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Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jan 2020, 11:37 pm

Why Laws Against Hate Speech Are Dangerous
by Fjordman  •  January 18, 2020 at 5:00 am
There is a tendency, to censor certain viewpoints because they might "offend" others. The problem is, it is not the inoffensive things that need protecting; it is only the offensive things that do.... Freedom of speech exists precisely to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

"[T]he freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." — US President George Washington, 1783.

How come it is all right to publish the original source, prescribing murder, but that it is "hate speech" to point out that quote?

"Sometimes, when one points out these rules, people will respond: 'Well, the Bible says such-and-such.' The point is not that these things are written in Islamic scripture, but that people still live by them." — Bruce Bawer, February 8, 2018.

Restrictions against "hate speech" often do not really ban hate speech; instead they may actually be protecting certain forms of hate speech against legitimate inquiry.


"For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences... reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." — US President George Washington, 1783. (Original Artwork: Engraving by Nathaniel Currier, circa 1780. Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
In November 2019, Germans celebrated the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany 30 years earlier. That same month, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to the German federal parliament (Bundestag), advocated more restrictions on free speech for all Germans. She warned that free speech has limits:

"Those limits begin where hatred is spread. They begin where the dignity of other people is violated. This house will and must oppose extreme speech. Otherwise, our society will no longer be the free society that it was."

Merkel received great applause.

Critics, however, would claim that curtailing freedom in order to protect freedom sounds a bit Orwellian. One of the first acts of any tyrant or repressive regime is usually to abolish freedom of speech. Merkel should know this: she lived under a repressive regime -- in the communist dictatorship of East Germany, where she studied at Karl Marx University.

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https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15256/hate-speech-laws
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Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jan 2020, 1:05 pm

Iranian Women Defy the Mullahs; Western Feminists Nowhere in Sight
by Giulio Meotti  •  January 19, 2020 at 5:00 am
Before 1979, Iranian women had freedom. They want it back.

If Iranian feminists who refuse to wear the hijab are brave, their Western counterparts, who wear pink hats, have wretchedly abandoned them.

Why is Iranian barbarism so easily condoned in the West?

Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall was torn down by ordinary citizens who wanted to reclaim their freedom of movement. Today, the wall of the Iranian regime could be torn down by these ordinary women who want to reclaim the freedom to wear what they like. They are bravely refusing to walk on flags of Israel and the U.S. -- and enjoying the wind in their hair again.


Today, courageous Iranian women are leading the uprising against the Iranian regime. They remind one the era before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the veil was not mandatory. They know the price: many who have taken part in anti-regime protests have been raped and tortured in prison. Pictured: Veiled women appear in a propaganda show on Iranian state television, on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images)
In October 1979, in a rare interview with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci charged that the veil was symbolic of the segregation into which the Islamic revolution women had cast women. "Our customs," Khomeini answered, "are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress, you're not obliged to wear it because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women."

"That's very kind of you," Fallaci replied. "And since you said so, I'm going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now." Fallaci removed her veil and left the room without saying another word. Iranian women, emulating Fallaci, are now leading protests against the regime.
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15464/iranian-women-western-feminists


We "Have to Kill Christians": Persecution of Christians, October 2019
by Raymond Ibrahim  •  January 19, 2020 at 4:30 am
In another incident, Fulani herdsmen intentionally maimed Grace... , a Christian woman, by cutting her hand off. She was alone on her farmstead when the terrorists invaded the village. According to a source, "her attackers told her to place her hand on a log of wood before cutting it off." — Punch; October 16, 2019; Nigeria.
"Saudi citizens who convert to Christianity face risk of execution by the state for apostasy if their conversion becomes known." — Barnabas Fund, October 14, 2019; Saudi Arabia.

"If the West strikes against Muslims anywhere in the world, enraged fundamentalists in Pakistan often attack the churches.... Muslims believe that converting one person to Islam earns them eternal life. If an initial effort fails, people turn to kidnapping..." — Aid to the Church in Need; October 4, 2019; Pakistan.
On October 13, 2019, a fire "completely destroyed" St. George Church in Cairo, Egypt, which was considered "one of the greatest and oldest churches belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church." (Image source: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons)
The Slaughter of Christians

Uganda: A Muslim mob set fire to the home of former Muslim, Ali Nakabale, 36, for converting to Christianity. Four of his family members—including his two children, a six-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter—were burned to death in the blaze. His wife, apparently enraged to learn that Ali had become a Christian, reportedly prompted the arson attack. "I had just visited my aunt only to receive sad news of the burning of our house," Nakabale said. "Upon arriving home, I found the house destroyed by fire that burned my four family members, including my two children." His mother and stepfather were also killed in the blaze. "On reaching the mortuary, I found their bodies burned beyond recognition."
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15457/persecution-of-christians-october


Iran: Why the Old Recipe Does Not Work
by Amir Taheri  •  January 19, 2020 at 4:00 am
The latest protests, however, are clearly focused on a demand for regime change, even by some former "reform-seekers". All this means that the regime's classical recipe for survival isn't working as before.
For the first time, more and more Iranians are beginning to contemplate regime change not as merely a desirable slogan but as a practical strategy to lead the nation out of the impasse created by Khomeinism.
The latest protests in Iran are clearly focused on a demand for regime change, even by some former "reform-seekers". All this means that the regime's classical recipe for survival isn't working as before. Pictured: Riot police stand face off against anti-regime protesters in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran on January 11, 2020. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
No matter what gloss the ruling clerics might try to put on current events in Iran, one point is clear: their Islamic Republic is in trouble. Deep trouble.
This is, of course, not the first time that the system hastily put together by a bunch of mullahs and their leftist allies hits a bump on its road to nowhere. Even in its first year the Islamic Republic faced huge protest movements in Tehran and other major cities and had to use force to crush rebellions by Iranian-Kurdish and Turcoman communities.
According to best estimates, to remain in place the Islamic Republic has executed more than 15,000 people and driven more than 8 million Iranians into exile. And all that not to mention the eight-year war that the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini provoked with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Despite all that the regime managed to survive, thanks to a number of factors.
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15463/iran-old-recipe
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Post  Admin on Sat 18 Jan 2020, 9:07 pm

Trump Had Right to Withhold Ukraine Funds: GAO is Wrong
by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  January 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm
The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.
To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.
Even if the GAO were correct in its legal conclusion — which it is not — the alleged violation would be neither a crime nor an impeachable offense. It would be a civil violation subject to a civil remedy, as were the numerous violations alleged by the GAO with regard to other presidents.
If Congress and its GAO truly believe that President Trump violated the law, let them go to court and seek the civil remedy provided by the law.

The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy... It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Wikipedia Commons)
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has gotten the constitutional law exactly backwards. It said that the "faithful execution of the law" — the Impoundment Control Act—"does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law ." Yes, it does — when it comes to foreign policy. The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.

To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15462/trump-had-right-to-withhold-ukraine-funds-gao-is
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Post  Admin on Thu 16 Jan 2020, 11:30 pm

Why Some Palestinians Love Soleimani
by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 15, 2020 at 5:00 am

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[Many] Arabs have claimed that they cannot understand why Hamas and Islamic Jihad are mourning an Iranian general responsible for the killing and displacement of thousands of people in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Some Arabs scoffed at the two Palestinian groups for labeling Soleimani as the "martyr of Jerusalem" at a time "when most of his rockets and bullets were being used to kill Arabs and Muslims to implement Iran's scheme of expanding its control to Arab and Islamic countries."

Without Iran's financial, military and political support, Hamas and Islamic Jihad would not have been able to maintain their control over the Gaza Strip.... Hamas and Islamic Jihad have demonstrated that they care nothing for the thousands of Arabs and Muslims killed by Soleimani's Quds Force. As far as these groups are concerned... [t]he end goal for Hamas and Islamic Jihad remains the elimination of Israel....

The ongoing cooperation between Iran and the Gaza-based groups poses an imminent threat not only to Israel, but also to the PA, Egypt and other Arabs who are opposed to Tehran's expansionist schemes in the region.


Without Iran's financial, military and political support, Hamas and Islamic Jihad would not have been able to maintain their control over the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have demonstrated that they care nothing for the thousands of Arabs and Muslims killed by Qassem Soleimani's Quds Force. Pictured: Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal (center) and Mussa Abu Marzuk (left) in Tehran on February 1, 2009. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)
Why are Iran's Palestinian proxies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, disturbed about the death of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, who was killed in a US airstrike on January 3, 2020?

The two Iranian-backed groups in the Gaza Strip were quick to mourn the "martyr" Soleimani and condemn his assassination as an "American-Zionist scheme." Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad described the death of Soleimani as a "big loss for Palestine and the Palestinian resistance."

Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up a mourning tent for Soleimani in the Gaza Strip, where their representative invited Palestinians to offer condolences for the death of the Iranian military commander. The heads of the two groups, Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas) and Ziad Al-Nakhalah (Islamic Jihad) also travelled to Iran to attend the funeral of Soleimani and offer condolences to Iran's leaders over his death.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15425/palestinians-qassem-soleimani


Erdoğan's 'Make-Turkey-More-Islamic' Campaign Is a Failure
by Burak Bekdil  •  January 15, 2020 at 4:00 am

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Half the population of Turkey is under the age of 32 -- a young population. Many of these young Turks are, it seems, pushing back against Erdoğan's state-imposed Islamization.

The more Erdoğan uses the state's police power to indoctrinate young Turks in favor of devout political Islam, the more they tend to put a distance between themselves and Erdoğan's "devout generations" campaign.

Perhaps Erdoğan's best service to his country is to show young Turks what it actually means to live under an Islamist regime.
The more Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses the state's police power to indoctrinate young Turks in favor of devout political Islam, the more they tend to put a distance between themselves and Erdoğan's "devout generations" campaign. Pictured: Erdoğan and his wife Emine pray during his presidential inauguration ceremony on July 9, 2018 in Ankara, Turkey. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
Trust for Islamist politics in both the Middle East and North Africa has plummeted since the beginning of the Arab Spring. A survey for BBC Arabic found that since 2012-13, public trust in Islamist political parties in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Iraq has significantly declined, from nearly 40% to less than 20%. The survey also found a similar decline in trust for religious leaders in the same countries. In the Gaza Strip alone, public trust in Hamas fell from 45% to 24%. In Turkey, Islam does not appear to be appealing to masses as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan apparently hoped it would.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15440/erdogan-islamic-campaign
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Jan 2020, 8:03 pm

China Is Destroying Multilateralism; Trump Is Creating a New Order
by Gordon G. Chang  •  January 14, 2020 at 5:00 am

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If Wang Binyang is selected in March, she will be able to bend international rules to favor her country's assault on others' technology. In any event, her nomination reveals Beijing brazen ambition to dominate multilateral institutions.... Beijing's placement of officials inside multilaterals has greatly facilitated its malign activities.

From its perch on the UN Security Council, for instance, Beijing has placed itself in a position to attack freedom and democracy. It was the force behind a just-passed, Russian-sponsored General Assembly resolution to create a new convention that, many fear, will be used to restrict online expression worldwide.

"Why is the World Bank loaning money to China?" President Trump tweeted on December 6, "Can this be possible?"

The institutions created after the Second World War, unfortunately, are not adapting well to this century. The ardent proponents of multilateralism have failed to protect global institutions. China has undermined them from the inside, and now those advocates are not dealing with Chinese predation but instead taking potshots at Trump's corrective efforts.

Trump has cooperated with international organizations when he could and has worked to replace the others. As he moves forward, he is creating a more realistic and enduring international order.


From its perch on the UN Security Council, Beijing has placed itself in a position to attack freedom and democracy. It was the force behind a just-passed, Russian-sponsored General Assembly resolution to create a new convention that, many fear, will be used to restrict online expression worldwide. Pictured: Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, speaks during a Security Council meeting on August 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
China, the world's leading cyberattacker and master intellectual property thief, in November nominated one of its nationals to head the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization. If Wang Binyang is selected in March, she will be able to bend international rules to favor her country's assault on others' technology. In any event, her nomination reveals Beijing's brazen ambition to dominate multilateral institutions.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15439/china-destroying-multilateralism

Turkey: Still among the World's Worst Jailers of Journalists
by Uzay Bulut  •  January 14, 2020 at 4:30 am

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"Scores of journalists remain behind bars or under travel bans as a consequence of an extended, politically motivated crackdown against the media." — "Turkey's Journalists in the Dock: The Judicial Silencing of the Fourth Estate", September 13, 2019.

"A subsequent wide-ranging capture of the judiciary has progressively and severely damaged the rule of law and the public's right to access information..." — "Turkey's Journalists in the Dock: The Judicial Silencing of the Fourth Estate", September 13, 2019.

"Pre-trial detention for hundreds of journalists has lasted for months and sometimes years before investigations are completed and the trials can begin." — "Turkey's Journalists in the Dock: The Judicial Silencing of the Fourth Estate", September 13, 2019.


Pictured: Turkish police arrest 69-year-old journalist Ahmet Altan (center) in Istanbul on November 12, 2019, just a few days after he was released from prison, having serving more than three years of a life sentence for allegedly spreading "subliminal messages announcing a military coup" on television in 2016. (Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the latest report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Turkey fell below its ranking as the world's worst jailer of journalists for the first time in four years -- dropping behind even China. That rating is not exactly indicative of an improvement in Ankara's stance towards the media. On the contrary, as CPJ revealed on December 11:

"[T]he fall to 47 journalists in jail from 68 [in 2018] reflects the successful efforts by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stamp out independent reporting and criticism by closing down more than 100 news outlets and lodging terror-related charges against many of their staff."

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15307/turkey-jailing-journalists
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Post  Admin on Mon 13 Jan 2020, 9:18 pm

Turkey Muscles-In on the Israel-Greece-Cyprus EastMed Gas Pipeline Deal
by Soeren Kern  •  January 13, 2020 at 5:00 am

The bilateral agreement between Turkey and Libya — which establishes a new Turkey-Libya economic zone that the EastMed pipeline would now have to cross — appears aimed at giving Turkey more leverage over the project.

"The recent Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States and does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third States." — Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Consilium.Europea.eu, January 9, 2020

In May 2019, Turkey announced that it would begin drilling for gas in waters claimed by Cyprus.... In October 2019, Turkey defied the European Union by sending another drilling ship, the Yavuz, to operate inside waters claimed by Cyprus. Cyprus accused Turkey of a "severe escalation" of violations of its sovereign rights.


Israel, Greece and Cyprus have signed an agreement for a pipeline project to ship natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Europe. The EastMed project, which would bypass Turkey, could eventually supply up to 10% of Europe's natural gas needs. Pictured: Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis (left), Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (center) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands in Athens on January 2, ahead of signing the pipeline agreement. (Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)
Israel, Greece and Cyprus have signed an agreement for a pipeline project to ship natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Europe. The deal comes amid increasing tensions with Turkey as Ankara seeks to expand its claims over gas-rich areas of the Mediterranean Sea.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, along with their energy ministers, signed the so-called EastMed pipeline deal in Athens on January 2.

The 6-billion-euro ($6.6 billion) project envisages the construction of a 1,900-kilometer (1,180-mile) undersea pipeline that would carry up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland. From there, the gas would be transported to Italy and other countries in southeastern Europe.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15424/eastmed-pipeline-conflict-turkey

Iran-US: Advantage Trump
by Alain Destexhe  •  January 13, 2020 at 4:00 am
Europe, too, will have to draw a few conclusions. The European attempt, initiated by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to circumvent American sanctions on Iran should cease.

In reality, the Iranian regime has just lost a round in its long conflict with the United States. Such air disasters have a lasting effect on people's minds. The Iranian regime is emerging from this crisis weaker and more isolated than ever before. Trump wins for now.


The Iranian regime is proving to be totally incompetent: incapable of managing the funeral of the so-called "martyr" Qassem Soleimani, which resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people, but capable of shooting down "as a result of human error" a commercial flight with 82 of its own nationals on board and killing a total of 176 passengers and crew members. Pictured: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Photo by Atta Kernare/AFP via Getty Images)
Iran has emerged completely discredited from the recent phase of conflict with the United States and US President Donald J. Trump appears, for the time being, to be the big winner.

The Iranian regime is proving to be totally incompetent: incapable of managing the funeral of the so-called "martyr" Qassem Soleimani, which resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people, but capable of shooting down "as a result of human error" a commercial flight with 82 of its own nationals on board and killing a total of 176 passengers and crew members. This is the same regime that now announces the resumption of its nuclear weapons program. The bomb could be launched "by mistake," of course, at Israel - or dropped on a neighboring country, such as Sunni states in the Gulf, or even on Iran itself.
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15438/iran-advantage-trump
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Post  Admin on Mon 13 Jan 2020, 1:36 am

Turkey's No Longer Best-Kept Secret: Islamized Christians
by Vasileios Meichanetsidis  •  January 12, 2020 at 5:00 am

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"The Turkish persecution of Pontian Greeks and other Christian peoples began after the fall of Trabzon, starting slowly at first and gradually becoming more widespread and terrifying... Many Christians reluctantly converted to Islam to avoid oppression... and merely to survive. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, approximately 250,000 Pontian Greeks were forced to convert.... and speak Turkish." — The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center, 2014.

The conquests by Turks resulted in the violent and destructive Islamization of the Byzantine civilization.

The Turkish people need to learn the truth about the history of both the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Only the truth can liberate the people of Turkey from the past that haunts them to this day.


The final blow in the long and tragic process of Islamization and Turkification of the Ottoman Greek population was delivered during the 1913-1923 Greek Genocide, in which many Greeks -- especially women and children -- were forced to convert to Islam. Those who refused were killed or exiled. Pictured: A march in Thessaloniki, Greece on May 19, 2019 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre of some 353,000 ethnic Pontian Greeks by Ottoman forces in Turkey. (Photo by Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP via Getty Images)
A recent statement by a Turkish mayor belonging to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was particularly noteworthy in the wake of the US Senate's December 12 resolution to "commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance."

Mayor Hayrettin Güngör of Kahramanmaraş was caught on camera telling a woman from Trabzon, "We made you Muslim."

He seems to have been referring to the fact that Trabzon, as other provinces in the Black Sea region, used to be a Greek Orthodox Christian city, which is now Muslim -- in spite of the thousands of people in the area who still speak the Pontic Greek dialect.

After an angry public response to the statement, Güngör phoned the mayor of Trabzon to apologize. As offensive as his claim may have been, however, he was actually revealing a tragic truth: that many Turkish citizens are descendants of forcibly Islamized Christians.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15321/turkey-islamized-christians

The General's Death Upsets Iran's Plan
by Amir Taheri  •  January 12, 2020 at 4:00 am

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Soleimani had his own network of lobbyists in many Arab countries and some Western democracies. Hundreds of Iranian and Arab militants have enrolled in Western universities with scholarships from the Quds Force.

Soleimani, who loved making and publishing "selfies" showing himself close to battlegrounds in the Middle East, was never present anywhere near a battle but was always to come after the dust had settled, to take "selfies" and claim the credit.

Some analysts in Tehran believe that Khamenei was planning to promote Soleimani further by making him President of the Islamic Republic in 2021. An image-building campaign started last year as Soleimani was marketed as "the Sufi commander".... A committee of exiled Iranians in Florida also started campaigning to draft Soleimani as president. If that was Khamenei's game plan, there is no doubt that Soleimani's demise will lead to more uncertainty regarding the future course of Iranian politics.


Qassem Soleimani, who was Iran's most hyped general, loved publishing "selfies" showing himself close to battlegrounds in the Middle East. He was never present anywhere near a battle but was always to come after the dust had settled, to take "selfies" and claim the credit. (Photo by Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA/AFP via Getty Images)
While analysts and policymakers are busy speculating on ways that Tehran's ruling mullahs might avenge the killing of their most hyped general, the real question that needs considering may be elsewhere.

The question is: what effect Soleimani's death might have on the power struggle that, though currently put on hold, is certain to resume with greater vigor in Tehran.

Tehran's propaganda tries to sell Soleimani as a kind of superman who, almost single-handedly, brought Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and parts of Afghanistan and Yemen under Iranian control while driving Americans out of the Middle East and crushing ISIS's so-called Caliphate which tried to rival the Islamic Republic in Tehran. Soleimani himself did a lot to promote that image and, doing that, received much help from Western, especially American, and Israeli media that bought the bundle of goods from Tehran.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15423/soleimani-death-iran-plan

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Post  Admin on Sun 12 Jan 2020, 1:38 am

Yale Psychiatrist Issues Diagnosis of "Psychotic" for Defending Constitutional Rights
by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  January 11, 2020 at 5:00 am

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Dr. Bandy Lee is literally claiming that we are mentally ill and our views should be considered symptoms of our illness, rather than as legitimate ideas.

Publicly offering "professional opinions" or diagnoses in the absence of a psychiatric examination, is a violation of psychiatric ethics and the rules of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Lee has a history of such unethical conduct....

Her resort to diagnosis rather than dialogue is a symptom of a much larger problem that faces our divided nation -- too many Americans are refusing to engage in reasoned dialogue with people with whom they disagree. Dr. Lee is part of that problem, not its solution.


Pictured: Professor Alan Dershowitz listens to U.S. President Donald Trump speak during a Hanukkah Reception in the East Room of the White House on December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A Yale professor of forensic psychiatry has diagnosed guess who -- your truly -- as suffering from "psychosis" for expressing legal views that happen to be on the Constitutional rights of President Donald Trump. Dr. Bandy Lee has never met me, never examined me, never seen my medical records, and never spoken to anyone close to me. Yet she is prepared to offer a diagnosis of "psychosis" which she attributes to my being one of President Trump's "followers." (I voted for Hillary Clinton and am a liberal Democrat.)

Indeed, Dr. Lee went even further, diagnosing "the severity and spread of 'shared psychosis' among just about all of Donald Trump's followers." Nor does she seem to be using these psychiatric terms as political metaphors, dangerous as that would be. She is literally claiming that we are mentally ill and our views should be considered symptoms of our illness, rather than as legitimate ideas.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15416/bandy-lee-trump-dershowitz
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jan 2020, 5:14 pm

France, The "Budding Islamic Republic"
by Giulio Meotti  •  January 10, 2020 at 5:00 am

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In a country that used to stand for freedom of expression, self-censorship is soaring.

"For the past five years, I've been going to the police station every month or so to file a complaint about death threats, not insults, death threats". — Marika Bret, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo today, January 8, 2020.

"Nobody dares to publish caricatures of Mohammed anymore. Self-censorship prevails.... Hate is directed against those who resist obscuring information rather than against those who obscure it. Not to mention the psychiatrization of terrorism in order better to exonerate Islam. If we had been told in the early 2000s that in 2020, around 20 French cartoonists and intellectuals would be under police protection, no one would have believed it." — Pascal Bruckner, author.
A Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was tortured and murdered in her Paris apartment by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who was yelling "Allahu Akbar." A court of appeals recently ruled that Traoré, because he had smoked cannabis, was "not criminally responsible" for his actions. As France's Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said, it is a "license to kill Jews".


In France, a country that used to stand for freedom of expression, self-censorship is soaring five years after the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. On January 7, 2015, the jihadists Chérif and Saïd Kouachi murdered 12 people and wounded 11 more when they attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Pictured: A bullet-riddled police car at the site of the attack, January 7, 2015. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
"Five years after the killings at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, France has learned to live with the Islamist threat," wrote Yves Thréard, deputy editor at the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

"Not a month goes by... without a murderous attack with the cry of 'Allahu Akbar' taking place on our soil.... But what is the point of fighting the effects of Islamism if we do not tackle the origins of this ideology of death? On that front, however, denial continues to compete with naiveté. Nothing has changed in the last five years. On the contrary.

"In the name of diversity, non-discrimination and human rights, France has accepted a number of blows to its culture and history... Islamists are a hot-button issue. They continue the fight which, even without weapons, has all the allure of a war of civilizations. Is the famous 'Charlie spirit', which some people thought was blowing after the January 2015 attacks, just an illusion?"

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15412/france-islamic-republic
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jan 2020, 4:54 pm

Forcing US Troops from Iraq Will be a Victory for ISIS, Iran
by Con Coughlin  •  January 9, 2020 at 5:00 am

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"They [surviving ISIS fighters] have better techniques, better tactics and a lot more money at their disposal. They are able to buy vehicles, weapons, food supplies and equipment. Technologically they're more savvy. It's more difficult to flush them out. So, they are like al-Qaeda on steroids." — Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official, in an interview with the BBC.

Calling on America to withdraw its forces from Iraq could therefore prove to be utterly self-defeating for the Iraqi government... they will simply be placing themselves at the mercy of a new, and bolder, generation of Islamist fanatics.

A US withdrawal from Iraq would also suit Tehran, where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not only called for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, but the entire Middle East. Not having the US to provide moral and military support to the Iraqi government would allow Iran to continue its meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as consolidating its malign influence throughout the rest of the region.


Calling on America to withdraw its forces from Iraq could prove to be utterly self-defeating for the Iraqi government. The most likely consequence of a withdrawal will be the return of ISIS as a major terrorist force. Pictured: The remains of a church that was attacked by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)
The most likely consequence of any attempt by the Iraqi government to demand the removal of American forces will be the return of ISIS as a major terrorist force, as President Donald J. Trump singled out in his televised address January 8.

The issue of whether the estimated 5,200 US troops currently based in Iraq will be allowed to remain in the wake of the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani has been raised following a nonbinding vote by the Iraqi parliament calling for the withdrawal of American forces.

President Trump immediately responded by threatening Iraq with sanctions and a bill for billions of dollars if Baghdad insisted on the withdrawal taking place, although questions remain about the legitimacy of the Iraqi parliament's demand.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15411/iraq-us-troops-iran




China: Beijing's Arctic Power Grab
by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  January 9, 2020 at 4:30 am

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Unfortunately, the US is largely dependent upon China for these materials, which also lie beneath the huge ice masses of Greenland.... Beijing is proposing to build several airports, harbors, roads and railways in Greenland, which would facilitate the transport of rare earth materials -- once they are excavated -- to China.

China's drive for eventual primacy in the Arctic region also extends to the Danish-owned, self-governing network of the 18 Faroe Islands, located midway between Norway and Iceland in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Although China is a latecomer to great-power competition in the Arctic, its Arctic profile could rise quickly if Moscow pools its efforts with Beijing. The Russian Air Force has long had a separate branch for polar aviation, and Russia maintains an extensive nuclear- and diesel-powered fleet of icebreakers.

Also at risk under such a scenario would be the US military facility in Thule, Greenland, which serves as an early-warning node for a nuclear attack on the North American continent.


Two Chinese polar icebreaking research vessels, Xuelong and Xuelong II, are presently carrying out the regime's 36th scientific expedition in the waters off Antarctica, helping complete China's fifth Antarctic scientific station for the gathering of data and establishment of under-the-ice submarine deployments similar to those operated by Washington and Moscow. Pictured: The Xuelong sets off from Shanghai on November 8, 2017. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
One important element of the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2020, which US President Donald Trump signed into law in mid-December, is the directive to examine and monitor "Chinese military activities in the Arctic, as well as Chinese foreign direct investment in the Arctic."

The administration in Washington is right to be concerned about China's increasing interest in the northern polar region. Two years ago, Beijing published a White Paper outlining its Arctic policy, which includes creating a "Polar Silk Road." If fully implemented, this policy will challenge the United States and Russia for primacy in the region, where beneath the glaciers lie vast quantities of coal and natural gas.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15401/china-arctic-power



Why Hamas Supports Turkey's Invasion of Northern Syria
by Omer Demir  •  January 9, 2020 at 4:00 am

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The American pullout from the area, which borders on Turkey, was evidently perceived by Erdoğan as a green light for an invasion for which he had been waiting for nearly a decade.

Hamas, like Turkey, not only seeks Israel's destruction, but also has close ties with the Erdoğan government.

Like its terrorist counterparts across the Middle East, many of which are funded by the Iranian regime, Hamas aims to annihilate Israel not only for being a Jewish state, but for sharing American values of freedom and democracy. In Hamas's eyes, the Kurds are an extension of that Western alliance.


Hamas's support for Turkey's aggression in northern Syria should come as no surprise. Hamas, like Turkey, not only seeks Israel's destruction, but also has close ties with the Erdoğan government. Pictured: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then serving as prime minister) poses beside Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal (center) and Ismail Haniyeh (left) during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on June 18, 2013. (Image source: Turkish Prime Minister Press Office/Yasin Bulbul/AFP via Getty Images)
In mid-October, following US President Donald Trump's announcement of a withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's military invaded the Kurdish-held area.

Ankara views the Kurds in northern Syria as PKK-affiliated terrorists who, for wanting freedom, are regarded as a serious threat to Turkish national security. Eliminating Kurdish autonomy has been a key priority for Erdoğan since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15375/hamas-support-turkey-invasion
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jan 2020, 1:26 pm

Europe's Nigerian Mafia
by Judith Bergman  •  January 8, 2020 at 5:00 am

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Italian intelligence has named the Nigerian mafia "the most structured and dynamic" of any foreign crime entity operating in Italy, according to the Washington Post.... What distinguishes the Nigerian crime networks is their severe brutality...

Black Axe has also spread to Canada, where a 2015 report by the Globe and Mail described it as a "death cult"... linked to "decades of murders and rapes.... In the US, the FBI recently linked a series of financial frauds to Black Axe.
"...traffickers tell victims of human trafficking to apply for asylum and then get a status to be able to stay here in Germany, but they continue to be exploited in prostitution." — Andrea Tivig, Terre des Femmes, Infomigrants.net, March 15, 2019.

"In addition to a common fondness for crime, the culture of immigrant gangs is a cocktail of religion, clan affiliation, honor, shame and brotherhood... The harder and the more brutal [you are], the stronger you are, and then you create awareness of yourself and attract more [people]". — Naser Khader, member of the Danish Parliament for the Conservative Party and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, Jyllands-Posten, November 22, 2018.

In policy debates, the detrimental effects of migration on crime, particularly gang crime, do not receive nearly the attention -- if any -- they deserve. They should.
It is no wonder that the Nigerian mafia has become so prominent in Italy: the country has been one of Europe's front doors for migrants entering Europe. Pictured: An inflatable boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy with 47 African migrants on board, as it is being rescued by the Dutch-flagged Sea Watch 3 off Libya's coast on January 19, 2019. (Photo by Federico Scoppa/AFP via Getty Images)
One of the fastest growing criminal networks in Europe is now the Nigerian mafia, which is spreading its criminal activities across the continent. It consists of rival groups such as Black Axe, Vikings and Maphite. Most recently, authorities in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Malta conducted an international operation directed at two of the major Nigerian mafia groups. Police accused the gangs of human-trafficking, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, sexual violence and prostitution.

According to a June 2019 report by the Washington Post on the Nigerian mafia in Italy:
"They hold territory from the north in Turin to the south in Palermo. They smuggle drugs and traffic women, deploying them as prostitutes on Italy's streets. They find new members among the caste of wayward migrants, illicitly recruiting at Italian government-run asylum centers."
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15398/europe-nigerian-mafia



Turkey: Turning on Washington to Benefit Moscow
by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy  •  January 8, 2020 at 4:30 am
"Turkey and [Libya's] Government of National Accord reached an unusual agreement to essentially carve up much of the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean between them — threatening to cut out Greece and Cyprus from the coming bonanza." — Foreign Policy, Keith Johnson, December 23, 2019.
Turkey's confrontations with the US and NATO, of which it is a member, have served Russia well, giving Putin huge returns on a relatively small investment -- returns that are likely to grow in 2020.
Turkey's confrontations with the US and NATO, of which it is a member, have served Russia well, giving Russian President Vladimir Putin huge returns on a relatively small investment -- returns that are likely to grow in 2020. Pictured: Putin (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet in Moscow on March 10, 2017. (Image source: kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons)
Turkey's often seeming contradictory relations with the United States and Russia -- such as, for instance, Ankara's boosting of cooperation with Ukraine, on the one hand, and defending the Libyan government against General Khalifa Haftar's insurgency on the other -- likely stem from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's apparent drive to become a leading regional and global power.

To this end, Erdoğan has steadily constructed a repressive authoritarian regime resembling that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, as the March 31, 2019 municipal elections in Istanbul demonstrated, Erdoğan's domestic base, including within his own Justice and Development Party has narrowed in favor of the Turkish nationalist right.

To counter his weakened position at home, Erdoğan evidently thinks he needs to demonize America and resist US policies in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15380/turkey-washington-moscow
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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jan 2020, 2:25 pm

Palestinians in Syria: Another Year of Death and Misery
by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 6, 2020 at 5:00 am

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The world, including the United Nations, Europe and other international human rights and "pro-Palestinian" organizations, have not moved to help the Palestinians of Syria in the past nine years -- so, why should this year be any different?

How has this terrible dismissal come to pass? Simple: Because these Palestinians' problems cannot be blamed on Israel. They are being killed and tortured in an Arab country, by their own brothers, and as far as the world is concerned, as long as there is no way to hold Israel responsible, it is fine for Arabs to commit atrocities against their Palestinian brothers.

The Arab countries have long proven that their sole interest in the Palestinians is to use them as puppets to serve the interests of Arab dictators and corrupt Arab regimes. The Palestinians in Syria have long known that, for them, no Arab country is a safe haven.


The London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria estimated the number of Palestinians who have died of torture in Syrian prisons at 614. Another 205 Palestinians died as a result of lack of proper medical treatment because of the Syrian army's siege on the Yarmouk refugee camp, the group said. Pictured: Yarmouk refugee camp, near Damascus, on May 22, 2018, days after Syrian government forces regained control over the camp. (Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)
It appears it is going to be another bad year for the Palestinians in Syria as they continue to face death and fall victim to various repressive measures, including displacement, torture, and extra-judicial killings.

It is unlikely, however, that 2020 will witness any change in the international community's attitude towards the plight of the Palestinians there. The world, including the United Nations, Europe and other international human rights and "pro-Palestinian" organizations, have not moved to help the Palestinians of Syria in the past nine years -- so, why should this year be any different?

How has this terrible dismissal come to pass? Simple: Because these Palestinians' problems cannot be blamed on Israel. They are being killed and tortured in an Arab country, by their own brothers, and as far as the world is concerned, as long as there is no way to hold Israel responsible, it is fine for Arabs to commit atrocities against their Palestinian brothers.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15379/palestinians-syria-death-misery



Thanks to the President, U.S. Policy Heading in the Right Direction
by Majid Rafizadeh  •  January 6, 2020 at 4:00 am

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"... you should know that I... control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan." — The late Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, to US General David Petraeus, The Guardian, July 28, 2011.

Under Soleimani's rule, Iran's military was also implicated in the 9/11 attacks.

To the likely dismay of Washington's critics, President Trump's Iran policy has been heading in the right direction. Maximum pressure is the right policy to bridle this predatory regime.


The unexpected death of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani should be regarded as a severe blow to the ruling mullahs. When it comes to authority in the Islamic Republic, Soleimani was considered Iran's second man after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Image source: Tasnim News [CC by 4.0])
The critics of President Trump's Iran policy have been proven wrong once again: Not only have the US sanctions imposed significant pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran and their ability to fund their terror groups, but in addition, President Trump recently ordered a game-changing military attack that killed both Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near the Baghdad airport.

According to the US Department of Defense, Soleimani "was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

The unexpected death of Soleimani should be regarded as a severe blow to the ruling mullahs. When it comes to authority in the Islamic Republic, Soleimani was considered Iran's second man after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Continue reading https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15378/us-iran-policy-soleimani
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Post  Admin on Sun 05 Jan 2020, 8:54 pm

Foes Can't Beat Him with Caricatures
by Amir Taheri  •  January 5, 2020 at 4:00 am
Far from retreating in the face of alleged Russian expansionism, the US has increased the number of its troops in Europe and released military aid to Ukraine, frozen under President Barack Obama.
The same caricature is used to censure President Donald Trump for his refusal to enact he so-called Paris Climate Agreement. However, the fact is that none of those who signed the accord, including is main promoters have fulfilled their promises.
Trump has forced China to engage in trade talks designed to persuade Beijing's leadership to comply with rules and norms of fair trade that could ultimately benefit Europe as well.
Relations may have cooled somewhat with Germany, France and Canada where US protection was taken for granted and America-bashing had become a popular sport. Instead, Trump has warmed up relations with countries that regard of the US as an ally and not as a mere partner in a loose coalition, among them Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Israel and Great Britain.
President Donald Trump's many opponents and detractors have failed to find a lever which they could use to dislocate him. The reason for that failure is that Trump's opponents both on the right and the left have been dealing with a caricature of him, ignoring the more complex reality of his idiosyncratic presidency. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images)
If US President Donald Trump has his way, his impeachment trial should begin soon after the new year gets under way. Trump wants this hurdle removed as soon as possible so that he could devote his energies to his re-election campaign. And this may be precisely why his Democratic opponents are now dragging their feet trying to delay the so-called trial until sometime closer to the beginning of the formal campaign in summer.

Whichever way this byzantine contest between the president and his opponents turns out, one thing is already certain. Trump's many opponents and detractors have failed to find a lever which they could use to dislocate him. The reason for that failure is that Trump's opponents both on the right and the left have been dealing with a caricature of him, ignoring the more complex reality of his idiosyncratic presidency.
There are, in fact, four caricatures of Trump.
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15377/donald-trump-caricatures



Christians Beheaded for Christmas, The West Goes Back to Sleep
by Giulio Meotti  •  January 5, 2020 at 5:00 am
How much bigger and more extended must this war on Christians become before the West considers it a "genocide" and acts to prevent it?
The day after Christians were beheaded in Nigeria, Pope Francis admonished Western society. About beheaded Christians? No. "Put down your phones, talk during meals", the Pope said. He did not speak a single word about the horrific execution of his Christian brothers and sisters. A few days before that, Pope Francis hung a cross encircled by a life jacket in memory of migrants who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea. He did not commemorate the lives of Christians killed by Islamic extremists with even a mention.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her priority will be fighting climate change. She did not mention persecuted Christians. Meanwhile The Economist wrote that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a passionate defender of persecuted Christians, politically "exploits" the issue.
"The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization [Hamas]. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference". — Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, The New York Times, August 19, 2014.
So far, 900 churches in northern Nigeria have been destroyed by Boko Haram. At least 16,000 Christians have been killed there since 2015. Pictured: The burnt First African Church Mission in Jos, Nigeria on July 6, 2015. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)
Martha Bulus, a Nigerian Catholic woman, was going to her bridal party when she was abducted by Islamic extremists of Boko Haram. Martha and her companions were beheaded and their execution filmed. The video of the brutal murders of these 11 Christians was released on December 26 to coincide with Christmas celebrations. It is reminiscent of the images of other Christians dressed in orange jumpsuits bent on their knees on a beach, each being held by a masked, black-clad jihadist holding a knife at their throats. Their bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Libya.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15369/christmas-christians-beheaded
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Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jan 2020, 8:19 pm

Germany's Middle Eastern Criminal Clans
by Judith Bergman  •  January 4, 2020 at 5:00 am

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"For decades, police turned a blind eye to extended criminal families, in part to avoid being accused of racial discrimination. This has made the present-day challenge all the more difficult as clan structures have solidified, parallel societies have formed, and the enemy has grown." — Deutsche Welle, February 3, 2019.

"There are now half a million people across Germany who belong to a clan.... Clans behave in their German surroundings as if they were tribes in the desert. Everything outside the clan is enemy territory and available for plunder". — Ralph Ghadban, a Lebanese-German political scientist and a leading expert on clans in Germany; The German Times, October 2019.

"It is known that the Osmanen Germania gang has received financial assistance from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party. The gang has essentially functioned as [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's armed wing in Germany." — Sebastian Fiedler, head of the Association of German Criminal Investigators.

The clans see the state as, "an object of ridicule, a target for exploitation" — Falko Liecke, Neukölln's deputy district mayor and district councilor for youth and health. The German Times, October 2019.


Criminal Middle Eastern family clans are a large problem in Germany. The most well-known are mainly based in Berlin, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, and are named Abou-Chaker, Al-Zein, Remmo and Miri. Pictured: Mahmoud Al-Zein, head of the Kurdish-Lebanese Al-Zein clan, attends the funeral of a murdered criminal associate on September 13, 2018 in Berlin. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
In a recently aired documentary by German broadcaster ARD, about Germany's Middle Eastern criminal family gangs -- or clans, as they are called in Germany -- the head of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) Holger Münch, said "In about one-third of proceedings, suspects also included immigrants — and that means that we need to keep a very close eye on this phenomenon".

Münch seems to have been referring to the fact that migrants who arrived in Germany from Syria, Iraq and other countries during the migrant crisis in 2015-16 are now starting to compete with Germany's long-established criminal family gangs whose original founders arrived in Germany from Lebanon in the late 1970s during Lebanon's civil war.

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15300/germany-middle-eastern-criminal-clans
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jan 2020, 10:37 pm

Europe: Anti-Christian Attacks Reach All-Time High in 2019
by Soeren Kern  •  January 1, 2020 at 5:00 am
 
The issue of anti-Christian vandalism was rarely reported by the European media until February 2019, when vandals attacked nine churches within the space of two weeks. The issue made headlines again in April 2019, when a suspicious fire gutted the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Since then, however, the European media are once again shrouding facts in silence.
 
"Seeking to destroy or damage Christian buildings is a way of 'wiping the slate clean' of the past." — Annie Genevard, MP, Republicans Party, in an interview in Le Figaro, April 2, 2019.
 
"In the past, even if one was not a Christian, the expression of the sacred was respected. We are facing a serious threat to the expression of religious freedom. Secularism must not be a rejection of the religious, but a principle of neutrality that gives everyone the freedom to express his faith." — Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, in an interview with the Italian magazine Il Timone, August 5, 2019.
 
"We are witnessing the convergence of laicism — conceived as secularism, which relegates the faithful only to the private sphere and where every religious denomination is banal or stigmatized — with the overwhelming emergence of Islam, which attacks the infidels and those who reject the Koran. On one hand, we are mocked by the media ... and on the other, there is the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism. These are two joint realities." — Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, in an interview with the Italian magazine Il Timone, August 5, 2019.
 
 
Anti-Christian hostility is sweeping across Western Europe, where, during 2019, Christian churches and symbols were deliberately attacked day after day. The issue made headlines in April 2019, when a suspicious fire gutted the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (pictured). Since then, however, the European media are once again shrouding facts in silence. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)
Anti-Christian hostility is sweeping across Western Europe, where, during 2019, Christian churches and symbols were deliberately attacked day after day.
 
Gatestone Institute reviewed thousands of newspaper reports, police blotters, parliamentary inquiries, social media posts and specialized blogs from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The research shows (see appendices below) that roughly 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments were vandalized, looted or defaced in Europe during 2019 — which is on track to becoming a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege on the continent.
 
Violence against Christian sites is most widespread in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated and burned at an average rate of three per day, according to government statistics. In Germany, attacks against Christian churches are occurring at an average rate of two per day, according to police blotters.
 
Continue Reading Article
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15366/europe-anti-christian-atta


Iran Can No Longer Rely on Shia Militias to Fight its Wars
by Con Coughlin  •  January 2, 2020 at 5:00 am
 
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The President's robust response to the recent upsurge in Iranian-sponsored violence in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East certainly appears at odds with the perception that he has no interest in conducting military operations in the Middle East, and that his main objective is to reduce Washington's military presence in the region ahead of this year's presidential election contest.
 
And it should also send a clear signal to Tehran that its reliance on Shia militias to carry out attacks on its behalf will no longer be tolerated.
 
 
After Washington accused Iran of being responsible for the attacks against the US Embassy in Baghdad that followed US air strikes, Tehran is risking a direct military confrontation with the US if it persists with the underhand tactic of employing proxies to carry out attacks on its behalf. Pictured: Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi militia try to break into the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on December 31, 2019. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)
The intense pressure Iran is facing over its continued meddling in Iraq is the key factor behind the recent upsurge of violence in the Middle East that has resulted in American warplanes carrying out their biggest attack in a decade on Iran-backed militias.
 
Ever since the ayatollahs came to power more than 40 years ago, they have sought to distract attention away from their domestic unpopularity by getting Iran-backed Shia militias to carry out high profile attacks.
 
From the devastating car bomb attacks the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia carried out against American bases in Beirut in the 1980s to the more recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities in October 2019, the Iranian regime has repeatedly used its proxy Shia militias to great effect to distract attention away from its domestic travails.
 
Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15368/iran-shia-militias-iraq
 


Iran Can No Longer Rely on Shia Militias to Fight its Wars
by Con Coughlin  •  January 2, 2020 at 5:00 am

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The President's robust response to the recent upsurge in Iranian-sponsored violence in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East certainly appears at odds with the perception that he has no interest in conducting military operations in the Middle East, and that his main objective is to reduce Washington's military presence in the region ahead of this year's presidential election contest.

And it should also send a clear signal to Tehran that its reliance on Shia militias to carry out attacks on its behalf will no longer be tolerated.


After Washington accused Iran of being responsible for the attacks against the US Embassy in Baghdad that followed US air strikes, Tehran is risking a direct military confrontation with the US if it persists with the underhand tactic of employing proxies to carry out attacks on its behalf. Pictured: Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi militia try to break into the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on December 31, 2019. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)
The intense pressure Iran is facing over its continued meddling in Iraq is the key factor behind the recent upsurge of violence in the Middle East that has resulted in American warplanes carrying out their biggest attack in a decade on Iran-backed militias.

Ever since the ayatollahs came to power more than 40 years ago, they have sought to distract attention away from their domestic unpopularity by getting Iran-backed Shia militias to carry out high profile attacks.

From the devastating car bomb attacks the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia carried out against American bases in Beirut in the 1980s to the more recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities in October 2019, the Iranian regime has repeatedly used its proxy Shia militias to great effect to distract attention away from its domestic travails.

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Post  Admin on Tue 31 Dec 2019, 9:37 pm

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15350/zayn-malik-non-event
Celebrating a Great Non-Event of 2019
by Douglas Murray
December 31, 2019 at 5:00 am
The hope of most of us in a country such as Britain is not that everybody leaves their faith, but simply that people have religious freedom and that this should include the freedom to leave a faith if you wish to do so with no repercussions against your person.

It is, in short, the essence of that Enlightenment which Europe gave the world three centuries ago. We hear plenty of news of assaults on that Enlightenment. But this story of a non-event suggests that aspects of that Enlightenment may be more solid -- and attractive -- than we are sometimes given to think.


It is now more than a year since British music star Zayn Malik revealed that he no longer considers himself a Muslim. Malik has not had to become Salman Rushdie. He has not become a 'famous apostate'. Someone who may be Britain's most famous Muslim left Islam and nothing happened. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This has been a year filled with bad news. It is a season that cries out for good news. So perhaps I could end the year with a reflection on something that for me has provided -- in a difficult and contested era -- a small source for optimism. It is really a story of something that didn't happen. A story, as Sherlock Holmes would put it, of the dog that did not bark.

It is now more than a year since Zayn Malik revealed that he no longer considers himself a Muslim. Some readers will wonder who Malik is. He is not a religious scholar, or a leading clerical authority of any kind. For young people around the world, however, he is far more famous. Malik is a young British man, now in his twenties, of Muslim parentage who came to fame as a member of the British boyband 'One Direction'. When the group met -- in the talent show 'X Factor' in 2010 -- the group was hailed, among other things, for its diversity. However, this was obviously not the primary reason why stadiums full of largely young women screamed themselves hoarse as the band's members sang and danced on stage around the world.

Malik never especially pushed his faith, but there were occasional glimpses of it. As I mentioned here in 2014, during the Israel-Gaza conflict of that year, Malik sent a Tweet saying, 'Free Palestine' to his 13 million Twitter followers. Now of course one may be a non-Muslim and start pushing 'Free Palestine' messages around the web. Britain was only recently saved from having a Prime Minister who indulges in such pseudo-simplistic yet actively bigoted rhetoric. But it did seem to be pushing a religious viewpoint from someone who had -- by then -- considerable cultural reach.

Other than at such moments, there was little-to-no pushing of religion from Malik any more than there was of other band members for their faith.

In November 2018, however, more than a year ago, Malik gave an interview with what would once, until recently, have been deemed remarkable. In an interview with British Vogue, he confirmed that he no longer identified as a Muslim. In the interview, he said that he longer believes in 'any' religion. "I'm not professed to be a Muslim", he said; and when asked if he considered himself to be a Muslim, he responded "No, I wouldn't." When pushed, he said, "I believe whatever people's religious beliefs are is between them and whoever or whatever they're practising. For me, I have a spiritual belief of there is a god. Do I believe there's a hell? No."

Some people may regard this as entirely unexceptional and uneventful. But for anyone who is familiar with Islamic history -- and anyone who has been familiar with events in the West over the last two decades -- this is a singular and noteworthy statement. In the last twenty years, it has often been -- and certainly been presented as -- exceptionally dangerous for Muslims to apostasise (that is, leave the Islamic faith), especially publicly. Certainly from The Satanic Verses affair (1989) onwards, there was a growing awareness in the West that Islam appeared to be unlike other religions in this respect. While all religions in their history have made leaving difficult, and although some still make it communally difficult or shaming, Islam is correctly seen as being the religion which it remains most dangerous to leave.

Each school of Islamic jurisprudence has taken the view that there must be a punishment for apostasy and most of these interpretations (all by some accounts) mandate the worst sentence of all -- death.

Knowledge of such severe strictures has washed across Western countries, in particular since 9/11. For almost twenty years, the West has heard repeated stories of people who have been sentenced to death, imprisonment or other punishments for having left Islam or having been perceived to have left Islam. Prominent critics of Islam have been chased into hiding or made to live lives behind security guards. A general air of silent terror has dominated around the whole subject.

One can lay out with considerable detail what the reaction would have been if Malik had made his announcement even ten years ago. Back then -- in 2008 -- his interview would have been a huge splash across a media eager to run stories about Islamic extremism but remiss in their efforts to show solidarity. What happened in those days, as Nick Cohen and others observed, was that the media almost always used such stories to cover for their own cowardice. They would seize on the tiniest morsel or hint of apostasy or other criticism of Islam and immediately turn it into a huge deal. Then, as night followed day, they would call up the most extreme cleric in the country and put the alleged offence to him. Always 'him'. In the early 2000s, this would be Omar Bakri, but after he fled to Lebanon in the middle of the decade, his disciple, Anjem Choudary, took on the mantle of fire-breather in chief.

In 2008, the papers would have telephoned some extremist cleric and put the Malik quote to him. The cleric might make sure to say the most incendiary and dangerous thing possible, whilst remaining, broadly speaking, within the UK's laws on incitement. He might, for instance, have said that those who leave the 'deen' of Islam know what they are doing and know what the punishment is. The journalists could ask him to confirm that this was death and he might say so whilst being careful not actively to call for the murder of Zayn Malik. The journalists would then have their story.

The headlines the next day might have blared 'Clerics warn of death for One Direction singer', 'Murder for Malik?' and the like. They would be read with trepidation, by readers up and down the country. Muslims who were themselves in any way doubting their faith would be fearful. And non-Muslims would have their worst fears about Islam confirmed.

But that is ten years ago. Since then, Anjem Choudary has happily gone to jail and is now out on an exceptionally tight license.

I have deliberately left off writing this article for a year because I wanted to confirm the silence. I wanted to confirm that there was no barking in the night. And across 2019, there has not been. Malik has got on with his life and career. So far as I know there has been no serious threat to him other than from the hordes of young women around the world who often appear as zealous in their feelings as some of the most ardent Islamic clerics are in theirs. Malik has not had to become Salman Rushdie. He has not become a 'famous apostate'. Someone who may be Britain's most famous Muslim left Islam and nothing happened.

I should make it plain that in highlighting this story I am not saying that there is no threat to Muslims who leave Islam anywhere in the world. In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many other places, almost nothing could be more dangerous. Nor am I saying that it would be desirable for all Muslims to leave Islam. I only say it because it is possible -- and if so it is very good news -- that in 21st century Europe there are positive movements that we are not noticing -- because they involve nothing happening.

The hope of most of us in a country such as Britain is not that everybody leaves their faith, but simply that people have religious freedom and that this should include the freedom to leave a faith if you wish to do so with no repercussions against your person. It is, in short, the essence of that Enlightenment which Europe gave the world three centuries ago. We hear plenty of news of assaults on that Enlightenment. But this story of a non-event suggests that aspects of that Enlightenment may be more solid -- and attractive --than we are sometimes given to think.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest books, international bestsellers, include "The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam" and "The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity."

Follow Douglas Murray on Twitter
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Post  Admin on Mon 30 Dec 2019, 9:11 pm

Germany Puts Its Head in Russia's Energy Pipeline Noose
by Soeren Kern  •  December 30, 2019 at 5:00 am

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A report by the Swedish Defense Research Agency found that Russia has threatened to cut energy supplies to Central and Eastern European more than 50 times. Even after some of those states joined the European Union, Russian threats continued.

Not surprisingly, Germany's current Social Democratic Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, has criticized the U.S. sanctions as foreign interference. "Decisions on European energy policy are made in Europe, not the USA," he tweeted on December 12. "We fundamentally reject foreign interventions and sanctions with extraterritorial effects."

U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessor Barack Obama, has opposed the pipeline project. Trump in particular has criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her refusal to increase defense spending while at the same time supporting the pipeline that will funnel billions of dollars to Russia.... "So, we're supposed to protect you against Russia and you pay billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate. Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas. You tell me, is that appropriate?" — U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

"One must assume that Putin's pet pipeline is not really a business venture — and that the fools are the Europeans, in particular the Germans.... In short, Nord Stream 2 could make Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states less secure, undermine the EU's security strategy, give Russia a big stick for threatening Eastern Europe and sow discord among NATO allies. To Mr. Putin, causing so much trouble for a mere $11 billion must seem like a bargain. For Europe it is a trap.... The mystery is why Germany has fallen into it and has been twisting French arms to do the same." — The Economist.


U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessor Barack Obama, has opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. Trump in particular has criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her refusal to increase defense spending while at the same time supporting the pipeline that will funnel billions of dollars to Russia. Pictured: Merkel and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, along with other European leaders, take part in the launch ceremony for the first leg of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, on November 8, 2011 in Lubmin, Germany. (Image source: kremlin.ru)
A Swiss company working on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline directly linking Russia to Germany has suspended pipelaying operations after U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed into law new sanctions.

The sanctions are part of an effort by the United States to halt completion of the €9.5 billion ($10.5 billion) pipeline, which would double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany by transporting the gas under the Baltic Sea. Opponents of the pipeline warn that it will give Russia a stranglehold over Germany's energy supply. Proponents counter that with European domestic natural gas production in rapid decline, the pipeline will enhance security of supply.

American sanctions may delay Nord Stream 2, but they are probably too late to kill the project. More than 80% of the 1,230-km (764-mile) pipeline has already been laid and the project is expected to be completed in 2020, according to Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

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Post  Admin on Sat 28 Dec 2019, 2:53 pm

Germany: A "Latent Sense of Insecurity"
by Judith Bergman  •  December 28, 2019 at 5:00 am

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Fifty-seven percent of Germans say that "increasingly being told what to say and how to behave" is getting on their nerves. — Survey on self-censorship in Germany, (conducted by Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach for the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), May 2019.

"We have seen the consequences of this decision [unrestricted migration] in terms of German public opinion and internal security - we experience problems every day. We have criminals, terrorist suspects and people who use multiple identities... While things are tighter today, we still have 300,000 people in Germany of whose identities we cannot be sure. That's a massive security risk." — August Hanning, former president of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service.

"Evidently, many people nowadays view Islam more as a political ideology and less as a religion and therefore not deserving of religious tolerance." — Yasemin El-Menouar, Bertelsmann Stiftung's expert on religion, July 19, 2019.

According to August Hanning, former president of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, "We have seen the consequences of this decision [unrestricted migration] in terms of German public opinion and internal security... We have criminals, terrorist suspects and people who use multiple identities..." Pictured: Riot police observe as residents of Chemnitz, Germany protest the murder of a local German man the previous day. The victim was stabbed to death by migrants on August 27, 2018. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
"At least since the events at the Cologne cathedral square on New Year's Eve in 2015 people apparently feel more and more unsafe," said Oliver Malchow, the chairman of one of Germany's two largest police unions. He was referring to the mass sexual assaults committed mainly by Arab and North African men at the Cologne cathedral square on New Year's Eve more than four years ago. Malchow was also referring to new statistics, which show that approximately 640,000 Germans now have licenses for gas pistols -- a large increase since 2014, when around 260,000 people had such a license. A gas pistol fires loud blanks or tear gas cartridges and is only potentially lethal at extremely close range.

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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2019, 8:35 pm

Libya's Political Instability Makes Room for ISIS to Regroup
by Ahmed Charai  •  December 27, 2019 at 7:30 am
Turkey, which signed a military and economic accord with the Libyan government in November, could deprive Greece and the Greek Cypriots of large swaths of their oil and gas exploration areas and force Egypt and Israel to negotiate with Turkey over the construction of natural gas pipelines to Europe.
The threat posed by extremists in Libya and Tunisia is not one that Europeans can ignore, as evidenced by the attack on British tourists in Sousse and the more recent attack by Tunisian Anis Amri in Berlin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the way on December 26 for direct military intervention in Libya: he announced a parliamentary vote in early January on sending troops to support the UN-backed Tripoli government against General Khalifa Haftar (pictured). (Image source: Russian Foreign Ministry/Flickr)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the way on December 26 for direct military intervention in Libya: he announced a parliamentary vote in early January on sending troops to support the UN-backed Tripoli government against General Khalifa Haftar. Instructors, equipment and Turkish special forces are already operating in Libya alongside pro-government militias. Erdogan said that Turkey would also be willing to send aerial and naval assistance if circumstances require it.

Sending Turkish troops will complicate the situation in an already fragile country, torn by internal dissent since the ouster and killing of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2019, 6:16 pm

Why Palestinian Leaders Fear Opinion Polls
by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  December 27, 2019 at 5:00 am

The Palestinian Authority leadership was far from pleased about AMAN's exposure of the Palestinians public's discontent with corruption.

Palestinian leaders fear that reports about corruption could contribute to a drying up of international funding of the PA. If donor countries got whiff of the fact that their taxpayers' money is being squandered and stolen by senior PA officials, the cash cow might just kick over the PA bucket.

The statement by Transparency International is a clear indication of the campaign of threats and intimidation its representatives have been facing since the release of the corruption survey. The statement implies that AMAN was forced to withdraw its public opinion poll after its staff received threats from the PA leadership.

Mahmoud Abbas also apparently wants to make sure that donor countries continue to channel funds to his government without noticing that a majority of Palestinians are complaining about corruption.


Palestinian leaders fear that reports about corruption could contribute to a drying up of international funding of the Palestinian Authority. If donor countries got whiff of the fact that their taxpayers' money is being squandered and stolen by senior PA officials, the cash cow might just kick over the PA bucket. (Image source: iStock)
Palestinian Authority leaders are upset: a survey published on December 11 by Transparency International, a global organization that "gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption," found that corruption is increasing in the PA and in five Arab countries.

Transparency International said that its survey, called "Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Middle East and North Africa," revealed that "almost two-thirds of all people (65%) in six countries surveyed think that corruption is getting worse in their country, and that their governments are not doing enough to end corruption."

The GCB report, one of the largest, most detailed surveys of citizens' views on corruption and experiences of bribery, incorporates the views of more than 6,600 citizens from Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia, according to Transparency International.

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Post  Admin on Thu 26 Dec 2019, 1:11 am

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15311/persecuted-christians-enemies
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15311/persecuted-christians-enemies
UN, UK Treating Persecuted Christians as "Enemies"
by Raymond Ibrahim  •  December 25, 2019 at 5:00 am

"You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been 'genocided,' they can't even get into the U.N. camps to get the food. If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim U.N. guards will block you [from] getting in... and even threaten you..." — Paul Diamond, British Human Rights Lawyer, CBN News, December 4, 2019.

Lord George Carey is suing the UK Home Office for allegedly being "institutionally biased" against Christian refugees and therefore complicit in what he calls "the steady crucifixion of Middle East Christians."

When it comes to offering asylum, the UK "appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims" instead of Christians. Statistics seemed to confirm this allegation: "out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian...." — Barnabas Fund, November 2, 2017.

A number of other Christian orderlies were also denied visas, including another nun with a PhD in biblical theology from Oxford; another nun denied for not having a personal bank account; and a Catholic priest denied for not being married.

Christian "infidels" need not apply, but radical Muslims are welcomed with open arms.


When three Christian archbishops from Syria were invited in 2016 to attend the consecration of the UK's first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral (an event attended by Prince Charles), Britain's Home Office not only denied entry to them, but also mockingly told them there was "no room at the inn." Pictured: St Thomas, Britain's first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. (Image source: John Salmon/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)
The United Nations Refugee Agency appears to be committed to blocking persecuted Christians from receiving any assistance. According to a recent CBN News report:

Christian Syrian refugees ... have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.

One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials "knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn't let us into the office. They ignored our request."

Hasan and his family are now in hiding, afraid that they will be arrested by Jordanian police, or even killed. Converting to Christianity is a serious crime in Jordan.
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Post  Admin on Thu 26 Dec 2019, 1:10 am

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15311/persecuted-christians-enemies
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15311/persecuted-christians-enemies
UN, UK Treating Persecuted Christians as "Enemies"
by Raymond Ibrahim  •  December 25, 2019 at 5:00 am

"You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been 'genocided,' they can't even get into the U.N. camps to get the food. If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim U.N. guards will block you [from] getting in... and even threaten you..." — Paul Diamond, British Human Rights Lawyer, CBN News, December 4, 2019.

Lord George Carey is suing the UK Home Office for allegedly being "institutionally biased" against Christian refugees and therefore complicit in what he calls "the steady crucifixion of Middle East Christians."

When it comes to offering asylum, the UK "appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims" instead of Christians. Statistics seemed to confirm this allegation: "out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian...." — Barnabas Fund, November 2, 2017.

A number of other Christian orderlies were also denied visas, including another nun with a PhD in biblical theology from Oxford; another nun denied for not having a personal bank account; and a Catholic priest denied for not being married.

Christian "infidels" need not apply, but radical Muslims are welcomed with open arms.


When three Christian archbishops from Syria were invited in 2016 to attend the consecration of the UK's first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral (an event attended by Prince Charles), Britain's Home Office not only denied entry to them, but also mockingly told them there was "no room at the inn." Pictured: St Thomas, Britain's first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. (Image source: John Salmon/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)
The United Nations Refugee Agency appears to be committed to blocking persecuted Christians from receiving any assistance. According to a recent CBN News report:

Christian Syrian refugees ... have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.

One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials "knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn't let us into the office. They ignored our request."

Hasan and his family are now in hiding, afraid that they will be arrested by Jordanian police, or even killed. Converting to Christianity is a serious crime in Jordan.
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Post  Admin on Mon 23 Dec 2019, 5:01 pm

German Parliament: Its Resolution to Ban Hezbollah is Just a Legal Charade
by Soeren Kern  •  December 23, 2019 at 5:00 am
Germany, however, has refused to ban Hezbollah's "political wing," which continues to raise funds in the country. A German foreign ministry official, Niels Annen, has said that such a ban would be counterproductive because "we focus on dialogue." His comment has been understood to mean that the German government does not want to burn bridges with Hezbollah's sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"We don't have a military wing and a political one; we don't have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other.... Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, is in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority." — Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem.

Germany's Social Democratic Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, however, has refused to ban Hezbollah in its entirety. He recently repeated the German government's distinction between Hezbollah's legitimate and illegitimate activities in Germany.

"It remains to be seen to what extent the German federal government will...actually 'exhaust all the resources of the rule of law' to stop Hezbollah's money laundering and terrorist financing in Germany." — Bild, December 19, 2019.

The German parliament has passed a non-binding resolution that calls on the German government to ban the activities of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah in Germany. Pictured: The German parliament in session on December 18, 2019. (Image source: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)
The German parliament has passed a non-binding resolution that calls on the German government to ban the activities of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah — Arabic for "The Party of Allah" — in Germany.

The measure — supported by center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats, the two major parties that make up Germany's ruling coalition, and also by the classical liberal Free Democrats — has been hailed as "important," "significant," and a "crucial step."

The resolution, however, falls short of a complete ban on Hezbollah and appears aimed at providing the German government with political cover that would allow Germany to claim that it has banned the group even if it has not.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced increasing international pressure to ban Hezbollah, but she has refused to do so. Hezbollah has more than 1,000 operatives in Germany, according to German intelligence assessments.

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Turkey: Stop 'Fantastical Fiction,' Free Osman Kavala!
by Burak Bekdil  •  December 23, 2019 at 4:30 am

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To no one's surprise, on December 10, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) called for the immediate release of Kavala, saying there was a lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offense,

According to its official statement, the [EU] court found that Kavala's detention "pursued an ulterior purpose...namely that of reducing [him] to silence," ruling that the charges he faced and the detention "were likely to have a dissuasive effect on the work of human-rights defenders."

Although the indictment does not give any evidence of Kavala's involvement in any violent protest, it claims Kavala's phone conversations with ordinary people -- academics and NGO people -- are evidence of "terrorist activity."

Even if Kavala is released shortly, as the Constitution dictates he should be, he will have spent nearly 800 days in jail for no crime, and, from the moment he is released, will have to carry on with his legal struggles against a state with no tolerance for dissent.
Even if Turkey releases Osman Kavala from jail soon, as the Constitution dictates, he will have spent nearly 800 days in jail for no crime, and, from the moment he is released, will have to carry on with his legal struggles against a state with no tolerance for dissent. Pictured: Kavala (gesturing) at the Armenian Genocide centennial commemoration near Taksim Square, Istanbul (Image source: Rupen Janbazian/Wikimedia Commons)
Businessman-turned-philanthropist Osman Kavala has been promoting arts, culture and history since he started to devote his time to civil society in the early 1990s. His understanding of promoting culture was to promote cultural diversity and pluralism. His resumé says, "he dedicated his life to building a civil and just society." His Anatolian Cultural Foundation seeks to bridge ethnic divides through art, including with neighboring Armenia with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations.

Kavala did not know that such activity would one day put him in jail: He has been in jail without a verdict since Oct. 18, 2017 -- for nearly 800 days.

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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Dec 2019, 10:35 pm

"Silent Night": Persecuted Palestinian Christians Kept Out of Sight
by Raymond Ibrahim  •  December 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

In short, Palestinian Christians are suffering from the same patterns of persecution — including church attacks, kidnappings and forced conversion — that their coreligionists suffer in other Muslim nations. The difference, however, is that the persecution of Palestinian Christians has "received no coverage in the Palestinian media."

"The only thing that interests the PA [Palestinian Authority] is that events of this kind not be leaked to the media. Fatah regularly exerts heavy pressure on Christians not to report the acts of violence and vandalism from which they frequently suffer, as such publicity could damage the PA's image..... Even less does the PA want to be depicted as a radical entity that persecutes religious minorities. That image could have negative repercussions for the massive international, and particularly European, aid the PA receives." — Dr. Edy Cohen, "The Persecution of Christians in the Palestinian Authority", Begin-Sadat Center, May 27, 2019.

The bread and butter of the PA and its supporters, particularly in the media, is to portray the Palestinians as victims of unjust aggression and discrimination from Israel. This narrative would be jeopardized if the international community learned that Palestinians are themselves persecuting fellow Palestinians — solely on account of religion.

"The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs..." — Justus Reid Weiner, attorney, "Palestinian Christians: The plight of believers under Palestinian rule", International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem.


Christianity is on the verge of disappearing in the place of its birth, including Bethlehem (pictured). According to lawyer and scholar Justus Reid Weiner, "The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs... In a society where Arab Christians have no voice and no protection it is no surprise that they are leaving." (Image source: Daniel Case/Wikimedia Commons)
"The moment they [Hamas] took control [of the Gaza Strip], they started persecuting us, ruining our churches and forcing Christians to convert to Islam."

Such are the recollections, reported recently, of Kamal Tarazi, a 60-year-old Christian man from Gaza, now living in the streets of Nazareth. Before fleeing, he tried to resist the Islamist takeover, including by calling on Muslims and Christians to unite against Hamas. As a result, "I was jailed several times. Do you know what a Hamas prison is? It is pure torture."

The report adds that "the Islamic group decided to keep him alive to avoid depicting themselves as persecutors of the local Christian population, something that could potentially anger the international community." Tarazi was eventually released, fled the region, returned, got imprisoned again, and fled again, permanently. "I am sure there are no more than 500 Christians left in Gaza," he offers, "and it is just part of the general trend."

Continue Reading Article  https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15318/persecuted-palestinian-christians

Britain: Flushing Out the Corbynista
by Amir Taheri  •  December 22, 2019 at 4:00 am

What the pundits ignore is that all those constituencies had already voted Conservative in 2016 when they voted for Brexit.

Looking beyond Brexit, one key feature of the election may well be the dramatic rejection by voters of the Labour Party and its current leader Jeremy Corbyn. The party's performance was the worst since the 1930s and, if opinion polls are to be trusted, its leader the most disliked since James Ramsay MacDonald, who headed a Labour government for nine months in 1924 before transforming himself into a turncoat.

The beauty of democracy is that nothing is irreversible. However, democracy needs a strong opposition. The sooner Corbyn and the Corbynista bow out, the better for British democracy.


Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his cohorts did all they could to destroy British social democracy. However, the beauty of democracy is that nothing is irreversible. But democracy needs a strong opposition. The sooner Corbyn and the Corbynista bow out, the better for British democracy. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The British Conservative Party's victory at last week's general election has been described variously as "an earthquake" and "a triumph." Because the party won it biggest parliamentary majority since the 1980s, the election may look like a triumph for its leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, if applied to the opposition Labour Party's performance, the label "earthquake" may also appear to be in order.

A closer examination of the results, additionally, may provide a more nuanced picture or at least a less pixelated one. One key feature commentators have focused on was the massive switch of many traditional Labour-supporting constituencies to the Conservatives. Pundits ask: How did people who had never voted Conservative decide to do so after generations of attachment to socialism?

Continue Reading Article https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15318/persecuted-
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Denmark: Why Integration Fails
by Judith Bergman  •  December 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

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"Here my point is that Islam has never fully assimilated into any society and that Muslims have never fully adapted into non-Muslim cultures. With an increasing number of Muslims in the West, this will end in conflict." — Ahmed Akkari in his new report, "The loyalty conflict in the West – why Muslims are hard to integrate."

"As Islamists influence Western Muslim circles, Western political parties engage with them to win more votes, thus making unfortunate alliances with forces that really... condemn the established system...The dilemma is that by seeking Islamist votes they allow those who wish... Denmark to become Islamized to be strengthened... the same sort of dilemma as if one sought the votes of a neo-Nazi, fascist or Stalinist group." — Ahmed Akkari in his new report, "The loyalty conflict in the West – why Muslims are hard to integrate."

"Many mosques were formed to be a spiritual and religious space for believers, and not as places where violence, hatred and political agendas should dominate. Nevertheless, the leading mosques in Denmark are characterized exactly by a pseudo-Islamic influence under the control of small strong elites of Islamic leaders. In that world, influence, not numbers, counts, and therefore it is not possible to say that Islamism is weak, just because it only exists in one quarter of all mosques, which I estimate." — Ahmed Akkari in his new report, "The loyalty conflict in the West – why Muslims are hard to integrate."

Akkari's warning holds true not only for Denmark, but for most Western European countries. Is anyone listening?


(Image source: iStock)
In a recent survey conducted by the Danish Ministry of Foreigners and Integration (Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet), 48% of descendants of non-Western immigrants in Denmark said that they think it should be forbidden to criticize religion, according to Kristeligt Dagblad. Forty-two percent of immigrants who had lived in Denmark for three years agreed with the statement, while only 20% of ethnic Danes agreed with it.

The results of the survey came around the same time that a Danish think-tank, UNITOS -- where Danish politician Naser Khader is a board member -- published a report by former Islamist imam Ahmed Akkari, "The loyalty conflict in the West – why Muslims are hard to integrate."

Continue Reading Article  https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15294/denmark-integration
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