Saturday, May 30, 2009

Obama to visit Afrabia, with hope and change for Islam message

Joke: Obama goes to deliver speech in Arab world
Arabs so touched - they respond by saying - you had us at Jiahd!

Pictured one of Islam's far flung followers - I wonder if he got the religion wrong.

That many in the west are annoyed with Muslim antics - is no secret. The Muslim world should understand - that we are never going to convert - and replace our systems government with theirs. Perhaps Obama could try and dispel that and other delusions.

As the president prepares for a key speech in Cairo, Andrew Sullivan gauges his plan for a new Middle East

It is, almost certainly, the most important speech of his presidency. On Thursday Barack Obama will address the Muslim world from Cairo University. And no one quite knows what he is going to say.

There is speculation, of course. Last week the Arab press was a-twitter over Obama’s last-minute decision to visit Saudi Arabia en route to Egypt. Was this a swipe at Egypt? Did it signal an endorsement of the Arab peace initiative? Or was it the usual American brown-nosing of the royal autocrats who have all that oil?

Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, fuelled the chatter by insisting on the freezing of West Bank settlements. On Thursday, in a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, Obama referred to the 2003 road map agreement which required an end to settlement activity. “We can’t continue the drift,” he said. “We need to get this thing back on track.”

The Israeli press, meanwhile, has seemed close to panic. David Horovitz, editor of The Jerusalem Post, argued that “in the briefing rooms of the American Israel public affairs committee conference [in Washington], as in the corridors of power back home in Israel, the contours were discernible not merely of a crack . . . but of a veritable abyss between Israel and America – a rupture that goes far beyond rhetorical gaps and conflicting emphases”.

One reason for this excitability is aware-ness on all sides of Obama’s huge charismatic clout – and, at the same time, of the near tabula rasa of his views on Middle Eastern diplomacy. Remember his silence during the bombardment of Gaza – and his Delphic distance from the Washington fight over the proposed appointment of Chas Freeman, a critic of Israel, to his national security team?

There are good reasons for the president to keep his views close to himself. George Mitchell, his special envoy, is shuttling around; the new Israeli government relies on a prickly bloc of rightists; the Iranian elections in June could change everything; the remnants of Al-Qaeda are testing the fledgling Iraqi government; and the Muslim nuclear power of Pakistan is in a brutal counter-insurgency campaign.

In such a climate, where you have to find a path between Jews and Arabs, Sun-nis and Shi’ites, you tread slowly and carefully. Obama is as careful as anyone in the presidential office in recent times.

My feeling is he has a shrewd sense of the regional politics and no illusions about fast change. The striking distinction from the Bush legacy is Obama’s conviction that moving tangibly towards a viable two-state solution in Israel/Palestine is the hinge on which this project depends. (It could be argued that George W Bush migrated reluctantly to this view in his second term, under the guidance of Condi Rice.)

Obama is, in this respect, undoubtedly on a collision course with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who wants to disarm Iran of nuclear potential before ceding territory that could be used by Iran’s militant proxies. But Obama sees progress in Palestine as a prerequisite for persuading Iran to behave.

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear programme is advancing and Netanyahu has declared it must be slowed by the end of the year. Time is running out. Like everyone else, Obama is aware of the dangers. A unilateral Israeli strike on Iran, for example, could be the most disruptive event in US-Israeli relations since Suez. No one wants that.

This conflict will not, one senses, be the point of Obama’s speech. What he wants is a new foundation for America’s relationship with the Muslim world. He chose Cairo over Jakarta, in Indonesia, because he understands that if you can move Islam in its historic centre, the impact is far greater than if you try in its more moderate and tolerant peripheries. (Jakarta would also have led to a mass of biographical angles in the press, which Obama wants to avoid.)

Oddly, I suspect his speech will be less liberal than Bush’s famous address on the need for democracy in the Arab world, which he saw as the cure for Islamism. What Obama brings, that neither of the Bushes could, is his middle name, his skin colour and his biography. His father was an African who lived under imperial rule and Obama spent part of his childhood in a Muslim country – Indonesia – and has Muslim relatives. By daring to go to Cairo, he can show that America is less governed by fear than it once was. He can also show a simple thing: respect.

The speech will be a historic paean to Islam and to Muslim culture. He will appeal to Muslim pride; simply by showing up he will demonstrate that he is trying to defuse and unwind the misunderstandings and enmities that riddle the region.

One hopes there won’t be the usual pabulum about moderates and extremists that is all too familiar to Muslim ears after years of Bush. Instead Obama will be emphatically positive, knowing that a defence of Islam by an American president in Cairo is the one clear statement he can make that will resonate widely.

So here we have the usual Obama paradox: a mass emotional appeal joined to a cool, governing realism. He is trying to do in international affairs what he has done domestically: appeal to the masses in order to apply subtle pressure and leverage on the elites.

If he can make the region’s leaders less able to wield antiAmericanism to cover up their own errors, and if he can shift even to a minor degree the suspicion that young Muslim men feel towards the West, then he could undermine the appeal of Islamism. He could weaken the environment in which terror gathers speed. And he could also make it easier for some Arab autocracies to stay in America’s good graces and cooperate in its fight against terrorism.

Obama will surely fail in the short run. If there is any region that manages to buoy the cynic, it is the Middle East. But he is a patient man and patient in his radicalism. He is attempting to get the forces in that region to respond to him and, by responding to him, to show their cards.

Then, having laid the groundwork on a mass and elite level, he will deal with the problems methodically and sometimes ruthlessly.

What he wants, of course, is a radically new order: a nonnuclear Iran integrated into the region as a friend to Iraq and restraining its militant Shi’ite sectarianism; a two-state solution in Palestine/ Israel that can last; and a slow unwinding of the fear and hostility that 9/11 so dramatically unleashed.

He can dream, I suppose. And we can hope.

Times Online

Why Obama's Cairo speech matters: BBC adopts a religious angle

BBC says, 'the real story is the reaction.'

Do we see a spate of bombings the next day celebrating jihad - over Iraqi shoppers - to show Obama - that his democratic Iraq - is really the Islamic Republic of Iraq?

I noticed in this BBC article - although they mention the punishment for leaving Islam in Saudi Arabia is death - they did not mention the way Egypt conducts business with its apostates - a life of torture and imprisonment -
but at least they let them live! No right to change your religion away from Islam - and the forcible conversion of family members - once the father has converted (usually for convenience - when trying to obtain a divorce - the Coptic Church has no such - I divorce you, I divorce you - quick fix) insuring that Muslims numbers increase - and every last Copt - is at last choked off and transcends into an Arabian (most of them - the family men and women kind as the BBC puts it).

As for western fears about Muslims gaining control of a democracy - one need just look at the Islamic world - and such worries will be confirmed. Muslims, are distressed most - it seems - that when one fears Islam - then they don't join it. Dashing their plans - to extend their retrogressive Islamic fiefdoms - out over - into the west. They want us to accept that - subjugating religious minorities is tolerance - and that ownership of women is women's liberation - that their totalitarian control over their people upholds and respects individual rights and freedoms - and in the name not defaming a religion - above all else - there plenty of those in the west who are willing to help us along the path - to this God delusion.

Barack Obama travels to the Middle East next week for an event of huge importance to him and his presidency. Officials promised that early on, he would travel to a Muslim nation and make a speech redefining US relations with Islam. It could be a turning point, says BBC North America editor Justin Webb.

I cannot remember where I was - it is a blur now, the election - but somewhere out in the middle states, the "flyover states" they call them, an incident occurred which has direct relevance to Thursday's presidential speech.

The Republican candidate John McCain was holding a cosy town hall chat during which supporters were primed to throw wicked questions - "Why are you so wonderful? Why is your health plan so superior?" etc.

On this occasion a woman made her way to the stage and sat just inches from the candidate. She did not have a question, she had a statement.

Barack Obama, she said, is a danger to America - he is an Arab. Mr McCain, who has a short temper at the best of times, lunged at her.

Fundamental prejudice

I can still see the move as the audience froze in horror. He grabbed the microphone off her and then uttered these immortal words: "No Ma'am, he is a family man!"

Of course the whole of sophisticated America laughed - not just at the woman but at Mr McCain as well, who had intended to rebuke his supporter but in fact had rather given wings to her fundamental prejudice that Arabs (Muslims is what she meant) are not family men and women.

That is a strand of American thinking about the Muslim world, it is undeniable. Out in Nowhereville they do not have a high opinion of the culture of Islam. Part of it is inspired by America's own intense religious belief.

'My God is bigger'

President Bush referred at one stage to the Iraq conflict as a "crusade". He quickly withdrew that description but it was a useful reminder that American Protestants do not shrink from violent conflict.

In one of the more bizarre episodes of the Iraq debacle it was reported that the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had his intelligence briefs for President Bush plastered with biblical verses: "Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter" etc.

One of Mr Rumsfeld's most senior generals was on record as saying that, during a previous battle with a Muslim warlord in Somalia, he knew he would win because his God was bigger than the warlord's!

Lt-Gen William Boykin also believed that the 9/11 attacks on the US came because America was a Christian nation. In other words he embraced, and presumably still does, the idea that Islam and Christianity are at war.

Going too far?

All of this Mr Obama will address in Cairo on Thursday.

“ Again the headlines from this speech will be about the outreach ”
I doubt Mr Boykin will get a mention, but the simplistic attitudes will. In effect, Mr Obama will tell the Muslim world: "We accept that you are family men [and women]."

And yet. There is a danger here. A danger that is being pointed out with ever increasing vigour by domestic critics of the president, a danger that he goes too far.

Go to Wichita, Kansas, ground zero of Nowhereville and the heartland of American Evangelism, fizzing with creationists and crusaders, and what do you find? A mosque.

Here in the centre of the nation, the Kansas tornado belt, Dorothy's home in the Wizard of Oz, a gentle acceptance of religious pluralism. A day-to-day rubbing along.

Such pluralism can be found in parts of the Muslim world of course, but is absent in much of it. Mr Obama visits Saudi Arabia next week where apostasy is punishable by death.

Then Egypt, for the big speech, where a recent culling of pigs - swine flu was the excuse - was widely believed to be an attack on the Coptic Christians who tended them.

And it is not just religious freedom. Egypt is a politically repressive nation where a democracy movement flourished briefly with support from the Bush White House, but has now been cut loose by Mr Obama and his secretary of state, Mrs Clinton, who said recently that she considered Egypt's autocratic leader, President Mubarak, to be a family friend.

Mr Obama's critics ask: "What's wrong with freedom, with democracy, with pluralism and the rule of law? Why should we go to Cairo (of all places) and apologise for these things?"

Challenge to Muslims

Of course he is aware of that, and I expect this speech to be thoughtfully weighted. There will be an acceptance that the "family man problem", as we might term it, must be addressed: America needs to respect Islamic culture.

But I suspect as well that there will be a challenge to Muslims in the speech, a passage that says you, too, have your share of work to do if this relationship is to change for the better.

He did it in Europe when he told French youngsters that it was time to stop sneering at America. They heard him in silence and the passage did not make news.

Again the headlines from this speech will be about the outreach but it seems to me the real story is the reaction.

Change has come to America but for it to work, others need to notice and bring it to their worlds as well.

Forty Percent of Somali Women in Netherlands Genitally Mutilated'

Apparently this is good news!

THE HAGUE, 30/05/09 - Four out of ten Somali and Ethiopian women who give birth in the Netherlands have been genitally mutilated. This is relatively few, Health State Secretary Jet Bussemaker wrote to the Lower House on Friday.

The figures were recorded by research organisation TNO after questioning midwives. The number of cases of female circumcision is fairly low, since nine out of ten women in the countries of origin have been circumcised, Bussemaker reasoned.

To obtain a better picture of female circumcision, the state secretary previously announced that midwives would be registering this form of mutilation. They will also be trained in how to discuss circumcision with families.


Dutch countryside campaign pushes Islam too hard, irks residents


Here the bus stop version of the same poster - only features the Muslim woman. Local residents strike back - with home made poster placed over original - saying 'Overijssel is not Islamic' - the campaign has now ended.

What has happened to the Dutch tolerance - you might ask - well I 100% think the Dutch would not give a hoot about an Islamic woman appearing on a poster for the countryside - if Muslims were not saying - in no uncertain terms - that one day we will take over your country. To anyone listening - to Muslim chatter - what might appear to be an innocuous poster - can also suggest - that Muslims are looking to make their presence felt - along with demands for the Shari'a in the countryside. Maybe the Dutch left - should concentrate more on helping the Muslims - to be more accepting of others. Show me one Muslim country with religious freedom - then show me one Muslim country where - non-Muslims - have as much freedom as Muslims do in Holland. Then we can have a real debate. Because in many Muslim's minds - it is these intolerant Islamic systems which are better - and what they hope one day will be imported to places like this Dutch countryside.


At bus shelters campaigns billposters with anti-Muslim slogans have been pasted over them. The stickers with the text 'Overijssel is not Islamic' covering an advertising of the province of Overijssel. On the billboard is an Islamic headscarf wrapped woman in the background images of the Overijsselse nature.

The photograph of the young Muslim is part of a publicity campaign of the province of Overijssel. It draws attention to the qualities of the Overijsselse landscape. Except the woman with the headscarf figure also other residents of the province in the campaign.

Anonymous critics notify that the campaign is "disrespectful". What Overijssel has to do with Islam? Especially when it comes to the landscape and culture of Overijssel, "writes one of the critics in an e-mail.

The province, which leaves the case studies, has no idea who is behind the anti-Muslim stickers. There are a spokesperson more negative comments received on the campaign.

No models
In house-to-door distributed brochures was the picture of the Muslim printed. 'This led to us a piece or twenty critical responses, "said a provincial spokesman. "We put these people that are not models but actual residents of our province. Even the lady with headscarf lives in Overijssel. Then they understand it.

On a bus shelter provider of telecom Ben, in which a Muslim headscarf is seen, a similar sticker pasted. When Ben says it has nothing to know.

At the request of the province, the manager of the shelter's slogans removed. The bus shelter campaign is now over.

Swede immigrants killed in jihadi fighting in Somalia


Several young men who left Sweden to join the radical Islamic militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia have been killed in battle, according to Sweden’s security service Säpo.

Säpo estimates that about 20 people have left Sweden to train and fight with al-Shabaab, a militant group with alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

So far, a handful of people with Swedish passports have also been killed in the fighting, Säpo reports.

“For the time being, it is believed there are ten or so Swedes on the ground in Somalia. They are either taking part in the violence or in training camps, but there may be more as of yet unknown cases. What worries us is that it’s ongoing and growing,” said Säpo counterterrorism analyst Malena Rembe to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The recruits aren’t only Swedes with Somali backgrounds, but are also individuals of mixed ethnicity, according to Rembe.

Some of them are leaving Sweden without telling their relatives what they are planning to do.

“These are people who are going down on their own initiative. They see themselves as a part of a global struggle and want to contribute,” said Rembe.

Somalia has been at war since 1991 when the country’s government collapsed. Recently, al-Shabaab militants have made advances toward the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

The Local

Jokes About Human Rights


Tim Marshall

Did you hear the one about the old United Nations Commission on Human Rights?

No? Well, it starts, and ends, like this, 'The UN Commission on Human Rights was chaired by Libya...'.

It's the way you tell em, and that one was so telling that it led to the Commission being disbanded amid

howls of ironic bitter laughter in the offices of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and elsewhere.

A long record of protecting the worst human rights abusers in the world was finally brought to an end and lo, a new UN Council On Human Rights was born to lead us into the sunny uplands of a brave new world free of Governments paying civil servant torturers to rip peoples nails out, shoot them and dump their bodies in swamps because they disagreed with government policy or said something about God.

This led to a whole new round of jokes. What about the one where the new Council voted to end its examination of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan?

But fear not, the Council does do other work. It has passed a resolution urging UN states to adopt laws outlawing criticism of religion. Pakistan put forward that one. Oh, and in passing, since its inception in 2006 the Council has condemned Israel 8 times. Er, that's it. Not a single condemnation of any other state. Zimbabwe? Burma? Bealrus? China? Saudi Arabia? Nope. Sudan? Nope? What about Sri Lanka then?

Ah,that brings us to the latest joke doing the rounds in Human Rights circles. It's the one where European countries, in the knowledge of intelligence reports about what's been going on there asked the Council to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by both sides; the Sri Lankan Army, and the Tamil Tigers.

'We're a bit busy' said the Council, trying not to smirk. It was busy debating an interesting motion which welcomed the liberation of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government, and which condemned the Tigers for their abuses. And this motion was put forward by? Here's the punchline - The Sri Lankan Government. No, no there's more, get this, and the UN Council on Human Rights passed it!

Laugh, I could have cried for the 20,000 or so Tamil civilians alleged to have been killed by heavy shelling into Tamil areas this month. And who makes this allegation? UN staff who have leaked information to the Times newspaper and others. Why? Because the staff want the truth to be told. The UN Council on Human Rights appears not to.

Islamic Crusades: 9 Videos [Player]


Will Arabs end their 'illegal occupation' of lands outside of Arabia?

The Religion of Peace

UK: Muslim mother-in-law from hell, jailed for enslaving and beating, 3 Pakistani wives imported for her boys

Tricked into thinking they would have a better life in the UK - this Muslim mother-in-law from hell - beat and worked day and night - the vulnerable young Pakistani wives she brought to UK - through arranged marriages for her boys (all first cousins) - recieved 7 years in prison and a long period of supervision.

A horrible case - but likely only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily British law only allows one wife - as no doubt she - would have arranged more slaves for each of her boys - who - by the way didn't seem to object to the way their wives were being treated - likely justified somehow as - obedience or submission of the wife - under Islam.

This arranged marriage system is a joke. Who are these people? Deals are struck and marriages are arranged. Its no wonder many Muslims are calling for Islamic law. They were probably born in Pakistan - or one of their parents were. If this continues - it will not be a case of Brits of Pakistani descent integrating into British life - it will be the rest of Britain - integrating into Pakistani life. Pull the plug on these sham arranged marriages. No doubt some Taliban - have been allowed to gain british passports - via this lackadaisical immigration system.

Jailed: Naseemah Bibi would beat and abuse her three daughters-in-law

A woman was jailed for seven years today for falsely imprisoning her three daughters-in-law who she treated as 'slaves and dogs'.

Naseebah Bibi, 63, would not let the women leave the family home in Blackburn, Lancashire, without her permission.

One of her victims told detectives she was forced to work on an industrial sewing machine day and night for 13 years.

Bibi, of Pringle Street, was convicted by a jury at Preston Crown Court last month of falsely imprisoning Nagina Akhtar between 1993 and 2006, Tazeem Akhtar from 2001 to 2003 and Nisbah Akhtar between 2005 and 2007.

All three women were brought to the UK following arranged marriages to Bibi's three sons but were subjected to beatings and abuse from her after they arrived.

Sentencing her, Judge Robert Brown said it was evident that her victims were 'traumatised by you both physically and psychologically and spent long periods living in fear'.

He ordered that Bibi serve three and a half years of her sentence in prison before she would be allowed out on licence and would then need to be monitored for up to nine years from the start of her custodial sentence.

He said: 'It seems to be necessary in the public interest that you should be subject to a long period of supervision after you are released from prison so that your situation and that in your household can be monitored.

'At the same time because of your poor health and in particular your mental health I shall keep the custodial element of sentence as short as I can, consistent with my duty to punish you, to deter you from further offences and to protect the public.'

The court heard that a fourth woman had been betrothed to one of her sons and that she had been destined to live in the Bibi household but Judge Brown said he would pass on the information to the immigration authorities.

Prosecutors said Bibi ruled the household with a regime of beatings and threats as she totally dominated the three women who were treated as unpaid servants.

Naseemah Bibi arriving for court

The daughters-in-law had high expectations of a happy family life in England when they married their first cousins in Pakistan but instead they were cruelly abused and allowed no contact with the outside world.

One of the victims, Nagina, told the police that she was ordered to spend her time sewing as soon as she arrived in Blackburn in 1993 following her marriage to Bibi's son Fahim and was also told she could not have a higher education.

She carried on sewing up to a fortnight before the caesarean birth of one of her three children and was back on the machine within a month.

When the sewing work ran out she was made to do household chores, cooking and cleaning.

She said Bibi struck her with a brush handle and slapped her across the face whenever she disobeyed her.

Sisters Nisbah and Tazeem also gave evidence to the jury that their lives were 'made hell'. They too were slapped across the face, hit with a brush handle and struck with shoes when they answered back to Bibi.

Judge Brown said that he had taken into account the 'cultural element' of the case.

'You had a dominant position over your daughters-in-law. I take into account that in arranging the marriages in the first place you felt obliged to follow the wishes of your own parents concerning arranged marriages,' he said.

'But none of these facts can be an excuse for the degree of cruelty and imprisonment to which the three victims were subjected.'

Daily Mail

BBC offers £30,000 and an apology to Muslim Council of Britain, to settle a similar defamation claim Whitehall would not

Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore 'slurred' the Muslim Council of Britain while appearing as a panellist on Question Time

The BBC has offered to pay £30,000 and apologise to the Muslim Council of Britain after airing claims that it encourages the killing of British troops.

The Corporation caved in after a panellist on the Question Time TV programme accused the country's most influential Muslim organisation of failing to condemn attacks on soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The broadcaster was threatened with legal action over comments by former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore during a debate about Islamic protests which marred a soldiers' homecoming parade in Luton.

Mr Moore blamed the MCB's leadership for its apparent reluctance to condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers overseas. He went on to claim that it thought it was a 'good thing' to kill troops.


Apology for one and not the other: Charles Moore's words compared to Hazel Blears's letter

Faced with the threat of a writ, the BBC made an offer of 'amends' and an apology on the Question Time website. But this has been rejected and the MCB is demanding an apology on air.

The Corporation's decision to pay out will raise eyebrows in Whitehall, where ministers have refused to settle a similar defamation claim over a letter written by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

A BBC insider said the move has also angered Mr Moore, who was not consulted over the legal response to the complaint or even informed that an offer to settle had been made.

Question Time is recorded an hour before broadcast specifically so that legal advisers can check its content for possible libels.

No legal worries were expressed over Mr Moore's remarks, which were seen as provocative but not defamatory.

The row dates back to March 12 when Mr Moore appeared on the BBC1 show.

The panel was debating protests by a group of Islamic extremists during a homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment in Luton two days earlier.

Muslim extremists heckled the troops and waved placards which read 'Butchers of Basra' and 'British Government: Terrorist Government'.

All the panellists condemned the protesters, but political biographer Mr Moore took the opportunity to attack the MCB.

He said: 'The Muslim Council of Britain, which is the umbrella organisation for all Muslim groups in this country, I've gone to them many times, and I said will you condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they won't.

'But there is a bigger, another step that they take, they say it is actually a good thing, even an Islamic thing, to kill or kidnap British soldiers.'

The MCB's leadership described Mr Moore's claims as a 'total lie'.

Last night secretary general Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said: 'These kinds of statements are very damaging, and we received many complaints from our Muslim supporters who said they were extremely offended by the comments.

'In fact when a British man called Ken Bigley was kidnapped in Iraq, we sent envoys there to plead for his release. This is accusing us of encouraging terrorism abroad.'

The MCB engaged costly libel lawyers Carter-Ruck, who wrote a formal letter of complaint.


Question Time, chaired by David Dimbleby (above), is recorded an hour before broadcast so that legal advisers can check its content for possible libels

Last night it emerged that the BBC decided to offer to settle amid fears that the Corporation had libelled Dr Abdul Bari even though he was not mentioned by name.

A BBC spokesman said: 'Question Time always has lively and wide-ranging debate. On occasion this results in unfairness to individuals who aren't there to put their point of view and this is one of those occasions.'

The separate row between the MCB's deputy secretary general Dr Daud Abdullah and Miss Blears centres on a document relating to the recent conflict in Gaza which was signed by Dr Abdullah.

In March, Miss Blears interpreted the document as justifying attacks on the Royal Navy and wrote to The Guardian to explain her concerns.

A solicitor's letter was sent on behalf of Dr Daud Abdullah demanding she pay £75,000 by last month or face full legal proceedings. But she refused to do so and no further correspondence has been received.

Daily Mail

Egypt sweeps radical Islamic elements under carpet - as Obama visit approaches

Trying to pick a "moderate" University to deliver a speech from within the Islamic world - comes with its own Islamic territorial troubles - it would appear that the Al-Azhar University had been selected - before the Cairo Uni was settled on - then again how would that look on the US - "Land of the Free" - to have its president associated with a Muslim establishment that bars non-Muslim applicants.

Strange goings on - according to Russian news 35 of its Russian Muslim students from the Caucasus region have been taken into custody in Egypt - about a month ago - they were attending the Al-Azhar University.  Could this be a security measure in preparation for Obama's arrival? An effort to clean up loose radicals? To prove it the Egyptian government wont tell the Russian government where - these students - and it seems their families - are being held.

* There also reports that British, French and Danish citizens have also been arrested - from the same Al-Azhar Islamic school.

It looks to be pure African dictator stuff - these people will likely be locked up until the (perceived) threat they posed has passed and then they'll be released.

It is interesting though - (if this theory is true) - how the Egyptians came to the conclusion that - Muslims from the Caucasus as a threat - perhaps an acknowledgement that many of these same students are going back to the Caucacus to join the rebellion against the officially accepted Islam in Russia. In any case Egypt doesn't seem to want them anywhere around when Obama is in town! 

CAIRO (AP) — Cairo University has postponed student exams set for next Thursday and the Egyptian president's security service took over the campus in anticipation that President Barack Obama will address the Muslim world from its main hall.

While the American Embassy in Cairo will not confirm the venue, Egyptian officials say Cairo University will be the site of Obama's June 4 speech aimed at repairing U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

University spokesman Sami Abdel-Aziz said it is "90 percent" certain that Obama will deliver his speech from the campus, located off a palm tree-lined square on the Nile's west bank.

The landmark campus, which has been at the center of student pro-democracy protests, would provide Obama with a symbolic backdrop linked to liberal Arab learning. Its graduates include Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz.

"It is a symbol of liberalism in Egypt," said Egyptian writer Ali Salem. "People used to send students to get bachelor's degrees to Europe to come back and teach. So this university was meant to be a real window to the world."

Over 35 Russian citizens, mostly students studying in Al-Azhar University, have been detained by Egyptian authorities for no apparent reason.

The university was apparently chosen over another deeply symbolic setting. The 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar mosque, the heart of a revered institution for Islamic study in Cairo's crowded and conservative old quarter, was also said to have been on the short list of venues considered.

However, Egyptian security officials said Cairo University is easier to secure than Al-Azhar.

In recent years, the university has been at the center of anti-government protests. Like many of Cairo's centers of higher learning, there are followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, an outlawed opposition movement, among its students and staff. It had already been under the close watch of security services, who keep tabs on student opposition supporters.

But the choice could also reflect a desire by Obama to address a broader audience including liberals and intellectuals, whereas speaking from Al-Azhar might resonate more with religious Muslims.

Established in 1908, Cairo University was the secular answer to the regional dominance of Al-Azhar University. Through an exchange of Egyptian and European scholars, it became an intellectual bridge between East and West. The university brought Western learning to Cairo, complementing the Islamic traditions of Al-Azhar.

Its students had a leadership role in protesting the British occupation of Egypt, which ended in the 1952 revolution.

President Hosni Mubarak's security service took control of the university campus on Tuesday, said an Egyptian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to release the information.

The university said technical teams were on campus Thursday to set up for the speech.
"We are preparing the facilities of the Great Hall under the supervision of the Ministry of Information, for the sound system and the cameras and these technical aspects," said spokesman Abdel-Aziz.

The Great Hall can hold more than 3,000 people. About 300 of the university's 300,000 students will be chosen to attend and exams scheduled for that day will be postponed, Abdel-Aziz said.

Though anti-American sentiment roiled the campus during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the university was buzzing Thursday with excitement over Obama's visit.

"I feel I can relate to Obama. He's African and his father is Muslim," said Abdel-Aziz Harby, a 31-year-old graduate student in educational studies. "Bush had shoes thrown at him, but that will never happen here. He (Obama) is most welcome."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kosovo minorities leave, claiming discrimination

KFOR peacekeepers patroling the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica

I'm not sure what the Bush administration was doing - backing Kosovo's independence. The deal was - when we went to war in the Balkans that Kosovo would remain a part of Serbia.

Now the little pint sized enclave has began the process of Islamization - as the Arabs begin sniffing around - the place should look like Pakistan in no time.

Autonomy would have allowed - Kosovo to be better managed. At the moment - the US seems to have opened up a can of worms - and walked off. It smacks of the absent-minded way Turkey is being promoted - for EU membership.

The refusal of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership to ensure minority rights is driving out many non-Serb minorities, a new human rights report says.

The London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG) says exclusion from political and social life and discrimination are forcing ethnic Bosniaks, Turks, Roma, Croats, Gorani, Ashkali Egyptians and even some Serbs out of Kosovo.

Picture: "Kosovo is Serbia" is a clear sign how Serbs feel about their breakaway province.

Non-Serb minorities have criticized the international community for paying too much attention to Albanian-Serb relations and ignoring other groups.

"The priority for the international community should be to ensure that there is some kind of international human rights mechanism to which minorities in Kosovo can turn," MRG director, Mark Lattimer, said.

Lack of political will

Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 and Serbia's opposition to the move had resulted in a vacuum in international protection for minorities, the MRG report says.

Since declaring independence, ethnic divisions have worsened between the enclave's two million Albanians, 120,000 Serbs, and 80,000 others from smaller ethnic groups, despite the presence of 14,000 NATO peacekeepers and a 2,000-strong European Union mission overseeing a fragile peace.

"There is a lack of political will and substantive investment in effective implementation of minority rights among majority Albanians," the report says.

"Together with a bad economy, these conditions mean that many members of minority communities are now leaving the new Kosovo state altogether," MRG concludes.

Integration "a fantasy"

The Kosovo government has called the report "not factually accurate" and says minority rights are guaranteed by the constitution. But Lattimer, in an interview with Deutsche Welle, described that claim as "a fantasy" and stressed that the trend toward greater ethnic segregation was continuing.

"Effectively," Lattimer said, "ten years of international rule have seen an increase in segregation between communities."

The MRG report says that the poor treatment of minorities was due to a perception that they had been allies of, or did little to oppose, the former Serb regime in the 1990s.

Serbia still regards Kosovo as part of its historic heartland and has asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on the legality of its secession.

Serb President Boris Tadic, ahead of a visit to France on Wednesday, told the French daily Le Figaro that Serbia would "never recognize" the unilateral independence of Kosovo.

Kosovo's independence has only been recognized by 60 of the world's 200 countries.


Video: German or Foreigner? Turkish Youth at a Crossroads

Germany cuts the umbilical cord - forces Turkish youth to either accept Germany citizenship or Turkish - but not both. Holland has this same problem - close to 75% of Muslim immigrants carry dual citizenship - even elected officials - Wilders' position is that they should choose - their loyalties.

Six months' jail for female circumcisers in Senegal


DAKAR (AFP) — A Senegalese court sentenced two women to six months in jail Thursday for circumcising a baby girl, rights watchdog Raddho said of a case that sparked clashes between religious protesters and police.

The court in Matam, 680 kilometres (425 miles) north of Dakar, handed down the sentences to a traditional female circumciser and the 16-month-old girl's grandmother while her parents were given six-month suspended sentences, Raddho's local representative said.

The grandmother got a harsher sentence than the parents as she was the one who took the girl to be circumcised, he added.

The practice has been forbidden in Senegal since 1999, when Senegal adopted a law to ban female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Since then many villages have signed pledges to ban female circumcision, but the Matam case stirred controversy with local Muslim religious leaders defending female circumcision as part of their tradition.

On Thursday morning, clashes broke out between religious protesters and local police, according to the RFM radio station.

The demonstrators threw rocks at the police who used teargas to break up the protest, the station added.

The circumcision of the girl, from the village of Ourossogui close to Matam, was reported to the police by a Raddho representative. The women who carried out the circumcision and the girl's family were arrested in May and detained.

The ruling marks the first time a court in the Matam region has handed down a convicion for a circumcision, the non-governmental organisation said.

"Raddho wanted to give off a strong signal to show that circumcision is banned," local Raddho spokesman David Diagne said.

"We will continue our awareness campaign in the region to make it known that female circumcision can cause great harm especially in health terms with the risks of infection with the girls," he added.

According to Tostan, another NGO working to eradicate female circumcision said the practice had been "massively abandoned" in Senegal over the last decade.

"Some 3,548 villages have pledged to collectively abandon female circumcision since 1997" in Senegal, a Tostan spokesman told AFP Thursday.

Sweden: Girl receives damages for genital mutilation in landmark case

In the Islamic world it is largely possible to keep women isolated - and as for rights - most have little or none. But when you bring a young Muslim girl to Europe - she is exposed to what life is like for millions of women outside of the Islamic world - and the sky is not falling. Here is a case that started with FGM and ended with abuse that no young woman should have to endure - sadly though many Muslim women and girls do - in silence - not this time - she took her family to court. At least we know that this Muslim immigrant (if she indeed remains a Muslim), will not follow in the footsteps - of others - where rights and freedoms of women and girls are so callously disregarded.

A 19-year-old girl in Gothenburg has been awarded compensation after having been subjected to genital mutilation in Somalia as an 11-year-old.

The girl was awarded 390,000 kronor ($52,000) in damages for abuse and gross violation of integrity (grov fridskränkning), the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten) has announced.

Then 11-years-old, the girl was taken on holiday to Somalia in 2001. While there she was subjected to genital mutilation.

She was held down by her mother and two other women while her clitoris and inner labia were removed by a man in return for payment.

The girl's vagina was then sewn up down to the opening of her urethra. The whole procedure was conducted without anaesthetic.

For several years after the violation the girl was subjected to repeated examinations by her mother who forced her fingers into her vagina to check that her virginity remained intact.

She also repeatedly assaulted her daughter with various implements including books, a curtain rail and a belt.

The girl's mother later explained in her court trial that the girl was taken to Somalia to be "cleansed".

The mother was later convicted for the violation in the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) and ordered to pay her daughter 450,000 kronor in compensation.

In its decision to award the damages to the 19-year-old the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority wrote that the "genital mutilation resembled torture and was intended to limit her possibilities to have a normal sex life."

For the "exceptionally serious violation of her personal integrity" and the subsequent abuse, the girl was awarded a total of 390,000 kronor.

The authority will also later consider whether the girl is entitled to further damages for pain and suffering.

The Local, Islam in Europe

Will France Really Be A Muslim Country?

Muslims have a frank discussion about how it is that they would go about taking over France.

There's a 16-page discussion at a Muslim forum called Mejliss el kalam, linked by François Desouche. To translate the entire discussion is out of the question. But here is the first page somewhat simplified....
The initial question, dated April 11, 2009, comes from ShamsTabrizi, from Somalia:

- Salam. In a city of 22 thousand inhabitants a few miles from Paris, more than 6 thousand persons participated in the Friday prayer at 2:00 p.m., including a significant number of converted Frenchmen and Frenchwomen. At the end of the prayer, seeing these people, I began to wonder in how many years France will be a mostly Muslim country.

- (Abelatif from Belgium responds): You must not have any illusions, my brother. France as a Muslim country will be several generations form now, or more. But it's true that it's beautiful to see Muslims of all origins at the mosque... Praise be to Allah

- (ShamsTabrizi): I don't agree. considering the evolution of the situation I have been witnessing, I do not give it more than 30 years before we will see mayors giving sermons on Friday to the faithful.

- (Abdel93600 from The Netherlands): Salam. The French are no longer having many children. Let's do France a favor and ensure the renewal of generations. It's a problem for many European countries! The birth rate in France recently reached a record, the highest in Europe, due in great part, to immigrant women.

- (Prince.Hakim from Belgium): I think we're heading for a Franco-Creole-Maghrebin civilization with massive intermarriage under the aegis of Islam.

- (Maléikite from Belgium): Brussels will be majority Muslim in less than 20 years (these are non-Muslim statistics). Inch'Allah.

- (MonSpeudo2 from France): Stop dreaming up tales about our country. It will never belong to you

- (ShamsTabrizi to Prince.Hakim): Then you agree with me. France will surely be a Muslim land for our grandchildren, maybe our children. So we must begin to construct a good basis to avoid unpleasant surprises for them in the future.

- (Maléikite to MonSpeudo2): Don't worry, we'll protect your rights, you will have the status of dhimmi.

- (ShamsTabrizi to MonSpeudo2): Ask your father if he ever imagined so many mosques and Muslims when he was your age. Then you'll have the answer as to whom France will belong. I like France, and I will like it even more when it's Muslim. Don't worry, we will be lenient on Christian minorities.

- (Prince-Hakim to MonSpeudo2): It will not be a matter of conquest, but of adherence to a joint effort between Frenchmen and Maghrebins. You should consider converting to Islam.

- (Ilyas_95 from France to MonSpeudo2): Bah! As far as I know France belongs to me as much as to you, doesn't it?

- (Parisien from France to Ilyas_95): No. I don't think so...

- (Prince.Hakim to ShamsTabrizi): I would even say the French deserve to be a part of the Umma.

- (Ilyas_95 to ShamsTabrizi): It's ridiculous to use threats... We're stuck in the suburbs and the high-rises. To say things like we're going to turn France upside-down, when we are not even able to agree on the best way to scratch our noses...

- (Ilyas_95 to Parisien): Really? Why not?

- (El-che from France): In 1974, at the UN, the Algerian president Houari Boumediene, declared: "One day, millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere to go north. And they won't go there as friends. Because they will be going to conquer. And they will conquer and people the land with their sons. It is the womb of women that will bring us victory."
In Le Figaro, December 19, 2006, our great friend Muammar Quadhafi declared: "Without sword, without rifles, without conquests, the 50 million Muslims in Europe will transform it soon into a Muslim continent!"

- (Prince.Hakim from Belgium): I think we should have a friendly attitude towards the French and convince them to join us.

- (ShamsTabrizi to Ilyas_95): There is no threat but a simple observation, and when you say we can't agree among ourselves you're off the topic. I don't see what that has to do with the evolution of society advancing in the interests of Islam and Muslims. And that is precisely why I said earlier that we must begin to construct a good basis for the future of our children.

- (Abdel93600 from The Netherlands): Salam. Are there any cities in France that are already majority Muslim or close to it? Except for Roubaix (that goes back a long time) and Marseilles? We're off to a good start, one at the northernmost end the other at the southernmost end?

- (Ilyas95 to ShamsTabrizi): The political power is now in the hands of a minority that remains in power. The numbers do not in any way change the rules of the game... we just have to see to what extent "our" cities (those that are majority Muslim) represent an enviable model for the entire world...

- (Le Compagnon from the UAE to MonSpeudo2): It already belongs to us. First mission accomplished, second mission: children, third: Islamization. End of operation. You will have the right to attend school without a veil.

- (Shams Tabrizi to Prince.Hakim): Salam. That's the way things are going. In the mosque where I prayed on Friday, it was the number of French Muslims that surprised me the most. Naturally, Islamization of society will take place with their help.

- (Ilyas_95 to ShamsTabrizi): What is "Islamization" of France??? The fact that everybody is Muslim???I say this because it is an important point after all...

- (Parisien from France): Then the Israelis are right after all.

[Note: He links to another thread where Israelis are said to call for the slitting open of the stomachs of pregnant Muslim women. "Parisien" was eventually suspended from the forum, not surprisingly.]
- (Need_Peace from Morocco): Assalam alaikom to all. I was in France just once, in August 2007. I spent two weeks there on holiday. I did not make any particular acquaintances with our brothers and sisters of Islam, but for the entire time, I had the certitude that it was a country where Islam will be majority, and I said to everyone that France will be glorified by Islam. Inch'Allah. It warms the heart to see the number of committed sincere converts.

- (ShamsTabrizi to Ilyas_95): Who said anything about taking power? Here we are talking about a majority of the population and it's already a good start. If you also want power, then instead of thinking of yourself as weak and saying that we'll never succeed, rise up and give yourself the means to do it. Don't look for excuses to stay in bed.

- (Didyme from France to ShamsTabrizi): Hello. There are about 3 thousand converts to Islam each year. Let's be liberal and say 5 thousand. Let's forget about the Muslims who become apostates. In order for France to become a majority Muslim country only through conversion, 20 million Frenchmen would have to convert (half of the 60 million Frenchmen minus the 10 million who are already Muslim).

[Notice that he said TEN million, not the usual five or six we so often hear about.]
At the rate of 5 thousand conversions per year it would take... 4000 years! So it's difficult to count on conversions alone.
You can count on the higher birth rate among immigrant Muslim families than among non-Muslims. But as Muslim immigrants attain the same standard of living as non-Muslims, the birthrates will become equal.
You can count on immigration even though the current policies indicate the opposite, that is, a policy of expulsion.
[Note: If he thinks Sarkozy is expelling many immigrants, he is perhaps fooling himself. Larger numbers are coming in than returning home.]
But some can always dream about a majority Muslim France in a "maximum of 30 years."

- (El-che to Prince.Hakim): We are not supposed to be a people who terrorize and who seek to wage war and cause blood to be shed, so yes, we must have a friendly attitude towards them.

-(Prince.Hakim to Parisien, re: the Israelis): They should go back to Russia or Poland or Ethiopia.

The conversation goes on for 15 more web pages. I have not had time to read through it all, but French readers may be interested. The comments at François Desouche are worth a look, although I can only post a few at random out of the 200:

- I will not have my children baptized, so that they don't appear on the lists of Christians. Islamists, when they are in power in France, like the Nazis before them, love to consult lists.
- History always ends with massacres and bloodbaths! If you know how to read between the lines, you know what you have to do!

- (...) In short, I'm very pessimistic for the future of France. I think that the only element that could change the situation might come from international events and a possible conflict with Iran. The Muslims of France will feel threatened and I think very violent riots are foreseeable on French territory, even kamikaze attacks! At that moment, a possible civil war between pro-Iranian and ethnic Frenchmen (of Christian origin) could break out.

- What a bunch of rats... but frankly, even if the country becomes Islamized, I don't think it will become a Muslim country so easily. I have hope that the French people in their majority will finally revolt before that happens.

- We still have time. You don't need 50% Muslims in France for chaos to reign. there are about 4-5 million Muslims in France, or 6 to 8% of the population. They already have quite a bit of nuisance value. Not to mention the non-Muslim foreigners. In all, perhaps 8 million non-Europeans, or 13% of the population.

- (...) Really I would tend to say there are about 8 to 10 million Muslims in France.

- With respect, I feel that the number of 5 million Muslims in France was surpassed long ago. There are at least 10 million!!

- I would say 10 to 12 million. Sometimes, I feel like leaving this country. It's becoming too hard, like seeing a woman you love, with her veins slashed, in a bathtub, and not being able to help her.

- Nobody is really fooled. At any rate not the ethnic Frenchmen. Almost everybody knows that there will be violence at the moment of the "passing of the torch", when the Muslim community is almost in the majority and their "cultural demands" become laws... There will always be a temptation on the part of this community to affirm its domination. It's then that things will begin to go badly.

- (...) Our friends the immigrants, Islamists, collaborators should not worry too much: the French are patient, very patient, too much so, but above all they are unpredictable and the day when the fire is lit, no one will be able to stop it. History has already proven that. (...)

- Having worked a various maternity hospitals in Paris and the nearby suburbs, I can attest that black women are in a very large majority. And they don't have just one child... I saw fewer Maghrebins.

- (In response to the reader who said he wants to leave the country) And that doesn't take into account the social climate. I don't know how it is where you work, but at my job it's war.

- At my job if they're unhappy, they back off. But there's a Frenchman who praises the "virility" of the immigrants, but when it's said about a white man, that's no good, it's Le Pen. Yet in his heart, I feel sure that he suspects it will end in complete chaos. But he prefers to live like an ostrich.

Like the discussion at Mejliss, this goes on and on. It's very interesting, but the main question still remains: What will really happen when the tipping point has been reached? Will the French wait until that happens, then rebel in violence? Violence can be prevented by sane immigration policies, a refusal to build mosques and an affirmation of nationalism, if not Christianity. If violence does erupt it will be chaotic and directed at the "collaborators" as much (possibly more?) as towards the Muslims.
One recurring theme is that despite outward passiveness, the French, in general, know that violence will come. This seems to indicate a higher level of awareness on the part of the population than is generally acknowledged. Notice that the Muslims calmly plot the takeover without any thought of a rebellion from the natives.

Brussels Journal

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Islamic extremism on the rise again in Central Asia


Tashkent (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A police man was killed and others injured in a suicide attack in the city of Andijan yesterday. Unknown gunmen also fired at Uzbek policemen in Khanabad on the border with Kyrgyzstan. Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), on offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan accused in the past of various attacks in Central Asia, and have reignited fears of a rise in Islamist militancy in the Ferghana Valley, an area that borders on several countries.
Kyrgyz sources said that four policemen were killed in Khanabad when they tried to stop a car that was trying to drive through a border checkpoint into Kyrgyzstan, something that Uzbek authorities have denied. Uzbekistan said instead that it is in perfect control of its territory and that Uzbek troops are patrolling the border.

Whatever the case may be, such incidents are a sign of widespread instability and violence in the Ferghana, a valley that is divided between the two countries and Tajikistan that has been affected by significant social unrest since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is also one of the poorest areas of Central Asia with high unemployment and limited social assistance from governments.

Making matters worse the circumstances “could make the population susceptible to radical groups who provide a means of channelling this discontent,” said Matthew Clements, Eurasia editor in the Country Risk Department for Jane's Information Group.

Although unemployment is high in Uzbekistan and millions of Uzbek men and women have left the country for seasonal jobs in Russia, Kazakhstan, and even impoverished Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the Uzbek government continues to claim that unemployment is less than 1 per cent.

In May 2005 Uzbek troops fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds, in Andijan. But instead finding out what really happened, the government has consistently claimed that there was a riot. At the same time though, many eyewitnesses to the “riot” were incarcerated, tortured and sentenced to silence them.

The situation is so uncertain that many doubt that the IJU is really behind the attacks.

Many suspect that organised crime is responsible with the help of rogue officials from both countries.

On each side of the border the local population has been increasingly left without outside help, making it more easily susceptible to appeals by proponents of radical ideologies.

Christian couple convicted for anti-Muslim 'evangelical' booklets

Lighthouse Evangelical Singapore

If the west locked up every Muslim who said or printed something against Christianity - the prisons would be full. But in the face of it all - most of us would like to hold to our principles of freedom of speech and expression.

SINGAPORE (AFP) – A Christian Singaporean couple were found guilty of sedition on Thursday for distributing evangelical publications that cast Islam in a negative light, court officials said.

Ong Kian Cheong and his wife Dorothy Chan had been charged with distributing a seditious publication to two Muslims in October and March 2007 and sending a second such booklet to another Muslim in December that same year, a district court official told AFP.

The publications were found to have promoted feelings of ill-will and hostility between Christians and Muslims, the Straits Times said on its website.

A hearing was set for June 4 for mitigation pleas and sentencing.

The sedition charge carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars (3,437 US) or both.

Singapore, a multi-racial island nation, clamps down hard on anyone seen to be inciting communal tensions.

In 2005, two ethnic Chinese men were jailed for anti-Muslim blogs.

The following year, a Singaporean blogger received a stern warning after posting cartoons mocking Jesus Christ on his online journal.

Ethnic Chinese make up a majority of the city-state's resident population but there are significant numbers of Malay Muslims, ethnic Indians and other groups.

UK: Nine arrested after anti-Islamist protesters march against Muslim extremists - clash with police

The protesters - a group calling themselves - March for England - claim that when an Islamic mosque in Luton was set fire - it made national news - but the several times Christian churches have been set fire - have gone unreported.

Nine people have been arrested after hundreds of anti-Islamist protesters clashed with police yesterday.

The streets of Luton descended into violence after demonstrators, many hiding their faces behind balaclavas, brandished England flags and chanted at officers.

A group called March for England was said to have organised the rally as a peaceful protest against Muslim extremists. They were joined by a local group United People of Luton.


Riot: Demonstrators gathered in George Square in Luton town centre yesterday over the anti-war protest held against the Royal Anglian Regiment in March


Arrests: A man is detained by police officers during the riot yesterday

Two of those arrested have been charged: one man for possessing an offensive weapon after stones were found in his pockets, and a woman was charged with breaching an anti-social behaviour order.

Another man was fined £80 for a public order offence.

The other six people, all men, have been bailed without charge pending further inquiries.

During the protest, the mob, which included teenagers and women, held banners with slogans such as 'No Sharia Law in the UK' and 'Respect our Troops'.

Some protesters wore masks with the horned face of Sayful Islam, a local hardline political agitator who led Muslim demonstrators in an anti-war protest during the Royal Anglian Regiment's homecoming parade in Luton in March.

But chaos broke out when a crowd of around 500 ran away from police who had been escorting the protest along its route, and ran down side streets towards the town centre.

Officers on horseback and police dogs were deployed, and policemen drew batons to defend themselves.

Masked: A depiction of hardline, political agitator Sayful Islam

Groups of young men in balaclavas and England shirts chanted outside the city centre and one balacava-clad protester held a Rottweiler on a chain, while others clashed with police in riot gear.

One Asian man was hit across the face with a banner and left with a bloody nose.

Focus of hate: Sayful Islam used to be a moderate Muslim from Luton

Police said during the disturbance three car windscreens were smashed and a window at a take away restaurant in Chapel Street had been broken.

Last night Luton town centre was calm as police maintained a presence on the streets.

A spokesman for United People of Luton, Wayne King, said many people in Luton were concerned and annoyed that the Muslim community in the town had not taken steps to deal with Sayful Islam's 'hate-filled preachings'.

The 24-year-old, who wore a T-shirt with the words 'No surrender to Al-Qaeda' on it, said: 'We decided enough was enough after the soldiers got heckled as they marched through the town centre by the Muslim extremists.

'Our community has been racially attacked for the last 10 years.

'A mosque in the town got set on fire a few weeks ago and it made national news but churches in Luton are regularly being set fire to.

'We want laws brought in to stop preachers of hate operating here.'

Luton town centre was busy at the time of the riot with shoppers enjoying the sunshine.

Many of those who joined in the march had been drinking in town centre pubs.

Later on, overhead, a police helicopter monitored the movement of the mob which at one point appeared to be making in the direction of Bury Park, an area of Luton where many of the town's Asian population live.


Looking for trouble: Protesters in Luton's city centre yesterday stormed the streets wearing balaclavas


Catalyst: Anti-war Islamists protested during an Army march in Luton earlier this year - partly sparking yesterday's response

Daily Mail

Italy: First veiled Italian Muslim woman runs for local elections_on Islamic agenda

Perugia, 28 May (AKI) - An Italian Muslim woman wearing the veil, or hijab, in the central city of Perugia will for the first time run for local elections, on 6 and 7 June. Maymouna Abdel Qader, an Italian of Palestinian descent, is a political science graduate of the University of Perugia.

She is running for Perugia's communal council for the Sinistra e Liberta coalition, which is made up of mainly socialist, anti-war and secular parties.

"Though being the first veiled Muslim woman that has ever run for elections in Italy, until now I have received a positive response from the people, who have also appreciated my choice, and look at me as a novelty of the local political scene," said Abdel Qader in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

Abdel Qader - who is the daughter of the imam of Perugia Mohammed Abdel Qader and is also one of the founders of the Young Italian Muslims association - said she is personally campaigning and distributing fliers to promote her candidacy.

"These days I am personally distributing fliers for my candidacy in order to ask the citzens of Perugia for their vote. Many have wished me well, after they see that I am Italian and not a foreigner," she told AKI.

Abdel Qader also said her objective is to represent Italy's second generation of Muslim immigrants in Italy, that are now what she calls "The new Italians".

Among the things she wants to promote if elected, is that Perugia's public pool can be reserved solely for women, at least once a week.

"It is a battle that it not just limited to Muslim women. The pool will be open to all women, and I count with the support of many women about this."

Arrested Islamists planned to attack Jews in Morocco

Moroccan Jewish community members attend prayers at Casablanca's Great Synagogue

RABAT (AFP) — A group of alleged Islamists recently arrested in Morocco planned to attack Jewish interests in the country, a court source said Thursday, citing the charges against them.

The suspects, alleged to be members of a cell that was part of the radical Islamist movement Salafia Jihadia, were also preparing attacks against Moroccan security services, the source said.

Details of the alleged attack plans were not available.

The cell -- Jamaat Al Mourabitine Al Jodod, or New Fighters Group -- allegedly began operating in March 2008 in southern Morocco and sought to recruit militants from Koranic schools with the intention of infiltrating political parties.

Authorities announced their arrest on May 12 and they face charges including forming a criminal gang with the aim of carrying out "terrorist" acts. They are being held in jail.

"Police dismantled the cell as part of a regular operation in the battle against terrorism," the court source said.

UK: Hate preacher Abu Hamza's sons who lived 'party lifestyle' from profits of £1m luxury car scam are jailed

Father: Abu Hamza is in jail for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred

While dad was out a-hate preachin' - his sons were out a-robbin' and a-scammin' - here is a man looking to control Britain - could not control his own sons - with the Islam he taught.

Three sons of hate cleric Abu Hamza who lived a 'party lifestyle' from the profits of a £1million luxury car scam were jailed today.

The trio were members of a seven-strong gang that targeted top-of-the-range BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercedes belonging to people who they knew spent long periods away from home.

They picked out expensive cars that had been left for weeks in long-stay car parks and once they had established that the owners were away, the thieves would write to the DVLA posing as the car owner.

They would claim to have moved and request a new log book be sent to an address.

The DVLA would then write to the registered address saying that unless it received a reply within 21 days a new log book would be posted to the bogus address.

After receiving the new documents the gang used them to change the owner to an alias.

They then used the log book to obtain replacement keys from dealerships to get around the cars' security systems.


Guilty plea: Mohamed Mostafa, 27, was jailed for two years for two counts of fraud


From left, Hamza Kamel, Mohammed Mostafa and Mohssin Ghailan, the three sons of Abu Hamza

Some of the vehicles were sold on to unsuspecting buyers, sold abroad or used as collateral against loans taken out under false names.

The gang would default on the loan, keep the cash and the car would disappear, leaving the loan company out of pocket.

Another of their scams was to steal cars in residential burglaries.

Hamza's sons, Hamza Kamel, 22, and Mohammed Mostafa, 27, helped run the two-year con with his 28-year-old stepson Mohssin Ghailam.

Prosecutor Martyn Bowyer said: 'The criminality came to light through the police investigation into the organised theft and resale of high value motor vehicles.


A CCTV image of Mohamed Chiadmi in a car showroom in Finchley, North London, where he obtained a set of spare keys used to steal a vehicle. The court heard he was a 'central figure' in the scam


In this image Chiadmi stands beside a stolen vehicle which was used to secure a fraudulent loan

'That theft used 32 vehicles which were either stolen, targeted for theft or used as collateral to fraudulently obtain loans.

'A number of vehicles had been taken to Europe or beyond, such as Morocco, and no doubt sold.

'The value of these 32 vehicles as they would have been purchased new exceeded £1million.

'This was a sophisticated, well-planned and professionally executed enterprise.'

Kamel admitted handling stolen goods money laundering and was jailed for two and a half years.

Mostafa admitted fraud and was jailed for two years and while 'key player' Ghailam, who admitted conspiracy to defraud as well as drug offences, was given four years.

Mostafa, a former binman and cleaner, was jailed for three years in Yemen in 1999 for plotting a bombing campaign.

Lawyers for the three sons had refuted suggestions that the cash was being used to finance terrorism.

In total the gang, all from West London, received 24 years but will be out in half that time.

Sentencing them at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Gregory Stone QC said: 'You were all involved to a greater or lesser degree in this criminal enterprise involving the theft and resale of high value motor cars in London.

'This is a bad case and the criminality is considerably more sophisticated and organised than the usual car ringing case.

'Offences such as this case cause serious loss and serious inconvenience to the victims of the crime.'

Mohammed Chiadmi, 31, a 'central figure' in the scam, and brother Abdul Chiadmi, 22, who were linked to a total of 26 cars between them, were both jailed for four years.

Hamza Mrimou, 27, who led a 'reckless lifestyle' and was addicted to drugs, received three and a half years.

Fellow junkie Khalid Jebari, 22, took the vehicles out of the country via the Channel Tunnel.

The trainee plumber was arrested after driving in tandem with Hamza's son Kamel across Europe to Morocco. He was jailed for four years.

The court was told all seven defendants used aliases, false addresses, passports and fake driving licences in the complex scam.

Daily Mail

US: 5 decry jail terms in Holy Land Foundation charity case

Zaira Abu Baker (left), daughter of Shukri Abu Baker; Eman El-Mezain, daughter of Mohammad El-Mezain; and Noor Elashi, daughter of Ghassan Elashi, left the courthouse Wednesday.

The five defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case were defiant Wednesday while being sentenced for their roles in funneling money to overseas terrorists, expressing disbelief that American law could criminalize the feeding of needy Palestinian people.

Three maintained their steadfast innocence.

The judge in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history disagreed, handing down sentences to two that will likely mean they'll spend the rest of their lives behind bars for financing the terrorist group Hamas. The others were given sentences ranging from 15 to 20 years.

"Your function in life was raising money to support Hamas," U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis told one of them in words that were repeated in some fashion as each defendant learned his fate.

"You stated it was to help people, but the motive was to support Hamas," the judge said. "You state that you are innocent, but the evidence shows the opposite."

If the federal judge, the FBI and prosecutors were expecting contriteness, they were sorely disappointed.

"We gave the essentials of life – oil, rice, flour," former Holy Land board chairman Ghassan Elashi said before receiving his 65-year sentence.

"The [Israeli] occupation was providing them with death and destruction. The Holy Land Foundation was to assist the Palestinians in their steadfastness against the brutal apartheid regime.

"I would like to declare my innocence of all the charges," he said.

108 charges
Last fall, all five men were convicted on 108 charges that they funneled more than $12 million to the Palestinian group Hamas after the Clinton administration in 1995 declared it a terrorist group for sponsoring suicide bombings targeting Israelis.

The convictions were a major counterterrorism victory for the Justice Department, which has failed to get guilty verdicts on the most serious charges in other similar trials around the country.

"Today's sentences mark the culmination of many years of painstaking investigative and prosecutorial work at the federal, state and local levels," David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief."

Holy Land prosecutor Jim Jacks noted the defiant nature of the men's remarks while arguing for maximum penalties for the charity's former leadership.

"There's been no acknowledgment by any of these defendants regarding their connection to Hamas," Jacks said. "They haven't been deterred. Their entire sentencing presentation is they're being punished for providing charity. It's important for the court to impose a sentence that says this is not a case about punishing people for doing nice things."

The government acknowledged that the former Richardson organization, once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., did provide aid to Palestinians. But the evidence showed that they sent money to Palestinian charity offices controlled by Hamas. U.S. law prohibits any aid, even humanitarian, going to any designated terrorist group.

Hamas, the evidence showed during trial, parlayed that aid into support for its violent agenda to destroy Israel. That included funneling aid to family members of suicide bombers, ensuring a steady stream of new suicide recruits, testimony showed.

Plea for leniency
Defense attorneys hoping for leniency fought an uphill battle with Solis on Wednesday, who repeatedly disputed arguments that the defendants broke no laws and did not support Hamas.

"You did support Hamas in violation of the law," Solis told Elashi. "If the Holy Land Foundation did have a face, it was the face of Hamas."

Nancy Hollander, attorney for former Holy Land CEO Shukri Abu Baker, tried to use the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri to persuade to judge to go easy. Al-Marri pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

"This is a man who admits he came to the U.S. as a sleeper agent and the government believes 15 years is sufficient," Hollander said.

Solis retorted that "raising millions of dollars to fund terrorism, that's a different situation." He said that al-Marri is an example of someone who wanted to "commit 'an' act of terrorism, as bad as that is. This is support over years."

He sentenced Abu Baker to 65 years.

Mohammad El-Mezain, former Holy Land endowments director and a Muslim prayer leader who delivered fiery speeches on confiscated videotapes in the case, spoke passionately about his devotion to charity, which he said was "more important to me than any political agenda."

"We did it all in the name of America," said El-Mezain, who received 15 years. "The Holy Land Foundation was no different than any other Jewish or Baptist charity."

Dennis Lormel, who created the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operations Section and now is a security consultant, said after the sentencings that the punishments were appropriate.

"Holy Land and the five guilty principals fully deserve the sentences handed down," he said. "Anyone criticizing the U.S. government in this matter should redirect their criticism to where it's deserved. Hamas is a terrorist organization that clearly exploited the vulnerability of charitable giving for their organizational benefit as opposed to the benefit of the Palestinian people."

Mark Briskman, head of the regional office of the pro-Jewish Anti-Defamation League, lauded Solis as a "no-nonsense judge who gets it."

"The implication of this trial is significant, and the sentencing handed down by the judge indicates that seriousness."

Kay Guinane, program manager for the Charity and Security Network, a project of the government watchdog group OMB Watch, predicted more trouble for U.S. charities doing international outreach, which is already suffering because of the Holy Land prosecution.

"The ... sentences handed down in the Holy Land Foundation trial indicate that this situation is likely to get worse," she said.