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[VIDEO] Louvre Museum Reopens; Egypt Identifies Machete Attacker

PARIS (AP) — The Louvre Museum reopened to the public Saturday, less than 24 hours after a machete-wielding assailant shouting “Allahu akbar!” attacked French soldiers guarding the sprawling building and was shot by them.

The worldwide draw of the iconic museum in central Paris, host to thousands of artworks including the “Mona Lisa,” was on full display on a drizzly winter day as international tourists filed by armed police and soldiers patrolling outside the site, which had been closed immediately after Friday’s attack.

The attacker was shot four times after slightly injuring a soldier patrolling the nearby underground mall but his injuries on Saturday were no longer life-threatening, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

DV142066 Leonardo da Vinci Painting

French President Francois Hollande said there is “no doubt” the suspect’s actions were a terror attack, and he will be questioned as soon as that is possible.

An Egyptian Interior Ministry official confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that the attacker is Egyptian-born Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, who is 28, not 29 as widely reported.

The official said an initial investigation in Egypt found no record of political activism, criminal activity or membership in any militant group by him. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

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French authorities said they are not yet ready to name the suspect, but confirmed they thought he was Egyptian.

The suspect was believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates and came to Paris on Jan. 26 on a tourist visa, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The suspect bought two military machetes at a gun store in Paris and paid 1,700 euros ($1,834) for a one-week stay at a Paris apartment in the chic 8th arrondissement, near the Champs-Elysees Avenue.

On the Twitter account of an “Abdallah El-Hamahmy,” a tweet was posted about a trip from Dubai to Paris on Jan. 26. In the profile photo, Hamahmy is seen smiling and leaning against a wall in a blue-and-white sports jacket. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’

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Ohio State Suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan Left Cryptic Facebook Message Before Attack

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Abdul Razak Ali Artan was killed by a police officer after the car-and-knife ambush.

—  Abdul Razak Ali Artan, on Facebook

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, wrote on what appears to be his Facebook page that he had reached a “boiling point,” made a reference to “lone wolf attacks” and cited radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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“America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post said.

Two hours before that, a cryptic post on the page said: “Forgive and forget. Love.”

Officials cautioned that they have not determined a motive for the ambush, which sent 11 people to the hospital Monday morning. A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that investigators are trying to determine whether Artan had personal problems or something else that might have pushed him over the edge.

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A photo of Abdul Razak Ali Artan that accompanied an interview in the OSU publication The Lantern. Kevin Stankiewicz / The Lantern

“He told a campus publication that on his first day at OSU, he was ‘kind of scared’ to pray in public.”

A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant, likely saving lives, university officials said. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.

Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Artan was a Somali refugee who left his homeland with his family in 2007, lived in Pakistan and then came to the United States in 2014 as a legal permanent resident.

[Read the full story here, at NBC News]

He lived briefly in a temporary shelter in Dallas before settling in Ohio, according to records maintained by Catholic Charities.

Artan attended Columbus State Community College for two years, graduating cum laude with an associate’s degree before moving on to Ohio State to continue his studies. He told a campus publication that on his first day at OSU, he was “kind of scared” to pray in public.

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“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen.”

“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” Artan was quoted as saying in the Lantern.

The violence unfolded just before 10 a.m. ET Monday near an academic hall on the Columbus, Ohio, campus, where 60,000 students are enrolled.

Officials said Artan drove onto campus by himself and rammed the car past the curb and into a crowd on the sidewalk. Read the rest of this entry »


Master Death List: Journalists Killed in Russia

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56 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed

Terminology explained

Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Novoye Delo

July 9, 2013, in Semender, Russia

Mikhail Beketov, Khimkinskaya Pravda

April 8, 2013, in Khimki, Russia

Kazbek Gekkiyev, VGTRK

December 5, 2012, in Nalchik, Russia

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Gadzhimurad Kamalov, Chernovik

December 15, 2011, in Makhachkala, Russia

Abdulmalik Akhmedilov, Hakikat and Sogratl

August 11, 2009, in Makhachkala , Russia

Natalya Estemirova, Novaya Gazeta, Kavkazsky Uzel

July 15, 2009, in between Grozny and Gazi-Yurt , Russia

Anastasiya Baburova, Novaya Gazeta 

January 19, 2009, in Moscow , Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters)

Telman (Abdulla) Alishayev, TV-Chirkei 

September 2, 2008, in Makhachkala, Russia

Magomed Yevloyev, Ingushetiya

August 31, 2008, in Nazran, Russia

Ivan Safronov, Kommersant

March 2, 2007, in Moscow, Russia

Maksim Maksimov, Gorod

November 30, 2006, in St. Petersburg, Russia

Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta

October 7, 2006, in Moscow, Russia

Vagif Kochetkov, Trud and Tulsky Molodoi Kommunar

January 8, 2006, in Tula, Russia

Magomedzagid Varisov, Novoye Delo

June 28, 2005, in Makhachkala, Russia

Pavel Makeev, Puls

May 21, 2005, in Azov, Russia

Paul Klebnikov, Forbes Russia

July 9, 2004, in Moscow, Russia

Adlan Khasanov, Reuters

May 9, 2004, in Grozny, Russia

Aleksei Sidorov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye

October 9, 2003, in Togliatti, Russia

Yuri Shchekochikhin, Novaya Gazeta

July 3, 2003, in Moscow, Russia

Roddy Scott, Frontline

September 26, 2002, in Galashki Region, Ingushetia, Russia

Valery Ivanov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye

April 29, 2002, in Togliatti, Russia

Natalya Skryl, Nashe Vremya

March 9, 2002, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia

Eduard Markevich, Novy Reft

September 18, 2001, in Reftinsky, Sverdlovsk Region, Russia

Igor Domnikov, Novaya Gazeta

July 16, 2000, in Moscow, Russia

Aleksandr Yefremov, Nashe Vremya

May 12, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia

Vladimir Yatsina, ITAR-TASS

February 20, 2000, in Chechnya, Russia

Shamil Gigayev, Nokh Cho TV

October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia

Ramzan Mezhidov, TV Tsentr

October 29, 1999, in Shaami Yurt, Russia

Supian Ependiyev, Groznensky Rabochy

October 27, 1999, in Grozny, Russia

Anatoly Levin-Utkin, Yurichichesky Peterburg Segodnya

August 24, 1998, in St. Petersburg, Russia

Larisa Yudina, Sovietskaya Kalmykia Segodnya

June 8, 1998, in Elista, Russia

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Ramzan Khadzhiev, Russian Public TV (ORT)

August 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia

Viktor Mikhailov, Zabaikalsky Rabochy

May 12, 1996, in Chita, Russia

Nina Yefimova, Vozrozhdeniye

May 9, 1996, in Grozny, Russia

Nadezhda Chaikova, Obshchaya Gazeta

March 30, 1996, in Gehki, Russia

Viktor Pimenov, Vaynakh Television

March 11, 1996, in Grozny, Russia

Felix Solovyov, freelance

February 26, 1996, in Moscow, Russia

Vadim Alferyev, Segodnyashnyaya Gazeta

December 27, 1995, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Shamkhan Kagirov, Rossiskaya Gazeta and Vozrozheniye

December 13, 1995, in near Grozny, Russia

Natalya Alyakina, Focus and RUFA

June 17, 1995, in Budyonnovsk, Russia

Farkhad Kerimov, Associated Press TV

May 29, 1995, in Chechnya, Russia

Vladislav Listyev, Russian Public Television (OTR)

March 1, 1995, in Moscow, Russia

Viatcheslav Rudnev, Freelancer

February 17, 1995, in Kaluga, Russia

Jochen Piest, Stern

January, 10, 1995, in Chervlyonna, Russia

Vladimir Zhitarenko, Krasnaya Zvezda

January 1, 1995, in Grozny, Russia

Cynthia Elbaum, Freelancer

December 22, 1994, in Grozny, Russia

Dmitry Kholodov, Mosckovski Komsomolets

October 17, 1994, in Moscow, Russia

Yuri Soltis, Interfax

June 12, 1994, in Moscow, Russia

Aleksandr Smirnov, Molodyozhny Kuryer

October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Aleksandr Sidelnikov, Lennauchfilm Studio

October 4, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Sergei Krasilnikov, Ostankino Television Company

October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Yvan Scopan, TF-1 Television Company

October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Vladimir Drobyshev, Nature and Man

October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Igor Belozyorov, Ostankino State Broadcasting Company

October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Rory Peck, ARD Television Company

October 3, 1993, in Moscow, Russia

Dmitry Krikoryants, Expresskhronika

April 14, 1993, in Grozny, Russia Read the rest of this entry »


Secretary of State John Kerry Wants Media to Hide Terror Attacks From Public; Wishes Terrorism Would Just Go Away

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Terrorism doesn’t go away if you ignore it, it expands.

Katie Pavlich reports: Speaking from Bangladesh Tuesday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested members of the media stop covering (Islamic) terrorism so people won’t “know what’s going on.” Kerry attempted to preempt his statement by implying media coverage creates copy cats andkerry-phone-2 promotes more terrorism.

“If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise…perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

[Read the full story here, at TownHall.com]

While the copy cat, attention seeker argument may be true in a handful of cases, the media ignoring terrorism as the Obama administration has arguably chosen to do for nearly a decade, isn’t going to make terrorism go away.

For example, the administration downplayed the ISIS threat by claiming they were “jayvee” and demanded intelligence reports be altered to paint a better picture of the increasingly dangerous situation around the world and in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


Senseless Knife Crime, Motive Unknown

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A man slashed a policewoman’s face with a machete and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before her fellow officer gunned him down in a chilling ‘terror’ attack.

The attacker reportedly walked up to two policewomen at the entrance of the police station in the Belgian city of Charleroi just before 4pm, pulled a machete from his bag and hacked at the officer.

After slamming the machete into the face of one officer, he then turned to another and began swinging the massive blade at her.

Police stand as they secure the area around a police building in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi following a machete attack

A third female officer raced to the front desk and then blasted the attacker in the chest and leg – knocking him to the ground.

Emergency crews then raced to the scene and began treating the policewomen – one of who was left with massive, deep cuts to her face.

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Her colleague was only slightly injured but the attacker, who has not been named, died later in hospital. Read the rest of this entry »


Video Critical Of Jihad And Sharia Pulled From YouTube

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A video produced by CounterJihad critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad and sharia law was removed from YouTube Tuesday due to the company’s “hate speech” regulations.

The video — titled “Killing for a Cause: Sharia Law & Civilization Jihad” — was uploaded to YouTube last Thursday.

“Terrorism seems to be everywhere, and it’s getting worse. The bad guys have lots of names—ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram—but they have one thing in common. They are all killing for a cause: Islamic Law known as Sharia.”

“I am stunned that the policy that YouTube developed for the express purpose of fighting Islamic State propaganda is now being used to silence critics of radical jihad,” Jim Hanson, executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy said Wednesday.

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Hanson added, “Instead of counteracting radical propaganda online, these policies are now being used to silence the very speech that YouTube said it wanted — speech that challenges ISIS.”

“Sharia is a return to medieval Islam.”

YouTube’s hate speech policy states that “hate speech refers to content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes.” These attributes include religion. Read the rest of this entry »


Jihad Denial Kills…Again 

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So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés.

America just suffered our worst terrorist attack since 9/11. We need to start talking honestly about the enemy that keeps butchering Americans.

 writes: Tonight we burn illusions. A terrorist attack on a popular gay club in Orlando, Florida in the middle of the night ended before the dawn with the violent deaths of at least 50 innocents and the maiming of 53 more. This was the bloodiest terrorist attack on America since 9/11. The Pulse nightclub, something of an icon in Florida LGBT circles, was transformed into a charnel house.

“While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.”

The United States had been lucky, having avoided truly mass casualty terrorist incidents since that awful day 15 years ago, through a combination of luck, inept enemies, and excellent intelligence work. But the Orlando horror demonstrates that attacks on soft targets in public places can cause huge numbers of casualties, here as well as in Europe, like last November’s assaults on Paris that killed 130 people, 89 of them at the Bataclan theater, where a hostage situation resulted in a bloodbath. Something similar has just happened in Florida.

His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.

“Within hours of the massacre, progressives and jihad apologists were insisting that the Orlando attack was ‘really’ about guns – and certainly not about Islamism or jihadism. The Pulse massacre was about guns the way that the 9/11 attacks were ‘really’ about box cutters and the 2013 Boston bombing was ‘really’ about pressure cookers.” 

While the Paris attacks were the work of nine terrorists, plus several others providing logistical support, so far only one killer has been identified in the Orlando atrocity. While there are reports of other shooters, these remain unconfirmed, and the sole terrorist definitely involved was Omar Mateen, born in this country in 1986 to immigrant parents from Afghanistan. He was killed by police at the end of the nightmare he inflicted on Orlando.

So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés. The 29-year-old went from a relatively normal American life towards extremism, winding up on the radar of the FBI more than once for his aggressive beliefs. A brief marriage failed, in part because he frequently beat his wife, she claims, asserting that Mateen “was not a stable person.” A trauma like divorce leading to an embrace of jihadism is as common as can be in extremist circles.

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) posing with the trademark Jihadists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin on June 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / HO / Welayat Salahuddin)

The killer’s family has claimed that their son’s terrible act had “nothing to do with religion” – again, following the script we have come to expect whenever a young person, usually male, brutally murders strangers in the name of Islam. While Omar Mateen’s father claims to be utterly mystified by his son’s actions, that assertion should be examined closely, since Seddique Mateen has publicly praised the Taliban in his home country – the very people the American military has been fighting since late 2001. In a truly bizarre twist, Mateen Senior claims to be the real president of Afghanistan. His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.

[Read the full story here, at the Observer]

Wasting no time, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Pulse nightclub. This should not surprise, since Mr. Mateen is reported to have declared allegiance to ISIS just before starting his rampage, and that group boasts of its pathological hatred of homosexuals. While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.

“There’s also a disturbing question about how Mr. Mateen managed to keep working as a security guard despite having been twice investigated by the FBI.”

Whether Mr. Mateen had any bona fide contacts with the Islamic State is another question, one that investigators will want to answer properly. Since he was known to the FBI, it seems likely that U.S. intelligence had questions about that too. Regardless, since the Islamic State has commanded jihadist wannabes worldwide to take action by themselves, without any direct orders from the group, it’s quite possible that this killer was simply doing what he thought ISIS would want him to do in their name. Read the rest of this entry »


Update: ‘Technical Issue’ Blamed for Omission of Hollande’s ‘Islamist Terrorism’ Reference in Censored White House Video

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The White House told several news outlets on Friday the audio gap was the result of a “technical issue” not an attempt to scrub or censor Hollande’s comments and that an updated video with the complete audio was posted on WhiteHouse.gov soon after the problem was recognized.

French President Francois Hollande’s comments this week in Washington about Islamic terrorism — a term President Obama won’t use — were omitted from an official White House video.

“For seven years, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton and this administration have been sound bound up by political correctness that they have refused to  acknowledge what is it is we are fighting, refused to even name it.”

Holland made the comments at an international summit in Washington on nuclear security that also focused largely on global terrorism.

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“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination. But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition. …” Hollande said following a meeting at the summit between his and Obama’s top officials.

“After every one of these attacks, the president does a national TV conference where he refuses to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ Instead he lectures Americans on Islamophobia. Well, enough is enough.”

— Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

However, an audio gap occurs in the original White House video where the French-to-English translator would have said: “Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.”

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The gap was reported first by the Media Research Center, a conservative-leaning government watchdog group.

Republicans and others have been highly critical of Obama, and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, for not saying the words “Islamic terrorism” when talking about the Islamic State terror group, which has claimed responsibility for the recent, deadly bombing attacks in Paris and Brussels. Read the rest of this entry »


French President Francois Hollande Gagged From Saying the Forbidden: Obama White House Censors Phrase ‘Islamist Terrorism’

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Sean Davis reports: President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande met in Washington on Thursday to discuss ways for the two countries to work together to defeat terrorism. But the White House apparently had zero appetite for Hollande’s mention of Islamist terrorism, since it censored the phrase from the official White House video of the meeting posted on the White House website.

[Watch and listen to the video below, which is available on YouTube through the White House’s official account, and you can hear the audio cut out right before Hollande says “Islamist terrorism”]

[You can read the full transcript of the event here or watch the full video here]

Media Research Center, a non-profit media watchdog, was the first to report the White House censorship.

[Hollande’s use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism” is also censored in the White House’s official MP3 recording of the event]

While the official transcript available on the White House web page includes Hollande’s use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism,” the White House video of the remarks muted the audio during that portion of Hollande’s remarks. The audio of the French-to-English interpreter stops right before Hollande characterizes “Islamist terrorism” as the root of terrorism in Syria and Iraq…(read more)

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Here is the transcript of what Hollande said, with strikethrough notation to show what the White House censored in its video of the exchange between the two presidents:

Europe has been hit more, given that it is also the target of the terrorists and ISIS. We’ve seen it in Paris last year, as well as in Brussels. And together with President Obama, we worked on coordinating further our commitments, our organizations, our services when it comes to fighting against these terrorists. Read the rest of this entry »


The Ethnic Cleansing of Christians Around the World is One of the Great Crimes of Our Age

Islamist fighters demonstrate with their weapons during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus...Islamist fighters demonstrate with their weapons during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus November 28, 2013. The newly graduated fighters, who went through military training, will operate under the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham brigade. Picture taken November 28. REUTERS/Diaa Al-Din (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY)

Jonathan Sacks writes:  have been in New York these past few days to give a talk at the 9/11 Museum that has been erected on the site where once the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood. It is a place of collective grief and remembrance, where the exhibits are fragments of twisted wreckage and the debris of destruction.

Most moving are the memorial fountains that occupy the footprint of the original buildings. Around the side, engraved in bronze, are the names of the almost 3,000 victims. Unlike most other fountains, though, here the water flows downward and in the centre disappears into a black hole, an abyss. The intention was to symbolise lives lost that can never be recovered. No matter how much water flows, the emptiness is never filled.

After the tragedies of the past few days and weeks, however, the memorial seems to have another message also. The violence never ends. Innocent blood continues to flow. Every few days there are more newly bereaved families and yet more tears.

A story is beginning to emerge that becomes clearer over time. Asad Shah, the 40-year-old shopkeeper in Glasgow, was a deeply-loved man who represented all that is good in religious faith. His crime was to wish his Christian friends and customers a happy Easter. He wanted to express gratitude to a Christian nation that had given him and his family a home where he could practise his faith without fear. He was an Amaddiya, member of an Islamic sect regarded by some Muslims as heretical. He was murdered, it seems, not just to silence him but to 41HWvObbQ3L._SL250_intimidate others who might have followed him on the path to religious tolerance. One must not forget that of the hundreds of Muslims dying daily, the majority are at the hands of fellow Muslims.

[Order Lord Sacks’s book “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” from Amazon.co]

The suicide bombings in Lahore are part of a pattern in which Christians have been terrorised across an ever widening swathe of countries across the world. To be sure, the attack was not on a Christian site but a park open to people of all faiths. But the bombers chose to attack at Easter, knowing that many victims would be Christians on their way to or from prayer.

Christians are being persecuted in some 50 countries, among them North Korea, Syria, Somalia and Sudan. In 2003 there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today a few thousand. In Mosul, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, Christians were forced to flee by Islamic State (Isil) in the summer of 2014. In Afghanistan the last church was burned to the ground in 2010. In Gaza in 2007, after the rise of Hamas, the last Christian bookshop was destroyed and its owner murdered. In Yemen, on Good Friday, Father Tom Uzhunnallil, an Indian Catholic priest, was crucified by IsilThe ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the Middle East is one of the crimes against humanity of our time, and I am appalled that there has been little serious international protest.

But the real target is not Christianity but freedom. Nor is this a war. Wars are fought between nations, by armies, and the intended victims are combatants. Terrorists wear no uniforms, and their intended victims are innocent civilians. I for one will never forget the episode two weeks ago on the Ivory Coast where terrorists gunned down a five-year-old child begging for his life.

There have been ages of terror before, but never on this scale, and never with the kind of technology that has given the jihadists the ability to radicalise individuals throughout the world, some acting as lone wolves, others, like the attackers in Paris and Brussels, working in small groups, often involving family members. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Rep ‘Baghdad Jim’ McDermott Retires 

Jim McDermott Retires – Seattle Times

[Also see – Before he reached out to the IRS, Rep. Jim McDermott reached out to Saddam Hussein – spectator.org]

[More – We don’t call him “Baghdad Jim” for nothing – Michelle Malkin]

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REWIND: March 26, 2008, Michelle Malkin writes:

Back in 2002, Stephen Hayes reported on how Baghdad Democrats David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson took a trip to Iraq in the run up to the invasion and followed up with a report on how Saddam’s cash paid for the junkets.

Now, the AP has a new report on the payments:

Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.

An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.

In exchange, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil. Read the rest of this entry »


Houston, We Have a Problem: What’s Wrong With All Those ‘Muslim Backlash’ Stories

The backlash is back.

Back on the front page, that is:

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 writes: Before dissecting today’s Houston Chronicle story, a little background: After the San Bernardino massacre, the New York Post splashed the inflammatory headline “Muslim Killers” across its tabloid cover. At that time, we noted that — ever since 9/11 — the phrase “Muslim backlash” has entered America’s lexicon.

[Read the full text of ‘s article here, at GetReligion]

In follow-up posts, we questioned media reporting a “surge” in anti-Muslim crime without providing hard data to back up that factual claim. Moreover, we pointed out bias by media using the term “Islamophobia” without bothering to define it.

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That leads to Houston, where firefighters battled a Christmas Day blaze at a storefront mosque.Investigators called the fire “suspicious,” citing multiple points of origin.

The fire serves as the news peg for the Chronicle’s Page A1 report today on anxiety in the area’s Muslim community:

Even before investigators determined that a Christmas Day fire at a southwest Houston mosque was set deliberately, Muslims in the Houston area were on edge.

Recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., were followed by threats to area Muslims on social media and elsewhere. Now, in the aftermath of the arson at the mosque, local Muslim leaders and public officials are organizing a meeting to try to calm fears and ease tensions.

M.J. Khan, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, said he understands the community’s growing anxiety.

“Families and children come, and we do take precautions to make sure people are protected and feel safe,” said Khan, whose organization operates the mosque. Still, he added, “These are places of worship, and we cannot make them fortresses.”

The fire broke out at around 2:45 p.m. on Christmas Day at the small mosque inside the Savoy Plaza strip center, near Wilcrest Drive and Bellfort Avenue. About 80 firefighters helped extinguish the blaze, which significantly damaged the worship hall.

Given the fire, the Muslim community’s concerns are certainly newsworthy. I have no problem with the story angle or the report’s above-the-fold placement.

But here’s the problem with this 1,300-word piece (roughly twice as long as a typical daily newspaper story): It attacks the issue with a giant ax when what’s really needed is a surgical knife.

[Read the full story here, at GetReligion]

What I mean: On a story such as this, journalists need to take extra care to be precise, to report what they know — and no more. Readers deserve hard facts, not squishy generalizations.

Instead, the Chronicle makes the sweeping statement up high that “threats to area Muslims on social media and elsewhere” followed the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. OK, what threats? (Insert crickets.)

The newspaper never provides any evidence of actual threats, such as police reports. The story does provide this brief note:

Waqar Mehmood was browsing his Sugar Land neighborhood’s social media page when he saw posts from a neighbor calling for the community to cleanse itself of Muslims using pig’s blood. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI Says San Bernardino Suspects Did Not Post Islamic Jihad Pledge on Social Media

FBI Director James Comey appeared to refute a report that said that Tashfeen Malik had pledged her support for Islamic jihad on Facebook messages and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.

At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said that no evidence had been found to indicate that the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 were members of a terrorist cell or had any contact with overseas militant groups. Most notably, he said that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, had expressed support for “jihad and martyrdom” in private communications but never did so on social media.

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“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright?”

The statement appeared to contradict a report that appeared in the Los Angeles Times citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials who said that Malik “sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.” The messages were reportedly written in Urudu, a common language in Pakistan. One of the officials was quoted as saying the messages were “her private communications.”

“The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”

— FBI Director James Comey

“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom,” Comey said. “I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright? The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”

[Read the full story here, at VICE News]

It remains unclear whether Malik had declared loyalty to the Islamic State on Facebook on the morning that she and Farook killed 14 people who were attending an employee holiday party at a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.

A report first appeared on CNN and later circulated elsewhere citing unnamed US officials who said that Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State using a Facebook account that was registered under a different name. The sources did not say how they knew for certain that Malik made the post. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: CAIR = Hamas

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Jordan Schachtel writes: An FBI chart has surfaced depicting connections between the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the chart shows CAIR falling under the umbrella of the jihadi outfit.

This FBI chart details the Hamas-related groups, which included CAIR, that were created to ultimately support the Palestinian terrorist organization. It also established Nabil Sadoun’s (former CAIR national board of directors member and vice chairman) connections to Hamas.

The IPT also obtained groundbreaking new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents that trail CAIR back to its roots as a subversive Hamas-related group.

In 2007, CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, a Hamas financing case that would result in the FBI ceasingits working relationship with CAIR. The HLF trial was the largest terror-financing case in American history. In 2008, during a retrial of the HLF case, an FBI Special Agent labeled CAIR as “a front group for Hamas” during her trial testimony. In 2010, a federal judge reiterated that his court had “ample evidence” that CAIR wasinvolved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.” CAIR, which relies upon millions of dollars in Saudi cash, was recently listed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a terrorist organization.

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IPT FOIA

The group, which fashions itself as a civil rights voice for American Muslims, was founded by members of the Palestine Committee (PALCOM), an organization “established to support Hamas,” according to the chart. Nihad Awad, currently CAIR’s executive director, was previously an official at PALCOM.

The FBI declaration submitted in connection with removal proceedings for Nabil Sadoun (a former top CAIR official) said PALCOM members used coded language to discuss the “true nature” of their clandestine operations in support of Hamas. Read the rest of this entry »


GLOBAL PANIC UPDATE: Anonymous Says ISIS Planning Attacks in U.S., Paris, Sunday 

Bradford Richardson reports: The hacker collective Anonymous says the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is planning to launch attacks in the U.S., Paris, Indonesia, Italy and Lebanon on non-stop-panic-pearlsSunday.

“All proof was submitted to official authorities all around the globe days ago. They have it and it is their responsibility to do something with it. But because they have not done anything with it yet and it’s almost the 22nd, we have matters into our own hands.”

OpParisIntel, the name of Anonymous’ mission against ISIS, released a statement Saturday saying it had uncovered information regarding new terror plots “on Paris and the world” scheduled for Nov. 22.
A man wears a mask of the Anonymous hacker group as he and other people take part in a protest for the cause of late Chinese dissident Li Wangyang in Hong Kong on June 10, 2012. Li, 62, who spent 22 years in jail for his role in the Tiananmen democracy protests died in allegedly suspicious circumstances in his hospital ward in central China's Hunan province on June 6 by his sister and brother-in-law. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

“The goal is to make sure the whole world, or at least the people going to these events, know that there have been threats and that there is possibility of an attack to happen.”

“All proof was submitted to official authorities all around the globe days ago,” the statement said, as first reported by the International Business Times. “They have it and it is their responsibility to do something with it. But because they have not done anything with it yet and it’s almost the 22nd, we have matters into our own hands.”

“We only take the responsibility of warning civilians (incase the authorities do not act well enough),” the statement added. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Jihadist Gunmen Take 170 Hostages at Radisson Hotel in Mali

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UPDATE: Gunmen have taken 170 hostages, killing three so far at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako. The gunmen are reported to be releasing people that can recite verses from the Quran.

Map of Mali locating shooting, hostage-taking at Radisson hotel in Bamako. 45 x 45 mmAutomatic weapon fire was heard from outside the 190-room hotel in the city-centre where security forces have set up a security cordon, according to Agence France Presse. Security sources told AFP the gunmen were “jihadists” who had entered the hotel compound in a car that had diplomatic plates.

“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” one security source said.

Malian soldiers, police and special forces were on the scene as a security perimeter was set up, along with members of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali and the French troops fighting jihadists in west Africa under Operation Barkhane.

French troops are believed to have been stationed at the hotel….

BAMAKO, Mali — Gunmen attacked a popular hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday with guns and grenades, authorities and a witness said.

A staffer at the Radisson Blu hotel who gave his name as Tamba Diarra said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault. He did not have information on casualties or the number of assailants involved, but said he was not aware of hostages having been taken at the hotel.

The U.S. Embassy in Mali asked citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the hotel, raising fears of an attack by extremists.

Reports of gunfire surfaced Friday morning on social media, though Lt. Col. Diarran Kone, an adviser with Mali’s defense ministry, says it is not yet clear what has happened….(read more)

Developing…

Source: AP/Breitbart


Suspected Architect of Paris Attacks is Dead, According to Two Senior Intelligence Officials 

More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

  French police commandos killed the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks in a massive predawn raid Wednesday, two senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant was holed up north of the French capital and could be plotting another wave of violence.

“Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.”

More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian extremist who had once boasted he could slip easily between Europe and the Islamic State strongholds in Syria.

TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks

TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks

“Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.”

After the raid, forsenics experts combed through the aftermath — blown-out windows, floors collapsed by explosions — presumably seeking DNA and other evidence. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity before announcements from authorities.

“The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage.”

Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.

“But it raised other worrisome questions, including the apparent ability of Abaaoud to evade intelligence agencies while traveling through Europe and whether other possible Islamic State cells could be seeking to strike again.”

Molins said police launched the raid because they believed that Abaaoud may have been “entrenched” on the third floor of the apartment building. He said he could not yet provide the identities of the two people who died at the scene, but he added that neither Abaaoud nor another wanted suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was among a total of eight people who were arrested at the apartment and other locations Wednesday. Three people were arrested in the raid on the apartment, he said, one of whom had a gunshot wound in the arm.

“The raid on an apartment building in the Saint-Denis suburb appeared to be linked in part to plans to stage a follow-up terrorist attack in the La Defense business district, about 10 miles away, two police officials and an investigator close to the investigation said.”

Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.

[Read the full text here, at the Washington Post]

Molins said the safe houses indicated “a huge logistics plan, meticulously carried out.”

The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Intelligence: 72 Hours Before Paris Attacks, ISIS-Linked Social Media Account Reveals ‘God Bless You in Your Mission’ 

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FBI monitoring stream of ISIS chatter online

 reports: ISIS claims of responsibility for Friday’s Paris massacre are being reviewed by US intelligence analysts Sunday morning, with a focus on the English-language version, which is delivered in American-accented English, Fox News has been told. It is now clear the plot included a rollout of ISIS propaganda, which was prepared in advance, including threats directed toward the Russian people, Rome, London and Washington DC.

Separately, Fox News has learned that four credible, ISIS-linked social media accounts began sharing messages 72 hours before the Paris attack, including images of weapons, the Eiffel tower, as well as blessings for the attackers’ mission.  A military intelligence source says the social media traffic is now seen as evidence the three teams had gone operational.

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The translations include “God bless you in your mission” and “Support the deployment,” as well as a reference to our “sister,” suggesting an operative, or member of the support team was a woman.

Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey has told field offices across the country to intensify surveillance on ISIS suspects, hoping to…(read more)

Source: Fox News


French Police are Chasing ‘Four Heavily Armed People’ in Citroen Heading for Paris 

Emma Glanfield reports: Police are reportedly chasing a car containing four ‘heavily armed men’ who stormed through a motorway toll road as they headed towards Paris.

French police are said to be in pursuit of a Citroën Berlingo after it forced its way through a toll on the A10 in the Ablis area of Yvelines in north-west France at lunchtime today.

[Also see – BREAKING: Paris terrorist was a Syrian refugee, says Greek government official]

The town is approximately 40 miles from the centre of Paris and the incident comes as police remain on high alert following a string of deadly terror attacks across the French capital last night.

Police have also confirmed they are currently hunting a black Seat vehicle, registered abroad, which is ‘wanted in connection with the attacks’.

Two armed policemen were among the extra officers drafted in to patrol streets near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Two armed policemen were among the extra officers drafted in to patrol streets near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

[Read the full story here, at Daily Mail Online]

The vehicle is described by French police has having a number plate of GUT 18053 and five-spoke alloy wheels.

Earlier today it was reported that armed officers and a police helicopter were scrambled to the Bagnolet area of Paris following reports of gunfire and explosions.

Residents were reportedly told to stay indoors but local authorities later confirmed the ‘explosions’ were the result of fireworks being let off at a wedding celebration.

The incident comes as police remain on high alert following a string of deadly terror attacks across Paris

France remains on high alert after a string of barbaric terror attacks were carried out across the French capital, leaving at least 127 people dead. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Musee de l’Homie: Paris’s ‘Museum of Mankind’ Dedicated to Human Evolution to Reopen to Public

After six years of renovations, the “Museum of Mankind” (Musee de l’Homme) in Paris will reopen its doors this week, after being inaugurated on Thursday (October 15) by French President Francois Hollande.

“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence.”

—  Evelyne Heyer, curator

Although the exterior of the art deco building, located in the famous Trocadero square overlooking the Eiffel tower, remains unchanged, inside visitors will discover 2,500 square metres of entirely renovated exhibitions, offering a new perspective on the history and evolution of mankind.

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“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’ 

—  Evelyne Heyer

The permanent exhibition revolves around three fundamental questions, explains curator Evelyne Heyer.

“What we wanted to do is present three questions: Who are we? What is mankind? To show in this part that mankind is part of the animal kingdom and that mankind is an interaction between biological and cultural elements, so that’s the first part. The second part is ‘Where do we come from?’ It’s the history of the evolution of our species and its expansion with a transitional period, what we call the Neolithic period, the moment where man began to domesticate nature. And the third part, it’s a bit along the lines of, ‘Where are we going?’ We focused on three questions — globalisation, the impact of mankind on our environment and our biological evolutionary future,” Heyer told Reuters Television.

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“What we would like visitors to come away with for this last part of the exhibition is that the big questions faced by our society currently, about man’s adaptation to himself, are in the end questions that mankind has faced for 10,000 years. And it might be interesting to ask ourselves how humanity has resolved these issues, or not, in order to think about it or at least to tackle the solutions that we can come up with today to the erosion of biodiversity, for example, or the consequences of climate change.”

— Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne

The museum contains some of the largest and most reputable collections of prehistoric artefacts in the world, featuring recently acquired ethnological artefacts.

These remarkable objects are presented in chronological order — from the skull of man’s ancestor Cro-Magnon to that of French philosopher Rene Descartes — along with a gallery of 19th century busts representing human diversity in a modern way.

More than 96 million euros were invested by the French government to revamp the historic museum, which first opened its doors in 1938.

Heyer said that the methods of research into humanity have changed since then — researchers now know how important the relationship between biology and culture is in the functioning of human beings.

“Mankind hasn’t changed but the science of mankind has — we know that to understand mankind we must really grasp the biological and cultural aspects and there are plenty of questions in our society’s current events that require this double-understanding, this double-competence,” she said.

In the final part of the museum, visitors are greeted by a large Senegalese bus, a Mongolian hut and modern handmade objects, all elements that remind visitors of the impact human beings have had on their environment.

Deputy curator Jean Pierre Vigne said that visiting the museum should raise questions for visitors, including how the questions of our ancient ancestors are still relevant today. Read the rest of this entry »


Ridiculous Censorship: Facebook Removes Image Poking Fun at ISIS

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Islamic State have been blamed for the deaths of tens of thousands of people but they must be shown the same level of respect on Facebook as anyone else, the internet company has said:

Facebook has taken down a post poking fun at the Islamic State saying it had to remove it because it did not meet its community standards.

The post showed what was intended to be the Islamic State flag reproduced as toilet roll and was posted on the social media site by Britain First leader Paul Golding. It was captioned: “Soon to be stocked in the Britain First shop.”

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After being notified that the post had been taken down, Golding wrote to Facebook’s chat support asking why.

Facebook support worker Dora Zganjer replied: “Obviously it was not complying with Facebook community standards.”

She continued: “I understand where you’re coming from, but posts like this will be taken down without a doubt.”

Golding again pressed her on the censorship, asking “why… so you’re not allowed to poke fun at Isis?” Read the rest of this entry »


Quote: Who Said It? Not Who You’d Think

“Everybody knows me to be a progressive or a liberal or lefty or whatever. I think of myself as a bleeding-heart conservative. You will not f— with my Bill of Rights, my Constitution, my guarantees of political justice for all. But does my heart bleed for those who need help and aren’t getting the justice that the country promises them and the equal opportunity the country promises? Yes. I’m a bleeding heart, but I think myself to be a total social conservative. The people who are running just don’t seem to have America on their minds, not the America I think about. When I was a kid we were in love with America. As early as I can remember, there was a civics class in my public school. And I was in love with those things that guaranteed freedom before I learned that there were people who hated me because I was Jewish. I had a Bill of Rights and a Constitution, those words out of the Declaration that protected me. And I knew about that because we had civics in class. We don’t have that much in the country anymore. So before World War II or shortly after, we were in love with America because we understood what it was about and that’s what we were in love with. I believe everybody’s patriotic today. Everybody loves America. But I don’t need their flag plans to prove it. I’d like to go back to civics lessons.”

Who said it?

Answer after the jump.  Read the rest of this entry »


Syria Crisis: ISIS Deadly Return to Kobane

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The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions.

Islamic State fighters have attacked the Syrian city of Kobane, months after being driven out in a symbolic battle that made international headlines.

They detonated car bombs and launched an assault. Kurdish media say at least 50 civilians have been killed, including 20 in a nearby village.

ISIS has recently suffered a string of defeats to Kurdish forces.

But in another attack on Thursday, it seized parts of the key north-eastern city of Hassakeh.

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The apparent two-pronged IS offensive came as Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) cut a major supply line for IS near Raqqa.

Raqqa is the de facto capital of the caliphate whose creation IS announced a year ago after it captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

Kobane still matters to ISIS. It was never important strategically, but this latest attack shows that its loss, after five months of heavy street-to-street fighting and coalition aerial bombardment, still hurts ISIS.

The injured have been brought to hospital in Kobane

The injured have been brought to hospital in Kobane

As was the case last November when a huge vehicle bomb exploded at the same spot, questions are being asked if the attackers made it in from the Turkish side, and if so, why Turkey didn’t stop them.

Thursday’s assault is a reminder, too, that ISIS, despite recent losses in the area, is still very much active and capable of offensives. Overnight they also attacked Hassakeh to the east, a far bigger prize.

[Read the full text here, at BBC News]

Despite the narrative of the last few weeks, ISIS is far from being on the back foot.

Smoke rises over Kobane

Smoke rises over Kobane

The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Introduces Sharia Law Plan for Muslim Home Buyers

Ed-Murray

“We will work to develop new tools for Muslims who are prevented from using conventional mortgage products due to their religious beliefs.”

— Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

The Puget Sound Business Journal‘s Marc Stiles reports: For some Muslims, it can be hard to buy a house, and Mayor Ed Murray plans to do something about it.

On Monday, Murray’s housing committee released its recommendations for ways the city can increase housing in the city. Most ideas were what you’d expect, including increasing the city’s housing levy and implementing new rules and regulations to foster development of market-rate and lower-income housing.

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One suggestion would help followers of Sharia law buy houses. That’s virtually impossible now because Sharia law prohibits payment of interest on loans. The 28-member committee recommended the city convene lenders and community leaders to explore options for increasing access to Sharia-compliant loan products.

Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari

“They could easily qualify for home loans but opt not to apply ‘simply because they don’t want to pay interest.’”

— CAIR Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari

More and more lenders are offering Sharia-compliant financing, according to a USA Today report. The sector has grown to more than $1.6 trillion in assets worldwide over the past three decades, and analysts see potential for continued growth as the number of Muslims in the United States and Europe grows.

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“Their religious beliefs also call for killing those who leave Islam, killing gays…having four wives, marrying children, and waging jihad…Is Murray going to help Muslims enjoy those aspects of their religion too?”

— Creeping Sharia

It’s unclear how many Muslims in Seattle would benefit from Murray’s plan. The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) estimates more than 30,000 Muslims live in the greater Seattle area, and Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari on Tuesday said it’s “fairly common” for some not to seek loans.

CAIR has been identified as a terrorist organization by the UAE. Many of CAIR’s leaders have been jailed or deported on terror crimes. [see Gallery of Terror-Linked CAIR Leaders]

Based on what he called “rough anecdotal evidence,” Bukhari estimated a couple hundred people aren’t borrowing money for houses due to their religion. He said this includes even high-wage earners, such as the more than 1,000 Muslims who work for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MFST) and more than 500 Amazon.com employees. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] What is Being Done to Counter Extremist Forces in the Middle East? A View from the Frontlines of Islamist Insurgency

What do ISIS’s rise in Iraq and Syria and Iran’s new-found power and growing sphere of influence in the region portend for the broader Middle East? What is being done to counter Islamist extremist forces in the region and what is the current state of play? How do the current regional dynamics impact the threat from al-Qaeda, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Read the rest of this entry »


Sweden’s Multicultural Expert on Islamaphobia Excited About New Career Opportunity

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Previously, Michael Skråmo worked to counter what he described as an unfair and misleading picture of Muslims as violent fanatics. Now Skråmo preaches jihad and calls Swedish jihadists to leave Sweden and join the holy war

The 29-year-old Swede, who today calls himself “Abdul Samad al Swedi”, grew up in Gothenburg. He converted to Islam during a field trip to Egypt about ten years ago and has since been engaged in a series of tax-funded Muslim organizations.

In 2009 he was invited to SVT, where he told Swedish viewers how Muslim phobia (Islamophobia) and hatred was spread around Europe.

Previously, the Swede have been heavily involved to counter what he described as a misleading picture of Muslims as violent fanatics. In an episode of SVT debate, which can be seen on Youtube, he attacked the malicious picture of Muslims spread in Europe.

“This fear is based on ignorance of Islam,” Michael Skråmo said. […]

Michael Skråmo, 29, took the whole family – his little four children and wife – to the IS-controlled area inside Syria. Now Skråmo filmed a propaganda video outside the Syrian city Kobane where he preaches jihad and calls Swedish jihadists to leave Sweden and join the “holy war”. Read the rest of this entry »


How Have We Depicted Madness Throughout History?

Nebuchadnezzar

Even in an age of science, we cannot escape lunacy’s long history of frippery and superstition

 Modern psychiatry seems determined to rob madness of its meanings, insisting that its depredations can be reduced to biology and nothing but biology. One must doubt it. The social and cultural dimensions of mental disorders, so indispensable a part of the story of madness and civilization over the centuries, are unlikely to melt away, or to prove no more than an 61uJxeANx6L._SL250_epiphenomenal feature of so universal a feature of human existence. Madness indeed has its meanings, elusive and evanescent as our attempts to capture them have been.

[Check out ‘s book “Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine at Amazon.com]

Western culture throughout its long and tangled history provides us with a rich array of images, a remarkable set of windows into both popular and latterly professional beliefs about insanity. The sacred books of the Judeo-Christian tradition are shot through with stories of madness caused by possession by devils or divine displeasure. From Saul, the first king of the Israelites (made mad by Yahweh for failing to carry out to the letter the Lord’s command to slay every man, woman, and child of the Amalekite tribe, and all their animals, too), to the man in the country of the Gaderenes “with an unclean spirit” (maddened, naked, and violent, whose demons Christ casts out and causes to enter a herd of swine, who forthwith rush over a cliff into the sea to drown), here are stories recited for centuries by believers, and often transformed into pictorial form. None proved more fascinating than the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty king of Babylon, the man who captured Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple, carrying the Jews off into captivity all apparently without incurring divine wrath. Swollen with pride, however, he impiously boasts of “the might of my power,” and a savage and jealous God has had enough: driven mad, he “did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws.” The description has proved irresistible to many an artist: above, an unknown German artist working in early fifteenth-century Regensburg provides a portrait of the changes madness wrought upon the sane.

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Disease was rife in the ancient, medieval, and early modern world. It was often interpreted through a religious lens, and the spread of Christian belief through pagan Europe was often facilitated by the use of miracles and wonders to demonstrate the power of the Christian God. The ability to cure sick and tortured souls was increasingly brought about by the intercession of saints and martyrs, whose relics were believed to have miraculous power to heal the sick, reanimate the halt and the lame, and restore sight to the blind. The tombs of saints like St. Margaret of Antioch and St. Dymphna of Geel, who had both been beheaded, were popular choices for those seeking relief from mental distress, as was the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket, whose murder in Canterbury Cathedral is here shown in a mid-thirteenth-century codex. The saint’s blood was thought to cure insanity, blindness, leprosy, and deafness, not to mention a host of other ailments.

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Naturalistic accounts of madness, those that saw its roots in the body, had an ancient lineage as well. Though many in classical Greece and Rome still embraced supernatural accounts of mental disturbance and had recourse to the temple medicine of the god Asclepius, with its purification rites, charms, and spells, others were attracted to the humoral model of disease embraced by the followers of Hippocrates and later systematized by the Graseco-Roman physician Galen—a model of illness, both mental and physical, that would survive in Europe into the nineteenth century. Hieronymus Bosch’s satirical painting of The Cure of Folly: The Extraction of the Stone of Folly, which dates from c. 1494, suggests that skepticism about medical claims remained widespread despite physicians’ best efforts. A doctor dressed in a dunce’s cap uses a scalpel to draw forth the supposed cause of madness from the scalp of a patient.

L0077037 Advert for the psychiatric drug Thorazine

Though religious interpretations of mental disturbance persisted in both polite and popular circles well into the eighteenth century (and among hoi polloi even longer than that), medical models of mental disorder gradually became the dominant and then almost the only legitimate interpretation of the sources of mental distress. The eighteenth century saw the rise in England, the first consumer society, of a private trade in lunacy. Mad-doctors, as they were then called (the double entendre would later cause specialists in the management of lunacy to search for a more respectable name), marketed their madhouses as ways to save affluent families from the travails and potential disgrace of keeping a lunatic at home, and over time began to claim the ability to cure as well as immure the insane.

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The technological inventiveness of the Industrial Revolution was soon extended to devices intended to shock and startle the mad back to their senses. Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, suggested a swinging chair, and soon a variety of such devices were marketed, one promising that by “increasing the velocity of the swing, the motion be[ing] suddenly reversed every six or eight minutes … the consequence is, an instant discharge of the stomach, bowels, and bladder, in quick succession.” Others promoted a variety of devices designed to simulate drowning—though sometimes, unfortunately, the drowning proved all too real. And the American mad-doctor, Benjamin Rush, created a special chair, one that “binds and confines every part of the body … Its effects have been truly delightful to me. It acts as a sedative to the tongue and temper as well as to the blood vessels. I have called it a Tranquillizer.”

ranz Joseph Gall examining the head of a pretty young girl, Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Franz Joseph Gall examining the head of a pretty young girl, while three gentlemen wait in line. Coloured lithograph by E.H., 1825. 1825 By: E. H.Published: 1825

Franz Joseph Gall examining the head of a pretty young girl, while three gentlemen wait in line. Coloured lithograph.  By: E. H.Published: 1825

Aristotle had seen the heart as the seat of the emotions and the intellect. By contrast, the Hippocratics saw the brain as their center. The anatomical investigations of the late seventeenth-century Oxford physician Thomas Willis (the man who coined the term neurologie) had given new impetus to the study of the role of the brain and the nervous system, and by the early nineteenth century, few medical men doubted that the etiology of insanity could be traced to disorders of the nerves and the brain. Among the most talented early nineteenth-century anatomists of these organs were the Austrian physicians Franz Gall and J.G. Spurzheim, who viewed the brain as a congeries of organs, each region corresponding to particular psychological functions. They asserted that the relative size of a particular organ was indicative of the strength of a particular mental function and that its size could be increased or decreased through mental exercise, rather as muscles can be developed or can atrophy. As the cranial bones developed, they allegedly conformed to the underlying comparative development of the brain’s different parts. Thus, a person’s mental capacities could be deduced from the confirmation of the head. Phrenological claims to provide a guide to human capacities and a somatic account of the origins of insanity soon became the butt of ridicule (as can be seen in this caricature, where Gall himself examines the head of an attractive young woman, while three gentlemen wait their turns to have their own characters read). Yet Gall’s underlying doctrine of cerebral localization enjoyed a long half life in neurology.

V0016653 Seven vignettes of people suffering from different types of

The handful of profit-making madhouses that emerged in the eighteenth century were dwarfed by the Great Confinement of the insane that marked the nineteenth. States all across Europe and North America embraced the asylum solution, prompted in part by the assurances of the medical men who soon monopolized the running of these places that they were architectural contrivances uniquely suited to the management and cure of the mentally disturbed. Read the rest of this entry »


Enforcing Sharia Compliance: Infamous Saudi Religious Police Unit Debuts on Twitter

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Jordan Schachtel reports: Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, known as “Haia” in the Wahhabi Kingdom, has arrived on Twitter under the verified username @PvGovSa.

“Haia can arrest anyone for violating Islamic customs and dietary laws, such as women smoking, couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, or either gender eating pork or consuming alcohol.”

“Abdul Rahman Al-Sanad, president of the commission, inaugurated the account and announced the formation of a higher committee for media and public relations to improve the Haia’s public image,” the Saudi Gazettereports.

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The group’s initial tweet read, “In the name of Allah and Allah’s blessing kicks off the official account of the General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice on Twitter asking Allah to benefit by everyone.”

“Several controversial acts have embroiled the Sharia-enforcement agency over the years. In 2002, 15 young Saudi girls died from burns and smoke inhalation after the religious police prevented them from leaving their school while it was on fire.”

Haia is the Saudi Arabian government’s “religious police” that seeks to enforce the customs of the Koranic Sharia law within the country.

The religious entity patrols the streets ensuring that individuals, particularly women, are maintaining a Sharia-compliant lifestyle, which includes dressing properly (wearing a full cloak) and remaining separated from men at all times. The Haia agency is also known for enforcing Saudi Arabia’s ban on female automobile drivers. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Japan vs. The Islamic State

The brutal beheadings of Japanese nationals Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by the Islamic State in January have shocked the island nation and lent momentum to an effort to expand the limitations imposed on its constitution and military after its defeat by the United States in World War II.

Leftists in Japan fear that the incident will encourage a departure from the country’s pacifist constitution, whose Article 9 states that “the Japanese people forever renounce… the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Right-wingers, meanwhile, see an opportunity to allow Japan to assert itself as a truly sovereign state.

VICE News reports from Japan as its prime minister and right wing are pushing for re-militarization of the pacifist nation, amid protests from the left who staunchly oppose any changes to Article 9 of the constitution.

 


[VIDEO] REWIND 2007: Hillary Clinton Complains about Secret Email Accounts

Hillary Clinton demonstrating her hypocrisy by complaining about secret email accounts in the Bush administration. Later she did far worse with her secret email accounts.

 


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: ISIS Is ‘Genocidal Movement Akin to Nazism’

From The Corner:

“The ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist, in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic in their understanding is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement. You kill Christians, you kill Jews, you kill Yazidis…”

Make no mistake about the seriousness of the threat posed by the Islamic State, says Charles Krauthammer. In the wake of the murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians,

“…That’s what we’re up against, and we have an administration that will not even admit that there’s a religious basis underlying what’s going on.”

“[ISIS] is not just Islamic radicalism anymore, or Islamic terrorism, which is only a tactic. This is really Islamist supremacy. And in that sense, it is akin to Nazism. That was racial supremacy; here it’s Islamist.”

“Churchill saved England and civilization because in 1940 he was able to enlist the English language, and he put it to work on behalf of civilization. What this administration is doing is precisely the opposite. It’s sort of deconstructing any resistance with its refusal to acknowledge the obvious.”

“The ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist,” said Krauthammer on Monday’s Special Report, “in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic in their understanding is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement….(read more)

National Review Online


Islamic State Secures New Haven in Libya

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A country torn by civil war provides fertile ground for the extremist group—right on Europe’s doorstep

Yaroslav Trofimov reports: Two rival governments in Libya have fought an increasingly bloody civil war since last summer, as the world paid little attention. While they battled for control of the country’s oil wealth, a third force—Islamic State—took advantage of the chaos to grow stronger.

The beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State followers has finally drawn the global spotlight to the group’s rising clout in Libya, which not long ago was touted as a successful example of Western intervention. The killings prompted Egyptian airstrikes on Islamic State strongholds in Libya and spurred calls for more active international involvement in what is fast becoming a failed state on Europe’s doorstep.

“The situation in Libya has been out of control for three years,” Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi cautioned in a television interview after the video’s release. “We shouldn’t go from total indifference to hysteria.”

— Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

The Libyan affiliate of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has, in fact, been spreading its sway for months. First it established an area of control last fall in and around the eastern city of Derna, a historical center of Libyan jihadists. Recently, it also took over parts of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, on the central coast, setting up a radio station there and sending Islamic morality patrols onto the streets.

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All the while, the two rival governments of Libya focused on combatting one another, each supported by regional powers. Both preferred to largely ignore the influx of foreign jihadists forming new alliances with local extremists—and their unification under Islamic State’s banner.

“As all the attention of the two sides was on fighting the other side, this kind of group prospered in the political and military void. There are no good guys or bad guys there—both sides have been acting in bad faith.”

— Karim Mezran, a Libya expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington

Libya isn’t the only place outside Syria and Iraq where the extremist group has established affiliates, largely by absorbing homegrown jihadist groups into its project of world domination and religious war until the total triumph of Islam. There are also Islamic State “provinces” in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, in Yemen, and in so-called Khorasan, a region straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Shows French Muslims Undisturbed By Charlie Hebdo And Supermarket Attacks

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Peter Malcolm reports: Ami Horowitz has released a video in which he asked young Muslim men in Marseilles what they thought of the massacres at the Charlie Hebdo office and the kosher supermarket, and the answers he got belie the conclusion that French Muslims overwhelmingly condemned the attacks. Marseilles has the largest Muslim population in France.

This is what Horowitz found:

One Muslim man said, “They defended their religion. They provoked the Muslim religion. They took care of it.”

Another young Muslim man said, “Already they are saying it’s a terrorist religion. Confusing terrorists and Muslims. I say it’s a government set-up. Somebody important who’s high up with money. To buy weapons, finance travel, to buy lots of things, you need money. It has to be someone high up in the government. It has to be.” Asked whether it was possible the Israeli government was behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermaket in Paris, he replied, “It’s possible. Yes, it’s possible. It was probably sponsored by someone in the government.”

Asked whether the Charlie Hebdo people deserve what they got because they insulted the Prophet, a black man answered, “Yes. You cannot play with the religion or the faith of people. There are some people who really love the Prophet; you cannot play.” Read the rest of this entry »


Copenhagen Suspect Killed By Police

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Copenhagen shootings: Police kill man close to scene of deadly synagogue and cafe attacks

Danish police say they believe the man shot dead by officers in Copenhagen was responsible for two shootings in the city, at a freedom of expression event and a synagogue, which killed two people and wounded five.

“The man was hailed. He opened fire against the police and was then shot to death. The man has died. No police officers were hit.”

— police said in a statement

Police said video surveillance indicated the man was behind an attack at the panel discussion about Islam and free speech and the shooting of another man outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

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“We believe the same man was behind both shootings and we also believe that the perpetrator who was shot by the police action force at Noerrebro station is the person behind the two attacks.”

— Chief police inspector Torben Molgaard Jensen

One person was killed at the synagogue after being shot in the head. Two police officers in attendance at the synagogue were also injured during the attack which occurred just hours after another deadly shooting at a nearby cafe.

[Gallery: Two people killed, five officers wounded in Copenhagen attacks]

Michael Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jewish Security Council, said a bar mitzvah had been underway inside the synagogue and that the “young man” who was shot had been responsible for “access control”.

“We don’t know anything yet, it’s too early to guess,” he said about possible motives behind the killing. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: Obama Doesn’t Have a Strategy for Islamic Radicalism Because He Doesn’t Think It Exists

“We complain he doesn’t have a strategy in the war on radical Islam — the reason he doesn’t have a strategy is because he thinks there is no need for a strategy because it is random violence.”

Obama basically thinks the issue of Islamic terrorism would go away if the press would just stop hyping the danger it presents, Krauthammer said, which is all the more terrifying….(read more)

“He thinks, and he says it openly, this is like the fighting of crime in the city. There is no unifying ideology of the criminals of a city. You go after one after another.”

National Review Online


Super-Secret Shadow Government

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Charlie Spiering writes: President Obama met with American Muslim leaders this afternoon, according to the White House schedule, but so far the administration is unwilling to reveal who attended the meeting, which was closed to the press.

The White House released a readout of the meeting explaining that Obama discussed “a range of domestic and foreign policy issues” including Obamacare, police fairness, anti-Muslim discrimination, and the upcoming Summit on Countering Violence Extremism.

APTOPIX White House Sunrise

“The President discussed the need to continue countering ISIL and other groups that commit horrific acts of violence, purportedly in the name of Islam,” the readout continued. Read the rest of this entry »


The Spreading Menace of Boko Haram

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The jihadist group in Nigeria killed 11,245 people last year. Now their rampage seems ready to escalate in 2015

Emad Mostaque writes: The new year began with terror attacks in Paris inspired or orchestrated by al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and ISIS and then reports of up to 2,000 residents killed by Boko Haram in a days-long massacre in Baga, Nigeria. While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria. This weekend the group captured the town of Monguno and its military barracks while simultaneously attacking the state capital, Maiduguri.

“While Paris has grabbed the majority of media attention, the events in Baga may prove to be the most significant as Boko Haram expands in northeastern Nigeria.”

A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be “true” believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death. High-profile attacks aim to polarize societies and create animus against mainstream Muslims, creating more potential recruits for the radical Islamists.

A key goal of all terrorists is to provoke outsize reactions by committing heinous deeds. This is particularly true of jihadists, whose main feature is the takfir they impose on the majority of other Muslims—declaring them not to be ‘true’ believers and thus outside of their group and liable for death.”

ISIS has intensified its bloodletting over the last year, using social media to amplify its mass beheadings and other fearsome deeds—and thus the group’s power and threat—in line with the recommendations outlined in jihad theoretician Abu Bakr Naji ’s 2006 text “The Management of Savagery.” However, ISIS has reached the limits of unopposed and easy expansion in Iraq as it now faces well-armed forces in non-Sunni areas, bolstered by coalition airstrikes. ISIS gains in Syria continue, but the group appears more contained, having failed to take Kobani from its Kurdish defenders. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Smug vs. Smug: Bill Maher Exposes Howard Dean’s Ignorance in Argument Over Radical Islam: ‘You’re Just Denying The Facts’

Bill Maher Confronts Howard Dean for ‘About as Muslim as I Am’ Comment

BILL MAHER, HBO’S “REAL TIME” HOST: [Saudi] King Abdullah died. He was praised by everyone from Obama to McCain as a “moderate.” Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, said he was a strong advocate of women. In the kingdom, women can’t drive, leave the house without a man, hold a lot of jobs. There’s summary beheading of female criminals. This is what I call the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Muslims.

And Howard I know we disagree on this. I head you say that “ISIS is as Islamic as I am.”

HOWARD DEAN: I’m thrilled you brought it up because the right-wing jumped all over me after the usual suspects distorted what I said. Here’s why I say that. Here’s why I don’t call ISIS Islamic terrorists: it empowers them to do it. What they are, are a group of thugs who are murderers and subhuman. I mean, they do horrible things.

“When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble… We’ve entered the theater of the absurd… But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn’t coming out of their faith community.”

— Bill Maher quoting Tom Friedman

They want us to call them Islamic terrorists because it connects them with a billion people. They are not.

MAHER: But they are connected.

BRET STEPHENS, WALL STREET JOURNAL: But they are Islamic terrorists.

MAHER: And they are connected.

DEAN: They are thugs and murderers.

MAHER: Howard —

DEAN: And for us to — we empower them —

MAHER: Of course they are. And we’re not saying that all Muslims are thugs and murders, but this idea that they are not connected to the religion… Tom Friedman wrote about it this week. He said in an article “Say It Like It Is.” He said:

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble… We’ve entered the theater of the absurd… But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn’t coming out of their faith community.

Do you disagree with that?

DEAN: This is not about political correctness. This is about depriving —

MAHER: Oh, come on. Read the rest of this entry »


The Inevitable Chilling Effect: Despite Its Stand Against the ‘Terrorist’s Veto’, France Treats Offensive Words and Images as Crimes

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 writes: On Sunday, as more than a million people marched through the streets of Paris in support of the right to draw cartoons without being murdered, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication declared that “artistic freedom and freedom of expression stand firm and unflinching at the heart of our common European values.” It added that “France and her allies in the EU safeguard these values and promote them in the world.”

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“In a free society, that is simply not the government’s job. When courts are asked to draw this line, artists and commentators must try to anticipate whether their work will pass muster, which promotes self-censorship.”

In the wake of last week’s massacre at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, perpetrated by men who saw death as a fitting punishment for the crime of insulting Islam, these were stirring words. If only they were true. Sadly, France and other European countries continue to legitimize the grievances underlying the barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo by endorsing the illiberal idea that people have a right not to be offended.

“Sacrilege may upset people, but it does not violate their rights. By abandoning that distinction, avowed defenders of Enlightenment values capitulate to the forces of darkness.”

It is true that France does not prescribe the death penalty for publishing cartoons that offend Muslims. But under French law, insulting people based on their religion is a crime punishable by a fine of €22,500 and six months in jail.

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[Also see – REPEAL THEM NOW: Hate-Speech Codes Won’t Protect Europe From Violence]

In addition to religion, that law covers insults based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. Defamation (as opposed to mere insult) based on any of those factors is punishable by up to a year in prison, and so is incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence. Read the rest of this entry »