Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Austria on Path to Broad Coalition

WIENER ZEITUNG (ENGLISH): Austria's Social Democrats are looking forward to working with the newly appointed conservative leader, Josef Pröll, making a reprise of the country's broad left-right coalition more likely.

The People's Party named 40-year-old Josef Pröll as leader late on Monday after the far-right made big gains in Sunday's parliamentary election at the expense of the centrists.

Unlike outgoing chief Wilhelm Molterer, Proell has a good rapport with Social Democrat head Werner Faymann, who is expected to be asked to form a government.

"I've always said that I can work well with him and now we can try and prove that," Faymann, whose party won the most votes on Sunday, told Austrian radio on Tuesday.

The Social Democrats and conservatives had ruled in a quarrelsome coalition that lasted less than two years before collapsing in July, triggering the election.

Both parties plunged to their worst results since World War Two, while the far-right Freedom Party and splinter Alliance for Austria's Future, led by former Freedom leader Jörg Haider, garnered nearly a third of votes between them.

A grand coalition has only recently become such an unpopular governing style. The vast majority of Austria's previous governments were broad-based, favoured by voters because they were seen bringing consensus and stability.

The outgoing government was particularly damaged by personality clashes rather than fundamental policy disputes. Austria on Path to Broad Coalition >>> By Sylvia Westall and Boris Groendahl / WZ Online / Reuters | September 30, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Neville Chamberlain's Appeasement: World War II

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
”Expel Islam from Europe”

PAKISTAN DAILY: The controversial Danish People's Party member of the European Parliament Mogens Camre spoke at the DPP's annual meeting Sunday, calling to expel Islam from Europe.

"Islam cannot be integrated. Islam will dominate Europe. And Islam is incompatible with our values. Therefore Islam will be thrown out of Europe. This little land is ours, we forged it ourselves. And we will govern it ourselves and decide ourselves who will live in it and how they will behave. And we will fight until Denmark is again free," said Camre, to loud applause.

Last year a similar statement by DPP member Merethe Egeberg Holm caused a commotion, when she said "Out with all Muslims in Europe and in with Jews instead!" That was her last speech as after last year's meeting, she was expelled from the party.

Camre met with harsh criticism for his statement. Kamal Qureshi (Socialist People's Party) compared the DPP politicians to Danish Nazi head Jonni Hansen. He also hit out at his colleagues in parliament, whom he thinks are keeping too quiet. Both the reigning party and the opposition should distance themselves from the statements. [Source: Pakistan Daily] | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Greeks Protest Government Crackdown on Gay Marriage

REUTERS AFRICA: ATHENS (Reuters Life!) - Dozens of gays and lesbians protested outside parliament on Monday against the conservative government's attempt to overturn Greece's first same-sex marriages. Waving banners reading "These Weddings Are Valid", dozens of homosexual couples gathered in central Athens ahead of a court ruling due this week on the two marriages celebrated on the tiny Aegean island of Tilos in June.

The Justice Ministry has filed a legal suit to overturn the union of one gay and one lesbian couple after they took advantage of a loophole in Greek civil law that fails to specify gender in matrimony. Greeks Protest Government Crackdown on Gay Marriage >>> ©Reuters | September 29, 2008-09-30

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
An Unlikely Alliance

THE GUARDIAN: Islamists and the radical left have little in common apart from a hatred of the west and western capitalism

What do the far left and Islamists have in common? Not a lot, you may say, but you would be wrong. Despite being ideologically at the extremes of the political spectrum, they in fact share one worrying trait.

The old rule that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" seems to be shaping the relationship between the hard left and Islamists in Britain today. By having a common foe in western capitalism, which they conveniently blame for all of the world's ills, they have developed a marriage of convenience against the odds.

This alliance can also be seen on the international stage as Hugo Chávez holds hands with Iran's Ahmedinejad while our own Ken Livingstone hugs Yusuf al-Qaradawi. It was also evident at anti-Iraq war rallies where CND, the Socialist Workers Party and Respect shared platforms with the likes of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the British Muslim Initiative which are schismatic offshoots of radical Islamism.

Azzam Tamimi (spokesman for MAB) when asked by BBC Hardtalk's Tim Sebastian if he was prepared to blow himself up in Palestine, replied: "If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it. Why not?"

Now don't get me wrong – I'm all for people of different backgrounds coming together and working in harmony. But it worries me slightly when the only thing that's really binding these divergent factions is not their love for all humanity or their desire to see a totalitarian state, but their common hatred of the west which can be called "westophobia". There, I've used it, the one word that can actually sum up all the various groupings that are ideologically driven to view the west and western capitalism as "the enemy". An Unlikely Alliance: Islamists and the radical left have little in common apart from a hatred of the west and western capitalism >>> Ghaffar Hussain | September 30, 2008

Cross-posted at The Shrewd Economist >>>

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Jo Glanville: Respect for Religion Now Makes Censorship the Norm

THE GUARDIAN: When publishers are too intimidated to print even novels that may offend, it shows how far we've lost our way on free speech

The firebomb attack this weekend on the publishing house Gibson Square in London was an assault on one of the bravest publishers in the business. Three men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on Saturday morning, suspected of attempting to set fire to the premises. Martin Rynja, who runs Gibson Square, is due to publish Sherry Jones's novel about Mohammed's wife Aisha, The Jewel of Medina, next month. Random House had pulled out of publishing the novel in August, stating that it had been advised that "the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community" and that "it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment".

This is not the first time that Rynja, owner of a small, independent publishing house, has shown himself to have more gumption and appetite for controversy than the big boys. Four years ago, he published Craig Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud after Random House, once again, pulled out - this time for fear of libel action. He is also the publisher of OJ Simpson's If I Did It and Alexander Litvinenko's Blowing Up Russia.

Rynja's support for free speech is proving to be exceptional, as is his courage in standing up to bullies, at a time when other publishers will surrender at any intimation of legal action - particularly from litigious Saudis. Rynja, who trained as a lawyer, has shown that capitulation need not be inevitable. I can only hope that the shocking attack on his office will not dim his determination - but he will need support.

Random House dropped The Jewel of Medina in anticipation that offence might be caused in an extraordinary instance of pre-emptive censorship. Let's remember the similarly dire predictions that were made when Geert Wilders released his provocative film Fitna, which links Islam to terrorism - it was in fact a non-event.

Yet, in this instance, the row that ensued once the story broke about Sherry Jones's novel has, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, served to escalate the very scenario that Random House was apparently seeking to avert. It is most telling that they sent a work of fiction out to academics for approval in the first place - since when was a historian, however smart and literate, a suitable judge of whether a novel should or should not be published? Surely the only grounds for publishing a novel are whether it is of literary merit? One of the academics they consulted, Denise Spellberg, was reported as saying: "You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft-core pornography." Why not? This is one person's subjective view of a novel - it should not be grounds for censorship. Respect for Religion Now Makes Censorship the Norm >>> Jo Glanville | September 30, 2008

Jo Glanville is editor of Index on Censorship

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Understatement of the Century: 'Islam Sometimes Has Problems in Understanding Free Speech'

The cartoon of the prophet Muhammad that caused all the hullabaloo. Image courtesy of Google Images

MIDDLE EAST TIMES: Two years ago Denmark's daily newspaper Jylland-Posten published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, depicting the most holy figure in Islam with a ticking bomb in his turban. The newspaper's decision to run the caricatures caused millions of offended Muslims to protest against Western values in front of Danish embassies around the world. The outrage mainly stemmed from a growing sentiment that the West opted for indifference when it came to empathizing with the Muslim plight in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

In late February, encore appearances of the cartoons in four other Danish papers to show solidarity to cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who received death threats, deepened the crisis further. While most Muslim leaders called to" forgive, but not forget" despite the continuing anger, the West questioned its own values of liberal democracy and how to accommodate others.

On the eve of the Eid, the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the month-long dawn-to-dusk fasting of Ramadan, Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen defended the publication of the cartoons and repeated that Islam had difficulty accepting core values of freedom and democracy.

Nevertheless, Rasmussen also sent a message of peace and positive dialogue to the Muslim world.

Photo of Anders Fogh Rasmussen courtesy of Google Images

The following interview was conducted last week at Columbia University in New York City, after the Danish prime minister addressed the university community in the World Leaders Forum. 'Islam Sometimes Has Problems in Understanding Free Speech' >>> By Afsin Yardakul | September 30, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Paperback – Denmark) >>>
Tosh from the Telegraph; Truth about the Nature of Islam from the Bully, Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary keeps on giving us trouble; we keep on putting up with it. Now he describes The Jewel of Medina as “an attack on the honour of Mohammed…” “It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty.” Photo courtesy of Google Images

THE TELEGRAPH: The American author Sherry Jones is either very brave or very foolhardy. She has written a novel about Mohammed, focusing on his relationship with his favourite wife, A'isha.

A professor of Muslim history, Denise Spellberg of the University of Texas, has described the book as "very ugly, stupid … soft-core pornography". Miss Jones can turn the other cheek.

The words of Anjem Choudhary, a one-time member of the extremist Islamist group al-Mujaharoun, are not so easy to brush aside.

Speaking after a firebomb attack on the home of the book's London publisher, he describes the novel as "an attack on the honour of Mohammed" and adds: "It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty." Anjem Choudary Speaks the Truth about the Brutality of Islam; We Refuse to Accept It >>> | September 30. 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Islam: ”The Fascism of the Twenty-first Century” – HC Strache

Photo courtesy of Google Images

THE GUARDIAN: • Strache seen as further to right than mentor Haider 
• Weakened main party faces coalition dilemma

He has been filmed in forests, carrying arms and wearing paramilitary fatigues in the company of banned German neo-Nazis. Islam, he says, is "the fascism of the 21st century". He was photographed apparently giving a three-fingered neo-Nazi salute - though he says he was ordering three beers.

He mocks gay people; wants a ministry for the deportation of immigrants; says "Vienna must not become Istanbul"; hopes to repeal laws banning Nazi revivalism, and is pushing for a constitutional ban on the building of minarets. Heinz-Christian Strache, a former dental technician, is the new star of Austrian politics and the new poster boy of Europe's extreme right.

"I was never a neo-Nazi, and never will be," Strache has insisted. But when he sued the Vienna news weekly Profil for defamation, the court ruled that Strache could fairly be said to display "an affinity to national-socialist thinking".

Strache, 39, led his Freedom party to 18% of the vote in an early general election on Sunday. His former boss and mentor-turned-rival, Jörg Haider, single-handedly steered his breakaway far-right Movement for Austria's Future to 11% - meaning that almost one in three Austrians who voted opted for the extreme right.

"A unique case among the western democracies," said Profil yesterday as Viennese liberals reeled from the results of an election that put the far right comfortably ahead of the mainstream conservatives of the Austrian People's party and neck-and-neck with the Social Democrats, who narrowly won the election.

It will be very difficult for any party to muster a parliamentary majority. The only options are for the Social Democrats to invite Strache into government, or to form another "grand coalition" with the Christian Democrats. Such a coalition collapsed in June after 18 months in office, and another attempt could fire a bigger protest vote for Strache next time. Austria in Crisis as Far Right Win 29% of Vote >>> By Ian Traynor, Europe editor | September 30, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>

Monday, September 29, 2008

Target: Muslims; Forced Integration!

THE NATIONAL (UAE): LONDON - Muslim communities in Britain would be forced to integrate into UK society as a whole under a future Conservative government, the party has been told.

Plans to force all immigrants to speak English and to ban any place for sharia in the British legal system have been outlined at the annual conference of the Conservative Party, the country’s main opposition party.

The party, which has seen its lead over the Labour government in opinion polls cut to 12 points from 21 points in the past month, signalled an end to the policy of multiculturalism, which has encouraged different groups to retain their own religious and ethnic identities.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion and social action, attacked what she called a “decade of state-driven multiculturalism” under Labour.

Mrs Warsi, a Muslim, said at the conference, which opened in Birmingham on Sunday, the policy had played on people’s differences and had created cultural divisions at the expense of shared British values.

“It has sent out the message that we’re not sharing a society, we’re just cohabiting a space,” she said. “It has led people to retreat into separate cultures rather than reach for a shared community.”

Additionally, she said it had created an “obsession with self-appointed community leaders, and a crude use of patronage politics has led to communities divided against each other, with people losing that inner instinct of what it is to be British”.

A future Conservative government would make integration and neighbourliness central to the party’s policy-making with everyone in Britain being obliged to speak English and with British history being taught “so young people know who we are as a nation”. She added: “Good neighbours look out for each other. That’s why we will tackle unacceptable cultural practices, not turn our backs and say it’s sensitive and none of our business.”

In a separate speech, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, a shadow minister for security, said a future Tory government would “force Muslims to integrate into British society”. Forced Social Integration Plan Targets Muslims >>> David Sapsted, Foreign Correspondent | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Anger over Islamic ‘Porn’ Comment

SKY: An academic who called a novel about the Prophet Mohammed pornographic has been criticised after a publisher was targeted in a suspected bomb attack.

Martin Rynja, whose publishing house will release controversial historical novel The Jewel of the Medina in the UK next month, escaped unharmed when accelerant was lit in the doorway of his home.

The 44-year-old remains under police protection following the incident in north London on Saturday.

Neighbours described seeing smoke and flames in the doorway of the house.

The Jewel of the Medina, written by American author Sherry Jones, focuses on Mohammed's relationship with his young bride Aisha. Anger over Islamic ‘Porn’ Comment >>> | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Jolt that Europe Needed?: Heinz Christian Strache Claims Victory in Austria

Photo of Heinz Christian Strache courtesy of Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Google Images (Austria)

THE INDEPENDENT: He has been linked to neo-Nazi groups, says that women in Islamic dress are "female ninjas" and wants to take Austria out of the EU. But after his huge gains in yesterday's general election, the far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache was today bidding to become his country's next Chancellor.

The extreme-right romped home with a record 29 per cent of the vote in Sunday's Austrian poll, inflicting disaster on the country's two main established parties, the Social Democrats and centre-right People's Party, whose grand coalition government collapsed earlier this year due to infighting.

In their worst performance since 1945, the Social Democrats secured 30 percent of the vote and their conservative rivals a mere 25 percent. With Austria now in political turmoil, the two parties were yesterday facing the unwelcome choices of forming another highly unpopular grand coalition or joining forces with the far right.

The xenophobic Freedom Party, presided over by 39-year-old Strache, won 18 percent of the far right vote with the remainder going to veteran right winger Jörg Haider's Alliance for the Future of Austria. It was the Austrian far right's best performance since the Second World War.

Yesterday Strache, a dental technician who sports a permanent tan, claimed to be the true victor in the election. "We are the winners of election night," he told Austrian television. Demanding a role in any future Austrian government, he also announced that he was interested in becoming the country's next Chancellor. Far-Right's Strache Claims Austria Victory >>> By Tony Paterson in Berlin | September 29, 2008

Austria Sees Return of Extreme Right >>> By Eric Frey in Vienna and Haig Simonian in Zurich | September 29, 2008

Muslim Graves Desecrated as Austria Swings to the Right: Police are blaming far-Right extremists for desecrating a Muslim cemetery in Austria, in the same weekend that the political parties of the far-Right made huge gains in the country's general election.
More than 90 graves were severely damaged at the cemetery in Traun, near Linz, some time between Friday night and this morning, in what police believe was an organised action.

The offenders sprayed Jewish symbols such as the Star of David over some of the graves, but detectives believe that this may have been a bid to disguise the motives of extremists driven by a hatred of Muslim immigrants.
Bojan Pancevski | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Taschenbuch) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Gebundene Ausgabe) >>>
$700 Billion Bailout Plan

’Toxic’ Bailout Plan Rejected >>>

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Barbara Kay, Quebec Shock Jock Is Accused by the Usual Suspects of a Hit Job on a Hijab

NATIONAL POST: There's a witch hunt going on in Quebec, and as all too often in this country's linguistically fractured country, what is happening in Quebec seems to be staying in Quebec. This is annoying, because it's a free-speech issue that concerns us all.

Here is the story, with details provided from Richard Martineau's post in Canoe, the Journal de Montreal's comment blog. On September 10, outspoken 98.5 FM radio host Benoît Dutrizac interviewed NDP candidate for Bourassa riding, Samira Laouni. Ms Laouni is an observant Muslim (she wears the hijab) and has worked as project manager for the Canadian Islamic Congress, a militant lobby for Islamic interests, including, most troublingly, the introduction of Sharia law. Dutrizac has a reputation for impertinence - in fact, many Quebec radio show hosts permit themselves the kind of shock-jock licence you would never find in the rest of Canada - so nobody is suggesting the interview wasn't meant to provoke discomfort in Ms Laouni.

Dutrizac pressed hard on such issues as the CIC's reputation for extremist views, where Ms Laouni stands on Sharia, whether she is prepared to defend the rights of homosexuals, and does she find it unacceptable that ten-year old girls have to wear the hijab. He also asked her if she had to ask her husband's permission to launch her political campaign (she said no). Ms Laouni stood up well to the challenge, the mood was playful, relaxed and warm, and both laughed frequently. Listen for yourself. Even if you don't speak French, you can sense that both are very much at ease, that Dutrizac holds no personal animosity, and that Ms Lauoni is totally on top of the situation. At the end of the interview, Dutrizac asked NDP big wig Thomas Mulcair, who had accompanied Ms Laouni to the station, if he was happy with how it had gone. Mulcair flashed him a smile and a two-thumbs-up.

Against the backdrop of Dutrizac's career-long history of aggressive and even what many would call at times offensive tactics, this was completely normal. But reaction from the hard left was swift and heated. The left wing "The Dominion" wrote that "Madame Laouni has been viciously attacked by a racist, misogynist and Islamophobic host." The Ontario branch of CUPE said "Dutrizac must resign and the CRTC should lead an inquiry into the hate-filled and sexist words directed to a Muslim candidate." The Canada-Arab Federation demanded that "The Corus network should review its policies in the area of hate speech and enforce harassment training on all its personnel." Barbara Kay, Quebec Shock Jock Is Accused by the Usual Suspects of a Hit Job on a Hijab >>> By Jonathan Kay | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Paperback – Canada) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Hardback – Canada) >>>
Al-Qaradawi Speaks to Asharq Al-Awsat

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT: Mecca - A few yards from the Grant [sic] Mosque in Mecca, Asharq Al-Awsat sat down for an exclusive interview with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in which he attacked the Shiite expansion and Iranian ambitions and dreams. He stressed that "Iran is a country of dreams and ambition, a country of the old Persian Empire and emperors, and the issue is a mixture of Persian, sectarian Shiite tendencies and fanaticism." Sheikh al-Qaradawi insisted that his views regarding Shiite expansion remain unchanged and that many states that were purely Sunni now have some Shia. He stated that "Egypt, that I know very well and I know that 20 years ago did not have one single Shiite since the days of Salah al-Din, has now been infiltrated. They now have in Egypt, people who write in the press and write books and people listen to them. It is the same also in Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and other non-Arab countries such Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Senegal."

The following is the full text of the interview: Al-Qaradawi Speaks to Asharq Al-Awsat >>> By Majid al Kinani | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Islamismus: Saudischer Mufti ruft zur Bekämpfung al-Qaidas auf

WELT ONLINE: Bei seinen Anschlägen beruft sich das Terror-Netzwerk al-Qaida auf die Lehren des Islam – und gewinnt so Anhänger. Der ranghöchste sunnitische Geistliche Saudi-Arabiens hat jetzt in einem Interview zum Gegenangriff ausgeholt. Er ruft die Muslime dazu auf, die von al-Qaida verbreitete Ideologie zu bekämpfen.

Wenn Abdulaziz Scheich al-Scheich seine Stimme erhebt, hören jene 90 Prozent der 1,3 Milliarden Muslime genau hin, die der sunnitischen Glaubensrichtung angehören. Denn der 1961 erblindete Scheich ist Großmufti und oberste Rechtsinstanz in Saudi-Arabien, dem sunnitischen Kern- und Gastland der heiligen Stätten Mekka und Medina. Seine religiösen Rechtsgutachten (Fatwas) sind nicht bindend, aber wichtig.

Nun hat der Großmufti in der respektierten arabischen Zeitung Schark al-Ausat alle Muslime zum Kampf gegen die „Ideologie des Bösen“ aufgerufen. Er meinte damit nicht die USA, wie es bei islamischen Hasspredigern zum guten Ton gehört, sondern das Terrornetzwerk al-Qaida.

Der wahre Kampf gegen Terror richte sich gegen diese Ideologie, die "Chaos und Korruption“ in die islamische Welt getragen habe. Die Muslime selbst – „die Medien, die Universitäten, die Prediger in den Moscheen, die Väter und Mütter“ – seien dafür verantwortlich, dass dieser Kampf siegreich ende. Erst dann „werden wir mit Gottes Unterstützung in der Lage sein, die Tore zum Reich des Bösen zu schließen.“ Islamismus: Saudischer Mufti ruft zur Bekämpfung al-Qaidas auf >>> Von Dietrich Alexander | 29. September 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Taschenbuch) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Gebundene Ausgabe) >>>
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs Interviews Geert Wilders

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Obama Goes to War against Freedom of Speech

RIGHT SIDE NEWS: "See those Islamophobes, Barack? It's time to call out the Thought Police!"

By now a gazillion sites have posted this from the State of Missouri's site, "Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign's Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement." What interests me most about it is the eerie parallel between the Obama camp's activity here and the Organization of the Islamic Conference's efforts to stifle all criticism of Islam and destroy the freedom of speech -- also by means of legal intimidation, at the UN and elsewhere

No, I am not saying that Obama is a closet Muslim Manchurian candidate. I am saying that if he values free speech so lightly, as this episodes suggests, it is not at all beyond the realm of possibility that once he becomes President he will acquiesce to the OIC attempts to criminalize criticism of Islam, and pressure the Supreme Court (to which he will probably appoint several key members) to declare a "hate speech" exemption to First Amendment protections. Then it will effectively become illegal to discuss the motives and goals of the jihadists, and to strategize about ways to resist them -- because the OIC and American Islamic groups assail all attempts to do that as "hate speech." "Hate speech" is in the eye of the beholder, and "hate speech" laws are tools by which the powerful can silence criticism from the powerless. In this case, the Islamic groups have already made themselves abundantly clear that any examination of the jihadists' use of Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions is what they consider "hate speech." Thus if what is labeled "hate speech" about Islam becomes a criminal offense, so will resistance to Islamic supremacism.

But if this were to become an actual live possibility, Americans would rise up and fight for their freedoms, right? I hope so. Yet all too many Americans don't seem to understand or care about the importance of free speech nowadays, and of course no one supports "hate speech" in the first place -- so once the OIC frames the analysis of the jihad threat in terms of "hate," as American Muslim groups do endlessly, the ability to discuss, analyze, understand, and defend ourselves against the jihadist threat will be severely damaged if not utterly destroyed. Obama Goes to War against Freedom of Speech >>> By Robert Spencer | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
My Dinner with Ahmadinejad

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: NEW YORK -- The banquet hall of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in mid-town Manhattan had the feel of an extravagant Persian wedding on Wednesday night. A crowd of over one thousand guests, dressed in formal attire, sat around tightly packed tables munching on Iranian delicacies and chit-chatting casually in Farsi.

But the occasion was a dinner hosted by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The guest list, all Iranian-Americans living in the tri-state area, had been drawn up from the database of Iran's mission to the United Nations and consulate in Washington D.C.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was in town this week to attend the United Nations General Assembly and was making the rounds, giving back-to-back interviews to American media and hosting two dinners, one for a select group of Iran experts and scholars and the other for his fellow Iranians.

My invitation to dine with the president had arrived in the mail, with a reminder in small Persian letters that female guests were obliged to cover their hair in accordance with the laws of the Islamic Republic. At the dinner, I noticed the only women not wearing a headscarf were the female wait staff and one middle-aged Iranian woman wearing a long striped red coat. Her curly brown bob was bouncy as she glided between the tables.

"No one told you to cover your hair?" I asked her.

"Not a single person and they all saw me," she replied not giving me her name.

In Iran, a woman could risk getting arrested if she disobeys the Hijab law. I threw on a green shawl over my head right before I walked through the metal detector and handed my purse to an American policeman for a thorough search.

Extreme security measures had to be taken so Mr. Ahmadinejad could host his dinner party at the Grand Hyatt that night.

Dozens of burly American secret service members, dressed in plain suits with an ear-piece plugged into one ear, swarmed the hotel lobby and the banquet hall standing shoulder to shoulder with Iranian bodyguards. Elevators to the event's floor were shut down.

Uniformed New York City police officers were also present in abundance. Police dogs sniffed around the area and at least 20 police cars lined up outside the hotel, in addition to an ambulance and a fire truck. This was in case of an attack against Mr. Ahmadinejad; one police officer said they had taken shifts securing the hotel all day long.

Last week, while Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke at the U.N., a crowd of protestors, both American and Iranian, had gathered outside chanting slogans against his nuclear energy policies, his record of human rights and his animosity toward Israel.

Inside Iran, sentiments are divided over him. The ultra conservatives praise his populist demeanor while others criticize him for his government's economic policies that have contributed to the rise of unemployment and a 25% inflation rate, despite a country swimming in cash from soaring oil prices.

At the dinner party in New York, criticism of Mr. Ahmadinejad appeared to have been brushed aside and replaced with fervent nationalistic pride. Both the host and the attendees appeared to cling to the one strong, if only, tie: being Iranian.

The banquet hall was decorated as if it were national Iran day. My Dinner with Ahmadinejad >>> By Farnaz Fassihi | September 27, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Iraqi Christians Protest End to Legislative Quotas

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: BAGHDAD -- Iraq's prime minister sought safeguards Sunday for small religious communities in this mainly Muslim country as Christians protested parliament's decision to stop setting aside seats for minorities on provincial councils.

In Baghdad, a series of explosions struck mostly Shiite areas, killing at least 32 people and wounding nearly 100, police said. The attacks appeared aimed at reviving sectarian tensions that once threatened to plunge the nation into civil war.

Parliament last week approved a new law mandating elections in most of Iraq's 18 provinces. But the law removed a system that reserved a few legislative seats for Christians and other religious minorities.

Lawmakers cited a lack of census data to determine what the quotas should be. But many Christians saw the move as an effort to marginalize their community.

"I think that some political groups are pushing the remaining Christians to leave Iraq," worshipper Afram Razzaq-Allah said after services at a Catholic church in Baghdad. "They want us to feel that we are no longer Iraqis." Iraqi Christians Protest End to Legislative Quotas: Parliament Stops Reserving Minority Seats; 
32 Die in Series of Baghdad Explosions >>> AP | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Prince Saud Urges Stronger Culture of Dialogue Worldwide

SAUDI GAZETTE: NEW YORK - In his address to the 63rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs said the nations of the world need to work together to combat extremists who seek to “propogate notions of intolerance, exclusion, racism and hatred,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Saud said with modernization the world has become more interconnected than ever and therefore needs to work more cohesively in order to stop the spread of extremist thought across the world.

He used the World Conference on Dialogue held in Madrid last July as a launching pad for continued talks amongst religions and political leaders about how to improve the current social condition of the world. Prince Saud said King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, started the dialogue conference because “mankind is passing through a critical phase which in spite of scientific progress (there has been) a proliferation of crime, an increase in terrorism, disintegration of the family, subversion of the minds of the young by drug abuse, exploitation of the poor by (the wealthy) and odious racist tendencies.”

Therefore nations working with the UN must work together to build a global society “more conducive to the promotion of values of dialogue, tolerance and moderation.”

He urged that the ideals discussed at the Spain dialogue conference be built upon so the international community can benefit. “I call upon the General Assembly of the United Nations to convene a high-level meeting to endorse and support a continued process of dialogue among religions and peoples in conformity with the Madrid Declaration,” Prince Saud said.

The Foreign Minister also touched on other issues such as an issue he addressed a day earlier about Israel’s continued violation of international law and warned that any temporary solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be rejected by Arab nations, because of a fear that temporary solutions would become permanent.

He also called for an Isreali withdrawal from occupied territories and pushed for making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Prince Saud Urges Stronger Culture of Dialogue Worldwide >>> Saudi Gazette staff | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Austria Election Results Raise Concern

YNET NEWS: As extreme right-wing parties celebrate massive gains in general elections, one of questions raised is how will world respond

The world's gaze was set on Austria on Sunday, as it became clear in that country's general election, the big winners were two parties, which are considered to be extreme right-wing.

Professor Moshe Zimmerman, the head of the German Studies department at the Hebrew University, was not at all surprised. "The main reason was due to the lack of success of the national unity government. All the parties fought with each other, and the Austrian public voted for the alternative," he said.

Even though the Austrian public went with the alternative, they ignored the moderate option and decided to go to the Right.

"The voters ignored the green party, and went to the Right, and the explanation for this is no surprise. We know the power of the Austrian right wing parties: the Austrians themselves tend to swallow the successes of the right-wing parties than the green party.

"The Right expresses suspicion towards the European Union and is suspicious of both globalization and foreigners. These are things that they can sell to the voting public, and that's why they are successful," explains Zimmerman.

While the Western world may view these parties as extreme right wing, the Austrians themselves don't necessarily view them as radicals.

"In Austria, in the conditions after the collapse of the Berlin wall, the public is inclined more towards the right than the left, and they don't necessarily view it as extreme right-wing. There are more extreme elements than others, but they think that they are voting for a legitimate political party who understands the dangers of globalization and will fight the criminal elements that originate from Eastern Europe, those are the platforms they use," adds Zimmerman.

The burning question is how the international community will respond to Right wing elements gaining strength in Austria; Zimmerman adds that "this is a slap in the face for the EU. This means another country that will not happily approve the EU treaty. Jewish and anti fascist groups will protest, but a boycott like after the last elections will not happen, Heinz-Christian Strache is not Jorg Haider, he learned how to talk."

Israel might express its opinion on the matter but Zimmerman hopes that this time the reaction will be less extreme than last time, when Israel recalled it's ambassador from Vienna. Austria Election Results Raise Concern >>> Amit Levy | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
UK: Nine-year-old Girls Forced to Marry in Muslim Weddings

MAIL Online: British children as young as nine are being forced to marry against their will by their families, campaigners have warned.

Charities supporting victims of forced marriages report growing numbers of young teenagers and children seeking help.

They are urging schools to take tougher action where they suspect pupils are at risk, and to monitor their rolls carefully and raise the alarm when children disappear.

Thousands of Britons - mainly young women from the Asian communities - are thought to be victims of forced marriage each year, but concerns are increasingly focused on the plight of underage girls who are being offered for marriage to foreign men when they have barely left primary school.

No accurate figures exist for the scale of the problem, although the Government's Forced Marriage Unit has helped rescue around 60 children aged 15 or under in the past four years - including 11 so far in 2008 - and experts fear that may represent only the tip of the iceberg.

Typically victims are taken overseas by their families on a false pretext and forced to marry. Extreme cases where women rebel against their family's plans and try to run away have led to so-called 'honour killings' or suicides.

Ministers angered campaigners two years ago by dropping plans to make it a criminal offence to force someone to marry, after Muslim groups objected strongly to the plans. British Children as Young as Nine ‘Forced to Marry against Their Will in Muslim Weddings’ >>> By Matthew Hickley | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Austrian Election: What Some of the Papers Have Said

Austria Election Delivers Gains for Far Right: Mr Strache has campaigned for a ban on Islamic dress which, he said, made women look like "female ninjas". He also seeks to overturn strict Austrian laws banning the display of Nazi symbols, such as the swastika.

Senior Freedom Party officials used the elections to mourn the days when immigration turned Austria's sausage stands into kebab shops and to lament the good old days when Austrians ate schnitzel instead of "falafel, couscous or whatever that stuff is called".
By Andreas Sam in Vienna and Bruno Waterfield | September 28, 2008

Extreme Right Emerges as Strong Force in Austria: Austria was shaken by a political earthquake yesterday when the neo-fascist right emerged from a general election as a contender to be the strongest political force in the country for the first time.

The combined forces of the extreme right took 29% of the vote, with Jörg Haider almost tripling the share of his breakaway Movement for Austria's Future to 11%, while his successor as Freedom party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, saw his party soar to 18%.

The far right's vote doubled compared with the last election in 2006, putting it within less than a point of overtaking the poll victor, the social democrats.
By Ian Traynor, Europe Editor | September 29, 2008

MAIL Online:
Austria Races to the Right as Nearly a Third of the Voters Back the Extremists >>> By Allan Hall | September 29, 2008

Anti-Foreigner Campaign Boosts Austrian Far-Right: Populist far-right parties made sweeping gains in Austria's closely fought general election yesterday, making their strongest showing since 2000 when the country suffered EU sanctions after a far-right party won power for the first time since the Second World War.

The Freedom Party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, gained more than 18 per cent of the vote – nearly doubling its share of support – after running a vitriolic campaign against "foreign criminals" and "asylum cheats" and pledging to take Austria out of the EU.
By Tony Paterson in Berlin | September 29, 2008

Far Right Surges in Austrian Vote: The far right surged to almost a third of the vote in Austria's parliamentary election on Sunday, complicating prospects for the biggest mainstream party, the Social Democrats, to forge a stable coalition government.

The right's record showing heralded political instability in the affluent Alpine republic since the two main centrist parties will be hard put to re-establish a broad coalition even if they resolve the feuds that killed off their last alliance.

"Terrible," political analyst Anton Pelinka said of prospects for stable government in the near future.

"The strength of the far-right parties will make formation of a coalition incredibly difficult if you don't bring either into government," he told Reuters. Social Democrats have ruled out an alliance with the right over its anti-foreigner stances.
Reuters | September 28, 2008

Rechtsruck macht Regierungsbildung kompliziert: Mit zusammen fast 30 Prozent der Stimmen haben die rechtspopulistischen Parteien FPÖ und Jörg Haiders BZÖ in Österreich enorme Gewinne verzeichnen können. Eine Regierungsbildung wird jetzt schwierig. Denn Wahlsieger SPÖ will auf keinen Fall mit den Rechten koalieren.

Nach der Wahlschlappe bei der österreichischen Parlamentswahl berät die konservative Volkspartei (ÖVP) über die Zukunft von Parteichef Wilhelm Molterer und die Koalitionsoptionen. Die Sozialdemokraten (SPÖ), die sich als stärkste Partei halten konnten, schlossen eine Minderheitsregierung nicht aus.
| 29. September 2008

Ausländische Pressestimmen: ''Haider wiederauferstanden'' >>> | 29. September 2008

The End of Austrian-Israeli Relations?: Sunday's Austrian election could mean a break in diplomatic relations between Israel and Austria if extreme right-wing parties enter a coalition government. Heinz-Christian Strache, who leads the Freedom Party, took part in paramilitary activities with neo-Nazis in the late 1980s and has been known to use the Nazi salute.

According to polls, the Freedom Party could garner close to 20 percent of the vote. In 2000, the inclusion of the Freedom Party in the Austrian government prompted Israel to recall its ambassador to Vienna.

Then-prime minister Ehud Barak said the party's presence in the government "should outrage every inhabitant of the world."
"The Jewish people, wherever it may be, led by the State of Israel, will never allow the world to conduct business as usual in light of the events in Austria and their possible implications," Barak said at the time.

In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Dan Ashbel, Israel's ambassador in Vienna, said, "We are very concerned about the situation and parties who are xenophobic and base their policies on xenophobia. It is a danger and it is a very sad fact that this repeats itself."
By Benjamin Weinthal. Berlin | September 28, 2008

Forte progression de l'extrême droite en Autriche: Selon les premiers résultats, les deux partis d'extrême droite auraient réalisé, dimanche 28 septembre, un score historique aux élections législatives autrichiennes. Les sociaux-démocrates, bien qu'en recul, arriveraient en tête, devant les conservateurs.

Deux estimations estiment que le SPÖ (sociaux-démocrates) obtiendrait autour de 29 % des voix, en recul de près de 6 points par rapport à 2006. Les conservateurs de l'ÖVP ne récolteraient que 26 % des suffrages, en chute de 8 points. Le parti social-démocrate, l'un des plus vieux partis politiques européens, fondé en 1885, et les démocrates-chrétiens du Parti du peuple (ÖVP) enregistrent leur plus mauvais score depuis le début de la République autrichienne, en 1918. Les Verts, autour de 10% des voix, sont en léger recul par rapport aux 11,5 % récoltés il y a deux ans.
LEMONDE.FR avec AFP et Reuters | 28.09.2008

Forte poussée de l'extrême droite en Autriche: La gauche arrive en tête des législatives tandis que les conservateurs accusent une chute de près de neuf points.

Les Autrichiens sauront-ils se façonner une coalition stable après les législatives anticipées de dimanche ? Rien n'est moins sûr. Les sociaux-démocrates (SPÖ), bien qu'en net recul, sont arrivés en tête, mais le vrai gagnant est l'extrême droite, en très forte hausse, selon les résultats officiels provisoires, annoncés dimanche soir par le ministère de l'Intérieur.
Stéphane Kovacs (avec AFP, Reuters) | 29.09.2008

Austria, trionfo dell'estrema destra: La coalizione al governo per la prima volta sotto il 60%, mentre la Fpoe e la Bzoe di Haider totalizzano il 30% >>> | 28 settembre 2008

Parla Heinz Christian Strache, trionfatore a Vienna: "Pronto alla cancelleria
vecchi partiti, addio": VIENNA - In Austria è finita l'epoca di un sistema politico dominato da due partiti. Socialdemocratici e cristiano-popolari, grandi fino a ieri, sono stati ridimensionati e adesso devono fare i conti con noi, la vera nuova destra. Così parla alla tv Orf Heinz Christian Strache, il giovanissimo (39 anni) vincitore delle elezioni politiche di ieri in Austria, ex delfino e rivale di Joerg Haider. … >>> di Hans Buerger | 29 settembre 2008

Poll Boost for Hardliners as Voters Punish Feuding Govt: PARIS - A spectacular advance by anti-immigrant, far-right groups in elections in Austria yesterday will raise questions about the country's stability and fuel concerns about the lure of the xenophobic siren song in Europe.

Two extreme right groups together picked up 29 per cent of the vote for Parliament, while two centrist parties, locked in a feud-riddled governing alliance over the past 18 months, polled their lowest scores since the end of World War II.

The Freedom Party under Heinz-Christian Strache gained 18 per cent, an increase of 7 percentage points over the last ballot in October 2006, and Joerg Haider's Alliance for the Future of Austria nearly tripled its score, to 11 per cent, according to preliminary official figures.

Both targeted working class voters alienated with the establishment parties.
By Catherine Field | September 30, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Muslim School in France May Close

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Broché) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Relié) >>>
Austria’s Far-Right: Now a Powerful Political Force

THE TELEGRAPH: Austria's far-Right has become the country's most powerful political force in an election that gave mainstream parities their lowest level of support since the Second World War.

According to early poll results, leaders of the country's two far-Right parties who had campaigned on anti-immigrant and anti-European Union platforms, took almost 30 per cent of the vote to deliver a stunning blow to Austria's political establishment.

The Freedom Party, headed by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was accused of xenophobia during the election campaign, took 18.4 per cent of the vote.

A new far-Right party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria, founded by Jorg Haider, Mr Strache's former mentor before a 2005 split from the Freedom Party, won 9.7 per cent of the vote.

The election has been a catastrophe for Austria's moderate parties, with the centrist Social Democrats capturing only 29.5 percent and the conservative People's Party taking only 26 per cent of the vote.

Both parties, which have ruled Austria either alone or in coalition since the end of the Second World War, faced the worst election results in their history as their votes dropped under 30 per cent each for the first time.

Austrians went to the polls after a "grand coalition" between the Social Democrats and the People's Party collapsed after 18 months of a government that was paralysed by constant disputes and rifts.

Most Austrian commentators expect that the Social Democrats will try tod form a new government by either attempting to revive the grand coalition or by entering into a deal with the far-Right, a move that could provoke international condemnation. Austria Election Delivers Gains for Far-Right >>> By Andreas Sam in Vienna and Bruno Waterfield | September 28, 2008

Austria Far Right Surges to Historic High: VIENNA - The far right surged to almost a third of the vote in Austria's parliamentary election on Sunday, complicating prospects for the biggest mainstream party, the Social Democrats, to forge a stable governing coalition. >>> Reuters | September 28, 2008

Haider Blames EU Interference for Austria’s Isolation in 2000 >>> | September 17, 2008

NEWS 24:
Austria Swings to the Right: Vienna - Austria veered sharply to the right in snap Parliamentary elections on Sunday, with its two ruling parties each losing significant ground to the far-right, preliminary estimates showed. >>> SA | September 28, 2008

Rightists Surge, Main Parties Sag in Austria Vote >>> Reuters | September 29, 2008

Austria Swings to the Right in Snap Elections: VIENNA — Austria's two ruling parties, the Social Democrats and conservatives, received a severe drubbing in a snap general election here Sunday, which was marked by a resurgence of the far-right. >>> | September 28. 2008

Heinz Christian Strache: … people were scared to see women in burkas running around “like female Ninjas”. “Many decent people have come here and they integrated: Poles, Hungarians, Croats and also Serbs. We are all European brothers because we do not want to become Islamised.”

His disdain for Islam and Muslim customs even extends to culinary matters, demanding that “one should not roast mutton in council flats. I would also not grill a wild pig in Istanbul.”
Bojan Pancevski in Vienna | September 29, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Another Poor, ‘Devout’, 'Victimized' Muslim!

MAIL Online: A muslim is suing Tesco for religious discrimination after having to carry crates of alcohol as part of his job.

Forklift truck driver Mohammed Ahmed, 32, worked in one of the supermarket giant's warehouses for eight months before quitting 'in protest', an employment tribunal heard.

He claims he was forced to leave because handling beer, spirits and wine is against his strict Islamic beliefs and that he was victimised when he asked the company to give him another role.

Mr Ahmed, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, told the tribunal he had no idea his job entailed handling alcohol when he started work at the distribution depot in Lichfield, Staffordshire, last September.

When he realised it did, he asked to be found different work but alleges that one of his supervisors told him: 'You do the job or go home.' Devout Muslim Sues Tesco for Religious Discrimination after He Was Made to Carry Crates of Alcohol >>> By David Wilkes | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Don't Be Soft on Islam, Says EU Terror Chief

THE OBSERVER: Europe's anti-terror chief has launched a stinging attack on the political correctness that he says is hampering the campaign against militant Islam.

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said last week that concern about stigmatising Muslim populations was hampering policy-making and thus prevention. 'One of the problems ... is that some member states are extremely reluctant to be explicit about the link with religion,' said de Kerchove. 'Religion has been hijacked and distorted for political ends.'

De Kerchove's statement comes against a background of infighting within the EU over counter-terrorism policy. The European Commission has been working for several years on a paper analysing militancy in Europe and outlining policy to combat radicalisation. The Council of Ministers is still waiting for the now long-overdue paper, on which future policy will be based.

EU officials claimed last week the delay was because Jacques Barrot, the French Commissioner for justice, freedom and security, had grave reservations about the definition of terrorism in the commission's policy paper and had delayed signing the policy document as it 'went too far in blaming Muslim communities'. Don't Be Soft on Islam, Says EU Terror Chief >>> Jason Burke in Brussels | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Muslims Try to Get Alcohol Banned at Tesco

EUROPE NEWS: Petitions handed in as licence hearing looms

More than 150 people have signed petitions imploring Luton Borough Council to deny the new Tesco Express in Bury Park an alcohol licence.

The bid from the supermarket giant has upset Muslims living in the area, some of whom say they find the idea of alcohol being sold offensive.

Next Tuesday councillors will make a decision on the application, which, if successful, would see the store permitted to sell alcohol from 6am until 11pm every day (...) [Source: Europe News] By Sally-Anne Johnson | September 25, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Cameron: I’ll Curb Muslim Fanatics

I do hope that David Cameron knows that it is part of the ‘religion’ of Islam NOT to integrate with the infidel. So how is he going to bring integration about when the prophet of Islam himself told his adherents even to dress differently from the infidels, and thereby set themselves apart?

If Cameron is going to ban sharia courts, this is to be applauded. The current government doesn’t have the courage to take on the Muslims for several reasons. But one of these reasons is this: The majority of Muslim voters, I believe, vote Labour. - ©Mark

SUNDAY EXPRESS: A TOUGH package is being drawn up by David Cameron to tackle Islamic extremism. One of the key proposals is to ban sharia law courts from operating in this country.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express, Mr Cameron’s security adviser, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, said the Tories were determined to “integrate” British Muslims into mainstream society.

Lady Neville-Jones, a former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee which advises the Prime Minister on terrorism, said: “We are not going to have any status for sharia courts. Absolutely not.”

Outlining the Tories’ wider plans for tackling Islamic extremism, she added: “We will be tough. We will be really tough on the men of violence and those who lead them to violence. That’s the real gap between us and the Government at the moment.”

She said the party would abandon the “blind alley of multiculturalism, which has deliberately gone down the road of separation for its own sake. We want unity and opportunity, despite difference, through integration.”

She was backed by Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve, who said that multiculturalism had left a “terrible” legacy and created a vacuum exploited by extremists. The Tory plans also include:

Banning a string of groups blamed for encouraging Islamic extremism.

Working with other EU countries to change the Convention on Human Rights which has blocked the deportation of hate preacher Abu Qatada and others believed to be a threat to Britain.

Changing the school curriculum to encourage teaching of British values and make youngsters “proud of their country.”

In recent years, sharia courts have been established in a number of cities. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, caused controversy by claiming the adoption of some aspects of sharia law was “unavoidable”.

Supporters claim the verdicts of sharia courts are already legally binding in a string of areas, including divorce, financial disputes and even cases of domestic violence and assault.

Critics insist the courts discriminate against women and undermine the rule of law. They also warn the use of Islamic law encourages a separatist agenda. Cameron: I’ll Curb Muslim Fanatics >>> By Jason Groves | September 28, 2008

Conservatives Would Ban Sharia Courts, Says Shadow Minister: A Conservative government would ban sharia courts and impose a tough crackdown on Islamic extremism, the shadow security minister has said. >>> By Jon Swaine | September 28, 2008

British Bishop: Questions Remain on Sharia >>> By Toby Cohen | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Jordan’s Legal Jihad

MIDDLE EAST AND TERRORISM (BLOG): In a brazen attempt to stifle free speech in the West, a Jordanian court recently summoned twelve European citizens to answer criminal charges of blasphemy and inciting hatred.

Among those sought by the court is Geert Wilders, the Dutch liberal politician who made the anti-Islamist film, Fitna. Released last March, the Dutch MP's production caused an uproar in Islamic countries, since it equated Islam with violence. Now a Middle Eastern court would like to prosecute Wilders for the "crime." (Ironically, a Dutch court dropped charges against him for inciting hatred against Muslims with his film the day before the Jordanian court issued its subpoena.)

The Jordanian court's move is only the most ambitious attempt to silence debate about Islam. Until now, the preferred strategy has been to file civil lawsuits in western courts to intimidate critics. The latest version of what may be called the legal jihad Jordan’[sic] is even more disturbing.

In one subpoena, issued in early June, the Jordanian court ordered ten Danish newspaper editors to travel to Jordan for the "crime" of having republished the "Mohammad cartoons" last February. The cartoons, first published in 2005, were also greeted with disturbances in Muslim lands. Seventeen Danish newspapers republished the controversial cartoons as a response to the discovery of an Islamist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard, a caricaturist, drew the most famous of those cartoons in the form of Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, for which he is also included in the summons. Jordan’s Legal Jihad >>> By Stephen Brown | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Al-Qaeda Bid to Recruit Inmates

THE SUNDAY TIMES: AL-QAEDA terrorists have targeted 800 Muslim criminals they want to recruit for their “holy war” against Britain, say prison probation officers.

The officers believe that attempts have been made to convert one in 10 of the estimated 8,000 Muslims in the eight high-security prisons in England and Wales to the Al-Qaeda cause in the past two years.

The Ministry of Justice has begun a programme to persuade convicted terrorists to give up their cause. It is also trying to protect vulnerable Muslim inmates from violent extremists.

The ministry said this weekend that it had established a unit to tackle “the risks of extremism and radicalism in prison”.
The radicalisation is being led by some of the estimated 150 terrorist prisoners in England and Wales. The number of Muslim inmates has grown over the past decade to more than 10% of the jail population.

Most are young men, typically petty criminals serving two or three-year sentences for crimes such as burglary, theft, drug dealing or fraud.

Many are impressionable and feel aggrieved by what they see as mistreatment by the authorities. They are considered to be ripe for recruitment by Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda Bid to Recruit Inmates >>> David Leppard | September 28, 2008
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Gains for Far Right Predicted in Austria

THE WASHINGTON POST: VIENNA, Austria -- Austrians began voting in parliamentary elections Sunday that analysts said could bolster the standing of the country's two right-wing parties.

But with possibly more than half a million citizens mailing in their ballots or dropping them off in election wards other than their own, the day may end without a clear winner. Undecided voters could also sway predictions.

The governing coalition between the conservative People's Party and the center-left Social Democrats crumbled in July after months of bickering. What followed was a summerlong election campaign involving 10 parties on a national level. Four less-known groups are on the ballot in several districts.

On the eve of Sunday's election, the two power-sharing blocs were running neck and neck for the top spot. But neither looked likely to secure an absolute majority.

Instead, experts said disgruntled voters may reach out _ largely in protest _ to the rightist Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria: groups known for their populist, anti-immigration rhetoric.

"Definitely the parties in government _ the Social Democrats and the Christian conservatives _ will lose" votes, said Peter Filzmaier, a respected Austrian political commentator, adding that both could see their worst results since 1945.

"The so-called Freedom Party, as well as the Alliance for the Future of Austria, will be a big winner," Filzmaier predicted. Gains for Far Right Predicted in Austria >>> By Veronika Oleksyn, The Associated Press | September 28, 2008

High Stakes for Israel in Austrian Election: The outcome of Sunday's Austrian national elections will present a litmus test of the new government's ability to resist implementing the largest European gas deal with Iran. In 2007, the partially state-owned Austrian oil company OMV cut a preliminary €22 billion deal with the Islamic Republic to gain access to its South Par gas field. >>> By Benjamin Weinthal, Berlin | September 25, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid

THE OBSERVER: Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group

The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging 'peace process' sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks - despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had 'lost momentum'. According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban's demands.

'They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,' one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Last week the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, referred indirectly to the talks during a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. 'We must explore ways of separating the international jihadists from those who are acting more for nationalist or tribal motives. Efforts in this direction are being led by Sunni [Muslim] countries such as Saudi Arabia,' he said. Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid >>> Jason Burke in Kabul | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Hardcover (US) Barnes & Noble >>>
North London Terror Arrests Linked to The Jewel of Medina

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Four people have been arrested in London over an alleged terror attack on the publisher of a controversial book on the prophet Muhammad.

The arrests are connected to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of Martin Rynja, a publisher.

His company, Gibson Square, recently bought the rights to a novel which is considered by some to be more controversial than Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. The new book, about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, is entitled The Jewel of Medina.

The blaze yesterday, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.

Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25am yesterday after a fire broke out at a property in Lonsdale Square, Islington. Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized when a car was stopped by armed police near Angel underground station.

Random House US, the major publishing group, announced in May this year that it was dropping its plans to publish Sherry Jones's debut novel following warnings that it could incite acts of violence from radical Muslims. The Jewel of the [sic] Medina was also pulled from bookshops in Serbia last month after pressure from an Islamic group.

Gibson Square, which has previously published other controversial books, bought the rights to Jones's book after Random House pulled out. It paid what it described as a "compelling" advance to acquire The Jewel of Medina. The book will be published by Gibson Square next month [October] in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In the US, the book will be published by Beaufort Books.

Speaking before yesterday's attack, Mr Rynja said: "In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear. As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.

"If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages. The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time." North London Terror Arrests Linked to Controversial Muslim Book >>> By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter | September 28, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
Tochter von islamischem Hassprediger ist eine Stripperin

TT.COM: Das britische Massenblatt "The Sun" hat herausgefunden, dass die Tochter eines radikal-islamischen Hasspredigers "an der Stange" und "oben ohne" als Stripperin in Londoner Nachtlokalen arbeitet. Ihr Vater ist "schockiert" über die brisanten Enthüllungen.

London - Wie die türkische Zeitung "Sabah" berichtet, hat das britische Massenblatt "The Sun" die Tochter eines radikal-islamischen Hasspredigers als Stripperin entlarvt. Demnach habe man Yasmin F. in Londoner Nachtclubs "an der Stange" und "oben ohne" beim Tanzen beobachtet. Ihre Ehe - eine arrangierte mit einem Türken - sei bereits in die Brüche gegangen.

Geheimes Leben

Laut "Sun" habe sich die 27-jährige Mutter eines drei-jährigen Kindes mit ihrem syrisch-stämmigen Vater, der auch als "Ayatollah von Tottenham" bekannt ist, überworfen und führe nun ein "geheimes Leben", in dem sie unter falschem Namen "halb nackt" in einschlägigen Etablissements in London tanze.

"Wenn das Lokal passend ist, habe ich kein Problem damit, oben ohne zu tanzen", wird Yasmin F. in der "Sun" zitiert. Sie habe sich mit ihrem Vater nicht mehr verstanden und sei vor vier Jahren weggezogen. Tochter von islamischem Hassprediger ist eine Stripperin >>> | September 27, 2008

MAIL Online:
Revealed: Radical Cleric Bakri’s Pole-dancer Daughter >>> By Michael Seamark and Emily Andrews | September 27, 2008

Photo of the tattooed, topless pole-dancer Yasmin Fostok, the raunchy daughter of Omar Bakri Mohammed, courtesy of Mail Online

The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Dust Jacket Hardcover, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>
The Dawning of a New Dark Age – Paperback, direct from the publishers (UK) >>>