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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
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 Tuesday, 7, 2012.
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Podcast Goes Out in a Blaze of Glory - the last Shire Network News

News from Brian of London. 

After long deliberation, and a visit from Darth Vader, we’ve determined that Shire Network News has come to an end. For our final episode, we feature our current voices and some from the past. Damian Penny, Andrew Ian Dodge, Meryl Yourish, Brian of London, Doug Payton and our Dear Leader, most exalted and praise be upon him, Tom Paine come together to bring you the SNN to end all SNNs (figuratively and literally).

Click here to link for downloading.

Posted on 02/07/2012 2:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Muslim converts 'came to UK with articles on how to mow down the enemies of Allah'

From the London Evening Standard

Two Muslim converts who were caught entering Britain with Al Qaeda magazines containing instructions on how to produce homemade bombs will be back on the streets within two months. German-born Christian Emde, 28, and Robert Baum, 24, were sentenced today at the Old Bailey after being stopped by officers from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit at Dover.

Emde had four copies of Inspire featuring articles titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" and "Destroying Buildings." Another called "The ultimate mowing machine" suggested adding blades to a four-wheel drive pickup truck in order to drive through pedestrian areas and "mow down the enemies of Allah."

They told officers they had intended to travel to Egypt but changed their plans because it was too expensive. Instead they decided to take a bus from Brussels to London before getting another bus to Birmingham. The Old Bailey heard the tickets to Birmingham had been bought by an associate of a man named Ahmed Diini, who had been excluded from the UK because of links to terrorism.

Both men pleaded guilty to possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist. Judge Peter Rook QC sentenced Emde to 16 months imprisonment and Baum to just 12 months imprisonment. Both men have already spent 193 days in custody and are to be deported after serving their sentences. Judge Rook told Baum that he had "effectively already served your sentence" while Emde will be released in about two months.

Posted on 02/07/2012 2:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Welsh terror plotters decided against suicide bombing to commit more attacks

From Wales on Line. This is more from a three day sentencing hearing following last week's guilty pleas.

A group of UK-based radical Islamists decided against carrying out suicide attacks so they would have a “long-term future” in committing acts of terrorism, a court heard today.

Within weeks of joining together, the al Qaida-inspired extremists plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and to organise for Britons to undergo terrorist training in Pakistan, London’s Woolwich Crown Court was told.

Mohammed Chowdhury 21, described as the “lynchpin” of the group, contacted the Cardiff and Stoke radicals using the online chatroom Paltalk and made far more phone calls to the other members than anybody else. He attended poppy-burning protests (a very distinctive figure due to his bug eyes - you can see him in two pictures here) and used the online identity “JMB”, which stands for Jammat-ul Mujhahideen Bangladesh, a banned terrorist organisation in the UK.

Some London and Cardiff members of the group discussed launching a “Mumbai-style” atrocity, while the Stoke extremists talked about setting off pipe bombs in the toilets of two pubs in their home town, the court heard. . . The prosecutor said the Stoke members decided to stick with their original plan to recruit fellow British radicals to undergo terrorist training in the disputed Kashmir region, which is divided between Pakistan and India.

Posted on 02/07/2012 3:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Pseudsday Tuesday

It is not without good reason that New English Review lacks a Diversity Officer. Untangle those negatives and you'll get a positive -- far from being diversity-phobic, we at NER are 110% diversity-centric, but we believe that diversity alone is not enough. Introducing (h/t The Telegraph's Christina Odone) superdiversity. Superdiversity is to diversity as superman is to man, supermarket to market, supermodel to Soho "French" model and so forth. Stephen Vertovec rolls out the concept for onward cascade:

Diversity in Britain is not what it used to be. Some thirty years of government policies, social service practices and public perceptions have been framed by a particular understanding of immigration and multicultural diversity. That is, Britain 's immigrant and ethnic minority population has conventionally been characterised by large, well-organized African-Caribbean and South Asian communities of citizens originally from Commonwealth countries or formerly colonial territories. Policy frameworks and public understanding - and, indeed, many areas of social science - have not caught up with recently emergent demographic and social patterns. Britain can now be characterised by 'super-diversity,' a notion intended to underline a level and kind of complexity surpassing anything the country has previously experienced. Such a condition is distinguished by a dynamic interplay of variables among an increased number of new, small and scattered, multiple-origin, transnationally connected, socio-economically differentiated and legally stratified immigrants who have arrived over the last decade.

It is to be hoped that in due course Britain will get even better and produce not just one kind of superdiversity but multiple superdiversities, each better than the last. Within each of these superdiversities there will be intra-diversities, between them there will be inter-diversities and for those who want to go the extra mile -- and who doesn't? -- there will be ultra-diversities. Extra-diversity is not an option, nor is infra-diversity. We are all diverse now.

Posted on 02/07/2012 6:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
The Corrections

Thanks to Christina MacIntosh for supplying both the link and most of the corrections to this story from the Jerusalem Post. As I pointed out in my first "Corrections" column, corrections are made to the potentially corrigible, rather than to the chronically Islamophiliac. We start by correcting the heading:

Security forces arrest Palestinian in stabbing
Arab Muslim arrested after stabbing Jew
Security forces arrested a Palestinian resident of the West Bank an Arab Muslim living in Samaria on suspicion of stabbing a Jew who happened to be an Israeli security guard at the entrance to Ma’ale Adumim, police said Sunday.

The arrest was carried out by police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on January 27, but only revealed on Sunday due to the lifting of a media ban.

The suspect, named as 20- year-old Ala Hanaisha, confessed to stabbing and lightly injuring the guard.

Hanaisha is resident of Kabatiya, in the northern West Bank, and a student at an Abu Dis Islamic college, situated on the outskirts of east Jerusalem.

During questioning, he said the attack was motivated by nationalistic sentiment, police said the Koran.

Hanaisha said he arrived at a square at the entrance to Ma’ale Adumim and waited for
unarmed Jews Jewish residents to arrive in order to stab them.

After waiting for half an hour and seeing that none arrived, he lost patience and approached the checkpoint at the entrance to the town, where he stabbed the guard  armed Jew. This was a tactical mistake, since it is acceptable to kill unarmed infidels. Bide your time and pick your targets.

The guard was evacuated to hospital for treatment, and security forces launched a search of the area in the hours after the attack. Better luck next time, and Allah knows best.
Posted on 02/07/2012 7:10 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Eric Allen Bell: The High Price of Telling the Truth About Islam

Eric Allen Bell, whom you may remember from the Murfreesboro mosque controversy, has written a detailed and unflinching portrayal of his change of heart at Frontpage.

A strange thing happened to me the other day when I was driving past the Federal Building in Los Angeles.  There were a crowd of people assembled there with signs which said that Israel is an aggressive force in the Middle East and that Iran is being picked on.  As I stopped at a red light I heard a man with a mega phone lead the protesters in a chant charging Obama with genocide.  I saw many young people and several Muslim women with their heads covered.  It was an anti-war demonstration that probably a year ago I would have supported.  But although I am not in favor of military action, I know that Iran is not another Iraq, and that in fact there is more going on here than the overly-simplified picture that the protestors were painting, as cars drove by honking in support.  As the light turned green another sign caught my eye – a picture of the Twin Towers burning which read “911 Was an Inside Job”.  As I looked at a sea of Palestinian flags and college kids banging on drums I felt a certain frustration – frustration based on a series of events that have changed my world view.

In the Summer of 2010, having recently escaped Hollywood, CA to take a much needed break from my profession as a film maker, I was driving in my car listening to a story on NPR.  It seems the people in my new home of Murfreesboro, TN were up in arms over the proposed construction of a 53,000 square foot mega mosque, to be built in their small town in the middle of the American Bible Belt.

I listened carefully, to the sound bytes, of those who had shown up to a town hall meeting to voice their opposition and, as someone who was rather new to the South, I was surprised by what I was hearing.   “America is a Christian nation and there is only one God and his name is not Allah and his son is Jesus Christ” and “America is a Christian Nation” and “These Muslims do not share my values and I don’t want them in my backyard”.  Growing up in Southern California, I had never heard anything like this before in my life.  And I started to follow the story with great interest.

On the outer edge of town, off a small country road, there was a large parcel of land, right next door to a Baptist church, with a big sign that read, “Future Home of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro”.  Over the past 6 months that sign had been defaced twice.  Once it was broken in half and another time the words “Not Welcome” were spray painted over it.

Rutherford County, which includes Murfreesboro, only has a little over 100,000 residents and yet the area boasts nearly 200 Christian churches.  Having not been much of a fan of Islam or Christianity or religion in general (and that’s putting it mildly) I saw this as something of a David vs. Goliath story – with fanatical Evangelicals bullying a peaceful Muslim population, which had been in the community for over 30 years without there ever being any trouble.  And, after learning that in July there was to be a big parade down Main Street to the town square, protesting the construction of this new mosque, I decided someone really needed to make a documentary about this.  And even though I had gone to Murfreesboro to escape the film world for a while, it seemed pretty clear that if I did not document this in a movie, no one else would.  I wanted to show the world what I was seeing.  So I put together a small film crew and began production on a documentary I would title, “Not Welcome”.

I had never seen more American flags assembled together in one place than I had on that hot July morning as the anti-mosque crowd gathered at the base camp to prepare for the parade.  Many of the marchers showed up wearing red, white and blue.  I had 4 cameras covering the event with one crew embedded with the Liberal activists who were going to counter-demonstrate and the rest of the cameras with me, embedded with those who were to march against the mosque.  I conducted several interviews in the school parking lot where locals and those who had driven for hours gathered, prepared to march against what they perceived to be not only a threat to their way of life, but also something of an insult given the events of September 11, 2001.  Two Congressional candidates, both promising to “stop the Islamic training camp” showed up and used this opportunity to campaign, one of whom even gave a speech through a mega phone reminding folks to vote for him if they wanted to stop Sharia Law from coming to Murfreesboro.  The pastor of Baptist church gathered everyone together in prayer, and the parade took off down Main Street with signs that read “Google the Koran” and “Stop Homegrown Terrorism” and someone in the crowd handed out hundreds of small Israeli flags as several hundred Southerners marched against the mosque.

About six months later I had accumulated over 300 hours of footage, interviewing the parade organizer, both Congressional candidates, the Mayor, the Imam at the mosque and several of its board members, numerous concerned residents on both sides of the issue, Muslim residents, city council members, a Christian Zionist lobbyist who was organizing the opposition to the mosque – and I had even filmed weeks of court proceedings, as a local group had filed suit against the County to stop them from issuing any construction permits to the Islamic Center.  The court proceedings were truly a circus with a country lawyer in loud suit with a bow tie argued that Islam is not a religion and that he was prepared to take this matter to the Supreme Court if necessary.  That legal action had failed and failed miserably.  And although many of the townspeople did in fact have a number of very valid concerns, I felt that those whom they had chosen to represent them were not their best foot forward.  In many ways, for the people of Murfreesboro, TN this turned out to be an international embarrassment – given the level of interest from the press.

Also, someone tried to set fire to some construction equipment at the site of the new mosque and the student activist group, calling themselves “Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom” put together a candle light vigil where hundreds of townspeople showed up in support of tolerance.  A few young men showed up in a pickup truck and honked their horn repeatedly throughout the vigil.  Their clothes seemed to indicate they had spent the work day hanging drywall.  And when they put up a huge sign in the back of their truck which read “No Mosque” while misspelling the word mosque, I did not hesitate to film them but to also sort of taunt them, in order to provoke a good response on camera.  And I got it.  One of them said we should suspend the Constitution and went on to say that “All them Mooslums should be shipped home” even the ones who were born here.

Adding more fuel to that fire was an incident that took place when I attempted to interview Kevin Fisher at a Tea Party event on the town square.  It was my opinion that in order to avoid accusations of being bigoted, the money interests (a Christian Zionist organization called Proclaiming Justice to the Nations) chose the only person of color, already involved in this issue, to lead the parade and to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.  Kevin Fisher was an African American college dropout, who worked as a prison guard and became a passionate opponent of the new mosque, after his wife divorced him and became, you guessed it, a Muslim convert.  When I approached him on the square with a crew that included 4 cameras, saying only “Hi, Kevin” he dialed his cell phone and called 9-1-1 saying that he was being “racially harassed”.  This not only made the headlines of the local paper but the incident, including audio from the 9-1-1 call was played over and over that night on the local evening news.  This became something of a running joke, when I was recognized at the grocery store in Murfreesboro for instance, people would often point at me and say, “Hey, stop racially harassing me” and then we would all have a big laugh.  And Islamic blogs such as Loonwatch.com were only too happy to run an article about how an opponent of the mosque was “playing the race card” against a filmmaker who was just trying to ask questions.

CNN breezed through town and produced a quick hit piece painting all of the mosque opponents as uneducated rednecks and the Islamic community as everyday people who were being wrongly persecuted.  Soledad O’Brien’s producer offered to buy some of my footage from me with the explicit promise that their piece was going to be called “Islam: In America” and would not focus more than a few minutes on Murfreesboro.  After an inside tip that this producer was lying to me, I confronted him and got some rather vague answers.  So I declined to license him any of my material.  And sure enough, the CNN documentary did in fact focus exclusively on Mufreesboro and was called “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”.  Somehow Hollywood, with its usual backstabbing tricks, had managed to find me hiding out in Tennessee.

I had accumulated a lot of good quality footage.  That, combined with the increasing number of physical threats to me personally while filming in large crowds, and death threats that had arrived via email (causing me to look over my shoulder everywhere I went and making it necessary to spend a small fortune on private security) told me it was time.  The writing was on the wall.  It was time for me to leave Murfreesboro, hire a professional Editor and get to work on assembling my footage to create a feature length documentary for theatrical distribution.

Before I go any further, I should mention that, while all of this was happening, I had become involved in the story itself.  I took sides.  I sided with the Islamic community in their legal right to build a house of worship and when I was interviewed by the local papers (it’s not every day that a small town like this has someone shooting a documentary there) when I was asked where I stood on the issue I never hesitated to give my point of view.  And after a time my point of view was sought out by larger newspapers and several local and syndicated radio programs – mostly Conservative and mostly taking issue with my stance.  And I was also invited to write several pieces for Michael Moore’s blog as well.

Although I had left town to edit, there continued to be letters to the editor on a few of the local papers saying that I should leave TN and go back to where I came from.  I could not believe the cartoonish way in which those who opposed the mosque were making their case.  I felt like I was on the right side of this thing – absolutely certain.  But in fact, I was wrong.

Everything I have told you up until now – this version of my story – is exactly how I was seeing things up until something changed.  I went home to Los Angeles, showed my 25 minute short version of the documentary to some distributors and backers, and did the usual dog and pony show that had worked so well to raise funds, for other motion picture projects I had been involved with in the past.  And sure enough someone said they would back the completion of the movie.  It was decided that the focus would be on “the enemy at home” that being what we were calling “Apocalyptic Christianity” (as there was concern about using the word “Zionism” in “Christian Zionism”).  The Murfreesboro issue was to be used as something of a jumping off point to take a look at the expanding influence of the End Times Evangelical lobby in the United States and how they use their influence to manufacture consent for the bombing of oil rich Islamic countries and to influence policy on social issues.  The theme would focus on the problems we have in America, with our own religious lunatic fringe, rather than on a peaceful group of non-Christians who just wanted to build a place of worship.

After writing a few articles for Michael Moore, I also wrote for a liberal blog called Common Dreams and I wrote over a hundred articles for the Daily Kos, a liberal blog so popular that they receive over one million visitors a day.  I felt I was protecting the underdog, going after the bullies.  I really believed that I was on the right side of this thing.

But something kept nagging at me on a gut level.  Something about all of this didn’t quite feel right.  The Arab Spring, which I supported, started to degenerate into the Islamist Winter, and I grew more and more concerned.  I flew back to Nashville to shoot a conference on whether or not Islam was conducive with Democratic Values and on the way to my hotel room I learned that my cab driver was from Egypt.  I asked him how he felt about the fall of Mubarak, a dictator worth over $70 billion dollars while so much of his country was living in poverty and he told me he was concerned.  Concerned?  Wasn’t this good news?  The cab driver was a Coptic Christian and he told me that he feared for his family back home.  “If the Muslims take control, and they will, it will be very dangerous for my parents and my sisters.  I’m scared for them right now”.  After that conversation, I started to pay more attention to the news coming from the Islamic world in the Middle East.

Over the coming months I watched as the Muslim Brotherhood gained political power in Egypt.  I saw that cab driver’s worst fears come true as Coptic Christians were attacked by Islamic mobs.  I saw Tunisia institute Sharia, the brutal Islamic Law.  After Libya fell, the Transitional Council also instituted Islamic Law.  The nuclear armed Islamic government of Pakistan arrested and punished those who cooperated with the United States in killing Osama Bin Laden.  A woman under the Islamic government of Afghanistan faced execution for the crime of being raped.  Similar news stories emerged from Iran.  A man who typed “there is no god” as his Facebook status in Indonesia, the largest Islamic country in the world, was arrested for blasphemy.

Several Muslim men in England were arrested for handing out leaflets to Londoners demanding that homosexuals be executed by hanging for violating Islamic Law with their lifestyle.

And it struck me.  Even though these angry townspeople in Mufreesboro, TN had not articulated their concerns very well, they were only half wrong.  I remember meeting Frank Gaffney and interviewing him in front of the courthouse and asking him if he really thought that the peaceful Muslims here actually presented a real threat to America and he said no.  That caught me off guard so I asked if he really thought it was a credible threat that a community that makes up about one percent of the United States population was just going to suddenly rise up one day and try to take over the country and force Sharia Law onto all of us.  Again he said no.  Then he told me I was asking the wrong questions.  He suggested that I was only looking for answers that would support the conclusions I had already arrived at.  He said he had, after much research, arrived at a different set of conclusions and he challenged me to look a little deeper.  He gave me a report to look at and many, many months later I did look at his report.

It was at this time that I went to my backers and told them that we were not making an honest documentary.  I felt that everything I had put into the 25 minute short version (the one I used to raise the completion funds) was true, but only half true.  It was critical that we also show the very real threats that exist within Islam.  We needed to show that what is happening to these small communities of peaceful Muslims in America are the exception to the rule.  I wanted to show what happens to countries when they gain a Muslim majority, how women are treated, that homosexuals were executed, that free speech did not exist, that the forced Islamic Law was not consistent with Democratic Values – anything and everything I could think of that ought to strike a chord with the Liberal mindset.  And the response I received was, “Eric you are starting to sound like an Islamophobe.  We don’t want to make a movie that promotes fear.  Let’s just stick with the existing plan, okay?”

I fought and I fought.  I showed them a book called “The Truth About Mohammed” but was struck down since the author was a man named Robert Spencer and my backers pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center named his “Jihad Watch” site as part of a hate group.  I asked them to watch a documentary called “Islam: What the West Needs to Know” and pointed out that I had researched independently and verified the truth of what was being presented there, but they would not even watch this documentary as they were sure in advance that it was “hate speech” and “propaganda designed to spread fear”.  It probably goes without saying that by now I was very frustrated.  I showed my new backers several verses from the Koran that call for the killing of infidels and was told that these verses were probably being taken out of context.  I showed them a video clip from MEMRI TV of a young Egyptian child reciting a Hadith that calls for the killing of Jews and was told that “you can’t trust MEMRI because they have an agenda”.

I mentioned the popular Islamophobia watchdog site “Loonwatch” and how I had noticed a pattern of deflection all criticisms of radical and violent Islam by calling anyone who publicly raises these concerns a “Loon” and how I felt this was an intentional effort to provide a smoke screen for the terrorists.  I also noted that everything Loonwatch said was in lockstep with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and now CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation – the largest Islamic charity at one time, which was found to be funneling monies to Islamic terrorist organizations.  I also noted that CAIR had ties to both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and that Al Qeada had come out of the Muslim Brotherhood.  I expressed my concerns that the Egyptian Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro might have ties to the MB, something I had failed to properly investigate.  But since CAIR had the support of Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman’s show, Democracy Now, I was told that I had my facts all wrong.  It was also pointed out to me that if CAIR was allegedly some kind of terrorist front then why do they still have a special tax status and why are they still around?  When I said I do not know but it was possible that the government might prefer to watch them out in the open rather than risk them going underground I was told that my judgment was sounding less and less clear and that maybe I needed to take a step back from the project for a while.

Continue reading here.

Posted on 02/07/2012 12:18 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Mahmoud Abbas Now Officially Confirmed As Despot

From The Jerusalem Post:

Palestinians slam selection of Abbas as PM in unity deal

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 02/07/2012 20:56

"This is a scandal not only because it violates the [Palestinian] Basic Law, but also because it turns Abbas into an autocrat with absolute powers," senior Fatah official says of unity deal with Hamas.

Abbas, Qatar's al-Thani, and Mashaal By Reuters

Palestinians across the political spectrum Tuesday criticized the Qatari-sponsored Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement according to which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would also serve as prime minister of an interim unity government.

They pointed out that it was Abbas who in March 2003 called for amending the Palestinian Basic Law so that the PA president would not be in charge of the government.

Backed by the Americans and Europeans, Abbas then sought to limit the powers of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, who also served as the de facto prime minister.

On March 10, 2003, the Palestinian Legislative Council approved the proposed amendment to the Basic Law, creating the position of a PA prime minister.

The hope back then was that the changes in the Basic Law would lead to the separation of the powers of the president and prime minister.

By agreeing to assume the job of prime minister of a unity government, Abbas is acting in violation of the same amendment to the Basic law that he fought to achieve 12 years ago.

Abbas supporters, however, defended the move, arguing that ending the power struggle with Hamas was "more important than respecting any law."

This is not the first time that Abbas has acted in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law.

In June 2007, following the collapse of the Fatah-Hamas unity government and the Islamist movement's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, Abbas appointed Salam Fayyad as prime minister, citing "national emergency." Fayyad's government was never approved by the Palestinian legislature in accordance with the Basic law.

Anis al-Qassem, a constitutional lawyer who drafted the Basic law, was among many Palestinians who criticized the appointment of Fayyad as "illegal."

Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri pointed out that the "Doha Declaration" that was signed Monday between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was in violation of the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement that was reached in Cairo in May 2011.

The Egyptian deal envisages the establishment of a government that is dominated by independent figures, al-Masri noted. "That's why the announcement that President Abbas would head the unity government came as a surprise to many," the analyst said.

Another political analyst, Khalil Shaheen, said that the appointment of Abbas as prime minister meant that the Palestinians were "marching backwards." He added that the move was illegal and in violation of the [Egyptian-brokered] reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah.

A top Fatah official in Ramallah said there was "strong opposition" in his faction and the PLO to the Doha Declaration, mainly because of the intention to appoint the 76-year-old Abbas as prime minister.

"This is a scandal not only because it violates the [Palestinian] Basic Law, but also because it turns Abbas into an autocrat with absolute powers. This is unacceptable at a time when the Arab world is witnessing popular uprisings against dictators."

Abbas already holds at least four titles: PA President, head of the PLO Executive Committee, chairman of the Fatah Central Committee and Overall Commander of the Palestinian Armed Forces.

Some Palestinians resorted to Facebook to voice their opposition to the appointment of Abbas as prime minister.

In a sarcastic comment, Palestinian activist Ruba al-Najjar wrote: "Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulates the new prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, and invites him to meet with the chairman of the Fatah Central Committee, Mahmoud Abbas, under the auspices of the head of the PLO Executive Committee, Mahmoud Abbas, at the home of the Overall Commander of the Palestinian Armed Forces, Mahmoud Abbas."

Posted on 02/07/2012 1:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Czech prosecutors warned of visit by radical Islamic cleric from UK

From the Czech Position

London-based radical Muslim cleric Haitham Al-Haddad — who sits on the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, advocates a ban on music, refers to Christians and Jews as “accursed nations,” and calls for Jihad against Israel — is reportedly due to arrive in the Czech Republic on Friday to preach at a mosque and Muslim center in Prague.

Czech moderate Muslim and blogger Lukáš LhoÅ¥an has called upon the authorities to take measures to prevent the cleric from entering the country. “I’m convinced that the planned visit of this religious extremist to the Czech Republic could lead to the radicalization of the Muslim community, strengthen intolerant trends within Czech Islam, and lead to the violation of several laws,” he wrote in a letter he sent to the state prosecution service on Monday and published on the eurabia.cz website on Tuesday.

If Haitham Al-Haddad is granted entry into the country, as expected, he will be under surveillance: Czech anti-terrorism police say monitoring the activities of such people is part of their work. Police Presidium spokeswoman Pavla Kopecká told the news server prvnizpravy.cz that appropriate units would closely follow the visit. “However, we cannot criminalize anyone before they commit a crime,” she added.

Al-Haddad is a member of the pan-global Sunni organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which aims to establish a caliphate, i.e. one government of Sharia Law for all Muslims everywhere. Tony Blair’s government moved to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK following the bomb attacks on London in 2005, but according to the UK daily The Independent reneged after police and civil groups warned a ban could serve to further radicalize the group and prompt activists to resort to violence

Al-Haddad preaches loyalty to Islam, not one’s country, and calls for Jihad against Israel: “We should pay the price for this victory [over Israel] from our blood,” he says . . . defending the right of a husband to beat his wife, the indisputable duty of women to conceal their faces and figures by wearing a burqa, and claims that music is a non-Islamic and corruptive phenomenon.

Posted on 02/07/2012 5:16 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
A Musical Interlude: More Than You Know (Ruth Etting)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/07/2012 10:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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