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Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Friday, 6 May 2016
Nottinghamshire school tells Muslim students fasting could damage exam results

From the Nottingham Post

Muslim students are being told to consider not fasting during Ramadan because it could affect their exam results.

Religious leaders, parents and schools have all said that because the holy month falls during exam season and the summer solstice, children taking part would not be able to eat or drink for around 18 hours every day.

Those who do take part may not perform as well in their GCSEs and A Levels in June as a result.

West Bridgford School has written to all parents at the Loughborough Road academy.

Principal Rob McDonough said: "For our Muslim community they have not faced anything like this for more than 30 years. We are not trying to tell them what to do but we want them to consider the challenge they face.

"If they do decide they want to fast they have to recognise that it is the time of the summer solstice and the length of daylight is extraordinary – unlike at Mecca for instance."

In the letter sent to parents it states "Islam does not require a young person to harm themselves in fulfilling the fast but this is precisely what could happen with any underperformance in exams. Such underperformance could put a student's future in jeopardy and have a profound impact upon their career aspirations."

Dr Irfan Malik, general secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Nottingham, said: "It is very difficult for children to fast and prepare for exams and this is the first time I have heard of this message being given out here. We would say that it is not essential for children to fast if it is going to be detrimental to exams. . . some children will want to fast but these are important exams."

Dad-of-four Jobraan Jalil, 38, of Nuthall, said: "There a few conditions where you don't have to fast and I think this is included in this. It is also important to remember that the days that are missed could be made up after. This is sensible advice from teaching bodies and it goes to show that they do care about the future of Muslim children."

That all sounds very reasonable and sensible - however what will the websites of the Blackburn and Green Lane Birmingham mosques say? Allah knows best.

Posted on 05/06/2016 12:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2016
Jews Remembered in Venice

Though his sonnet was on Westminster Bridge, London, William Wordsworth might have used the same words to describe Venice, “a sight so touching in its majesty.” Everyone is enchanted by its incomparable beauty, admires the splendor and majesty of Piazza San Marco, and is amazed by the uniqueness of a city built on more than 150 islands, a UNESCO World Historic Site.

A part of the city, less known for its artistic splendor but historically significant is the Jewish Ghetto in the Cannaregio district that is in 2016 being commemorated on the 500th anniversary of its creation. The word Ghetto comes from the Italian geto or metal foundry. The Venetian Ghetto, one of the first to be established in Europe but unique and unforgettable in character was created on March 29, 1516 by the Doge Leonardo Loredan to segregate Jews from the rest of the population of the city.

Walls enclosed the Ghetto in the area, the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, little more than one acre in size, and the gates were locked at night. Jews, except doctors, leaving the Ghetto were obliged to wear distinctive clothes with a yellow badge, hat, or scarf. It was tantamount to a benevolent prison, but at the same time it showed that Jews were accepted, if isolated, as part of Venetian society at a time when Jews were not allowed in Britain.

In the 17th century about 5,000 Jews lived in the Ghetto, out of a total population of 58,000 people in the city. It was cosmopolitan as different groups of Jewish immigrants, from Spain, Portugal, Levant, and Eastern Europe, entered the area, and set up five synagogues. In 1797 French troops under Napoleon entered the city and ended the Ghetto as a confining area. Jews could move out, and the rich members did so.

The number of Jews in the area declined.  At the start of World War II in 1939 there were 1,200 in Venice, and 50,000 in the whole of Italy. They suffered during the war, first because of the 1938 Italian race laws and then from the Holocaust. In Venice 246, including the Chief Rabbi, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, of whom only eight survived. In the whole of Italy, 8, 564 Jews were deported, 1,009 of whom returned, while another 300 were shot or died in police custody. The percentage of Jews murdered by the Nazis was therefore about 20 per cent in Italy, compared with 26 % in France, 60% in Belgium, 70% in Hungary, and 77% in Greece.  

Today, the center of Jewish life is still, religiously and symbolically, the Ghetto, but only a small part of the 400 Jews in Venice live there in debilitated buildings, although they attend religious services in the five synagogues there. The Campo di Ghetto Nuovo also contains a yeshiva, two Holocaust memorials, an old age home, and social activities.

But it is a reminder of the continuing existence of the disease of antisemitism in Italy as in the rest of Europe that police in a booth at the end of the Campo are on guard night and day. Jews in Italy now number 25,000 in the general population of 60 million. According to the 2015 Institute for Jewish Policy Research report, some 63 per cent of Italian Jews believe antisemitism to be either a “very big” or “fairly big” problem, especially now that the Internet is the chief vehicle for transmitting it. In addition, 43 per cent of Jews believed that anti-Semitic harassment came primarily from the political left, compared with 29 per cent who thought it came from the political right.

Manifestations of antisemitism, interrelated with animosity towards the State of Israel, in Italy, though far less than in France, have occurred in a number of Italian cities, including a demonstration on the famous Rialto Bridge in Venice, one mentioned by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, presumed to have been written in 1595. Security measures have been necessary at Jewish schools and synagogues since the mid 1980s after the attack on Rome’s Great Synagogue in 1982.

One particularly disturbing incident concerned the memorial to those who died in the Nazi death camps. A swastika was scrawled on the Jewish small memorial plaque in the building on the Via della Lungara, near the Vatican. This is the very place where in the razzia, the mass round up on October 16, 1943, 1259 Jews, including more than 900 women and children, were taken and held after their arrest by the Nazis. They were deported to Auschwitz and only 16 survived. Controversy still exists over the behavior on that occasion of Pope Pius XII, on whether he helped to save the Roman Jews and on whether he ordered church officials to open the doors of their properties to save Jews.

The usual anti-Semitic attitudes were found in the March 2012 ADL survey of Italians. 61% thought that it was probably true that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Italy, while 39 per cent thought Jews had too much power in the business world, 43% that they had too much power in industrial finance, and 48% they talked too much about the Holocaust.

In the light of these attitudes of Jews and non-Jews, the 500th anniversary of the creation of the Ghetto is a symbolic event, a significant sign of the official Italian determination to honor it, and to envisage it as a meeting place of people and of cultures. The intention is to illustrate the relationship between Jews and the rest of Venetians throughout the ages. The events will feature a performance of Mahler’s first Symphony at the Fenice Opera House, and exhibition on “Venice, the Jews, and Europe,” at the Palazzo Ducale, and performances of The Merchant of Venice in the Ghetto itsel . Perhaps most interesting of all is that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will preside over a trial of the unforgettable character Shylock which may result in a verdict different from that given in the play by Portia.

Many are pessimistic or realistic about the forthcoming death of Venice through the effect of the anarchy of water. Venice is sinking up to 0.08 inches a year as well as tilting towards the east. This floating jewel of a city may disappear as the sea level rises. This 500th commemoration of the Ghetto is all the more welcome as an optimistic reminder not only of the place of Jews in Venetian life but also of the emancipation of Jews from confinement there as elsewhere. The Ghetto now can be seen as a center for the revival of Jewish life and culture, not as a confinement or contrivance for possible annihilation of Jews.

Posted on 05/06/2016 1:04 PM by Michael Curtis
Friday, 6 May 2016
Russians Give Concert in Ruins of Palmyra
Posted on 05/06/2016 1:01 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 6 May 2016
I Guess He Showed Him!

Fox News.

A Pakistani shop owner has confessed to killing at least 30 people by contaminating his sweets with pesticide.

Khalid Mehmood confessed to putting poison in the sweets to take revenge on his older brother, police told the AFP news agency.

Mehmood believed elder brother Tariq, who owned the sweet shop with him, "insulted and abused" him in a business dispute, it is alleged.

"I wanted to teach him a lesson," police investigator Mohammad Afzal quoted him as saying.

Posted on 05/06/2016 10:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 6 May 2016
Kurdistan Deserves an Amicable Divorce from Baghdad

Masrour Barzani writes in the Washington Post:

Masrour Barzani is the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

Throughout the modern history of Iraq, we have lived in denial. By we, I mean the Kurdish people, who comprise one-quarter of the country; the Arabs and other nationalities who make up the rest; and our friends around the world, who have been hoping that a functional, pluralistic nation could somehow, someday take hold.

As it was drawn from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq is a conceptual failure, compelling peoples with little in common to share an uncertain future. It is time to acknowledge that the experiment has not worked. Iraq is a failed state, and our continued presence within it condemns us all to unending conflict and enmity.

Turmoil surrounds us. In the summer of 2014, the face of the nation was exposed when the Islamic State terrorist group seized a third of the country and a significant part of the border with Syria because the most credible institution in the land, the Iraqi army, failed to defend it. Eleven years after the tyranny of Saddam Hussein ended, Iraq was exposed for what it is: a country that cannot protect its people and can barely define its interests.

Compulsory coexistence has not worked. And that is why the Kurdistan region of Iraq will hold a referendum to establish a sovereign state, which would formalize a divorce from Baghdad and secure the area we now control as a homeland for the Kurdish people.

This move will not only offer hope to the Kurds; it will also bring certainty to a divided region. Since the fall of Hussein, we have proved ourselves to be reliable allies to many of our neighbors. We are a bedrock in the fight against the Islamic State, hosting militaries from at least a dozen nations and making tremendous sacrifices to liberate Arab territories from the juggernaut that imperils us all.

We stand near the gates of Mosul, willing to play a substantial role in ousting the Islamic State from Iraq’s second-largest city. We have opened our gates to hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past two years, as well as during the darkest days of the sectarian war that earlier ravaged the center and south. The Kurdistan region is now home to a large, thriving Christian community whose members fled Mosul and Baghdad for a haven the central government could not provide.

In short, we have pulled our weight. We have tried to be inclusive. We have been patient. But economic agreements that had guaranteed us revenue streams have been repeatedly dishonored and now sit discarded. Under successive agreements, we have had duties as a component of the Iraqi state, but they have never translated into rights.

Whoever has held the seat of power in Baghdad has reneged on promises and ignored obligations, many of them constitutional. Even if a leader emerged who was better disposed toward us, his goodwill could never overcome a system geared toward siphoning away our rights. We are subjects, not citizens. There is simply no trust between us and the central government. The relationship is irreconcilable.

The solution begins in Baghdad. We have tried everything possible with the central government, and nothing has worked. A separation is the only option remaining. We want to move ahead with a vote on independence, but we must first work with Baghdad to pave the way for an amicable split that secures our mutual interests. That process has begun. We have broad support among the various Kurdish factions. We will also hold talks with Turkey and Iran to explain that this move will not destabilize their borders. We strongly believe that this effort will serve as a reset for the region, as much for our friends as for us.

We have all done enough pretending — to our peril. An Iraq free from the shackles of what Baghdad describes as the “Kurdish issue” would be liberating for both sides, disentangling interdependencies that each of us resent and allowing us to secure our economic footing.

Beyond that, though, an independent Kurdistan, with access to the weapons we need to defend ourselves, would secure the interests of our allies and the people of the region. Our relationship with Baghdad has crippled us in this fight. We have no access to battle-changing weapons, which must be funneled through the central government. Independence would allow us to secure long-term loans and bonds in the international market and export oil and gas at competitive prices to alleviate our financial difficulties.

To remain invested in a state that has clearly and repeatedly failed is folly. It is past time to recognize that. With little else but the dedication of its people, the Kurdistan region has already built the foundations of a successful, prosperous state. We have earned the right to self-determination and have shown that, even without statehood, we are a valued component of the international community, the most steadfast of allies in a region short on certainty. We stand ready to join the community of nations.


Posted on 05/06/2016 7:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 6 May 2016
The Reagan Coalition Is Dead. What’s Next For Conservatism?

John Hinderaker writes in Powerline:

Ronald Reagan swept to two landslide victories on the strength of his famous three-legged stool—economic conservatism, social conservatism and an internationalist, hawkish foreign policy. But the elements of the Reagan coalition have been drifting apart for some time, and the alliance now appears to be irretrievably fractured.

I was talking recently with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while, and when the conversation turned to politics, he said something along the lines of, “We Republicans need to drop the social conservative stuff. Gay marriage, abortion, those issues are killing us.” Over the years, I have probably had several hundred conversations along the same lines with conservative businessmen. Social conservatives aren’t paranoid: many in the party’s business wing have been yearning to dump them for quite a while.

The problem, of course, is that advocates of smaller government, lower taxes and less onerous regulation do not represent a majority of voters. In most states, it is hard to see how Republicans can win without the votes of social conservatives. Moreover, social conservatives commonly supply most of the energy and volunteer manpower that fuel the Republican Party.

Social conservatives, for their part, are fed up with Republicans who don’t share their views on the social issues, or don’t give them the same priority. Social conservatives often refer to economically-oriented Republicans as the party’s “elites,” and we have seen in this election cycle in what esteem these alleged elites are held by the party’s rank and file.

For decades, the glue that helped to hold together these wings of the party, and of the conservative movement, was foreign policy. As long as the Cold War lasted, conservatives were united, more than anything else, by anti-Communism. But once the Cold War was won, unanimity on foreign policy began to erode. The terrorist attacks of September 11 renewed a hawkish consensus for a while, but as the years have gone by, conservatives’ foreign policy views have increasingly fragmented.

First Ron Paul, and then his son Rand, mounted frontal challenges to the Republican Party’s internationalist and (relatively) interventionist consensus. But over time, as the intractable issues associated with Islam have replaced imperial Communism as the central focus of foreign policy, dissenting views have gone mainstream. Today, it is far from clear that a majority of conservatives subscribe to the hawkish orientation of George W. Bush, which was essentially carried over from the Cold War.

Just as a muscular foreign policy has lost much of its sway over those on the right, devotion to economic conservatism, as manifested pre-eminently in the Reagan era in the form of tax cuts, has lost a great deal of appeal. This is due primarily to the fact that most Americans pay little or nothing in income taxes. The worm that was in the bud of the tax cuts of the 1980s, as well as those that occurred during the George W. Bush administration, was that every time taxes were cut, the quid pro quo was that the tax code became more progressive. Today, the United States has the most progressive personal tax system of any developed country. There are precious few voters who feel a strong personal interest in lower taxes, and a great many who see federal spending, for them, as a profit center.

Even as consensus on these basic questions has faded, new issues have arisen to drive the elements of the conservative coalition apart—above all, immigration. Most rank and file Republicans (and Democrats, too) correctly perceive that the current torrent of legal and illegal immigration is hurting them economically and damaging America culturally and environmentally. At the same time, much of the business community welcomes the flood of cheap labor and is happy to wink at constant violations of the immigration laws. This, more than anything else, poisons relations between former allies on the right.

The issue of trade drives a similar wedge. Through most of the postwar era there was a bipartisan consensus in favor of free trade, with dissenters, until recently, almost entirely on the left. Today, misgivings about the effects of international trade have become common on the right as well. The benefits of free trade are indisputable, and as consumers we all welcome cheap smart phones. But the perspective of millions of Americans who do not aspire to become app designers or investment bankers, and who see little place for themselves in the global economy, is both understandable and sympathetic.

The politics of every era is dominated by its own issues. The concerns that animate most voters today are no longer the ones that Republicans rode to victory in past decades. Fundamental principles abide, of course. The guiding star of American conservatism has always been liberty. But it may not be quite so easy to apply first principles to today’s issues as it was in the 1980s, and it may be harder to obtain consensus among those who call themselves conservatives.

Pretty much all Republicans claim to be heirs of Ronald Reagan, much as all Democrats purport to be in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt. But in 2016, the presidential candidates who most clearly tried to re-create Reagan’s three-legged stool, like Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, fell by the wayside. I don’t want to join those who hail Donald Trump, after the fact, as a genius, but it must be acknowledged that more than anyone else, he tailored his candidacy to the new issues landscape. The subjects he emphasizes the most, immigration and trade, are the wedge issues of the day. He is no foe of big government, and never talks about tax cuts, as far as I have noticed. He advocates a modest foreign policy—which, to be fair, George W. Bush also did as a candidate, pre-9/11—and rips Bush’s interventionist policies as viciously as any liberal. On the social issues, he is mostly silent.

I, and many others, have said repeatedly that Trump is no conservative. He is, however, pro-America. His slogan, make America great again, resonates with conservatives of all stripes. On the other hand, it is anathema to liberals, who believe that America never was great, and certainly don’t want her to start being great now. And Trump, like no one else, pushes back against the Left’s efforts to suppress free speech, which usually go under the too-generous rubric of political correctness.

A new conservatism is, to paraphrase a long-dead crank, struggling to be born. It will not emerge between now and November, but the next six months should shed considerable light on the shape of the conservative movement in a post-Reagan era.

One more thing: if the conservative alliance of the last 40 years is fragmenting, the liberal coalition is in far worse shape. More to come on that subject.

Posted on 05/06/2016 7:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 6 May 2016
Mosques ban trousers, travel and Facebook

It isn't just Blackburn Muslim Association with un-English instructions to women on their website. The Times has other examples from elsewhere. From The Times via the Daily Mail.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is facing calls to demand that affiliated institutions remove online advice that curtails the freedom of women. Research by The Times found that other MCB members had published similar statements.

A document written by a mufti at the Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre, entitled 'Advice for the husband and wife', also stated: 'A woman should seek her husband's permission when leaving the house and should not do so without his knowledge.' In another article, the mosque calls abortion 'a great sin' and describes acting and modelling as 'immoral acts'.

An article entitled 'Dangers of Facebook' was published on the Central Masjid of Blackburn's website, stating: 'Facebook has opened the doors for sin. Muslim girls and women alike have become prey to this evil.' It cites a quotation from the Koran about the sin of alcohol, and applies it to the social network...describes the social media website as a “vicious network”.

In a Q&A, one Muslim asked the Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham if women could wear jeans. Citing an Islamic scholar, the reply was that women were not permitted to wear trousers, even in front of their husband, as they show off 'the details of her body'. It said: 'The ones who wear trousers are men, and the Prophet . . . cursed women who imitate men.'

Posted on 05/06/2016 6:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 6 May 2016
Migrant Rape Epidemic Reaches Austria

Soren Kern writes in Gatestone:

  • A 20-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq confessed to raping a 10-year-old boy at a public swimming pool in Vienna. The Iraqi said the rape was a "sexual emergency" resulting from "excess sexual energy."
  • Those who dare to link spiraling crime to Muslim mass migration are being silenced by the guardians of Austrian multiculturalism.

  • According to data compiled by the Austrian Interior Ministry, nearly one out of three asylum seekers in Vienna was accused of committing crimes in 2015. North African gangs fighting for control over drug trafficking were responsible for roughly half of the 15,828 violent crimes — rapes, robberies, stabbings and assaults — reported in the city during 2015.

  • Austria received 90,000 asylum requests in 2015, the second-highest number in the EU on a per capita basis, but this pales in comparison to what may lie ahead. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka warned last month that up to one million migrants are poised to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe.

The brutal gang rape of a woman by three Afghan asylum seekers in central Vienna on April 22 has shocked the Austrian public and drawn attention to a spike in migrant-related rapes, sexual assaults and other crimes across the country.

The migrant crime wave comes as the anti-immigrant Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has surged in opinion polls. The party's candidate, Norbert Hofer, won the first round of Austria's presidential elections on April 24, and is on track to win the presidency in the second round, run-off election scheduled for May 22.

The three Afghans — two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old — followed the woman, a 21-year-old exchange student, into a public restroom at the Praterstern train station, one of the main transportation hubs in Vienna. One of the migrants held the woman down while the other two took turns raping her.

A passerby called the police after she heard the woman screaming. By the time police arrived, the men had gone. The suspects, who were arrested as they were attempting to flee the station, do not speak German. Through an interpreter, the migrants told police they were drunk and do not remember carrying out the crime.

If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of seven-and-a-half years in prison. Due to the lenient nature of the Austrian judicial system, however, they may end up spending only two years behind bars, according to local observers.

It is also unlikely that the migrants will be deported: according to European law, sending them back to Afghanistan would be a violation of their human rights. Instead, observers say, the Afghans will qualify for Austrian social welfare benefits — €830 ($950) per month plus free healthcare — and probably for the rest of their lives become wards of Austrian state.

The assault in Praterstern is one of a growing number of migrant sex crimes in Austria (other migrant rapes and sexual assaults are included in the appendix below):

  • A 20-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq confessed to raping a 10-year-old boy at a public swimming pool in Vienna. The Iraqi said the rape was a "sexual emergency" resulting from "excess sexual energy." The man, who left his wife and child behind in Iraq, said he had been unable to control his libido because he had not had sexual relations since arriving in Austria in September.

  • An 18-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan was sentenced to 20 months in prison for raping a 72-year-old woman in Traiskirchen. "First he beat the woman black and blue, then he raped her, and then he took her underwear as a trophy," local police said. In addition to a lenient sentence, the man will be allowed to remain in Austria and, after he leaves prison, collect social welfare benefits.

  • A 20-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan was arrested after he coerced 13-year-old girl from the town of Korneuburg repeatedly to have sex with him. The man, who was living in an asylum shelter in Hollabrunn, first established contact with the girl over the Internet. Each time they met in person, he verbally threatened her until she agreed to have sex. The man was arrested after the girl told her parents about the relationship, which had been going on for more than three months.

  • Mobs of Arab migrants sexually assaulted dozens of women in Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck on New Year's Eve. The sex attacks, known in Arabic as taharrush ("harassment"), were similar to those carried out that day by North African migrants in Cologne, Germany and other cities. Police initially denied that the attacks had taken place, but later admitted to lying, purportedly to protect the privacy of the victims.

Those who dare to link spiraling crime to Muslim mass migration are being silenced by the guardians of Austrian multiculturalism.

In April, for example, the Austrian Press Council (Presserat) — a group that enforces a politically correct "code of ethics" to ensure that Austrian media outlets toe the line of state-sanctioned multiculturalism — censured the left-leaning magazine, Falter, for "blanket discrimination" against Muslims.

The magazine's editors — otherwise faithful proponents of European multiculturalism — appear to have had enough of migrants raping their way through Europe with virtual impunity. For the January-February 2016 edition, Falter's cover featured a black and white drawing of five "light skinned" European women surrounded by large numbers of "dark skinned" Arab males. The image evoked images of the taharrush assaults in Cologne.

In a three-page "decision," the Presserat ruled that the image violates the "code of ethics" because it amounts to "blanket slander and discrimination" against Arab men:

"The men are all portrayed with the same fierce-looking facial expression, dark hair and noticeably dark eyebrows. In this way — in the context of the attacks in Cologne — the artist is constructing a prototype of men from North Africa, i.e., the Arab world. The uniformity of the image suggests that, rather than portraying individuals, it depicts a homogenous group whose members all behave in the same way.

"Therefore, readers could be left with the impression that the sexual assaults in Cologne were not the acts of individual persons or person groups, but that such conduct is typical for men from North Africa, i.e., the Arab world. The image could leave the impression that all North Africa men who are here in Europe fail to conduct themselves correctly vis-à-vis women."

The editors of Falter defended themselves against accusations of racism:

"The fact is that North Africans were overwhelmingly responsible for the assaults in Cologne. This is what took place and we should be allowed to represent it as such."

Vienna is the epicenter of migrant crime in Austria. According to data compiled by the Austrian Interior Ministry, nearly one out of three asylum seekers in Vienna was accused of crimes in 2015. Of the nearly 21,000 officially approved asylum seekers in the capital, 6,503 were known to have committed crimes in 2015, a jump of nearly 50% over 2014. The data shows that 2,270 of the criminals were under the age of 20, a 72% jump over 2014. Seven were under age nine, while 31 were under age 13.

According to Vienna Police Chief Gerhard Pürstl, North African gangs fighting for control over drug trafficking were responsible for roughly half of the 15,828 violent crimes — rapes, robberies, stabbings and assaults — reported in the city during 2015.

The area around the Praterstern station, where the exchange student was raped, has become overrun by shiftless migrants from Afghanistan and North Africa who are selling drugs, fighting turf battles and assaulting female passersby. Police were dispatched to the area a total of 6,265 times in 2015, or an average of 17 times a day, according to local media. But local authorities appear unable or unwilling to restore order to the area....

Posted on 05/06/2016 6:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
The Gender Equity Boondoggle - TFF Episode 36

Posted on 05/05/2016 2:02 PM by David Solway
Thursday, 5 May 2016
The Race Is Not Always to the Swift of Mind

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

—Ecclesiastes, 9:11.

My article “How Smart Is Justin Trudeau,” posted here, in which I argued that the Canadian PM is a posturing showboat whose credentials can only be described as risible, provoked a robust response. Most of my correspondents and commenters were (and are) aware that Trudeau is an intellectual nonentity who relies on a combination of superficial charm and media adulation, much like Barack Obama (Trudeau has been called “Obama North”), in order to sway a credulous electorate.

Naturally, there have been a number of dissenters, who reacted by praising Trudeau for having won the election, as if this were evidence of high intelligence, as well as approving of his legislative record. Much of the commentary struck me as malingering at approximately the same level as Trudeau’s embarrassing ineptitude.

It should be noted that Canada has been moving “progressively” leftward and that Conservative governments are really anomalies in a culturally socialist landscape. Indeed, Canada tends to elect only one Conservative government per generation. The Conservative party has managed to maintain an electoral presence owing chiefly to a voter split among the country’s two major socialist parties, the welfare-state Liberals and the quasi-Marxist New Democratic Party.

A typical example of the anti-Conservative pro-statist mindset is provided by a number of my respondents. One, for example, censures a positive comment about Geert Wilders in the course of our discussion with a vibrantly eloquent “Yuck!” Another dismisses former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s legacy of a balanced budget as “all smoke and mirrors”—an error of fact since the Harper government successfully ran a temporary deficit to ride out the collapse in the global economy on a scale we had not seen in 80 years, but balanced the budget by early 2015.

Yet another skeptic claims that defeating the “odious” Harper government is an accomplishment in itself. He is thrilled by the gender equalizing of the Cabinet, the augmentation of entitlement and social programs, the reinstatement of tax credits for labor-sponsored funds, a costly inquiry into missing Aboriginal women (which will reveal what we already know about systemic native poverty and violence), the substantial increase of Syrian refugee immigration, the restoration of “rights to appeal for immigration decisions” (presumably the right for Muslim women to wear the niqab during citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and the reluctance to extradite jihadists or defund problematic Islamic organizations), and the doubling of funds for the (bloated and sybaritic) Canada Council for the Arts. I would consider each of these innovations or restitutions as a form of political abuse: in other words, a waste of public monies, a policy infatuation with the cultural trends and sophistries of the day, and the endangering of national security.

Detractors fall back on the claim that the Harper government was “odious,” as if invective were a suitable replacement for analysis. Trudeau, on the contrary, was media savvy and therefore street smart. His victory was, according to these lights, plainly deserved and his party platform unassailable. The truth is that Trudeau’s electoral triumph had nothing to do with substance, intellectual capacity or fitness for the job of prime minister, for Trudeau can boast of none of these qualifications. Apart from family name (his father was a former prime minister), a telegenic manner and a carbonated personality—obvious plusses in the current environment—the issue was decided by a series of extraneous factors that coalesced at the same time to constitute something like a perfect storm.

To begin with, Trudeau handily won the female vote for reasons that had nothing to do with his ostensible smarts. But he would not have won much else had the media not mounted a veritable blitzkrieg against Harper; had academia not brainwashed a generation of students and young voters (I've met some of them but could never engage in conversation since they were all too busy chanting); had canny advisors Katie Telford and Gerald Butts not pulled his puppet strings; and, most importantly, had NDP leader Tom Mulcair and his party not flamed out and channeled many of their voters into the Liberal camp, thus effectively unifying the Leftist vote. In short, women, journalists, professors, students, the vast number of the gullible and the Left in general formed the majority that put the mountebank Trudeau into power.

It must be said, too, that the Conservatives ran an uninspired and indeed sodden campaign that was no match for the Liberal strategists, thus inadvertently becoming the latter’s allies in engineering the party’s defeat. Conservatives also suffered from some of Harper’s errors of omission, for example, his failure to defund and privatize our national broadcaster the CBC, essentially the propaganda arm of the Liberal party and a bastion of socialist elitism. (Unsurprisingly, two CBC stalwarts, former editor-in-chief of CBC News Tony Burman, and former host of CBC current affairs programs CounterSpin and On the Map Avi Lewis, better known as Leftist diva Naomi Klein’s husband, joined the Al Jazeera network.)

Harper also neglected to abolish Canada’s Star Chamber judiciary, the misnamed Human Rights Commissions (now rebadged as Social Justice Tribunals), which pronounced on social issues in favor of offended grievance mongers without allowing for the defendant’s presumption of innocence or provision of witnesses. Harper would likely have lost anyway, but he might have gone out trailing clouds of glory rather than lugging the shadow of electoral ignominy.

In any event, the upshot was that all the conditions required for installing a Liberal government had been waived. It’s going to be Brigadoon, Canada for at least the next four years, at which time Canadians may hopefully—if doubtfully—awaken from the barren seductions of magical thinking.

What all this serves to prove is that the Qoheleth was right, the race is not to the swift. But in the case we are discussing now, the race went to a slow-witted pretender whose lack of prior accomplishment, educational truancy (he failed to complete the two university degrees for which he had enrolled) and “smoke and mirrors” manipulativeness gave him a commanding lead. But he was certainly humble, confessing that he could not recite pi to the 19th decibel. Additionally, as we’ve seen, a sequence of fortuitous events and the support of powerful backers enabled him to breast the tape first.

The bottom line, then, is not hard to discern. Despite his intellectual deficiencies—or perhaps because of them—Trudeau’s glibness and piliated cockiness were distinct advantages in a milieu typified by media mendacity and public dumbification. With few exceptions, retardation has become one of the essential ingredients for electoral success in our increasingly degenerate age.

First published in PJ Media.

Posted on 05/05/2016 1:32 PM by David Solway
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Pakistan police arrest 14 in ‘honor killing’ of teen said to have helped bride to elope

News from the wonderful world of Islam. Washington Post:

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — More than a dozen leaders of a small village in northwestern Pakistan were arrested Thursday and charged with burning a teenage girl to death because she helped one of her friends elope, security officials said.

The crime, which is renewing attention on Pakistan’s horrific record of protecting women and children from abuse, took place on the outskirts of Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Khurram Rasheed, police chief for the northern district of Abbottabad, said Thursday that the body of Ambreen Riasat was found in a burned van in the tourist resort of Donga Gali on April 29, the Associated Press reported. Her exact age was in dispute.

A graphic photo of the teenager’s charred remains quickly circulated online. It appeared as though the girl’s arms had been bound before she was set on fire.

Initially, police suspected that she may have been raped by a scorned boyfriend or as part of a family dispute. But Saeed Wazir, the regional police chief in Abbottabad, said Thursday that the killing was a “pre-planned act” involving 14 village leaders. Wazir said the entire village council had sanctioned the act to send a message to other minors.


“They said she must be burnt alive to make a lesson for other girls,” he said.

In an act of defiance against Pakistan’s strict Islamic and paternal customs, Wazir said, the victim had helped one of her friends secretly marry her boyfriend. The bride “didn’t obey her father’s will and did a love marriage at court with a guy,” he said.

After the bride’s father found out, he requested that village elders investigate. In many parts of Pakistan, women and girls are expected to receive their father’s consent before marrying.

The village elders called a meeting, which is referred to as a Jirga. Under Pashtun culture in Pakistan and in neighboring Afghanistan, such gatherings are often held to try to reach consensus on how best to resolve local disputes. At times, the meetings also become a form of street justice.

According to Wazir, the village elders investigating the marriage quickly discovered that the victim had helped her friend evade her father’s will. The elders decided the victim needed to be punished for not disclosing her role in the marriage.

Several men then dragged the teenager out of her house and tied her into the van, Wazir said.

“Despite the requests and pleas from her parents, villagers forcibly brought her out and set her afire while roping her to the seat of the vehicle,” he said.


Both the leader of the Jirga and the father of the newlywed girl were arrested, Wazir said. A dozen other men who participated in the Jirga also were charged, he added.

It was not immediately clear whether the new bride or her husband were punished.

The case represents a troublesome expansion of mob-like tactics that women can face in Pakistan when they disobey their parents or extended family members.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 8,694 girls and women have died in so-called honor killings here between 2004 and 2015. Those crimes involved revenge killings for dishonoring a family, village or local custom.

Posted on 05/05/2016 1:17 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
57 percent say 'America First'

This election will be a referendum of globalism.

Americans are adopting a foreign policy much closer to Republican Donald Trump than Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying in a new survey that they want an "America First" focus that fixes the U.S. before other countries.

A comprehensive new Pew Research Center poll found that 57 percent agree that America should deal with its own problems. Just 37 percent disagreed. And more than not said America is too helpful internationally.

"The new survey, conducted April 12 to 19 among 2,008 U.S. adults, finds the public remains wary of global involvement," said Pew.

Posted on 05/05/2016 1:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Trump’s Israel Adviser: ‘Not in a Million Years Would Donald Have Berated Netanyahu the Way Hillary Did’


Though Donald Trump has wondered aloud why most Jews voted for President Barack Obama – and why they are likely to cast ballots for presumed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton – he is more “puzzled than furious,” his executive vice president and chief legal officer said on Wednesday, in the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal from the GOP race of remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jewish real estate lawyer from Teaneck, New Jersey — who has been working for “The Donald” for the past two decades – made this comment during an hour-long interview with The Algemeiner at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.

Making it clear at the outset that the views he was expressing were his own and assessments of his employer’s, Greenblatt – whom Trump “appointed” as his Israel adviser during a press conference last month with members of the Jewish media — gave The Algemeiner an overview of what the United States, American Jews and Israel can expect if his boss wins the White House in November.

The Algemeiner: Pro-Israel conservatives are worried that Trump’s “America First” pronouncements indicate a tendency toward isolationism. Are they right to be concerned?

Greenblatt: I don’t think he’s an isolationist. His concept of putting America first is more in keeping with his whole slogan, “Make America Great.”

He needs to create more jobs here; he needs to secure our borders; he needs to prevent terrorism at home. But at the same time, though he views America’s role in the world as a very important one, he does not want to shoulder the burden himself – meaning that the US has been paying for the defense of so many countries that are not supporting their share of the cost. So it’s not as though he’s saying he’s going to put a wall around the whole country; he’s just saying that others have to pay their share.

As for certain countries in the Middle East – other than Israel – his view is that the US needs to be there to some degree, to help keep the peace or help people, such as the Christians, who are being persecuted. But he’s also saying that we, as America, cannot impose our will on other countries. We cannot say, “We are a democracy, and therefore you have to believe in democracy and be democratic countries.” That doesn’t work in his mind, and I think he’s right.

Where Israel is concerned, I think he’s been clear – in his AIPAC speech, his foreign policy speech and his comments to the Daily Mail this week [that Israel should keep building] settlements – that he views Israel as a very strategic ally to the United States. He views Israel as a beacon of light in the Middle East. He is a very, very strong supporter of Israel. And at the same time, he would love to see if he could negotiate a peace treaty between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He’s very clear that it’s probably the hardest deal ever to be negotiated, certainly in modern history.

At the same time, though he’s very pro-Israel, he’s not saying to the Palestinians, “You’ll take whatever I give you.” That’s not his approach. In fact, he rejects the idea of imposing peace on the two sides. He wants to be a facilitator. He recognizes from more than 40 years in the business world that there is no good deal that gets done when one party is forced into something by the other party, or worse, when a third party — whether the United States, the United Nations, a group of countries together – forces sides to make peace in a way that doesn’t work for them. Because they’re going to have to live with one another. If it doesn’t work for them, it’s just going to unravel.

The Algemeiner: About brokering a deal: Trump has said that radical Islamists have to be defeated. Does he not see the Palestinians in that category — as part of an entity that has to be defeated, rather than treated to negotiations?

Greenblatt:  My view – and I don’t know if this is Trump’s – is that I’m not sure if we can paint all the Palestinians with a broad brush of radical extremism. I’m speaking about the Palestinian Authority now, not [Hamas-controlled] Gaza. I believe that a certain percentage of the regular population in the Palestinian territories is radical. Is it 30%? 60%? 20%? I have no idea. But that’s something we’re going to dig into if Donald wins the White House.

However, I do believe that a certain number of them are tired of the constant tension between the two sides. I think many of them would jump at the chance to live in a peaceful, coexistent manner. But there’s no question that the radicalism, the number of people who have been radicalized, has grown a lot.

The Algemeiner: And the leadership?

Greenblatt: Right, it comes from the top down. So, whether the people who aren’t radicalized are too afraid to stand up, don’t have an opportunity to stand up, or can’t organize themselves to do so could be part of the problem. And I think what Trump will try to figure out is how to give those people a voice; how to convince the current leadership that it’s in everybody’s best interest to have peace, not just Israel’s and the Palestinians’, but the whole region’s — ignoring the Sunni-Shiite problem, because that has nothing to do with Israel and the Palestinians.

If you had asked me this question before the Arab Spring started, I would have been a little less hopeful that anything could have happened. But what the Arab Spring shows me is that citizens can round up together and achieve something. And if we could get the non-radicalized Palestinians to recognize the importance of peace, and how everybody stands to benefit, I think we have a shot at it. Is it possible? Yes. Can it be done easily? No. Is Donald the right guy to do it? I can’t think of a better guy who can sit at the table and try to bring everybody together.

The Algemeiner: As an Orthodox Jew, are you perhaps not sufficiently taking the religious aspect of the conflict into account? Business deals aside, if Islamists believe in Allah and interpret their faith and goals in a way that is antithetical to peace with Israel, how could Trump make a difference?

Greenblatt: A certain percentage of that population believes with religious fervor that this [war and conflict with Israel] is the way it has to be. A certain percentage of the population does not believe this. It’s probably no different in Israel. There’s a certain percentage of Israeli society that believes Israel should be everything, including parts of Jordan – though it’s probably not a very high percentage.

I think that if the PA says that Israel needs to be wiped off the face of the earth and that there cannot be a Jewish state, there never will be peace. The first step needs to be to find out whether there are enough people on the Palestinian side who…

The Algemeiner: …Are willing to overthrow their leaders?

Greenblatt: We’re not calling for an overthrow of any leaders, because that would constitute imposing our will on somebody else. Our goal is not to foment a riot or the overthrow of a government or anything like that. Our goal is to see whether this leadership can recognize that a nice enough portion of its population is not radical and can co-exist. If, from the outset, we hear from the Palestinian side that there is no way it will allow a Jewish state to exist, and that it will continue its efforts at this until successful, our view is that in such a case, we’re not going to do anything but side with Israel, and stand by it to make sure its security is guaranteed.

The Palestinians have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. They have to stop preaching hate. They have to start teaching the kids coexistence, not how to commit terror attacks.

The Algemeiner: You are a real estate lawyer, and someone who studied at a yeshiva in a West Bank settlement. In Israel, the Right says this conflict is not about real estate, and therefore land deals won’t work. The Left says that peace could be achieved if Israel stopped building settlements and withdraws from more territory. What is your position?

Greenblatt: I don’t think it’s about settlements. Look at what happened in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal. I think real estate is an aspect of a bigger picture. If we’re able to get past square one – which is getting the Palestinians to fulfill the requirements stated above – we will need to figure out security and other issues, like sharing water. But even the Temple Mount has real estate types of issues surrounding it, such as access rights, what people can do when there, etc.

The Algemeiner: But the Temple Mount is also a religious issue, isn’t it? Though it is the holiest site in Judaism and third in Islam, Jews are forbidden from praying there, and Palestinian leaders have been using accusations against Israel – saying it is trying to storm and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque — as a propaganda tool to inflame the current stabbing intifada.

Greenblatt:  Yes, it drifts into propaganda. Israel is not trying to take over the Temple Mount. I believe firmly that Israel’s not doing anything wrong. And that’s why the whole issue of the security cameras [that Jordan intended to install there, but has postponed due to Palestinian complaints] is important, since installing them would allow all sides to have evidence of what is actually taking place there.

The Algemeiner: Many Trump supporters are controversial figures, such as white supremacist and antisemite David Duke. Others get rowdy at rallies and verbally violent on social media. The journalist, Julia Ioffe, who profiled Melania Trump in GQ magazine, said she received vitriolic antisemitic messages after the piece appeared. Antisemitism often accompanies mob behavior. Is this phenomenon causing Trump concern?

Greenblatt: First of all, in my opinion, the antisemitic messages sent to Julia Ioffe are outrageous and unacceptable, and I am confident that Melania Trump, who is an amazing and talented individual, would not condone that behavior in any respect. Secondly, it’s interesting you should bring up the issue of mobs, particularly in light of what happened to Trump in California last week, where he was forced to jump a barricade to enter the venue of his speech, due to angry protesters. In other words, you have the same kind of thing happening on the other side, with radical groups who are anti-Trump behaving probably even worse than the people you’re talking about who support him. In any election, you’re going to have these deep passions on both sides. But I haven’t heard any among the Jewish community expressing worry about that kind of mob. And you know what? I’m more worried about those people, because they’re not willing to open their eyes and ears and see that there are two sides to this story. They are so violent and want so badly to impose their views and thoughts on everybody else. They’re way too extreme.

Am I sitting here as a Jew worried about either side? No, I’m not. I think America is a safe and secure country for us, different from any other country the Jews have lived in in the past — other than Israel, of course. I feel blessed and fortunate to live in a country like this, where all people, not just Jews, are tolerated and productive members of society.

The Algemeiner: Trump said he would have brokered a better deal with Iran — a regime that calls for the death of America and Israel. Why has he not said he would have defeated Iran and then dictated terms of an agreement?

Greenblatt: I haven’t discussed that with him, but I think he would say that if there’s a deal to be negotiated that would allow the world – especially Israel — not to worry about Iran having nuclear weapons, then it’s something to talk about. Whether or not we get along with the Iranians, whether or not we are worried about them on so many levels, if we can knock this one aspect off, it’s worth talking about.

The Algemeiner: Couldn’t one say that the way to “knock this aspect off” would be to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Greenblatt: Only a deal that would ensure Iran no longer had the capacity to build nuclear weapons – and that guarantees our right to monitor it and make sure it wasn’t cheating – would have made sense.

The Algemeiner: But what do you do when the entity with which you are making a deal doesn’t honor it?

Greenblatt: If Trump had been in [President Barack] Obama’s shoes, and were warned that the deal wouldn’t be honored, he would have weighed not making it.

The Algemeiner: If he is elected, and the next day he is informed about Iran’s violations of the nuclear deal and repeated aggression against America – such as today’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to the US – what will he do?

Greenblatt: I know that he would take very quick and decisive action, but I don’t know what that action would be. I don’t think he will stand by and let America look weak – or convey to the rest of the world that we don’t want to enforce agreements or that it’s ok for others to violate them.

The Algemeiner: In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent 45 minutes berating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the announcement — made during a visit to Jerusalem by Vice President Joe Biden — of the construction of 1,600 apartments in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of the capital. Trump recently said he canceled a trip to Israel when Netanyahu rejected his comments about the need to investigate and screen Muslims entering the US. If elected president, will Trump chide Israel when it engages in policies he opposes?

Greenblatt: No. Not in a million years. First of all, I don’t know how Hillary had the nerve to berate Netanyahu that way. It’s disrespectful. You don’t talk to the leader of another country that way. You can air your differences, but you air them politely. Donald is not that kind of person.

Donald was justified in being a little upset about Netanyahu’s comments, though I understand the position Netanyahu was in. Still, though he was entitled to feel that way about what Netanyahu said, he got over it and they talk. He views Israel as a strong ally and as a friend. He thinks Netanyahu is doing a great job, particularly under the circumstances. And I think they would continue to have productive dialogue.

Posted on 05/05/2016 10:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Two More Bite the Dust: Aussie-Passport-Holding Muslims Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, Formerly Neil Prakash, and Shadi Jabar Khalil Mohammad Vaporised By Air Strikes

If this is in fact the case then I am sure that AFP (Australian Federal Police), ASIO and other bodies charged with trying to keep tabs on that ever-multiplying Tinyminorityofextremists who have NothingtodowithIslam will be gleefully scratching their names off of the long, long list of People to Worry About. 

As reported by our  ABC this morning.

"Islamic State: Two Australians Killed in US Air Strikes, Including Terrorist Recruiter Neil Prakash"

"Australians"?? No.  "Aussie-passport-holding Muslims".   - CM

'Australia's most wanted terrorist Neil Prakash (that is, Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, formerly known as Neil Prakash - CM), has been killed in a US air strike on the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Good riddance. - CM

'The ABC understands Prakash was among a gathering of IS operatives targeted on April 29, with the United States recently confirming his death, and advising Australia.

 'A gathering of IS operatives'.  In other words, a Target-Rich Environment.  - CM
American authorities have also advised the Federal Government that Australian woman (sic: "formerly-Australia-resident Muslim woman" - CM) Shadi Jabar Khalil Mohammad was killed in a similar air strike near the Syrian city of Al Bab a fortnight ago.

Thank you, whoever conducted that strike.   I am glad this Muslim jihad tart left Australia; I didn't want her back; now she will never come back. - CM

'Mohammad was the sister of Farhad Mohammad, the teenager who shot dead (that is: who murdered - CM) police accountant Curtis Cheng in Sydney last year.

And who is, I am happy to remind everyone, dead, just like his sister.  He was armed and dangerous in the street, he had just murdered someone in cold blood, and the cops took him out, fast and hard, to prevent him from causing any further harm. - CM

'Prakash's death is considered "significant" by Australian and American authorities because of his highly-prominent and influential role as a senior IS recruiter.

'He was believed to have left Melbourne for Syria in 2013, where he changed his name to Abu Khaled Al-Cambodi, and was put on a US kill list.

So many converts to Islam, whether male or female, and of whatever ethnicity and non-Islamic faith background, seem to be following this sort of trajectory, of late.  Get Islam... Go Jihad.  Get vaporised by Infidel law enforcement or Infidel military.  One might almost imagine that Islam is what Churchill called it, "the religion of blood and war", rather than the religionofpeace with only a tinyminorityofextremists who have got nothingtodowithIslam. - CM

'A senior security official has told the ABC [that] removing (sic - CM) Prakash was a big breakthrough, as he had been linked to several Australian-based attack plans, and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the US.

'Earlier this year Prakash was reported to have been killed in Syria, but his actual death has now been formally confirmed to Australia.

'Prakash had also appeared in IS propaganda, including a chilling video message released 12 months ago, which called for attacks on Australia.

"My beloved brothers in Islam in Australia, now is the time to rise, now is the time to wake up, now is the time to rush for the (inaudible) Allah has promised you", he said in the video.  "You must start attacking before they attack yoiu.  Look how much of your sisters have been violated".

Classic Islamic reversal of reality.  Who has been violating whom, wholesale, in England, and in Germany, and in Iraq and Syria where all those Christian and Yazidi girls and women have been seized and raped and enslaved and sold as slaves to Muslim masters in Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf?  Who has been violating whom in Egypt and Pakistan, where Muslim men with absolute impunity continually abduct and rape and force 'convert' non-Muslim girls and women?  Who has been violating whom, in Northern Nigeria? The girls of Chibok, 200 of them, were kidnapped from their high school, by Muslims.  Nearly all of them were Christians. They were raped, beaten, starved, psychologically destroyed.  What is this Muslim talking about? Have Infidel men been raping and kidnapping and force-converting Muslim females anywhere in the West?? No, no, and again, no.  It is Muslim men, all over the world, who have been violating and are violating and proudly boast of their intention of violating and enslaving non-Muslim females. - CM

'Meanwhile, Mohammad (that is, the Muslim female, sister to the murderer of Curtis Cheng - CM) is believed to have been killed alongside her Sudanese husband, Abu Sa'ad al-Sudani, in Syria in an air strike on April 22.

'A statement from Attorney-General George Brandis and Defence Minister Marise Payne said the pair were both active recruiters of foreign fighters on behalf of ISIl, and had been inspiring attacks against Western interests.

That is: "against Western Kuffar targets".  - CM

'Deakin University counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton said little was known about Mohammad.

"Professor Barton said she travelled to Syria, apparently with the help of alleged IS supporter Milad Atai, just a day before her brother killed Mr Cheng.

And the family, the extended family, knew nothing?  I'd like to know just how thoroughly ASIO and the AFP have investigated the entire family: parents, any other siblings, and the uncles and the cousins and the aunts. Because I am prepared to bet that at least some of them were in on it and knew all about it. - CM

'The siblings only came to the attention of authorities after the shooting", he said.'

Ockham's Razor, therefore, tells me that nobody was ratting them out.  It defies belief that nobody around them suspected they were up to something, plotting jihad, plotting to kill Australians, plotting to go join Islamic State.  And nobody told the authorities. Nobody made even one phonecall.  Nothing.  We were blindsided, because of al wala wa al -baraa, Loyalty and Enmity.  - CM

"In fact, they probably had no connections with IS guys until perhaps just as early as weeks before [the shooting]", Professor Barton told 702 ABC Sydney.

Really?  But in any case: they were already members of the Allah Gang, the Mohammedan Mob.  They were already 'primed'.  And there are plenty of Mohammedans who have Gone Jihad without the instigation of the Islamic State.  All it takes is for someone - whether a 'cradle Muslim' or a convert - to take Islam fully to heart. - CM

"But then she was caught up in the same web of recruitment that caught up her young brother, and then she evidently married when she went to Syria, and she and her husband were killed."

'Caught up'.  Note the passive voice.  Not 'joined'.  Not 'sought out'.  Professor Barton is trying very hard to absolve these two zealous young jihadists of any personal responsibility for their actions; to represent them as innocent, helpless victims.  And of course, by focusing on a 'web of recruitment' he is diverting scrutiny away from where the journey to Jihad begins: in the home, if a person is reared Muslim, and in the mosque.  - CM

"She would have been 20 or 21 years old".

So?   In Australia at age 17 you are old enough to drive.  At age 18 you are considered old enough to vote and to drink.  This young woman was a young woman, a young adult, not a helpless child.  - CM

'Professor Barton described Prakash as a "desperate kid looking for meaning" who had converted to Islam just a year before travelling to Syria.

From conversion to full-on Jihad, one year. That's a very swift transition.  Can the Professor name any person who has converted to Judaism, to Christianity, or to Buddhism, who has followed a similar path, from 'the search for meaning' to the making of menacing videos calling for the ritualised mass murder of persons who were once his neighbours, kin and fellow citizens?  And note again the infantilisation of a fully adult and dangerous human being. - "a desperate kid".  Neil Prakash was *23*.  That is not a 'kid'. That is a full adult.  In the western world the age of majority - legal adulthood - used to be set at 21.  

A little more about this 'desperate kid' and his 'search for meaning' here, in an article from the Melbourne "Age".

From that article, I quote - "One day I was thinking to myself, there's more to Islam than just praying", he says in the clip.  He says he decided to leave Australia after reading a passage in the Koran about "the three that missed the battle". So, he slipped out of Melbourne, bound for Syria...". 

He read the Koran. He Went Jihad.  Oh, the poor, helpless, misled soul.. And although Prof Barton, by talking about Prakash having converted 'just a year before' going to Syria, seems to be trying to divert scrutiny from Islam by hinting that Prakash could not possibly have had a proper or complete understanding of the belief system and Organisation that he had joined, the article I have linked rather suggests  the reverse: that Prakash understood Islam, full-throated Islam, very well indeed. - CM

"He was "no mastermind" but he had been effective in helping to radicalise (sic: rather, "recruit for Jihad" - CM) people (sic: not just any 'people'; I'm sure that practising Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews, and our large contingent of red-hot rationalists and atheists, were quite impervious to his message; the 'people' he was addressing were Muslims, Muslims, Muslims all - CM) in Sydney and Melbourne, Professor Barton said.

And if there were no Muslims at all in Sydney and Melbourne, the message would pretty much fall on deaf ears, allowing of course for the existence of a few gullible or evilly-inclined souls prepared to convert to Islam; and there would be a lot fewer of those if our media and academy and those in authority, both religious and secular, were - instead of drowning us in Islamopuffery morning, noon and night - taking every opportunity to expose Islam and its adherents to richly-deserved rational critique and equally-well-deserved ridicule and scorn. - CM

"This ability to recruit makes his loss significant and very welcome, but, I mean, there's others after him", he said.  "But he's the last most prominent Australian (sic: 'Aussie-passport-holding Muslim jihad recruitment officer' - CM) that we're aware of."

There will be others.  Count on it.  So long as we are stupid enough to keep on making excuses for Islam, and allow the dawa artists and Islamophiles free rein whilst suppressing pretty much all real criticism and questioning of Islam as such, there will be others, other "Neil Prakashes" and Jake Bilardis. - CM

'The Federal Government said the two killings should remind Australians (sic: rather, "Australia-resident Muslims" - CM) that those (sic: say, rather, "Muslims" - CM) who engaged in terrorist activity (who Went Jihad - CM) and moved into overseas conflict zones (sic: 'who went off to wallow in blood in jihad hotspots overseas' - CM) were placing themselves and others at significant risk."

Muslims that plot Jihad in Australia represent a threat to all non-Muslim Australians.  I couldn't care two straws for the risk they themselves run by so doing.  If they choose to behave like enemy combatants and assassins and attack us then if they get shot dead by our police - as the murderer of Curtis Cheng was shot, and as the murderer of Tori Johnson was shot dead, and as the young Muslim man who attempted to stab to death two Aussie cops, was shot - that's their funeral. And as for those that gallop off overseas to wallow in the Jihad blood-bath in places like Iraq or Syria... the only thing that concerns me is that our foolish and wilfully misinformed authorities are not making sure that all such persons, once known to have departed, are prevented from ever returning.  And if they get themselves killed over there, whether they blow themselves up or get obliterated by a US air strike or by Shiite or Alawite bullets (if Sunni) or by Sunni bullets (if Shiite) I simply could not care less.  

Incidentally, if the Government thinks that pointing out the 'significant risk' to 'themselves and others' that is incurred by persons joining Islamic State, will deter them from so doing, they have another think coming.  Those who Go Jihad are doing so in in the light of the classic Islamic belief that those who 'slay and are slain' waging 'jihad fi sabil allah', jihad in the 'path' of 'allah', attain 'paradise'.  The Government should quit trying to influence hearts and minds, and focus, grimly, on reducing the threat that the Ummah Fifth Column poses toward every non-Muslim in Australia.   A complete halt to immigration of all identifiable Muslims would be a good start.  The shutting down and demolitiion of all mosques associated with jihad attacks and/ or the plotting and / or incitement of same, would also be useful.  And as for those who, like Neil Prakash and Ms Shadi Jabar Khalil Mohammed, set off to 'migrate' to the Caliphate, the thing to do is to let them go - do nothing to prevent or dissuade them from departing! the more of them leave the better! let them deport themselves! -  then annul their passports, annul their citizenship (or declare them Exile and Outlaw) and thus prevent them from ever returning. And some sort of program aimed specifically at rationally discouraging Aussie Infidels - such as Mr Prakash once was - from converting to Islam, is long overdue.  It's a total waste of time - and, worse, money! - to futz around with 'deradicalisation' programs aimed at 'cradle Muslims'.  But an intelligent program aimed all-out at immunising young infidels against the deadly siren song of Mohammedan dawa would be well worth a try.  The fewer people convert to Islam, the better.  CM

Posted on 05/05/2016 7:02 AM by Christina McIntosh
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Thinking Inside the Witness Box
British doctors now live in fear: not very great fear, perhaps, but it is never entirely absent. They fear their patients might sue them; they fear to say what they think to their managers; they fear that they might fall foul of the Crown Prosecution Service if one of their patients dies unexpectedly; they fear to protest when they are subjected to absurd and meaningless bureaucratic procedures; above all, they fear the General Medical Council.

The Council’s striking off the medical register of Dr Waney Squier, the neuropathologist who gave evidence in trials concerning babies allegedly shaken to death by their parents, will have sent shivers down the spine of many a medical expert witness in Britain. Among Dr Squier’s faults, apparently, were dogmatism and failure to give due weight to the opinion of her colleagues. Where are we, one feels like asking? The Soviet Union? Maoist China?

In the witness box I am firm, not rigid or dogmatic. It is my colleagues who appear for the other side who are rigid or dogmatic. Not that we experts take sides, of course: we are merely assisting the court. We give scientific evidence; we do not make a case.

Human nature and competitiveness being what they are, however, the desire to win — to have one’s view of the matter accepted by the judge or jury — can sometimes impede one’s impartiality. One begins to think not in terms of facts, but of arguments to support a pre-formed position. Moreover, no one likes to let down the legal team that has made his evidence part of its case. Fatal error in a witness!

I have seen some pretty bad expert evidence given in court, often by the most eminent men in their field. It can be embarrassing to see their destruction in the witness box, though a brilliant cross-examination is a thing of beauty provided that one isn’t at the receiving end of it.

I once saw the most celebrated scientist in his little field deny categorically for medical reasons that the accused could have climbed some stairs when it had already been proved beyond all doubt, and accepted by all sides, that he had in fact climbed those stairs. That was the end of his evidence; he left the witness box completely unaware of the ass he had just made of himself.

Luckily, one recovers one’s self-esteem quickly after a mauling in which one’s evidence has been torn to shreds. When it comes to amour propre, the human immune system works wonders. Who was it who said that the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can know? The counsel for the other side is just a paid hack who will use any trick of sophistry to gain his point and throw dust in the eyes of the judge and jury. Moreover, he has the inherent advantage of any interrogator over any person interrogated. He has no interest at all in The Truth — unlike oneself, of course. It is all too easy to persuade yourself that you did pretty well in the circumstances.

If I were seeking experts, I should not choose the most eminent men in their field. This is for two reasons. The first is that, being so eminent, that have often grown unused to having their opinion challenged. Not all are like this, naturally, but many are. They suffer from what a student friend of mine, now an eminent professor himself, called a hardening of the concepts.

In the witness box, then, they can become inflexible. I have found by experience that the best tactic when opposing counsel makes a good point (I can’t help thinking in the language of victory and defeat rather than of assistance to the court) is to admit it at once. This, more often than not, deflates him, as he was hoping for a foolish obduracy on the part of the witness. He will then be denied the opportunity of a thespian display of quivering indignation.

The second reason why the most eminent men are not necessarily the best witnesses is that they are often very busy. They have a paper to deliver in Prague next week, followed by a departmental meeting, while the deadline for a chapter of a book approaches. They are also on duty for the hospital the day after tomorrow: therefore they have only limited time to devote to the 2,000 pages of documents in the case. They read them as an eagle glides over a mountain range; but the devil is in the detail. Mastery of the papers is what makes a good, or any rate a convincing, witness — assuming, of course, a basic competence in the matter at issue.

What is needed, then, is not a star, but a jobbing but competent plodder who does not consider himself too important to read 2,000 largely irrelevant pages, if only because he fears being decimated in the box. Caution, fear and a certain degree of fight (but not too much) are what make a good witness in the game of law.

The law is not only a game, however: much that is real depends on it. But strategy and tactics are as necessary for the witness to carry his point as possession of the truth uttered with the certainty of an Old Testament prophet. I was once having a torrid time in the box (over a point of no importance, but counsel knew that the jury wouldn’t realise that; he was merely trying to discredit me in advance, and doing quite a good job of it) when I changed the atmosphere by a mild witticism that made even the judge laugh. I think it was a turning point in the trial: certainly counsel never fully recovered the initiative. But one must never try to be Oscar Wilde in the witness box: humour is to be employed in small doses and at precisely the right time.

If medical experts are to be struck off because their evidence is deemed deficient in some way, there will soon be a deficiency of experts. It is, after all, the duty of the courts to sift the evidential wheat from the chaff, and in my experience they do it rather well — considering the imperfectability of man, that is.

First published in The Spectator.

Posted on 05/05/2016 7:30 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 5 May 2016
News Flash: Lindsay Lohan Is “Exploring” Islam
Fox News reported last week that Lindsay Lohan the perennially bad girl of Hollywood is infatuated with Islam. Lindsay, who is famous for being famous, now wants to flirt with converting to Islam. Lindsay, I don’t how to say this to you tactfully, but this is a really, really, really dumb idea, even for you.

Ms. Lohan has appeared before the Judge about 20 times over the last eight years mainly on alcohol and drug offenses. She has almost single handedly kept the posh Hollywood treatment centers in business. She has been dried out more times than a bathroom wash cloth.

Have you, Lindsay, in your vast reading of the Koran ever noticed the penalty for drinking alcohol ?

I think it is a 100 leashes across your bare back for the first offense. You will need a burkha just to cover the scars and welts across your beautiful back and shoulders. But Islam does have a permanent cure for alcoholism if you back slide a second time. The second time you are caught drinking alcohol becomes a capital offense. You will be killed. My guess is either through stoning or decapitation. Neither are pleasurable alternatives.

Let’s assume you do convert to Islam and then discover the error of your ways. There is literally no exit from Islam. Have you “explored” the penalty for leaving Islam? All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence demand the death penalty for the apostate. I am sure with your high profile Jihadis would be lined up around the block to kill the famous Lindsay Lohan. We killed bin Laden, but ISIS would kill you. What terror act could top the spectacular Sharia mandated killing of Lindsay Lohan ?

Lindsay, quit shilling for Islam ! All of you vapid Hollywood types are creating a fantasy Islam, one that has never existed and will never exist in the future. Stop being a useful idiot for Islam.

Hint: While you are exercising your formidable mental powers study the life of Mohammed.

I sincerely fear for your continued existence upon the planet if you do become a Muslim. That decision is irrevocable. Wise up, sweetie, before it is too late.

Posted on 05/05/2016 5:30 AM by John Constantine
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Will the Next American President be Friends with Saudi Arabia?

Just friends, but not like before, just about sums up the present relationship between the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia. It is not a divorce, but rather an estrangement or separation in a less than happy marriage. In happier days the two countries have been involved economically, politically, and militarily. Now, the former Saudi intelligence chief has called for a “recalibration” of relationships. The next U.S. President must attend to the issue.

In 1938 Standard Oil of California (Chevron) found oil in eastern Saudi Arabia. In 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 14, 1945 met aboard a cruiser in the Suez Canal with Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud who brought eight sheep on board to cook for dinner. Military ties were enhanced in the common resistance against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-1989, in the Gulf crisis in 1991, and in the war against Saddam Hussein in 2003.

There were and still remain mutual interests but changes have occurred. For the US the oil of Saudi Arabia was once vital, but the U.S. is now less dependent on oil imports. For the Saudis, the purchase of US weaponry, now said to be at least $95 billion, has been and remains crucial, but the Saudis are less dependent on the US for military security. 

Cooperation continues. The Saudis have been involved in the U.S. led air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, thus symbolizing that the response to ISIS is international, not simply Western. The U.S. has supplied intelligence and logistical support to the Saudi campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The two countries cooperate in intelligence sharing against terrorist activity in the Middle East.

At the same time, differences have become more pronounced, leading President Barack Obama to refer to the Saudis as “our so called allies.” Part of the reason is that Saudi Arabia, under the new King Salman has recognized that that the Obama administration is reluctant to become involved in a Middle East conflict, as was shown in the refusal to take military action regarding the crossing of the “red line” in Syria in August 2013, unless the security of the US is threatened. 

There are a considerable number of differences between the Saudis and the US: Saudi financing of terrorists and Islamist extremism; human rights abuses;  the Obama acceptance  of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt; Saudi actions in the war in Yemen; the Assad regime in Syria;  Iran; the Saudi help to 9/11 terrorists and to al Qaeda; Saudi funding of madrassas with their religious teaching of Wahhabism.

Above all, the Saudis are fearful of what they see as the Obama tilt to Iran, and especially are critical of the Iran nuclear deal.  

The Saudis are therefore playing a more assertive policy, one that includes the use of military force. It is able and willing to play such a role. It has an estimated 268 billion barrels of oil in reserves, 16 per cent of world reserves and $630 billion in financial reserves, though it is using about $60 billion a year.

However, the regime now faces a number of issues: the decline in oil prices from $115 a barrel in 2014 to $35 in 2015; the growth of world competition in oil production and the increase in “fracking” by other countries; the emphasis on reduction of fossil fuels; the disenchanted young; the strength of ISIS; young people, under 30, make up two thirds of the population and a considerable number have no jobs. The unemployment rate is more than 11 per cent.

The key to political and economic changes and plans by the Saudis is the role of the most influential and energetic member of the ruling family, the 30 year old Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the 80 year old King Salman, who became king in January 2015, The Prince is deputy crown prince, defense minister, controller of the economy, and chairman of the Supreme Council of Saudi Aramco , the world’s largest oil producing company  with oil reserves estimated at 261 billion barrels.

In foreign policy Saudi Arabia has taken steps, independently of U.S. policy. It had already broken diplomatic relations with Iran, and now seeks militarily to counter Iranian intervention in Yemen and Syria. It has also trying to create a 34 nation Islamic coalition against terrorism. Prominent Saudis have met with Russian President Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping.

The Saudis are interested in building a military-industrial complex, and a government owned military holding company.  They propose that at least 50 per cent of military purchases would go to local industry. In 2015, defense spending was $87 billon, the third largest amount in the world by a country.

Proposed economic changes from the dependence on oil that accounts for 40 per cent of GDP and 80 per cent of government revenue, may be more important.  The stated ambition of the Prince is to change the economy from an oil funded government dominated system to a more private business role, emphasizing privatization, and private investment. Stability depends on the outcome, since Saudi Aramco has played a dominant role in the domestic economy, in the workforce, in power and water utilities, in 139 government schools, in healthcare, and in approving loans and venture capital investments.

This will mean changes in Saudi social affairs since oil accounts for more than three quarters of state income, about $162 billion. They would include privatization in areas such as health care and education, and investing in manufacturing, and higher taxes on goods. It would also entail accountability in public administration, and the creation of better universities.

The next American President must decide whether Saudi Arabia can be considered an ally of the West or as the home and fountain of Wahhabism, the most extreme form of Islam? The enigma for the West is whether the new assertion of power by the political leaders can limit, if not end, the impact of Wahhabism with its control over education, judiciary, and role of women, and support of terrorist groups.

Any decision for the U.S. must balance the contribution of the Saudis to the fight against terrorism with the reality of the continuance of an oppressive and authoritarian Saudi regime that defines criminal intent as anything that undermines public order or questions Wahhabism and is responsible for an increase in beheadings in 2015, as well as the execution of 47 men on terrorism charges.  

Posted on 05/05/2016 5:16 AM by Michael Curtis
Thursday, 5 May 2016
The Man Behind The Hilarious Conservative Pundit Parody Account Speaks Out

Scott Greer intervews the anonymous man behind "Conservative Pundit" at the Daily Caller.

The Donald Trump campaign has exposed deep divisions within the American political right and driven many conservative commentators to histrionics over the real estate mogul’s antics.

Thus, the birth of the #NeverTrump social media “movement.”

Fortunately, throughout the 2016 campaign, there has been one Twitter parody account that has perfectly skewered the conservative movement’s Trump outrage from the Right at every twist and turn.

The aptly named Conservative Pundit — found at the handle @DemsRRealRacist — has garnered over 14,000 followers and prominent fans such as Ann Coulter. Additionally, for a few brief hours on March 12, the @realDonaldTrump account followed the parody.

Put in the voice of a hypothetical National Review writer who believes Democrats are the real racists, Mr. Pundit tweets out his thoughts on a wide variety of issues...

Continue reading here.

Conservative Pundit's twitter account is here.

Posted on 05/05/2016 4:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Blackburn Muslim Association - Women should not travel more than 48 miles without a male escort

From the Telegraph

Instructions from the Blackburn Muslim Association’s “Department of Theology” insist that it is “not permissible” for a woman to go more than 48 miles – deemed to be the equivalent of three days walk - without her husband or a close male relative.

It also stipulates that men must grow beards and advises women to cover their faces.

The rulings are contained in a question and answer section of the group’s site which offers offer “solutions and answers” to social, religious and financial matters from Sharia teaching, accompanied by the catchphrase: “Allah knows best.”

The group is listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and claims on its website to have received funding from its local council in the past.

....came following a question from David Davies, the Tory MP for Monmouth, during development questions in the Commons. He asked if efforts to improve sexual equality “would be made easier if organisations like the Blackburn Muslim Association were not putting out information to people that women should not be allowed to travel more than 48 miles without a chaperone?”

Lord Green, the founder of the think-tank Migration Watch UK, said: “There is no place in our society for restrictions of this kind on the freedom of women. Muslim leaders would do well to encourage their followers to integrate with our society rather than cut themselves off.”

Blackburn has the third highest percentage of Muslims, after Tower Hamlets and Newham in east London.

Posted on 05/05/2016 4:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 May 2016
West Ham Megamosque latest

The trustees of the Masjid e Ilyas, aka the London Markaz, aka The Riverine Centre, aka the Abbeymills Mosque, best known as the mega-mosque of West Ham took their latest application to the High Court in London yesterday. This was in the form of an application to the Queens Bench Division claiming that the decision last year by the government to refuse the building of a Tablighi Jamaat Mosque and to return the land to the London Borough of Newham for a mixed use community project was a breach of their Human Rights.

I was unable to attend the hearing but those I know who were present tell me that all eight points of their application were rejected by the Judge and the Mosque may get costs, in excess of £30,000 awarded against them. 

Posted on 05/05/2016 2:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Renowned Russian Political Analyst Sergey Karaganov On The New Russia-West Ideological Struggle

MEMRI is now translating Russian newspaper and magazine articles. This one is particularly interesting.

On April 21, 2016, the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia published an article by Russian political analyst Sergey Karaganov;[1] in it, Karaganov states that the disintegration of the Soviet Union created the illusion that the era of "ideologies and ideological struggle was over." However, he adds, the end of the Cold War marked a further deterioration of relations between Russia and the West.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Karaganov writes, Russians were attracted by Western ideals: "Most of the Soviet elite and people, weary of the scarcity and lack of freedom of the era of real socialism, yearned to be in Europe." He adds that Russians were eager to join Europe, its thinkers, Christianity, and traditional values, from which they had been separated for 70 years under the Soviet regime. However, the post-Cold War Europe gradually lost its attraction for the Russian political class, as it started to support NATO's expansion eastwards and European Union policies that did not involve Moscow as an equal partner; additionally, the EU never seriously considered Russia's project to create a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.[2]

On Europe's part, there was a definite fear that Russia was too big an entity to be truly integrated – a fear supported by the belief that integrating Russia into Europe would lead to the disintegration of Europe. However, according to Karaganov, the idea that eventually prevailed was that "the West was using Russia's weakness to eradicate its centuries-old gains and make it even weaker."

Karaganov explains that at this stage, Russia wants to "reclaim its own self" and adds that it could offer the world more attractive values than the West can. He notes that in the Lisbon Treaty, on reform in European integration and cooperation, which came into force on December 1, 2009, the EU included "only" the values of pragmatism, consumerism, democracy, human rights, and law, and added: "Essentially, these values are quite attractive, but may provoke a degradation of both humans and their values if detached from a person's customary devotion to some higher purpose." In contrast, Russia, he says, emphasizes as main values "national dignity" and "courage" – which, he adds, are no longer part of Europe's ideals because they are "perceived as part of [Europe's] dangerous past – from the wars [it] unleashed and lost." Thus, he says, fear of its own past has attracted Europe to concepts such as "nonviolence" and "pacifism," which he considers completely inadequate for facing the challenges of the modern world. Pursing ideals such as pacifism will lead Europe into trouble, he says, as one result of it, mass migration, can deeply damage the West. Therefore, Karaganov suggests, Europe must, in order to survive, begin to pursue "a harsher and more right-wing policy" and "give up some of its democratic freedoms for the sake of order and security."

Russia is different from Europe and proud of it, Karaganov explains. He notes, for example, that Russia is ready to use force to protect its sovereignty and values, while Europe is not. Russia supports Christianity and is ready to defend Christians around the world, while the EU has lost its faith and failed to even mention its Christian roots in the Lisbon Treaty. This is ironic, because the Soviet Union was criticized by the West for its "godless and amoral communism," he says, and asks, "Can one trust those [i.e. the West] who espouse godless 'democratism' and liberalism?" Russia does not need to "export" its ideology, he notes, since this is already "happening de facto" as the Russian approach to the world is becoming more attractive to public opinion. The West, he says, has tried to export "democratism" in an "aggressive manner," so there is now a need for the "non-Western" Russian policy, in order to stop the West's geopolitical expansion.

This view of Europe and the West is shared by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, during his annual live Q&A session on the Direct Line program on April 14, 2016, criticized European liberalism and freedom of movement in the 26-nation border-free European Schengen Area.[3] He said: "Europe is facing serious challenges, and you probably feel safer in Siberia than, say, in Paris or Brussels. I say this without any irony, on the contrary, I am totally serious, giving due credit to our colleagues, who are making attempts to effectively tackle terrorism amidst the complicated conditions of European liberalism. The freedom of movement, the Schengen Area, and many other things related to today's freedoms are used effectively by terrorists, and it is quite difficult to combat this under [European] present laws."[4]

The following are excerpts from an English translation of Karaganov's article published on the website of the Russian foreign affairs journal Russia in Global Affairs:[5]

Read the whole thing here;

Posted on 05/04/2016 1:13 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Kenyan police detain 'Anthrax plotters with links to Isil'

Kenyan police say they have uncovered a plot to launch a “large-scale attack” using anthrax by what is thought to be the country’s first home-grown terrorist cell with links to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

A medical intern at a hospital in the east of the country has been detained and his wife, a fellow medic, was arrested in Uganda, along with another woman. Two other men, also medical interns in Kenyan hospitals, have gone into hiding, said police, who have offered a $20,000 reward for their capture.

Joseph Boinnet, Kenya’s police chief, alleged that the man in custody, Mohammed Abdi Ali, had recruited Isil fighters and plotted to stage attacks in Kenya. The suspects were planning large scale attacks akin to the Westgate Mall attack [in which 67 people died in September 2013] with the intention of killing innocent Kenyans," said Mr Boinnet.  He said Mr Ali's network " also included medical experts with whom they planned to unleash a biological attack in Kenya using anthrax” and were engaged in " the active radicalisation" of students as well as helping to recruit Kenyans "to join terror groups in Libya and Syria".

Western security sources say the latest arrests are indicative of a growing influence by and presence of ISIL-linked militants in East Africa who are separate to al-Shabaab. 

A human rights group said however that Kenyan security forces – who have been criticised for their heavy-handed approach – could be involved in the disappearance of the two wanted medics and came up with the terror plot as a cover story. Al- Amin Kimathi, a human rights activist, said he believed his enquiry about their safety had prompted the police statement.

Posted on 05/04/2016 12:36 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Danish school bars Muslim students from wearing niqab

From the Danish edition of The Local and the Copenhagen Post

An adult education centre in the northern Copenhagen suburb of Lyngby has told six female students that they can no longer attend classes unless they remove their niqabs,

The school in question, VUC Lyngby, said that it changed its rules in the autumn to no longer allow students to cover their faces during class but the case only hit the media this week when a post on the school’s Facebook page led to a debate over its policies. 

“Teaching takes place by means of communication, and as a teacher you can better understand your impact if you can see that what you’re saying is being received by the student. And this cannot be done if they’re wearing a niqab,”  deputy headteacher Inge Voller explained to Metroxpress.

The school said that "everyone is welcome" at the institution and that while no one had been thrown out of class for wearing a niqab, the new policy will applies to all future students at the school. The six women who were told that they would not be able to attend future classes while wearing a niqab have been offered the opportunity to follow along via e-learning.

While the school’s policy had its critics, the majority appeared to agree with the decision. Opinion polls on both Metroxpress and Ekstra Bladet showed that an overwhelming majority of readers backed the school.  

Posted on 05/04/2016 10:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Will Cameron Apologize to Trump?


David Cameron will be cringing today at Donald Trump’s emergence as the likely Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election.

Last December the prime minister called the billionaire businessman “divisive, stupid and wrong” for suggesting that Muslims should be banned from entering America.

When he made these undiplomatic remarks, Cameron had been swept up by the excitement surrounding a UK petition signed by more than 500,000 people calling on the government to ban Trump from entering Britain – an idea Cameron vetoed.

He would have assumed that Trump had no chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

Even so, no other European leader was so outspoken.

Now Cameron is paying for his error of judgment.

One of Trump’s advisers has said Cameron should apologise.

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s London-based foreign policy adviser on Europe and the Middle East, said Trump is considering a tour of both regions but has not yet been invited to Britain by the government.

In a comment to the Times of London Mr Papadopoulos said: “First we need an invitation. Of course, if the United Kingdom extended an invitation it would be a tremendous show of unity and a wonderful spectacle. That invitation has not been extended…If prime minister Cameron is serious about reaching out…an apology or some sort of retraction should happen.”

Diplomats are said to be keen to restore relations as soon as possible, meaning Cameron may find himself in the humiliating position of having to welcome Trump to Downing Street once the tycoon has formally secured the nomination in July.

Cameron’s one possible escape route is that he may lose the EU Referendum on June 23. In which case, he is expected to resign immediately, meaning his successor could shake hands with Trump instead.

Posted on 05/04/2016 10:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Fasten Your Seatbelts, It's Going to be a Bumpy Election

Posted on 05/04/2016 8:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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