Monthly Archives: January 2006
Also some news that I ‘d gathered from the Catholic blog Relapsed Catholic. Very interesting blog.
And lastly but not least, the questions that arise from the bad health of Sharon and the conflict with Iran.
Just some news and articles that I consider very interesting:
The presecution of Holy Land Christians: this is an interview with Justus Reid Weiner, a Scholar-in-Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an independent policy studies center. He currently teaches courses on human rights and international law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His main research field is the human rights challenges facing Arab Christians. He is the author of the new book, “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society“.
My specific interest in the plight of Christians living in Palestinian society is more recent. Eight years ago I met a Christian pastor who, knowing that I was a human rights lawyer, urged me to investigate the human rights abuses directed at Muslims who converted to Christianity. I knew nothing about this, and frankly doubted that anyone would victimize the adherents of the world’s largest religion. But as I began to interview people most were reluctant to even meet me. If they agreed to reveal what they had suffered, they insisted that I refer to them by a pseudonym.
FP: Why do you think there has been an increase in Islamic fundamentalism in Palestinian society?
Weiner: The increase is a regional phenomenon. Indeed it would be hard to find any predominantly Muslim country in the Middle East, North Africa or even into Asia, where Islamic fundamentalism is not on the rise.
FP: Tell us about the persecution of Palestinian Christians and why their persecution became so much worse since the Oslo peace process began.
Weiner: These are acutely trying times for the Christian remnant residing in areas ‘governed’ by the Palestinian Authority. Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad, while those that remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority. They have faced virtually uninterrupted persecution during the decade since the Oslo peace process began, living amidst a Muslim population that is increasingly xenophobic and restless. Chaos, nepotism, and corruption are endemic. Their plight is, in part, attributable to the influence of Muslim religious law (Sharia) on the inner workings of the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the Christians have been abandoned by their religious leaders who, instead of protecting them, have chosen to curry favor with the Palestinian leadership.
The Norwegian parliament in the Sor-Trondelag region ruled Saturday to boycott products made in Israel and to forbid the sale and purchase of Israeli goods.
It is estimated that the decision, determined by a parliamentary vote, was made due to Norway’s stance that Israel oppresses the Palestinians.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly condemned the ruling Wednesday, saying that “this decision does nothing to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, but only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will.”
“It is shocking and ironic that this one-sided boycott effort comes at a time when Israel is making a series of dramatic steps toward peace, including the recent withdrawal from Gaza,” ADL Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release following the incident.
In a letter to Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Knut Vollebaek, the ADL expressed concern over the bias stance taken by the regional parliament in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And others aren’t:
Muslims intent on becoming German citizens will have to undergo a rigorous cultural test to gauge their views on subjects ranging from bigamy to homosexuality. Believed to be the first test of its kind in Europe, the southern state of Baden-W�rttemberg has created the two-hour oral exam to test the loyalty of Muslims towards Germany. It is to be taken on top of the standard test for foreigners wishing to become German citizens, which includes language proficiency skills and general knowledge.
It also requires applicants to prove that they can provide for themselves and their families. Those applying must also have resided in Germany for the previous eight years and have no criminal record. Germany’s 15 other states will monitor the progress of the policy when the tests begin this week before deciding whether they wish to adopt similar legislation. The 30 questions, which have been set by a special commission, range from sexual equality to school sports and are meant to trigger a more detailed discussion between the applicants and officials.
A Sydney council voted against flying the Australian flag at Bondi Beach because of fears it would incite more race-fuelled violence on the city’s beaches. Waverley Council voted 6-5 against the move on December 13, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports. The Australian flag, along with an Aboriginal flag, were to be provided by federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull and flown over the Bondi Beach pavilion.
But Greens councillor George Copeland said the flag had been used in the recent race riots as “a symbol around which to perpetrate racial violence”.
“A punk-rock style, trendy tight fit and affordable price have made Cheap Monday jeans a hot commodity among young Swedes, but what has people talking is the brand’s ungodly logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead. The jeans’ makers say it’s more of a joke, but the logo’s designer said there’s a deeper message. “It is an active statement against Christianity,” Bjorn Atldax told The Associated Press. “I’m not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion.”
“One cannot just keep quiet about this,” said the Rev. Karl-Erik Nylund, vicar of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Stockholm. “This is a deliberate provocation (against Christians) and I object to that.” Nylund complained that Swedish companies don’t treat Christianity with the same respect that they afford other religions. “No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it’s totally OK to provoke Christians,” he said.”
And about Israel and the “peaceful” Palestinians:
Palestinians have smuggled anti-aircraft missiles into the Gaza Strip along with tons of other military hardware since Israel withdrew in September, an Israeli intelligence report said on Monday.
The missiles were smuggled into Gaza across the border from Egypt, the Shin Bet security agency’s report said.
It said that Palestinian militants were acquiring anti-aircraft missiles primarily to thwart Israeli air strikes on militants in Gaza, but it said these weapons could in theory threaten civilian aircraft in Israel.
“The presence of anti-aircraft missiles in Gaza considerably heightens the threat against Israeli aircraft, both military and civilian,” the report said. “It also increases the risk that such weaponry will enter the West Bank where it will present a significant threat to Israeli aviation.”
Anti-aircraft missiles could limit Israel’s ability to use helicopters and planes to kill suspected militants in Gaza and the West Bank.
Hundreds of marchers in southern Gaza called Monday for an end to corruption within the Palestinian Authority, while gunbattles pitted Palestinian police against rival political factions.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas threatened to cancel parliamentary elections scheduled for January 25 unless Israel allows Palestinians to vote in Jerusalem.
And last but not least, more (bad) news from Pakistan:
As the incendiary training at some seminaries in Pakistan drew renewed focus in the weeks after the July 7 bombings in London, the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf, promised to bring the schools into the mainstream and expel their foreign students by the end of the year.But his tough pledge has fizzled. Last week, the government backed away from that promise and said it would not use force to deport students. The schools, called madrasas, then said they would resist any effort to round up students, and on Sunday a coalition representing the seminaries called the government plan “inhuman, immoral and totally illegal,” The Associated Press reported.The madrasas were once the Islamic equivalent of Sunday school. They have evolved. Supported by private donations, they now provide free housing, meals and education – a lure for poor families in particular. The rigid training at some schools makes them ripe for recruiting by Islamist militant groups.Of the four suicide bombers responsible for the London attacks, three were Britons of Pakistani descent and at least one had spent time at a madrasa here with connections to militant groups.The limited gains in carrying out the madrasa changes reflect the delicate political choices facing Musharraf. His supporters point out that pursuing the schools too aggressively would only empower religious radicals here to depict the president as a stooge of the West. His critics say the lack of results reflects his half-hearted resolve to flush out religious militancy.His promise last July was, in fact, a reiteration of earlier promises. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the madrasas were put under a spotlight. Among the many changes Musharraf pledged in exchange for generous aid and debt relief from the United States and other Western allies was to bring the schools under greater government scrutiny.On Friday, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao told Reuters that the government did not intend to use force to root out foreign students. “What action can be taken against those students?” he asked. “The management of the madrasas are responsible to arrange departures of their students and we are pushing them to help us in implementing this decision.”The Associated Press, citing figures from the main association that represents the schools, the Federation of Madrasas, reported last week that about 1,000 foreign students had left since July, while 700 remained.In addition to expelling foreign students, Musharraf said in July that the madrasas would be required to register with the government and to account for their financing. In September, the government announced that it had struck a deal with influential clerics to register all seminaries. So far, 5,000 of the 12,000 established schools have not registered, said the minister for religious affairs, Ijaz ul-Haq.Madrasas operate autonomously. They follow their own curriculums and spurn efforts to modernize their syllabuses. Musharraf has called them the largest nongovernmental organization in the world.
The first thing is that, as I have posted in my Spanish blog (i. e. here), the rapes of non-Muslims women by gangs of Muslim men have boomed in the last years although also in Muslims countries)
In Australia, Norway, Sweden and other Western nations, there is a distinct race-based crime in motion being ignored by the diversity police: Islamic men are raping Western women for ethnic reasons. We know this because the rapists have openly declared their sectarian motivations.
When a number of teenage Australian girls were subjected to hours of sexual degradation during a spate of gang rapes in Sydney that occurred between 1998 and 2002, the perpetrators of these assaults framed their rationale in ethnic terms. The young victims were informed that they were “sluts” and “Aussie pigs” while they were being hunted down and abused.
In Australia’s New South Wales Supreme Court in December 2005, a visiting Pakistani rapist testified that his victims had no right to say no, because they were not wearing a headscarf.
And earlier this year Australians were outraged when Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohammed gave a lecture in Sydney where he informed his audience that rape victims had no one to blame but themselves. Women, he said, who wore skimpy clothing, invited men to rape them.
A few months earlier, in Copenhagen, Islamic mufti and scholar, Shahid Mehdi created uproar when – like his peer in Australia – he stated that women who did not wear a headscarf were asking to be raped.
And with haunting synchronicity in 2004, the London Telegraph reported that visiting Egyptian scholar Sheik Yusaf al-Qaradawi claimed female rape victims should be punished if they were dressed immodestly when they were raped. He added, “For her to be absolved from guilt, a raped woman must have shown good conduct.”
In Norway and Sweden, journalist Fjordman warns of a rape epidemic. Police Inspector Gunnar Larsen stated that the steady increase of rape-cases and the link to ethnicity are clear, unmistakable trends. Two out of three persecutions for rape in Oslo are immigrants with a non-Western background and 80 percent of the victims are Norwegian women.
In Sweden, according to translator for Jihad Watch, Ali Dashti, “Gang rapes, usually involving Muslim immigrant males and native Swedish girls, have become commonplace.” A few weeks ago she said, “Five Kurds brutally raped a 13-year-old Swedish girl.”
In France, Samira Bellil broke her silence – after enduring years of repeated gang rapes in one of the Muslim populated public housing projects – and wrote a book, In the hell of the tournantes, that shocked France. Describing how gang rape is rampant in the banlieues, she explained to Time that, “any neighborhood girl who smokes, uses makeup or wears attractive clothes is a whore.”
Unfortunately, Western women are not the only victims in this epidemic. In Indonesia, in 1998, human rights groups documented the testimony of over 100 Chinese women who were gang raped during the riots that preceded the fall of President Suharto. Many of them were told: “You must be raped, because you are Chinese and non-Muslim.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that in April 2005, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl was raped, beaten with a cricket bat, hanged upside down from the ceiling, had spoonfuls of chillies poured into her mouth, and repeatedly bashed while handcuffed. Her Muslim neighbours told her they were taking revenge for the American bombing of Iraqi children and informed her they were doing it because she was an “infidel and a Christian.”
In Australia this week amidst anger over an Islamic man’s rape conviction and the bashing of two Aussie life savers, working-class locals erupted in a rampage of anger and brawling in some of the worst racial riots in decades. But there is more to the story than is being repeated in the American mainstream media….
Four days after he set foot in Australia, the rape spree began. And during his sexual assault trial in a New South Wales courtroom, the Pakistani man began to berate one of his tearful 14-year-old victims because she had the temerity to shake her head at his testimony.
But she had every reason to express her disgust. After taking an oath on the Qur’an, the man – known only as MSK – told the court he had committed four attacks on girls as young as 13 because they had no right to say “no.” They were not covering their face or wearing a headscarf, and therefore, the rapist proclaimed: “I’m not doing anything wrong.”
MSK is already serving a 22-year jail term for leading his three younger brothers in a gang rape of two other young Sydney girls in 2002. In his own defence, he argued that his cultural background, was responsible for his crimes.
But of course Muslims blame the Christmas tree for the riots.
I am going today to recommend you a very good blog to know what’s happening in Sudan: it’s called Sudan watch and I have found some news abput the humanitarian catastrophe that their inhabitants are suffering just now.
Firstly, this is how the Egyptian police reacted to a pacific demonstration of some Darfurians that now live at a refugee camp in Egypt. They were critizising UN policy and demanding UN should take them out of Egypt.
And they are right:
And the result: 23 darfurians dead and images like this one:
I wonder what these sympathetic policemen would have done with the French rioters.
veteran Sudanese Islamist leader Turabi attacks foreign presence. Note Mr Turabi shows no compassion for the millions of Sudanese driven from their homes and forced to flee for their lives from the government’s militia:
“Look at Sudan now – it has tens of militias independent of the army. And we have so many African armies here… and other armies of the United Nations,” Mr Turabi said.
“We don’t have an army here. We have a record of how many armies you have in one country. Would you call that independence?
Lastly, from Darfur:
In his latest monthly report on Darfur, he called it a “deeply disturbing trend” with “devastating effects on the civilian population”.
“Civilians continue to pay an intolerably high price as a result of recurrent fighting by warring parties, the renewal of the scorched earth tactics by militia and massive military action by the government,” he said in the report released on 29 December.
Photo: The destroyed village of Kamungo just east of Kabkabiya town, North Darfur State. (IRIN)
Some 3.4 million people continue to be affected by the conflict, according to the UN, of whom 1.8 million are internally displaced and 200,000 have fled to neighbouring Chad.
Note the Financial Times Jan 2, 2006 provides an excellent summary of Darfur news over past few months:
A new wave of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region is a “shocking indication” of the international community’s collective failure to stem “horrendous crimes” there, the United Nations has warned, amid daily reports that the killings continue unabated.
Despite regular Security Council discussions and an African Union (AU) mission, a new UN report says: “Large-scale attacks against civilians continue, women and girls are being raped by armed groups, yet more villages are being burned, and thousands more are being driven from their homes.”
Its findings leave few doubts that the world’s efforts to stem Sudan’s catastrophe are not working, despite its leaders’ assertion at last year’s UN summit that all nations bore a “responsibility to protect” civilians from crimes against humanity. Full report.
I wonder ehat they would say if this people were all Muslims…
It consists mainly in expelling ALL Christians from their homes:
Reports from Catholic leaders spearheading the relief work following the earthquake say that hundreds or even thousands of people near Joharabad, close to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, are being made homeless, with no prospect of alternative accommodation being found.
In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Anthony Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi said he feared that the incident of forced ejections he had uncovered was just one of many taking place across the region.
The bishop continued: “In one district near Joharabad, all the people are being thrown out — all of them are Christians. We are the most vulnerable people, we are very poor and we are easy targets.”
He said the ejections were all the more insulting to the Christian community because the government had plenty of land of its own on which to house the displaced Kashmiri people.
But, according to the bishop, the authorities preferred housing the refugees in Christian homes because it would save them the costly and time-consuming task of erecting shelters on alternative sites.