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

These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 28, 2012.
Saturday, 28 July 2012
Muslim preacher who tried to strangle his daughter, 16, for refusing an arranged marriage to her cousin escapes jail

From The Daily Mail

Abid Hussain, 56, grabbed the neck of Rabiyah Abid and said: 'If you don't follow my rules I will kill you' after she rejected his plans for her to wed. Hussain also left the teenager in fear of her life as he battered her about the head at the family home above the mosque he runs at Longsight, Manchester.

The father-of-five had snapped after discovering Rabiyah refused to follow strict Islamic tradition and embarked on a romance with a student she had met on Facebook.

She had previously run away from home to be with him and even helped police draw up a court order banning her father from forcing her into the marriage.

At Manchester Crown Court yesterday Hussain was convicted of assault and making threats to kill. He admitted his daughter's conduct had 'brought shame' on his family and caused him 'mental torture' but denied wrongdoing.

His two sons Nawab Uddin, 23, and Bahaud Uddin, 21 were also convicted of assaulting the teen.

Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting said Rabiyah lived in a 'very male dominated, patriarchal household' where she was left 'exhausted' by cooking and cleaning. In accordance with Islamic tradition she had been 'betrothed' by her father to his sister's son in Pakistan at just 15 years old.

But she ended up falling for college student Gulraiz Sultan whom she had met on social media.

When her father returned from Pakistan, he learned that she had stayed with her secret boyfriend, and to add 'insult to injury' he was served by police with a Forced Marriage Prevention Order stopping him from pressuring her into the arranged marriage.

When Hussain saw the document - which led to the girl's passport being taken by the authorities - he regarded it as a 'combination of her and the UK judicial system depriving him of his right to choose her husband within his own family'.

Weeks later, on December 26, last year he assaulted her leading her to send a text message to Sultan saying 'I thought I was going to die last night'.

Two days later her brothers, Nawab and Bahaud were said to have snatched her phone from her - to stop the teenager texting Sultan and smacked her in the face and head. She wore a veil to hide her injuries and the next day she reported them to police.

Mr Blackshaw said: 'Hussain is plainly a devout man retaining traditional values regarding family matters, which is the reason for what we say was the offending in this case, because his daughter was not going along with his wishes in following that cultural duty.'

In his defence Hussain claimed his daughter was free to wed whom she wanted and accused of her and her boyfriend of making false accusations. Bahaud Uddin said he would have preferred for his sister to marry their cousin, since 'blood matching blood' was better.

Sentencing Hussain Judge Michael Leeming said: 'You're a man of high standing in the local Asian community and take your family, culture and religion very seriously.  It’s clear that these offences were committed in the context of your strict religious and cultural beliefs.

Abid Hussain received a suspended sentence of nine months suspended for 12 months, with 100 hours unpaid work.

Nawab Uddin received a suspended sentence of three months suspended for 12 months, with 100 hours unpaid work and a supervision order for 12 months.

Bahaud Uddin received three months suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours unpaid work.

Posted on 07/28/2012 4:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 28 July 2012

No, not prayer mat -- Pray-O-Mat. From the BBC:

A multi-faith praying machine called the Pray-O-Mat has been installed at the University of Manchester.

The specially converted photo booth offers more than 300 pre-recorded prayers and incantations in 65 different languages via a touch screen.


The free-to-use machine, designed by German artist Oliver Sturm, is part of a three-year project on multi-faith spaces by the university.

Prayer choices include Aborigine devotional songs and Jewish chants.

The machine also features Our Father in German and English, and Buddhist and Islamic prayers among others.

A research team has visited almost 250 multi-faith spaces in the UK and abroad collecting prayers.

Project leader Ralf Brand, senior architecture lecturer, said: "Though the Pray-o-mat is a bit tongue-in-cheek, there is a serious message to what we're doing.

"Successful multi-faith spaces do not need to be flashy or expensive.

"In many places a small, clean and largely unadorned space can serve adequately."

In these days of multi-tasking, it is only to be expected that the Pray-O-Mat takes your picture "While-U-Pray". Here is one of a Muslim woman, who chose the modest black curtain as a background:

Posted on 07/28/2012 8:08 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 28 July 2012
Music omitted from the Olympic ceremony.

Iron Maiden are the local boys - bass player and founder Steve Harris went to the same school as David Beckham for heaven's sake. We could have heard a snatch during the quick history of British music. One of their songs could have been among the many played as the national teams marched in - how much U2 does one really need?

And I longed for their mascot Eddie (pictured) to loom up across the stadium and bite the head off Shami Chakrabarti and the other politically correct appointees carrying the Olympic flag.

Posted on 07/28/2012 6:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 28 July 2012
Aurora Beyond Us

By a strange irony, alleged Aurora mass murderer James Holmes was a doctoral student of neuroscience—the discipline that will, according to its most ardent and enthusiastic advocates, finally explain Man to himself after millennia of mystery and self-questioning.

But what could count as an explanation of what James Holmes did? At what point would we be able to say, “Aha, now I understand why he dyed his hair like the Joker and went down to the local cinema and shot all those people?” When we have sifted through his biography, examined his relationships, listened to what he has to say, and put him through all the neuropsychological and neurological tests, will we really be much wiser?

Like Anders Breivik, the young Norwegian who killed 77 people in Norway by bomb and gun, Holmes is reported to have been a “loner,” a young man without the social skills or perhaps the inclination to mix with his peers in a normal way. But such loners, though a small minority, are numbered in the thousands and tens of thousands; vanishingly few of them act like Breivik or Holmes, and many, indeed, make valuable contributions to society. Preventive detention for loners, or even special surveillance of them, would hardly be justified.

The same is true of any other characteristic that might link Breivik and Holmes to their acts. Even the presence of a recognized mental illness, such as schizophrenia, would not suffice, since most people with that affliction don’t act in this fashion. And the temptation to indulge in a circular argument, where the explanandum becomes the explanans and vice versa, must be resisted, because it offers the illusion of understanding where there is none: “He must have been mad to do this; and he did it because he was mad.”

The multifactorial analyses to which experts are inevitably driven—a bit of genetics here, a bit of parenting there, plus a dash of social pressure, culture, and the legal availability of weaponry thrown into the explanatory soup, as the weird sisters threw eye of newt and wool of bat into their cauldron—will leave us not much better off. The mesh will never be drawn fine enough for us to be able to say: “Now, at last, I understand.”

And yet our nature drives us to seek an explanation and an understanding (the two are related but not quite the same). Even if we felt like it, we cannot say: “Well, such things happen; let us hope, Inshallah, that they never happen again.” We must know the how, but also the why.

An atrocious event like the Aurora massacre brings us up sharply against something that for the most part we ignore: that, for metaphysical reasons, our explanatory reach exceeds our grasp and will do so forever. We seek a final explanation, but cannot reach one because, as Haitian peasants say, “Behind mountains, more mountains.”

First published in City Journal.

Posted on 07/28/2012 10:26 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Saturday, 28 July 2012
London 2012 Olympics: Lebanon judo team refuse to train alongside Israel

From The Telegraph and YNet News

The Lebanon judo team has refused to train alongside the Israeli team, demanding that a curtain screen be erected so that the athletes would not have to see each other.

The latest political row on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games prompted anger from an Israeli official who said ”what? they can’t see us, but they will smell us.”

London 2012 organising committee officials erected a makeshift curtain to split the two halves of a training gym at the ExCeL centre on Friday afternoon to placate the Lebanese team, which was refusing to train at the same time as the Israelis.

"We started to practice. They came and they saw us – they didn't like it and they went to the organizers,"  Nitzan Ferraro, spokesman for the Israeli Olympic Committee told Reuters. "They put up some kind of wall between us. Everyone went on and there was no interaction between us".  Ferraro said the incident had not been a big deal for them. "It didn't matter for us. We don't mix politics and sport. We had no problem," he said.

Earlier officials from another country, Iran, said they would compete against Israel but that view has since been contradicted by officials in Tehran.

The latest argument occurred days after the international teams were warned by International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge that athletes who feign injuries to avoid confronting athletes from other countries would be suspended. He announced that an independent doctor would monitor any alleged injuries of athletes involved in suspected political withdrawals.

This was before last night's opening ceremony. The Lebanese team have now sat through four hours of multicultural propaganda about celebrating respecting diversity, and have taken an oath to that effect. I hope to hear no more nonsense, otherwise I will send one of the flying nannies down to smack their bottoms.

Posted on 07/28/2012 11:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 28 July 2012

From Reuters:

By Reuters

A shopping center next to the Olympic Park has displayed incomprehensible welcome signs in a garbled attempt at Arabic in the latest cultural blunder to embarrass London at a time when the eyes of the world are fixed on the British capital.

The linguistic faux-pas follows a diplomatic incident that marred the first day of competition on Wednesday, when the South Korean flag was mistakenly displayed before a soccer match between the North Korean and Colombian women’s teams.

With its huge immigrant population hailing from every corner of the world, London is often celebrated as a multi-cultural success story, but such gaffes risk making the vibrant Olympic host city look provincial and incompetent.

Posted on 07/28/2012 5:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
In Egypt, The Ikhwan Bides Its Time, Knowing It Is Not Yet Strong Enough

From The New York Times:

Egypt’s Islamists Tread Lightly, but Skeptics Squirm

CAIRO — During Egypt’s presidential campaign, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, made no apologies for the group’s slogan: “Islam is the solution.”

Shariah law would provide the principles on which the country’s legal system would be based, he acknowledged repeatedly. When he was sworn in last month, the Arab world’s biggest country gained an unabashed Islamist as its leader for the first time, arousing alarm here and abroad.

Since then, however, the new government has not publicly made a single Islamist move.

“For 80 years, hundreds of thousands of books and articles were published about what would happen in case a Brotherhood president made it to power in Egypt,” wrote Ahmed Samir, a columnist in the daily Egyptian newspaper El Masry El Youm. “It was said that veils would be required, banks would be closed, a war would be declared, and bathing suits would be banned. Today we discovered what happens when a Brotherhood president holds power. Simply nothing.”

Such a definitive pronouncement could be premature. The Brotherhood has often taken the long view, preferring incremental change to sweeping gestures. And Mr. Morsi’s power has been severely circumscribed by the military, which still holds most of the cards; a rash move by Mr. Morsi could provide a pretext for the military to crack down further on the fledgling government.

On the surface, however, Mr. Morsi seems to have gone out of his way to allay fears that Islamists would radically change Egyptian society. He promptly fulfilled a campaign promise to resign from the Brotherhood and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, and chose a prime minister, Hesham Kandil, who is a religious Muslim but known as a technocrat rather than a hard-liner.

Mr. Morsi met early with the acting Coptic pope, Anba Bakhomious, though during the election campaign he had said he did not believe a Christian or a woman could ever be president of Egypt. He went out of his way to praise the role of the military as guarantors of Egypt’s new democracy, and word was that the choice of a defense minister in the new government would be left to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Significantly, he has refrained from taking any action on hot-button social or foreign policy issues, or even discussing them.

The sale and consumption of alcohol remain legal, a concern of the important tourist industry, which has been on the rocks since last year’s revolution toppled Hosni Mubarak from power. No one in ruling circles is calling for the government to make wearing head scarves obligatory, ban pop music or review the peace treaty with Israel.

Not that it could. The new Parliament, where Islamists hold a majority, has been dissolved by the courts and has been able to meet only once since then.

Mr. Morsi’s public positions so far are a far cry from the Brotherhood’s reputation and even its history as a conservative, Pan-Islamic party, founded in Egypt but long banned from Egyptian political life. The Palestinian extremist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, for instance, and in the past Mr. Morsi called for opening the border between Egypt and Gaza to relieve the pressure on Hamas of an Israeli blockade.

Yet when the Hamas leader Khaled Meshal visited Egypt this month, Mr. Morsi took care to receive the mainstream Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, first — and never raised the issue of opening the border, at least publicly. The Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniya, visited Cairo last week and similarly left empty-handed, although he professed confidence that Egypt’s Islamists would come through for Hamas eventually.

“The Brotherhood is not in any position to make any bold moves on foreign policy right away,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. Hamas, he said, “is bound to be disappointed.”

Despite such efforts, Mr. Morsi and his Brotherhood allies have had little luck placating secular and other opponents. The Brotherhood remains reviled and feared by secular activists and many Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population and remember when Brotherhood ideologists talked about assessing the jizya, a tithe on Christians in Islamic-ruled states that goes back to the conquests of Christians by early Muslims.

Many secular and Christian Egyptians, even some who participated in the revolution, have come to see the military as a guarantor against Islamist excess, a role the military has claimed for itself. Just two weeks ago, the leader of the ruling military council, which has controlled Egypt since Mr. Mubarak was ousted, vowed that the army would not let Egypt “fall” to “a certain group,” a not-so-veiled reference to the Brotherhood.

“Since Morsi won, the Muslim Brotherhood adopted more of a conciliatory tone and made an effort to reach out to non-Islamists,” Mr. Hamid said. “The question is if it has worked, and I would say it hasn’t. It’s deep-seated. Neither side trusts the other.”

Hisham Kassem, a publisher and political commentator in Egypt, said people had quickly lost trust in the Brotherhood, which reneged on a promise not to run a candidate for president this year. They concluded it was willing to say anything to secure power. “They basically feel any lying is done for the love of God, so it gives them license,” Mr. Kassem said.

“Being a secular liberal, I was very critical of my fellow liberals when they spoke of the tyranny of the majority and so on,” he added. “I said, ‘Let’s work with the Brotherhood.’ ” That view changed when liberals saw how unwilling the group was to share power, and when it challenged court decisions, supported by the military, to dissolve Parliament.

Like many liberal critics, Mr. Kassem said the reason the Brotherhood had not taken any action on social issues was that it was biding its time until it was powerful enough to do so.

“It’s too early to take real action to move in an Islamic direction,” he said. “But the nuances are pretty scary.”

Those nuances include the way a Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ghuzlan, answers questions with Koranic verses, and the group’s tendency to fill the spectator galleries at hearings on constitutional and postelection issues with emotional, chanting activists. Mr. Morsi has also refused to be drawn into issues like female genital mutilation, which, according to a 2005 study by Unicef, a stunning 97 percent of Egyptian women undergo but on which Islamists maintain neutrality.

“We should leave this matter to the law and not open issues that do not help in our situation,” Mr. Morsi was quoted as saying by a former campaign worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The depth of suspicions about the Brotherhood erupted into public view this month when Hillary Rodham Clinton, the American secretary of state, met with Mr. Morsi in Egypt and then was jeered and her motorcade pelted with tomatoes by protesters, mainly Coptic Christians and secularists, angry that the Americans were, in their view, supporting the Islamists by meeting with Mr. Morsi.

So far, the best that Mr. Morsi’s critics have had to say is that it is still early. Several court cases could drastically shift the balance of power: one on whether to dissolve the upper house of Parliament, another challenging the military-backed court decision to dissolve the lower house of Parliament, another to void a Brotherhood-dominated assembly charged with drafting a new constitution.

Mr. Morsi has made only one cabinet appointment, his prime minister. The rest of the appointments will surely test his campaign pledge to form a unity government representing all factions.

“This is the right thing to do, and he always said this is what he would do,” said Amr Derrag, secretary general of the Giza branch of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. “Be president for all Egyptians.”
Posted on 07/28/2012 5:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
A Musical Interlude: Bidin' My Time (The Foursome)
Listen here.
Posted on 07/28/2012 7:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
By Way Of Lagniappe: Crazy Me (Carole Landis)
Listen here, to tragic Carole Landis.
Posted on 07/28/2012 8:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
In Tunisia, Secular Technocrats Resign Or Are Fired

Tunisia: Finance Minister Dimassi Explains Why He Stepped Down From Government

Tunis — Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi announced, on Friday, his decision to resign from the interim government.

In a communiqué a copy of which was sent to TAP news agency, Mr. Dimassi presented the reasons behind his decision to step down, mentioning in particular "the numerous losses of control" related to the balance of public finance, lack of consultation and co-ordination among members of Government.

Mr. Dimassi listed several reasons that compelled him to resign, including the conflicting reactions to the monetary policies, the bill pertaining to the labour integration and indemnification of people benefiting from the General Amnesty, thus entailing, he said, additional expenses, not to mention the arbitrary and unfair circumstances of the dismissal of Tunisia's Central Bank (TCB) Governor Mustapha Kamel Nabli.

"I believed, and I still do, that my most important responsibility as a Government member was to try to avoid all that would destabilise public finance and make the country vulnerable to the torments of an overburdening indebtedness," the communiqué reads.

He adds: "However, as time went by, it became crystal clear that the divide between the majority of the Government team and myself on the monetary policies widened even more."

The resigning Minister, in this connection, underlines that at the most appropriate moment to materialise the Revolution expectations, through paying greater care to the vulnerable social classes and strengthening their buying power, creating the largest number of productive jobs possible, developing the underprivileged interior regions and kick-starting the economic activity, while minding the preservation of the public financial balances, the situations where things got out of control soared, according to him, for the sake of rallying the different social classes with the upcoming elections in mind, raising, to serve this electoral purpose, the subsidising expenses to unbearable heights.

The Minister points out that the bill on the indemnification of the people who benefitted from the General Amnesty, which was recently submitted to the Cabinet, represents a "serious excess" insofar as this draft law will result in additional public spendings, given the large number of the beneficiaries and the huge compensations to be paid.[Dimassi is referring to the large sums the Ennahda Party wants to be paid to those who were "political prisoners" under the former regime -- that is, the 20,000 who were imprisoned because they were the most convinced, even fanatical, of Muslims].

"Promulgation of such a piece of legislation will be in total contradiction with the difficult economic and financial situation Tunisia will be going through in the coming years," he explains.

Mr. Dimassi also criticises in his statement the "arbitrary and unfair" way the Governor of the Central Bank was dismissed, stressing that the decision to do so will negatively impact the prestige of the State and Tunisia's image at home and abroad.

The resigning minister points out that non-compliance with co-ordination and consultation in the decision-making process has been a common practice, underlining that a new TCB Governor was chosen without the consultation of the main concerned sides, notably the Finance Ministry.

The story goes in some media that a Cabinet reshuffle is in the air.

Posted on 07/28/2012 9:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
Turkish Government Seizes Land Owned By Monastery For 14 Centuries
From AINA:

Turkish Court Takes Monastery's Land, Declares Assyrians 'Occupiers'

AINA (press release) 25 July 2012
By Soner Önder

The final decision of the [Turkish] Supreme Court of Cassation in the legal case of St. Gabriel, ordering it to transfer the lands which the monastery has owned for 14 centuries to the State Treasury marks a major legal scandal. Cynically, it was the same institution which in 1974 ruled against the [non-Muslim] minority foundations in Turkey and has played an important role in intensifying minority problems. The latest ruling, in which the State is designated as the 'land owner' and the 'other' (being St.Gabriel) as the 'occupier' proves that not much has changed in Turkey's policy towards minorities. The court decision sheds light on an important parameter of the process that has been labeled as "democratization."

The confiscation of properties, trusts and estates of non-Muslim minorities by the government or by third parties is one of the darkest pages in the history of the [Turkish] Republic. Even though the Law of Foundations has been subject to various revisions within the framework of EU reforms over the last ten years, due to the nationalistic understanding that aims to preserve the existing status quo, the problems of minority foundations have not received a profound and lasting solution. This is very much related to the hegemonic perception that has been formed historically towards minorities in Turkey. Minorities, as a group in Turkey, have been regarded not only as infidel [Turkish gavur] for many years, but also as groups that foster secret ambitions, who "have stolen the wealth that belonged to us," or as "hostile" and "unreliable" element within the Turkish nation formation. The deep traces of such institutionalized discourses can be read in the reflexes of the judicial and political authorities in the context of the legal trials of Hrant Dink, St. Gabriel and Publishing House.

Many people have written about the St. Gabriel case and the trial has been well documented (full coverage). But what is striking in this case is that the legal procedure started and concluded to the disadvantage of the monastery during a process which has been hailed as transition towards "democratization" by many people. Turkish elites have preached continously that "many things have changed in Turkey, and matters are no longer as they were." However, the case of the monastery is just another example which proves the opposite.

Unfortunately, while many in Turkey did not know much about Assyrians [known as Süryani in Turkey], they got to learn about them thanks to the St. Gabriel trial. Despite being a non-Muslim minority according to the definition of the Lousanne Treaty, the Assyrians have not received any legal status throughout the history of the Republic. Policies of denial and assimilation have resulted in the loss of cultural identity, excluding them from political participation for decades while institutionalizing their third class status. With the beginning of the EU accession process in Turkey, they started to be remembered and rediscovered afresh as an exotic culture. Within the framework of the rediscovery phenomenon, Assyrians have been converted to a 'touristic object' on one hand, while on the other hand the state presented them as an example of its generous "tolerance."

The challenges brought to St. Gabriel during the judicial process need to be understood in close relation to the unfair and discriminatory practices Assyrians are facing in Turkey. Beside the fundamental problems of identity and legal status, in recent years efforts have been made to systematically label them with the description of the others and to display them as an elemet of threat. Their monasteries are presented as "missionary centers." In history textbooks, approved by the Ministry of Education and used in 10th grade high school classes, Assyrians are portrayed as "traitors" during World War I (AINA 10-2-2011). Furthermore, Dogan Bekin, a writer of the National Newspaper (Milli Gazete), recently categorized Assyrians as an "Israeli-type group" which has ambitions to establish a country through land acquisition.

Isn't it quite strange that even before the ink of Dogan Bekin's article could dry, the Supreme Court of Cassation signed a decision in that same spirit? In order to understand whether these types of explanations and decisions reflect a state-oriented principal policy towards Assyrians, we need to look at the stance of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government. It is a fact that under the leadership of the populist AK Party in Turkey some steps were taken on many issues regarding "democratization" and that the military wardship disappeared, which had existed for decades. However, it is also a fact that there has been no progress in terms of reducing alienation of non-Muslim minorities, particularly in the dominant approach of suspicion towards them. The attitude of the government and the Turkish judiciary system in the context of the lawsuits filed againts the monastery of St. Gabriel are the most important testimony for this.

The recent developments in the case of St. Gabriel remind us directly of the case of Hrant Dink, who was killed in January, 2007. Interestingly, in both cases the Turkish government took shelter under the pretext of "We cannot intervene in the judiciary" and "the judiciary makes its own independent decisions," hence sidelining the issues based on blatant unwillingness to solve the problem.

As pointed out by Professor Baskin Oran, who closely follows the case of St. Gabriel, the party representing the state treasury against the monastery is under the control of the government and is composed of appointed bureaucrats. If the Turkish government wanted to demonstrate a good faith approach, the problems that St. Gabriel monastery has been facing could easily be resolved. But the stance pursued by the Turkish executive powers with regards to this case reveals the existence of deep politics. While the Assyrians on the one hand are being punished with this case, on the other hand homage to a post-modern Turkish supremacy culture is dictated to them.

The punishment part of the job is related to the increasingly institutionalized genocide (Seyfo in Assyrian) recognition activities Assyrians in the Diaspora in recent years. This obviously creates discontent among Turkish ruling elites, a relationship many Assyrian activists have been pointing to. Through this case, the message is conveyed to the Assyrians is "Look, we are becoming a democracy, writing a new constitution. But you as a minority, however, you have to know your boundaries. Stop dealing with issues such as the genocide!"

If the Turkish government is willing to solve the historically shaped problems of minorities in a sincere manner, it needs to start taking positive steps in the aforementioned key cases and should regard improvements in how minorities are perceived as essential work of peace, reconciliation and democratization. Otherwise, everyone has the right to question whether anything has really changed in Turkey.

Soner Önder is a doctoral student at Amsterdam Social Science Research Institute (AISSR).

Posted on 07/28/2012 9:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 July 2012
In Yemen, Sheikh Majid Al-Thahab's Son Killed By Al Qaeda

Al-Qaeda Kills son of Sheikh Majid Al-Thahab in Yemen Capital

 Yemen Post Staff

“Those who stand against al-Qaeda will be killed.” This was the message that Sheikh Majid al-Thahab received upon the killing of his son by al-Qaeda.

A powerful explosion rocked the residence of al-Thahab in the Yemeni capital Sana’a Saturday morning killing his 12-year-old son.


According to al-Thahab, his son was given a wrapped package by the suspect while playing outside his home and was told that it was a gift for his father. The son entered the house and upon opening the package it exploded and killed him at the spot.

Al-Thahab said that his residence was already witnessing tight security after al-Qaeda militants threatened to retaliate for his firm stance against them.


Majid al-Thahab fought al-Qaeda months back in southeastern Yemen and played a major role in forcing the militant group to retreat from areas it controlled in the southeastern province of al-Baitha. Al-Qaeda overtook the city of Radaa and clashes resulted in the death of more than 38.

“Al-Qaeda is behind the attack and the killing of my son. This is a terror group that has no mercy and is heartless,” said Sheikh al-Thahab.
“We have handed over the evidence we have to the Yemeni government and will await the government stance,” said al-Thahab.

Al-Thahab called on the Yemeni government to stand up to its duties and serve justice.

Al-Thahab, is the tribal leader of Gaifa clan in the province of al-Baitha. The clan is one of the most powerful in Yemen.

The attack is the latest from al-Qaeda and a warning sign that the capital Sana’a will be a prime target to the attacks.

Two weeks ago, nine military students were killed in an attack at the Military Academy in the heart of Sana'a.

Posted on 07/28/2012 9:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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