Saturday, May 26, 2007

How to end 'Islamophobia'


How to End 'Islamophobia'
The latest survey of American Muslims won't reassure their fellow citizens.

Friday, May 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Islamic organizations regularly accuse non-Muslims of "Islamophobia," a fear and disdain for everything Islamic. On May 17, this accusation bubbled up again as foreign ministers from the Organization of the Islamic Conference called Islamophobia "the worst form of terrorism." These ministers also warned, according to the Arab News, that this form of discrimination would cause millions of Muslims in Western countries, "many of whom were already underprivileged, " to be "further alienated."
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Friday, May 25, 2007

Clueless Martin Indyk or clueless Israel government ??

A very interesting inteview with ex ambassador Martin Indyk, at the CFR Web site.
It is interestring because of what he does not know, which is indicative of American diplomatic knowledge of the Middle East in general, or of the appalling state of the Israeli government. He is asked:
Why doesn't Israel send its troops into Gaza and clean them out?

His reply:

It may eventually lead to that; in fact, it probably will. But since the intifada broke out in October 2000, Israel has been very reluctant to send its army into the cities and refugee camps of Gaza. But in April 2002, [former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon sent the army into the West Bank where it remains to this day, and basically destroyed the infrastructure of terror there quite effectively. It did not do this in Gaza, and hasn't yet; the reasoning as I understand it is that the suicide bombings were not coming from Gaza, they were coming from the West Bank. The cost in terms of Israeli soldiers' lives and the lives of Palestinian civilians would be very high in the kind of cleanup operation that you're talking about.

Increasingly, cabinet ministers in Israel are talking privately and even publicly about going in, cleaning it out, and withdrawing in favor of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces, or some other international forces, that are capable of coming in behind Israel's withdrawal and exercising control there. I personally find this fascinating because four years ago I thought that was the best solution in Gaza, and advocated a trusteeship for Gaza and the West Bank, in which international forces would intervene under a UN mandate, and basically create the conditions and oversee the building of the institutions of government for an independent Palestinian state in a transition arrangement. The Israelis at the time, except for those on the far left, thought this was a terrible idea. But the Israelis learned from the experience in Lebanon over last summer, where they did not exactly go in and clean out Hezbollah, but nevertheless when they withdrew, a more robust international force was put in place in southern Lebanon, which moved Hezbollah away from the border and made it more difficult for Hezbollah to operate against Israeli settlements in the northern part of Israel.

If Israeli Ministers are really considering that, they are nuts. In the first place, no international force will have the intelligence capability of the IDF and none are willing to do it anyhow. Secondly, what Israel learned from Lebanon, or should have learned, is that we got a disaster because we started a war without thinking of how to finish it. Nobody with half a brain would repeat that fiasco. In general, all of his ideas sound like a utopian nightmare, unrelated to the reality of chaos in Gaza. A Nato or American or UN force in the West Bank and Gaza would look something like a coalition force in Iraq or a Nato force in Afghanistan. Who wants that? If the Israeli government does it, and you come to me complaining about my bad prophetic abilities, I will respectfully ask that you read the first part of that sentence again.

Ami Isseroff

Sex in Egypt: Adult Breastfeeding Setback

Sex life in the Middle East took a decided turn for the worse recently. Convervative officials at Al-Azhar university interfered arbitrarily with the academic freedom of an Al-Azhar cleric, Ezzat Attiya, the head of Al-Azhar's Department of Hadith. Attiya had issued a very forward looking Fatwa that ruled that adult men could breast-feed from female work colleagues as a way to avoid breaking Islamic rules that forbid men and women from being alone together. Yummy! "The work family that nurses together, stays together" seems to sum up his views.
His ruling was intended to allow women to work in close proximity to men, a practice generally forbidden in Islam. Breastfeeding of a child is considered to establish a family bond in Islamic law, such that children nursed by the same mother cannot marry. Attiya argued that if a man nursed from a co-worker, it would establish a family bond between them and allow them work side-by-side without raising suspicion of hanky-panky.
A sad day for academic freedom in the Middle East! A veritable Nakba for hanky-panky in Egypt. Not since Rabbi Ovadia Yossef ruled that the urine of women is kosher have we seen such an intelligent religious ruling.
Ami Isseroff

ElBaradei: World heading for clash with Iran; Israel: There's time

The international community is "heading towards confrontation" with Iran over it's nuclear program, stated Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Thursday. The warning came after the Wednesday report by IAEA that Iran is expanding its program, and that the agency's knowledge of its activities are decreasing.

Israel responded to the IAEA report by saying that thought the Iran's persistence in its nuclear program was a "source of concern," there was yet no evidence in the report saying Iran's activities had reached "industrial" levels.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru 


{It would appear, the U.S. and Israel are repeating the same old worn out mistakes of the past.

1) US helps Saddam during the 1980's war between Iran and Iraq, alternating between helping Iraq and then Iran and then Iraq. Administration official were divided. Which monster was the greater threat? Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush was in the group which supported Iraq. US administration helped Saddam acquire chemical and biological weapons either directly or indirectly, though the administration knew Saddam was using them on the Iranians and on his own people, the Kurds. (See: "The Secret History of how the White House Illegally Armed Iraq: Spider's Web," Alan Friedman)

Administration publicly condemns Saddam for using these savage methods but reassures him privately through back channels. Saddam becomes a greater monster than he was previously. He invades Kuwait August 2, 1990 during George Herbert Walker Bush's presidency. U.S. intervention to extricate Sadaam from Kuwait begins January 16, 1991. Now the son, President George W. Bush, is bogged down in Iraq, in part thanks to his father's poor judgment.

2) US administration along with our Wahhabi friends in Riyadh (the Saudis) come to the aid of Mujahideen insurgents in Afghanistan fighting Soviets. We provided them Stinger missiles and other advanced weapons. Mujahideen becomes a great monster thanks in large part to our help and repays us for our generosity, September 11, 2001. I guess it's that old saw, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Who is the bigger monster, Hamas terrorists or Fatah terrorists? At least the Hamas terrorists are forthright about their genocidal intentions. Fatah terrorists cloak their genocidal intentions behind a "two state solution." What good purpose is served by inserting ourselves into this internecine feud?}

Attempts to Bolster Abbas Could Bring Down PA, Critics Say
By Julie Stahl Jerusalem Bureau Chief
May 25, 2007

Jerusalem ( - Amid a fast-deteriorating security situation in Gaza and parts of Israel adjacent to the Palestinian-ruled territory, new voices of criticism were heard Thursday questioning the wisdom of the decision by the United States - backed by the Israeli government - to train, arm and fund one of the two rival Palestinian factions.

They said that while the move may be well-intentioned, it could backfire and end up hastening the demise of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) itself.

The U.S. and Israel have been backing P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and members of his Fatah faction in its rivalry with Hamas, which won an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections early last year.

Fatah joined Hamas in a "unity" government in February in an attempt to break an international financial boycott targeting Hamas and to end inter-Palestinian clashes. But more than 50 Palestinians have been killed over the last week in the latest round of a bloody power struggle between the two in the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. and Israeli administrations consider Abbas a "moderate," because he says he favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while Hamas wants an Islamic Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and all of Israel.

Washington's special envoy Gen. Keith Dayton is developing a plan to strengthen Abbas' forces, and Congress has agreed to an administration request to give $59 million in large part for non-lethal equipment and training to bolster forces loyal to Abbas.

Israel has already allowed a shipment of thousands of weapons and ammunition to cross the border into Gaza to bolster Abbas' forces, although according to reports it did draw the line at allowing higher caliber rifles and heavy machine guns into the Palestinian area.

The Israeli daily Ha'aretz Thursday reported that Israel has okayed an American request to allow members of Abbas' presidential guard to train near P.A.-ruled Jericho in the West Bank. Others are to receive training in Egypt.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisen, said Thursday the Americans believed that building a force that can be in control in Gaza was a logical step.

The question remained, however, whether such a plan could be implemented, she said, adding that up until now, Abbas had not delivered on any of his promises to deliver security.

Palestinian affairs expert Khaled Abu Toameh said supporting Abbas to enable him to topple Hamas could, in the end, destroy the entire P.A.

"If anyone thinks that [Abbas] is going to wage a major crackdown on Hamas or Islamic Jihad, that's not going to happen," Abu Toameh told a briefing of journalists and diplomats at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) think tank on Thursday.

Abbas has at least 40,000 armed men at his disposal in Gaza and still has done nothing to prevent 100-200 Hamas fighters from launching rockets at Israel, said Abu Toameh, senior Palestinian affairs correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. Abbas was not doing so, he said, because if he did, he would be branded a "collaborator" with the enemy.

'Under pressure'

Abu Toameh painted a picture of a P.A. under increasing pressure from various quarters.

Elements in Hamas, headed by Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal, had never accepted the P.A. and wished to bring about its collapse, he said.

Another Palestinian element, headed by the still-exiled Fatah figure Farouk Kaddoumi - at one time styled as the PLO's "foreign minister" - disapproved of the way the P.A. has handled matters and wants to return to the military option, he said.

A third factor not helping the P.A., according to Abu Toameh, is the West.

"The U.S. and European attempts to bring down the Hamas government, whether directly or indirectly, will also bring down the entire Palestinian Authority and this is exactly what's going to happen," he said.

The West has spearheaded a boycott of the P.A., because since its election victory, Hamas has refused to recognize Israel, abandon terrorism and abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

But Abu Toameh said that if Hamas feels backed into a corner, it will do everything it can to bring Fatah down with it.

The Palestinians don't need more guns, he said - there are enough of those already. What they need is good governance, democracy and freedom.

Abu Toameh said the key reason Hamas won the January 2005 election was because of voters' unhappiness about widespread corruption in the Fatah-ruled P.A.

They would elect Hamas again tomorrow, Abu Toameh said, because nothing has changed in Fatah and because Palestinians feel Hamas has not yet been given a chance to prove itself a better administrator.

When Fatah lost the elections, the international community should have told Fatah that this was a result of their corruption and should have encouraged Fatah to reform, rebuild and prepare a new list of representatives to offer the electorate next time, he said.

Dan Diker, policy analyst at the JCPA, said the U.S. had made wrong choices in the way it deals with the Palestinians - based, he said, on incorrect assumptions.

"The Americans made a terrible error in judgment in backing the so-called moderates," he said in an interview.

The "moderates" were so corrupt that by backing them, the U.S. has "inadvertently" torpedoed the very independence it has been promoting for the Palestinians, he said.

Diker said the problem was not a new one but went all the way back to the 1993 Oslo Accords, which launched the process of setting up the P.A. and providing self-rule to the Palestinians.

The accords were the bad idea of a left-wing Israeli government and had then been sold to President Clinton, who wanted a foreign policy victory and to be seen as a Mideast peacemaker, he said.

Sderot Survival Tips

Tips for Survival in Sderot

The Color Red alert gives you anywhere between five seconds' warning -if the Kassam is being fired from close to the border, for example from Beit Hanun - to 30 seconds if it is being fired from further away, i.e., from close to the Gaza coast. The rockets usually come in pairs, or threes, interspersed over 30 to 60 seconds.

The trick is to know, at all times, where you are relative to the Gaza Strip, where the rockets come from. You need this information so that you will know which building to run to when you hear a Color Red alert.

If you're facing north, Gaza is on your left, and you need to hug the eastern side of a building, to keep the structure between you and the rockets. If you get this calculation wrong, you are exposing yourself to a direct hit.

If you're facing south and Gaza is on your right, the same applies. You may think this is obvious, but many a newcomer gets confused when the siren rings out.

Sderot is not as easy to figure out navigationally as, let's say, Tel Aviv. It's simple in "the city that never stops": the sea is on one side, and the town is on the other. Sderot is turning into a city that never sleeps. Fear is everywhere, even at the fire station, where the Tel Aviv crew try hard to hide it.

One thing you can try, if your wits are about you, is to watch where the sun is on its path from east to west. If it's morning, find the sun, and that's east, so you can figure out where Gaza is. If it's evening, the sun is in the west. If it's midday, look at your shadow: If it's behind you and to the right, Gaza is to your left.

Even trickier is what to do when you're driving and the siren sounds. Here the answer is unanimous: Get out of the vehicle and run to the nearest shelter or wall. If there is no building, lie down on the road and cover your head. Just don't stay in your car.

The main reason not to stay in your car is that rocket shrapnel - and every Kassam has ball bearings or bolts in its warhead - can tear through your gas tank and blow up your car. Remember to always have your window slightly open, so that you can hear the Color Red alert and the Kassam shriek.

"Everybody knows what to do when you hear an alarm - but in the end it really is a gamble, like poker or roulette," Sheetrit says.

"Some people even gamble with their lives and do nothing when they hear the alarm. Most people who have been wounded or killed by Kassams in Sderot were outside when they were hit. The Home Front Command sent soldiers here a while back and they went into each and every home here and explained to everyone what they need to do to protect themselves.

"Everybody knows, but it doesn't always help. It's not organized, and when you're caught by an alarm and the rockets start landing, it really is every man for himself. Some people survived because they didn't find shelter in time, as the shelter they were heading to was hit," he says.

Scary words from the city's fire chief, who turns off his air conditioning and sleeps with his windows open at night, so that he can hear the Color Red sirens.

--Wendy in Washington

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Imagine if the Israelis arrested a Muslim or a Christian for entering Jerusalem

The article states:
Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims...
"The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals," he said.
Praise be to Allah, who invented fingerprints, so that we may catch Christian criminals. Talk about your racist exclusivist state...
The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2007
Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims.

Nirosh Kamanda, a Sri Lankan Christian, was detained by the Saudi Expatriates Monitoring Committee last week after he started to sell goods outside Mecca's Great Mosque.

After running his fingerprints through a new security system, Saudi police discovered that he was a Christian who had arrived in the country six months earlier to take a job as a truck driver in the city of Dammam. Kamanda had subsequently left his place of work and moved to Mecca.

"The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals," he said.

Similar restrictions apply to the Saudi city of Medina. In a section entitled, "Traveler's Information," the Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington states that, "Mecca and Medina hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry."

Highway signs at the entrance to Mecca also direct non-Muslims away from the city's environs.

Israel Arrests Hamas Minister, Hits Targets in Gaza

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Israel arrested a Palestinian minister and three West Bank mayors in a sweep of officials belonging to the Hamas, the Islamic movement that shares control of the government with its rival Fatah faction, the army said.

Among 33 Palestinians arrested in the West Bank by Israel were Hamas Education Minister Nasser Saher and mayors of Nablus, Qalqilya and Beita. The sweep was the first of high-ranking members of Hamas since the arrests of five ministers and 15 lawmakers in June following the abduction of an Israeli soldier.

``Hamas is now trying to export its terrorist infrastructure to the West Bank,'' the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site. ``The recent arrests carried out by Israel are part of a preventative security policy based on substantial intelligence.''
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru.

Over a quarter of US Muslims back suicide attacks

More than a quarter of US Mulims back suicide attacks, and only 40% admit that Muslims were behind the 9-11 attacks.
Young U.S. Muslims back suicide attacks
By Jennifer Harper
Published May 23, 2007
    "There are trouble spots," noted Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, which conducted the survey of 1,050 adult Muslim Americans -- two-thirds of whom were foreign-born -- January to April. The results were released yesterday. 

    "We should be disturbed that 26 percent of these young people support an ideology in which the ends justify the means," said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
  "But the survey also found that only 40 percent of the overall American Muslim population would even admit that Arabs were behind 9/11. They're in denial, refusing to take moral responsibility, and the radicals will feed on this," Dr. Jasser said.
    Farid Senzai of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding said he had "concern" about evidence of youthful radicalism.

    The revelation that some young American Muslims condone violent bombings led coverage from CBS News, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Detroit Free Press, the Los Angeles Times and other news organizations.
    "I'm not surprised that the press picked up on the bad news, because that's what sells. I'd like to see another ethnic group get asked the same question," said Laila Al-Qatami of the District-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
I too would like to see another ethnic group get asked the same question. Say, Jews or Christians. What do you think would be the result? How many of your friends think suicide bombings are OK?
Ami Isseroff   

Iran Defying UN, evading IAEA

The important and worrisome news of the IAEA report is not the assessment that Iran could build an A-bomb in three to eight years, since we already knew that. The Washington Post however, tells us more in their report,
The IAEA report said that Iran has significantly accelerated its enrichment capability and has not provided a range of verification information to the agency. The IAEA's "level of knowledge of certain aspects of Iran's nuclear-related activities has deteriorated," the four-page document said. The report described the last 60 days of activity since an assessment in March led to the adoption of a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran. That resolution stepped up the sanctions initially authorized in December.
What we don't know, is more important than what we know. We know that according to the IAEA, Iran could produce a bom in three to eight years. We can't possibly know that they are not in fact weaponizing their fissionable materials, since they are not providing the information. The information they are not providing is not about prices of rice in Qom, is it? If they are not providing information, then they have something to hide, and anyone can figure out what it is.
Ami Isseroff  

Election campaign: Syrian Style

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Election campaign: Syrian Style

Things are really heating up in the Syrian Presidential election campaign. With elections coming up May 25, there is a close contest between Bashar Assad and... Bashar Assad.
This type of election has the advantage of eliminating confusion and doubt. It doesn't prevent unethical campaign practices though.
Some suggested campaign slogans for Mr. Assad:
"Vote for Bashar Assad, because nobody else is running."
"I may not be the best president you ever had, but I am the only one you are going to get."
From Syria, a friend explains how Assad persuades Syrians that he is the best candidate in the field (and the only one):
Our kids finished the final exams early this year because of election.
The director of the school of my daughter N--- (10th grade) told the
girls in the school to return to the school after few days to
participate in a parade to support Bashar for presidency. N--- told her
that her parents refuse to allow her to do that. The director said that N---'s parents
should look for a place in a private school because she will not be
accepted next year in its public school. My wife went mad and called the
director and shouted at her in anger. I became afraid of a Mukhabarat
The best campaign slogan for Assad might be this:
"Danger: The Surgeon General of Syria has determined that not voting for Bashar Assad is hazardous to your health."
Ami Isseroff
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Human RIghts Watch Decries Civilian Deaths in Lebanon

The tragedy of Lebanon continues to unfold, with or without Israeli involvement...--Wendy in Washington

Lebanon: Fighting at Refugee Camp Kills Civilians

(Beirut, May 23, 2007)--Civilians in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp
have been killed and wounded in escalating clashes between the Lebanese
army and the Palestinian armed faction Fatah al-Islam, Human Rights
Watch said today.

Eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that the Lebanese army has
repeatedly shelled the densely populated Palestinian refugee camp with
tanks and mortars. Lebanese officials charged that the militants are using
the camp's residents to shield themselves.

The Lebanese army's assault on Nahr al-Bared began Sunday after armed
militants from Fatah al-Islam killed 27 soldiers in ambushes and clashes.
From inside the camp, Fatah al-Islam militants fired rocket-propelled
grenades and machine guns at army posts on the camp perimeter.

"The indiscriminate shelling of a densely populated refugee camp can
result in a bloodbath," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at
Human Rights Watch. "The Lebanese authorities need to restore order in a
way that minimizes civilian casualties."

The number of civilians killed in the fighting remains unknown, as the
Lebanese authorities are restricting access due to the ongoing fighting.
Health personnel who have gained access to the camp have focused on
evacuating the wounded. A Lebanese Red Cross official told Human
Rights Watch that the organization transferred at least 57 wounded from
the camp to hospitals in the last 48 hours of fighting, including 40 on
Tuesday. According to Reuters, at least 27 civilians have been killed since
Sunday, as well as 22 militants and 32 soldiers.

Wounded civilians evacuated from the camp told Human Rights Watch
that the Lebanese army's tank and artillery shells were falling
indiscriminately on certain neighborhoods in the camp, killing and
injuring civilians and damaging houses, water tanks, health dispensaries
and mosques. Several other civilians told Human Rights Watch that they
were injured by unidentified sniper fire often coming from areas outside
the camp.

Under principles of international humanitarian law, warring parties are
prohibited from using means and methods of attack that cannot
discriminate between civilians and combatants, including indiscriminate
shelling. Nor may they carry out attacks that are expected to cause loss of
civilian life that is disproportionate to expected military gain.

Marwan Hamadeh, the Lebanese minister of telecommunications, accused
Fatah al-Islam of using the camp's population as hostages. Using civilians
to shield one's own forces from attack is a serious violation of
international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said. Placing forces
or weapons in the vicinity of heavily populated areas can also result in
violations of international humanitarian law.

"Fatah al-Islam militants must not hide among civilians, and the Lebanese
army must take better precautions to prevent needless civilian deaths,"
said Stork.

The clashes have led to a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis inside the
camp. According to evacuated camp residents interviewed by Human
Rights Watch, the army shelling destroyed two of the camp's main water
containers, as well as electrical generators and health dispensaries. Food,
medical and water supplies are running low, despite efforts by the
Lebanese Red Cross, Palestinian Red Crescent, International Committee
of the Red Cross and the United Nations to bring in supplies.

On Tuesday afternoon, a convoy carrying humanitarian supplies from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was shelled as it tried to enter the camp during a short-lived ceasefire. An UNRWA staff member
participating in the convoy told Human Rights Watch that he saw three mortar shells hit the six-vehicle convoy, damaging three of them.

UNRWA has reported two civilian casualties, while an eyewitness
estimated that the number may be higher.

On Tuesday night, the Associated Press reported that thousands of
refugees began leaving the camp following a lull in the fighting.

"The Lebanese army and the Fatah al-Islam fighters should establish a
safe passage to allow the civilians to leave the camp and let humanitarian
supplies for civilians in," Stork said.

Humanitarian law also requires that whenever circumstances permit,
warring parties must without delay take all measures to collect and
evacuate the dead.
More at:

Democracy in Israel

Tuesday, May 22, 2007



Democracy has to start at home!

In our home, we were and are very democratic.
When we were an extended family, we discussed everything and acted as the elders told us to.
When we were just 4, we discussed everything, but the kids did as they were told,- by the parents.
I.E. :
They were given freedoms on a long 'leash',- but that 'leash' was reined-in as soon as they took advantage of this freedom to their detriment!

Now when we are jus 2 of us,- we discuss everything, but we do ,- what?
We have to give and take!
That is democracy! A democracy which can work for two very easily,- or you divorce!

Institutional, national or company, etc. democracies are just the same on a grander scale: some take advantage of the freedoms of the individual, to the detriment of everyone else. They have to be reined in, restricted, locked-up, locked-out, expelled, legislated against, or whatever.

There is no one rule that fits all. There is no law that says: we are all equal, -full stop.
We are all equal before the law,- fair enough!
But kids, adults, the able and disabled, the old and the young,- the crooks, the saintly, the clever and the idiots,- the poor and the rich, etc., etc.,- sorry, not one of us would claim equality on all fronts all our lives with everyone else!

One can repeat one's "democracy dogma" as much as one likes. The ideal may be in heaven, but on earth, my/our home is my/our castle and I/we set the rules.

If my home is on Crown (Government) land,- or if someone else has claims on my land,- we still have tenancy rights enshrined in laws. I don't expect to be shot at and murdered by the landlord,- but if I overstep my rights, the landlord will have a right to evict me via the correct enforcers of the law. I will have to accept it, like it or not,- if I am normal, of course!

If my neighbors overstep their rights to build a structure which adversely affects my property rights,- then there are also laws and avenues to appeal for both parties. Both will have to accept whatever the rulings,- if we are normal human beings!

On the other hand, if a potential mass-murderer were to live next door to any of us,- whose rights take precedence in a democracy? His or ours? He stays and we move?

I wouldn't!


Every nation has its problems and every nation deals with it as it sees fit, including our Oz (AUSTRALIA).

Dictatorships a-la-Zimbabwe or Iraq or past and present others,- need outside help to free their citizens.

But I don't think that democratic Israel needs anyone's lecturing on how to deal with its potential enemies within, as long as no one comes to help her deal with her actual enemies,- i.e. the former's brethren-, without!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Syrian Author: Hitler Falsely Accused of Genocide against the Jews

Syrian Author Muhammad Nimr Al-Madani: Hitler Was Falsely
Accused of Committing Genocide Against the Jews

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Syrian author Muhammad Nimr Al-Madani, which aired on the Iranian News Channel on May 13, 2007:

Muhammad Nimr Al-Madani: The secret about which few people talk today is that Europe wanted to get rid of the Jews. The Jews in Europe - and I emphasize Europe - were not very popular. Therefore, in order to get rid of the European Jews, the European countries had to accept the Zionist plan that was formulated, and to agree to the transfer of Jews to Palestine. Hitler agreed to this and agreed to the transfer of these Jews to Madagascar. This was Hitler's idea, in order to create a Jewish state on Syrian land.

When Hitler occupied territories in East Europe, the idea of establishing a homeland and a state for these Jews arose. But the Europeans did not agree to this, because both Germany and England were each searching for ways to get rid of their Jews. Therefore, Hitler was falsely accused of committing genocide against the Jews. This is a lie, and we know full well that Hitler never did such a thing. It was a premeditated lie by the Zionist regime.


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organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East.
Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information,
are available on request.
MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with
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Saudi envoy: Palestinians must stop fighting Israel

Every once in a while, an Arab leader says something sensible. Nothing comes
of it, but it's worth publicizing. --Wendy in Washington

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 20:35 19/05/2007

Saudi envoy: Palestinians must stop fighting Israel, each other

By Haaretz Staff and DPA
Saudi diplomat Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud on Saturday urged Palestinians to
stop shedding each other's blood, and also called on them to stop directing
their weapons towards Israel.
"Our Palestinian brothers have to stop fighting not just with each other,"
al-Saud told reporters at the Jordan-based World Economic Forum.
"I would also call them to stop fighting Israel with military methods."
"It is a shame that we point our wrath and anger at our fellow Arabs and
Muslims in a more deadly manner than we do our enemies," said al-Saud.
He said that if Palestinians continued "killing each other," the newly
relaunched Arab peace initiative would not get the region anywhere. "This
makes it imperative that we reacquire our fate in our own hands," he said,
adding that in this case neither the United States, Israel or any foreign
state would need to interfere.

Moussa: Israel to blame
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa on Friday called for fighting
between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to stop, but blamed the battles
on Israel and what he called its continuation of an economic siege on the
Palestinian areas.
Israel has launched a series of strikes in response to the barrage of Qassam
rockets fired at Israel throughout the past week.
"The inter-Palestinian fighting cannot be averted because the Israeli troops
surround the Palestinian fighters and besiege the Palestinian people to
starvation limits at a time when the unemployment rate was exceeding 70
percent," Moussa said.
The siege of the Palestinians "has created a psychological atmosphere that
degenerated into the present situation," he said, but added that the feuding
between Hamas and Fatah "cannot be justified."
"This fighting should stop because it harms the Palestinian and Arab
attitudes and benefits Israel," he said.
Moussa made the remarks to reporters on the fringes of the World
Economic Forum (WEF) meeting that opened earlier in the day at the
Dead Sea.
Moussa rejected anew Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer to open negotiations
with Arab leaders, saying "we don't need formal visits and media
"Israel has first to stop settlements and talk directly to the
Palestinians and realize that the Arab peace plan is quite clear and
represents an unequivocal message of peace," he said.
The Arab League chief said that the participants in a plenary session about
peace, stability and international relations in the region had expressed
worry over the situation and urged the U.S. to take a more neutral approach
to the issues.
The members "came to the conclusion that the situation in the region is
extremely bad and that the United States should change its pro-Israel
policies," he said.
Original at:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hamas Traps Israel between Two Options: War or War of Attrition

May 21, 2007
On Day 6 of the brutal Palestinian factional war and Day 4 of the Hamas missile offensive against southern Israel, two ruthless figures have emerged as the dominant factors in both conflicts: Ahmad Jabari, commander of Hamas Executive Forces, and Jamal Jarah, better known as Abu Obeida, spokesman of Hamas' military wing.
They are jerking the strings which activate the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Egypt.
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

"No" to Bashar = "Yes" to Syria

 "No" to Bashar = "Yes" to Syria

Indeed, but the best way to say "No" to Bashar is when we choose to boycott the entire system that was set u to allow someone like him to lord over us, to reject the whole Baath-imposed referendum system that deprives us of a real choice, to refuse to take part in the farce that is played on our expense.

May 27th should be the National Flu Day, or whatever you want to call it. And despite the fact that we, of the opposition, seem to be issuing the call for boycott, in truth, it is the Syrian people who are taking the lead here. Reports from various parts of Syria are showing that, despite attempts at intimidation and mobilization, people are not showing up in massive numbers to take part in the "popular" demonstration of support for the President. In the city of Suwaida, the whole event was a failure from start to finish, even the security people petered out of the event at a steady pace, and the streets became empty within a few short hours.

Let there be no doubt about it, though, our National Clown will claim victory at the end of the day, and will claim his usual 99% of the votes and officials will report massive turnouts at the polling stations, and they might eventually succeed in arranging for a few mass demonstrations, by mobilizing army recruits, security personnel as well as Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, still, by day-end, the Syrian people will also be victorious, and they will emerge more empowered than ever, because by day end, many will have broken the barrier of fear, and we will have established networks on the ground that we can use to make life increasingly difficult for Bashar & Company.

Life may not have been smooth sailing for Bashar over the last few years, but from now, he is going to have to fight for his survival every day, and the challenge will come from the inside.

Regarding our Rally in DC, preparations are proceeding at they should, we are leaning towards holding the event between 9 and 11 am, to give people enough time to go on their long weekend. I should also point out that some people will be coming from as far away as Seattle to take part in the event and will leave on the same day. I am glad to see that there are those who seem to understand the importance of this event and are willing to go to some trouble in order to take part in it. It is really that important.

For Arabic speakers, here is a link to my recent interview on al-Hurra. I shall be more vociferous from now on.

Ammar Abdulhammid

The Syrian Legislative Elections 2007- Final Report: Mr. Assad addresses the parliament

Syrian commentary on the Syrian elections...

May 17, 2007

The Syrian Legislative Elections 2007- Final Report: Mr. Assad addresses the parliament


Syrian Elector, Damascus  (May 17, 2007)

  •      The staged nature of the legislative elections in Syria was clearly established in our previous two reports on the matter. But, if anyone needed a further clarification as to why the regime felt the need to go to the trouble of staging elections that it could easily bypass, the unanimous approval by the parliament of the nomination of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, for a second 7-year term in office, tells all. For a semblance of legitimacy is always required even in the most authoritarian of states.
  •       The whole nomination process took less than five minute, even less that the amount of time that had been required for amending the Constitution back in 2000, a development that allowed Bashar to be nominated for the first term. The "historic" moment was then crowned by a 45 minute speech by Bashar that neglected to make any mention of the popular boycott of the elections, failed to include any promises with regard to internal reforms, boasted of unspecified and quite phantom achievements in the economic sector, defied the international community on issues relating the international tribunal, the peace process and Iraq, and ended up by promising more of the same over the next few years. If the attempts at engaging Bashar that had preceded the elections seem to have had any influence on him, their net effect, it seems, was to further radicalize his stands rather moderate them.
  •       To make things even worse, the speech coincided with the pronouncement of the harshest sentence to date under Bashar's rule by Syria's security tribunals against a well-know dissident, the very one indeed whose case was brought up by Senator Nancy Pelosi.
  •       Meanwhile, a close examination of the "new" members of parliament reveals absolutely no new faces. Even the "new" figures, are only new in the sense if being (s)elected for the first time to the parliament, but they are not new to the political scene. Most are former mid- to high-level state employees, in a civic, military or security capacity. Examples: Ammar Sa'ati, former MP and current head of the Student Union, Muhammad Farouq Abou al-Shamat, former MP and current head of the Damascus Branch of the Baath Party, and Muhammad Nabeel al-Khateeb, former head of the Economic Security Court and current Minister of Justice, etc.
  •       The "independent" candidates are mostly businessmen who are now serving in their second or third term, and all are affiliated, one way or another, in business arrangements with members of the inner circle of the regime, including Bashar and Maher al-Assad.
  •       Some of the independent candidates are clergymen with known ties to the security apparatuses, including Muhammad Habash and Abdussalam Rajih.
  •       The head of the Actor's Guild, Mr. Saba Obeid, also won a seat, at the expense of so many covetous businessmen who spent much money in the elector campaign, the rumored caps on electoral spending notwithstanding. But then, Mr. Obeid, is hardly an independent voice. For it is well-established in Syria that all guilds and unions are heavily infiltrated by the Baath, and that their internal elections are even more staged than the parliamentary ones, and are often, supervised directly from the "Palace." Mr. Obeid's anti-opposition views are also well-documented.
  •       So, with people like these, Mr. Assad got the unanimous approval of his nomination, and the Syrian people got the shaft, again. But they might their say in the referendum, where a popular boycott could do far more damage than it did with the legislative ones. The boycott momentum might carry on. A slap in the face will not wake up the lion, but it will energize the Syrian people. Mr. Assad's real crisis of legitimacy will begin in the days following the referendum, and not end there or lie dormant again as he expects them too.

Lebanese army battles militants, 8 civilians dead

The Islamists want to impede trials for asssasinations of Lebanese leaders ordered by the Syrian regime, and eventually break down
the political order in Lebanon to turn the country into a radical Islamist state from which to attack more effectively Israel. And the world does nothing. The UN: a round zero.
May 21, 2007

By Yara Bayoumy

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (Reuters) - Lebanese tanks shelled Islamist militants in a Palestinian refugee camp on Monday and at least eight civilians were killed, raising the death toll in two days of fighting to 65, security sources said.

Tanks pounded the coastal camp of Nahr al-Bared, home to some 40,000 refugees in north Lebanon, as fighters of the al Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam group fired grenades and machineguns at army posts on the perimeter, witnesses said.

Palestinian sources in the camp said the bombardment had killed eight civilians and wounded 20. They feared the toll would rise because rescue workers could not reach some areas.

Complete article:

Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru



Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saudi Bust Foiled Major al-Qaeda Attack

The Al-Qaeda network had plans to carry out massive terrorist operations in the scale of 9/11 attacks targeting oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, according to captured militants whose confessions were published in the local media yesterday.

Lebanon Must Decisively and Permanently Deal with Nahr El-Bared Camp, Once and for All

Must Decisively and Permanently Deal with Nahr El-Bared Camp, Once and for All.
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Chairman

In my capacity as the Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC) chairman, I strongly denounces the criminal attack against the Lebanese Army and Security Forces in North Lebanon yesterday and today by gunmen of the "Fatah  al-Islam" group which is affiliated – in decision-making and in weapons – with the Syrian Intelligence Services.

The rulers in Damascus had brought in its mercenary fighters several months ago to the Palestinian Camps in Lebanon with the objective of stirring strife, creating an anarchy situation, obstructing the creation of the International Tribunal and, most importantly, prevent the rise of a strong self-reliant Lebanese State and institutions that would spread its control over every inch of Lebanese soil and disarm the militias and impose the rule of law.

It is worth mentioning in this context that the Syrian intelligence militia camouflaged under the name of  "Fatah  al-Islam" was behind the bus bombing crime in the town of Ain Alaq in the North Meten Lebanese region that killed innocent Lebanese civilians this past February.

The LCCC holds the Syrian regime and the Lebanese opposition in all its factions fully responsible for the bloody clashes and demands the Lebanese and
international judiciary prosecute its leadership for the attacks it has committed on the legitimacy of the Lebanese State, obstructing the operation of its constitutional institutions, creating a state of security anarchy, undermining the Lebanese economy and impoverishing the Lebanese people and pushing them to emigrate.

We urge the Army Command and the Lebanese government to deal decisively and with military means with the situation in the Nahr El-Bared Camp once and for all
because not doing so will weaken the army and give the Lebanese opposition and those behind them in the Syrian regime a new impetus to repeat what happened
several times in the past.

We commend the Lebanese army's rank and file and reiterate our full confidence in them. We unreservedly support their patriotic mission of the nation's salvation, and we demand the Lebanese government to take a decisive and immediate resolution to control the Lebanese-Syrian borders and seek the assistance of the international forces to carry out this mission.

 We also demand the Lebanese Sate and its legitimate security forces to put a complete end to all illegal illegitimate militia weapons both inside and outside the Palestinian camps, and in all the self-styled security zones in which Hezbollah has erected its mini-State.

We offer our sincere condolences to the members of the Lebanese Armed Forces and Security Forces who gave their lives yesterday and today defending the nation and protecting its people, their freedom and their identity. We ask God to grant their families the grace of patience and reliance on the Almighty, and to the
martyrs eternal life in God's heavenly paradise.

May 20/07

*Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

Lebanon army battles militants in north, 11 killed

May 20, 2007

(Reuters) - Lebanese troops battled al Qaeda-linked militants in northern Lebanon on Sunday and at least 11 people were killed, seven of them soldiers, security sources said. They said the fighting broke out between the Lebanese army and members of the Fatah al-Islam militant group after security forces raided homes in Tripoli to arrest suspects accused of robbing a bank in the city a day earlier. Smoke rises from the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

Three soldiers were killed in the clashes at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. The militants also attacked an army patrol in the Koura region of northern Lebanon, killing four soldiers, a senior security official said. Four Fatah al-Islam fighters had been killed in the camp, which is home to 40,000 Palestinian refugees and near Tripoli. The army had tightened its grip around Nahr al-Bared camp since authorities charged Fatah al-Islam members with twin bus bombings in a Christian area near Beirut in February. Three civilians were killed by the bombs. The Lebanese government has accused Fatah al-Islam, a Palestinian-led group that broke away from the Syrian-backed Fatah al-Intifada last year of being linked to the Syrian government. Syria denied the charge. Cabinet minister Ahmad Fatfat, speaking in Tripoli, linked the violence to what he said were efforts to derail U.N. moves to set up an international tribunal for suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. A U.N. probe has implicated Syria and Lebanese officials in the Hariri killing. Damascus denies any involvement.

"There is someone trying to create security chaos to say to world public opinion: 'Look, if the tribunal is established, there will be security trouble in Lebanon,'" Fatfat told Lebanon's pro-government Future TV. The United States, France and Britain last week circulated a draft U.N. resolution that would unilaterally set up the court.

Cross posted:Israel News Middle East Analysis


Iranian FM: Not true I said Israel cannot be wiped off the map

This speaks for itself.
Mottaki denies western news agencies claims on his speech
Amman, May 20, IRNA - Iranian news agency

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki denied some western news agencies claims on his speech in the World Economic Forum about the Zionist regime.

He told IRNA, "I said to the meeting every pupil knows that a nation like Palestinians cannot be eliminated from the map." Some western news agencies quoted Mottaki on Saturday saying that every pupil knows it is impossible to eliminate any country from the map.

He added, "Although Shah had good relations with South African apartheid regime and the Zionist regime, after the Islamic revolution victory, the ties were severed."

"After the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa, now we have very good ties with that country," Mottaki said.

He stressed, "We cast a negative vote on the Zionist regime credential in the UN, which means we do not recognize the regime." The 3-day forum started on Friday afternoon in the resort city of Bahr ul Meyet in Jordan and Iran's delegation headed by foreign minister Mottaki attended the meeting.

Iranian delegation departed Amman for Tehran on Saturday evening.

A War This Summer?

A War This Summer?
By Ze'ev Schiff
Fri., May 18, 2007 Sivan 1, 5767

With great fanfare, it was announced this week that the Israel Defense
Forces was conducting a general command drill. Last week, it held an
important war game. One would have to be naive to think the Arab camp
is just sitting there and not conducting drills, maneuvers and
large-scale training exercises.

The Syrians are talking about a major military exercise that will last
more than a week. They say all the preparations must be complete by
June 1 in case Israel attacks. While Hezbollah continues to lick its
wounds, it is trying to establish new defense lines, rearm and step up
training. One of its new approaches is to recruit Shi'ites who
belonged to Amal, as well as Sunni volunteers. Hamas is continuing its
efforts to build up a semi-regular army in the Gaza Strip. The
organization's self-confidence is growing because it sees that Israel
cannot stop the barrage of Qassam rockets.

Reactions to the Winograd Committee report also tell us something
about the Arabs' military preparations. The Syrians say the report's
conclusions will increase Israel's frustration, and one must be wary
of frustrated people who seek revenge and see war as an outlet.
Radical Arab organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas claim to have
found a tactic to prevent Israeli military victories - continue the
war of attrition. Moderate Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan are
worried about the Israeli government's weakness. A weak government
will not be able to make political concessions, and this increases the
danger of armed confrontation.

Many people say there will be war this summer. Are the pessimists
right? The question that should be asked is whether one of the sides
plans to declare war. Apart from Israel, there are four parties -
Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas - who must be asked this question.
Iran will determine whether Hezbollah launches a new war. Tehran is
involved in large-scale military operations in a number of places:
Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, but its
primary focus is nuclear development. A major war today, initiated by
Iran, could endanger its main objectives. For Iran, a steady stream of
low-key military action combined with cash flow is preferable. Tehran
has ordered Hezbollah to halt its efforts to topple the Lebanese
government. Iran also knows that kidnapping more Israeli soldiers will
set off a major conflagration.

Hezbollah will not embark on an all-out war if Iran is against it. If
it could, Hezbollah would renew its war of attrition, but the
organization's freedom of action in Lebanon is limited. Unusual
circumstances would be needed for Hezbollah to go to war again today.
Another problem is Hamas; Hamas could ignite a war in the Gaza Strip.
This organization's military arm is frustrated by the Palestinians'
successes. The more serious leaders of Hamas know that a war this
summer would be too early to serve their purposes.

In a year from now, the Gaza Strip will pose a greater threat to
Israel, especially if the government doesn't come up with better
solutions to the conflict. What is happening today to Sderot could
happen someday to Ashkelon. It is a mistake to think the IDF has any
desire to reoccupy the Gaza Strip today. There is no need to "save"
the government from extremist generals. There are greater extremists
among the politicians.

The most complex problem is Syria. There is no question that Syria is
readying for combat. Again, the question is whether it has plans to
initiate a war, or suspects that Israel does. The military emphasis of
the Syrian army is on firepower - various kinds of heavy artillery
rockets, some of them new models, missiles, and state-of-the-art
anti-tank weapons. The Russians have also equipped Syria with
sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles. Syria is capable of surprising
Israel, mainly through hit-and-run attacks. But it knows there could
be a heavy price to pay for a large-scale war, including the fall of
the Alawite regime.

A cautious conclusion is that none of the parties today are interested
in an all-out war. But war could erupt by mistake. For example, if the
other side's intentions are incorrectly assessed, or if a local
military campaign veers out of control and sparks a major showdown.
For safety's sake, Israel needs to step up its vigilance in the sphere
of intelligence, as well as to reinforce IDF troops on the Golan
Heights and hone the army's quick-response capabilities.

Thank you Irfan Husain for telling the truth about radical Islam

It is high time to understand the truth about what is going on in Britain. This article by Irfan Hussain backs up what an increasing number of Muslims are saying, including ex-terrorists:

More and more, London is being viewed as a magnet for jihadis who are attracted by the hitherto relaxed asylum laws, and the large Muslim community. In fact, a few years ago, a French secret service officer sarcastically dubbed the British capital 'Londonistan', and the name has stuck. Christopher Hitchens, a well-known British journalist, cites a Channel 4 documentary called Undercover Mosque in his article 'Londonistan Calling' that appears in the current issue of Vanity Fair: "And there it all is: foaming, bearded preachers calling for crucifixion of unbelievers, for homosexuals to be thrown off mountain-tops, for disobedient and 'deficient' women to be beaten into submission, and for Indian and Jewish property and life to be destroyed... This stuff is being inculcated in small children ... Again, these were not tin-roof storefront mosques but well-appointed, well-attended places of worship, often the beneficiaries of Saudi Arabian largesse..."

Irfan Husain cannot be accused of Islamophobia, and neither can the Khaleej Times, which published his article, be accused of Islamophobia or racism against Muslims. Please write to Irfan Husain  and thank him for speaking out for decency.

Ami Isseroff

Londonistan calling
17 May 2007 
WHAT do the scores of young men (and a handful of women) who have been arrested, or tried, or convicted of attempted acts of terrorism in the West over the last couple of years have in common? They are all Muslims, for one. A few of them are recent converts to Islam, but most of them were born and raised in the faith.
Secondly, a significant majority have a Pakistani connection. Investigations have revealed that apart from being second or third generation immigrants, many have travelled back to Pakistan many times and were indoctrinated (the word used in the Western media is 'brainwashed') in madrassahs before going on to training camps. Here they learned how to make bombs using easily available ingredients. Those convicted recently had stockpiled over half a ton of a chemical fertiliser that was intended to make a powerful explosive device.

While reading the proceedings of their trial, one can see a third common element: their amateur approach that verges on sheer incompetence. In fact, this ineptitude has probably prevented many attacks from succeeding, saving hundreds of innocent lives. A special report in the Economist quotes one plotter asking Omar Khayyam:
"Bruv, you don't think this place is bugged, do you?" No, replied Khayyam: "Do you know, I think we give them too much credit, bruv."

But in fact the gang, together with scores of other suspects, were under 24-hour surveillance, their emails read, and their phone calls tapped. And time and again, this operation revealed a sinister Pakistan connection. Less than a year ago, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the outgoing head of MI5, the domestic intelligence service, reported that her agents were tracking 1,600 known active suspects. How many are operating beyond the knowledge of the secret service is anybody's guess.

Whatever the numbers, it is clear that the presence of thousands of potential terrorists, most of them home-grown, poses an enormous threat to ordinary Britons, including hundreds of thousands of Muslims who want nothing more than to be allowed to live their lives in peace. Unfortunately, the blood-lust of a handful of terrorists in their midst makes the entire community a fifth column in the eyes of their hosts.

A result of this strong Pakistani element in the terrorist threat has prompted voices in the United States to question the policy of permitting British citizens to enter their country without visas. There is a growing demand to make those with a Pakistani background go through the long, convoluted process of applying for a US visa. And frankly, who can blame them? The reality is that there are a growing number of young fanatics who want nothing better than to blow up as many innocent people as they can.

And if Britain faces a threat from its Pakistani citizens, France sees a growing number of disaffected Algerians, while Spain has been attacked in the past by Moroccan immigrants. Much of the West perceives a growing menace from its large Muslim minority, and this does not necessarily reflect paranoia: a number of attacks and suicide bombings have proved how dangerous these callous killers are.

Over the last couple of years, I must have received hundreds of emails justifying the actions of these murderers. In their defence, writers have sent me a whole litany of acts the West is supposed to have carried out against Muslims now, and in the past. Apart from their anti-Muslim policies, Europeans and Americans are supposed to have 'loose morals', as if this somehow justifies the taking of innocent lives. One of those convicted for the 'fertiliser bomb plot' was quoted as advocating the bombing of The Ministry of Sound, a popular London nightclub, because it would kill many 'slags', or 'immoral women'.

More and more, London is being viewed as a magnet for jihadis who are attracted by the hitherto relaxed asylum laws, and the large Muslim community. In fact, a few years ago, a French secret service officer sarcastically dubbed the British capital 'Londonistan', and the name has stuck. Christopher Hitchens, a well-known British journalist, cites a Channel 4 documentary called Undercover Mosque in his article 'Londonistan Calling' that appears in the current issue of Vanity Fair: "And there it all is: foaming, bearded preachers calling for crucifixion of unbelievers, for homosexuals to be thrown off mountain-tops, for disobedient and 'deficient' women to be beaten into submission, and for Indian and Jewish property and life to be destroyed... This stuff is being inculcated in small children ... Again, these were not tin-roof storefront mosques but well-appointed, well-attended places of worship, often the beneficiaries of Saudi Arabian largesse..."

Hitchens goes on to say: "The roots of violence… are in the preaching of it, and the sanctification of it." He concludes his article by recalling an Islamic activist called Anjem Chaudhry who appeared in a BBC programme where he was asked that given his extreme views, would he not prefer to move to a country governed under Sharia law? The Muslim guest shot back: "Who says you own Britain anyway?"

I have no doubt many Muslims would applaud this attitude. But more and more, the world is running out of patience with extremism. The common platitude we hear ad nauseum is that Islam is a religion of peace, but it is being defamed by a small minority of extremists. The problem is that even a 'small minority' of well over a billion Muslims makes for an awful lot of terrorists.

To get an idea of what is happening, we only have to look towards Islamabad where for over three months, a few hundred seminary students and their mentoring mullahs have defied the state with impunity. General Musharraf, for all his might, finds himself helpless before this open rebellion. Further north, music shops are being forcibly shut down as local Taleban impose their benighted worldview on one corner of Pakistan. I have little doubt that this lawlessness will expand, and a supine state will roll over.

But it is unlikely that other countries will allow their Muslim minorities to dictate terms to the majority. Western liberal values of democracy and gender equality have been won after a long struggle, and people will fight to preserve them.

Irfan Husain is an eminent Pakistani writer based in London. He can be reached at

Christians persecuted in Iraqi Secular democratic state

This is a reminder, of what it is like to live in a Middle Eastern secular democratic state.
Baghdad (AINA) -- The crisis for the Assyrian community in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood is deepening. Islamists are systematically targeting the Christian Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs), forcing them to pay the jizya (AINA 4-17-2007, 3-18-2007), a "protection" tax demanded by the Koran, or convert within 24 hours or be killed. Dora is located 10 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.

Families are abandoning their homes and seeking refuge in Churches:

  • 14 families have fled to the Al-So'ud Chaldean Church.
  • 7 families have fled to Saint Odisho Assyrian Church. 3 families are in the church and 4 in the Saint Adai Patriarchate, the old church building.
  • An unknown number of families have fled to Saint George Chaldean Church.

Islamic groups are preventing families from bringing any belongings as they flee their homes.

Hatem Al-Razaq, the sheik of the Al-Noor mosque in Dora, has toured Dora, visiting each Assyrian family and instructing them to pay 250,000 Iraqi dinars ($190), saying this sum is the jizya because "you are not Muslims." Families that cannot pay this sum are told to send one family member to the mosque on Friday to announce their conversion to Islam. Families who refuse to do this must leave their homes immediately and not take any of their belongings with them because "your properties belong to the mosque."

Families that do not leave and do not convert are threatened with death.

In a report by the Catholic News Agency (AINA 5-18-2007), Mar Addai II, the Patriarch of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East, says "Only the families that agree to give a daughter or sister in marriage to a Muslim can remain, which means that the entire nuclear family will progressively become Muslim." Also, Assyrian families are forced to turn over their homes as ransom for their kidnapped relatives.

Ami Isseroff

Cross posted: Israel News Middle East Analysis