WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
A selection of current news from European media for May 7, 2009.
THE UK: Britain’s hate preacher freed from jail
Race hate preacher who praised the July 7 London suicide bombers has been freed from jail after serving barely 12 months of a four-and-a-half year sentence. Abu Izzadeen, 33, was back on the streets yesterday after being jailed for inciting UK Muslims to kill British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The firebrand cleric praised suicide bombers, tried to justify the beheading of British hostage Ken Bigley in Iraq, and told followers: “The Americans and British only understand one language. It’s the language of blood.” Last night Tory MP Patrick Mercer condemned Britain’s soft-bellied justice and warned: “This man will be back on the streets shortly, preaching hate, subverting young minds and trying to inspire people to violence and suicide.” Izzadeen – born Trevor Brooks in Jamaica – has nine children and will rake in around £800 a month in benefits.. . .Izzadeen walked free on Saturday because of the amount of time he had already served in jail. The court’s decision was condemned by Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion . . .He said: “The early release of a hate preacher like Abu Izzadeen demonstrates that the British courts are still far from understanding the very clear and present danger that this country is facing from militant Islamists.” – Daily Express, London May 7, 2009
EUROPEAN UNION: European shochets get the OK
The European Parliament state that every year in the European Union, 360 million pigs, cattle, sheep and goats are killed, as are over 4 billion poultry birds and 25 million animals reared for fur. In a consultation report drafted by Janusz Wojciechowski (UEN, PL), the European Parliament approved a European Commission proposal seeking to replace the 1993 directive on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter by a new regulation to improve animal welfare while allowing more uniform application of EU rules in Member States. MEPs approve the principle that animals must be slaughtered using only methods that ensure death instantly or after stunning, except in the case of religious ritual, for which they called for the current blanket exemption to be preserved rather than allowing for exemptions to be decided at national level. – Europarl.eu, May 6, 2009
POLAND: Polish convicts to undergo re-socialisation at Auschwitz
The program is intended to ‘show convicts what the disappearance of all moral and social norms can lead to,’ officials say The museum at the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and Poland’s penitentiary services want convicted criminals to visit the site as part of a re-socialisation program, officials said Monday. “It is intended to show convicts what the disappearance of all moral and social norms can lead to,” Jozef Drazniowski, penitentiary services spokesman for Krakow, southern Poland, told AFP. “At the site we teach history, we commemorate this place but this program will perhaps also allow the shaping of moral attitudes,” spokesman for the state museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bartosz Bartyzel told AFP. Initially, the museum organised seminars for prison guards and educators from the Krakow area. “We will now choose the prisoners who are to participate in the project. They will be convicts serving sentences for light offenses. Participation will be voluntary,” Drazniowski said. “Even if just some of the participants benefit from this lesson, it will be worth it,” Bartyzel said. Each stage of the re-socialisation project will be planned by experts and supervised by psychologists, Drazniowski added, admitting the idea had raised eyebrows. “As a former prisoner, I have my doubts about the idea of re-socialisation being carried out by showing (convicts) prisons that were even more cruel,” Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor and Poland’s former foreign minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski was quoted as saying. – Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, May 7, 2009.
THE NETHERLANDS: Rotterdam’s immigrant population are almost in the majority
Rotterdam is approaching the point at which white Dutch will form a minority in the city. Based on the trend, it could have an ‘ethnic majority’ in 2012, Algemeen Dagblad reported yesterday. Currently, 52 percent of the population are ‘indigenous’ and 48 percent, immigrant. According to the official definition, immigrants are persons with at least one parent born abroad. According to Rotterdam city council’s Centre for Research and Statistics (COS), Rotterdam was still 60 percent indigenous in 1990. COS researcher Marco Hoppesteyn did not venture to predict the point at which the share of the indigenous in Rotterdam would be less than 50 percent. Based on the trend in this decade, this could be in 2012. “But various uncertainty factors play a role.” After the ‘original’ Dutch, the Surinamese form the biggest ethnic group in Rotterdam, followed by Turks and Moroccans. Not counting east Europeans, population growth is strongest among Antilleans and Moroccans. Rotterdam now has 30 percent more Antilleans (at 20,261) than 10 years ago. The number of Rotterdammers with Moroccan roots grew by 26 percent in the same period to 38,100. – NIS News, May 5, 2009.
ISRAEL: Israel’s Hebrew Catholics keep the faith
Israel’s tiny Hebrew-speaking Catholic community, some of them descendants of Holocaust survivors, has quietly kept the faith in the heart of Jewish state for half a century and will remain in the shadows during the pope’s upcoming visit. Hebrew prayers reverberate through the humble Catholic chapel in Jerusalem where whitewashed walls are adorned with a small metal cross and two pictures of Jesus lined with Hebraic inscriptions. The worshipers are part of a tiny Hebrew-speaking Catholic community, some of them descendants of Holocaust survivors, that has quietly kept the faith in the heart of Jewish state for half a century and will remain in the shadows during the visit by Pope Benedict XVI.With just 400 faithful, the Hebrew-speaking Vicariate is dwarfed by the much larger Palestinian Christian community, estimated at some 180,000 in Israel and the Palestinian territories, which will be the main focus of the pope’s eight-day visit starting Friday. Established in 1955 by a small group which included several converted Jews, some of them Holocaust survivors, the vicariate largely keeps to itself in a country founded as a Jewish state in which Christians are often suspected of being missionaries. The unique use of Hebrew in all religious rites at the church began after the creation of Israel in 1948, when the nearly 4,000 Catholics living within the Jewish community searched for a rite of their own, said the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community’s leader, David Neuhaus. – Expatica.com, May 7, 2009.
CZECH REPUBLIC: David Duke’s arrest shows erratic response to extremism
As politicians commend the April 24 arrest of former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, some human rights activists are puzzling over inconsistencies in the Czech Republic’s efforts to crack down on racism. Duke, a visiting U.S. citizen, had been scheduled to give lectures in Prague and Brno over the weekend to promote his book, My Awakening. He was arrested by a team of at least 30 masked policemen at a Prague restaurant on suspicion of denying the Holocaust, and was later released and given a midnight deadline to leave the country. Interior Minister Ivan Langer told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that he applauded the police for a professional job in handling Duke’s expulsion, while Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb said he also supported the action. Meanwhile, on April 25, yet another nationalist extremist march of around 100 demonstrators took place in Krupka, north Bohemia, extending on recent high-profile extremist rallies in Ústí nad Labem and Přerov. – Prague Post, April 30, 2009.
VATICAN CITY: Pope to be ‘pilgrim of peace’
Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday said he would be ”a pilgrim of peace” in his upcoming trip to the Holy Land. In a message read out at the end of his midweek audience in St Peter’s Square, the pope addressed the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian peoples. ”My dear friends,” he said, ”I can’t wait to be among you and share your aspirations and hopes, as well as your suffering and battles. ‘I will come among you as a pilgrim of peace,” he said. Benedict voiced the hope that his May 8-15 trip ”may bear many fruits for the spiritual and civil life of all those who live in the Holy Land. ‘Let us all become people of hope,” he said. ”We are determined in our desire and efforts for peace.” – ANSA.it, May 6, 2009.
(Photo credit: Daily Express)