Weekend News Round-up

What They Are Saying

UAE publishes list of terrorist organisations

Gulf News, UAE reports: The UAE Cabinet on Saturday announced the names of dozens of extremist groups that have been put on its list of terrorist organisations.  The list, which is in line with the anti-terror law issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in August, includes major terror groups such as Al Qaida, Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood, and its regional and local affiliates, as well as smaller regional and international groups…  Among the terror groups on the UAE list are Al Qaida and its affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, Daesh (the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian-based Jabhat Al Nusra and its Ahrar Al Sham allies, the Nigerian-based Boko Haram, Al Houthis group in Yemen, Hezbollah’s affiliates in the Gulf, Iraqi militias such as Badr, Asaaeb Al Haq, Abul Fadhl Al Abbas, Pakistan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. 

ISIS now threatens to behead female hostage

IsraelNews reports: To increase shock and awe. The Islamic State claims its next victim is a 26 year-old American woman, the only woman captivated by the organization. The American woman was captivated by IS in August 2013, after travelling to Syria to aid children who had been separated from their families in the civil war. The rest of the humanitarian aid workers who had been with her were reportedly released by IS.

ISIS will not find reservoir of recruits in Lebanon: expert

The Daily Star, Lebanon reports: Although a number of Lebanese have joined the ranks of ISIS, the terrorist group will not find a deep reservoir of recruits in Lebanon, according to leading security expert Ali Soufan. Soufan, a Lebanese-American who was previously a special agent with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, says Lebanon does not provide a “nurturing environment” for those seeking to wage violent jihad with groups like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. The majority of the foreign fighters in Syria hail from predominantly Sunni countries with relative religious homogeneity, Soufan explained. Lebanon, however, is more of a confessional patchwork where an appreciable percent of the population supports dialogue and peaceful coexistence.

Infighting mars memorial

Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt reports: Mutual recriminations and threats between Fatah and Hamas following the explosions that targeted the homes of several Fatah leaders in Gaza and led to the cancellation of ceremonies to commemorate President Yasser Arafat have revived fears of a return to factional violence in Gaza.  A renewed security breakdown would jeopardise many crucial issues, including Palestinian reconciliation, the reconstruction of Gaza and the resumption of Egyptian-brokered ceasefire negotiations with the Israeli occupation authorities. The bombings, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility, targeted the stage for the ceremonies commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of Arafat as well as the properties of some Fatah leaders. Fatah officially cancelled the ceremonies on Sunday and blamed Hamas for the bombings and for sending threatening letters to a number of Fatah leaders. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Hamas of carrying out the bombings.

Afghan MP survives assassination bid

Gulf Daily News, Bahrain reports: A suicide bomber attacked an armoured car carrying a prominent Afghan women’s rights leader and MP in Kabul yesterday, killing three people and wounding 32 others, Afghan officials said. The MP who was apparently the target of the attack, Shukria Barakzai, survived the blast, which occurred several hundred feet away from the parliament building, her destination at the time. Barakzai, 42, had once helped run underground schools for girls during the Taliban era. She quickly emerged as a public figure in Afghanistan not long after the American-led coalition toppled the Taliban government. A member of the assembly that approved Afghanistan’s Constitution in early 2004, she was elected to parliament the following year and re-elected in 2010.

Tehran’s former prosecutor disbarred over protest deaths

Arab News, Saudi Arabia reports: Iran’s supreme court has permanently disbarred Tehran’s ex-chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, upholding a previous ruling, over the deaths of three jailed anti-government protesters, media said Sunday. Mortazavi was also suspended from public office for five years, the pro-government newspaper Iran said. The notorious former prosecutor was suspended in August 2010 over the deaths of Mohammad Kamrani, Amir Javadifar and Mohsen Ruholamini in Kahrizak jail the previous summer. The men had been jailed in connection with anti-government protests that swept Iran following the disputed June 2009 re-election of hard-line president Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Their deaths, from injuries inflicted in custody, were denounced by lawmakers at the time as a “crime.”

 Turkish police chief found dead in hotel room

Today’s Zaman, Turkey reports:  A police chief in eastern Turkish province of Bayburt was found dead in an hotel room on Friday, with cuts on his arms and stomach. Turkish security services immediately launched an investigation to figure out how and why the police chief, Ömer Lütfi Evci, 42, was murdered or if he committed a suicide. The body of Evci was found in the hotel room in Zahit neighbourhood, when police broke into the room after the police chief didn’t respond to calls by his colleagues for a long time. The police chief was on duty at Bayburt Police Academy.

 Greece’s Neo-Nazis Were Scarier Than Anyone Imagined

Foreign Policy, USA reports:  In the prosecutors’ 697-page case file, he is known only as Witness E — a Golden Dawn ex-member turned state informant. And what he has to share about the neo-Nazi political party — its ideology, its training methods, and its plans for the future — is terrifying.  Golden Dawn recruited a butcher to train its members in the art of using a knife effectively, in order to “neutralize opponents,” Witness E told prosecutors. Party members participated in the mass slaughter of sheep in various farms around the Attica region, which encompasses Athens and its suburbs, to learn the best technique for “striking directly at the jugular.” He’d heard, Witness E said, that the same butcher supplied guns to Golden Dawn members, as well. Other evidence prosecutors uncovered seems to back up his claim: The case file is littered with photos of members in military clothing carrying knives, swords, handguns, rifles, and, in one case, even a bazooka.  All this training was “in preparation to overthrow the Greek government,” Witness E suggested to prosecutors — a jarring reminder of how little the Greek public truly understood the operational capabilities of Golden Dawn, or what the party even aimed to be.

 Erdoğan says America was discovered by Muslims, not Columbus

The Hürriyet Daily News,Turkey reports: America was discovered by Muslims, not by Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed, vowing to build a mosque “on that hill” in Cuba if the authorities of the Caribbean nation grant the permit.  Speaking at the closing ceremony of the first Latin American Muslim leaders summit in Istanbul on Nov. 15, Erdoğan slammed colonialism before referring to a controversial claim about the discovery of the Americas. “Muslim sailors had arrived in the shores of America in 1178. In his diaries, Christopher Columbus referred to the presence of a mosque on top of a mountain in Cuba,” Erdoğan said, claiming the diary is a proof that “the religion of Islam was widespread” when the first European explorer discovered the New World in 1492.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard showcases ballistic capabilities to “attack and destroy” Israel

Asharq Al-Awsat, London reports: Iranian websites close to the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have run special feature reports and interviews relating to Iran’s capability to “attack and destroy” Israel using ballistic missiles, the semi-state-run Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported on Saturday.  A special feature report published by Fars on three missiles—named Israel-hitter—stated the missiles could be launched quickly from Iranian territory to reach targets in Israel, and explained the extensive infrastructure that has been built underground to house them. A Tehran-based analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that publishing such “provocative” reports just two weeks before the November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Western powers on Iran’s nuclear program was an intentional move by more conservative elements in the Iranian leadership, and designed to derail President’s Hassan Rouhani’s reconciliatory foreign policy approach to close the nuclear dossier.

Saudi school ‘teaching anti-Semitism’

The Local, Austria reports: Vienna’s Saudi School – a private school for Islamic immigrants from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East – is under review by the city council after allegations that it is teaching conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. A reporter from News magazine got hold of a copy of a school history textbook which is said to contain “a smorgasbord of conspiracy theories and incitement against Jews, Israelis and divergent trends in Islam”. News commissioned a translation of the book from Arabic – which has sentences like “the Freemasons were a secret, subversive Jewish organization, which aimed to secure Jewish control of the world”.  The school has now been asked to provide certified German translations of all its teaching materials by the end of the year. The Saudi School is run by the Saudi government and is not a religious institution. All lessons are taught in Arabic and follow the Saudi curriculum. However, the school must still comply with statutes set by the Austrian Education Ministry, and anti-Semitism and incitement is against Austrian law. The ministry could withdraw the school’s educational status if it identifies serious teaching problems or a lack of responsible leadership – meaning the students would have to be home schooled or attend another school.

Orthodox Jew stabbed in Antwerp

Flanders News, Belgium reports: A 31-year-old Jew from Antwerp was attacked on Saturday. His assailant stabbed him with a knife, apparently out of the blue. The victim was taken to hospital, but was able to return home later on Saturday. The aggressor is still on the run. The attack took place around 9.15am under the rail bridge in the Kievitstraat, near Antwerp’s Central Station. The victim was walking on the pavement when he was suddenly attacked by another pedestrian. The assailant managed to escape. Police arrested a suspect using a description made by witnesses, but it turned out they had the wrong man. The assailant is still on the run. Investigators do not exclude any possible motive just yet. 

Indonesia. No Religion on ID Cards, no Public Services

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia reports: Residents of Pontianak in West Kalimantan who do not list their religion on identification cards will not be allowed to access public services, the city’s deputy mayor has said. In comments that are likely to inflame debate about religious freedom and the rights of minority groups, Sutarmidji said he would instruct the region’s population agency and sub-district offices not to serve people who fail to put their religion on ID cards, known as KTP. He said the religion column on the cards should not be omitted as it was required under current law. “If you want to add another religion or belief you should first amend the law that stipulates it,” he told detik.com. Indonesia formally recognizes only six religious designations: Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Confucian, Hindu and Muslim. Adherents are required to identify themselves on their KTP.

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER - "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" | "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

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Midweek news for June 5, 2014. It could be worse!

What Others Are Saying

Austria 2014. Right-wing fraternities march in Vienna

Austria 2014. Burschenschaft gathering. Photo: Burschenschaft Olympia Wien

Austria 2014. Burschenschaft gathering. Photo: Burschenschaft Olympia Wien

The Local– Austria’s news in English reports:  A group of Austrian right-wing student fraternities known as the Burschenschaften will be marching in Vienna today. Several counter demonstrations are planned, and police are urging restraint.  According to a report in the Heute newspaper, 500 members of the academic Burschenschaften of the Wiener Korporationsring (WKR) have registered with police to march a planned route on Wednesday, starting at 5pm at Josephsplatz. The theme of their march is to celebrate the Festival of Freedom (Fest der Freiheit), and will conclude with a panel discussion at the Palais Palffy at 7pm, with the specially-formed Society for Research into the Revolution of 1848. The Burschenschaften, while claiming to be politically neutral, have a long history of promoting a greater Germany based on language, culture, and democracy. The year 1848 is significant as a time of the March revolutions, which popularized notions of national unity, freedom, democracy and free speech in the German states, and which emphasized pan-Germanism.

Austria 1938. Members of the Nazi Youth participate in burning books, Buecherverbrennung, in Salzburg

Austria 1938. Members of the Nazi Youth participate in burning books, Buecherverbrennung, in Salzburg, Austria. Photo wodumedia

Austria 1938. Members of the Nazi Youth participate in burning books, Buecherverbrennung, in Salzburg. Photo wodumedia

Chicago 2014.  Neo-Nazi Invades Chicago Synagogue Event

Photo: shalomlife

Photo: shalomlife

Israel National News reports: A masked man invaded a barbecue at a Chicago-area synagogue, shouting anti-Semitic slogans, visitors to the event told Kikar HaShabbat. The incident occurred Sunday at the Anshei Emet synagogue in Chicago, which was hosting a kosher food festival.  Witnesses said that the man entered the area where the event was being held and starting cursing and yelling, saying that “all Jews must be exterminated,” and similar comments. He also waved a posted with swastika on it. Several off-duty police officers were on hand and tried to apprehend him, but were unable to. Police said they would open an investigation. If caught, the culprit could face hate crime charges. Chicago has long been a center of neo-Nazi activity. The most well-known event targeting Jews in the area was a 1977 march by the National Socialist Party of America in the city.

Italy 2014. Pasta store vandalized with antisemitic graffiti

Colli Portuensi, Rome. Photo: CFCA

Colli Portuensi, Rome. Photo: CFCA

CFCA report: The Jewish community in Colli Portuensi, Rome, [last week] expressed outrage after another antisemitic vandalism was reported on a pasta store.  The incident happened late Monday night, sources told JP. Swastikas and words like ‘Jewish store’ and ‘no Jews in Coli’ were sprayed on the store front.  Jews in Rome are used to seeing antisemitic graffiti once in a while, but this one was more shocking since it mentioned “No Jews at Colli” referring to the area of Colli Portuensi that is a few minutes walk from the Chabad center of Colli, Rabbi Menachem Lazar told JP.

The Netherlands 2014. Antisemitism. A cry for help

Dutch Turkish youths laugh and smile as they express hatred of Jews and love of Hitler (Nederland 2 screenshot)

Dutch Turkish youths laugh and smile as they express hatred of Jews and love of Hitler (Nederland 2 screenshot)

De Telegraaf, and other sources in the Netherlands, report: Jewish citizens and organizations have raised the alarm about the growing antisemitism in our country… Dennis Mok, Chairman of the Stichting Bij Leven en Welzijn (Foundation For Life and Welfare), who for forty years has worked for Jewish institutions and events said: “If the government does not act now, the attack in Belgium will be committed here.” Esther Voet, Director of the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) received a huge amount of hate tweets on Twitter after the murders at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. She says that texts like “Cancer Jews killed in Belgium” originate from 12-16 year olds of “non-Western” origin. “Anti-Zionist” has become a fashionable honorary title in The Netherlands. Voet added that CIDI is extremely worried about the return of Jihadi fighters from Syria. CIDI also filed a police complaint against the foundation “Stop the Occupation” of Gretta Duisenberg, (the widow of the former president of the European Central Bank) who refuses to remove an article about “The Jewish Control of the World Media” from their website.

Latvia and Estonia 2014. Lawmakers mobilize support for Israel

Latvian Christians rally for Israel. Photo: WJC

Latvian Christians rally for Israel. Photo: WJC

WJC reports: The parliaments of Latvia and Estonia launched Israel Allies Caucuses this week, and Christian denominations in both countries rallied in support of Israel, thanks to the efforts of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC), the World Jewish Congress Israel (WJC) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). “The World Jewish Congress is committed to strengthening ties between Israel and Christians around the world, and thanks Christians for their efforts to defend Israel against unfair attacks in their home countries,” said Shai Hermesh, Chairman of World Jewish Congress Israel. “The establishment of Israel Allies Caucuses in Latvia and Estonia represents an important extension of these ties and a recognition of the world influence of Baltic Christians.” Representatives of the three Israel-based organizations traveled to Riga and Tallinn this week for parliamentary meetings and to participate in the Christian gatherings, which drew more than 800 people each. The founding of the Estonian and Latvian Israel Allies Caucuses brings to 30 the number of Parliamentary caucuses in the Israel Allies Foundation global network. The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, a non-partisan group, seeks to open formal and direct lines of communication between Knesset members and Christian leaders, organizations and political representatives around the world.

Ukraine 2014. Presidential election in Ukraine: Jewish candidate won more votes than both ultranationalist candidates

Vadim Rabinovich managed to prove that the Jewish origin of a talented candidate is no longer an insuperable obstacle to gain popularity among the masses of the Ukrainian voters. Photo:EJP

Vadim Rabinovich managed to prove that the Jewish origin of a talented candidate is no longer an insuperable obstacle to gain popularity among the masses of the Ukrainian voters. Photo:EJP

European Jewish Press reports: The President of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress Vadim Rabinovich, who was a candidate in Ukraine’s last Sunday’s presidential election, is one of the biggest sensations of the poll as he won across the country more votes than both Ukrainian ultranationalist leaders.The election saw the victory of pro-EU businessman Petro Poroshenko,who garnered 53,70 of the votes. About 2,5% of voters casted their votes for Rabinovich, which is in absolute terms equals to more than 400,000 people. Rabinovich came close to Mikhail Dobkin, the candidate of the recently ruling Party of Regions and outrun not only a very well-known activist of Maidan, Olga Bohomolets, but also the two main ultranationalists leaders, Oleg Tvagnybokof Swovoda and the leader of the Right Sector movement Oleg Yarosh. In total Rabinovich won more votes than both of them put together. ‘’Propagandists from the Russian media, who for months blew the trumpets about mass bursts of fascism, neo-Nazism in Ukraine and a total anti-Semitism”, went down in flames – because there is no better contradiction of their speculations and myths than a victory of a Jewish candidate over both leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist organizations,’’ political analysts said. ‘’Vadim Rabinovich managed to prove that Jewish origin of a talented candidate is no longer an insuperable obstacle to gain popularity among the masses of the Ukrainian voters.’’

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What in God’s name is happening in the world?

Has the world gone utterly crazy? 

by Alan Simons

Nigeria’s Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, admits kidnapping 276 young Nigerian schoolgirls for the purpose of selling them as slaves. Today, a further group of girls have been kidnapped.

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, on Hamas’ TV’s children programme tell children to kill all Jews.

The Palestinian Authority’s (Fatah) TV station gives airtime to a young elementary schoolgirl who recites a poem expressing the view, “To war that will smash the oppression and destroy the Zionist’s soul.”

The Taliban killed seven women and seven children all members of the same extended family, while they visited the tomb of a relative in Afghanistan.

In France, an Islamist gunman shoots dead three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

An air strike by Syrian fighter jets targets a school in Aleppo, killing 25 children.

What in God’s name is happening in the world?

A friend, a Holocaust survivor, once said to me that he wanted his published memoir to be a testimony to uncover the worst in human behaviour, so there is an awareness and hopefully inoculation against the repetition of these most evil and shameful acts, irrespective of one’s religion, race and colour, ethnic or national origin. At 85+ years of age he continues to visit schools and institutions to tell his personal story. “For me,” he says, “as a ten-year-old Jewish boy living in my native land, and six years later having survived living in five concentration death camps, my life has given me the ability to know all too well how a normal society can be transformed into a culture where mass murder is tolerated.” My friend believes “human behaviour is such that we can rise to great heights, but also sink to great depths of evil.”

He tells his passionate story to the youth of today. It is a story that asks us to be vigilant and be each others keeper. Is anyone listening?

In many countries children are under siege.  In Syria, it is estimated 7,000 children have been killed, one in three children have been hit, kicked or shot at during the past three years. Over 5 million children are in need of assistance. 

Last month in South Sudan, it was reported that gunmen targeted both children and the elderly and left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque. In Rwanda, just twenty years ago, Tutsi children were raped, tortured, and slaughtered. Between 200,000 to 500,000 women were raped. Local NGOs calculate the widespread campaign of rape and torture led to the births of an estimated 20,000 children.

In Canada, yes in Canada, “thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the saga has found. So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has determined that more than 4,000 of the school children died.” 

Have we not learned anything from genocide and Holocaust atrocities? We live in a world where the lust for killing continues ad infinitum. We have sunk to great depths of evil. As individuals, is there no appetite left in us to overcome our differences, regardless of our religion to stand up to the perpetrators of evil? I wait to hear from you.

 (Photo credit: informationng.com)

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