Biko Transformation Center in East Bushwick.
Mr. Lovell, who came to New York from Belize in 1990, said his oldest children, 21-year-old twin boys, do not speak Garifuna. “They can get along speaking Spanish or English, so there’s no need to as far as they’re concerned,” he said, adding that many compatriots feel “they will get nowhere with their Garifuna culture, so they decide to assimilate.”
But as he witnessed his language fading among his friends and his family, Mr. Lovell decided to expose his younger children to their native culture. Mostly through simple bilingual songs that he accompanies with gusto on his guitar, he is teaching his two younger daughters, Jamie, 11, and Jazelle, 7, and their friends.
“Whenever they leave the house or go to school, they’re speaking English,” Mr. Lovell said. “Here, I teach them their history, Garifuna history. I teach them the songs, and through the songs, I explain to them what it’s saying. It’s going to give them a sense of self, to know themselves. The fact that they’re speaking the language is empowerment in itself.”
Yemen is one of the United States' foremost challenges on the counterterrorism front. So says Daniel Benjamin, U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State.
Al Qaida has long been a presence in the Arabian Peninsula, dating back to at least the early 1990s. Over the last five years, these terrorists have carried out multiple attacks against Yeminis, Americans, and citizens of other countries. In the last two years, this Al Qaida franchise has carried out a string of attacks, including an attack on the U.S. Embassy in September 2008, kidnapping of several groups of foreign tourists, attempts to terrorize Yemen's own security services, and, of course, the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
After a review of U.S. policy toward Yemen, the Obama administration has launched a two-fold strategy: to strengthen the government of Yemen's ability to promote security and minimize the threat from violent extremists; and to bolster its capacity to provide basic services and good governance. On the security side, the U.S. is providing training and assistance to Yemen's key counterterrorism units. The training includes border control management, crime scene investigation, fraudulent document recognition, and surveillance detection, among others.
But this strategy will only succeed if Yemen's government can begin to meet the basic needs of its citizens. Yemen is grappling with serious poverty –- it is the poorest country in the Arab world. To help improve conditions, the U.S. is increasing its development assistance to Yemen. Mr. Benjamin said he expects the U.S. to provide as much as 63 million dollars in fiscal year 2010. Priorities include political and fiscal reform; reducing corruption and implementing civil service reform; and economic diversification to generate employment. Also, the U.S. Agency for International Development is building the capacity of Yemen's government to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.
"Ultimately," said Counterterrorism Coordinator Benjamin, "the goal of the U.S. and international efforts is a stable, secure, and effectively governed Yemen. As the government of Yemen grows more transparent and responsive to the requirements of its citizens, the seeds of extremism and violence will find less fertile ground and a more positive productive dynamic will begin to prevail."
Aaron Miller has been a Middle East "expert" and Arab-Israeli peace-processor for a long time. Now those who once took him seriously think it of moment that he has decided he no longer believes in that "peace process." But none of the accounts note the main think missing in all of Aaron Miller's peace-processing -- and in that of Dennis Ross and Richard Haass and all the others -- that is, Islam, its texts, its tenets, and the attitudes and atmospherics that those texts and tenets create in states and societies and individuals suffused with Islam.
Here, for example, is an excerpt from an article by Lee Smith:
"Most people in the room don’t know what to make of Miller’s apparent about-face on the single issue that has united the major institutional players in the American Jewish community’s foreign policy establishment from the Washington Institute to American Israel Public Affairs Committee for the past two decades. Combined with the recent vitriolic public attacks on Obama adviser Dennis Ross from outside and within the Administration for his supposed “dual loyalties” and insufficient dedication to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which Ross oversaw under President Bill Clinton, Miller’s article suggests that a watershed moment has been reached in the history of the peace process, which once served to show how American Jews could serve their country while also helping to bring peace to Israel. It has become a dead letter—or, at worst, a wedge to pry Jews out of decision-making positions in the U.S. government and suggest that the interests of the United States and Israel are necessarily opposed to each other.
Some suggest that Miller’s article is a mere bit of showmanship, meant to get the former policymaker some attention at a time when everyone—perhaps even those in the Obama Administration—knows the peace process is stalled. “You get a lot of respect if you make one big flip-flop in your life resulting from an epiphany,” says Washington Institute scholar Martin Kramer. He cites Francis Fukuyama, who declared “the end of history” in 1989 only to turn against his neoconservative colleagues when the Iraq war didn’t work out so well, and Benny Morris’s public disenchantment with the Israeli left. “Do it twice,” says Kramer, “and you’re dismissed as a flake.”
Miller sees his views as consistent with his public statements over the past few years. “What I’ve seen over time is that prospects for peace are getting bleaker and bleaker,” he told me over the phone last week. Miller believes that he is the same man he has always been—it’s the Middle East that has gotten meaner. “My perspective changed because reality changed,” Miller says. “This region has become much nastier, more complex. The political leaders are hostages, not masters, of their fate, and the issues are much more complicated.” Problems like the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees—the core of the conflict since 1948—seem no closer to being solved then they did when Miller began his peace processing under President George H.W. Bush. In other words, the region hasn’t changed for the worse; Miller’s just frustrated that it hasn’t changed for the better yet. But as Miller himself admits, he has not entirely turned his back on the peace process. “I didn’t reject the religion of yes to embrace the religion of no,” he says."
What Miller apparently still can't bring himself to recognize is that Islam was always there, the central fact that he did not see, could not see, would not see. And without a grasp of Islam, the endless war -- the Jihad -- against Israel cannot be properly understood, nor the futility of peace-processing be grasped. He still won't discuss it, it appears, and he seems to think that the fact that he didn't see it, didn't grasp it, means that it wasn't there, and that "reaality changed." No, reality did not change. What has changed is that some are beginning to get a glimmer of what Islam is all about. Some are beginning to notice what is happening in Western Europe. Some are beginning to understand that the immutable texts of Islam, the ideology of Islam, explain what is happening to Christians in Pakistan and southern Sudan and southern Nigeria and Indonesia, and in Iraq and Egypt. Some have figured out how to connect the dots, and even have started to study, as they ought to have many decades ago, before Muslims were allowed to enter the West in such numbers, the ideology of Islam.
But not Aaron Miller. For now, he's content to explain that "my perspective changed because reality changed." No. Reality did not change. He is only starting, and very tentatively, to dimly see the light. And that whole business of what he has described, over many decades, breathlessly, as the "fourcoreissues: securityJerusalemsettlementsrefugees never were the "core issues." The issue, the cause, the root cause, the everything here, is Islam.
I don't think he'll ever be able to admit, even if somehow he could be made to understand, the idiocy of attempting to peace-process in the light of Islam. After so many wasted decades, how can he?