Friday, 30 November 2018
Gerard Batten Suggests Muslim-Only Prisons (Part Three)
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Gerard Batten should now follow up on his own suggestion, go on the offensive, appear repeatedly before the public, ideally on television, and make the following points:

First, we know that there is a very grave safety problem in prisons where there are both Muslims and non-Muslims — as there now are everywhere in Great Britain. The problem goes only one way: Muslim threats against, and bullying of, and even attacks on, non-Muslim prisoners. We know that this causes great anxiety for non-Muslim prisoners, as they have reported, and as a result, some — quite a few –convert to Islam not out of conviction, but out of fear. And as the number of Muslims in a particular prison increases as a result of these conversions, the greater the perception by the remaining non-Muslims of the danger to them, and prison conversions increase even more. The problem only worsens.

Second, to those who scoff and think this is not a real problem, I draw your attention to the reports by prison officials on the reasons for these prison conversions to Islam. They do include such things as prisoners wanting the better food that, it is rumored, Muslims receive, particularly at Ramadan, and the time that Muslims enjoy outside their cells in order to participate in communal prayers. Islam also offers the welcome discipline of its many rules. But the main impetus for conversion is fear, if we are to believe those prison officials, including guards who observe the interactions of groups of prisoners. We also have the testimony of prisoners who refused to convert, and who describe the pressures that are brought to bear on them. We should not allow such fear to pervade our prisons.

Third, we know that the Qur’an teaches Muslims to despise Unbelievers, Kuffar, non-Muslims. They are described in Qur’an 98:6 as ‘the most vile of creatures.” More than 100 verses in the Qur’an are about waging jihad, holy war, against the Unbelievers. Muslims are told to be loyal to one another, observing the principle of Al-wala’ wa-l-bara’, but hating the Infidels. They are told never to take Christians or Jews as friends. Anyone who thinks I am making this all up should read the relevant Qur’anic verses, and some of Muhammad’s more telling hadith. Are we really to ignore the texts and teachings of Islam, or shouldn’t we take them seriously, and study them with the utmost care, for they explain the hostile behavior of Muslim prisoners toward the non-Muslims, unless, of course, they are in the midst of converting someone.

Fourth, are we going to allow ourselves the freedom to discuss what prison conversions mean, both inside prisons and in the larger society, when many of those prisoners who enter as non-Muslims are then, often out of palpable fear, converted to Islam, and in turn, help to swell the ranks of Muslims, both in and, when they are released, out of prison? The prisoners who do convert, and many have violent backgrounds, tend unsurprisingly to embrace, a more extreme and violent variety of Islam. Are we  not to take note of that reality, to pretend that these prison-factories of converts should be of no worry to us? How much longer will we go on, whistling in the dark?

If it is not possible to create Muslim-only prisons, what might be acceptable? What about placing non-Muslim and Muslim prisoners in different wings, or on different floors, of the same prison? What about, as well, letting the non-Muslim and Muslim prisoners out for exercise in the prison yard at different, non-overlapping times, in order to lessen the possibility of conflict and threat? And if Muslim prisoners are allowed out of their cells for communal prayer, should not other prisoners be allowed out of their cells for an equal time, either for prayer or simply for meditation, in the interests of equity? As for the rumors about halal food being superior to the regular fare, why not take steps to end that dangerous rumor, by improving perceptibly the food the non-Muslims are given? If this is objected to, the prison authorities can explain that it was the prisoners themselves, including the Muslim prisoners, who appeared to believe that the halal food was superior, and that there was more of it, and this latest step was taken not to favor non-Muslims, but only to even things out and end that perception.

These suggestions, I hope, will help to start a national discussion on our prisons, on the massive number of conversions to Islam taking place in them, and what, if anything, we can and should do about it. I look forward to reading your emails about this critical matter. Thank you.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 11/30/2018 2:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 30 November 2018
“America’s former president Obama chose Shia Iran over Sunni Saudi Arabia, this was a terrible idea” – Prof. Phyllis Chesler
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Prof. Phyllis Chesler is an internationally known name. She is a writer, opinion maker, research scholar and academician. She has written more than eighteen books including the best-seller Women and Madness (1972). Recently she accorded an exclusive interview to Blitz editor Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. Here are the excerpts:

Blitz: Profound gratitude for kindly agreeing to this interview. We know you are a powerful writer, opinion maker, professor emerita of psychology  and women’s studies at the College of Staten Island, (City University of New York/CUNY) and globally acclaimed research scholar. You have authored more than eighteen books including the best-seller Women and Madness (1972). You have been writing on diversified issues including anti-Semitism, Islam and honor killing. You have been arguing saying many western intellectuals, including leftists and feminists, have abandoned Western values in the name of multicultural relativism, and that this has led to an alliance with Islamists, an increase in antisemitism, and to the abandonment of Muslim women and religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries. Do you see this trend actually helping Islam in expanding fast in the West?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. When a Jihadist terrorist attack is launched by a Muslim screaming “Allahu Akhtar,” whose computer contains instructions to kill the Infidel, who attends a mosque known for “radical” ideas, and whose wife wears hijab and/or Niquab, the Western media usually claims that this was the act of a mentally ill lone individual, not the act of a Jihadist soldier. The Western media and progressive professoriate have been writing and saying this for so long and have been mocking all other views as “paranoid,” “racist,” and “alarmist” that by now, several generations in the West refuse to believe their eyes. Although Islam is not a race but an ideology, a theology, a radically totalitarian force in history, all those Westerners who pride themselves on being anti-racist, multi-culturally relativists, refuse to admit that Islam has always preached war, not peace; that it has always preached death to the infidels, especially the Jews, but also Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ba’haii, Zoroastrians, pagans, and today, overwhelmingly Christians; and that Islam has also practiced gender apartheid.

Blitz: You are the eldest of three children raised in a working class Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. As a youth you joined the Socialist-Zionist, anti-religious youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair, and later Zionist youth movement, Ein Harod. Recently we are seeing socialism clashing with Zionism. We can bring here the example of Aledria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected member of the US Congress. Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed socialist has been echoing the voice of the enemies of the Jewish State. In your opinion, why socialists are opposing Israel?

Answer: What was once liberalism and even democratic socialism has become increasingly hardened into fascist-socialism. Face-masked and violent demonstrators shout down all who are not among them, censor all speech and thought that does not agree with their own. Once, Soviet Russia had hoped and believed that Israel, with its socialist-style kibbutzim would become a socialist paradise. That did not happen. Soviet Russia, with geopolitical interests of its own in the Middle East turned on tiny Israel and made common cause with the Muslim Arab League and eventually with Khomeini’s goons.

Blitz: You have played important role for the religious rights of Jewish women in Jerusalem. Do you think, in today’s world, Jewish women are enjoying rights to religion?

Answer: Globally, and in Israel, Jewish women are studying Torah, becoming experts on Jewish law, (halachic scholars), and teachers. In the West, Jewish women are rabbis. Religious literacy is increasing among Jewish women. However, the Jewish state is a theocratic state (just as neighboring states are all Muslim) and only Orthodox rabbis control matters of marriage, divorce, conversion and burial. Jewish women and men both in Israel and in the West are fighting for expanded religious diversity, acknowledgement, and rights. I have been part of a group that prayed at the Western Wall in the women-only section for the first time in 1988. Had Muslim women done the equivalent in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or Sudan, they would have been be-headed or jailed for a long time. Ultra-traditionalists fear that if women become religiously autonomous and authoritative that our entire precious tradition will be lost. This struggle is very important but it is a tribal struggle. I am not willing to defame Israel in the court of public opinion given the double and triple standards by which Israel is unfairly judged.

Blitz: The case of Jamal Khashoggi is receiving huge media coverage. All of us know, Khashoggi was an associated with Muslim Brotherhood and had been defending Al Qaeda. There is a public perception saying Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are playing the Khashoggi card with the agenda of isolating the Saudi royals. What is your opinion on this matter?

Answer: This seems probable but I have no inside information. Ironically, Turkey has also killed or exiled a huge number of journalists or thinkers whom the government perceived as dangerous dissidents. Khashoggi’s murder is being used for rank political gain.

Blitz: With gravest concern, we have been witnessing the rise of antisemitism in a number of countries in the world. There is an argument saying anti-Zionism actually leads to antisemitism and Israel bashing. What is your opinion on it?

Answer: In my 2003 book “The New Anti-Semitism,” I explained that today, anti-Zionism=(equals) Racism. Today, the Jewish state is the Jew of the world, the whipping girl, the scapegoat for the crimes committed by others. My fear is that given that so many blood libels have been launched and believed that the next step is, once again, fully underway with graffiti, cemetery vandalism, physical attacks on Jews, mass murder of Jews. One important and recent book about the Jew-hating blood libels is “Jews Make The Best Demons: Palestine And The Jewish Question” by Eric Rozenman. I would also recommend the work on Professor Richard Landes at his website “The Augean Stables.” Professor Andrew Pessin and Ben Dror-Yemini have also addressed the blood libels that still menace the Jews.

Blitz: According to historical fact, Palestinian’s statehood is illegitimate. Arabs adopted the Roman term “Palestine”, a word which is has no meaning in Arabic. Palestinians claimed indigenous status as “Palestinians” who lived in the area for generations. A review of history though, shows that from the time of the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans, the inhabitants of the area fluctuated. Yasser Arafat’s full name for example, is Yasser Yusuf Arafat, Al-Qudwa, Al-Husseini. While he claimed he was born in Jerusalem, he was born in Cairo and his father’s family originates from the tribe of Al-Qudwa, which is in Syria. His mother, Husseini, was an Egyptian citizen, though the name exposes her roots in the region between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Considering these facts, one can easily say – the so-called statehood of the Arabs is false. What is your opinion on this?

Answer: I have recently written an article for Israel National News which argues that “Palestine” is an imaginary country. But today many people believe that we can construct our reality—that there is nothing “real” out there. Thus, someone can say they are African when they are really Caucasian. A man can say that he is really a woman and a woman can say that she is really a man. I disagree with all this. However, the more imaginary the concept is, the more sacred it seems to become. Disbelief in its existence or sacredness leads to harassment, death threats, etc.

Blitz: Do you see the conflict between Israel and Arabs as a political one or religious? 

Answer: It is a religious struggle on the part of the Arab Muslim countries. The entire Muslim world is already “Judenrein,” it has been ethnically cleansed of Jews. What’s left is Jewish Israel—which the Muslim world has not been able to abide. Christians are also under the most profound siege in Muslim lands today. The West is terrified of Muslim violence. What other reason can there be for Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi not yet being granted asylum by the Vatican – or by any other Western country?

Blitz: There are allegations of ‘Palestinian authorities’ giving jihadist indoctrination to their children. By doing so, aren’t they violating international rules?

Answer: They are—but Muslim-on-Muslim crimes are rarely acknowledged or condemned by either Muslims or non-Muslims. Killing your own daughter for “honor” has not been prosecuted by world bodies or covered that adequately in the world media. Using children as human shields, turning children into homicide bombers, has been a Muslim-on-Muslim crime. This has not been prosecuted in international legal forums. It is important to understand that there are anti-Islamist Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents whose lives have been threatened or taken in this war of ideas, this clash of civilizations. Think: Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Seyran Ates, to name only a few.

Blitz: Iran poses grave threat to security in the Middle East and the world. It is evidently proved – Iran is a terror patron nation. Iranian regime chants slogans of elimination of Israel from the map of the world. There are some countries, particularly Muslim nations, who too are echoing this Iranian madness. By doing so, aren’t they also becoming cohorts or collaborators of a terror patron nation?

Answer: Iran has exported propaganda and terror. It was behind blowing up the Jewish Center in Argentina and is now in Gaza and Syria. It’s own civilians are at the mercy of mad mullah leaders. America’s former president Obama chose Shia Iran over Sunni Saudi Arabia. This was a terrible idea.

Blitz: What are your personal views about BDS and J Street? Do these groups pose any threat to Israel and the Jewish population? 

Answer: They do not pose an immediate threat to Israel but they are adding to the Blood Libels against the Jewish people.

Blitz: A section of Jews are also seen opposing to Israel. They even demand elimination of the Jewish State. Does such tendency cause any harm to Israel?

Answer: I have written about this many times before as have Ruth Wisse, Edward Alexander, and Kenneth Levin. Some Jews sincerely believe that opposing their own people is a Jewish ethical obligation if there people seem to be doing something wrong. Some Jews feel that the burden of being Jewish and under suspicion, under siege, is too heavy a burden for them and they want to be safe, loved, and popular; thus, they believe that by being the first to criticize alleged or real imperfections in the Jewish state that they, personally, will be spared Jewish fate.

Blitz: There are a section of people who though support the State of Israel but oppose Zionism. In your opinion, how much important is Zionism for the existence of the State of Israel?

Answer: In our times, one must support the right of the one and only Jewish state to exist.

Blitz: In today’s world, media plays an important role. Israel has always been facing an adverse or biased media. Even international news outlets are evidently seen inclined towards anti-Israel bias. Under such circumstances, as a writer, scholar and defender of Israel, how will you assess the importance of a newspaper like Blitz, which has been consistently defending Israel and promoting Zionism for past 15 years?

Answer: The Blitz is, quite simply, doing God’s work. May your readership and influence continue to grow and may you inspire others to follow in your path. Long ago, I called for an “Iron Dome” against the ugly propaganda war against the truth, the West, Western enlightenment values, and the Jews.

First published in Weekly Blitz.

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Posted on 11/30/2018 9:48 AM by Phyllis Chesler
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Friday, 30 November 2018
The Anti-Trump Hysterics Roll On
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Journalists froth as the Mueller special-counsel investigation rumbles toward its third year.

by Conrad Black

Contrary to the reasonable hopes and the expectations of some that the midterm elections would accelerate a normalization of the American political climate, nothing of the kind seems to be happening. Almost no one is saying much that is sensible. The chief justice, John Roberts, claimed with a straight face that once aboard a federal bench, judges and justices shed any previous political or public-policy biases they might previously have had. His own Supreme Court and the titanic struggles over confirming nominees of administrations of either party to it, make nonsense out of such a claim. Roberts’s own record in his present exalted office indicates that his theory of the miraculous immaculate transformation of incoming federal judges is bunk, apart from his rescue of Obamacare by his spurious finding that it was a tax (presumably to avoid a massive confrontation of the kind that Presidents Jefferson and Jackson had with Chief Justice Marshall and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had with Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes).

Equally fictitious, though from a less prominent person, was Fox News’s Chris Wallace’s theory, repeated as if on autocue in his interview with President Trump, that the label “Fake News” demeaned every practicing journalist in Washington and, unspecifically, beyond Washington because the craft of political journalism covering the U.S. federal government is indivisible. Wallace is an intelligent and fair professional of great experience and engaging public manner; why he would put forth such an absurd proposition escapes comprehension. It might as well be argued that encountering a car that was a lemon meant that all cars from that manufacturer were bad, or swallowing a bad oyster meant that oysters were inedible. The president tried admirably to liberate the ordinarily sensible Wallace from the grip of this mad dogmatism.

An oceanic volume of tears was shed over the cruel and barbarous fate of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor and recent American resident, Muslim Brotherhood member, and Saudi critic of the Saudi regime, apparently in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi officials allegedly directed by the prince regent, Mohammad bin Salman. It appears to have been a disgusting and thoroughly premeditated crime. There is plenty of precedent among America’s allies for such crimes. The Soviet Union, which suffered 95 percent of the human casualties and 99 per cent of the physical damage in subduing Nazi Germany, was led by the almost incomparably barbarous Josef Stalin, who murdered more people than our common enemy, Hitler, but was no less valuable an ally for that. The “Free World,” which the United States led to victory in the Cold War, included in its ranks Spain’s dictator, Francisco Franco, Portugal’s Salazar, the Shah of Iran, Chiang Kai-shek, South Korea’s Syngman Rhee, the feudal monarchic despotisms of Arabia, and many of the bemedaled but often blood-stained juntas and strongmen of Latin America, Turkey, Greece, Pakistan, and post-Sukarno Indonesia. The fact that Mao Tse-tung was responsible for the deaths of scores of millions of Chinese did not make him any less prestigious in the United States, nor a less desirable party with whom to triangulate the relationship with the USSR starting in 1972.

Khashoggi had recently become an American resident of convenience, but that did not make his fate at the hands of the government of his country any particular business of the United States. Life is cheap in the Middle East, the hypocrisy of the high-handed Erdogan regime in Turkey is especially grating, geopolitical realities make Saudi Arabia a valuable ally opposite the Iranians and Palestinians, and the remonstrations of the U.S. government have driven the Saudis to denounce and disown their own actions and purport to try individuals responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. The purists who imagine that if everything is hinged on holding others to ideal standards, the United States can conduct any foreign policy at all beyond tourism, a little trade, and a few cultural agreements are dreaming. The rotten criminal justice system of the United States itself (99 percent conviction rate, 97 percent without trial) does not meet standards distinctly higher than some despotisms. And the United States has to outgrow this tendency of questioning every relationship it has except with squeaky-clean democracies, every time the heat comes up. We were in a time-warp last week, when the inevitable, imperishable Noam Chomsky blamed illegal immigration on the United States for not providing the funds and expertise to eradicate poverty in Latin America.

The hardiest perennial of all was the lambasting by the anti-Trump media of the president’s dismissal of the latest National Climate Assessment, predicting the virtual incineration of the Earth in the balance of this century if we don’t abolish the use of fossil fuels. The same or similar people said almost the same thing in my own memory about over-population, insecticide use, nuclear after-effects, famine, pollution, a new ice age, global warming and climate change (i.e., weather). Helene Cooper of the New York Times advocated becoming “hysterical” as a logical response. Paul Krugman of the same newspaper accused Trump of “depravity” for not listening to Dr. Mann, author of the infamous fictitious “hockey stick” of skyrocketing world temperatures. Slightly related was the brief claim by Hawaii’s Democratic senator Brian Schatz that the administration had violated international protocols banning chemical weapons by using tear gas at the Mexican border, as the Obama administration had uncontroversially done dozens of times.

The arrival of the migrant caravan at Tijuana substantially validated all the predictions the administration had made about it, and even the anti-Trump media had some trouble with mobs throwing rocks at U.S. border officials and concentrated attempts to scale walls. The Democrats are edging closer every week to acknowledging a desire to admit anyone who seeks entry, the release of local authorities from any obligation to enforce border-rules, and the prohibition of census-takers from inquiring into citizenship, even though that will make the calculation of the population for purposes of allocating numbers of congressmen and Electoral College members impossible. (There are now 22 million people living in the United States illegally.)

And the Mueller special-counsel rumbles toward its third year. So desperate have Mueller’s efforts and those of his rabidly Democratic staff members become that in trying to extort and suborn inculpatory perjury about the president, they are facing a revolt from the victims, led by Paul Manafort from his solitary confinement cell, but emulated now by Jerome Corsi. Rather than cooperate (i.e., lie) after being catechized by Mueller, to avoid facing the extremes of the American kangaroo courts, they are refusing Mueller, and effectively betting on the failure of Mueller to make good on his mission to take down or seriously discommode the president. Mueller is escalating the terror campaign against Manafort by inciting state prosecutions, insusceptible to the president’s power of pardon. The Democrats have been shouting from the housetops about protecting Mueller, but Trump has no interest in shutting him down. Mueller has nothing, and his terrors don’t impress its victims. What is inexplicable is the president’s delay in naming an attorney general. He must have been considering this question since it became clear that Jeff Sessions was a prosecutorial eunuch 18 months ago. The only reason that comes to mind for his waiting is because he wants to see if the Democrats are going to be stupid enough to try to impeach him, which would not only fail and backfire, it would be a gold-edged invitation to send the Clinton campaign and Obama Justice Department in droves to the grand jury, and on from there on the conveyer-belt of American criminal justice to the fate they deserve.

The chief subject of any such activity had a little-publicized setback in Canada this week. The Clintons attempted to pack out the stadium where the Toronto big-league basketball and hockey teams perform, and it was a fiasco. Less than half the tickets sold, scalpers were almost giving them away in the hours before the occasion. The questions were very soft, and Bill had to filibuster while Hillary had a coughing spell. Between them, the Clintons devised a new charge against the man who won the last election: Donald Trump and his family are fronting corrupt Saudi interests. Hillary accused Trump of being a Russian agent in her last book but has shuffled the puppet-masters responsible for the injustice of her defeat. This tired road-show, at least, seems no longer to have legs. Let no one deny progress when we see it. Why they imagined the Canadians would have any interest in their itinerant soap opera is another mystery.

First published in National Review Online.

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Posted on 11/30/2018 7:14 AM by Conrad Black
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Friday, 30 November 2018
Beware, the Russians are Coming
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by Michael Curtis

It is unlikely that President Donald Trump ever regarded relations between the U.S. and Russia as friendship, just a perfect friendship, and that when other friendships have been forgot, their's will still be hot. As a result of actions in November 25, 2018 by Russia against Ukraine, Trump was even less likely to sing happy days are here again if he met Vladimir Putin in Buenos Aires in December 1-2, 2018. He cancelled any meeting with Putin where he could have reaffirmed that Russia has been guilty of aggression, that its annexation of Crimea is illegal occupation, that it should stop its creeping annexation of more territory from former Russian associates, and that it should end its attempts to destabilize Ukraine and its support for Russian-backed separatists whose hostile actions have already cost 10,000 lives.

For some, the details of the Rusian action on November 25 may be disputed, but it is evident that it continues the Russian attempt to stengthen its influence and control in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, and its pressure on Ukraine, in defiance of understanding between the two sides. In 1997 the two countries signed an agreement that allowed Russia to retain ownership of most ships in the Black Sea fleet based in the Ukrainian Crimea, while Russia paid rent to use the port of Sebastopol. 

The countries agreed on December 24, 2003 that the Sea of Azov, the shallow sea, 220 miles long and 110 miles wide, and an area of 15,000 square miles, and the narrow, nine mile-wide, Strait of Kerch would be shared territorial waters. They were put under common management, but there is no demarcation border between the two countries. Kerch is the only connection between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and the only way to reach the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyausk. According to this 2003 agreement the Sea of Azov is not a Russian lake, and Russia has no legitimate claim to control Azov. Nor is the Kerch Strait a possession of Russian inland waters.

The course of pseudo-friendship never did not run smoothly. The roses faded fast with animosity between the two sides that took various forms. Few would agree with Vladimir Putin that Russia and Ukraine are "one people." Ukraine had its share of supporters and opponents of identification with Russia. This was clear in the 2004 Ukrainian  presidential election, with media bias, electoral fraud, and poisoning by dioxin of a major candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, which at first count resulted in the victory of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. This was disputed and he was replaced by more pro-Western Yushchenko.

In November 2013 Russia pressured Yushchenko to suspend talks of trade and possible political link with EU, in favor of choosing closer ties with Russia. It drove him from power, but the talks did lead to the EU-Ukraine Agreement, including the right of Ukrainians to travel, to the EU without visas, though Ukraine is not a member of EU.

However, this was followed by protests in Ukraine, and riots in February 2014 when police fired on protestors, and 90 were killed. Pro-Russian activists seized parliamentary and government buildings, and raised the Russian flag in Simferopol, capital of Crimea. In a referendum on March 16, 2014, 97% voted to join Russia. Immediately after this annexation of Crimea, in April 2014, pro-Russian officials in Donetsk and Lugansk declared these regions of Ukraine to be independent. 

The escalation in hostilities is about the Sea of Azov, half the size of Lake Superior, and the Kerch Strait which is the passage way linking the Sea to the Black Sea. The Sea of Azov is important for Ukraine because 80% of Ukraine exports pass through it, now that since 2014 Sebastopol is a federal city of Russia. Technically, Ukraine and Russia both enjoy free use of Sea of Azov, but Russia has denied access to Ukraine ships, stopped some of them, and impeded maritime traffic. After the annexation of Crimea, Russia is able to control both sides of the Kerch Strait and thus access to Ukraine's own ports. Those ports are effectively under blockage by Russia, and many Ukrainian ships, now over 35, have been prevented from carrying out normal operations. 

Tensions were heightened by a number of factors. One was the assassination in Donetsk City on August 31, 2018 of pro-Russian Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. A second was building by Russia of the twelve mile multidollar bridge, cost of $3.6 billion, the longest in Europe, constructed without Ukraine consent, ignoring international law, and which is another ploy to legitimize the occupation of the Crimean peninsula.  

The bridge across the Kerch Strait, with rail and road availability, linking the Crimean peninsula to mainland Russia, which opened in May 2018, is low-lying, lower than international standards. It affects the size of Ukrainian ships able to enter Sea of Azov, and Ukrainian access to its two ports, Mariupol and Berdyansk. In fact it harasses and delays shipping thus resulting in lost revenue for Kiev. Ukrainian living standards have dropped largely because of Russian pressure.

On September 16, 2018, Ukraine, conscious of continuing Russian hostilities announced that it planned to strengthen its coastal defenses along the Sea of Azov coastline, add navy ships, patrol boads, an anti-ship cruise missile Neptune, ground forces, and deploy armored artillery boats to the port of Berdyansk.  

Russia has deployed warships and patrol boats in the area. Estimates suggest that the Ukranian navy has 66 combat and auxiliary naval units and 11,000 service forces. Russia’s Black Sea fleet has 2,800 vessels and 25,000 service forces. Kiev believes that Russia has 40,000 troops deployed in Crimea which is well armed with battalions of anti-aircraft systems and is receiving the S-400 surface to air missiles from Russia, as well as 40 ships in the Sea of Azov. Qualitatively, Russia also has the advantage that its ships are larger than those of Ukraine. 

On November 25, 2018, violence escalated. Russian forces unexpectedingly seized three Ukrainian naval vessels, a military tug and two armored gunboats, trying to sail to ports through the Kerch Strait, and their 24 crew members. 

In spite of denials by Putin the facts are clear, a Russian vessel  rammed the Ukrainian tugboat, and fired on the other two small Ukrainian vessels. The Russians falsely claimed the Ukrainian ships were performing maneuvers and were trespassing in Russian waters. For them the Rusian border guards were fulfilling their military duty in firing on the vessels which Putin said had refused to communicate with the Russian guards. 

Putin, probing for foreign weakness and complacency, has also allocated blame. He blamed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for staging the incident in his desire to succeed in the game of domestic politics and win reelection in the March 2019 presidential election. And, in somewhat convoluted logic, he blamed the "West" for his friction with Ukraine because anti-Russian attitudes in the West meant Kiev could get anyway with anything.  

The response of Poroshenko has not only been to warn of further Russian aggeression, but to declare, with parliamentary approval, 30 days of martial law in the ten border areas subject to possible Russian aggression. This means among other things that only Ukrainians can enter the country, but it does not mean a declaration of war. 

For the U.S., Ambassador Nikki Haley responded forthrightly by calling the Russian action yet another reckless Russian escalation, and an outrageous violation of sovereign territory. The U.S. strongly supports Ukrainian sovereignty and terrritorial integrity wthin its internationally recognized borders.

Foreign intervention has not been helpful to Ukraine. The Minsk ceasefire fire process of September 2014 joined by France and Germany, in 2015, did not work, and fighting continued in Donbass. Poroshenko has called on NATO, of which it is not a member, to deploy ships to the Sea of Azov to provide security. There may not be a military solution, but deterrence is possible and desirable to prevent  the restoration of the old Russian empire, Putin's objective. The days of imperialism are over, Ukraine is not a colony. 

Does the U.S. have a role? President Trump can consider giving Ukraine advanced defensive weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and land based anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and help to the Ukranian ports in Odessa and Mykolaiv. He might try to persuade Europeans to cancel the Nord Stream 2 and South Stream pipe line projects which foster European dependence on Russian oil. The West may have given up on Crimea, but it should not do so on the Sea of Azov.

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Posted on 11/30/2018 6:32 AM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 29 November 2018
Gerard Batten Suggests Muslim-Only Prisons (Part Two)
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

To understand the scope of the prison conversion problem, consider that in the US, while Muslims make up 1% of the total population, they now make up 12-15% of the prison population, and an even higher percentage of the population in the most violent, maximum-security prisons. Between 2001 and 2014, a quarter-million prisoners converted, and the number keeps rising, ever more steeply, until it now stands at 40,000 per year.

In Australia, almost all of the inmates in the Supermax (High Risk Management Correctional Centre) are Muslim, with only a handful of non-Muslims. Of the Muslim inmates in Supermax, those serving sentences for non-terrorism-related violent criminal offences (including murder, etc.) are  inmates “who converted to Islam behind bars.” The Australian reported that “Islam has become an obsession for the violent inmates […] inside Supermax.”

In France, of the total French prisoner population, “a significant proportion of them are converts” to Islam who converted in jail. In 2015, of the 67,500 prisoners behind bars,  an estimated 70% were Muslim, despite Muslims comprising only 8% of the general French population. In some of the toughest urban prisons, like those near Paris and Marseille, the percentage of Muslim inmates is even higher.

In the UK, according to the “Muslim Prisoners’ Experiences” report by Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owens, conversion to Islam in prisons is attributed to converts seeking “support and protection in a group with a powerful identity” and “perceptions of material advantages of identifying as Muslim” in prison, including perks or “material benefits” available only to Muslims “such as more time out of their cell and better food during Ramadan if they become Muslim.”

Gerard Batten does not believe the Western world can afford to ignore this steady source of converts, some of whom — like Jose Padilla in the U.S. and several of the French terrorists — upon being freed engaged in acts of terror. That is why he has made the commonsensical suggestion that there be Muslim-only prisons. Only thus could non-Muslim  prisoners be protected from Muslims who both threaten them — leading to many conversions for safety’s sake — and who attempt to persuade them to convert, to obtain all the benefits, psychic (a sense of belonging, a sense of discipline) and practical (better food, more time outside cells for communal daily prayers) that converting to Islam seems to offer.

But could it ever be  possible? In the United States, given the Equal Protection of the Laws clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which applies to the states, and is also held to apply to the Federal government  through the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, it would be impossible to establish Muslim-only prisons. Such prisons would almost certainly be held to violate the Equal Protection clause. And if it were suggested that such a prison be built, and the issue were litigated, it is hard to imagine that the government could offer an interest strong enough to withstand the highest level of review, that of strict scrutiny. No Supreme Court is going to conclude that the government has an interest so great in separating Muslim and non-Muslim prisoners that it trumps the Constitutional principle. What government would dare to state that it had “an overriding interest in minimizing the number of conversions to Islam”? It couldn’t be done, even if we can see the baleful effects of those prison conversions, which might be prevented by completely separating Muslim from non-Muslim prisoners.

The United Kingdom does not have either a written constitution, or anything in its “unwritten” constitution that prevents such segregation by religion, if the justification for it were to be national security. But in the U.K. as well it would be difficult, in the current climate, to publicly recognize why the number of Muslims in the West is indeed a security matter. The converts  tend to be among the most fanatical in their faith, and they do not leave the faith if and when they are finally freed.

But by raising the issue of prison conversions, Gerard Batten has performed a great service. It’s something that to be forced, in this attention-getting way, into the consciousness of the British people, so that the problem can be properly discussed. For example, if in a particular prison there is a very high percentage of Muslims — say, 70%, which is what is standard in French prisons — could it not be argued that this creates conditions in which the non-Muslim prisoners are terrified, and could testify as much? Is it impermissible to take their minimum needs for security into account, merely to satisfy an abstract principle that nothing need be done to increase, or decrease, any particular group’s percentage in the population of this or that prison? What if a prison were 90% Muslim? Would there then not be a justified  concern about the safety of the non-Muslims who are, according to the Qur’an, “the most vile of creatures”? Would they not be under intolerable pressure to convert to Islam simply in order to stay safe? Are prison authorities really supposed to not notice such things? Don’t they have some duty of care to the non-Muslim prisoners that requires their not feeling afraid of Muslim fellow prisoners? Exactly how many more guards must they provide, to prevent Muslim prisoners threatening non-Muslims? Wouldn’t it be much cheaper simply to follow Batten’s suggestion?

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 11/29/2018 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 November 2018
CNN poll: Anti-Semitism in Europe
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Alarming findings. Richard Allen Greene writes:

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade, a sweeping new survey by CNN reveals. More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

Meanwhile, a third of Europeans in the poll said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust, the mass murder of some six million Jews in lands controlled by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s.

Those are among the key findings of a survey carried out by pollster ComRes for CNN. The CNN/ComRes poll interviewed more than 7,000 people across Europe, with more than 1,000 respondents each in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden.

The poll was commissioned and completed before the killing of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh -- the deadliest ever attack on the Jewish community in the United States.

The poll uncovered complicated, contrasting and sometimes disturbing attitudes about Jews, and some startling ignorance.

Forgetting the Holocaust?

About one European in 20 in the countries CNN surveyed has never heard of the Holocaust, even though it’s less than 75 years since the end of World War II, and there are still tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors alive today.

Lack of Holocaust knowledge is particularly striking among young people in France: One out of five people there between the ages of 18 and 34 said they’d never heard of it.

A third of Europeans said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals.

In Austria -- the country where Hitler was born -- 12% of young people said they had never heard of the Holocaust. Austria also had the highest number of people in the survey saying they knew “just a little” about the Holocaust. Four out of 10 Austrian adults said that.

Across Europe, half of respondents said they know “a fair amount” about the Holocaust, while only one out of five people said they know “a great deal.”

(Americans do not fare any better: A survey carried out on behalf of the Claims Conference earlier this year found that 10% of American adults were not sure they’d ever heard of the Holocaust, rising to one in five millennials. Half of all millennials could not name a single concentration camp, and 45% of all American adults failed to do so.)

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 11/29/2018 7:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 29 November 2018
Springtime for Snowflakes Audio Book Available Now
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Excellent narration by Shawn Milo. Makes a great Christmas gift. Available here.

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Posted on 11/29/2018 5:18 AM by NER
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
It's All Trump's Fault
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hat tip: Maggie's Farm.

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Posted on 11/28/2018 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Give a book for Christmas
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NER Press has a wide variety to choose from.  Give the gift of knowledge by buying a book published by NER Press-- from some of the most interesting authors writing today.

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Posted on 11/28/2018 6:40 AM by NER
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
OXFORD GROOMING TRIAL: Three accused of child sexual exploitation
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From the Oxford Mail

THREE men alleged to have raped, sexually abused and exploited a 'vulnerable' Oxford school girl as part of a grooming ring have gone on trial.

Mohammed Karrar, 44, Bassam Karrar, 39 and Anjum Dogar, 36, deny 11 counts of rape, indecent assault and conspiracy to rape. Their trial, which began at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, can only now be reported after restrictions were lifted by presiding Judge Peter Ross this morning.

Oliver Saxby QC said the three men sexually abused one alleged victim over a number of years in the early 2000s.

"...the crown allege that these three defendants were part of a wider group of young men who over this period in Oxford sexually exploited vulnerable young girls for regular, casual and entirely functional sexual contact. In a car, in a park, in someone's flat. The common theme being sexual gratification that had the appearance of being consensual but in reality, courtesy of the level of exploitation and grooming involved, was anything but consensual."

The woman, who was aged between 14 and 16 at the time, he told the court, was plied with drink and drugs and made to perform numerous sex acts on the men, who also raped her. On one of the instances of alleged abuse, the court heard, the woman woke up alone on a sofa naked, having suffered bleeding and bruising, allegedly having been raped by one of the men.

Another occasion, Mr Saxby told jurors, the woman was made to repeatedly perform sex acts on a group of men while in a car at Cutteslowe Park.

The alleged victim, who is from Oxford and now aged in her 30s, went on to start telling her version of events as the trial continued this afternoon, and spoke to jurors from a live video-link. 

She described being a 'lonely' and 'sad' child at the time the abuse started and said she was 'a scruffy kid' who struggled to make friends. ‘I didn’t think I was being abused as I felt good about all these people liking me."

(She) described being sexually abused by a group of men at a party at Plowman Tower, Oxford, and told jurors: "I remember sitting on the sofa and I remember people touching me and pulling at my clothes and stuff, and trying to bat them away. I felt like there were hands everywhere. Someone had their hands down my trousers trying to put their fingers inside me."

She told the court that she next recalled waking up alone and naked except for a single sock she was wearing, and that she was in a great deal of pain and had bite marks on her body.

Mohammed Karrar denies three counts of indecent assault, one count of rape and another of conspiracy to rape.

Bassam Karrar denies one count of indecent assault and one of rape.

Anjum Dogar denies one count of indecent assault, one count of rape and three counts of conspiracy to rape.

The trial - expected to last three weeks, continues.

Karrar and Dogar are familiar surnames - either cousins or more distant kinsmen from nearby villages in Pakistan have been tried in such cases before. 

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Posted on 11/28/2018 5:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Gerard Batten Suggests Muslim-Only Prisons (Part One)
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Nigel Farage said Friday that he would seek to oust Gerard Batten as UKIP leader for his “fixation with Tommy Robinson and discussing Islam.” Batten has just named Tommy Robinson his adviser on rape gangs and prison reform. And reform is needed: prisons have become a fertile source of conversions to Islam. In the United States, 40,000 prisoners convert to Islam each year.

There are several reasons for Islam’s appeal.

The first is the belief that Muslims receive better treatment from prison officials. Halal meals are rumored to be both tastier and more ample. Muslim prisoners are often allowed to to say the five daily prayers together, praying communally outside their cells, in rooms set aside for that purpose. Some prisons, such as Sing Sing, have their own mosque.

Second, Islam — a faith full of violence and aggression — can appeal to those with violent criminal backgrounds. The Qur’an itself does not merely permit, but commands violence against Infidels, in 109 Jihad verses. A prisoner who learns about Islam discovers that crimes of property against Infidels can be justified as a kind of proleptic Jizyah. Crimes of violence, including murder, against non-Muslims, can be justified as well by such Qur’anic verses as 2:190-194, 4:89, 8:12, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, and 47:4. Rape of Infidel women can be justified because, in their immodest dress and bearing, they were “asking for it.” They can be treated with the same contempt as were the victims of the Rotherham grooming gangs. Prisoners who abused their wives discover Qur’an 4:34, which allows husbands to “beat’ disobedient wives. Pride in becoming Muslims is encouraged in 3:110 — “You are the best of peoples” — while contempt for Infidels is found in 98:6: “Unbelievers are the most vile of creatures.”

The versions of Islam most widely on offer in prisons are the most dangerous. In 2006, then-FBI director Robert Mueller described the Islamist conversion movement operating throughout U.S. prisons to a Senate committee. He said that prisons were a “fertile ground” for Islamic extremists, and that they targeted inmates for introduction especially to the militant Wahhabi and Salafist strains of Islam.

Third, Islam provides a complete regulation of life. It helps impose a sense of discipline on people who have experienced little in their lives. Their day is organized around such requirements as saying the five daily prayers, eating only food that is halal, observing rules about dress and facial hair, dutifully studying the Qur’an and  discussing its verses with other Muslims. Muhammad is for Muslims the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct. This exemplary figure can be studied in the hadith, those stories about what Muhammad said and did. Such a model helps the convert to regulate his own life.

Fourth, Islam offers an immediate community of “brothers.” Muslims are solicitous of new converts, constantly offering them friendship, and the shared faith provides a strong bond. Prisons are violent places, with various gangs formed usually on racial, ethnic, or religious lines. While Muslims are only 1%  of the American population, they are 15% of the prison population. The Muslims now constitute the strongest and toughest gang in most prisons in the U.S., the U.K., and France. Once you are inside prison, it makes sense, for the sake of your own safety, to join the “gang” of Islam. This is especially true at the maximum-security facilities that house the most dangerous prisoners, such as Sing Sing. That prison’s imam, Jon Young, has said that 80 percent of the Muslim inmates in Sing Sing had converted to Islam after entering prison. “Islam has discipline that they didn’t have before,” Mr. Young said. “They have a real sense of brotherhood. They protect each other.”

For those who know what the Qur’an teaches, such a rate of conversion is disturbing. But then what happens to these converts? If their conversion was primarily the result of a need for “brotherhood” and, even more, for physical security inside prison, do they leave Islam once they are released? Those converts, alas, appear to stick with their new faith. The brainwashing in prison is profound, with fellow inmates long-versed in the faith, as well as visiting Islamic clerics, providing answers to every question a convert might have, as to what to believe and how to behave. Such guidance covers every aspect of life, and provides a comforting certainty. Once in the faith, converts find it is psychologically hard to get out; they’ve already in deep. What’s more, there is the fear of what can happen to those who leave Islam. Muhammad’s command “He who changes his [Islamic] religion, kill him” (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:57) does not date.

The enormous appeal of Islam to prisoners is not hard to understand. First, it provides discipline for converts, as they strive to fulfill its rules (about the five daily prayers, halal food, fasting at Ramadan, Islamic dress, facial hair, and so on), provides brotherhood with fellow Muslims, who are taught to befriend one another, while shunning Christians and Jews as friends, and most important, offering physical security that comes with being part of the Muslim group in prison, where violence is endemic. These three — discipline, brotherhood, physical security — are making many prisons into centers of Muslim conversion.

Gerard Batten does not believe the Western world can afford to ignore this steady source of converts, some of whom — like Jose Padilla in the U.S. and several of the French terrorists — upon being freed engaged in acts of terror.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 11/28/2018 5:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Shuhada’ Sadaqat (Sinead O’Connor) Finds “White People” (Non-Muslims) “Disgusting” (Part Two)
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

In August 2018, the tireless Magda Davitt sent an open letter — the whole world needed to know — asking Pope Francis to excommunicate her, as she had previously asked Pope Benedict and John Paul II. So far she hasn’t gotten her wish, but converting to Islam might just do the trick. On the other hand, the Church might want to torment her by not excommunicating her. Or, most diabolical of all, decided not to give her any attention. Is that what drove her….no, she’s already crazy…to do something really insane, like convert to Islam? Because — whaddaya know? — just two months later, she did.

Some Muslims may be delighted at this example of adult-onset Islam. They love it when celebrities convert to Islam. But others may think that Islam deserves a better class of convert, that an Irish girl who started out crazy and has gotten crazier with each passing decade is not what the faith needs just now. Maybe one of the Obama girls?

She received enormous sums for the songs she wrote, and also performed, but somehow she managed, despite all that money that came her way, to end up in August 2017 living in a $70-a-night motel in New Jersey. She never explained what happened to all her money. Then out of the blue came her Announcement To The World: I have converted to Islam. That story put her in the spotlight for a few weeks. And then she announced to the world, in that subliterate way that she thinks adds to her rough charm — that “I never wanna spend time with white people” again. And who are these “white people”? They are those who are also called “non-Muslims.” So she never gonna wanna spend time ever again, see, with those “white people” (a/k/a ”non-Muslims”) whom she calls “disgusting.”

Where does this “disgust” with all non-Muslims (a/k/a “white people”) come from? Most likely from the Qur’an. She learned that Muslims are “the best of peoples” (3:110). Her new Muslim friends, the ones who spotted her as a likely prospect, given her mental state, and helped convert her, no doubt would want her to know that verse. That’s got to have made her feel good. What’s more, they likely also taught her that all non-Muslims are “the most vile of creatures” (98:6). It’s in the Qur’an. That sentiment really appealed to her. It explained her own lifelong problems, such as her mother (“disgusting”), and so many other people, ex-husbands, ex-lovers, ex-collaborators — every manjack of whom were, or are, non-Muslims and “white” (including Prince?) and therefore “disgusting.”

Then there is her music career, such as it now is. This month Shuhada released an album she had recorded earlier this year, when she was still Magda Davitt (no longer Sinead and not yet Shuhada’ Sadaqat) with Ronnie Wood, Mick Mason, and Imelda May. All three of her collaborators are non-Muslims. Shouldn’t Shuhada now distance herself from that album, and tell the world she wants nothing to do with it, given that her three fellow musicians were all non-Muslims and, therefore, it turns out, “disgusting” white people (and because Islam forbids the use of musical instruments)? And from now on, won’t she want to avoid all non-Muslim, “white,” and therefore disgusting, people, including the musicians she used to work with? Perhaps she’ll give up music altogether, as a good Muslim who follows Muhammad’s strictures on musical instruments, and devote her life instead to being brand ambassador for Islam. There are deep-pocketed Muslims who might provide her with a generous stipend for doing such work.

I don’t know where the tragicomic tale of Shuhada/Magda/Sinead Davitt/O’Connor/Sadaqat goes from here. But surely there are many more surprises to come. Her adult-onset Islam is not the last stop on her spiritual journey. She’s a publicity hound, and needs to keep startling her audience. She sang the adhan, apparently unaware that women are forbidden to sing it, and her new Muslim friends did not remonstrate with her, apparently not wishing to offend their plumb new convert. She yearns for more followers on Twitter, and more friends on Facebook. Maybe she’ll change her mind yet again, and decide that “non-Muslims” — “white people” — aren’t so disgusting after all. Maybe she’ll declare her admiration for Donald Trump. Or declare her desire to marry Vladimir Putin. Or demand — and given this giddy globe she might well get — her own reality TV show. Or become a nun. Hold onto your seats. With Shuhada, anything is possible.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 11/27/2018 7:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
On Today, Giving Tuesday, Remember Us Please
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Posted on 11/27/2018 7:20 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Women in the Digital Age
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by Michael Curtis

In her pioneering article of January 1971, "Why have there been no great women artists," Linda Nochlin considered the institutional barriers that women faced in ascess in the art world, suggesting that women did not have the same degree of access to education, support, public spaces and social networks as men. Her article was central to feminist art history, but it is meaningful for consideration of institutional barriers not only in the humanities but also in other areas of life. Nowhere is this more significant than in the sciences and technology.

Historical change can be looked at in different ways, linear, circular or cyclical, but any of them can indicate advancement, if still unequal, made by modern women in many areas of life. It is unlikely that a gifted woman artist today would like Rosa Bonheur (1822-99) be compelled to wear pants rather than long skirts in order to appear in public places. On the contrary, gifted women shine and are self-assertive. A long list would include: Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, feminist icon and path breaking business woman who behaves no more morally than men in equivalent positions, Queen Elizabeth II at 90, and not yet prepared to abdicate, Nancy Pelosi, 31 years in public life and determined to be Speaker of  the House, Prime Minister Theresa May, reaching a compromise on Brexit after 18 months of wrangling and tough negotiations to reach a deal few like, Louise Arbor, former Justice of Canadian Supreme Court, prosecutor for Yugoslavan and Rwandan war crimes tribunals, including Yugoslavan president Slobodan Milosevic, now at  71 UN Special Representative for International Migration.

The list might also include individuals such as the African-American woman, the first ever, a 20 year old junior student elected November 2018 to be president of the Harvard Crimson, and the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, 25 year old Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi  human rights activist living in Germany. In Spain on November 24, 2018, thousands of women marched in Madrid and other cities to oppose violence against women. 

The list could also include self-assertion of non-orthodox kinds for supposed political reasons. The 27 year old model dressed bra-less under a white tank top to protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In November 2018, some snowflakes, students at Somerville College, voted  21-6 to ban flying the Union Jack, a symbol of colonialism, on the Queen’s birthday. On November 23, 2018, 60 more snowflakes, women Oxford students walked in the streets wearing only lingerie in freezing temperature to protest the Irish rape trial by a 27 year old person in Cork, Ireland, who was acquitted. In the trial, a lawyer remarked that the raped 17 year old girl wearing a thong with a lace front underpants suggested she intended to or invited sex. The protesting women clarified that rape is not the result of wearing specific clothes or undergarments. 

Yet, a sobering word on the capacity of women came from Heather MacDonald in WSJ on November 16, 2018 who wrote “Sorry Feminists: men are better at Scrabble.” Since the World Scrabble Championship began in 1991 all winners have been male. Does this challenge feminist theory, abilities of men and women, and raise questions?  Most important, if men dominate certain data based on abstract fields such as engineering, physics, math, is this the result of sexism, patriarchal culture or of discrimination and implicit bias in the hiring process? Here, the crucial fact is that women are significantly underrepresented in STEM, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and are therefore not able to take full advantage of the advancing digital economy.

The reality is that inequality as well as discimination against women remains.The UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 called for empowerment of women, removing obstacles to women, providing participation in public and private life through an equal share in economic, social, cultural, and political decision making, and equality in the family home, in the workplace, and in national and international affairs. This involve gender equality, women and men able to develop personal abilities, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities, and protections, and participation in all levels of decision making.

The economic facts show the need for action. A new study by a Harvard economist based on data issued by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shows that the gap in their weekly earnings can be explained by the work choices made by men and women, that choices and priorities of women account for much of the disparity in pay differences. Simply stated, women value time and flexibility more than do men, a combination of preferences  and personal life syle. Female train and bus operators earn less than men because males worked 83 more overtime hours and were more likely to accept an overtime shift on short notice. Twice as many women as men never took overtime. Males also took off fewer unpaid hours under the family medical leave program. 

Parenting does makes a difference. Fathers want extra cash from overtime, mothers want time off. In the Boston case, weekly earnings gaps can explained by differences in choices of hours, schedules, and routes. 

The gender gap is apparent in the wider world than Boston. Women at the largest investment banks in UK were paid at least 30% less than men. Men dominate the top trading roles, women  tend to work in junior posts or as administrators. The pay gap in J.P. Morgan’s 16,000 UK employees was 36 % as measured by median hourly pay, and was 47% in its largest investment banking unit. Similarly, Bank of America's investment banking units paid women 47% less, while the gap in all its 6,000 UK employees was 31%. Women hold 98% of the Bank’s lower paid administrative posts. The overall issue here is how to get more women into companies and boardrooms at senior levels. 

Goldman Sachs pays women 36% less in its main London unit. The Financial Times reported of its own employees a median gender gap of 19.4%. About 45% of management were women; UK national average is 18.4%.

Concerning the future for women, two basic problems are present: the digital divide, the gaps in access to information and communication technology (ICT); and the fact that in Stem, science, technology, enginering, math, women are significantly underrepresented, partly because of entrenched stereotypes. The digital gender gap will only change if women are able to adjust to changing job markets that require science. Women account for only 25% of grads in information and communications technology, and 24% in engineering, though women outnumber men in grad school.

The reality is that women are not currently able to take advantage of the digital transformation, have less access to technologies, benefitting from progress less than they could and should. Women are less likely than men to have a smartphone, and worldwide 327 million fewer women than men have smartphone access to a mobile internet. Only 10% of innovative start ups seeking venture capital investments were founded by women, though there are more women tertiary grads than men. Only 24% of the women are engineering grads. Women tend to leave STEM because of a hostile environment. Though women's participation in inventive activities is increasing, in the world's 20 major economies only 20% of patents are invented by women. If women are low in information communications technology, natural science and math they score high in health and welfare. This is, to use a French jibe, un coup d'epee (hitting water with a sword). 

The needs are clear. Women still face discrimination and negative sterotypes in society and in the workplace. Biases must be faced. Women are, at the moment, far behind in the software world. Men are far more likely to be entrepreneurial, and at least twice as likely to be self-employed. Entrepreneurship and innovation for women should be encouraged. It is vital that more women be enrolled in STEM related studies and apprenticeships. Women should be allowed to work and to pursue a career while having a family .They spend more than twice the time that men do on unpaid care and domestic work  which restricts time for paid work. Women must have a greater access to the information and communications technology of the digital world, and the education that is transforming the world. Women must not be a victim of any digital divide. 

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Posted on 11/27/2018 6:53 AM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Asia Bibi lawyer tells London conference: I have no regrets
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From professional publication the Law Gazette 

The lawyer for a Christian woman who faced a death sentence for eight years after being convicted of blasphemy says he has no regrets about defending her - despite facing death threats himself.

Bibi's lawyer, Saif ul-Malook told an International Conference on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism in London on Sunday that, in his 38 years of practice, he had never heard of a situation 'where a group of people come with such a demand that they will kill the highest constitutional court judges if the verdict does not come to their wishes'. ul-Malook stressed that it was a 'small group of people in Pakistan, not Pakistan'.

ul-Malook said Bibi lost her fight in the first court and unsuccessfully appealed her death sentence: 'Then I thought I must come forward for this helpless lady.'

The conference heard that ul-Malook worked on Bibi's case for four years. Her appeal was heard in the Supreme Court on 8 October and judgment was reserved. The court's 56-page judgment, overturning Bibi's sentence, was published on 31 October.

ul-Malook told the conference that he had been brought up in a village which had a church. He recalled: 'As a small young boy, I used to go to church to all the functions, they would come to our functions. I have many Christian friends in Pakistan... Everywhere in the world there should be some people who must stand when then the nation needs, must stand when no one is standing. I'm proud of defending...Asia Bibi. I have no regret.'

The conference urged the UK government to grant Bibi protection and asylum. Its resolution supporting Bibi states:

'Whilst Asia Bibi has been released on appeal in November 2018 after eight years on death row, her life is in danger and she is living in hiding. Islamist groups have been calling for her death as well as the death of her lawyer Saif ul-Malook and the judges who acquitted her... Despite her urgent need for refuge, the UK Foreign Office has urged the Home Office not to grant Asia Bibi political asylum in the UK out of safety concerns. This decision amounts to a gross violation of the very idea of asylum as a human right.'

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Posted on 11/27/2018 3:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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