Saturday, October 12, 2013

Are Pakistanis Jealous of Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Malala Yusafzai?

Posted by: Amad October 12, 2013


The cold, almost bitter response of Pakistanis towards Malala can be a bit puzzling. This reaction is not just from radical elements but also from the general populace. Explanations for this reaction have ranged from jealousy to conspiracy.

Tehmina Kazi, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, focuses on the jealousy part:

“The criticism is ostensibly about how Malala's message has been used by “the West” for their own “nefarious” ends, but much of it is actually rooted in jealousy that a plucky teenager – a girl at that – has achieved more coverage and goodwill in her short life than her critics ever will.”

Of course, Kazi is part of a dubious organization consisting of illustrious anti-Muslim bigotry-enablers, so her support of Malala is actually a sort of reinforcement for the second explanation—that of conspiracy theories questioning the entire shooting episode, with Malala and her family being agents of the West. Thus, Sofia Ahmed on cue, “Tehmina and her ilk have one goal, and that is providing ideological support to the advancement of colonial interests and Western tyranny”

There is no doubt that some may harbor jealousy. In a country that is struggling to get on its feet, where poverty is widespread, seeing Malala's family achieving fame and wealth can be a source of jealousy for some folks. There is also no doubt that conspiracy theorists are dime a dozen in Pakistan. Who can blame them? Especially considering the nation's less than memorable experiences with the West, going from being “special allies” in the 1980s, to being forced to join the ill-fated “war on terror”, to becoming second fiddle to more special relationships with arch-rival India.

However, to simply dismiss the negativity as being just about jealousy and conspiracies is unhelpful. It ignores complex realities and reduces a nation to very low common denominators.

Instead, I believe that the more significant reason for the negative reaction is an impulse for a people to reject the imposition of “their” heroes upon “them”. In other words, a nation likes to make its own heroes and as soon as it is imposed upon it by a foreign party, the first and natural reaction is rejection.

Furthermore, Malala feeds into a very black and white world in Pakistan, of terrorists against good guys. She ignores the massive swathe of gray; that of terrorists among good guys and of good guys among terrorists. Consider the letter by a Taliban leader to Malala. While despicable in many parts, it does paint a more complex picture of the ground-reality and question the basic premise of the “Taliban against girls' education” hype.

Another facet of this complex story is that Malala doesn't talk about drones (her recent meeting with President Obama was a rare occasion where she spoke about drones strikes), and about the other countless injustices in Pakistan against women. Her one-track diatribes are like music to the ears of Western imperialists and do-gooders. It makes them feel right. 
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“It can sometimes feel as if the entire West were trying to co-opt Malala, as if to tell ourselves: “Look, we're with the good guys, we're on the right side. The problem is over there.” Sometimes the heroes we appoint to solve our problems can say as much about us as about them. Malala's answer is courage. Our answer is celebrity.” – Max Fisher
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As Assed Baig wrote, “The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, “see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.”

At the same time, we cannot, must not blame Malala because she was shot by a Talib, not by a drone. She was only 14. To expect her to create a complex narrative is unfair and unrealistic. Rather, the blame lies more upon her father and the adults around her, who are constantly and consistently feeding the story that the Western military complex loves to hear.

I cannot conclude without saying that Malala is a brave, eloquent girl, who can be a leading force for positive change in Pakistan. Despite the issues I have mentioned, we should still be proud of her as she is an amazing kid.

I just hope that Malala is allowed to fully blossom and mature into an independent thinker, and not just another human drone.

Pondering the Best Deeds of Dhul-Hijjah

By Aishah Schwartz

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Many of you may have already read your share of articles about the virtues of the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, but try to trust me when I say; this one is a little different.
The first 10-days of Dhul-Hijjah are noted to be among the special seasons of worship preferred by Allah (SWT) over all other days of the year, and a Muslim has to seize every opportunity that could bring him or her closer to Allah, no doubt about that.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days."
The people asked, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?"
He said, "Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." (Al-Bukhari)
Another hadith affirming that fasting is one of the best deeds, urges us to fast on the Day of Arafat (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) as the reward for fasting on this day is multiplied greatly:
It is said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"Fasting the Day of Arafat atones for two years of [minor] sins, the year prior and one forthcoming." (Reported by Muslim & Abu Dawud)
It is my most sincere duaa that each Muslim who has this knowledge and is able to, takes advantage of the great benefit to be derived from fasting on this special day.
However, perhaps in not specifically stating that the Prophet (peace be upon him) fasted each of the first 9 days of Dhul-Hijjah, is it not within the realm of possibility that there are other ways to perform good deeds in addition to fasting on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah? Of course!
Back to Basics
a believer returns out of his or her wealth to the neediest of Muslims for the sake of Allah
In further reflecting on the best of deeds, we might first, as a wise friend of mine has often said, go back to the basics...the five pillars.
As Muslims we have already achieved the first pillar, the testimony of faith (saying with conviction, "La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah." This saying means "There is no true god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God."
Zakah, being the third pillar, is what a believer returns out of his or her wealth to the neediest of Muslims for the sake of Allah (SWT); it is an obligation upon every Muslim who possesses the minimum Nisab (requirement). The word itself means to increase, purify and bless.
{… what you give in Zakah, seeking Allah's Pleasure, then it is those who shall gain reward manifold...} (30:39)
The fourth pillar, fasting the month of Ramadan, we did our best to complete, Al-Hamdulel-Allah (for those of us who were able), as it has already passed.
And the fifth pillar Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), which is made during the month of Dhul-Hijjah (a one-time requirement for those with means), is something I hope we all pray that each and every Muslim gets the opportunity to perform, insha Allah.
I bet you thought I forgot the second pillar, often referred to as the "central" pillar of Islam, salah (or prayer), but I saved that one for last on purpose.
In consideration of what is within our means to do when looking for the "best deeds" - one of the simplest things that came to mind (which doesn't cost us a thing monetarily), is to perfect our salah.
•    Are we making our best effort to pray on time?
•    Are we making our best effort to concentrate?
•    Are we striving to make our salah in a state of humility and consciousness?
•    Are we making our best effort to perfect the surah's we recite in our salah?
•    Are we rushing off after salah without making dhikr?
•    Are we missing salah altogether?
•    Are we making up missed salah?
•    Are we lazy and lacking in commitment?
•    Are the men in our lives praying as much as possible in the masjid?
Bottom line: Are we making our best effort to perfect our salah?
Be conscious of Allah's angels who have shifts - one by day and one by night - to monitor your condition and your prayers and report to Allah Most High.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"There are shifts which rotate with regard to you - angels by night and angels by day. They all meet during the dawn prayer and during the afternoon prayer. Then those who spent the night with you go up and their Lord asks them – and He is the most knowledgeable of them - 'In what state did you leave my slaves?' They answer: 'We left them praying after having come to them while they were praying.' (Muslim & Al-Bukhari)
Need an even stronger incentive to safeguard and perfect this most important second pillar of Islam?
Narrated Abu Qatadah ibn Rab'i:
"Allah, the Exalted said: I made five times' prayers obligatory on your people, and I took a guarantee that if anyone observes them regularly at their times, I shall admit him to Paradise; if anyone does not offer them regularly, there is no such guarantee of Mine for him." (Abu-Dawud)
In conclusion, when seeking a determination as to what might be considered amongst the "best deeds", we really don't have to look any farther than our knees, do we?
May Allah (SWT) guide us, forgive our sins, protect us from the hellfire...and reward our intention to perfect our salah.
Ameen.

Aishah Schwartz, an American Muslim revert to Islam since April 2002, is founder and director of the 2006 established Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and a retired nearly 20-year career litigation legal assistant. Ms. Schwartz is also a published freelance non-fiction writer and photo journalist whose aim is to counter misconceptions regarding the Islamic faith and members of the Muslim community. As a woman traveling in the Middle East, Ms. Schwartz's role as a civil and human rights activist has focused on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza. She has also been reporting on revolutions in the Middle East as a Demotix photojournalist since January 2011.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Maltreatment of Muslim Prisoners in The U.S.

By Sherwood Ross Oct 11, 2013


The arrest and conviction of Muslims on flimsy conspiracy charges often instigated by FBI informants reveals spreading corruption in the American legal system. 

"After 9/11/2001 the Bush/Obama administrations have constructed an American Police State using Arabs and Muslims as their pretexts and scapegoats," says Francis Boyle, distinguished international legal authority and professor of law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "It is reminiscent of the Nazi government's persecution of the German Jews before the outbreak of World War II. Arabs and Muslims have become the New Jews in Police State America that is now slouching towards a military dictatorship and World War III." 

The unlucky Muslim prisoners can be held illegally for years, denying them their constitutional right to a speedy trial. During this detention period, they may be the victims of sophisticated torture techniques such as isolation. And they may be convicted by compliant judges who mete out severe sentences utterly at variance with the alleged conspiracies plotted, much less any less crimes committed.

Those who endeavored to defend the Muslim scapegoats "faced judges who allowed the use of classified evidence, inflammatory 'experts' and stings in which government informants masterminded and supplied the 'plots,'" according to Jeanne Theoharis in the October 14 issue of "The Nation."

Theoharis is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College, New York. She writes that in the 12 years since 9/ll there have been more than 500 federal terrorism prosecutions such as Miami's "Liberty City Seven," accused of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower when, in reality, they had not even the money to purchase travel tickets to Chicago. And did the group not have the money to buy a camera to take pictures of the targets? No matter. They got one from a friendly FBI informant who helped cook up the case against them. And the conviction rate of these defendants is every bit as high as that of Communist China, a country not known for its civil liberties record.

Theoharis titles her article "Gitmo in NYC," referring to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. "Alongside the inhumanities occurring at Guantanamo, Bagram or Abu Ghraib are the inhumanities that happen right here, in Lower Manhattan and Minneapolis, in Virginia and Colorado, which follow from a long history of using the criminal justice system to punish dissent and contain unwanted or 'dangerous' populations," she writes.

Close scrutiny of these cases shows "a pattern of intrusive surveillance, entrapment and government-instigated plots; overreaching 'material support' charges; the use of prolonged solitary confinement and so-called special administrative measures; classified evidence; and the criminalization of Islamic speech and association," Theoharis says.

Speaking of surveillance overkill, the FBI is said to have 15,00 regular informants and 45,000 unofficial ones, who are told to listen and probe for anti-American sentiments. So much for political dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy.

Theoharis calls on the public to examine the targeting of dissent "as well as harsh sentencing and inhumane conditions for so-called domestic terrorists---environmentalists, animal rights activists, Muslims, (and) black radicals""

Almost without exception, government imprisonment has led to pleas and convictions carrying long, sometimes lifetime sentences, Theoharis writes---"often under deeply inhumane conditions at the federal supermax in Florence, (Colo.) or the Communication Management Units in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Ill."

It is time, she believes, for a concerned public to shift its focus from U.S. mistreatment of suspects abroad to the deference accorded by the Federal courts to government assertions of national security that results in the mistreatment of Muslim prisoners at home. You may have thought, "It couldn't happen here." But it has.

#
(Sherwood Ross, who formerly reported for major dailies and wire services, now runs a public relations firm "for good causes" based in Miami." )


Today, Friday Oct 11, 2013, is the second annual International Day of the Girl!

Today, Friday Oct 11, 2013, is the second annual International Day of the Girl! This year's theme is Innovating for Girls' Education, and you can find a compilation of stories about UN Women's global work to promote innovation in education here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child-day-compilation

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka released a statement marking this day, which connects access to education with prevention of violence against girls and women and announces "the roll-out today of a new initiative to prevent violence against girls. The unique curriculum, Voices against Violence, will be delivered by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts among its 10 million members in 145 countries."

The curriculum was developed within a broader education and advocacy framework under WAGGGS' global campaign Stop the Violence; Speak Out for Girls Rights, and has been tested among 1500 members of the girl guiding movement in 25 countries. Already, those who participated in the pilot programme have measured and reported changes in the level of knowledge and understanding of gender issues, and engaged parents and community members in dialogues and actions.

And here in Ottawa, please attend the Second annual GirlSpeak which will held on Sunday, October 13th, 2013 -- 1-5pm. Details here: http://commentaryforhealing.blogspot.ca/2013/09/second-annual-girlspeak-to-be-held-on.html  All welcome! 

Worse Than Nixon? Committee to Protect Journalists Warns About Obama Crackdown on Press Freedom

Long-forgotten political prisoners included among 1,610 Canadians currently imprisoned abroad

Jen Gerson | 06/10/13

Canadians Tarek Loubani, a doctor, and John Greyson, a filmmaker, will return home as small-time celebrities after their detainment in Egypt became national news.

Both men were swept up in a mass arrest during a bloody riot and held for 51 days in Egypt without charges. After weeks of growing public outrage, they were released over the weekend.

Their story may be brutal, but it’s hardly unique. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFAIT), about 1,610 Canadians were imprisoned abroad as of August. The majority of these cases will never warrant a newspaper story. Some of these Canadians were arrested for drug trafficking or assaults. Some are political prisoners who have been long forgotten, left to serve interminable sentences. READ MORE.....

Islamophobia or anti-Muslim sentiment? Uncovering the roots of anti-Muslim discourse

BY MONIA MAZIGH

OCTOBER 11, 2013

Recently, I watched an interview on French TV involving the controversial Muslim thinker Tariq Ramadan. The French journalist intentionally refused to use the word Islamophobia. She wrongly equated Islamophobia to one's right to criticize Islam, or its values, insinuating that Muslims have thin skins and can never accept freedom of speech (remember the controversies around the Danish cartoons or the Innocence of Muslimsmovie).

Personally, I never liked the word "Islamophobia" per se. It reminded me of a strange condition or a syndrome like claustrophobia or arachnophobia. The term is heavy, difficult to pronounce, and is totally ignored by the mainstream media for good or bad reasons.

While used by the European Union and in some UN publications and conferences, the term is contested and not really understood by the mainstream population.

But beyond the linguistic disagreement and philosophical debates over the term, a relevant question remains: do we have a problem with Muslims and Islam, and if yes, what are the roots of the problem? READ MORE.....

Tunisia: Divided and Dissatisfied with Ennahda, Oct. 8, 2013


The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and founder of Zogby Research Services (ZRS), William Lawrence, Professorial Lecturer in Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs, and Radwan Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, for a discussion about the findings of a recent poll on Tunisian attitudes toward their country's political actors and institutions, moderated by MEI Vice President Paul Salem. Zogby Research Services recently surveyed 3,031 Tunisian adults to determine their attitudes toward Tunisia's political parties and leaders and their views of Tunisia's future. The nationwide survey of Tunisian public opinion reveals a deeply disappointed, distressed, and divided electorate, with the governing Islamist Ennahda party as isolated in Tunisia today as Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party was this past spring when ZRS polled Egyptian attitudes.

Muslim Brotherhood has to consider its position in post-Morsi Egypt


October 10, 2013 


The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has seen its political fortunes go from sitting in the presidency to sitting in jail, exile and even in hiding. It is in a difficult predicament and needs to reconsider its strategic options very closely.

The strategy the Brotherhood has employed thus far is to pursue peaceful protests against the interim government.

Privately, the Brotherhood realises that Mohammed Morsi is not returning to the presidency, so what is its aim? To push for presidential and parliamentary elections? These are due to take place anyway, according to the military-backed road map. Indeed, that process itself seems not the least bit affected by these protests.

If the aim of the protests is to gain sympathy, domestically and internationally, this also seems flawed. It is abundantly clear that the military enjoys overwhelming popular support from the Egyptian population.

The media depicts the Brotherhood as essentially a terrorist organisation – and this narrative does not appear to be shifting as a result of the protests.

With pro-Morsi militants carrying out violence in Sinai and elsewhere, many pro-Brotherhood protesters are likely to die in clashes against a police force that has shown little restraint, and has done so with very little public outcry.

Internationally, while some governments have expressed concern over the excesses of the security services in Egypt, no government is willing to apply sufficient pressure to make the strategy of the Brotherhood worthwhile.

The US may temporarily suspend some aid, but that measure is designed to encourage the continuation of the process towards elections. If there had been no violence, there would have been no recalibration of US-Egypt relationships.

The strategy that the Brotherhood should adapt – but one few have been willing to support in public – is one they still find tough: withdrawing from confrontation while contemplating the future.

Whenever the Brotherhood mobilises against the state in protests, it will be lumped together with violent groups. For this reason, it appears that non-Islamist groups, that nonetheless oppose the military, such as April 6 and the Revolutionary Socialists, have restrained their participation in protests.

Moreover, against the backdrop of political violence against the state, the civil rights and human rights sector is being drowned out in its criticisms of abuses by the state. With that in mind, the Brotherhood ought to consider that absenting itself from confrontation is advisable, in its own interests.

This last option is a painful one: and the interim government’s policies are hardly making it easier for the Brotherhood to entertain it.

The loss of life suffered in the violently excessive dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins, and more recently in the violent repressing of the October 6 protests, will mean that few will want to entertain a strategic retreat. Stopping peaceful protests would be regarded as treachery by hard-core factions within the group.

It is difficult for the leadership of the Brotherhood to make these choices when much of their senior leadership is being detained.

If the interim government wants to encourage the group to change its tactics, it would be advised to consider its own policies as well.

Beyond those Islamists who are imprisoned, there are still those who ostensibly lead the Anti-Coup Alliance who have been calling for protests, as well as leaders of the Brotherhood further afield.

They must realise that mobilisation for protests comes at a price – and it is a price that they may be willing to pay, but it seems unlikely they will get much for their trouble. Will there be a price even without mobilisation?

In all likelihood, yes – but it will be certainly far, far less than the price paid with protests. This is the option, ironically, that the Turkish Islamist movement took in the 1990s when it was forced from power by Turkey’s military. The Brotherhood admires that movement greatly and is grateful for its symbolic support.

The alternative to the protest strategy is to withdraw from protests, and take a hard look internally. The Brotherhood has lost popular support – and it needs to ask itself why?

While it engages in that process, it can either withdraw from front line politics, or it can back the least harmful factions to their interests.

If it genuinely engages in reform, it might find itself even in agreement with those non-Islamist, pro-reform movements that seek to build a pluralistic and progressive Egypt. Even if not, it may find a distinctive role for itself in the next phase.

Egypt is in dire need of reform and restructuring. The Brotherhood needs to consider what its best possible contribution is going to be in that regard, and how it can also help other forces interested in reform within Egypt.

The continuation of unarmed protests is a dubious candidate for the best option.

Dr HA Hellyer is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, Brookings and ISPU

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Inside Canada's top-secret billion-dollar spy palace

CSEC officially estimates the complex will cost $880 million. But sources close to the project say it will be closer to $1.2 billion by the time all the associated costs are tallied.The new CSEC headquarters will have more floor space than the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and its cost would build several big city hospitals.

The developer has also been contracted to maintain the building and provide other services for another roughly $3 billion over the next 30 years.

It is virtually impossible for the media or taxpayers to verify the specifics of how all that money is actually being spent — almost everything to do with the project has been declared a matter of national security and stamped “secret.”

The former head of CSEC makes no apologies for what he calls an “architectural wonder” at public expense.

ONLY PARLIAMENT CAN ADDRESS ASSISTED SUICIDE: THE EFC RESPONDS TO CARTER DECISION

For immediate release:

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

October 10, 2013

OTTAWA – Today, in a case in which The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) intervened, the British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) ruled in Carter v. Canada that only Parliament is constitutionally empowered to consider changes to Canada’s law prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. In doing so, the BCCA overturned a 2012 trial judge’s ruling which had carved out exceptions to the existing Criminal Code suicide provision. The EFC welcomes the decision.

“The Court of Appeal decided that the trial judge was bound by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Rodriguez v. British Columbia – a ruling that found the Criminal Codeprohibitions against assisted suicide and euthanasia are constitutional and legitimate in our free and democratic society,” explains EFC Vice-President and General Legal Counsel Don Hutchinson. “The Court found that the decision and the principles set out in Rodriguez in 1993 are still valid.”

In her 2012 decision, the trial judge had picked through the 1993 Rodriguez decision and determined she could overturn it based on how the Supreme Court of Canada had decidedRodriguez, rather than adhering to its decision that Canada’s law prohibiting assisted suicide is constitutional. As the BCCA stated in today’s judgment, “it is important not to lose sight of what was actually decided, as opposed to how it was decided.”

“The BCCA also ruled that concerns over the societal impact of decriminalizing assisted suicide cannot be simply dismissed,” says Hutchinson. “The Supreme Court in Rodriguezfound that ‘human life must be respected and we must be careful not to undermine the institutions that protect it’ and that ‘there is no halfway measure’ that would adequately protect the vulnerable.”

In the 2-1 majority decision, the BCCA has now come to a number of welcome conclusions.

“The BCCA ruled that Parliament had spoken to the issue in 1972 when it amended the suicide provision of the Criminal Code but left the assisted suicide prohibition in place,” explains EFC Legal Counsel Faye Sonier. “Parliament has also revisited the discussion 3 more times in the last 10 years."

“The Court also affirmed that our legal understanding of the term ‘the right to life’ is the same today as it was 20 years ago, when the Rodriguez decision was rendered,” she says. “The court held that those who have limited abilities have ‘no less a right to ‘life’, than persons who are able-bodied and fully competent.’ To understand the right to life as including a right to be killed would expand Charter protections ‘far beyond what the law can ‘guarantee.’”

Sonier recognizes these BCCA decisions as reflecting arguments the EFC advanced to it. “We’re pleased key components of the court’s decision reflect the submissions made in both our written and oral arguments concerning the charter values of the sanctity and dignity of human life,’” she says.

“This is a difficult topic to discuss and debate, and it cannot be done in a vacuum without consideration for the vulnerable people who will be affected by the decriminalization of assisted suicide,” states Sonier. “And we appreciate how the court, in both the majority and the minority decision, was sensitive to the difficult and personal circumstances not only of the respondents, but of the people this law impacts.”

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For additional information or an interview, please contact:
Rick Hiemstra, Director, Media Relations
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

"Edward Snowden Has Done This Country a Service": ACLU Praises Leaker for Kick-Starting NSA Debate


Transcript here

Report Finds Police Worldwide Criminalize Dissent, Assert New Powers in Crackdown on Protests


Transcript here

International union visits Qatar labour camps

Confederation of unions investigates working conditions for migrant workers in Gulf state's construction sector. MORE.....

Why the media has gone silent on climate change

Climate change deniers have been waging a PR war on scientists who promote a path towards a post carbon economy, writes Hilal Elver.

Pakistan's Malala wins EU human rights prize

Pakistani teenage activist shot last year by Taliban is awarded EU prize for fighting for girls' rights to education. MORE....

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Sometimes anti-Semitism is its own best antidote because it makes its sewage makers look as ignorant as they are. After a Council of Europe body said circumcision violates human rights, its leader rejected the idea. READ MORE.....

Media Release: Three Arrests Made in Hate-Based Attack

Submitted: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Detectives from the Major Crime Unit have now arrested a third male at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, 2013 in relation to what police believe to be a hate-based attack on six visible minorities that occurred in the area of Fraser St and Patrick St on October 6.

The 20-year-old Kingston male will be held overnight in police cells and attend court for a bail hearing and to be formally charged with Assault with a Weapon, Uttering Threats and Breach of Probation. 

The names of the first two accused arrested are Kenneth J. MURPHY, 19-years-old, and Clayton R. LEE, 18-years-old. Both attended a bail hearing earlier this afternoon and were remanded into custody with future court dates.

Detectives continue to investigate in the hopes of identifying, arresting and charging the fourth and last assailant. 

Anyone with information is please asked to contact Detective Jay Finn at 613-549-4660 ext 6228 or via email at jfinn@kpf.ca.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the website at www.tipsubmit.com. Tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Earlier release.....

See also:  National Muslim advocacy organization denounces attack on Muslim students

Media Release: Two Arrests Made in Hate-Based Attack


Kingston Police Media Release

Submitted: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Detectives from the Major Crime Unit arrested two local males in the afternoon of Wednesday, October 9, 2013 in relation to what police believe to be a hate-based attack on six visible minorities on October 6.

The 19-year-old and 18-year-old Kingston males were held overnight in police cells and will be attending court for a bail hearing and to be formally charged with Assault with a Weapon and Uttering Threats. The 19-year-old is also charged with Breach of Probation. Their names are anticipated to be released once the official Information is sworn before the courts and they are no longer in police custody.

Detectives continue to investigate in the hopes of identifying, arresting and charging the other two assailants. 

Anyone with information is please asked to contact Detective Jay Finn at 613-549-4660 ext 6228 or via email at jfinn@kpf.ca.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the website at www.tipsubmit.com. Tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000. 

Constable Steve Koopman 
Media Relations Officer 
Tel: 613-549-4660, ext 2288
Cell: 613-329-6157 
Fax: 613-549-7111 
705 Division Street 
Kingston ON K7K 4C2 
www.kpf.ca 
E-mail: skoopman@kpf.ca


—30—


‘Hate group’ sues to re-run controversial FBI ads on Metro buses


By LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


An anti-Muslim organization has sued the King County for refusing to allow the purported hate group to re-run controversial FBI advertisements on Metro buses.

Metro previously allowed the FBI’s “Faces of Global Terrorism” announcements to appear on the buses before the bureau pulled the ads. The FBI ads – which picture 16 terrorism suspects, most of whom are non-white, Muslim and living overseas – were dropped in June over concerns they perpetuated negative stereotypes of Muslims.

The New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative and organization president Pamela Geller have sued King County claiming the county is violating the free speech rights of the organization’s members by not allowing it to replicate the defunct FBI ads.

Reached for comment Tuesday, a county Department of Transportation spokesman said the county had not yet recieved the lawsuit. He declined to comment on the allegations. 

Geller’s better known organization, Stop Islamization of America, has been named as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.Geller gained some national attention for opposing an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan in 2010, which she and Robert Spencer – vice president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and a plaintiff in the King County lawsuit – famously and falsely described as a “victory mosque” celebrating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Geller has more recently made outlandish claims about President Obama’s parentage, denied the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and established close ties to white supremacist organizations, according to the watchdog groups.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, she and Spencer were cited in the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian gunman who killed 77 people on a political retreat. Following the tragedy, Geller said the slain campers were playing “anti-Semitic war games,” had a “pro-Islamic agenda,” and were not “pure Norwegian.”

The pair have also used advertisements on public property to spark controversy, most recently by buying ads in New York City describing Muslims as "savages." Now, Spencer and Geller would like to replicate an FBI announcement previously posted on the sides of Metro buses as well as billboards around Seattle.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Metro rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative advertisement on the grounds that it is misleading, demeaning and disruptive. Attorneys for the group contend Metro simply doesn’t like the message and is limiting speech inappropriately.

Among the critics of the FBI ads was U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, who faulted the ads for “pointing a finger at a group of people, profiling them.”

“I don’t think that’s fair and I don’t think its good for our society,” McDermott told The Associated Press in June. “It doesn’t make us safer.”

Metro’s advertising policy drew fire three years ago from a pro-Palestinian group which wanted to post advertisements reading in part “Israeli War Crimes / Your Tax Dollars at Work.” Metro rejected the ads, drawing a lawsuit by advertisement sponsor, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.

That dispute prompted King County to adopt new rules for bus advertisements. Those rules were in place when the taxpayer-sponsored version of the American Freedom Defense Initiative ad appeared on Metro buses earlier this year.

Attorneys for the group contend Metro’s decision was not a “content neutral” restriction on speech, but was instead a reaction to the point-of-view offered by the group. They’ve asked that the court order Metro to accept the advertisement, and that King County pay for the costs of the lawsuit.

King County has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or levipulkkinen@seattlepi.com. Follow Levi on Twitter attwitter.com/levipulk.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

KENT ROACH: The Supreme Court’s secret hearing

BY KENT ROACH, OTTAWA CITIZEN OCTOBER 9, 2013


The Supreme Court’s decision to hold a closed hearing this week as part of Mohamed Harkat’s security certificate hearing is disquieting.

Nevertheless, it is part and parcel of the problematic practice of using secret intelligence as evidence.

The closed Supreme Court hearing will involve an adversarial challenge between government lawyers and security-cleared special advocates. Neither Harkat, an Algerian refugee who was arrested in Ottawa in 2002 on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent, nor his lawyers will be present. This will strike many as unfair, but it replicates what happens in security certificates.

As also happens under security certificates, the special advocates who are supposed to represent Harkat’s interests in the closed hearing were only allowed to meet with Harkat’s lawyers in limited and judicially controlled circumstances.

In February of 2013, the Supreme Court allowed the special advocates to meet with Harkat’s lawyers, but only to discuss matters of “legal strategy.” The special advocates were warned that “no classified information will be directly or indirectly disclosed during such communications.”

And there is the rub. What if one’s “legal strategy” depends on what the “classified information” says?

The Supreme Court in its public order about the secret hearing used the telling and American term “classified information.” As found by both the Arar and Air India commission, the government over-classifies information. The security certificate regime encourages this practice by not allowing judges to balance the competing interests in secrecy and disclosure.

The special advocates are supposed to ensure that the detainees are treated fairly and that judges are fully informed about the relevant law and facts. But can the special advocates do their job properly if they are not allowed to consult with the detainee about the secret evidence that is being used against him? That is a central question the court must decide in this important appeal.

The secret evidence used in security certificate proceedings is intelligence that does not have to satisfy evidentiary standards. It may have been obtained from foreign agencies that use torture. It may be obtained, as is a concern in the Harkat case, from unreliable human sources.

The reliability of the secret evidence is often difficult to judge because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) — effectively the police force in these cases — destroyed original notes and intercepts after it made summaries until the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that such a policy was illegal. Another issue in the appeal is whether it is fair to use CSIS’s summaries when they cannot be verified against the original information. The Court of Appeal concluded the summaries were the problem, not the solution.

The governments that are defending security certificates will have a strong argument that the system is fairer than a previous one struck down by the Supreme Court in 2007 that provided for no adversarial challenge of the secret evidence. In addition, Parliament attempted to charter-proof the new regime by allowing judges to allow special advocates to do what is necessary to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

But the idea of judicial approval is problematic. It is based on a fear that the security-cleared advocates may inadvertently spill secrets even though they could go to jail for doing so. It requires the special advocates and the detainee to share their litigation strategies with the judge and perhaps even the government. Government lawyers have access to the same and likely more secrets, but they are not subject to the same restrictions if they decide to consult colleagues or experts about the case.

The governments have undermined their arguments that the new system is better than the old and consistent with the charter by making the aggressive argument that the identity of CSIS sources should be protected by a near absolute privilege that could mean that even special advocates will not be able to know who the sources are.

The governments argue that the identity of CSIS sources should be secret, just like the identity of police sources. The critical difference, however, is that if the evidence of a police informer is used in a prosecution, the informer’s identity will be revealed when they take the stand and are cross-examined. The identity of CSIS sources remain secret. They are never cross-examined even though their evidence can be used to indefinitely detain and deport non-citizens, possibly to torture.

The special advocates in the Harkat case asked the judge to allow them to cross-examine at least one of the human sources, but the judge said no. Presumably part of the closed hearing will examine this important question. It will test the traditional view that cross-examination is the best way to determine truth.

The Supreme Court will have to decide not only if the new system is constitutional but also whether secret intelligence can fairly be used as evidence. The court’s novel use of closed hearings means that the court will gain first-hand experience with this problematic practice.

It remains to be seen whether the court will conclude that the practice is fair.

Kent Roach is the Prichard Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and the author of The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism.

Taking on Capitalism, U.S. Torture & Dictatorships, Costa-Gavras on Decades of Political Filmmaking

Chelsea Manning rejects 'pacifist' label in first statement since sentencing

Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks source formerly known as Bradley Manning, has expressed intense unhappiness at the public profile that is being presented about her, warning that a false impression is being given to the outside world that she is an anti-war pacifist and conscientious objector.

In a statement issued to the Guardian, Manning insists that she did not leak hundreds of thousands of US classified documents to WikiLeaks because she was explicitly motivated by pacifism. Rather, she sees herself as a “transparency advocate” who is convinced that the American people needs to be better informed.

“It’s not terribly clear to me that my actions were explicitly done for ‘peace’... I feel that the public cannot decide what actions and policies are or are not justified if they don’t even know the most rudimentary details about them and their effects.” MORE.....

UK universities move into Uzbekistan even as human rights fears grow

Foreign Office and British Council support closer links to Karimov regime despite widespread and repeated allegations of mass shootings, torture and forced labour. MORE....

National Muslim advocacy organization denounces attack on Muslim students

- For Immediate Release - 

(Ottawa - October 9, 2013) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim advocacy organization, today condemned an assault this past Saturdayevening on six Muslim youth in Kingston, Ontario which is being investigated as a hate crime by Kingston Police. 

According to a media report the victims - all Muslim - were chased down the street and attacked by four perpetrators, with one of the suspects brandishing a weapon. Kingston Police have also released an image of one of the suspects that was taken by one of the victims.

"Such hateful and cowardly acts are abhorrent to all Canadians - Muslims and non-Muslims - who stand united in our condemnation of this attack and all crimes motivated by xenophobia and hatred," says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

"While disturbing, we believe this attack on members of the Kingston Muslim community does not represent the sentiments of the vast majority of Canadians. 

"We call on the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a strong message against potential hate crimes and intolerance. NCCM further urges elected leaders and security officials at all levels to publicly condemn these hateful acts and to support public awareness campaigns around the issue," says Gardee.

"We also urge community leaders to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities, as well as to the NCCM, in order to establish a clear record of such incidents." 

Anyone with information is requested to contact Kingston police Det. Jay Finn at 613-549-4660, ext. 6228 or via email at jfinn@kpf.ca. Alternatively, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8744so that the accused perpetrators can be held to account and a clear message be sent that these kinds of attacks will not be tolerated. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers or on www.tipsubmit.ca. Tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

This latest attack on Canadian Muslims comes on the heels of anAngus-Reid poll highlighting that anti-Islam sentiment is on the rise in Canada. 

NCCM presents workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when confronted with a possible hate crime. 

NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights. 

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704613.853.4111


The rise of right-wing Christian fascism

Monday, 07 October 2013 


There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz—whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry—and legions of the senator’s wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.” It seeks to reduce government to organizing little more than defense, internal security and the protection of property rights. It fuses with the Christian religion the iconography and language of American imperialism and nationalism, along with the cruelest aspects of corporate capitalism. The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it—its leaders champion small government and a large military, as if the military is not part of government—and its laughable pseudoscience are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.

The cult of masculinity, as in all fascist movements, pervades the ideology of the Christian right. The movement uses religion to sanctify military and heroic “virtues,” glorify blind obedience and order over reason and conscience, and pander to the euphoria of collective emotions. Feminism and homosexuality, believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites and ultimately slaying nonbelievers. This cult of masculinity, with its glorification of violence, is appealing to the powerless. It stokes the anger of many Americans, mostly white and economically disadvantaged, and encourages them to lash back at those who, they are told, seek to destroy them. The paranoia about the outside world is fostered by bizarre conspiracy theories, many of which are prominent in the rhetoric of those leading the government shutdown. Believers, especially now, are called to a perpetual state of war with the “secular humanist” state. The march, they believe, is irreversible. Global war, even nuclear war, is the joyful harbinger of the Second Coming. And leading the avenging armies is an angry, violent Messiah who dooms billions of apostates to death.

Ted Cruz said in the Senate last month during a 21-hour speech that he gave in an attempt to block the funding of Obamacare, “It is disheartening to know that the nation our forefathers built is no longer of importance to our president and his Democratic counterparts. Not only that, we are falling away from core Christian values. I don’t know about you, but I believe in the Jesus who died to save himself, not enable lazy followers to be dependent on him. He didn’t walk around all willy-nilly just passing out free health care to those who were sick, or food to those who were hungry, or clothes to those in need. No, he said get up, brush yourself off, go into town and get a job, and as he hung on the cross he said, ‘I died so that I may live in eternity with my Father. If you want to join us you can die for yourself and your own sins. What do I look like, your savior or something?’ That’s the Jesus I want to see brought back into our core values as a nation. That’s why we need to repeal Obamacare.”

Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will. They sanctify their rage. This rage lies at the center of the ideology. It leaves them sputtering inanities about Barack Obama, his corporate-sponsored health care reform bill, his alleged mandated suicide counseling or “death panels” for seniors under the bill, his supposed secret alliance with radical Muslims, and “creeping socialism.” They see the government bureaucracy as being controlled by “secular humanists” who want to destroy the family and make war against the purity of their belief system. They seek total cultural and political domination.

All ideological, theological and political debates with the radical Christian right are useless. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. Its adherents are using the space within the open society to destroy the open society itself. Our naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have “values,” only strengthen its supposed legitimacy and increase our own weakness.

Dominionists have to operate, for now, in what they see as the contaminated environment of the secular, liberal state. They work with the rest of us only because they must. Given enough power—and they are working hard to get it—any such cooperation will vanish. They are no different from the vanguard described by Lenin or the Islamic terrorists who shaved off their beards, adopted Western dress and watched pay-for-view pornography in their hotel rooms the night before hijacking a plane for a suicide attack. The elect alone, like the Grand Inquisitor, are sanctioned to know the truth. And in the pursuit of their truth they have no moral constraints.

I spent two years inside the Christian right in writing my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” I attended services at megachurches across the country, went to numerous lectures and talks, sat in on creationist seminars, attended classes on religious proselytizing and conversion, spent weekends at “right-to-life” retreats and interviewed dozens of followers and leaders of the movement. Though I was sympathetic to the financial dislocation, the struggles with addictions, the pain of domestic and sexual violence, and the deep despair that drew people to the movement, I was also acutely aware of the dangerous ideology these people embraced. Fascist movements begin as champions of civic improvement, communal ideals, moral purity, strength, national greatness and family values. These movements attract, as has the radical Christian right, those who are disillusioned by the collapse of liberal democracy. And our liberal democracy has collapsed.

We have abandoned our poor and working class. We have created a government monster that sucks the marrow out of our bones to enrich and empower the oligarchic and corporate elite. The protection of criminals, whether in war or on Wall Street, is part of our mirage of law and order. We have betrayed the vast and growing underclass. Most believers within the Christian right are struggling to survive in a hostile world. We have failed them. Their very real despair is being manipulated and used by Christian fascists such as the Texas senator. Give to the working poor a living wage, benefits and job security and the reach of this movement will diminish. Refuse to ameliorate the suffering of the poor and working class and you ensure the ascendancy of a Christian fascism.The Christian right needs only a spark to set it ablaze. Another catastrophic act of domestic terrorism, hyperinflation, a series of devastating droughts, floods, hurricanes or massive wildfires or another financial meltdown will be the trigger. Then what is left of our anemic open society will disintegrate. The rise of Christian fascism is aided by our complacency. The longer we fail to openly denounce and defy bankrupt liberalism, the longer we permit corporate power to plunder the nation and destroy the ecosystem, the longer we stand slack-jawed before the open gates of the city waiting meekly for the barbarians, the more we ensure their arrival.