Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Dark Age Alert! Gay Saudi Arabian Man Sentenced to Three Years and 450 Lashes for Meeting Men via Twitter

THE INDEPENDENT: The man was arrested after he arranged to meet a man who was in fact an undercover agent for the Saudi Arabian police

A Saudi Arabian man has been sentenced to three years in jail and 450 lashes after he was caught using Twitter to arrange dates with other men.

The 24-year-old man who has not been named, was given his sentence after the court in Medina, Saudi Arabia, found him guilty of “promoting the vice and practice of homosexuality.”

According to a report in the daily Arabic newspaper Al-Watan, the man was arrested following an entrapment ploy by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV).

Posing as a potential suitor online, members of the CPVPV arranged to meet the now convicted man for a date.

When the man arrived at the designated meeting place, he was greeted by an undercover agent and a number of other officers from the CPVPV.

He was then arrested and his phone was confiscated.

According to authorities, a search of the phone revealed “indecent images” and other incriminating evidence that apparently proved his “homosexuality”. » | Jack Simpson | Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Iraq: Isis Warns Women to Wear Full Veil or Face Punishment

'Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by
glamour will be subject to accountability.'
THE GUARDIAN: Sunni insurgents issue guidelines in mosques on how clothes should be worn to prevent women 'from falling into vulgarity'

Islamic State (Isis), the al-Qaida offshoot that seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, has warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment.

The Sunni insurgents, who have declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria and have threatened to march on Baghdad, also listed guidelines on how veils and clothes should be worn, part of a campaign to violently impose their radical brand of Islam.

"The conditions imposed on her clothes and grooming was only to end the pretext of debauchery resulting from grooming and overdressing," the group said in a statement.

"This is not a restriction on her freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity or to be a theatre for the eyes of those who are looking."

A cleric in Mosul told Reuters that Isis gunmen had shown up at his mosque and ordered him to read their warning on loudspeakers when worshipers gather.

"Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities of religion and protect it from debauchery," Isis said. » | Reuters in Baghdad | Friday, July 25, 2014

Krauthammer: Obama Has Defended Muslims, Where Is He On Christian Persecution?

Read the short article on Real Clear Politics here | Posted by Ian Schwartz | Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gaza Conflict: France Criticises 'Anti-Semitic' Riot

BBC: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has condemned "anti-Semitic" violence that broke out during a protest against Israel's action in Gaza.

Jewish-owned businesses and a synagogue were targeted in the suburb of Sarcelles, just outside Paris.

Shops were looted and 18 people were arrested as youths went on the rampage during Sunday's protest, which had been banned by authorities.

The mayor of Sarcelles said the Jewish community was in fear.

Such an outpouring of violence had never been seen in the suburb before, he said.

Roger Cukierman, head of the umbrella group Crif that represents French Jewish organisations, said Jews were not just afraid, they were anguished.

"What's happened in the past few days is terrible. They're shouting 'Death to the Jews' and attacking synagogues. It's completely out of control", he said. » | Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

George Galloway Is a Muslim Now

Comment with George Galloway: How Should the ISIS Threat Be Confronted?

George Galloway Discussing ISIS

La persécution des chrétiens d'Irak est un "crime contre l'humanité"

LE POINT: Le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon s'alarme des persécutions des chrétiens de Mossoul par les djihadistes de l'État islamique.

Ban Ki-moon, secrétaire général de l'ONU, a affirmé dimanche que la persécution des chrétiens de Mossoul (Irak) par les djihadistes de l'État islamique (EI) pouvait être considérée comme un crime contre l'humanité. Au moment où des centaines de familles chrétiennes fuient Mossoul après un ultimatum de l'EI, Ban Ki-moon a "condamné de la manière le plus ferme possible la persécution systématique des minorités en Irak par l'État islamique et les groupes armés qui lui sont liés". Dans un communiqué de l'ONU, Ban Ki-moon se déclare "particulièrement troublé par les informations sur des menaces contre les chrétiens à Mossoul". Ban Ki-moon "réaffirme que les attaques systématiques contre des civils en raison de leur origine ethnique ou de leur appartenance religieuse peuvent constituer un crime contre l'humanité dont les auteurs doivent rendre des comptes", ajoute le communiqué de l'ONU. » | Source AFP | lundi 21 juillet 2014

George Galloway Replies to Tony Blair on ISIS and Iraq – In The Now – Russia Today – June 16, 2014

George Galloway replies to Tony Blair on ISIS

Inside Story: Cyprus Divided - 40 Years On

Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the division of Cyprus, hopes of reunification remain dim.

Jihadists Seize Ancient Iraqi Monastery and Expel Monks

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Islamic State fighters order monks to leave fourth-century monastery after issuing ultimatum to Christians to leave, convert, die or pay protection money, local residents say

Jihadist militants have taken over a monastery in northern Iraq, one of the country's best-known Christian landmarks, and expelled its resident monks, a cleric and residents said Monday.

Islamic State (IS) fighters stormed Mar (Saint) Behnam, a fourth-century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, on Sunday, the sources said.

"You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately," a member of the Syriac clergy quoted the Sunni militants as telling the monastery's residents.

He said the monks pleaded to be allowed to save some of the monastery's relics but the fighters refused and ordered them to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.

Christian residents from the area told AFP the monks walked several miles along a deserted road and were eventually picked up by Kurdish peshmerga fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh. » | AFP | Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christians Lie and Wives Must Have Sex or Go to Hell, Trojan Horse Pupils Told

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Inquiry commissioned by Birmingham City Council reveals details of religious extremism in 13 schools

Children were taught that all Christians are liars and attempts were made to introduce Sharia law in classrooms as part of an alleged 'Trojan Horse' takeover plot of Birmingham schools, an inquiry has found.

The inquiry commissioned by Birmingham City Council found evidence of religious extremism in 13 schools as school governors and teachers tried to promote and enforce radical Islamic values.

Schools put up posters warning children that if they didn't pray they would "go to hell", Christmas was cancelled and girls were taught that women who refused to have sex with their husbands would be "punished" by angels "from dusk to dawn".

The report found that the extremism went unchecked because the council "disastrously" prioritised community cohesion over "doing what is right".

It concluded that there was a "determined effort" by "manipulative" governors to introduce "unacceptable" practices, "undermine" head teachers and deny students a broad and balanced education. » | Steven Swinford, Senior Political Correspondent | Friday, July 18, 2014

Bolivia Becomes First Nation to Legalise Child Labour from Age 10

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Bolivia says law reflects reality in country where 1 million children regularly work, but activists complain it will increase poverty and contravenes United Nations conventions

Alicia weaves through El Alto's stalled traffic under a blazing sun, hawking colourful woven flowers to grumpy drivers and lovers. With luck, the 12-year-old and her mother will together muster £10 by day's end, all the while keeping watch over her younger brother and sister, ages 8 and 6.

"It is difficult for my mother to sell alone because she has to look after my siblings," said Alicia, who normally goes to school in the afternoon but is using her vacation to help her mother by working the entire day. As her siblings sleep, her mother knits the flowers that Alicia sells.

While most of the world is trying to diminish child labour, Bolivia has become the first nation to legalise it from age 10. Congress approved the legislation early this month, and Vice President Alvaro Garcia signed it into law on Thursday in the absence of President Evo Morales, who was travelling.

The bill's sponsors say lowering the minimum work age from 14 simply acknowledges a reality: many poor families in Bolivia have no other choice than for their kids to work. The bill offers working children safeguards, they say. » | Agencies | Saturday, July 19, 2014

'Radical Muslims On The March' - Hannity Investigation - Fox News

Epic Sean Hannity studio audience Special featuring Brigitte Gabriel, Pamela Geller, Jamie Glazov, KT McFarland, and Todd Starnes as they address the extremely controversial issue of the affect radical Muslims are having upon the rest of the world.

Muslims Attack Jews in Paris Synagogue

TOWNHALL.COM: This week, Islamic protestors surrounded a synagogue in Paris. Islamists threw rocks, and several tried to enter the synagogue with bats, chairs, an axe, and other weapons. One hundred and fifty Jews were trapped inside.

Ten thousand Muslims were protesting, in Paris, regarding Israel’s response to Hamas; a terrorist organization targeting the Israeli population with rockets and drones. The Muslims converged on the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue, and began chanting “Slaughter the Jews,” “Death to Jews” and “Hitler was right.” 10,000 Muslims vs. 150 Jews inside for a service were the odds of the day.

As if that were not enough intolerance, the Muslims attacked the synagogue.

The incident was partially caught on tape. » | Larry Provost | Saturday, July 19, 2014

What a New Islamic Caliphate Means for Christians, the West

Read the article here | CBN News | Tuesday, June 27, 2014

Convert, Pay Tax, Or Die, Islamic State Warns Christians

Islamic insurgents in Mosul are consolidating control over
the civilians, warning any Christians remaining in the
city to agree to certain terms – or face death.
THE GUARDIAN: Insurgents issue ultimatum to Iraq's dwindling Christian population to abide by 'dhimma' contract or face the sword

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq's dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement issued by the Islamic State (Isis) and distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul. The al-Qaida offshoot that led last month's lightning assault to capture swathes of northern Iraq said the ruling would come into effect on Saturday.

In the statement, Isis said Christians who wanted to remain in the "caliphate" declared earlier this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a "dhimma" contract – a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as "jizya". "We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the announcement said.

A resident of Mosul said the statement, issued in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, had been distributed on Thursday and read out in mosques. It said that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which the group has now named Caliph Ibrahim, had set a Saturday deadline for Christians who did not want to stay and live under those terms to "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate". "After this date, there is nothing between us and them but the sword," it said. Read on and comment » | Reuters | Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

How 'Caliph' Baghdadi Aimed His Sermon at the Muslim Devout

The Western media focused on Ibrahim al-Baghdadi's wristwatch. But to relig[i]ous Muslims, the symbolism of his speech was carefully chosen, and clear

Read and comment on the Telegraph article here | Ed Hussain | Friday, July 18, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Woman Helps Over 1,000 Belgian[s] Converts to Islam

WORLD BULLETIN: 'Prejudices stem from not being introduced to real Islam properly,' said Veronique Cools, a 25-year-old Belgian convert to Islam.

Veronique Cools, a 25-year-old Belgian convert to Islam, has has helped over 1,000 people who have accepted Islam in the past 8 years.

Cools, who accepted Islam herself at a very young age after being influenced by her Muslim friends and researching into the religion, turned her home into an Islamic center for Belgian Muslims seeking to learn more about their religion. » | World Bulletin/News Desk | Saturday, July 12, 2014

Muslim Cleric Says Islam Sees No Distinction Between Combatants and Civilians, So Killing American Women and Children Is Fine

THE BLAZE: A radical Muslim cleric in Sudan with a history of incendiary statements against the U.S. now says that under Islam there is no distinction between combatant and civilian and thus American women and children are fair game for militant attacks.

“In its war with the infidels, Islam recognizes no distinction between regular armies and civilians,” said Sudanese cleric Muhammad Al-Jazouli at his Friday sermon, citing a fatwa, or religious ruling.

The Middle East Media Research Institute found video of the sermon and posted translated excerpts online.

In the sermon, Al-Jazouli said he had been “overjoyed” to hear of one particular hadith, that is, a tradition related to the prophet Mohammed.

Al-Jazouli quoted a statement once conveyed to the prophet Mohammed that when Muslims would attack “the polytheists at night, women and children would be harmed.” » | Sharona Schwartz | Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is This the Wife of Iraq's New Islamist Overlord?

Image from a video of a woman believed to be Saja al-Dulaimi,
the wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: First pictures emerge of Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi, said to be the spouse of Islamic State ruler Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

He is the world's most feared Islamic terrorist, carving out a new Middle East 'caliphate' through a combination of medieval butchery and stunning military success.

But until now, the wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, has remained largely out of the public eye.

A photo has now emerged online purporting to show Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi – the woman whose husband now controls vast swathes of Syria and western Iraq after his forces routed government troops in a lightening eastern advance over recent weeks.

Although the provenance of the picture is unclear, it shows a youthful-looking woman draped in a black headscarf and gazing purposefully into the distance. » | Alastair Beach | Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tesco Apologises after Muslim Checkout Worker Refused to Sell Customer Ham and Wine because It Was Ramadan

MAIL ONLINE: Mother-of-three tried to buy items during shopping trip in north London / Employee said he couldn't sell them as he was fasting for religious festival / The customer was instead forced to use the self-service checkouts / She told worker he should be serving people not turning them away / Firm apologises to customer but refuses to condemn worker's actions

Tesco has issued an apology after a Muslim worker refused to sell a customer ham and wine because of Ramadan.

Mother-of-three Julie Cottle went into her local store to stock up, but was left stunned when a checkout employee insisted he couldn't serve her.

Muslims worldwide are currently fasting for Ramadan - the holy ninth month of the Islamic calendar where devotees abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. » | Richard Spillett | Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Syria Conflict: Isis Marches Further into Syria Tipping the Balance of Power in the Civil War

THE INDEPENDENT: While international attention has been focused on the situation in Gaza, the self-styled caliphate has been spreading deeper into the country armed with tanks and artillery seized in Iraq

Isis fighters have captured much of eastern Syria in the past few days while international attention has been focused on the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. Using tanks and artillery seized in Iraq, it has taken almost all of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province and is battling to crush the resistance of the Syrian Kurds.

Isis is establishing dominance over the opposition to Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, as other rebel groups flee or pledge allegiance to the caliphate declared by the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after the capture of Mosul on 10 June. On Monday, the jihadists took over the rebel held half of Deir Ezzor on the Euphrates river, raising their black flag over the city and executing the rebel commander from Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qa’ida affiliate that was previously in control.

The recent Isis advances in Syria, following victories in Iraq last month, are altering the balance of power in the whole region. The opposition military forces not aligned with the Syrian government or Isis are being squeezed out of existence, making obsolete the US, British, Saudi and Turkish policy of backing groups hostile to both Assad and Isis. » | Patrick Cockburn | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Edward Snowden Should Not Face Trial, Says UN Human Rights Commissioner

THE GUARDIAN: Navi Pillay says of former NSA contractor: 'those who disclose human rights violations should be protected'

The United Nations's top human rights official has suggested that the United States should abandon its efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden, saying his revelations of massive state surveillance had been in the public interest.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, credited Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor, with opening a global debate that has led to calls for the curtailing of state powers to snoop on citizens online and store their data.

"Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected: we need them," Pillay told a news conference. Read on and comment » | Reuters in Geneva | Wesnesday, July 16, 2014

Andrew Grice: Cameron’s New Cabinet of Eurosceptics Will Push Us towards EU Exit Door

THE INDEPENDENT: Reshuffle also opens way for Conservative manifesto pledge to pull Britain out of European Convention on Human Rights

Although the headlines are about the demotion of Michael Gove and the promotion of women, Europe is the thread that runs through David Cameron’s wide-ranging reshuffle. We now have a Foreign Secretary in Philip Hammond who has said he would vote to leave the EU unless substantial powers are returned to Britain ahead of the in/out referendum planned for 2017. It is a significant appointment that will send shivers down the spines of some Foreign Office officials.

Although William Hague, the outgoing Foreign Secretary, insisted that Mr Hammond held the same view on Europe as Mr Cameron and himself, his promotion could mark another step towards the EU exit door.

The reshuffle also opens the way for a Conservative manifesto pledge to pull Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights. Liberal-minded ministers opposed to such a drastic move – Dominic Grieve, who had a pivotal role as Attorney General, Kenneth Clarke and Damian Green – have lost their jobs. Jeremy Wright, the new Attorney General, is a loyalist centre-right figure who will not rock the boat. The Liberal Democrats blocked Tory plans for a “British Bill of Rights” to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act, which incorporated the Convention into UK law. » | Andrew Grice | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rove: Obama's 'Lack of Self-awareness' Is 'Amazing'

Jul. 10, 2014 - 8:06 - Former Bush senior adviser blasts Obama as 'not a serious president,' calls his claim that he isn't interested in photo-ops a 'stupid moment,' dismisses his request for $3.7B for the immigration crisis as 'not a serious proposal, not a serious number'

'Obama's Mid East Policies Disastrous, He's Weakened & Withdrawing' – Political Scientist

The US has a disastrous history of intervention in foreign conflicts, and as the Obama administration tries to disengage, it leaves behind the chaos of poorly thought out foreign policies. Is the US ideology-driven approach the reason for its failures overseas? And what are the prospects for cooperation between Russia and the US in an environment of growing Russophobia and anti-Americanism? Oksana is joined by Dr Robert Freedman, Visiting Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, to engage these issues.

From Citizens to Suspects: Cameron Pledges £800m on Nation's Cyber Intelligence

British PM David Cameron is determined to continue spying as usual and announces he needs extra £800 million to boost cyber-spying, despite the beginning of UK spy agency GCHQ tribunal on mass surveillance. Would Cameron be able to convince British citizens mass surveillance is for their own good? RT's Polly Boiko reports.

Netanyahu: Two-state Solution Impossible, Israel on Frontlines of Jihad

JIHAD WATCH: This is, as far as I know, the first public acknowledgment by any world leader that a “Palestinian” state would like become just another jihad base for new attacks against Israel, just as Gaza did. It is good that Israel has such a clear-sighted leader in these difficult days, but noteworthy that this rather obvious truth is so obscure and so seldom articulated. Is Barack Obama really so naive as to think that a “Palestinian” state would result in peace, or would he like to see the advent of another jihad base against Israel? Read on and comment » | Robert Spencer | Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Caliphate Returns

BENDIGO ADVERTISER: “Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day,” said Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, announcing the rebirth of the Caliphate in the broad territory between Aleppo in northern Syria and Diyala province in eastern Iraq.

The Sunni Muslim organisation that conquered almost half of Iraq in early June has changed its name.

Before, it was ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Now it wishes to be known simply as the “Islamic State” – for there can only be one such state, and it should include everywhere that Muslims have ever ruled.

ISIS propagandists have even produced a map showing the ultimate borders that their Islamic State lays claim to.

Spain and Portugal will be part of it, because they were ruled by Muslim conquerors during much of the Middle Ages.

All of India except the southern tip should be under the rule of the Caliph for the same reason.

Serbia, Croatia and Hungary must be part of the Islamic State, for the Ottomans once conquered all the Balkans. Plus half of Africa, and Indonesia, and even southwestern Siberia. » | Gwynne Dyer | Monday, July 14, 2014

Church of England General Synod Backs Women Bishops

BBC: The Church of England has voted to allow women to become bishops for first time in its history.

The General Synod gave final approval to legislation introducing the change by the required two-thirds majority.

The previous vote in 2012 was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but blocked by traditionalist lay members.

The Archbishop of York asked for the result to be met "with restraint and sensitivity" but there was a flurry of cheers when it was announced. » | Monday, July 14, 2014

Caliphate Attracts Women from the West

THE AUSTRALIAN: LATE last month the mother of Salma and Zahra Halane discovered her twins had gone — and taken their passports. The 16-year-old sisters had hoped to become doctors, but ran away to join the so-called caliphate established by the Islamic State in parts of Iraq and Syria. Police believe they followed their older brother.

Why would two intelligent British girls join a medieval religious sect in an unknown country? Some answers lie online.

Thousands of Western-born Muslims have become radicalised through internet preachers or through social media. So far this has been mainly a male phenomenon, but experts say Islamic State “fangirls” are taking on a more active recruiting role, urging young women to help build a civil society within the caliphate. Up to 40 “fangirls” are active at a time on social media, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London.

Women who have gone to the jihad “set-up on Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram and answer questions such as ‘What’s life like out there?’ or ‘Are you seeing any fighting?’ They say they’re making house or getting married and trying to establish a community network inside the Islamic State.” » | Eleanor Mills | The Australian | Monday, July 14, 2014

Devil Vows Taken Out Of Christening Services as Church of England Aims to Widen Appeal

THE INDEPENDENT: The devil is no longer in the detail of baptism vows

All mention of the devil has been taken out of Christening services by the Church of England in a bid to appeal to more people.

In the current wording, parents vow to “reject the devil and all rebellion against God”, “renounce the deceit and corruption of evil” and “repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour”.

But the alternative text agreed by the General Synod only asks them to “turn away from sin” and “reject evil”.

In the meeting at the University of York on Sunday, the members were told the change was popular with parents and families during pilots in churches across the country.

The simplified service aims to appeal to people with no religious background as membership of the Church of England continues to decline. » | Lizzie Dearden | Monday, July 14, 2014

Bashar al-Assad Is West's Ally against Isis Extremists, Says Syria

THE GUARDIAN: Backing rebel groups in Syrian conflict has backfired on Europe, claims Syria's vice foreign minister

Syria is determined to "eliminate" the Sunni extremist group Isis, according to a senior minister, who urged western countries to recognise "new realities" by joining the battle against terrorism and ending their support for rebels trying to overthrow president Bashar al-Assad.

"The only way to resolve the situation is to work with president Assad," Faisal Mekdad, Syria's vice foreign minister, told the Guardian. Mekdad said that "many countries" were now seeking security cooperation with Damascus, but "security matters could not be separated from the political cooperation". Read on and comment » | Ian Black in Damascus | Monday, July 14, 2014

Isis Defector Speaks of Life inside Brutal Jihadist Group

Isis-led Sunni rebels have seized large swathes of north-western
Iraq and Syria
BBC: An "Islamic caliphate" has been declared in the Middle East and the group behind it, Isis, has now rebranded itself simply "the Islamic State". Panorama has spoken to a defector about life inside the feared jihadist group.

Isis is not an organisation it is easy to leave. We met a man who had - and he was terrified of the consequences. "The brutality of Isis terrifies everyone," he said. "My family, my cousins, my siblings are all still there. I fear for them. If they can't reach me, they will reach my family."

He was nervous, agreeing to record an interview only after several hours of discussion, over customary tiny glasses of scalding hot, sweet tea. He would talk to us only if we would not reveal his identity. He wrapped himself in a keffiyeh for our camera and we promised not to use his name.

He summed up the jihadists' tactics like this: "If you're against me, then you'll be killed. If you're with me, you work with me. You submit to my will and obey me, under my power in all matters." » | Paul Wood | BBC Panorama | Monday, July 14, 2014

Edward Snowden Condemns Britain's Emergency Surveillance Bill

THE GUARDIAN: Exclusive: NSA whistleblower says it 'defies belief' that bill must be rushed through after government ignored issue for a year

The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has condemned the new surveillance bill being pushed through the UK's parliament this week, expressing concern about the speed at which it is being done, lack of public debate, fear-mongering and what he described as increased powers of intrusion.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Moscow, Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass an emergency law such as this in circumstances other than a time of total war. "I mean we don't have bombs falling. We don't have U-boats in the harbour."

Suddenly it is a priority, he said, after the government had ignored it for an entire year. "It defies belief."

He found the urgency with which the British government was moving extraordinary and said it mirrored a similar move in the US in 2007 when the Bush administration was forced to introduce legislation, the Protect America Act, citing the same concerns about terrorist threats and the NSA losing cooperation from telecom and internet companies. (+ video) » | Ewen MacAskill | Sunday, July 13, 2014

Religious Violence in the Arab World Is Likely to Get Worse

THE DAILY STAR (LEBANON): The recent declaration of a caliphate by the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is an unprecedented event in modern times. Regardless of how it turns out, one thing is clear: violent jihadism is now an entrenched feature of the Arab political landscape.

Not since the Turkish Republic abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 has any Muslim group in control of territory made such a bid.

Even Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have limited their demands to the creation of statelets (emirates), which they hope will eventually coalesce into a caliphate.

This hesitation can be explained, at least partly, by the fact that neither Osama bin Laden nor Mullah Omar (the Taliban’s leader) can fulfill the conditions for being a caliph, one of which is proof of descent from the Prophet Mohammad’s tribe, the Quraysh. The new caliphal claimant, the Islamic State’s emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, can.

As conceived in Islamic political thought, a caliphate, unlike a conventional nation-state, is not subject to fixed borders. Instead, it is focused on defending and expanding the dominion of the Muslim faith through jihad, or armed struggle.

The statement which announced the new caliphate, entitled “This is the Promise of Allah,” was issued on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and lays out a radical vision for reconfiguring the Arab world. » | Bernard Haykel & Cole Bunzell | Yje Daily Star | Saturday, July 12, 2014