Sunday, July 05, 2015

Islamic State Jihadists Execute Dozens amid Palmyra Ruins

25 Syrian government soldiers kneel in the ancient amphitheatre
in the city of Palmyra ahead of being executed by children
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: A new Isil video shows teenage executioners using the Unesco heritage site as a theatre for death

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have released a video purportedly showing the execution of dozens of Syrian government soldiers in the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

The footage shows 25 men kneeling on the stage of the site's historic Roman theatre, their hands tied behind their backs.

With ritualistic precision, the same numbers of executioners then step out in unison, each taking up position behind one of the condemned. A large black Isil flag is draped over the columns behind them.

Wearing matching long brown robes and brown bandannas the executioners appear to be boys or young teenagers – few look old enough to grow a beard.

Footage filmed from cameras trained on the soldiers' faces show that the men have been beaten.

Then the child jihadists transform the world-class tourist attraction into a killing ground.

Simultaneously raising their pistols, they spray bullets into the heads and backs of the men, leaving them lifeless and bloody on the ground.

An apparently unhappy crowd of onlookers, mostly dressed in civilian clothes, are gathered on the seats of the stadium watching the grisly show. » | Ruth Sherlock, Beirut | Sunday, July 5, 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

China's Sexual Revolution - Documentary

Greek Economy Close to Collapse as Food and Medicine Run Short

Supporters of the yes campaign attend a rally in Athens on Friday.
THE GUARDIAN: Alexis Tsipras urges people to vote no in Sunday’s referendum as capital controls bite and vital tourism industry sees tens of thousands cancel holidays in Greece

Greece’s economy is on the brink of collapse after the capital controls imposed ahead of Sunday’s referendum left the country with shortages of food and drugs, the tourist industry facing a wave of cancellations and banks with barely enough money to survive the weekend.

Banks said they had a €1bn cash buffer to see them through the weekend – equal to just €90 (£64) a head for the 11 million-strong population – and would require immediate help from the European Central Bank on Monday whatever the result of the referendum, in which the two sides are running neck and neck.

Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, was fighting for his political life on Friday night, using a rally to say that a no vote would enable him to negotiate a reform-for-debt-relief deal with the country’s creditors.

The survival of the Syriza coalition, formed just over five months ago to repudiate five years of austerity programmes, was in doubt as Greece started to suffer shortages of basic provisions, including the sale of vital drugs in pharmacies nationwide.

Food staples, such as sugar and flour, were also fast running out on Friday as consumers started to feel the effect of the restrictions. » | Helena Smith in Athens and Larry Elliott in London | Friday, July 3, 2015

Iceland Makes Blasphemy Legal

BBC AMERICA: Iceland's parliament has abolished its blasphemy laws, despite opposition from some of the country's churches.

A bill was put forward by the minority Pirate Party, which campaigns for internet and data freedom.

It came after the deadly attack the same month against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The bill said it was "essential in a free society that the public can express themselves without fear of punishment". » | Friday, July 3, 2015

Majority of Britons See Islam as Threat, New Poll Reveals

Muslims attend Friday prayers during the second day of
Ramadan, in the courtyard of a housing estate next to the
small BBC community centre and mosque in east London,
Britain June 19, 2015.
NEWSWEEK: A majority of Britons consider Muslims to be a threat to Western democracy, a higher level than after the 7/7 bombings in 2005, a new poll has revealed, with over 75% believing that a large-scale terror attack is inevitable.

The survey, conducted by international research firm YouGov for the Huffington Post, revealed that 56% of those asked believe that Islam is a "major" or "some" threat to Western democracy, showing a marked rise in negative views towards Muslims.

The results represent a 10% rise from the 46% who held the same views in a poll conducted just a day after the 2005 terror attacks, the 10th anniversary of which is next week. The attack saw four coordinated suicide bombs target London's transport network, killing 52 people and injure almost 800 more. » | Jack Moore | Friday, July 3, 3015

UK’s First Female Sharia Judge: ‘We Can’t Ask Muslims Not to Have More Than One Wife’

BREITBART.COM: Britain’s first female sharia law judge has issued a brazen warning that flies in the face of UK law, stating that the “government cannot ask Muslims not to have more than one wife”.

The news comes on the back of a report by the Times newspaper which claims that Britain is experiencing a “surge” in Sharia marriages, as young British Muslims adopt a more hardline religious stance than their parents.

The Times reports:
“As many as 100,000 couples are living in such marriages, which are not valid under UK law, experts said. Ministers have raised fears that women can be left without the right to a fair share of assets if the relationship ends, while others are forced to return to abusive “husbands”.”

A leading Islamic family lawyer warned that the increase in Sharia ceremonies among the 2.7 million-strong Muslim population in Britain was also behind a growth in “secret polygamy”. more | Raheem Kassam | Thursday, July 2, 2015

DAILY EXPRESS: Sham Sharia weddings leave Muslim women exposed to abuse and cheating husbands: AN ESTIMATED 100,000 British Muslim women are being duped into sham Sharia marriage - leaving them exposed to abusive and cheating husbands. » | Rebecca Perring | Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

ISIS Cuts Off Hands and Feet of 'Livestock Thieves' in Latest Sickening Propaganda Video

DAILY EXPRESS: ISLAMIC STATE (ISIS) savages have released their latest sickening propaganda video showing two 'thieves' having their hands and feet chopped off with a foot-long meat cleaver.


The stomach-churning four-minute clip shows the men, who are accused of stealing livestock and cars from a group of herders in the Syrian city of Homs, being brutally punished by ISIS fighters.

The pair, who seemed not to have been anaesthetised before the medieval sentence was carried out, had their right hands and left feet covered in antiseptic liquid before the cruel amputation.

Wearing rubber gloves, the ISIS barbarians tie the accused's feet and arms to a table before slicing the extremities in two.

After the grotesque incident, one of the victims was bundled into an ambulance with his clearly bandaged foot covered in blood.

The propaganda material was released just a day after another horrific video was circulated of the group's fighters throwing a man to his death from a building in Iraq simply for being gay. Read on and comment » | Tom Batchelor | Thursday, July 2, 2015

Islamic State Takes Sledgehammer to 'Irreplaceable' Ancient Palmyra Ruins

ISIS militants use heavy[-]duty sledgehammers to destroy
the historic statues in front of a large crowd, Palmyra
THE TELEGRAPH: Isil militants have released images showing a civilian being forced to destroy priceless artefacts from the Roman city of Palmyra as the head of Unesco warned of "cultural cleansing" by the extremist group'

Militants from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are feared to have begun destruction of Syria’s Roman city of Palmyra as the head of Unesco warned of "cultural cleansing" by the extremist group.

Maamoun Abdelkarim, Syrian antiquities minister, said on Thursday the militants had destroyed a 15 tonne statue of a lion, known as the Lion of Al-Lat.

"It's the most serious crime they have committed against Palmyra's heritage," Mr Abdelkarim told AFP news agency. Isil seized Palmyra's ruins from Syrian government control in May, prompting widespread fears that the group could destroy the a Unesco World Heritage site as an act of propaganda.

The jihadists have destroyed cultural treasures across the Middle East and North Africa, often describing the sites as idolatrous. » | Louisa Loveluck, Cairo | Thursday, July 2, 2015

Iranian Actor Apologises after Tweeting Support for US Gay Marriage Ruling

Iranian actor Bahram Radan takes a selfie during the photocall
for the film Ice Age at the Fadjr international film festival in Tehran.
THE GUARDIAN: Bahram Radan deleted tweet in support of US supreme court decision after criticism from hardline media and homophobic abuse

A leading Iranian actor has apologised after coming under pressure over a tweet he posted in support of a historic US supreme court ruling on gay marriage.

Bahram Radan, who is known as the Iranian Brad Pitt, created controversy in the country when his tweet hailed a verdict last week which made same-sex marriage a legal right across the entirety of the US. Homosexuality remains a taboo subject inside the Islamic republic and is punishable by death.

“The US supreme court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is legal was historic, perhaps on the scale of the end of slavery ... from Lincoln to Obama,” the award-winning actor tweeted in Persian at the weekend.

But within a few hours, after many users bombarded him with homophobic abuse and hardline media criticised him, Radan deleted the tweet.

The ultra-conservative Keyhan newspaper, whose director is appointed directly by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for Radan to be put on a blacklist and said he had been summoned to the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance for questioning, a claim which could not be independently verified. The ministry is in charge of vetting all cultural materials, including films, before they are released.

On Thursday, Keyhan published a letter of apology from Radan, who has more than 900,000 followers on Instagram, in which he said he was clarifying his position on same-sex marriage.

The letter was addressed to the paper’s managing editor, Hossein Shariatmadari, a hardline figure who is notorious for targeting dissidents and opposition figures and orchestrating media campaigns against them.

“What was published on the internet as my opinion about the US supreme court’s ruling on gay marriage was a mistake and does not reflect the dignity of the Iranian people, for which I apologise,” he writes in the letter.

“We’re living in a country which celebrates marriage as a tradition of the prophet [Muhammad]. American laws have no bearing on the Islamic republic and gay marriage is reprehensible under our social and religious laws and according to our social values.” » | Saeed Kamali Dehghan | Thursday, July 2, 2015

BBC Provokes Government Fury after Saying It Has to Be Fair to Isil

Lord Hall, the director general of the BBC, has rejected
calls to stop using the term Islamic State
THE TELEGRAPH: Lord Hall, the director general of the BBC, has provoked a furious response from the Government after saying it has duty of impartiality towards Isil

The BBC has been condemned by the government after claiming that it has to be impartial when reporting on Isil despite the terrorist atrocities in Tunisia.

Lord Hall, the head of the BBC, has rejected calls from a cross-party group of 120 MPs to stop using the name Islamic State and because it "gives the impression of support" for its opponents.

The comments infuriated Chris Grayling, the leader of the Commons, who said that the BBC should treat the terrorist organisation in the same way that it treated Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: "I have a different view of what impartiality means to the BBC. During the Second World War the BBC was a beacon of fact. It was not expected to be impartial between Britain and Germany.

“Today, it should be a beacon of fact but it’s not expected to be impartial about threats to the security and safety and lives and limbs of people of this nation.” » | Steven Swinford | Thursday, July 2, 2015

Islamic State 'Launches First Coin of Currency'

BBC AMERICA: Pictures are circulating online that are thought to show a currency issued by the so-called Islamic State group.

An anti-IS activist who lives in IS-controlled Syria has shared images of two gold coins social media.

Lucas de Jong reports on at what we know about the so-called "Islamic Dinar". (+ BBC video) » | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Israeli PM on Islamic State Attacks in Egypt

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu offers his condolences to Egypt after a series of deadly attacks by the Islamic State in northern Sinai.

Netanyahu urges all nations to ‘stand up to all the forces of militant Islam’.

Up to 40 Egyptian soldiers were killed in a wave of attacks on multiple military checkpoints in the area.

THE GUARDIAN: Attacks on Egyptian checkpoints signal escalation in Isis capabilities: Jihadi group claims to have ‘total control of many sites’ in northern Sinai after wave of attacks in which up to 40 Egyptian soldiers were killed » | Patrick Kingsley in Cairo | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pro-Kremlin Television Host Backs Civil Partnerships

THE TELEGRAPH: Head of Russia's state-owned news agency publicly calls for civil partnerships for gay couples, sparking speculation the Kremlin is rethinking its hardline stance on homosexuality

The head of Russia's state-owned news agency has publicly called for civil partnerships for gay couples, sparking speculation the Kremlin is rethinking its hardline stance on homosexuality.

Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of international news agency Rossia Segodnya and a prominent television host who has a reputation as a pro-Kremlin attack dog, made the comments during his weekly news programme on Sunday.

"In my view, it becomes a subject to discuss from time to time: the existence of the LGBT community is a fact,” he said, before explaining that there should be no discrimination against people who want to make a partnership official.

"You could figure out how to make life easier for adults if they want to take on, and on paper, the obligation to take care of each other. Love works wonders. Who’s against that?” he went on.

Mr Kiselyov pointed to civil-partnership legislation in the Netherlands and France as examples to follow, but made clear that marriage should remain “between one man and one woman,” and added that “we do not need any gay parades". » | Roland Oliphant, Moscow | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Billionaire Saudi Prince to Give Away $32 Billion Fortune

THE TELEGRAPH: Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to donate entire $32 billion wealth to his charitable foundation

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the Saudi Arabian billionaire and one of the world's richest people, announced on Wednesday that he will donate all of his wealth of $32 billion (£20.5 billion) to charity over the coming years.

The money will go to the Saudi prince's organisation called Alwaleed Philanthropies to work in the fields of "intercultural understanding" and supporting communities in need, he said in a statement.

Programmes will include promoting health, eradicating disease, bringing electricity to remote villages, building orphanages and schools, as well as "empowering women".

The prince, chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company, said he has already donated $3.5 billion to the charitable organisation. » | Associated Press | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

US Blocks Attempts by Arab Allies to Fly Heavy Weapons Directly to Kurds to Fight Islamic State

THE TELEGRAPH: Middle East allies accuse Barack Obama and David Cameron of failing to show strategic leadership in fight against Islamic State

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.” » | Con Coughlin, Defence Editor | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Russia Sees a Threat in Its Converts to Islam

THE NEW YORK TIMES: ERZURUM, Turkey — As a teenager in St. Petersburg, Maksim Baidak hung out with neo-Nazis and right-wing nationalists, but the Russian security services mostly left him alone.

It was not until he abandoned white-Slavic supremacy and instead found God — as a convert to Islam and leader of a group of ethnic Russian Muslims — that he came under near-constant surveillance and was often forced into cars at gunpoint by security agents.

Then, one morning in 2013, masked commandos from a special counter-extremism unit busted into his apartment and arrested him. For two days, he was interrogated, at times with a black hood over his head — “tortured,” he said, by choking, electric shock and death threats.

“I was arrested like a terrorist,” said Mr. Baidak, 28, who now lives in Erzurum, a university town in northeast Turkey, where he fled after a judge released him for lack of any criminal charges. “Look at me, I am a journalist. I am a blogger,” he said. “I am a political activist, pro-democratic oriented, Sufi-oriented, but I was arrested like — I don’t know — bin Laden.”

While nations across Europe are grappling with the relatively recent peril of homegrown Islamic terrorists, Russia has long lived in fear of a jihadist uprising within its own borders, particularly in the Caucasus, where it fought two brutal wars to suppress Muslim separatists. » | David M. Herszenhorn | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

British PM Warns: ISIS Planning 'Terrible Attacks' in the UK

ARUTZ SHEVA: UK Prime Minister David Cameron says ISIS determined to carry out massacre on British soil, after 30 UK citizens killed in Tunisia attack.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that ISIS terrorists are actively planning terrorist atrocities against the UK, and warned the group poses an existential threat to the western world.

Speaking just days after a massacre by an ISIS gunman on a beach in Tunisia which killed 38 people - at least 30 of them British citizens - Cameron warned that until ISIS was defeated in Syria and Iraq, it would continue to pose a deadly threat to the UK and beyond.

"There are people in Iraq and Syria who are plotting to carry out terrible acts in Britain and elsewhere and as long as ISIL (Islamic State) exists in those two countries we are at threat," Cameron told BBC radio, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group. » | Ari Soffer | Monday, June 29, 2015

British Groups Plan Mohammed Cartoon Exhibit in London

ARUTZ SHEVA: Two British groups to hold exhibition featuring cartoons of Muslim prophet in central London.

Two British groups have announced plans to hold an exhibition featuring cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Sharia Watch UK and Vive Charlie on Tuesday announced their intention to hold the exhibition in central London in September of 2015, noting the event will feature controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who recently caused a storm in his own country after he announced plans to broadcast cartoons of the founder of Islam on national television.

The event has been organized “in honor of the cartoonists, bloggers, and artists around the world who risk their lives in defense of free expression, and of those who have been murdered in this cause,” the two groups said in a statement.

Anne Marie Waters, Director of Sharia Watch UK, said, "We at Sharia Watch and Vive Charlie are delighted that Mr. Wilders has agreed to attend and speak at our exhibition. It is vital, in this era of censorship and fear, that we stand together in defiance and demand our right to free expression.”

She continued, “We will not, and cannot, succumb to violent threats. The outlook for our democracy depends on the actions we take today. We owe it to future generations to pass on the freedom we have enjoyed.” » | Ben Ariel | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Than 42 Million Muslims 'Support ISIS' – As Experts Warn the Figure Will Grow

DAILY EXPRESS: THE Islamic State terror group is supported by more than 42million Muslims, a new report has warned.

The study, based on four recent polls, reveals the shocking level of support for the caliphate around the world.

Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project, which carried out the research, warned that "ISIS is only a fraction of what it could potentially become".

He said: "If we don't act quickly, this is still going to grow – and what we're looking at today is going to look like the good old days compared to the future."

More than 8.5million people view ISIS positively, and around 42million view them somewhat positively, according to the data. » | Tom Parfitt | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Islamic State Threatens to Topple Hamas in Gaza Strip in Video Statement

THE GUARDIAN: Video issued from Isis stronghold in Syria is rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis who oppose its truces with Israel

Islamic State insurgents have threatened to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organisation that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

The video statement, issued from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis in Gaza who oppose its truces with Israel and reconciliation with the US-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

“We will uproot the state of the Jews [Israel] and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked Islamic State member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas”.

“The rule of sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,” he said, referring to Islamic State advances in Syria, including in a Damascus district founded by Palestinian refugees. » | Reuters in Cairo | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turkish Police Use Water Cannon to Disperse Gay Pride Parade

Turkish police disrupt a crowd gathering for Istanbul's annual gay pride parade, using water cannon and rubber pellets to disperse them. Jillian Kitchener reports

Watch the video here

Greek Debt Crisis: In Athens, Scavenging from Bins Has Become a Way to Survive

THE TELEGRAPH: As the country prepares to vote on continuing austerity on Sunday, in the streets of Athens some people have already resorted to searching the rubbish bins for food to eat and scrap metal to sell

Piled high with rubbish congealing in the summer heat, municipal dustbin R21 on Athens' Sofokleous Street does not look or smell like a treasure trove.

But for Greece's growing army of dustbin scavengers, its deposits of rubbish from nearby stores and grocery shops make it a regular point of call.

"Sometimes I'll find scrap metal that I can sell, although if I see something that looks reasonably safe to eat, I'll take it," said Nikos Polonos, 55, as he sifted through R21's contents on Tuesday morning. "Other times you might find paper, cans, and bottles that you can get money for if you take them back to the shops for recycling."

But many of those who now forage in such dustbins each day are simply ordinary working people - or were, at least, until Greece's economic meltdown shot unemployment up to 25 per cent.

Mr Polonos, a quietly spoken man of 55, is typical of the new class of respectably destitute. He lost his job as a construction worker three years ago, when Greece's building boom dried up, and in the current climate, cannot see himself finding paid work in the foreseeable future.

Yet he dresses as smartly as he can in second-hand trousers and shirt, and does not see himself as any kind of vagrant. » | Colin Freeman, and Alastair Good, Athens | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Islamic State May Threaten Russia's Caucasus

BBC AMERICA: The head of Russia's Security Council has identified Islamic State (IS) as the greatest threat to world peace and security, and it seems the danger could be getting closer to home.

The militant Islamist group has proclaimed the establishment of a wilayaat, or province, in Russia's mainly-Muslim North Caucasus, suggesting it may be gaining the upper hand in a battle for control over radical forces there.

The statement follows an anonymous audio message posted online pledging allegiance to IS on behalf of militants in four regions. » | Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, Moscow | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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