Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/31/2008

The news feed is light tonight — most of our tipsters seem to be taking the holiday weekend off.

Hurricane GustavTomorrow will be a big news day. Hurricane Gustav will hit New Orleans, chaos will ensue, and the Republicans will be blamed. We probably won’t be blogging it, but I will make an easy prediction: the government, at both the federal and state levels, will botch the response. It’s inevitable; they simply can’t do a job like this right. Only localized, decentralized, distributed networks of people can be effective in a mass crisis.

And now for the real news…

Europe and the EU
Man Shot Dead in Gothenburg
Preachers of Separatism at Work Inside Britain’s Mosques
Youths Brawl at Norwegian Asylum Center
Israel and the Palestinians
Forward to the Past
Israeli Firm Produces T-Shirt Insulting Prophet (S)
Palestinians Can’t Give the Time of Day
Russian Police Kill Critical Web Site Owner, Deputy Says

Thanks to Abu Elvis, Barry Rubin, GD, TB, The Observer, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Europe and the EU

Man Shot Dead in Gothenburg

A 44-year-old man was found shot dead in the Gothenburg suburb of Kortedala on Sunday morning. Police have classified the crime as murder with an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The shooting occurred at 5am on Årstids square in the suburb of Kortedala in Gothenburg. Despite the early hour police were able to take 14 people in for questioning.

“There were several people at the scene and several more arrived,” said Pia Goksöyr at Gothenburg police.

The 14 were interviewed by police on Sunday morning but by lunchtime no suspect had been identified and arrested for the offence.

Several incidents have occurred in the suburb of Kortedala in recent weeks, many involving firearms, and thought to have connections with an ongoing gang war in the city.

A man was shot in the leg and a bomb was placed on a car in two incidents occurring in the vicinity of Årstids square. Police believe that the cases could have links to the gang war.

The man that was shot on Sunday morning is not however thought to have any links to organized criminal gangs.

“He is not previously known to us and the incident is probably not gang related,” said Goksöyr.

A rumour was circulating on Sunday that the man had in fact shot himself.

“We can’t rule it out,” said Goksöyr.

By Sunday lunchtime the type of firearm used in the shooting had not been clarified.

News agency TT spoke to a man living in the vicinity of Årstidtorget. He was angry at the news.

“There are two illicit clubs here on the square. People are scared to walk here in the evenings. It feels horrible to have to walk past the gangs here. I have several acquaintances who have had enough,” he said and explained that he and his wife had plans to move from the area in the near future.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Preachers of Separatism at Work Inside Britain’s Mosques

Britain’s leading Muslim bodies say they are fighting extremism. In one of our most respected mosques, Sara Hassan came face to face with hardline female preachers of separatism. Here, she reports on the shocking results of her investigation.

In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent’s Park Mosque in London — widely considered the most important mosque in Britain — I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.

What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? “We kill him,” she says, “kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?”

Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death — and as for homosexuals, and women who “make themselves like a man, a woman like a man … the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place”…

           — Hat tip: GD[Return to headlines]

Youths Brawl at Norwegian Asylum Center

Brawl over bus seats [translated by The Observer]

They were going to watch a football match, but instead they ended up having a fist fight over who was going to be allowed on board the bus. A worried boy called the police in Asker og Bærum and informed them about the brawl, which took place at Hvalstad asylum centre for young asylum seekers.

“At lot of kids were involved in the brawl, and there simply weren’t enough staff to calm things down,” according to the first report.

The police dispatched two units, who managed to break up the fight. Some of the youths suffered nosebleeds, but no one was seriously injured.

“We hardly ever arrest individuals whose papers say they are under the age of 18 for being involved in scuffles like this,” says leader of operations Jørgen Jakobsen of Asker og Bærum police department to”

Sent to their rooms

The trip to the football match was cancelled, and the youths involved in the brawl were given marching orders back to their rooms, while those kids who didn’t take part in the fighting were allowed to play volleyball.

“This is not a big deal. It was only three kids fighting a little bit. Nothing serious happened,” says Ahmed Bozgil, chairman of Hero Norway, the company operating the centre.

The residents at this asylum centre have been under a lot of stress after a 16 year old boy was shot and nearly killed while sleeping in his room by a lawyer from Asker. It is not clear yet if this incident had anything to do with the brawl.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Forward to the Past

Jonathan Spyer

In recent weeks, a number of prominent Fatah figures have suggested that their movement might abandon its commitment to a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and return to the pre-1988 demand for Israel’s replacement by a single state in the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

They claim that Israeli policy in the West Bank is forcing them to reconsider their commitment to partition. In fact, though, what used to be known as the “democratic, secular state,” and is now called the “one-state solution,” has been the end-goal of modern Palestinian nationalism for the greater part of its history. Its reemergence into prominence should come as no surprise. It is the natural product of Palestinian nationalism’s characterization of the conflict.

The one-state solution is depicted by its adherents as a non-ethnic, non-nationalist alternative to the ethnic nationalism represented by Israel. Israel, according to Virginia Tilly, a prominent Western supporter of the one-state idea, rests “on the discredited idea, on which political Zionism stakes all its moral authority, that any ethnic group can legitimately claim permanent formal dominion over a territorial state.”

This formulation is dishonest. Ahmed Qurei and Sari Nusseibeh, two of the prominent Palestinians with apparently growing sympathy for the one-state idea, are also members of an overtly nationalist movement emerging from a distinctive Arab and Muslim cultural context.

The Palestinian Authority in its constitution describes the Palestinian people in ethnic and religious terms, as “part of the Arab and Islamic nations.” This document declares Islam as the official religion of the Palestinian state, and cites Islamic sharia law as a “major source for legislation.” Thus, whatever argument the one-staters have with Israel, it isn’t based on a principled objection to ethnic nationalism. But then, why is this claim of the “non-national,” civil rights nature of the one-state demand being made?…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Israeli Firm Produces T-Shirt Insulting Prophet (S)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM- In their continued aim to insult Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (s), an Israeli textile firm recently produced a T-shirt with a sentence insulting the Prophet Mohammed (s). The t-shirt was done for the Intelligence Department in the Israeli occupation army.

“If Mohammed does not come to the mountain, it is acceptable”, says the t-shirt on the front in Hebrew. The sentence is meant to relate to the Hebrew proverb saying “If Mohammed (the Prophet) does not come to the mountain; the mountain will come to him”.

A picture of an Arab Sheikh carrying a rifle, signifying that Arabs and Muslims are terrorists, also appears on the T-shirt.

The Islamic Movement in the 1948 Palestinian Occupied Lands asked the company to stop producing such T-shirts. It has also called for respect to be accorded to the feelings and beliefs of the Muslims.

They said that, “Muslims should intensify efforts to defend the Prophet (s) and confront this Zionist campaign which is aiming to infuriate Muslims and Arabs.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Palestinians Can’t Give the Time of Day

The split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip took a new twist over the weekend as Hamas and Fatah announced different dates for the beginning of winter time.

This year, for the first time ever, winter time in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will begin on different dates.

And for the first time ever, the time in the two areas will be different by one hour for two or three days.

In the past, the Palestinians — in a sign of political independence — used to change their clocks at different times from Israel.

The Hamas government announced that it was moving the clock back an hour earlier at midnight on Thursday, heralding the beginning of winter time in Gaza.

The Ramallah-based government of Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, on the other hand, announced that clocks will be switched back only at midnight Sunday, signifying the beginning of Ramadan.

In Israel, the time change is expected to take place on October 5.

In a related development, hundreds of physicians working in the public sector began a four-day strike Saturday in protest against the dismissal of scores of their colleagues by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.

In response, the Hamas security forces arrested Dr. Duhni al-Wahidi, head of the Physicians Syndicate in the Gaza Strip.

The strike disrupted medical services in several hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the area.

Hamas officials accused the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah of instigating the physicians’ strike in a bid to undermine the Hamas government.

They claimed that the strike was part of an attempt to drive the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to revolt against the Hamas government.

School teachers in the Gaza Strip have also threatened to go on strike on the first day of the academic year this week. They too are protesting against the dismissal of hundreds of their colleagues by the Hamas government for “political reasons.”

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Russian Police Kill Critical Web Site Owner, Deputy Says

The owner of an independent Web site critical of authorities was shot and killed Sunday by police in a volatile province in southern Russia, his colleague said.

Police arrested owner Magomed Yevloyev on Sunday, taking him off a plane that had just landed in Ingushetia province near Chechnya, said the site’s deputy editor, Ruslan Khautiyev.

Police whisked Yevloyev away in a car and later dumped him on the road with a gunshot wound in the head, Khautiyev said. He said Yevloyev died in a hospital shortly afterward.

In Moscow, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement that Yevloyev was detained by police and died in an “incident” while being taken to police headquarters for an interrogation. Markin did not elaborate, saying that a check to clarify the circumstances of Yevloyev’s death had begun. The committee is under the Prosecutor General’s office.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]

Bach Played on the Accordion, Part 2

Last spring I posted a video made by Steen of a young Russian musician on a street corner in Copenhagen playing J. S. Bach on the accordion. Steen ran into him again yesterday, and has taken two more videos.

The musician’s name is Michael Olefir, and I recognize what he’s playing: the Andante (first) movement of Trio Sonata #3 in D minor, BWV 527. His version is played quite a bit faster than the one I’m used to.

Here’s what Steen said about the occasion:

I love that guy from St. Petersburg. We are having a beautiful late summer — 25º centigrade [77º F], and to the music of Bach; it’s all perfect. A video to listen to in December!

Steen has also written a small essay for the occasion. It’s in Danish, and I’ll re-post it here for those of you who can read it. Steen asked me to add this:

My reference to Ludvig Holberg is important. Norwegian-born, playwright, professor in Copenhagen. The most important advocate of reason back then — and very funny. Still the main act of the Royal Theatre — “Denmark’s Molière”.
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And now Steen’s essay. I can’t read much of it, but it does say that Mr. Olefir’s accordion was specially built to play organ music:

Fiolstræde, sensommer, lange skygger: Bach

Michael Olefir fra Skt. Petersborg, Endu et nummer her. Olefir er ikke en hvilken somhelst gademusikant. Han er uddanet i den russiske skole fra 5-års alderen. Hans accordion er bygget specielt til orgelmusik. Lyden på en mobilvideo er ikke high fidelity, men det er det nærmeste man kommer et orgel, hvis man ikke skal over i Domkirken. Lige overfor hvor han sidder, boede Ludvig Holberg på sine gamle dage (se epitafiet på muren). Jeg forestiller mig Fiolstræde ikke er så forandret på de 250 år. I Domkirken kommer jeg til højmesse d. 25 december. Ikke for at studere de mondæne kändissar i nertzpels, — de gamle socialister er blevet kristelige — men for at høre musikken. Udvidet kor, blæsere og en fuld kirke. Man har lyst til at klappe af begejstring, men det er jo ikke en Torsdagskoncert med 10 minutters ovation og fremkaldelser. Man tar´sig i det og lytter til biskop Erik Norman Svendsen. Han er ikke dum. Han kan gå på line sprogligt, noget der volder domprovst Gadegaard mere besvær. Når biskoppen “shamer” mig, opdager jeg det næsten ikke. Men det er endnu én af folkekirkens store dyder: Skæld dem ud, men blidt, så de ikke kræver kirkeskatten tilbage og forlanger republikken indført. Stryg dem lidt medhårs, og lidt modhårs, så går alle glade og berigede hjem. Kierkegaard ville have rakt ud efter brækspanden, men han var jo heller ikke helt vel forvaret. Det forsøger vi at være, selvom det kan smutte.

Mobilvideos (c) Snaphanen

Separating the Sexes in Oslo

Norway currently has the largest influx of asylum-seekers in Europe. It is in the midst of a crisis with respect to its immigrant population, especially the Muslims.

The political elites seem determined to deal with the crisis by further deference to Islam, and recent signs point the way to full dhimmitude. The latest example is the segregation of the sexes in school swimming classes out of respect for Muslim sensibilities. This, of course, would violate the human rights of the students if any other religion besides Islam were behind it.

Here’s a translation by our Norwegian correspondent The Observer of an article in today’s Aftenposten:

Gender-separated swimming classes in Oslo

Out of consideration to Muslim students sensitivity, boys and girls at Møllergata Elementary school in Oslo are separated during physical exercise and swimming classes. Even the teachers have to be of the ‘correct’ gender.

“This dilemma arose as a direct result of the immigration to the city. Muslim girls are not allowed to take part in physical exercise and swimming classes where boys are present. As a result of this the school had to come up with alternative solutions,” says Eva Kjøge, the school principal.

She recently took up the position as principal at the school and she has not yet decided whether to scrap the controversial practice, that has been going on for years now.

“The arrangements were introduced about ten years ago. I only started in August this year and I want to see how it works before I decide whether to make any changes. This is an issue that also needs to be discussed with the parents,” she says.

Could be illegal
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Boys only and girls only classes in physical exercise and swimming could be in violation of the Education law. According to this law, students shall not be divided into groups on the base of their skill levels, gender or ethnicity.

However Principal Eva Kjøge points out that the principle of offering specialized education according to the particular needs of the individual students is a principle that has a prominent position in the Norwegian school, and points out that the gender-segregated education only involves one subject.

“This only involves physical education classes, and not any other subjects,” she says.

At Hersleb and Vahl Elementary schools in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Grønland in Oslo there is no such practice of separating the genders in the physical exercise classes.

“It has never been an issue at our school. The students are allowed to dress as they like, and there has never been any suggestions of gender-separated classes. Some students don’t participate in the swimming lessons, but they are, however, being offered specialized women-only swimming lessons after regular school hours,” says Trine Haugen, principal at Vahl Elementary school to NTB.

At Møllergata Elementary school this separation of boys and girls is motivated primarily by religious and cultural considerations, and is based on the principle of modesty, but Kjøge insists that there can be strong educational reasons to keep boys and girls separate.

“It can be wise to keep them separate in certain activities such as ball games, where it can be more beneficial for girls to be on their own.”

Had to stop

Last year the Fylkesmannen [similar to state Governor] in Oppland decided that Kringsjå school in Lillehammer was violating the Education Law when it separated the genders in physical exercise classes, art and crafts classes and nature and environmental classes. The separation of the genders in this case was based on educational considerations, because there was an environment with lots of conflicts at the school in question, and because the girls were in a minority.

“Short-term separation based on gender is possible, but not for a year and a half,” said fylkesmann Kristin Hille Valla and chairman of education Trond Johnsen to Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen [local newspaper] in November last year. This led to a change in policy by the school in question in this matter

The Education Department does not wish to comment on the situation at Møllergata Elementary school, but points out that the Education Law allows for gender-separated classes in certain specific cases, provided there are strong compelling reasons for this, and that this practice doesn’t create any precedents.

The Failure of Western Feminism

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

I have written several essays before on the damaging effects of Western feminism. The massive wave of violence and especially rapes in Western cities now is a form of warfare against whites, and it’s about time it is recognized as such. As this post from Gallia Watch puts it:

The Rap group ‘Sniper’As in war, the winners seize the indigenous women all the while protecting their own. The whole rhetoric that aims to debase the European woman or France (‘I screw France like a whore’ says rap group Sniper) is a part of the feminization of the white race, of the idea that Europe is a land to be conquered, a habitat open to all forms of pillage. Are not the notorious ‘gang rapes’ another example of collective violence to European women, just as Russian soldiers did when they seized German women in a devastated Berlin in 1945. It all holds together. A tribe that does not protect its women is behaving as if they have already lost the war. Many of us don’t know this. But our enemies do.

Feminist LogoAs a Western man, I would be tempted to say that Western women have to some extent brought this upon themselves. They have been waging an ideological, psychological and economic war against white men for several generations now, believing that this would make you “free.” The actual result is that you have less freedom of movement and security than ever, as a direct result of the immigrant policies supported by you and your buddies.

In the big scheme of things, the truth is that white men have treated women with greater respect than the men of almost any other major civilization on earth. And I don’t mean just in the modern age, I mean for many centuries. Yet we are the one group of men who are most demonized and attacked, whereas non-white men get treated with much greater respect. What white men see from this is that white Western women prefer men who treat them like crap, and disrespect men who treat them with respect. This isn’t exactly a smart way to behave if you want to be treated with dignity.
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The ERF HammerThe truth is that any nation is always protected from external aggression by the men. The women can play a supporting role in this, but never more than that. For all the talk about “girl power” and “women kicking ass” which you see on movies these days, if the men of your “tribe” are too weak or demoralized to protect you, you will be enslaved and crushed by the men from other “tribes” before you can say “Vagina Monologues”. Which means that if you break down men’s masculinity, their willingness and ability to defend themselves and their families, you destroy the country. That’s exactly what Western women have done for the last forty years. So why are you surprised about the results? As you said, you can’t fool Mother Nature. Well, you have tried to fool her for a long time, and you are now paying the price for this.

Western women have been subjected to systematic Marxist indoctrination meant to turn you into a weapon of mass destruction against your own civilization, a strategy that has been remarkably successful. Here is a quote from Robert Spencer’s book Religion of Peace?:

Attacks on Christian history and doctrine are an integral part of a larger effort to instill a sense of cultural shame in even non-Christian European and American youth — a shame that militates against their thinking the West is even worth defending. A white American student, ‘Rachel,’ unwittingly summed up this attitude when she told American Indian professor Dr. David Yeagley in 2001: ‘Look, Dr. Yeagley, I don’t see anything about my culture to be proud of. It’s all nothing. My race is just nothing… Look at your culture. Look at American Indian tradition. Now I think that’s really great. You have something to be proud of. My culture is nothing.’ Yeagley mused: ‘The Cheyenne people have a saying: A nation is never conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground…When Rachel denounced her people, she did it with the serene self-confidence of a High Priestess reciting a liturgy. She said it without fear of criticism or censure. And she received none. The other students listened in silence, their eyes moving timidly back and forth between me and Rachel, as if unsure which of us constituted a higher authority…Who had conquered Rachel’s people? What had led her to disrespect them? Why did she behave like a woman of a defeated tribe?’

How Can You Tell if a Muslim is Offended?

Hat tip: Nilk

[post ends here]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/30/2008

Is Obama Talking Secretly With Raul Castro?
Europe and the EU
“Dutch Spy Recalled From Iran on US Attack Plan”
Amsterdam: City Council Rejects Mayor Cohen’s Plea for Mosque Subsidies
Denmark: Parents to Pay for Kids’ Vandalism
Denmark: Daylight Robbery on Strøget
East London Council Adapts to Ramadan
Gangmaster Who Raped Journalism Student in Calais May Have Fled to Britain
Hacker Puts Thousands of Anti-Wilders Pamphlets on Dutch Websites [Translation]
Norway: More Somalians Wanted
Now It’s the Citizen Snoopers: Councils Recruit Unpaid Volunteers to Spy on Their Neighbours
Swedish Prison: Fermented Herring a ‘Security Risk’
UK: Economy at 60-Year Low, Says Chancellor Alistair Darling. and it Will Get Worse
Middle East
The Afghan Women Jailed for Being Victims of Rape
Wide-Scale, Vicious Campaign Against Islam Must be Tackled
Bildt Rejects Georgia-Kosovo Comparison
South Asia
Indian Police Told to Shoot as Anti-Christian Riots Flare
Indonesia: Tobacco Farmers Protest Fatwa Plan on Smoking

Thanks to TB, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Is Obama Talking Secretly With Raul Castro?

By Humberto Fontova

“As I left Havana earlier this month,” writes Dr. Rens Lee, senior fellow at Philadelphia’s prestigious Foreign Policy Research Institute, “Cuba was eagerly awaiting the United States’ November presidential elections. The buzz around the capital, reportedly from a highly placed source, was that Barack Obama has already talked to Raul Castro by phone.”

(Note: I notified the Obama campaign of these claims and asked for a response or clarification. It has not responded.)

Dr. Rens Lee explains that the buzz was reported by both highly placed Cuban officials and by an experienced Western diplomat posted in Havana. Lee also cautions against an outside chance that the report is simply wishful thinking from Cuban officials based on Obama’s Castro-friendly campaign promises.

The wishful thinking is certainly warranted. After all, Barack Obama has already pledged himself to grant the Castro brothers one of their most fervent wishes by abolishing a Bush policy that seriously stung them. “I will immediately allow unlimited family travel and remittances to the island,” pledged Barack Obama on his Miami visit in May.

Naturally, as presented by Castro’s agents (on the payroll and off) in the U.S. media, Obama’s proposal sounds eminently reasonable, commonsensical, practical and humane — unlike those of the Cuban-American cabal that designs and enforces the Republican Party’s Cuba policy in between tying screaming damsels to railroad tracks.

As recited by his U.S. media, think-tank and Democratic Party mouthpieces, Castro’s talking points tug mightily at the heartstrings of the uninformed and misinformed on Cuba. “After all, what’s wrong with allowing families to visit each other and help each other financially? Gosh, what type of intransigence and malice could possibly motivate those mean Miami Cuban Republicans to oppose loving families from being together?”

Sound familiar? Of course. We heard the same chorus from the same choir during their advance work for the Democratic shanghaiing of Elian Gonzalez.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: When you see Charles Rangel advocating a certain policy toward Cuba, when you see the media quoting Wayne Smith, Phil Peters and the Inter-American Dialogue to the same effect — the Castro brothers requested it. Then when you see the Democratic National Committee adopt this policy, you can bet there’s something to what Lee heard in Havana. All of the above apply here.

Here are a few things you’re not hearing from the Castro brother’s Beltway echo-chamber: Until fairly recently, the Castro regime (classified by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism, and classified by the liberal media as a victim of a “cruel U.S. embargo”) was in fact enjoying a $1 billion a year lifeline straight from the U.S. This largess came in the form of cash remittances to Cuba from Castro’s former subjects and from the spending by these former subjects upon their frequent visits to their homeland. This $1 billion in remittances approached Red China’s monetary infusion into Cuba.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

“Dutch Spy Recalled From Iran on US Attack Plan”

AMSTERDAM, 30/08/08 — The Dutch AIVD secret service has had an ultra-secret operation underway in Iran in recent years. This has been halted in connection with plans for a US attack on Iran, newspaper De Telegraaf reported Friday.

The “ultra-secret operation” had as its aim infiltration and sabotage of the weapons industry in the Islamic republic. “The operation, described as extremely successful, was halted recently in connection with plans for an impending US air attack on Iraq. Along with this, targets would also be bombed which were connected with the Dutch espionage action,” writes the Netherlands’ biggest newspaper.

“One of the agents involved, who was able to infiltrate the Iranian industry under the supervision of the AIVD, was recently recalled because the US was thought to be making a decision within weeks to attack Iran with unmanned aircraft. Among the potential targets were said to be not only nuclear plants, but also military installations that have been brought to light partly by the agency of the AIVD,” according to the newspaper.

“Information from the AIVD operation has in recent years been shared with the American CIA secret service,” the paper continued. “Various supplies could also be sabotaged and stopped. These were parts for missiles and launching equipment.”

The article was written by Joost de Haas, known for his good contacts in the intelligence world. Earlier, he got hold of an AIVD report which suggested that corrupt powers within Dutch police corps supplied weapons to criminals to liquidate other criminals.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Amsterdam: City Council Rejects Mayor Cohen’s Plea for Mosque Subsidies

AMSTERDAM, 30/08/08 — A majority on Amsterdam city council is distancing itself from Mayor Job Cohen’s idea of subsidising mosques.

Cohen wants the local authority to help religious groups build a house of prayer, as has already happened with the infamous Westermoskee mosque. It is not according to him a matter of subsidising a faith but of fostering integration.

Labour (PvdA), conservatives (VVD) and Christian democrats (CDA) rejected Cohen’s proposals in a council meeting. The leftwing Greens (GroenLinks), Socialist Party (SP) and centre-left D66 did support the Islam subsidies, proposed recently by Cohen in a report on the separation of Church and State.

Remarkable was the opposition of Cohen’s own PvdA. PvdA council member Frank de Wolf fears that “such support will not contribute to the emancipation” of Muslims. Stronger yet, outdated views on women and homosexuals could be encouraged by the subsidies, according to De Wolf.

The critical position of the PvdA and thereby a majority in the council appeared to surprise Cohen. He said that emancipation is not the first goal of his memo, but the “reduction of deprivation.”

But Cohen may be able to carry out his idea after all. De Wolf would in fact not promise that the PvdA will eventually vote against his memo. “We must still discuss it with the party,” according to De Wolf.

A majority on the Amsterdam city council already considers that a government authority can use religious institutions to carry out policy. This could for example mean deploying Imams to stem radicalisation or Christian drug rehabilitation centres for heroine addicts. A number of parties considered this is not a violation of the separation of Church and State.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Parents to Pay for Kids’ Vandalism

The government has had enough of young troublemakers and is ready to hold parents responsible for their children’s misbehaviour

A new proposal to make parents financially responsible for their children’s vandalism has majority support in parliament.

Lene Espersen, the justice minister, and Karen Jespersen, the social welfare minister, have put together a proposal that will not only toughen the punishment for young offenders but will require that parents pay for any physical damage caused by their children.

The proposal from the Liberal-Conservative government will likely pass in parliament, having the support of the coalition’s common ally, the Danish People’s Party.

‘It’s a really good idea,’ said Peter Skaarup, the party’s legal affairs spokesman. ‘It’s a healthy thing that parents will feel the pinch in their pocketbooks when their kids don’t behave properly and destroy public or private property.’

In addition to billing parents for damage and tougher punishment for offenders, the six-point proposal also recommends: creating parent help programmes; fines for slack parenting, such as when kids are truant; a bully-hooligan register; and more surveillance.

Espersen said the proposal is aimed at two problem groups in particular.

‘It’s the modern families who think it’s best when children are raised without setting boundaries or limits,’ said the justice minister. ‘They end up doing whatever they want, and everything becomes about “me, me, me” instead of about the community. They’re the types who end up throwing bricks off bridges onto vehicles.’

The other group are young people of non-Danish ethnic background.

‘Many families of foreign background have a culture in which the boys should be in charge of their own lives already at the age of 8 or 9,’ said Espersen.

Jespersen believes that more use of school detention should also supplement any changes in the law.

‘It provides a certain order and discipline that is especially beneficial to the weaker students.’

The opposition Social Democrats, the nation’s second-largest party, are also tentatively supporting the proposal.

‘Maybe it will get parents to clamp down a bit on the kids if they believe they’re going out to cause trouble,’ said Karen Hækkerup, the party’s legal affairs spokeswoman. ‘But I still have a lot of questions about the proposal that first need to be answered.’

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Daylight Robbery on Strøget

Police were ready when two armed thieves exited a jewellery store on walking street Strøget after a broad-daylight robbery attempt

Tension filled Copenhagen’s main pedestrian street Strøget on Thursday afternoon when two gun-wielding robbers rushing out of a watchmaker’s shop were immediately confronted by police.

The many shoppers and tourists present on the street were witness to a standoff when one of the thieves aimed his pistol at the officers. But then, realising he and his partner were far outnumbered, he dropped the gun and surrendered.

Police found around 10 million kroner’s worth of merchandise in the thieves’ bags after their capture.

The unsuccessful heist took place at watchmaker Ole Mathiesen on the Østergade section of Strøget near Kongens Nytorv square. Police say the two men, who were reportedly from the Balkan region, entered the shop and smashed several of the display cases, threatening the shop’s employee at gunpoint.

The men were scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday morning.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

East London Council Adapts to Ramadan

CAIRO — Showing courtesy to Muslim employees, a local council in east London is urging non-Muslim members not to eat or drink during meetings with Muslim colleagues during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, reported the Daily Mail on Friday, August 29.

“It is requested that members do not partake of any refreshments until after the iftar (fast breaking) refreshments are served,” John Williams, head of Tower Hamlets Council’s democratic services, said in an e-mail to non-Muslim council members.

The order is part of special arrangements made by the council for the holy dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

The arrangements also include giving Muslim employees a 45-minute break during evening meetings to allow them break their fast and perform prayers.

Muslim members would also be offered iftar packs including tea, coffee, sandwiches and special Muslim snacks at the time of iftar.

The council’s agenda has also been reduced during Ramadan to include only seven committee meetings all over the month.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Gangmaster Who Raped Journalism Student in Calais May Have Fled to Britain

A gangmaster believed to have raped a journalism student in a squalid Calais migrants’ camp could be on the loose in Britain. Police say they think the people smuggler has already left the area and may have fled to the UK to avoid detection. As horrific details emerged of the 31-year-old student’s ordeal, detectives issued a photo e-fit provided by the victim to all UK ports, as well as British and European police.

The student had travelled to the French port to interview migrants sleeping rough before trying to sneak into Britain. As she took photographs of a group of Afghan refugees, she was lured into a makeshift hut in the notorious unofficial camp called The Jungle by the gang leader, who told her he wanted to show her something inside.

There he held her down, repeatedly hit her around the face and body, and subjected her to a half-hour rape, police said. Although she screamed for help, no one came to her aid. French state prosecutor Philippe Muller said he believed the man was a French-speaking people smuggler in his 20s of Afghan or Iraqi appearance.

The human traffickers charge other immigrants up to £800 a time for a place in a truck or train to get to England. […] The woman, who was born in Canada but has lived most of her life in London, is being treated for physical injuries and undergoing counselling for mental trauma in Calais…

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Hacker Puts Thousands of Anti-Wilders Pamphlets on Dutch Websites [Translation]

Thousands of Dutch websites have been the victim of an Islamic hacker. The hacker took over the homepage of websites and replaced them with an anti-Fitna pamphlet.

The hacker, who works under the name nEt^DeVil, writes in the pamphlet that he or she feelsobliged to defend Islam and the holy prophet Mohammed “in response to the Fitnafilm of that Geert Wilders-cow.”


Where the hacker comes from and whether he or she works alone, is unknown. What is clear is that nEt^DeVil is a busy bee: the last few weeks over 18,000 websites have been attacked and taken over. The hacking of a site to replaced the homepge with a message is called ‘defacement’.

The attacks are mainly aimed at users of the free content management system of Joomla, which contains a leak that goves the hacker the opportunity to break in. It is striking that the majority of the hacked sites are running on a Linux based server, a program that relatively speaking in not very widely used.

The website of Joomla itself was also addressed in mid-August, after which the company updated their software. As turns out not all websites have installed this update. Also today dozens of websites have been taken over.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Norway: Record Number of New Citizens

A record 14,900 persons received Norwegian citizenship last year. Of these, seven out of ten were former citizens from a non-European nation.

This is shown by fresh figures from Statistics Norway (SSB).

As in the two previous years, the two largest groups caame from Iraq and Somalia, with 2600 and 2200 persons respectively.

From 1977 to 2007, altogether 203,000 foreign citizens have received Norwegian citizenship.

More than 140,000 of these were formerly holding non-European citizenship.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Norway: More Somalians Wanted

Hassan Samahle returned to the mountain village of Vinje in Telemark County after getting his degree. Somalians here are so well integrated that the community want more of them to come. Everyone completes secondary school, and no one is a passive welfare recipient.

Hassan Samahle leads the Vinje Soccer Second Team. His daughter Hibach plays on the team along with coach Grete Høgset’s daughter Randi, and Ogbad Mohammed and Anne Våle.

The 32 year-old electrical engineer, has brought new expertise to one of the main employers in the area.

He came to Norway and Vinje when he was 15, completed secondary school with good grades, studied engineering, did a year’s national service in the military and five years as a part-timer in the Home Guard, taught mathematics for a year and then returned home to Vinje.

Government statistics show immigrants from Somalia as the group most likely to be unemployed, receiving welfare payments and with least education.

A recent book written by a Somalian woman living in Norway, with the pen name Amal Aden, claims amongst other things that her compatriots in Oslo don’t want to integrate in Norwegian society, they exploit the welfare system and teach their children to hate Norwegians.

In the wooded valleys around Vinje things are different. Mayor Arne Vinje thinks that the Somalians are so well integrated that he would like to see more of them living in his area.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Now It’s the Citizen Snoopers: Councils Recruit Unpaid Volunteers to Spy on Their Neighbours

Councils are recruiting ‘citizen snoopers’ to report litter louts, dog foulers and even people who fail to sort out their rubbish properly.

The ‘environment volunteers’ will also be responsible for encouraging neighbours to cut down on waste.

The move comes as local authorities dish out £100 fines to householders who leave out too much rubbish or fail to follow recycling rules.

It will fuel fears that Britain is lurching towards a Big Brother society, following the revelation this week that the Home Office is extending some police powers to council staff and private security guards.

Critics said the latest scheme could easily be abused and encourage a culture of bin spies and curtain twitchers.

Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Snooping on your neighbours to report recycling infringements sounds like something straight out of the East German Stasi’s copybook.

‘With council tax so high, the last thing people want to pay for is an army of busybodies peering through their net curtains at their neighbours as they put out their rubbish.’

Recruitment adverts appealing for the unpaid environmental volunteers have appeared across the country in recent months.

[Return to headlines]

Swedish Prison: Fermented Herring a ‘Security Risk’

Forget firearms or terrorist plots. In Sweden, prison administrators have sounded the alarm about the security threat posed by a can of foul-smelling fermented herring.

An inmate at the Tidaholm correctional facility in central Sweden recently had a craving for the peculiar seasonal specialty, known in Swedish as surströmming.

He could think of nothing better than the possibility of sharing a can of the fermented fish with an acquaintance.

But officials in charge of the ward denied the prisoner’s request.

When he then appealed the decision to the prison’s management, the inmate was once again denied his wish to crack open a container of the smelly dish.

The reason?

Surströmming is a security risk, ruled the prison.

“Tidaholm has made a determination to deny the possession of a can of surströmming as this food product cannot be considered in accordance with the facility’s responsibility to uphold order and security vis-à-vis [the prisoner’s] personal engagement in such a culinary tradition,” wrote the prison in its decision.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: Economy at 60-Year Low, Says Chancellor Alistair Darling. and it Will Get Worse

Chancellor says Labour failing to communicate with voters

Britain is facing “arguably the worst” economic downturn in 60 years which will be “more profound and long-lasting” than people had expected, Alistair Darling, the chancellor, tells the Guardian today. In the government’s gravest assessment of the economy, which follows a warning from a Bank of England policymaker that 2 million people could be out of work by Christmas, Darling admits he had no idea how serious the credit crunch would become.

[…] The chancellor, who says that Labour faces its toughest challenge in a generation, admits that Brown and the cabinet are partly to blame for Labour’s woes because they have “patently” failed to explain the party’s central mission to the country, leaving voters “pissed off”.

In a candid interview in today’s Guardian Weekend magazine, Darling warns that the economic times faced by Britain and the rest of the world “are arguably the worst they’ve been in 60 years”. To deepen the sense of gloom, he adds: “And I think it’s going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought.”

The economic backdrop presents Labour with its toughest challenge since the 1980s. “We’ve got our work cut out. This coming 12 months will be the most difficult 12 months the Labour party has had in a generation,” he says. But Labour has been lacklustre. “We’ve got to rediscover that zeal which won three elections, and that is a huge problem for us at the moment. People are pissed off with us. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Middle East

The Afghan Women Jailed for Being Victims of Rape

In Lashkar Gah, the majority of female prisoners are serving 20-year sentences for being forced to have sex. Terri Judd visited them and heard their extraordinary stories

Beneath the anonymity of the sky-blue burqa, Saliha’s slender frame and voice betray her young age.Asked why she was serving seven years in jail alongside hardened insurgents and criminals, the 15-year-old giggled and buried her head in her friend’s shoulder.

“She is shy,” apologised fellow inmate Zirdana, explaining that the teenager had been married at a young age to an abusive husband and ran away with a boy from her neighbourhood.

Asked whether she had loved the boy, Saliha squirmed with childish embarrassment as her friend replied: “Yes.”

Ostracised from her family and village, Saliha was convicted of escaping from home and illegal sexual relations. The first carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, the second 20. These are two of the most common accusations facing female prisoners in Afghanistan.

Two-thirds of the women in Lashkar Gah’s medieval-looking jail have been convicted of illegal sexual relations, but most are simply rape victims — mirroring the situation nationwide. The system does not distinguish between those who have been attacked and those who have chosen to run off with a man.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Wide-Scale, Vicious Campaign Against Islam Must be Tackled

Former Dean of Kuwait University’s College of Sharia (law) and Islamic Studies Dr. Mohammad Al-Tabta-baei on Friday underlined the necessity for sincere efforts to be exerted by political, intellectual and religious powers to confront the wide-scale and vicious campaign against Islam. The Islamic world shoulders responsibility of facing the campaign instigated against Islam, as such campaigns seek to deliberately associate infrequent violent incidents committed by Muslim individuals with Islam, Al-Tabtabaei told KUNA.

The former dean is heading a high-ranking Kuwaiti academic delegation to the international conference of “Humanity in Islam” which was hosted in Rome. […]

The conference, which was held in the northern Italian city of Bersha on August 26, tackled several pivotal issues such as the status of the individual in the Holy Qur’an; humanitarian aspects in the life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH); issues of equality and justice; and worship from an Islamic perspective.

The conference came out with a number of recommendations in the framework of responding to the campaign launched against Islam and the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), in addition to buttressing contacts among the Muslim community in Italy, which amount to one million…

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Bildt Rejects Georgia-Kosovo Comparison

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Friday rejected Russian comparisons between its recognition of two Georgian breakaway provinces from the West’s recognition of Kosovo earlier this year.

He added that “there is no other place in the world where there’s been this sort of mechanism within the framework of the United Nations.”

In the case of Russia’s unilateral recognition this week of the Georgian provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia, on the other hand, “we have a situation where Russia launches a military attack just like that,” Bildt told a joint press conference in Stockholm with his Georgian counterpart Eka Tkeshelashvili.

Russia, which was angered by the West’s recognition of Kosovo, has criticised lacking international reaction to what it charges was a Georgian “genocide” in South Ossetia, insisting that it was forced to intervene.

“We did it as some other states did in the case of Kosovo and some other problems,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the BBC this week.

Bildt on Friday acknowledged that Georgia on the evening of August 7, “had taken measures where one can discuss whether they were advisable or wise,” but pointed out that “they were still within the borders of Georgia.”

Russia should not be surprised that the international community did not intervene, he said, since “there was no call from Russia for international action.”

“Had there been such a call from Russia, I think we should have answered it. That option was never put on the table by Russia,” he added.

Bildt said he considered declaring independence for South Ossetia “a joke,” but acknowledged that Abkhazia “has national rights that must be respected, and they have some justified complaints about what happened in history.”

However, while Kosovo counts a large majority of Kosovo Albanians, there is far from a majority of Abkhazians in the breakaway Georgian province, he said.

“The territory does not have a Abkhazian majority and has not had for hundreds of years.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Indian Police Told to Shoot as Anti-Christian Riots Flare

Police were ordered to shoot rioters on sight in an eastern Indian state on Wednesday to tame rising violence between Hindus and Christians that has killed 11 people so far and left the Pope “profoundly saddened”.

Three bodies were found overnight in Orissa’s rural Kandhamal district, where Hindu mobs have damaged more than a dozen churches and attacked Christian homes and an orphanage this week. The violence, now spreading to new districts, was sparked by the murder of a Hindu leader in Kandhamal, a tribal area where Christian missionaries have been active for years.

The murdered leader had been heading a local campaign to reconvert Hindus and tribal people from Christianity. Authorities extended a curfew and issued orders to police to shoot on sisght any troublemaker in 11 towns of Kandhamal. Most of the dead so far have been Christians. Hundreds of police marched through Kandhamal to maintain calm, but the violence spread to nearby districts with Hindus attacking Christians and the two groups clashing in some places.

Religious violence has roiled Kandhamal region for years with Hindu and Christian groups fighting over religious conversion. Pope Benedict XVI “firmly condemned” the violence in Orissa, where Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt alive in 1999 — a crime for which a Hindu man is serving life in jail. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Tobacco Farmers Protest Fatwa Plan on Smoking

East Javanese tobacco farmers visited the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Surabaya branch on Friday to protest the fatwa body’s plan to declare smoking forbidden according to Islamic teachings. “We are protesting MUI’s plan to issue a fatwa declaring smoking as haram,” Tobacco Farmers Association chairman Amin Subarkah said, as quoted by

Subarkah said it was unfair to make a smoking haram on the basis that it could be bad for some people. In fact, he said, forbidding smoking would only cause pain and suffering to tobacco farmers and their families. “There are 1,367 tobacco factories in East Java, employing thousands of workers,” Subarkah said.

According to the association, tobacco farmers in East Java supply 53 percent of the country’s total tobacco consumption with a total investment value worth Rp 682 billion.

MUI Surabaya head Ulama Abdussomad Bukhori told the farmers to relax and to continue their work planting tobacco as the plan was still being debated by Islam scholars within the fatwa body.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Indonesia: Prosecutor Confirms Request for Execution Delay

Bali Prosecutors’ Office head Alit Adyana said local and foreign pressure group had requested that the executions of the three Bali bombers be postponed. “There was indeed such requests from abroad, but we cannot be influenced,” Adyana said, as quoted by Antara on Friday.

He refused to give more details on the source of the requests and said that the attorney general’s decision to postpone the executions was not based on the requests. Assistant attorney general for general crimes Abdul Hakim Ritonga announced last week that the terrorists would be executed after Ramadan.

Earlier, Attorney General Hendarman Supadji said the terrorists would be executed before Ramadan, which starts on Sept. 1 until Sept. 30. Ritonga said the reasons for the delay were humanity considerations and that the executions were not in line with the holy event of Ramadan. The AGO wants to allow the death-row convicts to observe their last religious activities during the fasting month, he said.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]