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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
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
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky





















Thursday, 31 July 2014
Navi Pillay Is Under The Impression She Can Dictate American Immigration Policy
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She should be slapped down. The U.N. should be slapped down. In the past forty years, it has become -- slowly, at first, and now rapidly -- an organization that would, if it could, deprive the West of the ability to control its own borders, to control its own judicial systems, and to allow its own citizens to better inform themselves about the meaning, and menace, of Islam.

Here, intolerable as always, she is.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Caroline Poetry: Metaphysicals and Cavaliers
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by David Hamilton (August 2014)


This essay on an interesting but ignored aspect of English literature is from my forthcoming book: Some Literary Essays: Comments and Insights (Booklocker).

There were two groups with recognisable styles in the Caroline or the Stuart period (1603–1714) the Metaphysicals and Cavaliers. T.S. Eliot was a great admirer of the movement known as the Metaphysical poets, especially John Donne. His critical appraisal rehabilitated Donne in the second decades of the twentieth century. Donne’s style was crude compared to Ben Jonson and more suited to Verse Satire. Many of these poems show the use of technique but not always depth of meaning.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:27 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Wizard of Lake Turkana
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (August 2014)


From 1988 until 1990 I was based in the district capital of Lodwar on the west side of Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya. Turkana district is a dry land, mountainous in some areas, cross cut by seasonal rivers and forested riversides. It is populated by one Nilotic speaking tribe, the Turkana, who wandered south into this semi-desert, many centuries ago. When I lived among them, now more than a quarter of a century ago, a few of them had taken on the modern, slightly westernized life style of “down country,” that is, of the southern Kenyans. Most lived a traditional tribal life. And so early in my stay I visited parts of the district with an English-speaking colleague. The following are my impressions from that first excursion out of the regional capital.  more>>>
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:22 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Obama's Yemen -- And Yemen
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'The Sana'a Illusion' (Farea Al-muslimi, Foreign Affairs)

"Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that Yemen could be an example for how to bring stability to Iraq. 'You look at a country like Yemen -- a very impoverished country and one that has its own sectarian or ethnic divisions,' he said. 'There, we do have a committed partner in President [Abdu Rabbu Mansour] Hadi and his government.' His comments came as a shock to most Yemenis. The contradiction between their country's political reality and its reputation as an Arab Spring success story has always been glaring, but now it had become absurd.

Just days before Obama spoke, demonstrations -- which were largely ignored by the international media, since few foreign journalists are allowed into country these days -- had broken out in the capital. Angry protesters shut down Sanaa's main streets, burning tires and shouting chants against the transitional government and against Hadi, the man who heads it. Yemenis, it seemed, had simply snapped under the strain of severe fuel shortages, kilometer-long lines at gas stations, and 20-hour electricity blackouts."

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Zerbran at the Bozar
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by Theodore Dalrymple (August 2014)


My wife and I decided to go to Brussels from Paris for the day to see the Zurburán exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The train, however, would have cost us $450, and a flight even more, though the distance is not great. Those are the kind of prices paid by businessmen and bureaucrats (or should I say by taxpayers on behalf of bureaucrats?), to whom they mean nothing, not by art-lovers such as we. We almost gave up. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:11 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Shakespeare Versus Montaigne
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by David P. Gontar (August 2014)


"There is something unknown in knowing."   - Richard Eberhart

I.  Introduction

Recent Shakespeare criticism has suggested a positive influence on the English dramatist by the 16th century French essayist. Though the point has been reiterated until well nigh taken for granted, its accuracy and scope may be questioned. For it is hard to imagine two more different authorial voices. Shakespeare created a vast dramatic realm, including larger-than-life heroes embroiled in sturm und drang. We thrive in the passions of these promethean characters. more>>> 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:00 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Real Nature of the Soul
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by Rebecca Bynum (August 2014)


For millennia mankind has referred to the soul as a human spiritual reality destined to survive the death of the body. Progressive religious experience includes the consciousness of a growing inner reality, something which is born and which develops within. Like a grain of wheat within the husk, which, after the threshing (death), that grain (the soul) is gathered into the barn (heaven) and saved. The husk (the body) is then good for nothing, but to be bound together and burnt, to be returned to the elements from which it came. It is the soul which has value, the soul which is saved. This basic narrative has been fairly universal and constant over the centuries, though it has been thought that the body must be resurrected as a vehicle for the soul's continuance in many theological systems.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 7:52 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
How I Rwanda What You Are
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by Theodore Dalrymple (August 2014)


If ever there were a competition for the most cynical remark ever made, I think François Mitterand’s at the beginning of genocide in Rwanda would stand a fair chance of winning. ‘In those countries down there,’ he is said to have said, ‘a genocide isn’t too important.’  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 7:47 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Dennis Ross: Hamas Needed Money, So It Fired Off The Rockets
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But it may not have expected the Israeli response it got.

Here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 7:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Palestinian flag flown over Tower Hamlets town hall REMOVED after Jewish safety concerns
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From the Express

THE Palestinian flag that was flown over the town hall in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets has been removed following concerns raised the Metropolitan police. The force’s Twitter feed for Tower Hamlets, @MPSTowerHam, this morning said: “it has been confirmed the flag has now been removed”. The tweet was in response to concerns raised by YadbYadUK, a campaign that tracks anti-Semitism online.

A spokeswoman for the Met said officers visited the town hall in London’s Docklands this morning to discuss the concerns, but by the time they arrived, the flag had already been removed.

Sources at the town hall this morning said staff were worried about safety, that they were anxious the flag could become a target for attack. A Tower Hamlets council spokesman was unable to comment. Sources close to the mayor said while the intention was not to fly the flag permanently, they had expected it there more than one day.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 7:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Chris Gunness, Hamas Collaborator From Way Back, Should Be Investigated For Aiding War Crimes
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You can see Chris Gunness, a long-time sympathizer with, collaborator with, call him what you will, the Gazan Arabs, whether of the PLO or of Hamas, reduced to ready tears,  here.  Of course he's only a salient example of a general phenomenon: UNRWA is not, and don't ever think it could be, a disinterested or fairminded party. To work for UNRWA in Gaza, you start out being an Arab sympathizer, or antisemitic, or both, or become one as you live and work in an environment suffused with such sentiments, and no one who ever showed signs of not agreeing with this, of begging here and there to differ, would last long.

 

Chris Gunness was last heard from a few weeks ago, accusing the Israelis of doing nothing to warn civilians at a particular site, when the Israelis had been trying non-stop for two days to get those civilians leave. Unusually for the Israelis, they called Chris Gunness's charge "a flat out and total lie."Read more here.

And of course, Chris Gunness, toiling in the Gazan vineyards of Hamas for many years, a vicious and cruel man, a liar, and surely --how could he not be, given his extraordinary vilification, on every occasion, of Israel - an antisemite, has appeared previously at NER. Just use the search box -- you'll find him. Or if you prefer not to go through all of his appearances, go back to 2009, when Chris Gunness -- who worked at the BBC with Jeremy Bowen for 23 years, misreporting on the Jihad against Israel and Israel's neverending and never-to-be-ended attempts to defend itself against that Jihad -- first tried to get the BBC to accuse Israel of "war crimes." 

What Hamas is doing -- wherre it is hiding the rockets, where it built the tunnel entries and under what civilian areas those tunnels ran, the way in which it tries to convince Gazan Arabs not to leave places they have been warned by the Israelis to leave, firing deliberately in or near places where civilians in large numbers may have gathered -- all this constitutes war crimes. Chris Gunness knows about this, knows no doubt where the rockets were stored, knows about the tunnel entries, knows about the modus operandi of Hamas. But he's a dedicated  propagandist for them, even as he is paid by, or perhaps because he is paid by, the U.N.

Why isn't the Israeli government, or others, in a new League of the Decent Nations,  demanding not only an investigation of UNRWA, for the rockets that were found first at one, and that a second, and then at still a third UNRWA school, and for the tunnel entry that was just found inside an UNRWA establishment, and surely there will be more to come out, but more specifically, an investigation of the activities of weepy Chris Gunness, that collaborator with the pure evil that is Hamas.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 6:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Federal Marijuana Ban Is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia
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Brent Staples writes part 3 of the NYTimes series on marijuana:

The federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime has its origins in legislation that was passed in an atmosphere of hysteria during the 1930s and that was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African-Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time. This racially freighted history lives on in current federal policy, which is so driven by myth and propaganda that it is almost impervious to reason.

The cannabis plant, also known as hemp, was widely grown in the United States for use in fabric during the mid-19th century. The practice of smoking it appeared in Texas border towns around 1900, brought by Mexican immigrants who cultivated cannabis as an intoxicant and for medicinal purposes as they had done at home.

Within 15 years or so, it was plentiful along the Texas border and was advertised openly at grocery markets and drugstores, some of which shipped small packets by mail to customers in other states.

The law enforcement view of marijuana was indelibly shaped by the fact that it was initially connected to brown people from Mexico and subsequently with black and poor communities in this country. Police in Texas border towns demonized the plant in racial terms as the drug of “immoral” populations who were promptly labeled “fiends.”

As the legal scholars Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread explain in their authoritative history, “The Marihuana Conviction,” the drug’s popularity among minorities and other groups practically ensured that it would be classified as a “narcotic,” attributed with addictive qualities it did not have, and set alongside far more dangerous drugs like heroin and morphine.

By the early 1930s, more than 30 states had prohibited the use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. The federal push was yet to come.

The stage for federal suppression of marijuana was set in New Orleans, where a prominent doctor blamed “muggle-heads” — as pot smokers were called — for an outbreak of robberies. The city was awash in sensationalistic newspaper articles that depicted pushers hovering by the schoolhouse door turning children into “addicts.” These stories popularized spurious notions about the drug that lingered for decades. Law enforcement officials, too, trafficked in the “assassin” theory, under in which killers were said to have smoked cannabis to ready themselves for murder and mayhem.

In 1930, Congress consolidated the drug control effort in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, led by the endlessly resourceful commissioner, Harry Jacob Anslinger, who became the architect of national prohibition. His case rested on two fantastical assertions: that the drug caused insanity; that it pushed people toward horrendous acts of criminality. Others at the time argued that it was fiercely addictive.

He may not have actually believed his propaganda, but he fed it by giving lurid stories to the press as a way of making a case for federal intervention. This narrative had a great effect at Congressional hearings that led to the enactment of The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which tried to eradicate the use and sale of the drug through heavy taxation.

Mr. Bonnie and Mr. Whitebread report that the witness list for those hearings contained not a single person who had done significant research into the effects of cannabis. Mr. Anslinger testified that even a single marijuana cigarette could induce a “homicidal mania,” prompting people to want to kill those they loved. The bill passed handily; President Franklin Roosevelt signed it into law.

It was not until 1951, when Congress again took up the issue, that a reputable researcher was called to testify. Dr. Harris Isbell, director of research at the Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Ky., disputed the insanity, crime and addiction theories, telling Congress that “smoking marijuana has no unpleasant aftereffects, no dependence is developed on the drug, and the practice can easily be stopped at any time.”

Despite Dr. Isbell’s testimony, Congress ratcheted up penalties on users. The states followed the federal example; Louisiana, for instance, created sentences ranging from five to 99 years, without parole or probation, for sale, possession or administration of narcotic drugs. The rationale was not that marijuana itself was addictive — that argument was suddenly relinquished — but that it was a “steppingstone” to heroin addiction. This passed largely without comment at the time.

The country accepted a senselessly punitive approach to sentencing as long as minorities and the poor paid the price. But, by the late 1960s, weed had been taken up by white college students from the middle and upper classes. Seeing white lives ruined by marijuana laws altered public attitudes about harsh sentencing, and, in 1972, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse released a report challenging the approach.

The commission concluded that criminalization was “too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use,” and that “the actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.” The Nixon administration dismissed these ideas.

During the mid-1970s, virtually all states softened penalties for marijuana possession. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have made medical use of some form of the drug legal. The Justice Department’s recent decision not to sue states that legalize marijuana — as long as they have strong enforcement rules — eases the tension between state and federal laws only slightly but leaves a great many legal problems unresolved.

The federal government has taken a small step back from irrational enforcement. But it clings to a policy that has its origins in racism and xenophobia and whose principal effect has been to ruin the lives of generations of people.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
“The silence is deafening.”
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David Kirkpatrick writes in the NYTimes:

CAIRO — Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting.

Not this time.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.

“I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas,” he said. “The silence is deafening.”...

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:20 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Nigeria: 10-yr-old girl strapped with explosives arrested •Another female suicide bomber strikes in Kano
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From the Nigerian Tribune

A 10-year-old girl, strapped with explosives, was among the three suspected members of the Boko Haram arrested by Nigerian security forces in Katsina, on Tuesday. The suspects, who were arrested about 10.00 p.m on Zaria Road, Tudun Wada area of Funtua metropolis, were Iliya Dahiru (male), Zainab Musa, 18 and the 10-year-old Hadiza Musa.

Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, made this known on Wednesday, while briefing newsmen in Abuja. "The suspects were arrested in a Honda CRV. When they were directed to disembark for security checks, 10-year-old Hadiza was discovered to have been strapped with an explosive belt and immediately, Iliya and Zainab made attempt to escape with the car, but were later blocked by other concerned Nigerians and subsequently arrested ... It is on this note that we appeal to parents to consciously observe and watch their children’s activities, in order to prevent them from participating in unwholesome activities, particularly terrorism,” 

Also speaking, the Force Police Public Relation Officer, Frank Mba, said that the use of female suicide bombers was not new in the world, but new to Nigeria. He said women raised fewer suspicion, especially where there is security layers, adding that the insurgents had taken advantage of this to recruit female bombers. Mba, who said the Nigerian culture does not allow  male security operatives  to search women, revealed that the security agencies were developing counter-terrorism strategy, by  increasing the number of female security personnel in the stop-and-check areas.

ANOTHER female bomber struck at the Kano State Polytechnic, Kano, on Wednesday, around 2.30 p.m., leaving three persons dead and 13 injured. The latest incident brings to four, number of female suicide bombers that had blown themselves up in Kano lately.

The bomber detonated the bomb after she had entered the premises of the school and had mixed with graduates who had gone to the school to collect their call-up letter for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. The bomber disguised and even put on hijab, leaving no reason to suspect her before a loud bang rented the air.

The state police commissioner, Mr. Adenrele Shinaba, advised the people to be careful, especially with females wearing hijab, adding that it was the new dimension to terrorism in the state.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Sydney, Australia: Solidarity Rally Planned For 2 August 2014, On Behalf of The Christians of Iraq
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If Islamoaware persons reading this notice as of today Thursday 31 July 2014, Australian time, live in or near Sydney, NSW, Australia or will be in Sydney on Saturday 2 August 2014, that is, this coming Saturday, you are strongly encouraged to attend the rally that is being held on behalf of the Christians in Iraq, whose plight grows ever more desperate.

The ABC news report on the driving-out of the Christians of Mosul by the thoroughly-orthodox Muslims of ISIS, which you may read here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/iraq-christians-killed-robbed-and-without-food-and-water/5635562

contains the following information, toward the end:

"The Christian community in Australia is due to hold a protest march on Saturday in Sydney to coincide with the world-wide protests demanding action".

Full details of the planned march are provided by, for instance, the Australian Coptic Movement Association, which is going to attend.

http://www.auscma.com/?p=2784

They write "We call on Australian Christians of all denominations, human rights activists, the media, elected officals and all individuals concerned about the welfare of Iraq's imperilled minorities, to attend this protest and rally in support of these beleaguered communities.

"We also urge people to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi Christians and to communicate this protest to their friends, colleagues, sympathetic individuals, churches and other relevant organisations, whether through mass meetings, or online social media".

Those intending to attend are to meet at Sydney Central Train Station at 9 am on August 2nd; the march will depart on foot from Central Station at 10 am, to undertake a 35 minute walk from Central to Martin Place, where a rally with speeches, etc, will take place from 11 am to 1 pm .

Please, please, please, any Aussie non-Muslims reading this who reside in Sydney or within reasonable travelling distance; be there.

It is my hope and prayer that the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Sydney with their bishops and other clergy will see fit to take part, to show solidarity with the Persecuted Church.

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Posted on 07/30/2014 9:12 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Ubi Sunt: Ani, The Armenian Capital And City Of 1000 Churches
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Posted on 07/30/2014 9:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
No, Not That Kissinger -- The Other One, The Good One
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Posted on 07/30/2014 8:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Vladimir Federovski On The Idiotic Western Policy Toward Russia
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Posted on 07/30/2014 8:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Italian Journalist Gabriele Barbati, Now Safely Out Of Gaza
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His testimony, backing up the IDF's version of an attack Hamas has blamed on Israel, here.

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Posted on 07/30/2014 8:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
IDF: Hamas' Latest Atrocity Shows Why The Campaign Must Continue
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Posted on 07/30/2014 4:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
A Musical Interlude: Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn (Jack Teagarden)
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Posted on 07/30/2014 4:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Uighurs On The Attack
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Read between the lines of "the two versions." If nearly as many policemen were killed as were Uighur protesters, then if you are familiar with how protected the police are, you can imagine the violence of those Uighurs.

And it is a Han lady who is afraid to go out -- afraid, that is, of the rampaging Uighurs.

You know whose side you are on. Don't even pretend for one minute to deplore how the Chinese government behaves. These are Muslim Uighurs, not Tibetans

Here.

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Posted on 07/30/2014 4:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Muslim bank accounts closed by HSBC in wake of 'money laundering' fine
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From the Telegraph, Civil Society and the Daily Mail

Bank accounts belonging to Finsbury Park Mosque and other Muslim groups are being closed down by a major bank amid concerns about money laundering for crime and terrorism, it has emerged.

HSBC notified a number of Islamic groups within the last few days that their accounts would be terminated, leading to accusations of “Islamophobia”.

Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, which was known as a centre of radical Islamist preaching by the cleric Abu Hamza in the 1990s and early 2000s, received a letter from HSBC which said its account was being closed. The letter said the mosque’s business no longer fitted the HSBC’s “risk appetite” but offered no other explanation.

Khalid Oumar, one of the trustees of the mosque, told the BBC they had not been told why the account was being closed and added: “That has led us to believe that the only reason this has happened is because of an Islamophobic campaign targeting Muslim charities in the UK."

Activist Anas Altikriti, chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation, said he met a 'wall of silence' after he was told the account he held with his wife and two sons for 30 years would be shut down.

'When you are left with no explanation, you are left to speculate, from the whole context of the other organisations that have been targeted, I would speculate that it is because of my activism either for Gaza or for the Palestinians.’

Meanwhile, the Ummah Welfare Trust (UWT) was told its account will be closed after two months in a letter from the bank dated July 22, in which HSBC said: 'Provision of banking services to Ummah Welfare Trust now falls outside of our risk appetite.' It is not the first time it has had its bank accounts shut down - Barclays did the same during the conflict in Gaza in 2008.

Trustee Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad, in a video statement on the site, also called on its supporters to join in a 'campaign to boycott HSBC'.

The bank was also criticised on Twitter. Nav Abbasi said: 'HSBC is a racist organisation discriminating against people. Another user, writing under the name Misteclatmer, added: 'HSBC are a bunch of racists'.

Some HSBC customers have even decided to voluntarily close their accounts in protest at the controversial new policy. Sarah Chowdhury said: 'No need for a letter, HSBC. I’ll close my account myself.' 


In a statement HSBC said: "We do not discuss relationships we may or may not have with a customer, nor confirm whether an individual or business is, or has been a customer.  Discrimination against customers on grounds of race or religion is immoral, unacceptable and illegal, and HSBC has comprehensive rules and policies in place to ensure race or religion are never factors in banking decisions."

The bank has not responded to Civil Society News’ inquiry as to how many organisations have been told their accounts will be closed.

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Posted on 07/30/2014 2:25 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Muslim mayor of Tower Hamlets orders the Palestinian flag to fly over town hall 'in solidarity with Gaza'
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From the Telegraph and the Express

Tower Hamlets's Muslim mayor Lutfur Rahman has prompted angry protests after raising the Palestinian flag over the town hall "in solidarity with Gaza". Just 24 hours after it emerged Mr Rahman is to face trial over claims he committed widespread voting fraud, he ordered the flag to fly "in support of a ceasefire and peace".

Jewish leaders condemned the move as "destructive" for community relations as local residents said the council should concentrate on 'potholes and bins' and not international conflicts. 

The move risks angering the Jewish community in the east London borough and fuelling divisions in a borough increasingly used to making headlines for the wrong reasons. A recent review found the council's handling of the local and European election count was 'inadequate'.

Previous motions by councillors to have the flag raised in Tower Hamlets have failed repeatedly but today's move came under the directly elected mayor's executive powers.

Tower Hamlets was once home to tens of thousands of Jews who had fled pogroms in Europe in the 19th century however today very few Jews live in the area. One who does is Cllr Peter Golds, the leader of the Tory opposition group and who has previously complained of being called "Zionist scum". This in the council chamber, by other councillors who, while usually conducting business in Bengali are prepared to use English for the purpose of insults. 

He said in reaction to today's move: "I'd have thought a council which has a problem counting votes had better things to concentrate on than conducting foreign policy."

Tory party chairman Grant Shapps told MailOnline: "This is an administration that cannot even organise their own election count, let alone intervene on foreign affairs in the Middle East. 

Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "Mayor Rahman should remember that he is flying a flag from a British town hall in support of an organisation that is regarded across Europe and the world as terrorist. It is totally inappropriate. It is also destructive of relations between the communities that make up our capital city." 

Already this month there have been angry rows about Preston Town Council and Bradford Council flying the Palestinian flag. David Israel of the Leeds Jewish community said the Preston council was wrong to take sides in the conflict. "Innocent Israeli civilians have suffered through war and conflict," he told the BBC. "If you're going to put up one flag you need to put up the other flag to show support for innocent civilians on both sides on the conflict." 

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Posted on 07/30/2014 1:53 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
"Australians"
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Posted on 07/30/2014 11:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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