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These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 8, 2014.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
More on That Not So Little Mosque In Bendigo, and those who Approve, or Who Oppose

A series of articles that appeared in January in the local paper, the Bendigo Advertiser.  I encourage readers to click on the links, as the Bendigo Advertiser, bless 'em, has permitted "Comments" on all of them, and the Comments are of interest.  Not everyone in Bendigo or elsewhere in Victoria or in Australia is happy about the idea of yet another mosque.

First up, the initial announcement, as reported by Emma-Jane Schenk on 10 January this year.

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2015464/gallery-bendigos-first-mosque-in-pipeline/

"Gallery: Bendigo's first mosque in pipeline".

Click on the link and have a look at what this thing is supposed to look like. It's hideous. It looks like a military base - or a prison. - CM

UPDATE 2.30 PM FRIDAY

"Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral Monsignor Frank Marriott has called for greater tolerance and harmony among religious groups, following the announcement of a proposed mosque in Bendigo.

'Monsignor Frank Marriott said the challenge facing Bendigo is to bring Christian, Buddhist, Islamic and other traditions together, possibly by developing an interfaith council.

"I welcome the proposal and the ability for them to worship, but I ask the Islamic community to extend the same hospitality", he said.

"There are places where we [Christians] are not free to worship and if we are giving them the freedom to worship, we are entitled to expect the same freedom".

A sensible point to make, but...my dear Monsignor Marriott, Islam doesn't do reciprocity. - CM

'he said an interfaith council would help the different faiths work through a degree of understanding.

So long as the Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews etc don't ask the Muslims any awkward questions about jihad, dhimma and jizya, sharia, the apostasy law, the blasphemy law, the rule that a Muslim man can take a non-Muslim wife but a Muslim woman can't marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam...etc.- CM

"This proposal demands a fairly important response", he said.

Yes.  A smart response, Monsignor Marriott, would be for you to get hold of multiple copies of Mark Durie's "The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom" and Sam Solomon's "Al Hijra: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration" and Sam Solomon's other little book, "The Mosque and Its Role in Society", and request and require every Catholic parish in and around Bendigo and the principals of every Catholic school to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest what those two books have to say. - CM

'The Great Stupa of Universal Compassions' Ian Green said the proposal would expand Bendigo's cultural interest and diversity.

Bzzzzt! Let's play buzzword bingo...But really...Mr Ian Green, obviously a western convert to Buddhism, needs to read up on history a bit, and he would soon discover that wherever Islam goes, wherever it obtains power, it ruthlessly erases cultural interest and diversity.  He should be reminded of what happened to the wonderfully diverse Greek-Persian-Hindu-Buddhist-animist (with Christians and Jews thrown in) cultural fizz in Afghanistan, when Muslims arrived and imposed Islam.  Bamiyan Buddhas, mate? Where are they now? Where are all the Buddhists and their cultural creations, throughout a massively-Islamised swathe of Central Asia?  What happened to the Nalanda University?  What is happening to Buddhists in Thailand and Indonesia and Malaysia and Bangladesh?  Are their shrines and statues, and persons and property, being protected in a "diverse" society dominated by Muslims? Islam seeks the erasure of everything not-islam. - CM

"As a real regional capital city, we should be aiming to cater for a real range of diverse people, which makes the town all the more interesting", he said.

The more Islamic it becomes, the less interesting it will be.  Unless, I suppose , your definition of "interesting" is todays' Somalia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq...- CM

'Mr Green experienced some negativity when building the Great Stupa 33 years ago.

'But he said while there was always a vocal minority in terms of religion, the majority of Bendigo would most likely support the move.

"Of course there wil be some odd comments made from the more extreme elements, but the overwhelming community response was welcoming" he said.

Because most people have a general sort of impression that Buddhism doesn't mandate open ended warfare against all non-Buddhists.- CM

'I'm sure it'll be the same for the mosque.

The problem is that a mosque is not the same kind of thing as a Buddhist shrine, not at all, at all. - CM

"You can't think of a few people disagreeing with you - you have to think of the greater good and all the positives".

I don't see anything good, in the long run, coming out of a big mosque in Bendigo, next to the airport. - CM

'UPDATE: 2PM   Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services general manager Noemi Cummings has thrown her support behind a proposed $3 million mosque to be built in Bendigo.

"As it stands the Islamic community have been congregating for worship in rooms at La Trobe University for several years but may soon have access to a two-storey multi-use facility to pray.

'The facility, planned for Rohs Road in East Bendigo, will feature two prayer halls (one for men, one for women? - CM), education facilities (ie a madrasa - CM), a community sports hall and office.

'Funded by the Australian Islamic Mission (and where do they get a cool 3 million from, just like that? - CM) it will cater for weddings and funerals and offer prayer facilities for up to 150 families.

'Ms Cummings said Bendigo's Muslim community would appreciate having a place to worship God as they have chosen.

"As a Christian, I appreciate having a place where I meet like-minded people to worship God", she said.

But a mosque is a whole lot more than just a "place of worship", Ms Cummings.

Time to post, yet again (hoping that someone from Bendigo may stop by) five classic articles that set out, in some detail,  the real meaning and function of a mosque.

First, Fitzgerald: Mosques in the West.

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/46020

Second, an apostate from Islam, explaining why a mosque is not only a "place of worship":

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/29158

Third, Seth Frantzman, geographer, on "More than a coincidence: Minarets, geography, and power".

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=140652

Fourth, an Islamosavvy Indian citizen of the USA, one Vijay Kumar, on "The Muslim Mosque: A State Within a State".

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/vijay-kumar-the-muslim-mosque-a-state-within-a-state.html

Fifth and last - "What is a Mosque? An Interview with Sam Solomon".

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/28874

Now, back to our naive Ms Cummings.

"I appreciate being respected and having the freedom to choose my religious persuasion [and] how and where to worship.

Which respect and which freedom of choice are severely limited in all Islamic states on earth.   Ms Cummings: are you aware of what is being done to Christians, by Muslims, in northern Nigeria, and in Pakistan, and Syria, and Egypt, right now? Are you aware of what happened to Lina Joy and Mohammed Hegazy when, in Malaysia and in Egypt respectively, they left Islam for Christianity and sought to have their identity cards updated to reflect their change of religion?  - CM

"For that reason I extend the same respect and appreciation to others".

But Muslims, my dear Ms Cummings, do not reciprocate.  Not in any place where they dominate. - CM

"At the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, we affirm our desire to promote respect and understanding for the integrity of each other's beliefs, cultures and traditions".

My dear Ms Cummings, you need to read the Barnabas Fund booklet, "What is Sharia?" and get a handle on the fact that Islam does not respect the integrity of any non-Muslim belief, culture, or tradition.  One is supposed to  convert to Islam, or submit to untermensch status as a degraded, humiliated, exploited and imperilled dhimmi, or...be killed.  Further question: do you "respect" the right of a Muslim in Australia, supposing they hold by the Shafiite school of sharia, to cut out the clitoris of his or her prepubescent daughter?  Do you respect the right of a Muslim, in conformity with the sharia and the clear command in the Quran, to beat his deemed-rebellious wife?  To kill an apostate or a "blasphemer"?  To emulate Mohammed with Aisha, and take to wed, and to bed, a nine-year-old girl?  All these things are normative Islam, part and parcel of the culture, the "religion", the all-encompassing total and totalitarian "deen" or way of life of the Mohammedan Mob.  - CM 

'The planning application, submitted by Tomkinson Group, says the centre would "provide the Muslim community with an identity".'

"It will help define Bendigo as a welcoming multicultural city", it states...

No, it will be the first step toward Bendigo being rendered less multicultural, given Islam's stated aim of producing a global monoculture of nothing but Islam, Islam, Islam. - CM

'City of Greater Bendigo planning director Prue Mansfield said council was currently working with the applicants regarding the proposal.

"We are asking the usual questions about traffic impact and with it being close to the airport we want to make sure the height requirements are okay", she said.

"Once we've sorted that out, we will formally advertise the application".

"Ms Mansfield said if the application was approved, construction would get underway immediately.

Why such haste? Why is everyone falling over themselves to facilitate the building of mosques here, there and everywhere? - CM

"We don't have an opinion yet because we can't do the assessment until all those questions have been answered", she said.

"In terms of another service for Bendigo, though (for Bendigo? mosques by definition are for Muslims and Muslims only and indeed, usually and primarily for Muslim males - CM), it is fantastic to see the community developing Islamising and us increasing our services for the changing Islamising community."

And so to our second article from the Bendigo Advertiser, which is very obviously a puff piece.  A bunch of thoroughly-dhimmified or terminally-naive City Councillors rabbiting on about how wonderful it will be to have a great big mosque in Bendigo.  Blair Thomson reporting.

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2022998/no-religious-issues-in-mosque-councillors/?cs=80

'No religious issues in mosque: Councillors."

'City of Greater Bendigo councillors are not opposed to plans for a new mosque on religious or cultural grounds.

If they knew anything at all about Islam and Muslims, they would be. - CM

'But there are planning concerns around the height of the $3 million building, and council staff are seeking more information from GKA Architects and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

"All nine councillors said they did not have any issues with the religious aspect of the proposal.

If any of them were to spend about half an hour reading the ninth Surah of the Quran, and then another half hour browsing the assorted translated khutbas on offer at MEMRI, they would have. - CM

'Councillor Rod Fyffe said he had only received positive feedback from the community.

"We are a multicultural society in Bendigo", he said. "We need to acknowledge that and celebrate it".

Mate you need to have a good long look at Bangladesh and Pakistan and Malaysia and see what is happening to the non-Muslim minorities there.  Wherever there is Islam and Muslims achieve dominance, societies steadily become less multicultural, not more. - CM

"People have their faith, have their religion, and certainly have a right to practice it, and that's fair enough".

So you're okay with FGM, polygyny, child marriage and wife-beating, Cr Fyffe?  Because many devout orthodox Muslims believe they have a perfect right to do these things. - CM

'Cr Peter Cox noted the development needed to work through any issues with planning regulations, amenity and traffic management.

"But I don't have a problem with any religious group applying for a planning permit to erect such a centre for themselves", he said.

"It demonstrates diversity within our community, and I think that's a very encouraging aspect of Bendigo".

If the Muslim community in Bendigo is permitted to continue to increase in numbers and in clout, diversity in Bendigo will diminish...rapidly. Guaranteed. - CM

'Cr James Williams said a mosque would be positive for Bendigo (this tells me that Cr James Wiliams knows nothing whatsoever about Islamic history and practice either past or present - CM) and said it was "great to see it happen".

"I think it's great that we celebrate other cultures", he said.

But Muslims do not celebrate other cultures: they attack and, if they can, suppress or annihilate them. What happened to the Bamiyan Buddhas?  What happened to a whole bunch of Christian churches, with their icons and statues and Bibles and Crosses, in Syria, recently? They were systematically desecrated and destroyed: by a bunch of perfectly-orthodox Muslims. - CM

'The site is covered by an airport overlay and council director of planning and development Prue Mansfield said the council would seek advice from CASA over the 25 metre minaret tower.

If this thing is built, then what will the council do if, some time down the track, some Muslim mobster atop that minaret shines a laser pointer into the eyes of a jet pilot who is attempting to land? - CM

"it's a normal process as for any planning permit", she said. "We've asked the applicant for some more information about traffic, the impact on vegetation, and some questions about the minaret and its implications on the airport."

'Cr Helen Leach said she had some concerns over the minaret but said it was "a free country" in regards to faith.

It will not stay free, if we keep on importing Muslims. - CM

Item 3.   Another puff piece from the Bendigo Advertiser.

"Relaxed" local residents who clearly don't know the first thing about the history and teachings of Islam.  Dorothy Cook reporting.

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2017794/residents-relaxed-about-proposed-mosque/

"Residents relaxed about proposed mosque".

"Residents in East Bendigo seem unperturbed by a proposal for Bendigo's first mosque.

That's because these particular residents know nothing whatsoever about the doctrines and history of Islam. - CM

"The Bendigo Advertiser went doorknocking in Rohs Road on Saturday, and could find no-one bothered by the idea of a mosque being built on Rohs Road.

'A planning application was submitted by Tomkinson Group to the City of Greater Bendigo last week, for a multi-use Islamic centre, including two prayer halls, education facilities, a community sports hall, caretaker house, and office.

'The proposed mosque, funded by the Australian Islamic Mission (about which I have not been able to discover very much, as yet; but its title suggests that its goal is to Islamise Australia - CM), wil offer prayer facilities for 150 families who are outgrowing rooms they are using for prayer at La Trobe University.

'In its application, the Tomkinson Group said the centre would "define Bendigo as a welcoming multicultural city".

Really? Doesn't the very large Buddhist stupa in Bendigo already do that perfectly well? Why does Bendigo have to have a Muslim fort and advance operating base? - CM

'Saturday's story prompted mixed reactions, some negative, on the Advertiser's Facebook page.

"Melissa Stewart wrote "What a stupid idea. How about putting that money into something that will benefit the WHOLE community".

"Staz Wilson wrote, "Keep it in Melbourne don't being this Bendigo" (sic).

Quaere: are these typical of the "against" comments? Or have they been carefully selected in order to represent those who oppose mosques, as ignorant and illiterate? - CM

'Many were supportive, however.  Geoff Brown posted - "Everyone hating on this seems to think that Bendigo money is paying for this. It's a planning application. NOT an application for funding.  Think about it. Read the article before you jump on with your hatred".

Note: it seems that any and all opposition to/ concern about a mosque is stereotyped as flowing from "hatred".  Why? - CM

'Bart Wrobel wrote - "Are those who object to this project also opposed to Muslims living in Bendigo? (Quite probably, yes; and quite probably because they know what life is like for non-Muslim minorities all over the lands of the Muslims - CM). What about Buddhists? Or Taoists? Hindu? Sikh? Druid? Atheists? Homosexuals? Where does your bigotry end?"

Bart Wrobel is a fool. Because it is precisely people who care about the life and limb of Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, Sikhs, pagans, atheists, and gays - and who know that in the lands dominated by Islam all those groups I have just listed are treated very very badly indeed - who oppose Islamisation. - CM

'The few residents at home on Rohs Road Saturday were sanguine or had not heard about it.

That's interesting; that they would not have heard about it. - CM

'Jacinta Quin said if the mosque was approved she didn't think it was going to hurt anyone.

"it's not going to bother me", she said.  "Everyone has a right to their own religion".

Those who in the vicinity of the Lakemba mosque in Sydney, or in the vicinity of the East London Mosque, have been harassed by gangs of Mohammedthugs, because of being unislamically dressed and female, might be able to tell Ms Quin a thing or two. - CM

'Karen Kalms said it was not a concern. "I wouldn't have a problem with it", she said...

If it's built, and the "parking jihad" (as Gavin Boby calls it) gets going in earnest, she might rethink. Click on the link and read the   Comments and you'll see that not everybody is as ill-informed as those to whom the Bendigo Advertiser happened to speak.  Some seem well aware of what has been dubbed "mosque blight". -  CM

And then, finally, to everyone's surprise, some people who do know something about Islam, and are not relaxed or 'sanguine' at all.   Blair Thomson again.

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2023064/group-rallies-against-mosque-proposal/

"Group Rallies Against Mosque Proposal".

'A new facebook page aims to stop the construction of a mosque in Bendigo.

"The Stop the Mosque in Bendigo page has attracted more than 1700 likes since being created on Saturday.

'The administrators of the group did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, and made a post saying they did not want to deal with the inevitable backlash.

'The page said the media was "aligned with the left and will not give a true and correct report" and the "about" section said it was not a forum for debate.

"It is for those who don't want a mosque in Bendigo, for their own reasons", it said.

"We live in a democracy, and we are exercising our right to say "no" to what happens in our country.

"Please, like, share and ask the City of Greater Bendigo to show some leadership on behalf of our great country."

'Melbourne is listed as the most popular city for users iwth the page most popular with people aged 25 to 35 years old.

That's interesting. Because in Victoria the single largest concentration fo Muslims, to date, is in Melbourne. So those people may have encountered Islam, Muslims, and the effect of mosques in the neighbourhood, first hand. - CM

'A post says the administrators had to remove pages with inappropriate language and calls for users to refrain from using hate speech.

"And before anyone for the mosque steps in and says we were bullying, we are not", another post says.

"We are entitled to our views and request that the City of Greater Bendigo stops the mosque, based on historical evidence that not one community in the world has benefited in a positive way from a mosque and Muslims setting up camp in a community".

Precisely. One might adduce, just for starters, the riots that regularly erupt from the Al Aqsa Mosque that squats on top of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; the Muslim mobs, there, that throw rocks and howl curses at any Jew who - on that site most holy to Jews worldwide - dares to visibly pray to the Holy One of Israel.  - CM

'But Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons said councillors would consider the application on planning grounds.

"They must be reminded that to put some kind of objection in, it must have some basis, some grounds for it", he said.

Have a good long look at the East London mosque, dear Mayor. And google around and find out just how many mosques are and have been used as arsenals and magazines, and as bomb factories, and on how many occasions in many different countries - to the tune of shouted exhortations from the minarets - mobs have swarmed out of the msoques to attack nearby non-Muslim homes, businesses, and places of worship.  Then think again, please. -  CM

"You can't object to something because you don't like something".

"That's not grounds for an objection".

"As far as council's concerned, we'll be considering it on planning criteria.

"If it passes on planning criteria, it will more than likely be supported".

Okay, Mayor.  If it's built, and a year or two years or ten years down the track, a mass-murderous jihad plot is discovered to have been hatched in connection with this mosque, what will you do then?   Will you be prepared to accept that those who were fearful of its construction, might have had good reasons for their fears? - CM

'Cr Lyons said anyone with an objection should lodge it with the City of Greater Bendigo, when the proposal was released for comment.

'Councillors have unanimously said they are not opposed to the mosque on religious or cultural grounds".

Which merely reveals how little they know about Islam and Muslims.   And again, the Comments to this article are interesting.

Here's one, by one "GM" - "It has been shown in Shepparton and Sydney, that where Muslims are encouraged to gather together around a mosque, they claim that particular area for Islam.  Where this has happened in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands enclaves are formed, where Sharia law is then embraced.  As a consequence of this, no-go zones for the non-Muslim public and even police have been established.  Whilst I have no objections to individuals wishing to practise their Islamic beliefs, I do object to them banding together around a mosque, in order to change the community in which we live. This is not just about a building...it's about a dangerous ideology".

Exactly. - CM

Posted on 04/08/2014 10:04 PM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Australia: Bendigo Bank Serves Islam, Closes Account of Group Opposing Mosque

I first encountered this story in the ABC but a bit of googling soon turned up all sorts of fascinating extra details.  I'd somehow overlooked the initial news reports about he mosque proposal which appeared in January this year (by the way, apparently Bendigo in Victoria has only some 163 Muslims in residence at present, so I'd love to know how they are financing a massive military base mosque that is going to cost three million dollars.  I sit on the council of a parish church - in a solidly-middle class suburb - that has a membership of about 200+ people and there is no way that we could find that sort of money anytime soon) but will fill in with those after we see where things are at today.

So, to begin with, the ABC news item I saw this morning - from their "The World Today" program, Simon Lauder reporting - which put me on the alert.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-08/bendigo-bank-stands-by-decision-to-close-account-of-anti-mosque/5375340

"Bendigo Bank stands by decision to close account of anti-mosque group."

"A bank is standing by its decision to close the account of a protest group which is fighting plans to build a mosque in the Victorian city of Bendigo.

'The Bendigo Bank last week informed the Stop the Mosque group that it was closing the group's account, saying the bank only wants to do busienss with organisations that share its values.

'The group was raising funds for its fight against a mosque (sic: a military base and command-and-control centre for the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob - CM) which is proposed for a site near Bendigo's airport.

And which, incidentally, proposes to sport a minaret, or sniper tower, no less than 25 metres tall. - CM

'The bank's decision has drawn criticism on social media, while local councillor Elise Chapman has accused the bank of trying to be the "moral police".

Good to know that there's somebody on the city council with a gram of sense. - CM

"There's a lot of other people - there's murderers, paedophiles, criminals - everybody banks, and I'm sure that those people also have bank accounts at the bank", Ms Chapman said.

Here's an idea. Someone should ask the bank if they would accept an account from someone who thought it was okay for adult males to wed and bed prepubescent and barely-pubescent girls.  Then show them the passages from the Hadith, the Sira and al-Tabari that describe the Marriage of Aisha, together with the passages that tout Mohammed as an example to be sedulously emulated always and everywhere; and the latest slew of reports featuring mohammedan "clerics" adamantly opposing all attempts to raise the age of marriage for girls in assorted Muslim lands, and/ or enthusiastically pushing nine years as marriageable age. - CM

"I don't know when the bank becomes the moral police.  If the bank was the moral polcie they'd have not that many customers".

'In a statement, the bank said this was a considered decision and the bank has a right to its own opinion.

And so do all the Islamosavvy customers who in droves are winding up their accounts with Bendigo Bank. - CM

'It says Bendigo Bank wants to do business with organisations whose values align with its own...

Such as the "Australian Islamic Mission" which, I find, is bankrolling the mosque? - CM

'Councillor Chapman has questioned whether the bank's decision is legal, but Peter Noble, a lawyer with a legal centre in Bendigo, is backing the bank.

"It's debateable. I wouldn't say there's not a case to put before the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission", Mr Nobel said.

"But I think, having looked at the legislation, that the bank is on pretty strong ground on this one".

'Mr Nobel says Victorian law ahs a narrow definition of "political beliefs or activity" that applies only to the operation of government and not to more general social views.

'He has also rejected Councillor Chapman's argument that the bank is demonstrating a double standard.'

:I'd be pretty surprised if the bank is bankrolling people to commit murder...", he said. "I think there's a material difference between aiding or abetting someone to commit a crime, and providing a facility to someone who may have committed those offences in the past."

Could get interesting if the mosque banks with Bendigo Bank and then, in future, is discovered to have recruited people for mass-murderous jihad plots...- CM

'The bank has also received support from shareholder activist Stephen Mayne.

"Bendigo bank, unlike any other institution in Australia, has done more to build community cohensiveness (and shall we tell Mr Mayne, and the execs of Bendigo Bank, about the dar al Islam/ dar al harb dichotomy taught by classical normative Islam, and the doctrine of al wala wa al bara, Loyalty and Enmity? not much "community cohesiveness" in evidence there!  - CM) and has funded so  many different projects across so many communities", Mr Mayne said.

"If it suddenly is a party to a group which is pushing a vision and controversial views then absolutely it has its own rights to decide who it aligns with...

Such as the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob, as said Mob openly pursues its grand campaign to achieve Total World Domination? - CM

And now for the local paper, the Bendigo Advertiser, Hannah Knight reporting:

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2202703/bank-orders-anti-mosque-account-to-be-closed/

'The Bendigo Bank has defended its decision to close a fundraising account designed to finance objections to a multi-million dollar mosque project.

'The bank has advised [that] The Concerned Citizens Fund must be closed by April 9.

'A written statement from the bank said:

"This was a considered decision by our bank, and we respect everyone's right to voice their opinions.

"Equally we have a right to ours and we want to do business with organisations whose values align with our own.

By the way, at time of press Bendigo Bank had not closed an account set up by the "Bendigo Mosque Fundraising Appeal".  One must assume, therefore, that Bendigo Bank regards the Bendigo Mosque - and by extension the Ummah, Allah Gang, or Mohammedan Mob - as an organisation whose values align with their own?  Presumably the Bendigo Bank execs haven't read the Quran, or the Sira as translated by William Muir or A Guillaume, and are unaware of the contents of the sahih hadith collections and of the Sunni and Shiite books of sharia "law".  And one must assume they are quite blissfully unaware of what can be found on MEMRI any day of the week. - CM

"Our bank values tolerance and inclusiveness, qualities which are an important part of a strong community".

Qualities which we see so abundantly on display in, for example,  Somalia (converts from Islam to Christianity regularly hunted down and beheaded), Bangladesh (Hindu and Buddhist shrines burnt to the ground) , Pakistan (something like 1000 Christian and Hindu girls from age 12-25 abducted, raped, and force-'converted' to Islam every year, with the connivance of the authorities; and then there's that Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who's been sentenced to death for "Blasphemy!' because she refused to convert to Islam and stated her preference for Jesus), Saudi Arabia (where atheism has just been delcared tantamount to "terrorism"), Syria (where a Christian priest was just the other day gunned down casually by a Muslim, and Muslim mobs have ransacked churches, smashing crosses, burning bibles, and defacing statues and icons), Malaysia (Lina Joy, convert to Christianity from Islam showered with death threats and denied the right to have her identity card reflect her change of religion), and so many, many other wonderful parts of the dar al Islam, the region of the earth where Muslims are the majority and Muslims rule.   Yes indeed, tolerance and inclusiveness..- CM

'A copy of a letter from the bank is displayed on the Stop the Mosque Facebook page.

"In this case the bank is of the view that being associated to the Facebook webpage group 'Stop the Mosque' by reference to its bank identification number and account number is inconsistent to [sic: with] the bank's values", the letter states.

'Members of the Facebook page did not hold back when it came to voicing their opinions with comments, including "Will be closing our accounts with them today and telling them why", and "Bendigo Bank won't be having any of my hard-earned then."

'Plans for the $3 million Rowena Street project have been lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo.

'Mosque spokesman Heri Febriyanto (Malay Muslim or Indonesian Muslim or Filipino Muslim? - CM) told the Bendigo Advertiser earlier this year [that] those behind the proposal welcomed all views and said there had been support for the project from other religious leaders.

Both the Christians and the Buddhists in Bendigo appear to have swallowed the interfaith snake-oil schtick so many Muslims in western countries are currently peddling .- CM

"We're living in Australia", he said.

"I think it's part of our culture and custom to have respect for everyone.

In non-Muslim secular and majority-Christian Australia, yes.  In any majority-Muslim country on earth...not so much.  And slyly smiling and hissing Heri Febriyanto hopes fervently that we won't investigate and discover that all the core Islamic texts inculcate outright hatred and contempt for and relentless and unceasing aggression toward all non-Muslims qua non-Muslims, who are "the worst of beasts".  The Hadith that instructs Muslims to shove dhimmis - non-Muslims eking out an existence as untermenschen in an Islamic state - to "the narrowest part of the road", and states that Muslims must never initiate a greeting to a non-Muslim, can hardly be seen as encouraging respect. - CM

"Everyone has the right to have their expression, we have a right to do that by law".

In Australia.  But non-Muslims are denied that right, to greater or lesser degree depending on the level of zeal of the circumambient Muslims,  in every majority-Muslim and/ or Muslim-ruled country on earth.  Mr Febriyanto is following the classic Muslim pattern: when a minority, they demand their "rights" to freedom of worship, freedom to proselytise, build mosques, etc; but when in majority they deny (or at best, drastically restrict) the rights of all non-Muslim minorities.  - CM

'Mr Febriyanto said he had mainly heard from people who supported the development.

I would take this statement with a grain of salt. - CM

"In the community they're saying the majority of people are supporting the project", he said.

"People are contacting me happy to support it, mostly from leaders of any religion".

People who don't know what Islam is and does, and have been to one too many interfaith dialogue sessions where they have been flattered and lied to and groomed for dhimmitude. - CM

'Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral Monsignor Frank Marriott called for greater tolerance and harmony among religious groups when the mosque proposal was first announced.

'Monsignor Marriott said the challenge facing Bendigo was to bring Christian, Buddhist, Islamic and other traditions together.

My dear Monsignor, please read up on the history of Jihad - I suggest Andrew Bostom's "Legacy of Jihad" - and rethink. - CM

'Monsignor Marriott suggested the possibility of developing an interfaith council.

And will anybody on that council be allowed to raise the question of, inter alia, the sharia punishments for blasphemy and apostasy?   Will they be allowed to ask questions about Surah 9: 29, the one that instructs Muslims to attack Christians and Jews and force them to convert or to submit and pay the jizya punishment tax, and "feel themselves subdued"?? -  CM

"I welcome the proposal and the ability for them to worship, but I ask the Islamic community to extend the same hospitality", Monsignor Marriott said.  "There are places  where we are not free to worship and if we are giving them the freedom to worship we are entitled to expect the same freedom."

Well, it seems Monsignor Marriott hasn't entirely taken leave of his senses, in that he appears to have some awareness of how Muslims are treating Christians - and for that matter, other non-Muslim minorities - within the lands of Islam.  But he still has a lot to learn about Muslims.  Nonreciprocity is Islam's middle name. 

One may note that the Bendigo Advertiser permits Comments on all the articles it has published on the subject of the proposed mosque.   Click on the link and check out the latest lot.   Many Aussies are not as naive as the good Monsignor, though there are still Useful Idiots - or perhaps Mohammedans in masks - aplenty posting as well.  -  CM

Posted on 04/08/2014 7:20 PM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Abbas Busy Signing Agreements The "Palestinians" Have Already Violated
The details are here.
Posted on 04/08/2014 6:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Moroccan Refugee Fraudster Arrested by FBI in Connecticut for Toy Plane Bomb Plot

A Moroccan national was arrested by the FBI on Monday in Bridgeport, Connecticut on charges of planning a toy plane drone bombing on a school and federal building.  The Connecticut Post story illustrates how gullible our Immigration court system is  granting asylum based on personal representations by Moroccan El Mehdi Semlali Fahti, 27, during his incarceration for theft in Virginia awaiting deportation.  Fahti had been in the US for seven years following the expiration of his student visa, traveling the US investigating resources for funding his plan. 

Fahti has been a budding Jihadist since  high school in his native Morocco where he investigated chemical bombs for his toy plane project.  This scenario is analogous to conviction in a Boston Federal court in 2012 of another Muslim Jihadi wannabe Rezwan Ferdaus, arrested as part of an FBI sting operation.  He was sentenced to 17 years for a radio controlled model airplane attempted bombings of the Pentagon and the Capitol.  Ferdaus was a Physics graduate of Northeastern University.

Here are  absurdities of this latest example of how our broken refugee resettlement system in the US abets terrorism from the Connecticut Post report:

Fahti told an undercover agent in five recorded conversations that he studied the bomb attack operation for months, and had made a chemical bomb while in high school in Morocco, court documents charge. The recordings additionally claim he could obtain whatever else he needed for his plans in "Southern California on the border."

He said funding would come from "secret accounts" comprised of money-laundered cash and drug dealing profits, the FBI said.

Fahti does not face federal terrorism charges at this time; those could come later when Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel takes the evidence to a federal grand jury while seeking an indictment.

Fahti is accused of making a false statement, falsely swearing under oath and falsifying declarations to a federal Immigration judge. Those actions allowed him to stay in the U.S. for seven years after his student visa expired and he flunked out of Virginia International University.

Since then, Fahti has traveled across the U.S. He was briefly arrested on a trespassing charge in Virginia, which was later dropped and he was incarcerated in California on a theft charge. He only moved to Bridgeport recently.

On Monday, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel, who granted Patel's request to detain Fahti without bond as a danger to the community and a risk to flee. He was taken to the Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island.

Fahti, who is represented by Assistant U.S. Public Defender Paul Thomas, made the false statements seeking political asylum while facing deportation to his native Morocco.

He told the undercover agent he went to the library, researched issues in Morocco and learned about abuses allegedly committed by the Moroccan government on individuals involved with the Jamaat Ansar El-Mehdi and the Western Sahara freedom movement.

He falsely claimed in Immigration Court that he was the victim of arrests, imprisonment and beatings by Moroccan police.

"Everything he wrote in his refugee application coincided with the actual events," Sharp wrote in her affidavit.

In one recording, Fahti says "the more he thinks about the case, he laughs because he cannot believe the judge believed him" in allowing him to seek refuge in the U.S. for political reasons

Fathi’s ability to slip through the Visa system, apply for and be granted asylum using lies attests to why the Congress needs to put the Refugee Act of 1980 under the microscopy of an  Government Accountability Office.   The gullible Immigration judge was who granted Fahti asylum ought to be discharged for incompetence and lack of diligence.  But, given that the Executive Office of Immigration Review falls under the purview of the US Department of Justice that appears unlikely.

Posted on 04/08/2014 7:40 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
New Foreign Operated Charter School State Legislation Introduced in 2014

Gulen Science Academy Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Turkey’s Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Islamist leader, Premier Erdogan , this June could become the country’s first elected Executive President modeled on the US and France.  It would give him enormous powers furthering his goal of creating a neo-Ottoman Caliphate.  Erdogan’s former ally, Sufi Sheik Muhammed Fethullah Gülen launched a major split in December 2013, after Erdogan banned non-state run preparatory school. This was, aimed squarely at the Gulen academies, a major source of the multi-billion dollar Gulen Movement (GM) global empire. The GM supplies Turkish non-immigrant foreign workers to more than 1,000 private preparatory schools in over 100 countries, including more than 135 Charter schools in 20 states here in the US.  The ex-pat Sheik Gulen, a resident alien, occupies a fortified compound in the Poconos Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.   In retaliation, GM followers in Turkey’s public prosecutors and judiciary launched a series of investigations against Erdogan.  The investigations revealed extensive family involvement with funneling funds via Saudi global terrorist financier for Al Qaeda –backed militias in Syria, bribery payments on major construction projects, illicit gold for gas trades with Iran and muzzling free speech with shutdown of Twitter and You Tube.  Recent municipal election victories in Turkey in late March have paved the way for changes in the country’s basic Constitutional law enabling Erdogan to seek the new form of Presidency. That could have his AK party extend its power a decade beyond the current 11 year tenure of the Islamist party in Ankara’s parliament.

What we have in Turkey today is a contest between two Islamists. Erdogan, seeking to convert the country into a Caliphate with a onetime election to an executive Presidency, versus, Gulen “the world’s most dangerous Islamist” slowly perfects the same goal.

The GM connection here in the US is of interest, because of the controversy over the movement’s control of dozens of Math and Science academies operating with US taxpayer funding as charter schools. According to one source there are more than 135 Gulen charter schools with an enrollment of 45,000 students in over 20 states in the US. The staffs of these US charter schools are manned by Turkish Gulenists who enter the US under the H-1B visa program. There have been exposes on the US Gulen science academies in Texas and elsewhere published by the New York Times. The Gulen  Harmony Schools in Texas received  $30 million in  grants  from the US Department of Education "Race to the Top" program.We posted on an FBI raid of a Gulen science academy in Louisiana. Because of the problems with the Gulen charter schools, many states have either passed or are considering legislation that would control the proportion of H-1B Visa staff employed at Gulen-sponsored charter schools. The Gulen movement charter school program has been supported by the Gates and Walton Family Foundations.  The Walton Family Foundation contributed more than $1 million for Gulen schools in California, alone. Former President Bill Clinton has gone on record supporting the GM interfaith dialogue and educational development program in 2008. GM members were alleged to have contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failed Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Gulen’s immigration status came into question in the same year, 2008, in actions brought by the US Department of Homeland Security. Note what the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported:

In 2008, negative U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service decisions threatened to deny Gulen’s application for permanent residency. A federal court reversed the rulings after receiving 29 letters on Gulen’s behalf. One of those letters came from [Prof. John] Esposito [of Georgetown University]… after his Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding received donations from the [GM] and sponsored a conference in [Gulen’s] honor.

We noted in a December 2013  Iconoclast post a report by Christopher Holton on the FBI investigations into Gulen  Louisiana charter schools and the efforts by a Texas-based GM charity to stop legislation controlling the influx of Turkish adherents under the H-1B visa program:

The story broke in Baton Rouge media that the Kenilworth Science & Technology School had been raided by the FBI.

The FBI indicated that the raid, which evidently was conducted to gather material evidence in the form of documents and computers, was not a matter of public safety. As a result, it probably was not related to a report earlier this year that a teacher at the school was accused of having inappropriate pictures of children on his cell phone.

Had those charges stuck, that would have been the second scandal of a sexual nature involving a Gulenist school in Louisiana. Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans was shut down back in 2011 in the wake of a scandal that started as an investigation into sexual activity involving students at the school and evolved into a possible public bribery investigation. Abramson operated under the same charter organization that Kenilworth operates under: Pelican Educational Foundation.

During the course of the investigation into Abramson, Pelican’s ties to the Gulenist movement were revealed.

[ . . . ]

State Representative Cameron Henry in the 2013 legislative session ...  filed a bill that would have limited the number of employees hired by Louisiana state-funded charter schools who were in the country on H-1B visas. Henry’s legislation would have gotten right to the heart of the matter – with a very reasonable restriction that no more than 3.5 percent of the school’s employees be H-1B visa recipients (or 1 in 29), and that the people or groups submitting requests to start charter schools be American citizens.

Unfortunately, Henry’s bill hit hard where it hurt for some powerful, politically connected people in Louisiana. It seems that the number one donor to the Louisiana Republican Party in 2012 was none other than a Gulenist organization out of Texas. Kemal Oksuz, president of the Turquoise Council, a Texas-based group closely related to the Gulenist movement and the Harmony charter schools in that state, donated $83,000 to the state GOP, making him its largest donor during 2012.

Fast forward to the current 2014 legislative session in Baton Rouge and the re-introduction of restrictive legislation aimed at employment of non-immigrant Turkish workers in Louisiana charter schools.

HB 1243 was introduced by Reps.  Hodges and Pope, in the Louisiana legislature in late March 2014. The bill’s purposes are to establish conditions for “approval of certain charter school proposals and provides relative to prohibitions on the employment of non-immigrant foreign workers in charter schools, with exceptions.”  The bill denies” approval of charter school applications if  staff  positions  with  non-immigrant  foreign  workers  unless the  charter  school  plans  to  take  affirmative  action  to  recruit,  select,  employ,  and  train non-immigrant  foreign  workers  regardless  of race, color, religion, sex, national ancestry,  or  national  origin.”   The legislation defines a non immigrant foreign worker as " as an individual  who  has  a  visa  pursuant  to  certain provisions  of  the  federal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965’. Further it states that "non-immigrant foreign worker" shall not mean a teacher who spends more than half of his time providing instruction in or teaching a foreign language.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the 2014 Mississippi legislature.  HB510 contains similar bars against employment of non-immigrant foreign workers.  Section 37-28-47 1. (b) of the, Mississippi Code of 1972, would be amended as follows:

 A charter school may not staff positions for teachers, administrators, ancillary support personnel or other employees by utilizing or otherwise relying on non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs.  However, a charter school may submit a request to the authorizer for an exception allowing the employment of a non-immigrant foreign worker before the worker is employed.  The authorizer may grant permission for the employment of the non-immigrant foreign worker only if the charter school makes a satisfactory showing of efforts to recruit lawful permanent residents of the United States to fill the position and a lack of qualified applicants to fill the position.

In May  2011, we were asked to prepare a presentation to brief the Tennessee House Speaker about the GM charter schools investigations at that time and the purported abuses of the H-1B visa program for non-immigrant foreign workers, see here.  In May 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed the law restricting the employment of non immigrant foreign workers for Charter schools approved by the state despite his misgiving and those of the State’s attorney general in an October 2012 opinion indicated  that the provisions might be unlawful under the equal protection provisions of the US Fourteenth Amendment.   A  Knoxville News .com report on the 2012 Tennessee legislation noted its provisions vis vis foreign interests, including funding as well as restriction on employment of non-immigrant foreign workers:

The governor announced on May 2, 2012, that the bill restricting foreign interests in charter schools would go into law without his signature,.

Under the act, which takes effect July 1, 2012, a chartering authority may not approve an application if a school plans to rely on “non-immigrant foreign worker H-1B or J1 visa programs in excess of 3.5 percent of the total number of positions,”  if operators of the proposed school have been affiliated with other schools that have been “subjects of investigation by any government agencies for questionable use of non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs,” or if  the school is controlled by foreign nationals. Certain provisions of the law do not apply if the chartering authority is a local education agency and the agency itself uses foreign worker visa programs to fill more than 3.5 percent of its staff.

The law also states that charter school applications and renewals shall disclose all sources of private funds and all funds from foreign sources.

The emergence of restrictive employment of non-immigrant foreign workers will take a long time to be adopted by Louisiana and Mississippi, notwithstanding the relatively quick adoption in Tennessee.  Given the battles in Turkey between the AK party of Premier Erdogan and former ally Sheik Gulen there will doubtless be intense pressure to place GM Turkish adherents through its global private academy and charter school network. 

There is a further compounding factor that should be considered. The attractiveness of investment in private run charter schools to so-called entrepreneurial immigrants under the EB-5 Visa system. In exchange for a $500,000 private investment, the investor receives an immediate green card.  Note this Reuters article, “The new US visa rush: Build a charter school, get a green card”:

Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools.

In Buffalo, New York, foreign funds paid for the Health Sciences Charter School to renovate a 19th-century orphanage into modern classrooms and computer labs. In Florence, Arizona, overseas investment is expected to finance a sixth campus for the booming chain of American Leadership Academy charter schools.

And in Florida, state business development officials say foreign investment in charter schools is poised to triple next year, to $90 million.

The reason? Under a federal program known as EB-5, wealthy foreigners can in effect buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and their families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

The GM has latched on to a good thing in the Charter School system here in the US. It provides a platform for indoctrinating American children in its form of Turkish Islamism supplying employment for GM adherents. The EB-5 system would bolster investment in Charter Schools not only by the GM but also by the Muslim Brotherhood perfecting its form of Da’wah to Somali émigré children. That occurred in Minneapolis with the Muslim American Society control of the Tarek Ibn Zayed Academy subjected to a suit by the Minnesota branch of the ACLU in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.  Let’s see if these bills can make it through the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures in the waning days of the 2014 sessions. Those legislative bills  and the Tennessee law are a work in process that other states with GM charter school problems might consider investigating as remedies.

Posted on 04/08/2014 6:02 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Team Liberty GB

on the steps of Birmingham Magistrates court this morning, ahead of Tim Burton's trial and eventual acquittal on charges of racially aggravated harassment. 

More in the morning; it's late and it was a long day. 

Meanwhile Andrew Gilligan has more news of Fiyaz Mughal and his Tell Mummy organisation in his Telegraph blog today.

Ten months ago, in the paper, I revealed how Tell Mama, a project purporting to measure anti-Muslim attacks, had exaggerated the scale and nature of attacks against Muslims both before and after the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. I later revealed that Tell Mama’s public funding had not been renewed after government officials raised similar concerns about its methods.

What Tell Mama and Mughal did not tell us at the time, however, was that 57 per cent of its 212 "incidents" took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook. They did not say that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. They forgot to mention that not all the online abuse even originated in Britain. . . there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment. The supposed Bolton attack never happened. . . Far from being “unprecedented,” the spike in attacks was in fact “slightly less” than after 7/7, according to the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick. Far from being unending, the post-Woolwich spike in anti-Muslim incidents fell to pre-Rigby levels within days. If there was a “sense of endemic fear” in Muslim communities, it was partly created by Fiyaz Mughal himself.

Mr Mughal, as you can imagine, wasn’t best pleased when we reported all this. In a typically bullying campaign, he got his supporters to write round-robin emails to the paper accusing us of behaviour “better suited to the days of 1930s Germany,” wound up to attack us various luminaries who should have known better, and submitted what would became a 10-month, 127-page Press Complaints Commission complaint, full of the same misrepresentation and bluster that characterised his earlier media performances. At one point, he asked to withdraw the complaint – only to reactivate it several months later. This is, apparently, allowed.

Last week he was comprehensively defeated on all points. The PCC ruled that our reporting that Mughal exaggerated the prevalence of anti-Muslim attacks, that he had not had his funding renewed, and that DCLG officials had expressed concern about his methods, was “not inaccurate.”

Mughal does seem to spend too much of his time picking silly fights – as we also reported, he has been threatening to sue people who criticise him on Twitter. Perhaps it’s time to get back to the day job?

The work Tell Mama does could be very valuable. . .  But if it’s not done scrupulously, it fuels the very fear and distance between communities it’s supposed to be tackling.

Posted on 04/08/2014 4:33 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas' Next Surprise
At the Gatestone Institute, here.
Posted on 04/08/2014 3:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
General Dempsey And Secretary Kerry Differ On American Intervention In Syria
Posted on 04/08/2014 4:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
New Word: Cissexism

From an article in the LA Times:

Oberlin College in Ohio already has gone further than UC Santa Barbara, issuing official trigger-warning guidelines for professors that sound almost like a parody of political correctness: "Triggers are not only relevant to sexual misconduct but also to anything that might cause trauma. Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic."

I'm still not sure what it means.  This entry in Wikipedia should help, but still reels the mind.

Posted on 04/08/2014 6:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
French Railroad Should be on the Track to Reconciliation

The article published on April 2, 2014 and titled “The French Trains were on the Wrong Track” occasioned some comments from readers interested in complete historical accuracy that deserve a reply. The article did not discuss the guilt or innocence of the French Société des Chemins de fer (SNCF) in transporting 76,000 Jews, of whom 3,000 returned, from internment camps in France to the border town of Novéant from where they were sent to their deaths in extermination camps.

The article was written after the death of a 93-year-old man living in Maryland who had escaped from a French train deporting him. He had called for compensation to be given the victims or families who had suffered the fate he had escaped.  Surely goodness and mercy should have been shown to this man.

Political and complex legal issues concerning SNCF and the “French State” (the Vichy regime) are still with us. As one French historian has said, Vichy is a past that doesn’t pass. Those issues have been reignited during March 2014 by the testimony of a 75-year-old woman named Rosette Goldstein given to the lawmakers of the state of Virginia. She was testifying on behalf of her father who was transported on December 7, 1943 from the internment camp of Drancy, outside of Paris, to Auschwitz. Her point was that compensation should be paid to the deportation victims before SNCF is allowed to compete for state rail contracts in Virginia.

Specifically at issue is the preventing of SNCF, essentially Keolis America of which SNCF owns 70%, from bidding on the $6 billion public-private project, so called Purple Line, to build and run the 16-mile light rail line in Maryland. The general context is acknowledgment of responsibility and eventual compensation for its part in the French participation in the Holocaust before SNCF is allowed to bid.

The French private rail companies had been nationalized in 1938, with the result that 51% of the stock was owned by the state, and 49% by the formerly private companies. Thus the starting point is whether SNCF should be regarded as an agency of the French state or as a public enterprise under government control. The second more important issue is the role of SNCF in relation to the Vichy Government and to Nazi Germany that, after the defeat of the French Third Republic in June 1940, had occupied the northern half of France and after November 1942 the whole country.

At the heart of the issue are the differences of opinion about degrees of collaboration by the French, and public agencies, and their responsibility for actions committed in a complex situation where the southern half of the country was for two years unoccupied.  President Jacques Chirac on June 16-17, 1992 said that “France had committed an irreparable act,” fifty years earlier at Vel d’Hiv and that it was time to recognize the errors committed by the government at the time.

SNCF defends its actions in deportations by arguing that the German-French Armistice Agreement of June 22, 1940 left it with no option to exercise autonomy.

Did it in fact have any option other than to obey orders and was coerced into deporting the Jews of France, or was there some latitude for independent action? Was it forced to be a cog in the Nazi extermination machine? The SNCF apologists argue, correctly, that German authorities, particularly Theodor Dannecker, the SS representative in Paris of Adolf Eichmann, did issue orders of the details for French transports. But the independent Report of September 1996 written by Christian Bachelier at the request of the SNCF itself presents a much more qualified picture.

The Report makes clear that the transport of Jews was not organized by the German Occupation authorities who would have reserved train cars on pre-existing convoys or commandeered them from the national company. Rather, it was organized by the SNCF under orders given by the administrative services of the Ministry of the Interior of Vichy. The SNCF participated in the formation, direction, and operation of the convoys. The costs of the transport were billed to the Ministry, supposedly at the rate of a third-class ticket per person, though SNCF denies this particular billing.

Also at issue were the conditions of transport in the convoys of deportation. Some of the windowless freight cars holding 52 people had no food or water, and had inadequate sanitary conditions. It is unlikely that Dannecker or any other Nazi official ordered SNCF to transport Jews in this inhumane fashion. But if he did, why did the SNCF obey?

There are legitimate differences of opinion over the ability of SNCF to act in a more autonomous fashion. The Administrative Court of Toulouse in June 2006 in a case that decided in favor of the plaintiff held that the SNCF transports were a “wrongful act” (faute de service) by the French State and the SNCF. It held that SNCF independence from German coercion in the transports was particularly clear. The state was ordered to pay two-thirds and SNCF one-third of the settlement of 62,000 euros. However, the Bordeaux court of appeals reversed the decision, ruling that SNCF was not liable, because it had acted on government authority. In accepting the SNCH defense, the court did this on the basis of a Vichy decree of October 10, 1943 that made SNCF a limited liability company, subject to certain exemptions from common law. SNCF successfully claimed the courts lacked jurisdiction concerning their actions.

Present heads of SNCF have issued regrets over wartime actions of the company. But they have on legal grounds refused reparations to those who were deported or to their families. Executives of SNCF were not villains nor did they approve of the Holocaust, but the fundamental problem is that the railroads were a vital element in the killing process.

It is true that 2100 men who worked for SNCF were executed for acts of resistance, but they acted as did other French citizens and their actions, though courageous, had nothing to do with their employment by SNCF. The understandable reality is that SNCF was not a profile in courage. The Bachelier report showed that not a single protest against the deportation of Jews ever came from SNCF itself, nor was any train sabotaged. Only one engineer refused to drive a deportation train; he was given only a mild reprimand and did not lose his job. It was the general resistance movement, not the SNCF, that from June 1944 derailed or tried to delay every train from Marseille to Lyons.

The lack of opposition by SNCF is in contrast with the sermons of Monsignor Delay, bishop of Marseilles, who read out and sent a message of sympathy for Jews, and the pastoral letter of Archbishop Saliège of Toulouse on August 3, 1942. Both of these clerics were appalled by the great crime of Vichy, the Vel d’Hiv event (La Grande Rafle) of July 16-17, 1942 in which 13,000 Jews were arrested, 7,000 of whom were put for five days in the ghastly setting of the bicycle arena, sent to Drancy, and then deported, including all the children, by the railroad to their deaths, the first Jews from France to die in Auschwitz.

President François Mitterrand made July 16 a day of national remembrance, but he refused to accept that France should be blamed, because Vichy was “illegal” and not France. The most damning official comment, however, came from François Hollande who on July 16, 2012 spoke of this “crime committed in France by France.” Moreover, the hard and fast truth is that not one German soldier, not one, was mobilized for any of the operation. 

SNCF behavior is also in sharp contrast with brave people, such as those of the Musée de l’Homme who produced anti-German and anti-Vichy posters: most of these people were executed.

An often unnoticed striking difference is evident in SNCF behavior. Irrespective of the supposed control of Dannecker, SNCF did try to resist German demands when its economic interests were at stake. This was the case with the replacement of restaurant cars or the repair of railroads tracks damaged from Allied bombing. But there was no resistance to transports of Jews which were then treated as “Ministry of the Interior transfers.”

Recent reports indicate that the French Government, partial owner of Keolis, has begun negotiations with the U.S. State Department over reparations for those American citizens, about 250,  who do not meet the French criteria for compensation.

The most desirable reasonable conclusion is for SNCF, even if one accepts it was not directly responsible for participation in the Holocaust, to make a fundamental gesture of reconciliation to offer reparations, either by itself or by supporting such an action by the government.  One can understand the desire for complete historical accuracy about behavior in wartime France, and differences of opinion remain on this. But SNCF should not rely on arcane legal arguments, or a directive of the Nazi SS leaders to avoid acts of reconciliation and generosity.

Edmund Burke was right. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/08/2014 7:54 AM by Michael Curtis

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