Sunday, May 31, 2009

FGM in Europe

In this round-up, David Rusin of Islamist Watch lists recent efforts in Britain, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden to stop the illegal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Thousands of these operations are estimated to have been carried out on young Muslim girls in Europe; sometimes the girls are sent abroad, and sometimes the operation is performed in the European country of residence.

The good news is that public awareness of this problem is finally catching up, and European governments are seeking to stop it.

Business is booming

Terrorism finance is one activity that has profited from the recent economic downturn, according to this article by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld. Saudi funding for Hamas, for example, has surged. If there are shortfalls in legal revenues from oil and gas, terrorists can easily replace them with income from various criminal activities such as drug traffickling, arms smuggling, or counterfeiting.

In addtion, sharia finance is making steep inroads into important US financial institutions. The individuals promoting sharia finance don't hide their goal of using it to replace the Western fianncial system. As the chief sharia advisor to HSBC wrote, in a 2002 book: "For a non-Muslim state to have more pomp and glory than a Muslim state itself is an obstacle, therefore to shatter this grandeur is among the greater objectives of jihad." Western governments, financial institutions, and publics have yet to understand what is going on.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The OIC and Mideast peace

If President Obama, in his June 4 speech to the Muslim world, indeed calls on the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel in return for peace, he is to be commended. The OIC is a key player in the Mideast problem and needs to be constructively engaged.

That's not going to be easy though; the OIC's initial response, at a meeting May 25 in Damascus, was to reject any development in relations that would reward Israel for its 'crimes.' Instead, the OIC called on all member states with relations with Israel to sever them. It also agreed to uphold a broad Islamic boycott against Israel “until the liberation of all occupied Arab territories and the recovery of all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

The OIC is also mulling over a proposal for a Muslim peacekeeping force, which could be deployed in places such as Gaza. That's an interesting thought: real peacekeeping missions enforce truces or peace agreements. If by peacekeeping the OIC means getting Muslim countries to send troops to defend Hamas, that strikes me as unlikely, as no Muslim countries sent troops to Hamas' aid last time around. (Thanks to CNS News.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Way to go!

British media have reported that an attempted pirate attack on a cruise ship last month was thwarted, in part, when British pensioners threw deck chairs and other furniture at the would be-boarders. The ship also had Israeli security guards; it's not clear from the report exactly how the pirates were chased off but, hey, I doubt they'll pick a cruise ship next time. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jihad in US prisons

Michelle Malkin describes here the serious threat inside U.S. prisons: they're one of the best recruiting grounds for future Islamist terrorists who want to attack U.S. targets. The recently-foiled attack on a New York synagogue is only the latest example of the danger. (Thanks to Jewish World Review.)

What's a book

In the Western world, books are everywhere and not considered that important. It's different in the Muslim world - at least for certain books. Here U.S. troops in Afghanistan burn confiscated Bibles in local languages so they won't be accused of trying to convert Afghans to Christianity.

And here Muslims in Greece conduct a violent march through central Athens in response to the alleged desecration of a Koran by a Greek police officer.

I don't think playing defense gets the West very far in this game. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Harold Koh's vision

Harald Koh, the nominee for State Department legal adviser, is a big believer in importing (he calls it 'downloading') international norms into domestic U.S. law. And where do these international norms come from? Well, they're created by transnational networks, consisting of governments and groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Koh is essentially saying that he prefers to rely on other governments, human rights organizations, and international organizations like the UN to protect human rights. The U.S. Constitution, on the other hand, makes it the duty of the U.S. government to protect the rights of its citizens (hint: that's what the Bill of Rights is all about).

So who are these other governments who do a better job? Are they perchance members of the UN Human Rights Council, notorious for its failure to defend human rights in places like China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Belarus or Sudan? Koh has also said he would consider implementing portions of sharia law in the United States, so presumably he is open to ideas from all around the world.

The good news is that Koh is not being considered for a slot on the Supreme Court. But he can still do a lot of mischief at State. (Thanks to CNS News.)

Bipartisanship in DC

Remember the Department of Homeland Security memo identifying, among others, returning military veterans as a group that could be sucked into 'right-wing extremism'? Well, the House Homeland Security Committee has unanimously decided to subpoena from DHS all the documents used in the preparation of the memo.

The Democratic committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, had originally criticised the subpoena measure as "another GOP stunt aimed at embarrassing the new administration." Most likely, feedback from angry constituents caused him to change his mind.

Now the full House must approve the subpoena measure. If it does, DHS will have 14 legislative days in which to turn over the documents. (Thanks to CNS News.)

Antisemitism in France

The French protest strenously that they are free of antisemitism, but maintaining that image requires some serious contortions. Take, for example, the trial of a gang accused of murdering French Jew Ilan Halimi in early 2006.

The trial is being held in juvenile court (because 2 of the 27 accused were underage at the time of the murder) and closed the proceedings to the public. The French magazine Choc broke the silence by publishing one of several photographs of Halimi made by his killers.

The photograph is very similar to the one of Daniel Pearl in captivity. When combined with comments made by the accused, it is clear that they chose Halimi because he was Jewish and tortured and killed him because they hated Jews.

So how has the French government responded? In addition to downplaying any suggestion that antisemitism might have been involved, the Paris district attorney has opened an investigation against Choc and that issue of the magazine has been withdrawn from circulation. Choc may have gone too far by sensationalizing the murder, but hushing it up isn't any better. (Thanks to John Rosenthal.)

Germany and Nazi war criminals

John Rosenthal provides background here on the evidence against John Demjanjuk, who after years of legal wrangling was finally deported from the United States to Germany to stand trial for Nazi war crimes. Rosenthal argues that Demjanjuk truly was a small fish: a captured Red Army soldier who survived by becoming a prison helper in a concentration camp. He presumably collaborated in order to avoid starving to death (an estimated half of all Soviet prisoners of war died in captivity).

Demanyuk was neither a Nazi nor a member of the SS. Rosenthal argues that the German government in this case is violating its own rule not to chase after the small fry. Previously, they have classified as small fry the shooters in the death squads that murdered millions in the east.

At the same time, the German government refuses to extradite seven former Nazis to Italy. In 2005, an Italian court convicted them of murder for participating in the slaughter of 560 civilians during the war, 80% of whom were women, children and the elderly.

The Congress weighs in

The Democratic Congress has just weighed in on two important issues: President Obama's commitment to close down the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo, and his soon-to-be-unveiled peace plan for the Mideast conflict.

-- By a vote of 90-6, the Senate refused to provide any funds to close the detention center at Guantanamo, matching a similar move by the House last week. The Senate had just heard FBI Director Robert Mueller state that bringing Guantanamo detainees to the United States could be risky, even if they were kept in maximum-security prisons. The Congress wants to see the whole plan up-front before they provide any funding for it.

-- Some 250 Congressmen, including 76 Senators, signed a letter stating that “that peace cannot come while terrorism continues to wrack Israel.” Maybe, among other things, they had seen the news reports about the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon gloating that any two-state solution would lead to the demise of Israel.

Obama is discovering that setting deadlines can be tricky. He promised that the Guantanamo center would close within a year; his Mideast initiative is set to be announced in his June 4 speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt. He's also learning the limits of the presidential aura. (Thanks to Jihad Watch and MEMRI.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's only money

Where, you might ask, does your hard-earned taxpayer money go? Well, in the House version of the 2009 supplemental appropriations bill, Pakistan will get $1.9 billion in various forms of non-military assistance and $400 million to build the counterinsurgency capabilities of the Pakistani security forces.

Meanwhile, Admiral Mike Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, confirmed that the Pakistani government is increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Some $665 million in the House appropriations bill is earmarked for bilateral economic, humanitarian and security assistance for the West Bank and Gaza. Additional funds for the West Bank and Gaza will come out of the total of $343 million identified for worldwide refugee assistance.

These funds presumably will remain in despite the fact that Hamas, which controls Gaza, continues to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

European economic woes

GDP in the United States appears to have fallen by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2009, a situation which has caused considerable pain here. But that's nothing compared to Europe: for the EU, it looks like the first quarter fall was around 2.5% from the previous quarter. For the EU, that translates into an estimated annual drop of 4.4-4.6% below 2008.

European trade unions have held a number of large rallies in European cities in recent days to protest government policies that result in job losses. An estimated 350,000 people marched in Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Prague and elsewhere. The drop is most acute in Central and Eastern Europe, in countries that have seen high growth since the end of communism. Of the Western countries, Spain has been particularly hard hit. In recent years, it has had one of the highest growth rates, but in the first quarter the economy contracted by 1.8%; unemployment in March stood at over 17%. (Thanks to EU Observer.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Egypt, Hamas and Hezbollah

Egypt is definitely concerned about the military activities being carried out by Hamas and Hezbollah on its soil. This article describes two recent finds in the Sinai desert:

"An Egyptian official assessed that the 266 rockets, 51 mortar shells, 21 grenades and 43 mines uncovered in northern Sinai were meant to be smuggled to Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip.

Last Monday, Egypt discovered a large quantity of ammunition intended for Hamas use near Ismaeliya, Sinai."

Last month, the Egyptians accused Hezbollah of plotting to attack Egypt as well as supporting Hamas in Gaza. They have sinced arrested 25 individuals and are searching for another 24.

So why would Hezbollah attack Egypt? Two reasons: Egypt had the temerity to accuse Hamas of breaking the Egyptian-brokered truce and thus starting the war in Gaza late last year. And Egypt is a Sunni Arab country opposed to the expansion of Iranian power, of which Hezbollah is a key element.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grounds for cautious optimism

Columnist David Ignatius argues here that the Treasury and Obama administration, who are led by two of the men in charge in the 1990s when 'securitizing' toxic assets first took off, have made little progress toward fixing the problem.

The good news: the financial community has become wary of accepting either U.S. government funds or dubious securitized packages. Maybe the market will simply fix this problem on its own, now it has realized that the silver lining of government intervention to save companies 'too big to fail' has a large black cloud attached to it. (Thanks to Investor's Business Daily.)

The importance of free trade

Many people voted for Obama because they were distressed at the way relations between the United States and other countries deteriorated under Bush. So, how is Obama doing? I'll give you a hint: the place to watch is not the Muslim world, but Canada.

It turns out that many U.S. state and local governments have Buy-America provisions that apply to investment projects funded by the stimulus package. This has meant that businesses have cut off their Canadian suppliers, sometimes severing longstanding ties.

The Canadians aren't taking it lying down. They're doing the only thing you can do to get the other guy's attention: they're cutting off U.S. exports to Canada. This is called a trade war, and no trade war has ever benefited consumers or businesses overall, improved atmospherics between the two countries, or helped right a recession or depression.

Can anyone explain to me why it is in the U.S. interest to pick a fight with Canada? I don't know precisely what the White House or the U.S. Trade Reprsentative should do to fix this problem, but that's what they have lawyers for. Let's hope those lawyers are beavering away on a solution. (Thanks to Investor's Business Daily.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

What goes around comes around

I have to admit to a furtive chuckle at the expense of the CIA (in between belly laughts at Nancy Pelosi’s various evasive maneuvers regarding what she knew about waterboarding).

Isn’t this the same CIA that, in 2004, approved the publication by one of its analysts of an anti-Bush book clearly aimed at damaging Bush’s re-election prospects? Or that leaked all kinds of versions about what we did, or didn’t, know about Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction?

Well, guess what: now a senior politician has reversed the tables and is playing politics with the CIA – except that she’s a Democrat, not a Republican. We hear news reports about demoralized CIA officers. If Pelosi were Republican, we’d probably be hearing about how she’s committing treason, destroying the country, or … you fill in the blank.

I’m quite confident that the CIA is telling the truth regarding the famous briefings. Pelosi knew about the waterboarding and approved it at the time. But I would have more sympathy for the CIA’s protestations of innocence if it hadn’t played politics so overtly under the previous administration.

Nor do I feel too sorry for the CIA as I watch it gear up its leak campaign against Pelosi. We’ve all seen it before.

Muslim persecution of Christians

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has released this video describing the jihad within the Muslim world against Christians, many of whom have lived in places like Iraq and Egypt for thousands of years. You may think it odd or quaint when Osama Bin Laden and others rail against 'Zionists and Crusaders' - but they mean it. (Thanks to Smooth Stone.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Germany's invisibility cloak

Germany, like the United States, was among those countries that boycotted the Durban II conference, as reported in this earlier entry. Now it seems that Germany has nevertheless signed on to the Durban II outcome document and allowed itself to be listed in the conference report as attending the conference. In other words, Germany pretended to combat antisemitism - but only until media attention moved on to the next story. Bravo, Angela! (Thanks to Eye on the UN.)

In pursuit of learning

A new Yemeni library and conference center in a children's hospital has just been named for suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who in 2002 blew up herself and one Israeli, wounding 100 others. (Thanks to MEMRI.)

Why bother with a library if the highest goal for children is to blow themselves up?

A human rights travesty

The United States has now joined the UN's Human Rights Council, one of the goals set by the Obama administration. Why this should be such an achievement is hard to see: the Council has done nothing but condemn Israel while blocking any investigation of serious human rights abusers such as Belarus, Liberia or Iran.

This is hardly a surprise, since 26 of the 47 Council members are from Islamic states; in addition, China is a prominent member. Why, one wonders, do U.S. taxpayers want to fund such activities? The Obama administration wants to reform the Council from within, yet the chances of that happening are non-existent.

Perhaps UN ambassador Susan Rice could spell out the advantages of closer cooperation with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which dominates the Council. OIC members in 1990 agreed to a sharia-compliant human rights declaration that makes a mockery of UN human rights. (Thanks to Eye on the UN.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The EU and Islamists

Finally, someone is challenging the choice by the EU of organizations which have made or endorsed antisemitic statements, or which are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, to represent all Muslims in interfaith dialogues.

Europe's umbrella Orthodox rabbinic organization, the Conference of European Rabbis, boycotted a Brussels interfaith conference hosted on Monday by EU institutions for that reason.

Let's hope this is the beginning of a trend: Islamist organizations should be called on their words and their actions, not given a pass to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

To have and to hold - indefinitely?

The policy toward Guantanamo detainees looks like the gift that keeps on giving, at least for the Obama administration. The latest Wall Street Journal report suggests that the administration will seek authority to detain some of them indefinitely on U.S. soil, without trial.

The continuing gyrations concerning the fate of the detainees, from asking foreign governments to take them back to housing them in some U.S. jail, suggest that the numerous and voluble critics of the Guantanamo detentions never gave much thought to the admittedly difficult problem of what to do with the detainees. Certainly the Obama administration didn't.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just follow the Saudi money

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld traces Saudi money flows, only to discover that they give generously to the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip but provide very little for Pakistanis displaced by the fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistani government. The Saudi interest appears to be the advance of Islamist movements and the establishment of a global Islamic community - the umma - rather than help for ordinary Muslims in distress.

Obama's German trip

President Obama's ratings for his domestic TV addresses may be declining sharply (reports are that 20 million fewer viewers tuned in for the most recent one), but he continues to grab attention with his foreign speeches and travels. An entry yesterday described the anticipation preceding his Cairo address to the Muslim world.

Today, John Rosenthal analyzes possible messages Obama may want to transmit by visiting Dresden, the German city firebombed by the British in World War II. An increasing number of Germans now equate that firebombing to Germany's genocide of the Jews. Conveniently overlooked are Germany's role in starting World War II, its previous destruction of many non-German cities, and the fact that Nazi genocide was carried out against an innocent civilian population.

So will Obama apologize for the firebombing and equate that destruction with the Holocaust? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sharia and US law

American Muslim Zuhdi Jasser takes issue here with the idea that traditional Islamic sharia law is "God's law, and it is not that far from what we read in the Declaration of Independence." In his view, any time 'God's law' is incorporated into a political system, that system simply becomes a theocracy: "once it is interpreted and enacted by Muslims it becomes human law regardless of what we may call it." And there is no way that the rights of non-Muslims, or of women, are protected in the same way as they are under U.S. constitutional law.

Jasser's conclusion: "There must be a clear demarcation between the domain of the cleric's laws and the domain of our government's laws -- i.e. our Establishment Clause."

Obama's speech to the Muslim world

President Obama already has received many suggestions for his speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt. (Thanks to CNS News.)

-- Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar University wants him to make his speech there;

-- The Arab League wants him to explain his Mideast policy;

-- The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 Muslim governments, told Obama earlier this year that he needs to provide an 'urgent and just remedy' for the Palestinian issue;

-- Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and now special Mideast envoy, expects 'a new framework' for peace efforts to be released by the United States in the coming weeks;

-- U.S. human rights organizations, including the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, an independent panel advising Congress and the administration, probably want Obama to say something about the “serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, as well as nonconforming Muslims, [which] remain widespread in Egypt.”

-- Meanwhile, the State Department probably doesn't know what it wants. Its latest report on human rights says the Egyptian government’s “respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas” during 2008. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called Egypt “a country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world.”

I expect that Obama will miss a historic opportunity: he will focus on the Mideast crisis and ignore the broader issue of democracy and human rights in the Muslim world. He will not/not urge the Muslim world to stop sacrificing its future on the altar of Mideast conflict. It's a nutty policy; as CNS News points out:

"Although often conflated, the Arab and Islamic worlds are very different. There are more than 50 Islamic-majority states, only 22 of which are Arab states; only around 15 percent of the world’s Muslims are Arabs. The most populous Islamic countries are in Asia – Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Muslim minority in India, a majority Hindu state, is more than twice as big as the entire population of Egypt."

Please tell me why Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and elsewhere will in any way benefit if the Palestinian Islamists prevail over Israel. Or why that would be in the U.S. national interest.

I also wonder if Obama or his staff realize that the doctoral thesis written by the head of Al-Azhar University is an antisemitic diatribe. Or, if they do, would they care?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Islamic antisemitism

Clemens Heni, in this analysis, traces the origins of Islamic antisemitism and the danger it poses today to the West, as well as to Jews. He describes his shock at realizing how few U.S. or European antisemitism experts are willing to acknowledge that the left and the Islamic world, as well as the far right, are a major source of antisemitism; that there is something very, very wrong when left-wing and Muslim crowds march through the streets of San Francisco and Berlin shouting 'Death to the Jews' - while no one seems to notice, let alone complain. Heni is also shocked that so many 'experts' deny the genuine, immediate threat from Iran to annihilate Israel.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More on words, words, words

In this article, Raymond Ibrahim lays out an excellent argument for using real, precise terms instead of euphemisms to fight Islamist terror. In particular, he reviews the accepted Sunni definition of jihad - a term the U.S. government has banned from use by its officials.

The reason: Americans use 'jihad' in imprecise ways because they don't really know what it means; and, since 'jihad' is a positive value for Muslims, why glorify terrorists who claim they are waging 'jihad'?

Lost in that puffery are two key points: Muslims are unlikely to be swayed by the words infidels use to describe them; and the U.S. government's first responsibility is to inform and communicate with its own citizens. (Thanks to the Middle East Forum.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Homegrown terrorism

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies has just issued a new report by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Laura Grossman on homegrown terrorism in the United States and the United Kingdom. It lists six different steps toward the radicalization of Islamist terrorists. Gartenstein-Ross earlier wrote a book, My Life inside Radical Islam, describing his own experience of being drawn into this world.

Islamic human rights

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Saudi-backed group that includes 57 Muslim countries, issued the Cairo Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. The Declaration forbids genocide, guarantees everyone access to justice, and states that all individuals are equal under the law.

There is, of course, a caveat: Article 24 states that "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in the Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah." Other articles, such as the one on freedom of expression, contain explicit restrictions.

A principal shortcoming of the international human rights movement has been its failure to challenge the Cairo Declaration in any serious manner.

The list goes on and on

The list I'm referring to is the one published by UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. It includes some 22 people who would be denied entry to the UK on the grounds of fostering hatred and extremism. She is the official who earlier this year denied entry to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who wanted to attend a viewing of his film Fitna in the UK House of Lords.

Only 16 of the names were released. About half of them are Muslim radicals. The remaining ones include white supremacists, a militant Israeli settler, anti-homosexual activists, and American Michael Savage, the host of the nationally-syndicated “Savage Nation” talk show.

According to Smith, Savage is "considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence." Savage has called the Koran a 'book of hate' and a 'document of slavery and chattel.'

Just how the list was generated is unclear: the two Russian skinheads are in jail, so presumably aren't planning to visit the UK. Savage, who said he had no plans either, is threatening to sue Smith for defamation for lumping him in with mass murderers. As UK libel laws notoriously favor the plaintiff, it will be interesting to see what happens if he does file suit.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that Smith might lose her job, for other reasons, if the Labour Party does poorly in the elections on June 4. (Thanks to CNS News.)

Must read

Former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as usual, goes directly to the heart of the problem, probing the loyalties of Muslims living in Europe. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

In 2006, she asked Tariq Ramadan, considered by many to be the face of moderate Islam in Europe, what he would do if he had to choose which of the countries (Egypt and Switzerland) whose nationality he holds he would fight for. He huffed and puffed, then refused to answer the question.

Hirsi Ali she suggests that many other Muslims would be hard put to decide in favor of the European country where they are living. This is due partly to their idea of loyalty to Islam, and partly to the conditions under which they have been granted various European citizenships. As she says: "... what European countries have done is give citizenship to individuals who feel no obligation to share in their societies for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer and in the event of a catastrophe, sacrifice themselves." You kinda get what you ask for.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The DHS 'lexicon'

Another document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security is making waves: the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon." In some 12 pages, it defines terms like 'alternative media,' 'Jewish extremism,' and 'radicalization' but, according to its preface, does not address Muslim extremism. I assume a companion piece defines the terms of art connected to that threat, but so far no information about it.

From the horse's mouth

In this MEMRI video, Sultan Abu Al-Einen, a Fatah leader in Lebanon, describes with admiration how Yasser Arafat condemned suicide bombers while financing them. Just think - that was back in the good ole days when we had a Mideast peace process.

A two-state solution

One wonders if Secretary of State Clinton or special envoy George Mitchell will query Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas about this recent statement, in which he refuses to acknowledge the existence of a Jewish state of Israel - to applause from a youthful audience. Frankly, I doubt it. I also doubt that the EU would be up to the task either, based on their latest brou-haha. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Wrong answer

Let me see: you're an Iraqi living in Denmark and Danish intelligence suspects you are the premier recruiter in Northern Europe for suicide bombers in Iraq. So what does the Danish government do: (1) send you back to Iraq; or (2) keep you in Denmark on humanitarian grounds, because you might be harmed if you were sent back to Iraq.

The Danes are not alone in picking option (2); for years, the British have been trying in vain to deport Abu Qatada, an even more notorious figure. Human rights advocates can always turn to the European Court on Human Rights to back them up; embattled national security officials lack a patron in the broader European sphere. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

The real Dubai

Here's an appalling description of Dubai, the fairy-tale, bigger-higher-better-more luxurious super-modern city in the Persian Gulf. Which, it turns out, has been built on slave labor, and with tremendous environmental damage. In the current downturn, construction has stopped and the city is empty. (Thanks to Joe.)

If you haven't been to Dubai or seen any pictures of it, check this out.

EU-Israeli ties cool

For the past five years or so, the EU has played an active role in Mideast politics. Tensions between the EU and Israel have increased, however, particularly with the election of the new Israeli government.

The latest: EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said that the planned upgrade in EU-Israeli relations would be put on hold until the "new Israeli government shows a clear commitment to pursue peace negotiations with the Palestinians." An Israeli foreign ministry official asked Europe "to lower the tone and conduct a discreet dialogue." He threatened that, "if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to be part of the diplomatic process."

Ferrero-Waldner appears to have been speaking out of school. Czech prime minister Topolanek said that the EU Council has yet to take a position on this matter. This is not the first brou-haha of this type. An earlier one occurred last January when a Czech spokesman said Israel had the right to defend itself against Hamas rockets. The Czechs had just assumed the Presidency, but the EU had not made any such determination. However, there is no doubt that many in the EU (Czechs not included) would like to exert maximum pressure on Israel to accept a Palestinian state.

Anti-Zionism in France

The European Parliament, with representatives from the 27 member states of the EU, will hold elections next month. French performer Dieudonne has proposed an 'anti-Zionist list' of candidates to stand for these elections; according to this report, the French government is looking into ways to stop him. Whether they will succeed is unclear.

As to what constitutes 'anti-Zionist,' here's a sample of Dieudonne's thinking: "Behind every divorce, there is a Zionist, I am telling you. Behind everything that divides human nature, there is a Zionist. This is what we believe and this is what we are going to prove."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Suicide bombers in Iraq

There have been a series of successful suicide bomb attacks in Iraq in recent weeks, but here's one that wasn't. This fellow was attempting to blow up a crowd at a Shiite mosque in Kirkuk when what look like civilians (at least, they're not in uniform) wrestled him to the ground, explosives vest and all.

According to the report, the would-be bomber was Ammar Afif Hamada, close to Al Qaeda in Iraq commander Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who himself was captured last week. I'm no expert, but it seems unusual to me that someone that high in the Al Qaeda command would be trying to blow himself up. Usually, underlings get that job. Either it's a sign of desperation, or he's misidentified. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Islamic free speech

An international conference of Islamic legal experts has endorsed freedom of speech 'within certain legal restraints', as follows:

-- those views on personal or public matters are permitted which are beneficial to society and to the person communicating the views.

-- those views which do not abuse the dignity of others, which adhere to truth and objectivity, and which are not irresponsible.

-- the objective of those views should be the welfare of Muslims and the general public.

The conference aimed at non-Muslim as well as Muslim governments. The latter are called on to "persuade other countries to make laws to protect sacred religious symbols of Islam and stop distorting them in the name of freedom."

In other words, no freedom of expression if it involves anything that any Muslim can construe as critical, either of him or of his religion.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Free speech in second place

A Danish conference on free speech and against radicalization scheduled for this summer has been put on hold. The reason: the Danish government worries that Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders will attend and embarrass them by making use of his right to free speech.

The Danish foreign office wants to stall the conference until after December, when it is hosting a climate change conference. The officials worry that Wilders' presence might offend Muslim governments who would then boycott the conference. (Thanks to Jihad Watch.)

Ladies, next time you go to Copenhagen, be sure to throw a headscarf into your suitcase. By the time you get there, you might need it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sharia in Denmark

A recent poll showed that some 18% of Muslims living in Denmark would like sharia law integrated into Danish law. Denmark already allows the use of so-called sharia loans that are interest-free.

The Danish Muslims are actually relatively restrained. In Great Britain, where some 61% of Muslims said they wanted sharia law introduced into UK law, sharia councils are already operating in cases involving private conflicts between Muslims, as well as in cases involving family and inheritance law.

Air Dhimmi

The UK airline BMI (formerly British Midlands) is plumbing the depths of flight 'etiquette'. It reportedly has removed Israel from the electronic maps displayed to passengers in some of its planes to avoid offending Muslim passengers. Khefa, the pre-independence Arabic name for Haifa, appears on the maps, as does Mecca.

In addition, an internal memo apparently states that, for flights bound for Saudi Arabia: “It is expected that female crew members will walk behind their male counterparts in public areas such as airports no matter what rank.”

A female flight attendant, Lisa Ashton, refused to abide by BMI’s policy. She was fired when she refused to travel to Saudi Arabia if she would be required to don an abaya (robe). (Thanks to Smooth Stone.)