"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Thursday, October 19, 2017
© Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
Thailand’s Buddhist monks have reportedly been told to adhere to tighter discipline, and been banned from collecting donations or selling holy objects at temples. The crackdown comes amid temple scandals over sex and money laundering.
The monks have been instructed to follow new rules, designed to make temples’ financial records more transparent, according to Reuters, which saw the written orders.
Senior monks will also watch out for “inappropriate use of social media” by monks. Adherents in a group of temples in the northeast region were also instructed to report misbehaving fellows.
“Please take care of any monks who are not practicing discipline,” Reuters cited the rule, issued in September.
Although these regulations have existed before, “their implementation may have been lax,” according to Phra Phrom Moli, a member of the Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body of the Buddhist clergy.
“We must examine ourselves, listen to the people and see what is and is not appropriate for the sake of the public's faith in the religion,” Phra Phrom Moli said.
The strict measures were introduced starting from September, according to Reuters. These are apparently aimed at cleaning up the tainted image of Thailand’s dominant religion, which has more than 300,000 monks and around 40,000 temples.
The clergy has been tarnished by a series of high-profile scandals over rape, drugs and embezzlement allegations, with the ruling junta trying to reorganize Thai Buddhism. In summer, the government came up with the idea of smart ID cards for monks – which would allow the verification of their background and tracking of any drug or criminal offences – instead of paper documents.
Stories from Thailand, Canada, Ireland & UK (4) on Today's Global P&P List - Extradited Thai monk accused of sex with minor
The news comes as Thailand is set for the funeral ceremony of the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej next week, as well as the coronation of his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
The New Normal - France
New laws equal 'State of Emergency light'. This is absolutely necessary and when it is determined that it doesn't really work, it will probably get worse. Even so, there will be many detractors who want the old freedoms and aren't wise enough to know that they cannot exist in a world where Islam is ascendant.
The French parliament has approved a new controversial anti-terrorism law, replacing the soon-to-expire two-year state of emergency. The new legislation has prompted fears it will severely limit civil liberties.
The French senate approved the new anti-terrorism law on its second reading on Wednesday. The new law, set to increase law enforcement powers in the fight against terrorism, was supported by 244 senators, with only 22 voting against it. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by the lower chamber of parliament earlier in October.
The state of emergency was imposed in France to combat terrorism in the wake of the deadly 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, and has been extended six times since. It is set to finally expire on November 1.
Its key points include allowing the authorities to search homes of those suspected of terrorist links, while holding them for up to four hours and seizing data, items and documents. It also allows the authorities to confine suspects to their town or city for up to a year and have them report to police every day. Any movement beyond that requires them to wear a tracking bracelet.
Top regional officials will be allowed to shut down places of worship for up to six months, if they deem preachers have incited attacks or glorified terrorism. This can be done without any hard proof obtained by police, but simply on the basis of "ideas and theories" shared by the preachers’ devotees.
Police are also granted the authority to stop and search people at vulnerable areas such as borders, train stations and airports.
Ahead of the parliamentary vote, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted 500 law enforcement officers including police, gendarmes, prefects, and other officials at the Elysees Palace. Macron defended the new law and mulled a new nationwide anti-radicalization plan.
“The first mission of the state is to protect our fellow citizens and ensure the security of the territory... We have to adapt our organization, our action,” he said.
video 5:13 © Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
The plan includes hiring 10,000 more police officers and gendarmes, as well as supplying them with technology suitable for the “smartphone era.” He also promised to implement stricter measures to more efficiently deport migrants with “no legal right” to stay in France.
“We don’t welcome people well, our procedures are too long, we don’t integrate people properly and neither do we send enough people back,” Macron told the law enforcement officers.
The new anti-terrorism law has repeatedly drawn concern over human rights issues. UN human rights experts urged France to comply with "its international human rights obligations," worrying the bill would "incorporate into ordinary law several restrictions on civil liberties currently in place under France’s state of emergency."
'Institutional racism against the Arab-Muslim community'
Even if granting the police sweeping powers helps foil some attacks, it may estrange minorities, in particular, Arab Muslims, making them more susceptible to terrorist propaganda, political analyst Dan Glazebrook told RT.
“If you are going to give police this power, they are going to discriminate communities that are already alienated, putting potentially more recruits into the hands of these death squads,” Glazebrook said, arguing that the French police have “a serious problem with institutional racism and brutality against the Arab-Muslim community” going back to the Paris massacre of 1961, when dozens of Algerians were killed in a police crackdown on the protest against the Algerian War on the River Seine.
The key to reducing the threat posed by international terrorism is to deal with the underlying causes of the Islamist violence and not with its consequences, Glazebrook said.
“If you don’t deal with the root causes, which is the brutal foreign policy on the one hand and the alienation of entire communities due to system institutional discrimination and racism… even the most vicious police state will not be able to stop there being some people who decide to lash out.”
“You can’t be a near-colonial war-mongering power like France and expect to be permanently immune to the blowback and to the consequences of that,” Glazebrook said, referring to France’s involvement in Libya and Syria.
The provision of the law enabling police to shut down suspected terrorist hotbeds without any proof may result in crackdowns on any dissent, thus eroding civil freedoms, former British intelligence officer Annie Machon told RT.
“What is radicalization? At the moment, of course, everyone in France is focused on the concept of Islamic radicalization, but what if that term spreads, what if there is mission creep, so someone who protests against the government is deemed to be radical and therefore be closed down?” she said, noting that French ecological activists used to be targeted by the state under similar pretexts.
Calling the concerns that human rights groups voiced about the law infringing on democracy “absolutely right,” Machon said that bulk data collection and mass surveillance envisioned in the law have proven to be ineffective means in combating terrorism.
She went on to note that while many of the terrorists that mounted attacks in Europe “have already been known to the authorities” it did not help security services to stop them.
“They are drowning in the tsunami of information rather than doing targeted specific investigations into people who might be particularly focused on committing terrorist atrocities… they are falling through the gaps of intelligence agencies.”
Anyone who doesn't know that God has a sense of humour needs to know that this kind of story happens every year or two. It's hilarious!
© john kevin wilshaw / YouTube
A prominent neo-Nazi and National Front organizer has come out as gay and revealed his Jewish heritage. He made the revelations about his violent past while renouncing far-right extremism.
Kevin Wilshaw, 58, spent his entire adult life promoting white supremacism and was a high-profile figure in the National Front (NF) in the 1980s. He was still speaking at extremist events as recently as this year and was arrested for spewing race hate online in March.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, he admitted to acts of violence and racism including smashing a chair over someone’s head in Leeds and vandalizing a mosque in Aylesbury. He said he joined “because he didn’t have many friends at school,” and was looking for “comradeship” and to be “a member of a group of people that had an aim.”
“Even though you end up being a group of people that through their own extreme views are cut off from society, you do have a sense of comradeship in that you’re a member of a group that’s being attacked by other people,” he added.
Wilshaw joined the British National Party (BNP) at the age of 18 after a stint with the NF, and also dabbled with violent fringe groups such as the Racial Volunteer Force. According to Hope Not Hate, a charity that “campaigns to counter racism and fascism,” Wilshaw had belonged to the far right since 1974.
Wilshaw said he eventually realized racism was “rubbish” and quit the far-right after receiving abuse from within the movement over his sexuality.
“It’s a terribly selfish thing to say, but it’s true, I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street – it’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realize what you’re doing is wrong,” he said.
He feels “appallingly guilty” over his past and now wants to fight racism, although he said he feared reprisals from the far-right for his “betrayal.”
New figures released on Tuesday revealed a stark rise in Islamophobic hate crimes reported in London in the last year.
A total of 17,042 race or religious-related crimes were reported to police 12 months up to April 2017, compared to 16,762 in the previous financial year.
The sharpest increase was recorded among anti-Islam crime, with offences up by a quarter. Homophobic crimes rose 6 percent and anti-Semitic offences increased 4.5 percent.
The government has also been urged to launch an inquiry into far-right extremism in the armed forces after four soldiers were arrested for being alleged members of a banned neo-Nazi group called National Action.
Over 50 police officers surrounded the main office of the Church of Scientology in the Hungarian capital Budapest before conducting searches inside as part of an ongoing investigation into the movement.
Hungarian media reported citing authorities that the search was over “suspected misuse of personal information and other crimes,” but authorities refused to comment further as the operation was still live.
David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology, during last year's opening of the new center in Budapest. © szcientologia.org.hu
The well-funded group, founded by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, has spent millions of US dollars refurbishing a five-story, 6,000 square-meter building in central Budapest, according to local media. The former factory was opened in a highly-publicized ceremony last year by the movement’s leader, David Miscavige.
Scientology lost its status as an official religion in Hungary in 2011, and is treated as a profit-making venture by the authorities, who have repeatedly spoken out against the group.
The government has cracked down on what it perceives to be cults with the 2012 Church Act passed as a result in part of the government’s tussles with Scientology. The legislation reduced the number of recognized religions from over 300 to just over a dozen.
Scientology has defended itself – saying that it is engaged in numerous education and anti-drug programs in the country.
Outside of its Hollywood stronghold, where it is endorsed by celebrities such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology has repeatedly come under fire for its secrecy, vendettas against perceived enemies, and exploitation of followers and employees.
This summer, Russian security services accused Scientology’s St. Petersburg branch of illegally earning nearly $5 million, while earlier this year media in the UK cracked down on the movement for using its uncertified anti-drug programs as a means of recruiting new followers.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Corruption is Everywhere
President Trump’s nominee to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Tom Marino, has withdrawn his name from consideration following whistleblower claims that he pushed a law that protects opioid drug distributors
“Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, two days after CBS’ 60 Minutes program featured several former employees of the Drug Enforcement Administration saying that the legislation that Marino (R-Pennsylvania) championed last year made it all but “impossible” for the government to go after unscrupulous distributors of addictive opioid pills.
The Justice Department, under which the DEA operates, said Tuesday it will review the law’s impact on the government’s enforcement powers.
The bill, called Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, was signed into law by president Obama last year, after it was passed by both chambers of Congress. Critics say it effectively stripped the DEA of its authority to investigate suspicious transactions as the government is now required to meet a higher standard before taking enforcement actions.
In the CBS program, former head of the DEA's Office of Diversion Control Joe Rannazzisi also suggested that Marino put pressure on the DEA to get rid of him last year, after Rannazzisi accused Marino and the bill’s co-sponsor Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) of protecting distributors he was investigating.
Marino and Blackburn wrote the DOJ inspector general, demanding that Rannazzisi be investigated for trying to "intimidate the United States Congress." Soon after, Rannazzisi was stripped of his responsibilities. He went from supervising 600 people to supervising none - so he resigned, Rannazzisi told CBS.
Marino and Blackburn should be investigated for possible corruption, and the DOJ Inspector General should be fired for giving in to questionable pressure from Congress. - just my humble opinion!
Last month, Trump nominated Marino to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In August, the president said the opioid epidemic was a “national emergency,” after his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis reported that the US faces the death toll equal to “September 11th every three weeks” as opioid abuse claims the lives of up to 142 Americans every day.
But Trump has yet to formally declare the emergency status, which would then unlock additional resources to fight the epidemic.
“We are going to be doing that next week... It’s a very important step. And to get to that step, a lot of work has to be done, and it’s time-consuming work,” Trump said at a news conference Monday.
Former DEA officials featured in the CBS program also alleged that their bosses at the agency during the Obama administration ‘shut off’ investigations into large distributors of addictive opioid pills, even when there was ample evidence of suspicious dealings. The drug industry used their money and influence to pressure top lawyers at the DEA, Rannazzisi said.
The ex-employees said one of the reasons for the roadblocks was the “revolving door” between the DEA and the drug industry, as a number of the administration’s top lawyers landed lobbying jobs for the pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors upon leaving the government, including the former DEA attorney who wrote the legislation for which Marino is now in hot water.
It would seem corruption is not confined to 3rd world countries. Who else thinks there needs to be a full-scale investigation into the lobbying of Congress?
£200mn worth of propaganda. What the British paid to keep the war going in Syria and ensure many Muslim migrants continue to infiltrate Europe.
White Helmets in Syria © Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters
Almost £200 million of British taxpayers’ money has gone to supporting Syrian opposition groups, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT. One of the groups to benefit from the funds are the White Helmets, which are alleged to have links with terrorists.
Speaking to George Galloway on his RT show Sputnik, Beeley said the funds were released from the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to support the Syrian opposition. She said part of that money was used by the White Helmets to feed media outlets that are rarely in Syria and offer a false narrative of what is happening there.
“If we look at the narrative produced from Aleppo… it never came from the 1.5 million majority in West Aleppo that was government-held and government-protected, but who lost over 11,000 civilians from mortar fire from East Aleppo - so from the Western-backed terrorists in East Aleppo.
“The narrative came from East Aleppo and it came from affiliates of Nusra Front, which included the White Helmets and from citizen activists that had been produced in Gaziantep [in Turkey], with money coming in from the UK government,” she added.
“[The UK government] actually admitted very recently that almost £200 million [US$260 million] has gone from this public fund into funding the Syrian opposition inside Syria.
“So in other words, all of these journalists, media activists, who were trained in Turkey and then infiltrated back into Syria, to produce the propaganda, and that includes the White Helmets."
The White Helmets have been hailed by the Western media as “peace-bearing heroes” who save lives. A Netflix documentary film praising the group as “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” even won an Oscar for best documentary short feature in February.
However, the group has long been plagued by allegations of having ties with terrorist groups. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in April that the White Helmets are involved in covering up terrorist crimes.
“The White Helmets not only feel at home on territories controlled by Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State, but also openly express positive attitudes towards them, providing them with information and even financial assistance,” she said at the time.
Beeley has previously told RT that Aleppo residents, who have lived under terrorist rule for five years, “witnessed the White Helmets working alongside Al-Nusra Front as well as participating in executions and torture and working as an Al-Nusra Front civil defense unit.”
She went on to say that the “White Helmets is a major construct funded by the UK, the US, the EU and the Gulf States that promulgates the propaganda against the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army,” and that this can partly explain the media silence when such scandals emerge.
In June, a member of the White Helmets was caught on camera helping a group of unidentified militants disposing of bodies of beheaded Syrian Army or pro-government soldiers in Daraa province.
In another incident in May, footage emerged showing several members of the group’s rescue team helping to remove a body of a man shot dead by rebels in the town of Jasim, also in Daraa province.
Then there was the fact that several White Helmuts videos featured the same girl.
In fact, many of the mainstream media videos of shocking suffering in Syria are fake and many were not even shot in Syria.
Another international journalist discredits MSM reporting in Aleppo. Admittedly, this comes from RT with it's built-in bias, but most of the words come from the Bolivian documentary maker herself. You won't see this on western MSM because that would insinuate that they were fooled by the fake news and guilty of very sloppy journalism.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Corruption is EverywhereBy Danielle Haynes
UPI -- A car bomb on Malta's southern island killed a journalist who linked the government to the Panama Papers scandal, local police said Monday.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, died when her car exploded shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, BBC News reported. The bomb left her vehicle in several pieces along a road and nearby field around 3 p.m.
Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she had been threatened, The Times of Malta reported.
Earlier this year, she accused Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of wrongdoing, linking him and his wife to the Panama Papers. The papers included documents detailing financial information, some of which included fraud and tax evasion.
Despite the accusations, Muscat condemned her death. Police opened a murder investigation.
"I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country," he said in a televised statement.
Muscat said there was "no justification ... in any way" for her death.
"I will not rest before justice is done," he said.
Thousands of people gathered Monday night in Sliema for a candlelight vigil. Maltese nationals in London also held an event outside Malta's High Commission in Mayfair.
The Backlash from IslamizationBy Allen Cone
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and his girlfriend Susanne Thier arrive at a polling station in Vienna on Sunday to cast their votes in the Austrian federal elections. Kurz, 31, will become the nation's next chancellor, according to final provisional results. Photo by Christian Bruna/EPA
UPI -- Sebastian Kurz will become Austria's next chancellor and Europe's youngest leader at 31, according to provision final results Sunday.
Kurz's People's Party captured 31.4 percent but because it's not a majority the party will need to form a parliament coalition, likely with the Freedom Party with 27.4 percent, according to the poll results. The 800,000 absentee ballots and ones by voters outside of their home districts need to be counted Thursday.
About 79.3 percent of the 6.4 million voters turned out for the election, up from the 74.9 percent four years ago.
In May, Kurz pulled his party out of the ruling coalition with the Social Democratic Party, which was second in voting Sunday with 26.8 percent. The current chancellor, Christian Kern, was elected 18 months ago as leader of the Social Democratic Party.
"This is a clear mandate for change," Kurz told cheering supporters in Vienna. "We've got a lot of work to do. We need to create a new political style and a new political culture."
The Freedom Party was part of a coalition between 2003 and 2005, the last time a far-right party helped run the government.
The Green Party had only 3.3 percent, which was below the 4 percent cutoff to win a seat in The 183-member National Council, which is determined proportionally based on the votes. The Pilz party, which was started by former Green politician Peter Pilz, and the Neos, a liberal party, surpassed the threshold.
"The result is a catastrophe. It is a defeat for the real questions of the future, the existential questions," Helga Krismer, spokeswoman for the Green Party in Lower Austria, said to The Local in Austria.
The People's Party and the Freedom Party, which is led by Heinz Christian-Strache, have a hard stance on refugees and immigration.
Kurz, Austria's foreign minister, in 2015 opposed opening European Union borders to 1 million mostly Muslim asylum seekers and migrants. That year, Austria took in around 90,000 asylum seekers, mainly Syrian Muslims.
The Freedom Party was originally founded by a former Nazi, Anton Reinthaller, in 1956.
Gernot Bluemel, who is a friend of Kurz and a party official in Vienna, said their party will keep any coalition partner in check.
"The crucial point is we are pro-European," Bluemel said to NPR. "So, we would never accept an anti-European course in the government coalition. We would never accept an anti-Semitic course in government. Never, ever, ever."
Kurz grew up and still lives in the working-class Vienna neighborhood of Meidling. His mother was a teacher and his father was a manager.
"He was raised with the idea that if you work hard, if you play by the rules, then you can achieve your goals. You can realize your dream," Bluemel said. "In a country where the level of taxes is being raised higher and higher, this dream is becoming more and more unrealistic."
Austria is scheduled to take over the European Union presidency next year.
In May, Emmanuel Macron, at 39, was elected the youngest president in France.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Ukraine opens monument to nationalist icon Petliura
blamed for anti-Jewish pogroms
Ataman Simon Petlyura (С) and his staff © Sputnik
A monument to Symon Petliura, who fought for Ukrainian independence after the 1917 Russian Revolution, and under whose leadership thousands of Jews were killed in pogroms, has been opened in the city of Vinnitsa in western Ukraine.
The sculpture was erected in the courtyard of the building that formerly hosted the Ministry of Post and Telegraph of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian People’s Republic, which was headed by Petliura in 1917-1921. The Ukrainian nationalist icon is portrayed sitting on a bench with a map of the country in his hands.
The Vinnitsa authorities unveiled the monument on Saturday, when the country marked the Defender of Ukraine Day – a new holiday ordered by President Petro Poroshenko in 2014.
“He was a man who sincerely loved his country, his native language, who tried to be honest with his own people,” Valery Korovy, the chairman of the Vinnitsa Region administration, said of Petliura, claiming that the Soviets did everything to “malign this honest man,” as cited by Ukraina.ru.
It is the first monument to Petliura in Ukraine, which previously only had a bust erected in the capital, Kiev, and a memorial sign in Poltava.
35,000 - 50,000 Jews killed
Petliura fought for Ukraine’s independence from Soviet Russia, following the October Revolution of 1917. During his time as the head of the Ukrainian People's Republic, between 35,000 and 50,000 Jews were killed in a string of pogroms.
This, apparently, occurred in just 4 years and had nothing to do with the Holocaust.
After his cause failed Petliura fled to Paris, where he was killed in 1926 by a Ukrainian-born Jewish watchmaker, Sholom Schwartzbard. Despite Schwartzbard being caught red-handed, he was later acquitted by a French court, which ruled that he was acting in the heat of the moment after 15 of his relatives were killed in the pogroms.
Petliura’s apologists claimed he was personally against the pogroms, but lost control of his armed forces who engaged in killing Jews. Schwartzbard’s defense and some historians, however, hold Petliura directly responsible as the head of the government who did nothing to prevent them as he wanted to avoid a spat with his forces.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian authorities have been facing criticism over their attempts to glorify controversial nationalist figures, including those who openly sided with the Nazis.
In 2000, they awarded ‘Hero of Ukraine’ titles to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and were involved in mass killings of Jews and Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.
The decision was later annulled under condemnation from the European Parliament, but Bandera and Shukhevych still have monuments and streets named after them across Ukraine.
© Odd Andersen / AFP
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere prompted a backlash from his own party and political allies by suggesting that Germany introduce Muslim public holidays. He was, however, backed by the leader of the Social Democrats, Martin Schulz.
“I am ready to discuss the issue of whether we should also introduce a Muslim public holiday,” de Maiziere said early this week, adding that the German authorities “could probably easily do that.”
He went on to explain that, in some German states where many Catholics live, there are already some religiously defined Christian public holidays, while in other parts of the country, they are not officially introduced.
“In places where there are many Muslims, why cannot one discuss also [the introduction] of a Muslim public holiday?” the minister said at an election event staged by his party, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), ahead of regional elections in Lower Saxony.
His proposal, however, quickly provoked a wave of indignation within the ranks of his own party as well as among their Bavarian allies, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU).
“Our Christian legacy is non-negotiable,” Alexander Dobrindt, the head of the CSU faction in the German federal parliament, said, commenting on de Maiziere’s statement.
“Introduction of Muslim public holidays in Germany is out of question,” he added.
His words were echoed by another CSU member, interior policy expert Stephan Mayer, who said that “Germany has for centuries carried the legacy of Christian traditions and was defined by it.”
“As of yet, nothing has changed in this field,” he said, adding that a statement that “Islam belongs to Germany” can be proved neither by the historical experience nor by the present situation.
De Maiziere’s fellow senior CDU member, Wolfgang Bosbach, was, however, more reserved in his criticism. He said that, even though everyone in Germany has every right to celebrate whatever religious holidays they want, the legal protection of non-Christian holidays “is a different issue.”
The politician said he sees no reason to discuss such issues and said that the politicians should instead ask “when Christians will finally have the same religious freedom in all Muslim countries as Muslims [in Germany].”
In the meantime, a CSU deputy head, Manfred Weber, warned that such a move could actually hinder the integration of Muslims into German society, arguing that public holidays cannot be introduced only to serve the needs of a certain community.
His statement was, however, disputed by Aiman Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, who said that introduction of Muslim public holidays would foster integration.
Such holidays would show that Muslims are a part of Germany and become a sign of “mutual understanding as well as good and friendly coexistence” of various parts of the German society, Mazyek told Passauer Neue Presse.
The interior minister, however, received support for the proposal not only from the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, but also from Martin Schulz – the leader of the Social Democratic Party and political rival.
“One should think about this proposal,” Schulz told German dpa news agency on Saturday. He also lambasted the CDU and CSU for attacking de Maiziere. In Germany, one has to be able to make a proposal and then discuss it seriously and without anxiety, Schulz said.
In the meantime, the uproar prompted the interior ministry to clarify de Maziere’s statement. The minister “has made it clear that our public holidays come from a Christian tradition and it should stay so, according to his point of view,” the ministry’s spokeswoman told Bild.
“He was, however, ready to discuss certain Muslim holidays in some particular regions,” she said, adding that the minister “basically still holds to an opinion that our holiday culture has Christian roots and no other.”
De Maiziere’s statements came at a time when Germany is still stunned by the historic success of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party at the latest federal parliamentary election, in which the CDU and their Bavarian allies suffered their worst results in more than half a century.
Since 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her decision to allow in hundreds of thousands of refugees, around one million mostly Muslim asylum-seekers have arrived in Germany, putting a strain on its social welfare system and sparking a rise in anti-migrant sentiment.
Now, the party of Angela Merkel, whose ‘open door’ policy sparked enormous controversy, is struggling to win back voters from the right-wing AfD. On October 9, the CDU and its Bavarian sister party agreed to cap Germany’s intake of asylum-seekers at 200,000 a year.
Muslims pray during Friday prayers in the street in front of the city hall of Clichy, near Paris, France. © Benoit Tessier / Reuters
In just a few years, Islamic suburbs of Paris will obey their own set of rules, they will have their own laws, their own principles, maybe even their own police. It is already the case, Alexandre Mendel, author of the book ‘Partition’ told RT.
Europe has been facing a large number of migrants coming from the war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East. Today many are concerned about the Islamization of Europe and the failure of Muslims assimilating into their new countries.
RT met with a writer Alexandre Mendel, whose new book “Partition” is devoted to the Muslims' failure to integrate in France, and discussed the current situation in that country.
RT: Please start by describing for our readers your book.
Alexandre Mendel: My last book, 'Jihadist France,' was only about the French terrorists. ‘Partition’ is mainly about Islamization of France, about what’s going on in France, in schools, hospitals, at work, in sports clubs, etc. I am not talking this time about terrorism itself, but about the way France decided whether the French government - like it or not – collaborated and accepted some kind of arrangements with Islam. This is the main topic of the book.
There are at least two things that are important about the Islamization. The first one is that you cannot be always blind with this problem. For 20-30 years we let down our rules, our principals, our republican ideals; we negotiated with Islamists. We are totally blind to this kind of small signals that some parts of France were becoming Islamized. That can explain the terrorism today in France. If we didn’t accept these little arrangements with radical Islam, we probably wouldn’t have had so many attacks in France. That is why it is so important today not to be blind anymore in France and to tell the truth.
My book is made of many, many reports in France. It is not a theoretical book – it is a book written by a reporter. We went there, we went to the schools, to the hospitals, to the cities where people and police never set foot to see the reality and just to talk about the reality. A lot of French people, especially a lot of French journalists and French politicians never go there. It is very important today to be a reporter in these areas where nobody sets foot anymore. This is a testimony of our modern time.
RT: What should be done to integrate people into society? Is it only a Muslim thing, or other groups, as well?
AM: In my book, I say that there is no solution, because it is too late; there won’t be any solution. You can’t send them back to their country - they are French - the French cannot send them back. What France will become in the next 10 or 20 years will be a kind of new Lebanon in some places in France.
For example, take some suburbs in Paris: they will have their own set of rules, they will have their own laws, their own principals, maybe even their own police. It is already the case. The fact that in France right now in many places France has no control in these areas. We accepted it already and we won’t fight back to get these suburbs back to France. It is already done – we already lost the war against them.
So the rich people in France will be in the fancy neighborhoods of Paris, far from the problems, and then the poor people will have to deal with Islamism on a daily base. This is the way we accepted that already.
RT: Why did integration fail in France, do you think?
AM: Integration has failed in France, but not only France – in many other countries, because we buried our republican principal to actually mimic what exists in Great Britain, in Canada, or in the US; accept that you could be French, get French citizenship without even speaking French, without even going to the Republican French School, get French citizenship, without living like the French. France is not a new country of immigration – it has a very long story of immigration. People in the 1920s came to France from all over Europe – from Poland, from Russia, from Armenia, Italy, and there was no problem to integrate them, no problem at all…
The fact is, Muslims simply cannot integrate and remain Muslims. If they soften Islam to make it possible for them to integrate into western society, the next generation will curse them for it and become twice as radical. There is no saving France or Europe as long as Muslims are being welcomed with open arms.
Friday, October 13, 2017
This will be interesting to watch
FILE PHOTO: © Ben Stansall / AFP
The policy of segregating girls and boys at an Islamic-faith school has been deemed unlawful in a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal in the UK.
Judges ruled on Friday that the separation of boys from girls constituted sex discrimination. The decision could have huge ramifications across the country.
Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham had challenged a critical report by schools watchdog, Ofsted. However, the High Court upheld the regulator’s findings.
Last year, Justice Robert Jay ruled that the Ofsted inspectors were wrong to penalize the mixed-sex school, which orders complete segregation of pupils from year five.
But three Court of Appeal judges in London have now overturned that decision.
At the school, all breaks, school trips and clubs are held separately for all children aged over nine. The findings from Ofsted said the children were separated to the point that they used separate corridors. Inspectors insisted the practice left them “unprepared for life in modern Britain.”
Books in the library advocated husbands beating their wives and forced sex, the report said.
Ofsted will now be able to give schools that separate children based on their gender a lower rating.
That's it? A lower rating? Wow, that will really teach them. They will wear that like a badge of honour!
Sir Terence Etherton, Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice Beatson unanimously found that the actions of the school had contravened the 2010 Equality Act.
“It is common ground that the school is not the only Islamic school which operates such a policy and that a number of Jewish schools with a particular Orthodox ethos and some Christian faith schools have similar practices,” the appeal judges said.
“The relevant central government authorities should not pivot in the way they have gone about this without recognising the real difficulties those affected will face as a consequence.”
Ofsted's Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said the watchdog’s job is to make sure that all schools “properly prepare children for life in modern Britain.”
“Educational institutions should never treat pupils less favorably because of their sex, or for any other reason,” she said.
“The school is teaching boys and girls entirely separately, making them walk down separate corridors, and keeping them apart at all times.
“This is discrimination and is wrong. It places these boys and girls at a disadvantage for life beyond the classroom and the workplace, and fails to prepare them for life in modern Britain.
“This case involves issues of real public interest, and has significant implications for gender equality, Ofsted, government, and the wider education sector. We will be considering the ruling carefully to understand how this will affect future inspections.”
A number of schools may now have to stop segregating pupils, or split into single sex schools.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
The New Normal - Swedish style
No indication yet whether this is terror related or not, but Swedish police will not confirm terror incidents until they absolutely have to
At least four have been seriously injured after at least one gunman reportedly opened fire at a market in Trelleborg, Sweden, according to local authorities, who launched a “major police operation” in response to the incident.
At least four people have been taken to hospital, local media report. The police initially said that the four victims suffered gunshot wounds, but have later clarified their statement.
"At least two have [suffered] shot injuries, but some of them have other types of injuries," police spokesman Fredrik Bratt told reported, specifying that the types of wounds have not been confirmed yet. The four people injured are men, according to the police.
The area of the incident is a central neighborhood full of multiple occupancy houses and shops. There is also a church and a number of open green spaces.
“We have received several reports of a shooting in Trelleborg,” the police spokesman had explained earlier, according to British daily the Express. “When we arrived at the scene, several people with gunshot injuries were found.”
“There were many shots. We saw someone running outside,” an eyewitness told the Swedish publication Expressen.
“I was at home at the computer when I heard a loud bang,” Aron Tydén – another person in the area – told the publication, claiming that he heard people running.
Another eyewitness heard at least six shots from his apartment, saying that the shooting took place on a lawn near the church of Saint Nicholas.
“I saw a lot of people running... It was chaotic. Immediately after that the police appeared, and the ambulance,” the witness was quoted as saying by Sweden’s GP publication.
Police have cordoned off the area, allowing ambulances through. The victims were reportedly rushed to hospitals in Malmö and Lund. Forensics team and a canine unit have also been dispatched to the scene of the incident.
A sectarian prayer house in the village of Nikolskoe, the Penza Region, Russia © Sputnik
A group of Russian senators are preparing a bill to protect the population from destructive sects, including those of foreign origin and those that mask themselves as ‘schools of leadership’, the principal sponsor of the motion told the press.
“Sects are a very dangerous environment. The legislation on this subject needs to be corrected. We are now preparing proposals how to protect our citizens. Unfortunately, at present moment not a single region in the country is without such sects,” RIA Novosti quoted Senator Elena Mizulina as saying on Thursday.
She said that the bill would be prepared in cooperation with government experts and presented to the lower house before November 30.
Mizulina noted that many of the destructive sects arrived in Russia from foreign countries and that not all of them presented themselves as religious groups – some acted as various leadership courses and the like.
“By using various psycho-techniques these sects are defrauding our citizens of their property. In very widespread cases the sects attempt to manipulate the people’s conscience,” she said.
According to the upper house’s working group for countering the threat of destructive sects, about 500 such groups are currently active in Russia.
In 2012, President Vladimir Putin urged the government to toughen the laws governing the activities of the totalitarian cults cropping up across the country. Totalitarian religious groups pose a threat to the society and people, he said: “It’s a hunt not only for souls, but also people’s property.”
Shortly before this, a reclusive Muslim sect had been discovered in Russia’s Tatarstan. Over 70 people, including 27 children, spent a decade in an eight-level catacomb without access to education, healthcare or daylight. In 2007, a similar story was uncovered in Russia’s Penza region, shocking the entire country: Nearly 30 cultists dug a shelter, stocked it with food and spent several months waiting for the apocalypse, which they expected to happen in May 2008.
In February 2016, the State Duma announced that its members had started preparing a bill to protect citizens from destructive sects, but this initiative has not taken the form of a concrete legislative draft.
In June, 2016, President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that severely restricts freedom of religion by prohibiting any religious speech or evangelization outside of places of worship.
In August this year, the Justice Ministry listed the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group as a banned extremist organization. This happened after a lengthy court process that had been started because some members of this group had endangered the life of their children by refusing to allow blood transfusions – which is in line with Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs.
Russian law currently allows religious groups to form, including both those that require no official registration and legal formation and ones that should be officially registered. The sects are allowed to stage any activities if they don’t violate existing laws.
It will be very interesting to watch the development of this bill. How far will Russia go in restricting 'foreign' religions? Will only certain Muslim sects like Sunni or Shia be permitted. Will Salafism and Wahabism be outlawed? Will evangelical Christianity be driven out and only Russian Orthodoxy survive?
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
The New Normal - French style
Apparently, both men were radicalized in prison. It makes a good case for segregating radicalized Muslims from the rest of the prison population.
The entrance of the prison of Fresnes, near Paris. © Patrick Kovarik / AFP
French police have charged two radicalized prison inmates with plotting terrorist attacks – within days of their scheduled release.
In the first such case in the history of French anti-terrorism the men, who were radicalized behind bars while serving time for non-terrorist crimes, are due to be released from Fresnes prison, just south of Paris, next week.
French TV news station LCI report that the men had plotted attacks against numerous targets including prison guards while they were in prison and police officers at a police station after they were released.
French intelligence services had been watching the two men for several months.
Cameroonian Charles-Henri M. was reportedly the mastermind behind the potential attacks. The 28 year old was an Islamic State sympathizer. His accomplice was 22-year-old Frenchman Maxime O, who is also a radical Islamist.
France 24 reports that the pair were also planning to use methods including hostage-taking and gun attacks.
The investigation began last December after a phone containing details of a plot to murder “disbelievers” was found in Charles-Henri’s cell.
Charles-Henri M. was incarcerated for robbery in 2013 and was due to be released on Tuesday. Maxime O. was jailed for attempted murder in 2014, he was due to get out next week.
While being questioned by police LCI report that Charles-Henri praised his “brothers” who carried out the terrorist attack in the Bataclan theatre in November 2015. He also admitted to plotting attacks.
France has been in a state of emergency since 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks, one of which targeted the Bataclan, in Paris in November 2015. The country has suffered several smaller attacks since then.
FILE PHOTO: Migrants wait in the transit zone where their asylum claims are processed in Tompa, Hungary, June 14, 2017. © Laszlo Balogh / Reuters
A Hungarian MP slammed billionaire George Soros and supporters for attempting to dilute the spirit of Europe with “the forced settlement of tens of millions of migrants.” He claimed there is a Christian duty to fight what he called “Satan’s Soros” plan.
The lawmaker in question, Andras Aradszki, who represents the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), claimed that “Soros and his comrades want to destroy the independence and values of nation states,” as cited by the Budapest Beacon.
According to Aradszki this is happening “for the purpose of watering down the Christian spirit of Europe with the forced settlement of tens of millions of migrants.”
“But the fight against Satan is a Christian duty. Yes, I speak of an attack by Satan, who is also the angel of denial, because they are denying what they are preparing to do — even when it is completely obvious. They frantically try to prove that there is no [refugee] quota, there is no compulsory settlement, and the Soros Plan does not exist,” Aradszki noted.
“The national consultation is an outstanding opportunity for us to make our opinions known about Satan’s Soros Plan,” he concluded. On Sunday, the Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Gyorgy Bakondi, warned of the implications of the “Soros Plan.”
“This may have serious consequences for the sovereignty of member states, for the nations themselves, and also with regard to the security of European citizens,” he pointed out.
The Soros Plan
Soros stated in 2015 that the “EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly.”
“Adequate financing is critical,” the billionaire wrote. “The EU should provide £10,000 (€15,000) per asylum-seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs – and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states.”
So, €15,000 per person; 1 million people; 2 years; that works out to €15bn the first year and €30bn each subsequent year. A high price to pay for cultural suicide.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has repeatedly blamed Hungarian-born Soros of fueling the refugee crisis in Europe, said that “Brussels has come under George Soros’s influence.”
“We have revealed the existence of the Soros plan, and the drafter himself admitted that it exists. We have placed it in the focus of politics,” the prime minister said in an interview to public radio on Friday.
In July, Orban accused Soros of using the EU in order to create a "new, mixed, Muslimized Europe,” according to AP. The prime minister said that Soros is now more powerful in Brussels than in Washington or Tel Aviv and he argued that European institutions should fight to limit his influence.
It's odd, Soros, who is extremely anti-communist and still very much anti-Russian, would appear to be trying to destroy Christianity by replacing it with Islam. But, no matter what you think of Christianity, it is vastly better than Islam. The irony is that communism is godless, Christianity is Christ, the Son of God, and Islam is about a false prophet, but it is Islam that Soros is promoting.
He noted that reforming Europe can only begin by stopping illegal migration into the EU and that Hungary’s border defenses will help with that effort.
Late last month Orban called on Hungarians to participate in the government’s public survey on the “Soros plan,” noting that it will help the country shield itself from migration. The survey dubbed “national consultation” will ask Hungarians for their view on whether or not Hungary should become an immigrant country.
“We want a Hungarian Hungary and a European Europe,” Orban said on the first day of parliament’s autumn session.
Last week Goran Buldioski, director of Soros’ Open Society Initiatives in Europe, told AP that Soros and his foundations support “more coherent and humane policies for helping to resettle migrants fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands” but that “there is no such thing as a global conspiracy against Hungary.”
Unless something is missing from this report, no-one said there was a global conspiracy against Hungary, but against Europe.
Hungary is engaged in a bitter row with the EU over the refugee relocation quotas, together with Poland and Slovakia. The issue dates back to the EU decision made in 2015 to rehouse some 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over a period of two years, only around 27,700 of whom have been settled so far.
Hungary claimed in September that its fences on the borders with Croatia and Serbia had helped to cut the inflow of migrants by 99.7 percent since 2015. The small inland nation now has one quarter of the length of its borders protected by a fence. The Hungarian border fence has been repeatedly criticized by other European countries, as well as by EU politicians, but Budapest has resisted pressure to remove it.