Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Turkey instigates diplomatic spat with Bosnian Serbs

It is worth recalling Erdogan’s anti-Jewish rant at Israel’s Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009, itself a diplomatic spat, but topped off with Erdogan walking out of a seemingly benign meeting of diplomats. What ensued is Turkish-instigated military confrontation with Israel which will surely grow after the interception of Turkish terrorist flotilla last year.
With yesterday’s diplomatic spat with the Serb Republic, like with Israel, Turkey seems to be signaling that Bosnian Serbs are Turkey’s next target of confrontation.
Yesterday, Erdogan’s confrontational modus operandi was in full display in the Bosnian Serb Republic when Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu demanded that the flag of the Serb Republic be removed if he is to take part in a scheduled meeting with Nebojsa Radmanovic, Serb representative of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency.
Davutoglu was into 75 minutes of a no-show for a scheduled meeting with Radmanovic when Turkey’s delegation said that the reason for the delay is the hoisted Serbian flag.
Radmanovic promptly canceled the meeting citing that 75 minutes has passed.
“We believe that such behavior by the Turkish side is not exemplary and is a diplomatic incident that will surely have repercussions,” said Serb Republic’s statement on the issue.
Like Peres, Radmanovic does not have significant political power in the Serb Republic, but the instigated incident rhymes in a beat with escalating tensions with Israel that ensued after snubbing of Peres.
Sure, Davutoglu met with Serb Republic’s real power broker, Milord Dodik, and as we see in the picture Davutoglu had no problem with the Serbian flag hanging hoisted on his side of the room.
To Dodik, Davutoglu gave the expected sweet-talking points like, uh uh, like that Turkey supports “interior agreement and dialogue that is matter of domestic political actors and that solutions can be attained only that way”.
Davutoglu’s real reason for his arrival to Banja Luka is not to meet Dodik and talk empty phrases. Davutoglu purpose was expressed more symbolically in his visit to Banja Luka’s mosque where the Imam said that the rebuilding of the mosque will be done with the original rocks – the same rocks Turkish occupiers used to build their power in Bosnia.
M. Bozinovich

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Austria: 'Valley of the Wolves' labelled as 'anti-Semitic'

The Jewish Community in Austria (IKG) has criticised an upcoming movie for "creating anti-Semitic agitation".IKG General Secretary Raimund Fastenbauer said it was "disgusting and cynical" that "Valley of the Wolves" – a Turkish production preceded by a popular TV series – had opened in cinemas in Austria and Germany under the name "Tal der Wölfe" on Thursday’s (27 January) International Holocaust Commemoration Day."Valley of the Wolves" is based on incidents on the MV Mavi Marmara last May. The movie will be screened in 25 countries. The IKG claimed Jewish people have been accused of being involved in international organ trade in prequels of the new film. The community said the moviemakers had "engaged in anti-Semitic agitation" and accused them of "using anti-Semitic clichés like the one about Jewish world domination".German non-government organisations (NGOs) have previously said that the "Valley of the Wolves" cinema and TV productions were "spreading anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic stereotypes."Fastenbauer has called on Austria’s political elite to "give a clear statement" on the issue.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tributes aren’t enough -- European leaders commemorate Shoah but do little to combat modern genocide threats

by Benjamin Weinthal
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an Iranian-German Baha’i, has systematically documented the genocidal acts targeting his community. But German members of parliament have been eerily silent about Iran’s repression of the Baha’i, sexual minorities, women and trade unions, as well as Iranian Holocaust denial, and the country’s notable lack of free speech. Just last October, German parliamentary representatives from the Green Party, Left Party, Social Democrats, Christian Social Union and Christian Democratic Union met with Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the head of Iran’s parliamentary cultural committee, who famously supported the fatwa calling for the murder of British novelist Salman Rushdie. German lawmakers also met with Mohammad-Javad Larijani, head of the Iranian human-rights council, who denied the Holocaust during a Mideast security conference sponsored by the German Foreign Ministry close to Berlin’s Holocaust memorial in 2008 in the heart of Berlin’s government district.
Though Christian Social Union delegation head Peter Gauweiler and his fellow parliamentary colleagues, Monika Grütters of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Luc Jochimsen from the Left Party, Claudia Roth from the Green Party, and the Social Democrats’ Günter Gloser have frequently participated in Holocaust remembrance events in the German Bundestag and across the country, they chose not to criticize the behaviors of their hosts in Iran. According to its statistics, the Auschwitz museum saw a record number of visitors in 2010. While Europeans continue to educate their children about the Holocaust, and the memorial devoted to the six million murdered European Jews attracts growing attendance in Berlin, European political leaders continually fail to call genocide by its name and confront the Iranian regime over its grotesque Holocaust denial. Sadly, there remains a massive disconnect between the steady stream of Holocaust remembrance events in Europe and the diplomatic and political realities. In perhaps the most emasculating episode in recent diplomatic history, openly gay German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle told the tabloid Bunte last year that he did not take his partner with him to Saudi Arabia or other Islamic countries, because “we want to encourage the idea of tolerance around the world, but we don’t want to achieve the opposite either by acting imprudently.” Not one lifetime after the Holocaust, can the German foreign minister truly find no fault with those who claim cultural differences allow them to engage in lethal homophobia and persecution of minority groups? Commemorating the evils of the Holocaust is easy. Expunging genocidal acts and plans today takes courage and concrete action, but is all the more necessary.
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ynet

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Switzerland: Mother-in-law jailed for encouraging 'honor' crime

A Turkish woman living in Bern (Switzerland) will spend three years and six moths behind bars for encouraging the family of her daughter-in-law to carry out an “honor” crime against her.
The 66-year-old woman pressured the woman’s father and brothers into revenge for what she alleged was the woman’s “risqué lifestyle”, a criminal court was told.
The victim was never harmed but she pressed charges three years ago.
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Germany: Part confession in the trial of stone-throwing at Jews

HANOVER(EIP-News) Before the juvenile court in Hanover on Tuesday began the trial of a 15-year-old who allegedly threw stones last summer on a Jewish dance group. He is accused of grievous bodily harm.
The defendant has filed a partial confession on the first Day of trial before the District Court, a court spokesman said.
A Jewish dance group trying to perform on the street in the city of Hanover had stones thrown at them by several Muslim immigrant youths, wherein one dancer was injured.
The attackers want to disturb the performance of the young dancers of the Chaverim (Friends in Hebrew) dance troupe by drawing stones and also shouting anti-Semitic slogans. Someone shouted Juden Raus “Jews out!” through a megaphone, witnesses reported. The Jewish dance group then ended the performance.
The defendant were not assumed “political, anti-Semitic or ethnic motives”, he probably only had “taking part in”, said a court spokesman. Meanwhile, the investigations against four alleged accomplices were exposed.
From this perspective, it is very probable that the accused will be acquitted.
Jewish leaders in Germany have been warning for a number of years that anti-Semitic feelings were widespread in German Muslim communities.
The process will continue late January with further testimonies.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Alleged Kosovo criminals have Swiss residency permits

A report says two Kosovo politicians closely linked to the government and who are accused of involvement in alleged organ trafficking have Swiss residency permits.The SonntagsZeitung newspaper said the Swiss Federal Migration Office has confirmed that both Azem Syla and Kadri Veseli have C permits, which they are only entitled to if their main residences are in Switzerland.In mid-December, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty issued a report into criminal activities involving members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), many of whom are now in the Kosovo government. Syla and Veseli held top posts in the KLA and the political party that succeeded it and forms the current government, the Democratic Party of Kosova. Both men are suspected of involvement in trafficking in human organs and murder. The newspaper says the German secret service listed them in 2005 as important figures in organised crime in Kosovo. The SonntagsZeitung added that neither Syla, who has been reelected to the Kosovo parliament, nor Veseli hide the fact that they live in Kosovo. The cantonal authorities in canton Solothurn, where Syla has a residency permit, told the newspaper they would clarify whether his election to the Kosovo parliament nullifies his right to live in Switzerland. The name of the canton in northwestern Switzerland which gave Veseli a permit has not yet been made public.
Ioannis Michaletos

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Germany: Town Invaded by Islamists

Nearly half a year after “Masjid Taiba” was closed it seems Hamburg´s radical Salafis have found a new home – in peaceful provincial Pinneberg. About 18km northwest of Hamburg City, a small backyard mosque, described by German Verfassungschutz as “a problem”, has turned into the new meeting and worshipping place for the former visitors of “Masjid Taiba”. For weeks long-bearded men, young converts and fulling-veiled women are coming to Pinneberg and meet in the “As-Sunnah Mosque” belonging to the “Muslimische Vereinigung Pinneberg e.V”.One of those mosque visitors is a Rap-Musician formerly known as “Deso Dogg”. The 35 year-old Denis Cuspert of Ghanian origin was born in Berlin and started a successful career as a street gansta rapper, singing about crime, drugs, women and life in the poor Berlin suburbs. In November 2010 “Deso Dogg” announced he would leave the Music business and instead focus on his new faith – Islam. He converted after getting involvement with Germany´s biggest Salafi Dawah organization “Die Wahre Religion”, led by White convert Pierre Vogel (“Abu Hamza”). Rapper “Deso Dogg” is now preacher “Abou Maleeq”.During a Islam seminar some weeks ago “Abou Maleeq” sang a German rap song that caused controversy because it included the lyrics “Allah willing, we fight, die as martyrs, eye on the enemy, in the Name of Allah”. In Pinneberg´s As-Sunnah Mosque, the former Berlin rapper wanted to sing the very same song. Residents and local politicians heard of the upcoming visit and protested against it. Jihad was not welcomed in Pinneberg.In the end “Abou Maleeq” did not rap about martyrdom and jihad but talked about how he came to Islam. The community leaders seemed satisfied. Still, the mosque´s new visitors were seen as increasing problem. Fanaticism slowly but surely streamed into Pinneberg.Last week a picture emerged on a German Jihadi website. “Dirty Jew” the text read. On the picture there was a man crossed out with red paint. “Be careful so Allah is not punishing you in this life with death”, the text said, “Allah´s punishment can reach you anywhere!” The threat is even more concerning as the identity of the man seen on the website is widely known in Pinneberg – it is Wolfgang Seibert, head of Pinneberg´s Jewish Community.
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Nazi ´Butcher of Lyon´ was German Agent in 1960s

Klaus Barbie, the Nazi war criminal also known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was a paid agent of the German intelligence service BND during the 1960s, according to news magazine Der Spiegel. Barbie served as the head of the Gestapo Nazi police in Lyon, France, during World War 2. After the war he fled to Bolivia and lived there under the name Klaus Altmann. He was recruited by the BND – West Germany’s foreign intelligence agency – in 1965, and was employed by it until the winter of 1966/67. The BND file on Barbie, whose codename was Eagle, says he was of “complete German attitude” and a “committed anti-Communist." He provided at least 35 reports and was seen as a reliable source. It is not yet known what information he gave the agents. The BND paid him through a branch of the Chartered Bank of London in San Francisco.
After he was recruited, Barbie took over the Bolivian arm of a German company which sold decommissioned weapons from the German military. According to BND records, Barbie was supposed to report whenever the Bolivians ran short of weapons or ammunition.
The BND ended its work with Barbie in the winter of 1966/67, apparently because of concerns that he could be blackmailed by other intelligence services over the murders he committed as a Nazi. In the early 1970s, French Nazi-hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld tracked Barbie down in Bolivia and obtained his extradition to France in 1983. He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. He died in 1991.
The revelations about Barbie come only a week after the newspaper Bild cited newly released documents that showed German intelligence services knew that former top Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hiding out in Argentina eight years before Israeli agents kidnapped him there in 1960. Eichmann was brought to Israel for trial, where he was convicted and executed in 1962.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Germany: Former terrorism trainee angry at expulsion from navy

A German Muslim who says he trained with a terrorist group in Pakistan has disclosed in a radio interview that he went on to served in the German Navy until he was expelled as a security risk.Yannick Nasir, 23, said he was a trainee in 2003 at a camp run by the radical Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be behind the attacks in Mumbai, India which killed 164 people in 2008.SWR public radio in Germany is set to broadcast programme on Nasir's extraordinary life, Inside al-Qaeda on Wednesday. In extracts made available to other media Sunday, Nasir said he volunteered to join the Navy in 2007 after falling out with his family.He said the Navy appeared to know about his past, because his commanding officer met him privately and said he had been told. Nasir said he served aboard a frigate, the Hessen, patrolling the coast of Lebanon to prevent gun-running by the Islamist group Hezbollah.He also provided evidence about terrorist groups to German authorities and testified in a German court against his stepfather, Aleem Nasir, who was convicted of supporting terrorism through fund- raising.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Germany: Islamist website that calls for violence against Jewish community leader has been closed

NEUMUNSTER (EIP-News) Yesterday evening investigators of the state criminal office in Schleswig-Holstein, enforced two search warrants for apartments in the cities of Kiel and Neumünster.
The investigation on suspicion of threats and insults was directed against the 18 year-old Islam convert Harry Machura, (who appears in the Internet as Isa al-Khattab), operator of the german hosted website “islamic-hacker-union”.
About this website were published in a short time sequence threats and insults against the president of the Jewish community Pinneberg in connection with his critical views on the Assunah Mosque in Pinneberg.
Investigators secured evidence during the searches, as well as the disk of the computer system of the suspicious person, who is well known by the police. In addition, the blocking of the website was reached through the provider.
After a hearing with fingerprinting procedures, the 18-year-old was released by the police. The evaluations of the seized evidence of the ongoing investigations will now take some time to complete.
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Switzerland: Jewish writer sentenced for “racism against Islam”

BERN (EIP-News) The lecture tour of the Israeli journalist and Jewish theologian Avi Lipkin (aka Victor Mordecai – photo), before the minarets vote in Switzerland, will have legal consequences.
Lipkin warned that time, that minarets are no steeples, but “nails in the coffin of the western countrys” and he declared, using the definitions of the Bible, that Allah has more the traits of Satan rather than God.
Because of this for Muslims outrageous statements, Lipkin was now convicted under Swiss anti-racism law.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clemens Heni: Forget About Nazis, Talk About “Islamophobia”

This article was published in New York City in “The Algemeiner Journal,” FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 16 SHVAT 5771 VOL. XXXVIII NO. 1996
This week, there was a book presentation in Vienna, Austria, about ‘race, as a political and social construction’. One of the panelists at the event is Prof. Wolfgang Benz, head of the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at Berlin’s Technical University. Benz has recently come under heavy criticism because he currently equates anti-Semitism with criticism of Islamism.
It started with a conference on December 8, 2008 at his institute in Berlin, entitled “concept of the enemy Muslim – concept of the enemy Jew.” The announcement itself drew clear parallels from the history of anti-Semitism in the 19th century and today’s situation for Muslims.
Well: who was attacked on 9/11? Who organizes conferences like “A World without Zionism” and denies the Holocaust? And who, by the way, organizes rallies in the heart of Berlin as well as in San Franciso, London or any other major city in the Western world in January 2009 screaming “Death to the Jews”, “Olmert is a son of a dog”, or “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas?”
Who gave some of the nastiest, most anti-Semitic and anti-American speeches at the United Nations in the last years at their General Assemblies in September? Are these examples proof for “Islamophobia?”
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Johann von Leers and Walt/Mearsheimer

By Clemens Heni, Ph.D.
The publishing of the book “Israel Lobby” in 2007 both in the US and Germany indicates an increasing hatred of Israel and – in the case of Germany – an increasing anti-American political culture. Anti-Americanism was the response in Europe and Germany to the events of 9/11. Some left-wingers in Germany ordered “Bin Laden cocktails” on that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, in their favorite bars. Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are close allies, particularly in Germany.
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Afghanistan: Senior German al Qaeda leader killed in assault

A German national who served as a senior member of al Qaeda's external operations branch as well as a leader in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was killed during fighting last year in Afghanistan.Bekkay Harrach, a German national who operated along the Afghan-Pakistani border, was killed while leading an assault on the Bagram Airfield in central Afghanistan, according to a martyrdom statement recently released by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Harrach was also known as Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Rally and information desk: No deals with the Iranian regime! Cancel the multi-billion Swiss Franc deal of EGL!

Monday, January, 24th 2011, 9:30 am , Kongresszentrum Trafo in Baden, Brown-Bovery-Platz
By conducting business with Iran, companies like Holcim, Zeochem, Sulzer, ABB or Bühler contribute to keep the Iranian regime alive. In conjunction with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), AXPO-subsidiary EGL has signed a multi-billion Swiss Franc deal with the Iranian regime. This deal was brought off with the support of Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey. The intended gas supplies from Iran will make Switzerland a strategic partner of the regime for many years to come. Even though the EGL is willing to refrain from Iranian gas in the "initial phase" of the TAP, still the supply contract with Iran remains unaffected. Moreover, the most recent sanctions adopted by the Swiss government do not afflict the multi-billion contract as they do not contain a ban on natural gas imports.
Companies that continue doing business with Iran support a regime that that persecutes and murders dissidents, national and religious minorities, women and homosexuals. The Iranian nuclear and missile program is a direct threat to its neighboring states, Israel, the West and the Iranian population. The Iranian regime supports the international jihadist terrorism, denies the Holocaust and hunts down the freedom movement, whose proponents are risking their lives fighting for a secular and democratic Iran.
We Demand:
- The complete and immediate cancellation of the multi-billion Swiss Franc deal with the Iranian regime!
- A European ban on oil and natural gas imports from Iran!
- No dialogue with the regime, but support of the secular opposition!
STOP THE BOMB will not only protest in front of the Kongresszentrum but ask critical questions about EGL’s Iran-business inside the annual meeting as well.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Protest and event in Siegen -- "No deals with the Iranian Regime!"

On Saturday, January 22, 2011, 2.00 pm, the pro-Israel-Initiative "NEVERAGAIN" and the campaign STOP THE BOMB call for a protest rally against the Iran business of the Bergrohr GmbH in Siegen. The rally will take place in Siegen-Weidenau, Siegstr. 70 (Map). Please find the call for protests below, and there's also a facebook page for this event.
On the same day there will also be a
Lecture and discussion with Jonathan Weckerle (STOP THE BOMB, Berlin)
The event will take place on 7.30 pm in the Siegbergstr. 1 in Siegen (Map). Jonathan Weckerle will speak about the German-Iranian relations, the situation in Iran and the threat to Israel.
Call for protests:
On January 22, 2011 the Pro-Israel Initiative „NEVERAGAIN“ and the campaign STOP THE BOMB call for a protest in front of the Bergrohr GmbH in Siegen (Germany). Our protest is aimed against a company that supports the inhuman regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran so openly and directly like only few others. Bergrohr delivers its specialized pipes preferably direct to Iranian state companies, not fewer than 42 such projects are proudly listed as “references” on its website, the whole Iran business is likely to be far bigger. Bergrohr supports mainly projects in Iran’s oil and gas sector, which accounts for 50% of the state budget and 80% of the export revenues of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Bergrohr thus adds to the support of the regime, the revenues made with the help of Bergrohr are going to the Iranian repressive apparatus, to the torture and execution institutions, to the nuclear and missile program and the support of Islamist terror worldwide. Additionally the Iranian Bergrohr manager Dr. Ali Ghazanfari is vice-president of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in this function he promotes German business with the Iranian regime and publicly speaks out against sanctions.
We will protest against this scandalous support of the Iranian regime on January 22 with the slogan “No deals with the Iranian regime!” We will especially show our solidarity with Israel, the Jewish state threatened by the nuclear program of the anti-Semitic and holocaust denying regime in Teheran, and with the Iranian freedom movement, that despite bloody repression and terror bravely fights the illegitimate and dictatorial regime. Because of the latest developments, we will also call for the immediate freeing of the political prisoners in Iran, including the two German journalists Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch, who are imprisoned together with many Iranian human rights activists and members of the opposition.
Free Iran Now!
Solidarity with Israel!
No deals with the Iranian Regime!
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Europe's Muslim Lobby

In Germany, home to Europe's largest Muslim population in absolute terms, the powerful Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), itself a branch of the Turkish government's religious affairs authority, has succeeded in persuading the city of Cologne to approve the construction of a new mega mosque. The futuristic mosque will hold up to 4,000 worshippers, and will have a large dome and two 55-meter (180 feet) minarets, each as tall as 18-story office towers. The 4,500-square-meter (48,000-square-foot) mosque, which has a price tag of €20 million ($26 million), is being financed by donations from more than 800 Muslim groups inside and outside Germany. Critics of the project say the mosque is a deliberate effort to spoil Cologne's skyline by taking attention away from the city's Gothic cathedral, a globally famous Christian landmark.
In recent months, Muslim lobby groups have also persuaded the German government to adapt Germany's secular education system so that it caters to Islamic preferences. The German Education Ministry has, for example, agreed to fund Islamic studies at several state universities to train Muslim prayer leaders and religion teachers. Germany's Education Minister, Annette Schavan, says: "We want as many imams as possible to be educated in Germany. Imams are bridge builders between their congregations and the communities in which their mosques stand." She states further that Germany would need 2,000 imams and teachers if all 16 states offered Islam courses.
Elsewhere in Germany, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Muslim lobby groups are working with the Culture Ministry to design Islam-friendly classes for public schools. The new guidelines recommend cancelling all school trips during the month of Ramadan; taking into account the sensitivities of Muslims when planning internships and school events; and assigning less schoolwork during Ramadan because fasting could lead to loss of performance and concentration among Muslim students.
In the German state of Lower Saxony, the German Muslim Central Council is urging the Education Ministry to include Islam in its schools' core curriculum as part of a politically correct initiative to counter growing anti-Islam sentiments in the country. In Berlin, the Ministry for Education, Science and Research recently published a guide called "Islam and School," which gives teachers practical advice on how to avoid offending Muslim students.
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hudson-ny

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Austria: Saddam’s fans gathered in Vienna, Muslim journalist claims

More than 100 people gathered in Vienna to commemorate the death of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, it has been claimed.
Amer Albayati, a journalist and founder of the Association of Liberal Muslims in Austria, told the Kronen Zeitung today (Tues) he has information that 120 supporters of the dictator came together in Vienna recently to mark the fourth anniversary of the day he died.
Hussein was brought to trial after being captured by US American troops in December 2003. He was executed by hanging on 30 December 2006.
“Around 120 people gathered in Vienna-Landstraße to commemorate his death. They are of the opinion that Saddam Hussein was a good martyr,” Albayati said.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Berlin-Rome-Tehran Axis

by Benjamin Weinthal
It is always a good sign when the Iranian regime and European countries get rankled over articles examining the ways in which European trade is propping up Iran’s rulers and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. It is one of those dirty secrets that broad swaths of the European media and politicians avoid like the plague.
One such article is my Sunday Jerusalem Post dispatch, in which I reported on Germany’s encouraging trade with Iran. Emmanuel Nahshon, the deputy chief of mission for the Israeli Embassy in Germany, told me that two seminars jointly sponsored by the German Economic Ministry and the city of Bayreuth’s chamber of commerce to promote German-Iranian trade “give Iran a feeling of support for its policies, including its ruthless and brutal repression of human rights” in the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s state-controlled newspaper Kayhan News — the main propaganda organ of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — got bent out of shape and reacted on Monday with its standard Pavlovian response about the “Zionist newspaper” Jerusalem Post and “Israel’s fright over German-Iranian trade relations.”
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commentarymagazine.com

The Italo-German Double Game in Iran

by Giulio Meotti and Benjamin Weinthal
In 2010, Germany and Italy put themselves further on the wrong side of history. Although both countries agreed last summer to support new European Union sanctions against Iran, the latest data show that both countries have increased their trade with the Islamic Republic. As Tehran continues its illicit nuclear program, Berlin and Rome are extending a commercial life line to the regime.
Despite Chancellor Angela Merkel's repeated promises to reduce trade with the mullahs, German imports from Iran climbed to €690 million in the first 10 months of last year, surpassing by 28% the total 2009 import volume of €538 million, according to figures provided by the German Federal Statistics Office. German exports to Iran rose 5% to €3.164 billion between January and October 2010, compared to €3.013 billion during the same period in 2009.
Holger Beutel, a spokesman for the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), told us in early January that his office last year had approved 16 dual-use deals to Iran. Among the products that his office green-lighted, and which can be used for both civilian and military purposes, were "replacement parts for rescue helicopters, valves for a steel work, a liquid jet vacuum pump for water treatment in connection with desalinization, and protective clothing for medical production."
The BAFA spokesman said that some of the merchandise—for example, the protective gear—would now be banned for export to Iran under new EU sanctions, because such clothing could be used in chemical-weapons facilities.
The Hamburg-based European-Iranian trade bank (EIH), which the U.S. Treasury has designated as a nuclear proliferator but which Mrs. Merkel refuses to shut down, just facilitated a transaction for Indian crude oil purchases from Iran. Last month, the Reserve Bank of India said all trade-related payments with Iran had to be processed outside the Asian Clearing House, making it harder for Indian companies to do business with Iran.
You'd think the recent European, not to mention U.N. and U.S. sanctions, would make German efforts to expand trade with Iran more of a risky prospect. Think again. Last November, the Marriott Hotel in Hamburg hosted the "Iran Business Forum," organized by the Berlin-based company IPC-GmbH, to jump-start "investment possibilities in the northwestern provinces of Iran." The program listed Iran's ambassador to Germany, Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, as the keynote speaker. This is the same Attar who, according to Iranian Kurds and human rights groups sanctioned a massacre of Iranian Kurds during his tenure as governor of the Kurdistan and West Azarbaijan provinces between 1980 to 1985.
Last week the Bayreuth Chamber of Commerce, with support from the German Economics Ministry, held two seminars addressing "Export control Iran" and "Inspection and certification for export to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria and Syria." According to a description of the program, "Markets in the Middle East have enjoyed considerable growth in recent years and remain very interesting to German exporters." An additional series of seminars are planned this year to boost German exports to Iran.
Italians, too, are "having a wonderful boom in Iran," as Sandro Bonomi, the president of the Federation of the Italian Associations of Mechanical and Engineering Industries, told Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore last month. According to Mr. Bonomi's organization, Italian robotics exports to Iran jumped 384% in the first three quarters of 2010, while exports of steam turbines and thermic machines to Iran rose 236% and 106% respectively. The overall export of engineering products to Iran from Italy rose 50% to €258 million in the first three quarters of last year, from €172 millions in the same period of 2009.
Italian imports of Iranian goods had an even bigger boom. Italy bought €3.744 billion worth of Iranian goods in the first three quarters of 2010, according to the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade, up 167% from the €1.401 billion it imported in the same period of 2009. Italy's imports of Iranian oil ballooned by 90% last year, according to Unione Petrolifera, Italy's petroleum association. Meanwhile, Italy's energy giant Eni told Reuters last month that it will continue to receive Iranian crude for at least another three years, as Tehran still owes the company about $1 billion from previous deals.
If Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is serious about his pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he ought to find ways to help Italians buy oil from other sources. Iran's vulnerability centers on its oil profits, which serve as a crutch for its ailing economy.
But in October 2010, shortly before EU sanctions on Iran went into effect, Mr. Berlusconi himself undercut European resolve when he said, "I fear that sanctions will not bring success," and that "a gentle and circumspect approach would be more helpful." It's hard not to see the connection between Italy's commercial interests and its leniency toward the Iranian regime.
During a recent conference in Rome titled "Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Italy: Shared Responsibilities and Differences in an Evolving World," Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stefania Craxi declared that "Iran has the right to possess and use nuclear energy." A few weeks earlier, former prime minister Romani Prodi paid a personal visit to the ayatollahs where he participated at a press conference with Iranian officials, including Alaeddin Boroujderdi, the president of Iran's committee on national security who a few days before Mr. Prodi's visit had threatened to "destroy Israel."
Italy's government has been generous in honoring its Iranian business partners. Last summer, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, following the recommendation from the ministry for foreign affairs, knighted the former Iranian ambassador to Rome, Abolfazl Zohrevand, and the president and general secretary of the Iranian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Mohammed Bekhish and Jamshid Haghoo. "Italy is Iran's front door to Europe," Mr. Bekhish declared at the ceremony where he was made a "Cavaliere"—the same title carried by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Without the help of the two European economic powerhouses, Iran would have considerably less money with which to build nuclear weapons, and to finance terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Unfortunately, it appears Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Berlusconi still consider their countries' combined €10 billion trade relationship with Iran to be more important than stopping a nuclear Iran.
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Rhineland-Palatinate: Ministry wants schools to be Islam-friendly

The Culture Ministry of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, led by the SPD, plans Islam-friendly classes, reports news magazine Focus, based on a circular currently being distributed to teachers. The guidelines recommend offering sex-ed in gender-homogeneous groups and segregated gym and swimming classes from puberty. School trips should, as much as possible, not be planned for the month of Ramadan. The sensitivities of Muslims should be taken into account when planning internships and school events. Fasting could lead to loss of performance and concentration among the students, the authors warn. It is difficult if they have to deal with a lot of schoolwork during Ramadan, and so flexible solutions should be found.Malte Blümke, head of the state's teacher's association criticized the project and said it was anti-enlightenment and anti-emancipation, and that it's given up on the tradition of learning together.The new guidelines were not discussed with the schools, teachers' associations, and school boards. The teacher's association urges Culture Minister Doris Ahnen (SPD) to immediately withdraw the guidelines. The head of the German teacher's association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said the circular was a 'guide on how to stir up conflicts with my students', and said it was a 'segregation-paper' and not an 'integration paper'.
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Europe On Trial"What is the Judge Going to Find Me Guilty of, Quoting the Koran?"

by A. Millar
When Austrian anti-sharia activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff stood in court November 28 to defend herself against the charge of "incitement of hatred," her alleged "crime" was to have given a seminar on the subject of Islam in Europe, during which she quoted the Koran and several prominent Islamic scholars.
The case was suspended until January 18, when she will be back in court facing the possibility of receiving a sentence of up to three years in jail. In the meantime, although the Austrian media has largely refused to report the case, Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff has been garnering attention elsewhere for her activism. She recently visited Israel with a small delegation of European politicians. Sarah Palin has called the delegation to offer her support, and author Bat Ye'or has also sent a letter of support.
"It is so important to fight this fight," Sabaditsch-Wolff said recently, "and not to give up. I feel if ever I have to be in court, this is a very worthy cause."
Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff's legal problems began when she presented a three-part seminar to the Freedom Education Institute, attached to the Austrian Freedom Party. Veronika Dolna, a young journalist for the Left-wing News magazine attended the first two parts, recording the second part and about 30 minutes of the first.
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hudson-ny

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kosovans turn blind eye to fake foreign marriages

Each time she goes to sleep, Valbona (35), from Peja, western Kosovo, looks at her wedding photograph taken 13 years ago. Beside her, she sees her smiling husband.Today, that moment is just a memory. Two years ago, her husband remarried a German woman. Not only did Valbona, mother of their four children aged four to 11, know of his plan, she approved it.This is because Valbona is not really divorced in the eyes of her family or the wider community.Many Kosovar Albanian men divorce their first wives by mutual consent, departing for western Europe where they find new spouses who enable them to obtain residency papers.They leave their children behind in Kosovo so that they can pose as single men and remarry fast. Once they have permanent residency in Germany, or other EU states, they divorce their second wives, go back to their first ones and bring the family to the West.Germany is a popular destination for Kosovars seeking foreign wives, and eventually an EU passport, because there is already a large Albanian expatriate population living there.The women that these Kosovar Albanians marry in the West believe they have found ideal, attentive husbands.However, once the men have gained permanent residency in their host country – after five years of marriage to a citizen in Germany – they often demand a divorce.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Erdogan blasts Merkel for comments on Turkish Cyprus

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to apologise following her criticism of Turkish policies in the Cyprus conflict, in remarks published on Saturday. "Such attitudes and statements do not give the image of a far-sighted and visionary leader," the popular Vatan daily quoted Erdogan as saying. "We expect Mrs Merkel to review her history knowledge and apologise to the Turkish side, which has made all sacrifices for a settlement on the island," he said.During a visit to Cyprus on Tuesday, Merkel praised the Greek Cypriots for efforts to end the island's 36-year division and blamed the Turkish Cypriots. "We see the many steps you are taking and we also see how the Turkish side is not making the adequate response," she said, addressing Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, a Greek Cypriot whose government is the island's internationally recognised administration.She also stressed Turkey had been punished by sanctions in its accession negotiations with the European Union. "The Turks kept their word at the referendum. Who did not? The Greek Cypriots. And who was awarded? The Greek Cypriots," Erdogan said, referring to a 2004 referendum on a UN-drafted plan to reunify Cyprus.The plan was approved by the Turkish Cypriots, but rejected by the Greek Cypriot side.Shortly afterwards, Cyprus, represented by the Greek Cypriots, joined the European Union, with the Turkish Cypriots left out in the cold. Erdogan slammed the EU for having failed to keep promises it made at the time to ease the economic isolation of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).He stressed Ankara would not back down from its Cyprus policy in return for speeding up its EU accession, according to Vatan.The Cyprus conflict remains a major stumbling block in Turkey's membership bid as it refuses to recognise Cyprus in its current state, and is the only country to acknowledge the TRNC, where it maintains a military presence.In 2006, the EU froze eight of the 35 chapters the accession talks cover over Turkey's refusal to allow Greek Cypriot vessels use its air and sea ports under a trade pact with the EU.Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey occupied the north in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting the island with Greece.
the local

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Demolition of the Yugoslav Tribunal

By Edward S. Herman
A review of Germinal Chivikov's book Srebrenica: The Star Witness (orig. Srebrenica: Der Kronzeuge, 2009, transl. by John Laughland) - "a devastating indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)."
The book shows that the Tribunal “does not behave according to the traditions of the rule of law”--it is a political rather than judicial institution, and has played this political role well. It is not the first work to effectively assail the Tribunal—Laughland’s own book Travesty (Pluto: 2006), and Michael Mandel’s How America Gets Away With Murder (Pluto: 2004) are powerful critiques. But Civikov’s book is unique in its intensive and very effective focus on a single witness, Drazen Erdemovic, and the ICTY’s prosecutors and judges handling of that witness. Erdemovic was the prosecution’s “star witness,” the only one in the trials of various Serb military and political figures to have claimed actual participation in a massacre of Bosnian Muslim prisoners. It is therefore of great interest and importance that Civikov is able to show very convincingly that this key witness was a charlatan, fraud, and mercenary, and that the ICTY’s prosecutors and judges effectively conspired to allow this witness’s extremely dubious and contradictory claims to be accepted without verification or honest challenge.
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balkanstudies.org

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dangers of ignoring the contrasts in Euro hatreds

By Benjamin Weinthal
It is now a commonplace in Europe to regard antisemitism and the more recent phenomenon, "Islamophobia", as much of a muchness. Yet there are important historical distinctions between the hatred of Jews and anti-Muslim prejudice. While European Muslims are without question subject to discrimination and violence, no reasonable observer could claim that they face the prospect of a Final Solution-style extermination plan.
Ironically, the Berlin Centre for Research on Antisemitism cemented the marriage between Islamophobia and antisemitism at a conference just over two years ago. Despite its name, this is a body that has largely ignored both Islamic antisemitism and expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment in post-Holocaust Germany.
A week from now, the Moses Mendelssohn Centre, based in Potsdam, is sponsoring a second academic conference devoted to the "Concept of the Enemy Islam and Antisemitism" in the Bavarian city of Tutzing. In the past, the Mendelssohn Centre's director, Dr Julius Schoeps, has rejected such comparisons as unhelpful but it seems there is now a new political climate.
Last month, Richard Herzinger, of the German daily Die Welt, neatly captured the wrongheadedness of Europe's new political conviction when he stated that "it is not 'Islamophobia' that is the antisemitism of the 21st century, but antisemitism."
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Petition for a symbolic boycott of Cologne

Mayor of Cologne JürgenRoters (Social Democratic) and its sister city partnerships,Cologne-Tel Aviv and Cologne-Bethlehem, issued a joint statement lastweek blasting the long-standing anti- Israel exhibit in hiscommunity’s bustling Cathedral Square pedestrian-onlyzone.
According to the resolution, “The anti-Semitic andanti- Israel presentation of the socalled ‘Cologne Wailing Wall’spreads hatred against humans and feeds anti-Israelresentments.”Members of the major parties on theCologne city council, representatives of the Catholic and Evangelicalchurches, the Society for Christian- Jewish Relations in Cologne, andthe local Jewish community also signed the resolution.Rotersand the Cologne authorities called on Walter Hermann, the organizerof the “Cologne Wailing Wall,” to “immediately remove theinstallation that shows contempt for humanity” and said the city ofCologne would no longer accept Hermann’s exhibit and approach. «
What the article does not say:
If Jürgen Roters really wants to getrid of this socalled Wailing Wall he has to complete his resolution withlegal steps together with the Chief of the local police. He is notwilling to do it.
please sign the following Open Letter to urge him to do so:
http://www.lobbyingforum.com/petition-detail.aspx?id=265
Please sign this petition for asymbolic boycott of Cologne while this installation of hat anddesinformation remains, thank you.
Reiner Schleicher
The Petition

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Data shows German trade with Iran increased in 2010

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
BERLIN – Despite new rounds of UN and EU sanctions in 2010, German-Iranian export and import trade showed increases last year, according to an examination of new German government trade statistics last week by The Jerusalem Post.The fresh data also revealed that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration’s approved 16 dual-use transactions with Teheran, which can be used for military and civilian purposes, and remain a major concern for the Israeli government because of the possibility that Iran can apply the equipment for a military application.Ambassador to Berlin Yoram Ben-Ze’ev and Israeli security officials have over the years criticized flourishing German- Iranian economic relations, which provide sorely needed sophisticated technology to Iran’s government.Trade numbers from the German Federal Statistical Office reveal that German export trade to Iran increased from $4,159,920,000 between January and October 2009 to $4,175,687,000 during the same time period in 2010. The overall export and import trade data for November and December is not yet available, according to the office. Iranian imports to Germany climbed to $909,176 between January and October 2010 when compared to $574,261 during the identical time frame last year.
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jpost.com

Germany: Foreign minister may ask Pakistan to act against German nationals training for jihad in tribal regions

Good luck with that. "German FM's visit: Pakistan may be asked to act against German jihadists," from the Express Tribune, January 8:
ISLAMABAD: The presence of German nationals with al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan's tribal regions is likely to be discussed when German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hold talks with political and military leadership here this weekend. He is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Saturday.
He is also likely to meet the head of Pakistan's powerful spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Officials said the German foreign minister is likely to urge key officials in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to "eliminate German militants undergoing terrorism training in tribal regions". According to an estimate, around 150 'homegrown' German militants have joined al-Qaeda in various parts of the world.
The Express Tribune sources from the North Waziristan agency said there was a whole town called 'Jermaney Mujahideen Kalley' (village of German holy warriors), whose inhabitants living under constant fear of drone attacks.
jihadwatch

Monday, January 10, 2011

West German secret service found Eichmann years before Israeli agents apprehended him

Eichmann trial in Jerusalem
BERLIN. German and American intelligence services knew where Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was hiding eight years before Israeli agents apprehended him, according to documents released this week.
German Daily paper Bild reported on Saturday, that it had succeeded in getting the German federal intelligence service, the BND, to release microfilm of documents which show it knew how to get to the man known as the architect of the Holocaust, back in 1952.
“SS-Obersturmbannführer EICHMANN is not to be found in Egypt but is residing in Argentina under the fake name CLEMENS. He’s address is known to the editor of the German newspaper ‘Der Weg’ in Argentina,” says an index card dated 1952, according to the paper.
There is also evidence to show that the BND told the Americans about Eichmann’s flight to Argentina – CIA documents released in 2006 show that the BND told a US agent of his whereabouts in 1958.
Eichmann, who was arrested by Israeli agents in 1960, was hiding in Argentina under the name Ricardo Klement. He had escaped Germany with the help of Nazi sympathisers and had even managed to smuggle his family out of Austria to join him in Argentina.
After Mossad agents took him to Israel, the new Jewish state put him on trial and sentenced him to death in 1961, hanging him in 1962.
“This index card is in fact a sensation. Until now it was not known that the West German secret service knew about Eichmann’s hiding place eight years before his arrest,” historian Bettina Stangeth, who has been working on a new book about Eichmann for the last six years, told Bild.
eip-news

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Are EU sanctions influencing Iran's behavior?

By Benjamin Weinthal
What happened with regard to the German hostages in Iran is symptomatic of Germany's overall relationship with Iran. [She is referring to Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch, two German journalists seized by the Iranian government in mid-October for interviewing family members of Sakineh Mohammad Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery.] Berlin is reluctant to impose harsh sanctions and continues to be a major trade partner of the Islamic Republic. The German economy is reacting with caution to the possible tightening of economic sanctions against Iran. Supposedly, Teheran would no longer have reason to repay its debts once the guarantees for Iran (Hermes-Bürgschaften) are further reduced, or discontinued altogether. This would include outstanding payments in the amount of approximately 5.2 billion euros; which, in the event that they are not repaid, the Federal Treasury would have to cover.With more than 1,900 members, the Chamber of Commerce in Teheran is among Germany¹s largest foreign trade chambers.The hostage crisis shows how much Germany is under pressure now: As long as Teheran holds the hostages, Berlin will think twice about acting against the Islamic Republic and/or jumping on Washington¹s bandwagon. The German government needs to take a tougher line and stance toward Iran.
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jpost

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Protest in Bayreuth on January 12: No deals with the Iranian Regime!

January 12, 2011, 12.00 pm (Noon)
Bayreuth, IHK-Bildungszentrum, Friedrich-von-Schiller-Str. 2 a (Picture).
STOP THE BOMB calls for protests against two Iran seminars of the Chamber for Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Bayreuth.
The aim of the seminars is to show companies how to do business with Iran despite the UN and EU sanctions that have been passed after great efforts in summer 2010. While major German companies like Siemens or the two big insurers Munich Re and Allianz are increasingly pulling out of Iran business, especially German mid-tier companies keep on doing business with the regime. Despite of that both seminars are announced on the website of the Chamber for Industry and Trade in Oberfranken and on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology. This again shows the gap between rhetoric and reality of Germany's Iran policy.
Seminars like the ones announced in Bayreuth are undermining the international policy of sanctions against Iran. They are encouraging the Iranian regime and are providing it with important resources for the regime’s internal and external terror.
In a situation when the Iranian regime gets ever closer to a nuclear weapon, when it is openly threatening and agitating against the West and especially Israel and when it is oppressing and terrorizing the Iranian population, such events are a scandal. The fact that they take place while the Iranian regime holds the two German journalists Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch as political hostages, because they tried to interview the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who is threatened to be stoned, is a fatal political signal. The rulers in Tehran are thus encouraged to continue their aggressive policy without having to fear consequences.
Thus, STOP THE BOMB calls for protests against the Iran seminars of the IHK in Bayreuth:
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Germany: Muslim girls forced to lead double lives

Young Muslim women are often forced to lead double lives in Europe. They have sex in public restrooms and stuff mobile phones in their bras to hide their secret existences from strict families. They are often forbidden from visiting gynecologists or receiving sex ed. In the worst cases, they undergo hymen reconstruction surgery, have late-term abortions or even commit suicide.Gülay has heard it from her mother so many times: An unmarried woman who has lost her virginity might as well be a whore.Gülay, 22, lives in Berlin's Neukölln, a district that is home to a high number of Muslim immigrants, and has little in common with the cliché of the "girl with the headscarf." She wears tight jeans, low-cut blouses and has long hair that she doesn't keep covered. She is self-confident and looks people in the eye. Gülay plans to begin a training program to work as an airport ground hostess next year. At first glance, she comes across as a poster child for successful integration.Nevertheless, she is adamantly opposed to seeing her name in print, just as she would never meet a journalist for an interview in one of the hookah bars in her neighborhood that are so popular among Arab and Turkish immigrants. She is worried that someone could overhear her talking about her family's strict morals, and about the rigid code of honor in her social environment that prevents girls from having sex before marriage and forbids them from having boyfriends.Gülay is thinking about how best to sum up her dilemma. She nervously stirs her tea before launching into a litany of complaints. "The boys can screw around as much as they want, but if a girl does it she can expect to be shot," she says. "That's just sick." She first had sex five years ago, and it completely changed her life. Since then, she has been deathly afraid of being branded by her family as a dishonorable girl -- or, worst yet, punished and cast out.
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DER SPIEGEL Throws Islamophobia Dreck @ the German Freedom Party

by sheikyermami
“Riding the Wave of Islamophobia”
(According to the WoJ dictionary an “Islamophobe” is a non-Muslim who knows too much about Islam)
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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Austria: Coptic community under protection after authorities find "hit list" of 150 Copts targeted for attack

And the threats on Muslim websites keep coming. These guys must be a bunch of Islamophobes, to be associating Islam with violence like that. Or, they're a very busy gaggle of Zionist conspirators. It couldn't possibly be anything else, could it?
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jihadwatch.org

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Muslims seen as threat by 4 in 10 French, Germans

Four in 10 French and German people see Muslims living in their country as a "threat," according to a poll published Tuesday by French newspaper Le Monde.
Forty-two percent of French people and 40 percent of Germans questioned by pollster IFOP said they considered the presence of a Muslim community in their country "a threat" to their national identity, Le Monde said.
The findings of the study "go beyond linking immigration with security or immigration with unemployment, to linking Islam with a threat to identity," said Jerome Fourquet of IFOP, quoted by Le Monde.
Of the sample of people questioned for the survey in early December, 68 percent in France and 75 percent in Germany said they considered Muslims "not well integrated in society."
Out of these, 61 percent of French and 67 percent of Germans blamed this perceived failure on "refusal" by Muslims to integrate.
Eighteen percent of those who said Muslims were not integrated in France and 15 percent in Germany blamed it on "racism and lack of openness by certain French and German people."
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, estimated at about six million, originating largely from its former colonies in North Africa. It has passed a law banning the wearing of the face-covering Muslim veil in public.
Germany received vast numbers of migrant workers, most of them from Muslim Turkey, from the 1960s. German federal authorities estimate its current Muslim population at up to 4.3 million.
expatica

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

An End to ‘Critical Dialogue’ with Iran?

By Benjamin Weinthal
Berlin — Europe in general and Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in particular have traditionally pursued a dual strategy of “critical dialogue” and “change through trade” in their efforts to influence the Iranian regime. The ongoing German hostage crisis is yet another example of what a flop this cognitive-behavioral therapy for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and company has been.
German journalists Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch, who were arrested in mid-October for interviewing family members of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani — a woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery — have spent 86 days incarcerated in a prison located in the city of Tabriz.
This comes after Iran, perhaps sensing President Obama’s extended hand as sign of feebleness, created in July 2009 a second American hostage crisis (replicating the 1979 model), seizing three United States citizens, Sarah Shourd, Shane M. Bauer and Joshua F. Fattal, for simply hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan, situated near Iran’s border. (Shourd has since been released.) America’s reliance on Swiss diplomacy — their foreign ministry represents U.S. interests in Iran — has produced lackluster results. The Swiss are considered to be the most pro-Iranian European country, largely because of their massive economic interests in Iran.
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle initially courted the Iranians with quiet diplomacy peppered with critical dialogue. His Iranian counterpart assured him that both reporters would be granted family visits during Christmas. The Iranians reneged. After another dose of critical dialogue, the family members along with Germany’s ambassador to Iran, Bernd Erbel, were granted access to the reporters based on “Islamic mercy.” When Erbel assumed his post in Tehran, he highlighted on the German embassy’s website that he was looking forward to “preserving the historical treasure of the German-Iranian friendship.”
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nationalreview

Dutch Police search train from Germany for explosives

AMSTERDAM – (ANP) Dutch police early Tuesday were searching for explosives on a passenger train from Germany to Amsterdam that was halted and evacuated in Barneveld, the Netherlands, local authorities announced. The police halted the train after German authorities said a female passenger on the train had indicated “suspicious behaviour” by another passenger, Dutch news agency ANP reported, quoting a police spokesman. Daphne van Hagen, a spokeswoman for Barneveld council, told news agency AFP: “A team of police specialised in explosives is checking whether there are explosives on the train.” Some 300 passengers had been taken off and transferred onto buses while nearby farms had also been evacuated, Van Hagen said. ANP said the suspect passenger on the train from Frankfurt had got off before the evacuation process. Dutch police were not immediately available to confirm the reports or to give further details.

German diplomat attacked with döner knives

A high-ranking German diplomat in the Turkish capital Ankara has reportedly been attacked by three men wielding döner kebab knives following a traffic altercation.
The man was driving home with his wife in a car with diplomatic plates on the evening of December 27 when he flashed his headlights at another vehicle for driving recklessly, according to local media reports.The driver of the other car then began to follow the diplomat and cut him off at a petrol station. At that point, the German got out of his car and started calling for help just before three men attacked him with the long, serrated knives used to slice the popular Turkish snack döner kebab from spits of rotating meat.The diplomat, who suffered wounds on his stomach and right leg, was taken to the hospital after the attack. The German embassy reported on Tuesday that the victim was now in a stable condition.The döner knife assailants have since been arrested and are being held on remand for gross bodily harm. The police do not at the moment suspect a political motive in the attack.Turkish daily Hürriyet reported the diplomat, who was visited by officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and a member of the country’s Constitutional Court, did not blame Turkey for the incident.
The Local

Monday, January 03, 2011

German Coptic Christians also threatened, bishop tells paper

Germany's Coptic Christians have received threats of attack by radical Muslims and asked for protection, a bishop said in a newspaper Sunday, as Egypt's Coptics reeled from a massive bombing.
"The Internet is full of threats of this kind against us. The police have alerted us several times against attacks by radical Muslims," Coptic Bishop Anba Damian said in a report on the Bild's online edition.
The threats rose over the end of year festive season, he said.
"I have written to the interior minister to ask for protection," the bishop said.
A blast apparently caused by a suicide bomber struck a Coptic church in Egypt's northern city of Alexandria on New Year's Day Saturday, killing 21 people and wounding 79.
afp

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ashtiani 'under pressure,' say anti-stoning activists based in Germany

The threat by an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning to sue two German reporters shows that she is under great pressure, according to an activist who is also under fire from the woman."I think she is being subjected to enormous pressure by the Islamic regime and has said that under pressure," said Mina Ahadi, an anti-stoning activist based in Germany who warned in November of the imminent execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, appeared in front of foreign media and judiciary officials on Saturday and said she has told her son to sue two German reporters who had interviewed him about her case."I have told Sajjad... to sue the ones who have disgraced me and the country," she said in the northwestern city of Tabriz where her trial took place.Ashtiani named those she wants to sue as "the two Germans," her former lawyer Mohammad Mostafaie, her husband's convicted murderer Issa Taheri and Ahadi."I have a complaint against them," she told Iran-based foreign media at an appearance organised by judiciary officials at a government welfare organization guesthouse in Tabriz.The two German journalists from Bild am Sonntag were arrested on October 10 in Tabriz for interviewing Ashtiani's son and family lawyer who were also taken into custody. The son was released last month.Iran says the two Germans entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain the necessary accreditation for journalists from the authorities before "posing as reporters" when they contacted Mohammadi Ashtiani's family.Ahadi, who reportedly arranged for the Germans to meet Mohammadi Ashtiani's son, told news agency AFP that she was "pleased that our operations against stoning are annoying the regime."The deputy editor of Bild am Sonntag said he was "surprised and amazed" at Ashtiani's remarks about its reporters."We find it surprising that a woman sentenced to death in Iran could leave prison for a few hours to announce to the Western media that she wants charges against the journalists reporting on her case," Michael Backhaus said.Ashtiani was sentenced to death by two different courts in Tabriz in separate trials in 2006.Her sentence to hang for her involvement in the murder of her husband was commuted to a 10-year jail term by an appeals court in 2007.But a second sentence to death by stoning on charges of adultery levelled over several relationships, notably with the man convicted of her husband's murder, was upheld by another appeals court the same year.Ashtiani, who was joined by her children on Saturday when she spoke to the media, did not make any plea for clemency, but her son Sajjad Ghaderzadeh pleaded for her execution to be stayed.A hundred prominent Germans, including business leaders, ministers and top sports stars, on Sunday urged Iran to free the journalists.
The Local

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Albanian Muslim Battalion in the Handzar Nazi SS Division: Kosovo Albanian Muslims in the Nazi SS

by Carl Savich
SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler formed a Kosovo Albanian Muslim Nazi SS Division during World War II, the Skanderbeg SS Division, 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), in 1944. He planned to form a second Kosovo Albanian Muslim SS Division but was not able to because the war ended before he could do so. The history of the Skanderbeg division has been documented and analyzed. What has rarely been analyzed, however, is the role of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim members in the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar or Handschar. This is an untold story of World War II.
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