Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pour un chef d'al-Qaida, la France est devenue l'ennemi numéro un de l'islam

LE POINT: Aqpa, considérée comme la branche la plus active et la plus dangereuse d'al-Qaida par Washington, avait revendiqué l'attaque à Paris contre le journal français "Charlie Hebdo" qui a fait 12 morts.

Avec l'"affaiblissement" des États-Unis ces dernières années, "la France a remplacé l'Amérique dans sa guerre contre l'islam", a déclaré un chef d'al-Qaida dans la péninsule arabique (Aqpa), Ibrahim al-Rubaish, dans un enregistrement audio diffusé vendredi par la branche médiatique d'Aqpa, Al-Malahem, sur YouTube. Aqpa, considérée comme la branche la plus active et la plus dangereuse d'al-Qaida par Washington, avait revendiqué à la mi-janvier l'attaque à Paris contre le journal français Charlie Hebdo qui a fait 12 morts. » | Source AFP | vendredi 30 janvier 2015

Resentment Grows between Christians and Muslims in France

The deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo puts a spotlight on the growing tensions between France's Muslim and immigrant communities and a large portion of French society, which is traditionally Catholic. The NewsHour’s Megan Thompson recently visited Marseille, one of the country’s most diverse cities, to report on the root of the conflict and the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in France.

Compulsory Income Tax on Christians Drives Germans away from Protestant and Catholic Churches

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Up to 400,000 Germans officially filed declarations to leave the Protestant and Catholic Church after a decision to extend the 8 or 9 per cent charge to capital gains income

Hundreds of thousands of German Christians are formally renouncing their faith and leaving the church in order to escape a controversial change in the tax laws.

Up to 200,000 Germans are believed to have filed official declarations last year renouncing their membership of the Protestant church, the highest number in almost two decades. A similar number are thought to have left the Catholic Church.

Church members in Germany are required by law to pay tax to fund church activities, which is collected by the government.

Under German law, anyone who was baptised as a child is automatically a member of the church and obliged to pay the tax, charged as a percentage of their income, regardless of their beliefs or whether they attend church services.

Until recently, many Christians have been prepared to pay the extra tax for the benefits it brings them, including access to church schools and day care facilities that are funded by the state.

But the only way out of paying the tax is to make a formal declaration renouncing your membership of the church – and there is a government fee for this as well. » | Justin Huggler in Berlin | Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hollande en Hitler dans un journal marocain : «Consternant», selon le Quai d'Orsay

Al Watan Al Ane, un magazine arabophone marocain, a grimé
le président de la République française en Adolph Hitler en Une
de sa dernière édition du 29 janvier. DR
LE PARISIEN: Le directeur de l'hebdomadaire Al Watan Al Ane, un journal arabophone marocain peu connu du public, assume sa couverture montrant le président de la République française grimé en Adolph Hitler. Une image qui, au Maroc, fait déjà polémique et tombe sous le coup de la loi.

C'est l'image qui tombe au plus mal alors que les relations entre Rabat et Paris tentent de se réchauffer après une année de couacs entre les deux pays. Al Watan Al Ane, un magazine arabophone marocain, tiré à quelques milliers d'exemplaires, a grimé le président de la République française en Adolf Hitler en Une de sa dernière édition du 29 janvier.

Soit deux jours après la commémoration des 70 ans de la libération de camp d'Auschwitz, en présence de François Hollande.

Tout y est ou presque : la petite moustache que portait le dictateur nazi, la tenue brune, le brassard floqué d'une croix gammée. Ne manque que la raie plaquée sur le côté. La photo est accompagné du titre suivant : « Les Français vont-ils faire renaître les camps de concentration d’Hitler pour exterminer les musulmans ? » » | R.B et S.Ld | vendredi 30 janvier 2015

Jewish Survivor Lillian Saunders Testimony

Canada PM Harper Calls for Expanded Terror Laws

"Violent jihadism is not a human right," Stephen Harper said.
"It is an act of war."
BBC AMERICA: Encouraging terror attacks against Canada will become a crime under legislation proposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The measure will also expand the powers of the country's spy agency, allowing it to take direct action to stop attacks.

Work began on the bill after two attacks days apart last year. It is expected to be passed by Mr Harper's Conservative majority in Parliament.

Under current law it is a crime to make a specific threat. The new measure would make it crime to call for a terror attack against the country or Canadians generally, including online.

"We cannot tolerate this any more than we tolerate people that make jokes about bomb threats at airports," Mr Harper said.

"Anyone engaging in that kind of activity is going to face the full force of the law in the future."

The maximum prison sentence for those convicted under the new measure would be five years. » | Friday, January 30, 2015

Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Flogging Postponed Second Time

BBC AMERICA: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have again postponed a second round of 50 lashes on the blogger Raif Badawi.

No reason has been given, but last week Mr Badawi was reported to be physically unfit to face the penalty after receiving the first flogging. He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam.

Raif Badawi's punishment has caused international outcry. Last week the case was referred to the Supreme Court by the then-King Abdullah's office.

A decree by the new Saudi King Salman has pardoned what are described as "public right" prisoners, which could eventually include Mr Badawi.

A Saudi rights activist and lawyer, Suad al-Shammary, who worked with Mr Badawi on his blog, was released on Friday.

She had been held for three months without charge over comments she made on Twitter, which her opponents portrayed as anti-Islamic. (+ BBC video) » | Friday, January 30, 2015

Russland rüstet auf

Mehr Waffen, mehr Soldaten: Russlands Verteidigungsminister
Sergei Schoigu will aufrüsten.
SCHWEIZER RADIO UND FERNSEHEN: Russland will seine Truppen in strategisch wichtigen Regionen des Landes verstärken. Man werde nicht zulassen, dass irgendjemand militärisch die Oberhand über das Land gewinne, heisst es aus Moskau. Gleichzeitig wirft der Generalstabschef dem Westen «neue Arten der Aggression» vor.

Bei einer Tagung in seinem Ministerium in Moskau hat der russische Verteidigungsminister Sergej Schoigu klargestellt: Er werde nicht zulassen, dass irgendjemand militärisch die Oberhand über sein Land gewinne.

Trotz der wirtschaftlich schwierigen Lage werde er deshalb die Streitkräfte aufrüsten und dafür sorgen, dass sie bis 2020 über die beabsichtigte Zahl moderner Waffensysteme verfügen. Zudem würden die russischen Truppen in strategisch wichtigen Regionen des Landes verstärkt. Auslöser für die Pläne sei die militärische und politische Situation rund um Russland. » | SRF 4 News, 11:00 Uhr; reu/sda/cukj; morr | Freitag, 30. Januar 2015

La Suisse: L'initiative du 9 février pourrait être jugée illégale

Le slogan d'origine a figuré sur le site
internet jusqu'à fin 2013
24 HEURES: Immigration [–] Deux juristes ont déposé une plainte auprès du Tribunal fédéral pour violation de la norme antiraciste. Un slogan de l'UDC est en cause.

En raison d'une annonce intitulée «Les Kosovars poignardent les Suisses!», diffusée par l'UDC pendant la campagne sur l'initiative contre l'immigration de masse, la votation du 9 février pourrait être jugée illégale par le Tribunal fédéral. S'il qualifie ce slogan de raciste, l'électorat aurait alors été manipulé par un acte punissable. » | vendredi 30 janvier 2015

Saudi Arabia: No Religious or Personal Birthday Celebrations Allowed

ARAB NEWS: The Health Ministry has instructed all public hospitals and health facilities not to allow celebration of “religious or personal” birthdays inside their compounds. The ministry’s religious awareness department said Sunday that the circular was based on a religious edict issued by the Dar Al-Ifta 27 years ago. » | Arab News | Monday, January 19, 2015

Royal Magnanimity: Bonuses and Other Incentives Announced

ARAB NEWS: Generous bonuses and payouts will be given out to Saudi government employees, government scholars, retirees and other citizens under a package approved on Thursday by newly enthroned King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The King ordered the payment of two basic salaries to all Saudi state employees, including civilians and military officers, and two-month stipend to all government students inside and outside the Kingdom, and two-month pension for Saudi retirees.

By issuing 37 royal decrees, he also announced two-month remuneration for social insurance beneficiaries, two-month assistance to the handicapped, and SR2 billion for charities registered with the Social Affairs Ministry. » | Arab News | Jeddah | Friday, January 30, 2015

American Man Shot and Wounded in Saudi Arabia, Police Say

Vehicle Carrying Two U.S. Citizens Came Under Fire in Eastern Province

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: JEDDAH—An American citizen was shot and wounded Friday in eastern Saudi Arabia, the police said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

A vehicle carrying two U.S. citizens came under fire from an unknown source while driving in the eastern region of Al Ahsa, police said, adding that the man who was wounded was taken to hospital and is in a stable condition.

An investigation is under way, the statement said.

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh said “we are aware of the reports and are looking into them.” » | Ahmed Al Omran | Friday, January 30, 2015

Texas Muslims Heckled at Democracy Rally

USA TODAY: AUSTIN -- Hundreds of Muslim Texans faced a constant stream of heckling during a rally at the Texas Capitol Thursday that was organized to encourage more Muslims to take part in the democratic process.

Roughly two dozen sign-wielding protesters repeatedly tried to vocally overpower speakers at Texas Muslim Capitol Day, which was hosted by the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

One protester used the podium microphone for a screaming condemnation of Islam before being escorted back to her fellow demonstrators by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, who were out in force to prevent violence. » | Mark Wiggins, KVUE-TV, Austin | Friday, January 30, 2015

Related »

Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral Marked 50 Years On

BBC AMERICA: The boat that carried Sir Winston Churchill's coffin along the Thames in 1965 has made the same journey to mark the 50th anniversary of his funeral.

Members of the Churchill family were aboard the Havengore, which travelled to Westminster in central London.

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron laid a wreath in memory of Churchill, who, as prime minister, led Britain to victory in World War Two.

A service will also take place later at Westminster Abbey.

Speaking at a service in Parliament at the start of a day of commemorations, Mr Cameron said Churchill would be remembered as a "great leader and great Briton".

"If there is one aspect of this man I admire more than any other - it is Churchill the patriot," he said.

Mr Cameron said the UK needed to draw on the "courage and resolve" of Churchill to battle "every affront to freedom in this century". (+ BBC videos) » | Friday, January 30, 2015

L'état de santé du blogueur Raef Badaoui se détériore

Raef Badaoui devait subir une deuxième séance de 50 coups de
fouet vendredi 30 janvier. Ici, une manifestation d'Amnesty au Québec.
TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Arabie SaouditeCondamné à dix ans de prison et 1000 coups de fouet pour «insulte à l'islam», le blogueur risque de ne pas y survivre, selon son épouse.

L'état de santé de Raef Badaoui, le blogueur saoudien condamné à dix ans de prison et 1000 coups de fouet en Arabie saoudite pour «insulte à l'islam», empire, a estimé jeudi 29 novembre à Ottawa son épouse Ensaf Haidar.

Raef Badaoui, qui devait subir une deuxième séance de 50 coups de fouet vendredi, souffrirait d'hypertension et une nouvelle flagellation risquerait de l'affaiblir davantage, a-t-elle indiqué lors d'une conférence de presse entourée de parlementaires canadiens.

«L'état de santé de Raef est mauvais et il empire», a déclaré Ensaf Haidar, réfugiée au Québec avec ses trois enfants. » | jeudi 29 janvier 2015

King Abdullah Embodied the Wickedness of Saudi Arabia’s Regime

Members of the Saudi police force in Mecca. 'Saudi Arabia's
influence is almost wholly malign.'
THE GUARDIAN: Change may be looming for Saudi Arabia, but reforming a country where torture, corruption and judicial murder are commonplace won’t be easy

We can always look on the bright side of the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the accession of Prince Salman. It shows that, if reports of his ill-health are true, dementia can’t stop you reaching the very top – at least if you have the right parents. It is a danger for many political systems that they end up being run by men whose faculties are no longer up to it: think of Pope John Paul II in his long decline, Churchill after his strokes, Ronald Reagan or the Soviet gerontocracy. But Saudi is unique in the modern world in choosing as leader a man believed to be in decline even before he comes to power.

It is a final touch of absurdity in a kingdom that is wicked in itself, and a source of wickedness and corruption elsewhere in the world. Saudi Arabia practices torture and arbitrary judicial murder. Women are beheaded in the street, liberal thought is punishable by flogging, which can be a death sentence even more horrific, because it is more prolonged than having your head hacked off with a sword. It is a raft of fear and hatred lashed together, floating on unimaginable amounts of money, at least for the lucky few. Among the poor, not all of whom are slaves or foreigners, there is tufshan, a special word defined by an anthropologist as “subtle and incapacitating torpor”. » | Andrew Brown | Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Holocaust Survivor Ellen Brandt Testimony

West's Nauseating Hypocrisy Sucking Up to the Saudis

BELFAST TELEGRAPH: What do you call the unelected leader of a state that beheads people in public, permits only one faith and exports an extreme form of Islam to other countries?

If he happens to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of Islamic State (Isis), the answer is one of the world's most wanted terrorists. If he is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the proper form of address is "Your Majesty". Are we all clear about that? Me neither.

The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister turned up in Riyadh at the weekend to pay their respects to Salman's half-brother, King Abdullah, whose death was announced on Friday. Abdullah's demise at the age of 90 unleashed a nauseating display of hypocrisy among world leaders.

Flags flew at half-mast in Whitehall while David Cameron - sorry, pass-the-sick-bag moment coming up - praised the deceased despot's efforts towards "strengthening understanding between faiths".

This is the same David Cameron who marched in Paris two weeks ago in solidarity with the victims of al-Qaida-inspired terrorism. Then, there was much talk about human rights and free expression, both of which get short shrift in Saudi Arabia. Barack Obama - a conspicuous no-show in Paris - found the time to praise the absolute monarch and hailed the US-Saudi relationship "as a force for stability and security in the Middle East".

Funnily enough, none of these busy men had time to mention Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger whose flogging was postponed on the very same day because he hadn't recovered from the 50 lashes he received two weeks earlier. » | Joan Smith | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Protester at Texas Muslim Capitol Day

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE: Rep to Staff: Ask Muslim Visitors to Pledge Allegiance » | Reeve Hamilton and Alexa Ura | Thursday, January 29, 2015

Germany After The War, 1945-49

This powerful documentary explores the condition of Germany when the fighting stopped in 1945 and the subsequent four years of occupation and reconstruction. Views are taken from all sides, but German voices are given predominance. With some remarkable footage and moving testimony, this film is an important addition to the history of post-war Europe.

Österreich ist immer noch ein Raucherparadies

Facebook to Censor Images of Prophet Mohammed in Turkey Just Two Weeks after Mark Zuckerberg Wrote Passionate Message Defending Right to Free Speech

MAIL ONLINE: Facebook will ban pages in Turkey which 'insult Prophet Mohammed' / Comes weeks after Zuckerberg defended right to be offensive in post / Turkey also banned web access to cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine / Move is seen as the latest in crackdown on 'offending religious material'

Facebook has reportedly agreed to censor cartoons of Prophet Mohammed just two weeks after its founder defended the right to free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks.

The social network made the decision after Turkish authorities threatened to block the site entirely if it did not remove the images - some of which come from Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The dramatic about-face will be personally embarrassing for Zuckerberg, coming weeks after he defiantly said: '[Facebook] will never let one country or group dictate what people can share.' » | Chris Pleasance for MailOnline | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Newt for President! Newt Gingrich: We Are At War with Radical Islamism

National Security Speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Michelle Obama Cocks a Snook at Outdated, Ante-Diluvian Saudi Customs

On the Streets with Far-right Extremists Britain First | Channel 4 News

Channel 4 News follows a group of hardline religious extremists who intimidate Muslims, as they go out on a mission on the streets of London.

Saudi TV BLURS Michelle Obama's FACE As Barack Meets King

La France lance un clip choc contre le djihadisme

24 HEURES: Enrôlement des jeunes no decoration id «Tu découvriras l'enfer sur Terre et mourras seul, loin de chez toi»: le gouvernement français a dévoilé un clip fort pour lutter contre l'embrigadement des jeunes par l'Etat islamique.

#Stopdjihadisme : Ils te disent… by gouvernementFR

«Ils te disent : sacrifie-toi à nos côtés, tu défendras une juste cause. En réalité, tu découvriras l'enfer sur terre et mourras seul loin de chez toi.» Le gouvernement français vient de lancer ce mercredi 28 janvier un clip choc, empruntant aux codes de la propagande djihadiste, pour tenter de dissuader les jeunes de s'enrôler dans les rangs du groupe Etat islamique.

La vidéo, qui fait environ 2 minutes a été publiée sur le site Elle sort trois semaines après les attentats de Paris perpétrés par les frères Kouachi et Amedy Coulibaly. Paris veut ainsi affronter les djihadistes sur le web, terrain de prédilection pour séduire les jeunes. » | Par Christine Talos | mercredi 28 janvier 2015 : Agir contre la menace terroriste »

Pegida Loses Second Leader in a Week

Kathrin Oertel has quit the leadership of Pegida
'due to massive hostility'.
THE GUARDIAN: Kathrin Oertel quits German far-right group’s leadership just days after resignation of founder Lutz Bachmann

German anti-Islam movement Pegida lost its second leader in a week on Wednesday when Kathrin Oertel, who took over after the founder quit for posing as Hitler, also stepped down, citing media pressure.

The Dresden-based group announced on its Facebook page that Oertel and another board member were resigning. The 37-year-old became Pegida’s national figurehead after founder Lutz Bachmann resigned a week ago after news that he was being investigated.

Pegida said that Oertel had quit “due to the massive hostility, threats and career disadvantages”, adding: “Even the strongest of women has to take time out when at night photographers and other strange figures are sneaking around outside her house.”

The group added that its cause remained “good and just”. » | Reuters in Berlin | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YNET NEWS: PEGIDA spokesman: We are no Nazis: In exclusive Ynetnews interview, spokesperson of anti-Islamization grassroots initiative addresses Jewish world's concerns about the movement, says 'we want Jews and Israelis to feel safe in Europe.'‬‬ » | Moritz Josef Schulman | Saturday, January 24, 2015

Egyptian Poet Goes On Trial Accused of Contempt of Islam

REUTERS.COM: (Reuters) - A prominent Egyptian poet could face up to three years in jail over a Facebook post in which she criticized the slaughter of animals at a Muslim festival, a case which rights activists say shows how the government is muzzling free speech.

Fatima Naoot described the Prophet Abraham's dream - in which, according to Islamic belief, God tells him to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith - as a "nightmare". Before Abraham can carry out the deed, God provided a sheep instead as a sacrifice.

In her post, the poet criticized the sacrifice of animals at Eid al-Adha, also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, a festival that honors Abraham's willingness to obey God.

"Millions of innocent creatures will be driven to the most horrible massacre committed by humans for ten-and-a-half centuries," she said. "A massacre which is repeated every year because of the nightmare of a righteous man about his good son."

The poet - whose trial began on Wednesday - has been charged with contempt of Islam, spreading sectarian strife and disturbing public peace, judicial sources and Naoot said.

She denies the charges. If convicted she could face jail terms ranging from six months to three years, the sources said.

"I will not be defeated even if I'm imprisoned," Naoot, who did not appear in court, told Reuters on Wednesday. "The loser will be the cultural movement." » | Mahmoud Mourad | Cairo | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GULF NEWS: Egypt writer Fatima Naoot’s trial for Islam defamation started: Case raises rights advocates’ concerns over free speech » | Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

German Football Player Converts to Islam

MOROCCO WORLD NEWS: The player described Islam as a religion of hope and strength.

“Islam gave me strength. Pray calms my soul,” the 24-year-old said.

“I was short tempered, erratic and did not know where I belong,” he added.

Blum joined his team FC Nurnberg last year. The team plays in the German Bundesliga’s Second Division. » | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BILD: Nürnberg-Profi 
wechselt zum Islam: Danny Blum (24) steht in einer Moschee im türkischen Belek. Er schließt die Augen, hält die Handflächen vor sich nach oben gerichtet. Er streicht sich die Hände durchs Gesicht, über den Oberkörper, dann kniet er nieder. Danny Blum betet. » | Montag, 26. Januar 2015

The Female Face of Terror

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: If we don't act now, it may not be long before we see women committing acts of terror in Western cities

Since last summer, hardly a week has passed without news of a woman participating in extremism or terrorism. The violent group Boko Haram is using female suicide bombers to wreak havoc in Nigeria. From Denver to Vienna, "Caliphettes" – young girls pledging their support to Isil’s so called "Caliphate" on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr – are escaping to marry Jihadis in Syria.

And most recently, Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of one of the perpetrators of the recent terrorist atrocities in Paris, is the most wanted terror suspect in the world today.

Despite this growing trend, women have largely failed to be incorporated into counter-extremism strategies.

For too long Western societies have viewed women, particularly Muslim women, singularly as victims of fundamentalist ideology. There is collective shock over the fact that they are now proving to be as much agents of that ideology as men – as proxy soapbox orators, encouraging those who cannot get to the battleground, to do as much damage as possible at home, as brutal, sometimes violent, enforcers of strict Islamic codes (the Al-Khansaa all-female moral brigade in Raqqa), and as the mothers of the next generation of Jihadists. Online, where Institute for Strategic Dialogue has been tracking the social media accounts of women living in Isil territory, a Jihadi girl power subculture has emerged: becoming a Caliphette is portrayed as empowering.
Indeed, the spectre of radicalised Western women streaming to the battlegrounds of Syria should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Isil’s highly sophisticated, tech[-]savvy radicalisation and recruitment machinery. They deploy peer-to-peer, in this case girl-to-girl, marketing strategies, Twitter amplification apps, iconic memes, gaming imagery and go-pro footage from the field. » | Farah Pandith and Sasha Havlicek | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Michelle Obama Causes Outrage in Saudi Arabia by Not Wearing Headscarf

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: First Lady draws criticism for not wearing headscarf in highly conservative country

In a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama cut short his visit to India and led a parade of American dignitaries in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay respects after King Abdullah's death.

But it was the presence - and attire - of his wife Michelle which drew the most attention in the ultraconservative desert kingdom.

The First Lady dressed conservatively in black trousers and a long jacket, wearing loose clothing that fully covered her arms, but did not cover her head.

It is forbidden for Saudi women to appear in public without their heads covered, and most Saudi women wear niqabs.

Hundreds of Saudis took to Twitter using hashtags translating to “#Michelle_Obama_Immodest” and "#Michelle_Obama_NotVeiled” to voice their disapproval of her decision not to observe Saudi customs. » | Andrew Marszal, and agencies | Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ISIS Threatens Obama, Japanese and Jordanian Hostages in New Online Messages

FOX NEWS: A new, grisly beheading video from ISIS includes a direct threat against President Obama and is one of at least three new warnings from the terror organization, including pledges to kill Jordanian and Japanese hostages if a hostage held by Jordan is not freed.

In a new online video discovered by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Tuesday, three Islamic State fighters stand behind a kneeling Kurdish fighter as one of the extremists launches into a diatribe against the U.S. and other Western nations.

“Know, oh Obama, that will reach America,” says one of the fighters, clad in black and wearing a balaclava, in a translation from Arabic provided by MEMRI. “Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House, and transform America into a Muslim Province.”

The extremist also issued warnings to European nations.

“And this is my message to France and to its sister, Belgium,” he said. “We advise you that we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges, and will cut off your heads.” » | | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Actress Maureen Lipman May Leave Britain Over Attacks On Jews

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Figures released in December showed that the number of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK in 2014 is set to be the highest recorded in the past three decades

Maureen Lipman, the actress, has said she is considering leaving Britain because of a “worrying” rise in attacks on Jews.

The 71-year-old star said she could desert the UK to live abroad because of a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

Speaking to the LBC radio station, she said: "When the economy dries up, then they turn on the usual scapegoat. The usual suspect. The Jew.

"There is one school of thought that says it's because of Israeli policies in the West Bank, it isn't. There's been anti-Semitism for the past 4,000 years.

"When the going gets tough, the Jews get's crossed my mind that it's time to have a look around for another place to live. I've thought about going to New York, I've thought about going to Israel."

Mrs Lipman said the Jewish community in Britain "give, give and give" and described the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks as "very very depressing". » | Bill Gardner | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

André Rieu - Holocaust Memorial Day

Today on Holocaust Memorial Day I'd like to commemorate my wife's relatives who died in concentration camps and all the victims of Auschwitz. Let's all make sure this will never happen again.

For concert dates and tickets visit André Rieu dot com

Auschwitz 70th Anniversary: Survivors Warn of New Crimes

Child survivors at Auschwitz - still taken from footage by Soviet forces
BBC AMERICA: Auschwitz survivors have urged the world not to allow a repeat of the crimes of the Holocaust as they mark 70 years since the camp's liberation.

"We survivors do not want our past to be our children's future," Roman Kent, born in 1929, told a memorial gathering at the death camp's site in Poland.

Some 300 Auschwitz survivors returned for the ceremony under a giant tent.

Some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945, when Soviet troops liberated it. » | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WHITEHOUSE: Statement by the President on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau » | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saudi Dynasty: Security of the West Passes into Shaky Hands

THE AUSTRALIAN: A CORTEGE of princes moved across the bleak desert. On their shoulders they bore to his rest their father, Abdullah, king of Saudi Arabia and ruler of the richest oil kingdom on earth.

A plain shroud covered his corpse. The monarch was laid in an unmarked grave. His heirs heaped up a small cairn of stones and went away.

It was a farewell obedient to the strict Wahhabi version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia.

Within hours the new ruling order emerged. The designated successor, Salman, 79, the king’s half-brother, assumed the throne. A younger brother, Muqrin, 69, was named Crown Prince.

And the dynasty appointed Mohammed bin Nayef, a stripling of 55, as Deputy Crown Prince. The edifice of Saudi rule, still the centrepiece of American strategy in the Middle East, looked solid.

US President Barack Obama will cut short a visit to India to travel to Riyadh tomorrow, where he will meet the new monarch. ( video) » | Michael Sheridan and Hala Jaber | The Times | Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wutausbrüche und Alkohol: Schwere Vorwürfe gegen Israels First Lady

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Ehemalige Angestellte haben drastische Anschuldigungen gegen Israels First Lady erhoben. Dabei geht es um Wutausbrüche und Alkoholkonsum. Ministerpräsident Netanyahu spricht von Hetze - und wittert ein Komplott.

Tel Aviv - Wieder einmal macht Israels Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanyahu in der Öffentlichkeit ein breites Kreuz. Mit deutlichen Worten verteidigt er seine Frau gegen Vorwürfe früherer Angestellter. "Die Hetze gegen meine Ehefrau Sara ist ein neuer Tiefpunkt im Benehmen der Medien, die versuchen, mich zu treffen", hieß es am Montag in einer Stellungnahme Netanyahus.

Israelische Medien hatten am Sonntag ausführlich über Beschwerden ehemaliger Mitarbeiter im Haushalt Netanyahu berichtet. Einer der Angestellten gab an, die First Lady habe ihre Untergebenen mit Wutausbrüchen und übertriebenen Wünschen tyrannisiert. Besonders unter Alkoholeinfluss sei ihr Verhalten unerträglich gewesen. » | ler/dpa | MOntag, 26. Januar 2015

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on Collision Course with Angela Merkel

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Left-Right alliance against austerity and first act is to honour wartime resistance

Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as the new prime minister of Greece on Monday, after his radical Left-wing movement forged an unwieldy alliance with a far-Right party.

In a low-key ceremony lasting barely 10 minutes, Mr Tsipras promised to protect "the interests of the Greek people" as he signed an official mandate with a Mont Blanc fountain pen.

Well known for his disdain of ties, he arrived wearing an open-necked shirt.

He then went on to the National Resistance Memorial at Kaisariani and laid a wreath to two hundred Greek war dead as his first official act.

In a further break with convention, Mr Tsipras, an atheist, chose not to receive a traditional blessing from the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos II, becoming the first prime minister in the history of the modern Greek state to reject the religious gesture.

Instead of swearing on a Bible, as is customary, he took a non-religious oath. » | Nick Squires, Athens | Monday, January 26, 2015

'Tidal Wave of Snow' Forecast to Cripple North-eastern US

Winter storm Juno
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: 50 million told to 'go home and stay home' as planes are grounded and cars ordered off streets before giant storms sweep into New York and Boston

A crippling blizzard predicted to dump historic snowfalls swept into the American north-east as shops reported panic buying, airlines cancelled thousands of flights and governors announced states of emergency and travel bans.

Meteorologists forecast up to two feet of snow would fall in New York city in a few hours while 30 inches could carpet Boston.

But just as alarming were the heavy winds that would drive the snow as gusts were expected to reach 50mph in New York and near hurricane-strength 70mph in Cape Cod, whipping up towering drifts and exacerbating the rapid accumulations.

As the storm bore down on America’s most populated corridor, a 250-mile stretch from New Jersey to New England, political leaders had the same message for the 50 million residents in its path: go home and stay there.

“It will be like a tidal wave of snow,” predicted Henry Margusity, a meteorologist with AccuWeather forecasting company, while the National Weather Service described the storm as “life-threatening”. Some regions were expected to be battered by “thundersnow” with thunder and lightning accompanying intense downpours of snow. » | Philip Sherwell, New York | Monday, January 26, 2015

’More Muslims Should Denounce Fundamentalism’

SWISSINFO.CH: Imam of Bern Mustafa Memeti has been at war with religious fundamentalism for years.

Recently elected ‘Swiss of the year’ by the readers of the Sunday newspaper SonntagsZeitung for his “fight for the cohabitation” of communities, Memeti advocates a liberal Islam that adopts western values without concession.

“I’m afraid that the climate of suspicion and fear will again become more generalised in the times to come,” says Memeti, who hails from Serbia, almost a week after the attacks by Islamic fundamentalists in Paris.

At the forefront of Memeti’s plans is training Muslim preachers in Switzerland and exercising state control over the mosques as a means of fighting radicalisation. In a voice torn with emotion, he espouses with conviction his proposals for Islam in Switzerland. » | Samuel Jaberg | Monday, January 26, 2015

Alfred Hitchcock Holocaust Film to Go on General Release 70 Years after Suppression

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: German Concentration Camps Factual Survey shows first scenes of Nazi concentration camps but was shelved by the British government in 1945

An Alfred Hitchcock film showing the first harrowing scenes of Nazi concentration camp and suppressed by the British government is to go on general release to the public almost 70 years after it was made.

The German Concentration Camps Factual Survey was shot at 14 sites in 1945 and was to be the official documentary of the Nazi atrocities that had occurred there.

But the film, described as “of great historical importance”, was shelved amid fears it was too politically sensitive until it was reassembled by experts at the Imperial War Museum (IWM).

Those behind the restoration will announce later this year that they now plan to release it to the public, either in cinemas or on DVD.

The move coincides with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, which revealed the full scale of the holocaust atrocities. » | Tom Whitehead | Monday, January 26, 2015

Old Foes Come Together to Pay Tribute to King Abdullah

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Prince of Wales and David Cameron also among those offering condolences to new Saudi king

Old enmities and doubts about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record were cast aside as world leaders paid their respects to its new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz.

David Cameron, whose government only a week ago condemned Saudi Arabia’s public flogging of a liberal writer, Raif Badawi, flew to Riyadh with the Prince of Wales, whose long friendship with the Gulf monarchy is well-established.

Mr Cameron had paid tribute to King Abdullah, King Salman’s older half-brother, who died at the age of 90 in the early hours of Friday morning after ten years on the throne.

But human rights activists and even members of his own party objected. “I have been ashamed to be a Conservative today,” the former Tory MP Louise Mensch said. » | Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor | Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Does Syriza’s Victory Mean for Greece and the Eurozone?

Greece must bow to austerity or go bust, says EU » Bruno Waterfield, Brussels | Monday January 26, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

British Army General 'to Come Out as Gay'

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts is preparing to become the most senior military figure to come out as gay, amid claims that homophobia persists in the Army

A married British Army general who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is planning to come out as gay, becoming the highest[-]ranking military officer to do so, it has emerged.

The general is hoping to tackle the perception that admitting homosexuality would amount to career suicide.

Homophobic bullying and abuse are still common in the military despite attempts by the Ministry of Defence to improve the Army’s image, he claimed.

“I never considered outing myself until another very senior officer said he believed that admission of homosexuality by a senior officer would be career suicide,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

“I actually felt like saying, ‘Actually I’m gay and it has never prevented me from serving Queen and country’. » | Telegraph staff | Sunday, January 25, 2015

Avigdor Lieberman Urges Supporters to Distribute Copies of Charlie Hebdo

Avigdor Lieberman called for the move
on 'free speech' grounds
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Move by Israeli foreign minister comes after Muslim complaints over book store's planned sale of French satrical magazine featuring caricature of Prophet Mohammed

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's combative foreign minister, has urged supporters to distribute copies of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet Mohammed after a leading book store cancelled a planned gala sale following complaints by Muslims.

Mr Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, called for the move on "free speech" grounds after Steimatsky, Israel's largest book chain, called off the event at its flagship Ramat Gan shop, near Tel Aviv, after Muslim leaders of Israel's Arab community pleaded with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to intervene.

The store imported 700 copies of the first edition of Charlie Hebdo produced following the murder of 12 people by French jihadists at the magazine's Paris offices on January 7. » | Robert Tait, Jerusalem | Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jewish Leaders Call for Europe-wide Legislation Outlawing Antisemitism

THE GUARDIAN: Proposal would criminalise activities such as banning the burqa, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and Holocaust denial

European Jewish leaders, backed by a host of former EU heads of state and governments, are to call this week for pan-European legislation outlawing antisemitism amid a sense of siege and emergency feeding talk of a mass exodus of Europe’s oldest ethnic minority.

A panel of four prestigious international experts on constitutional law have spent three years consulting widely and drafting a 12-page document on “tolerance” that they are lobbying to have converted into law in the 28 countries of the EU.

The proposal would outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities deemed to be violating fundamental rights on specious religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds.

These would include banning the burqa, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, denial of the Holocaust and genocide generally, criminalising xenophobia, and creating a new crime of “group libel” – public defamation of ethnic, cultural, or religious groups. Women’s and gay rights would also be covered.

The proposed legislation would also curb, in the wake of the Paris attacks, freedom of expression on grounds of tolerance and in the interests of security. » | Ian Traynor, Europe editor | Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jews, Outnumbered by Muslims, Suffer under Mob Rule

TRIB LIVE: In the wake of the terrorist attack on a kosher market in Paris, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked French Jews to come home.

I don't particularly like that advice. I think it would be a tragedy if centuries of Jewish French culture had to die out because Jews were chased out by Islamist thugs. The French government agrees — for now at least — and has posted armed soldiers everywhere Jews live and gather.

Still, what Netanyahu understands is that there is strength in numbers. The more Jews there are in Israel, the stronger Israel will be. The flip side is that the fewer Jews there are in France — or Europe or America — the weaker Jews as a whole will be.

But no matter how you slice it, Jews are at a numerical disadvantage.

People understand that in a democracy there will always be strength in numbers. The politician who gets the most votes wins; the constituency with the most voters gets heard the most, etc. This also tends to be true of intellectuals, activists and businesses. If China didn't have more than 1 billion people, Hollywood wouldn't kowtow to Chinese sensibilities. And if Duke University didn't have a growing number of Muslim students, no one would have thought to broadcast calls to prayers from its chapel bell tower. » | Jonah Goldberg * | Saturday, January 24, 2015

* Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review.

Japan PM Left 'Speechless' After Video Claims Hostage Dead

FOX NEWS: Japan's prime minister said Sunday he was "speechless" after an online video purportedly showed an Islamic State militant killing one of the two Japanese hostages.

Shinzo Abe told Japanese broadcaster NHK the government is still reviewing the video, but it was likely authentic. Abe offered his condolences to the family and friends of 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, who was taken hostage in Syria last year.

Abe did not comment about the message in the latest video that demanded a prisoner exchange for the other hostage, journalist Kenji Goto.

"I am left speechless," he said, stressing he wants Goto released unharmed. "We strongly and totally criticize such acts." (+ FoxNews video) » | | Saturday, January 24, 2015

Germany’s Pegida Anti-Islam Movement: Can 'Cruella de Vil' Take It Mainstream?

Kathrin Oertel
Power to PEGIDA! Germany needs PEGIDA. Indeed the West needs PEGIDA. It is to be hoped that the movement spreads right across Europe. What will the dhimmi politicians do then? Politicians right across the West have foisted multicultural claptrap and immigrants on us all. The people are fed up. And that's what PEGIDA is about: The people fighting back. "Wir sind das Volk!" Es lebe PEGIDA! – © Mark

Read the comment here

Gingrich: U.S. ‘Losing the War’ with Radical Islam

POLITICO: Newt Gingrich issued a stinging rebuke of American policy toward Islamic extremism Saturday, saying elites in both parties refuse to acknowledge the severity of the threat to Western civilization.

“The United States is losing the war with radical Islamists,” said Gingrich in a speech at Rep. Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit.

He likened the Obama administration’s approach to extremism to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, and criticized Hillary Clinton’s record on the issue as secretary of state, saying he had given up hope that she would adequately address the threat if she were president.

But the former speaker of the House and candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012 did not reserve his criticism for Democrats alone.

“We have an elite frankly in both parties who won’t tell the truth. …You cant win this war if you won’t admit it’s a war.”

“The State Department was about equally bad under George W. Bush,” he said. » | Ben Schreckinger | Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baroness Warsi Launches Bitter Assault On Coalition Strategy Towards Muslims

THE GUARDIAN: Former Tory chair targets Michael Gove for criticism and says failure to engage with the community ‘has fuelled resentment’

Lady Warsi has delivered a blistering critique of the government’s approach towards Britain’s Muslims, warning that failure to engage properly with communities across the UK has created a climate of suspicion and undermined the fight against extremism.

In her first major intervention on the relationship between Muslims and the rest of society since she resigned from the cabinet five months ago, Warsi says the coalition’s policy of non-engagement has caused deep unease and resentment towards the government.

Writing in the Observer, Warsi warns that the government’s stance is counterproductive at a time of heightened national security. This month has seen warnings from MI5 that an attack on the UK is “highly likely” in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris on 8 January. » | Mark Townsend | Saturday, January 24, 2015

Heidi Munt Speaks at Rally: Islam Critics Set Up by Police

Watch this all the way through. It is not just rhetoric and jingoism. There are observations about the state of government and enforcement within Germany which are common in the Western world today.

Islam Experts: No-Go Zones Looming for America

WND: Back Jindal's view non-assimilation is trouble because Muslims 'supremacist at core’

The “no-go zones” in some Western nations, where law enforcement has lost control because of the influence of Islamic law, are coming to America.

That’s according to several Islam experts interviewed by WND who believe the kind of Muslim enclaves that have developed in Europe due to a lack of assimilation will eventually arise in the U.S. as the Muslim population grows.

The contention that “no-go” zones exist is controversial, as evidenced by the widespread ridicule that arose when an analyst said in a Fox News interview shortly after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris that the major English city of Birmingham was a “no-go” zone itself.

The analyst apologized, but only for exaggerating his point, not for asserting “no-go” zones exist. » | Bob Unruh | Thursday, January 22, 2015

Northeast Snow Storm to Strengthen as It Moves Toward New England

Winter storm could bring 3-5 feet of snow to Northeast

Calls to Spare Saudi Blogger Badawi from Public Flogging

BBC AMERICA: There are new calls for western governments to demand the release of Raif Badawi, who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Saudi Arabia, and 1,000 lashes.

Badawi is a blogger who has written critical pieces about the Saudi government.

He has been told he will receive another 50 lashes on Friday. Lucy Manning reports. (+ BBC video) » | Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blogger Sunny Hundal on Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia

BBC AMERICA: Blogger Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticising Saudi Arabian clerics on his internet blog.

British blogger Sunny Hundal said this case, and others like it, mean the UK should stop "hugging" the Saudi regime.

In a personal film, he said it was time for the UK to cut these ties and "treat the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the contempt it deserves". » | Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Amnesty International: 'West Deeply Hypocritical Over Saudi'

BBC AMERICA: The funeral of King Abdullah is taking place in Saudi Arabia after his death overnight at the age of 90. His 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, has been confirmed as his successor.

The state of human rights and women's rights and the turbulent state of the region make the king's death and the succession particularly sensitive.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general, said "Saudi has got away with much more than any other state" in term of human rights abuses.

He said that the West was hypocritical to support such a state. (+BBC video) » | Friday, January 23, 2015

Hundreds Join 'Je suis Muslim' Rally in Sydney

A protest against negative coverage of Islam and Charlie Hebdo's
caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Sydney
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Peaceful protesters march in Muslim enclave over magazine's depictions of the Prophet

Hundreds of Muslims rallied in Sydney on Friday night to protest negative media coverage of Islam and the French magazine Charlie Hebdo's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Police said 14 people were moved on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was peaceful.

Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Muslim enclave of Lakemba held placards with the slogan "Je suis Muslim," French for "I am Muslim."

The slogan was a response to Charlie Hebdo's latest front cover that depicts a tearful Prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying "Je suis Charlie." The edition is the first since the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on the satirical publication's Paris office that left 12 dead. » | AP | Friday, January 23, 2015

Churchill Embodied Britain's Greatness

The story of Winston Churchill is a universal human parable,
and it is fundamentally about courage
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Winston Churchill's legacy is everywhere in the modern world. There has been no one remotely like him before or since

He disappeared in the dead of winter. It was exactly 50 years ago today that the heart of Sir Winston Churchill beat its last; and as soon as the news was broken to London and to Britain it was obvious that this death was some kind of a punctuation mark in the narrative of the country. A fierce and surging life force had been finally extinguished, after 90 event-stuffed years. The people had lost a man who had not only led Britain in war, but who had become in a sense emblematic of what greatness the nation still possessed.

When I look at the footage of the funeral that took place at the end of the month – the vast, mainly silent crowds, many of them weeping, the lipsticked and peroxided young women, the old men with sunken chaps and trilbies – I feel the weight of the event in their minds. I understand why my grandparents kept a copy of the newspaper front page. I can see why they regarded him as the greatest Englishman (or Briton, or human being, come to that) of his age. They were right, and in the last half century that judgment has been – if anything – strengthened. » | Boris Johnson | Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

‘Worst-case Scenario’: Yemen Chaos, Saudi King’s Death Pose New Challenges for US

FOX NEWS: The collapse of the Yemeni government, coupled with the death early Friday of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, have in an instant thrown the future of America’s fight against Islamist extremists in the volatile region into question -- while potentially giving Iran more sway.

The Obama administration is still assessing the political earthquakes in the Arabian Peninsula, and for the near-term says the top priority in Yemen is the security of U.S. personnel. The State Department said it has reduced the number of personnel at the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Sanaa.

But when the sands settle, a new government – or no government at all – in Yemen could complicate one of the administration’s most active counterterror drone programs in the world. And the new leadership in Saudi Arabia raises questions about the country’s future involvement in fighting the Islamic State and other pressing issues.

Further, a former U.S. diplomat close to the Saudi royal family told Fox News the two developments, which occurred within hours of each other, represent a “worst-case scenario” for the U.S. in terms of Iran’s ability to extend its influence. » | | Friday, January 23, 2015

Dozens Of Finns, Swedes Fighting For IS

RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY: This week, police and security forces in Finland and Sweden have announced that dozens of those countries' citizens are fighting with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.

According to Helsinki Police Chief Inspector Jari Taponen, around 50 people from Finland, 76 percent of whom are Finnish passport holders and "almost 20" of whom are ethnic Finns, have gone to IS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq.

Taponen told Finnish TV channel Yle TV1 on January 22 that the major priority for Finnish security forces is to "try to prevent travel to the war zone."

According to Taponen, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, Supo, believes that as many as eight people from Finland have been killed fighting alongside IS.

Radicalism among young female converts to Islam in Finland has increased in recent months, he said, adding that most of those who have joined IS are from the Helsinki region. » | Joanna Paraszczuk | Friday, January 23, 2015

Barbarische Strafen: Saudi-Arabien richtet wie der "Islamische Staat"

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In Saudi-Arabien wird der Blogger Raif Badawi ausgepeitscht - wegen Kritik an der Religionspolizei. Eine grausame Strafe, wie sie auch der "Islamische Staat" verhängt. Beide Regime teilen eine ähnliche Ideologie.

Im Januar ließ Saudi-Arabien einer Frau mit drei Schwerthieben den Kopf abschlagen. Sie soll ihre Stieftochter missbraucht und getötet haben. Bis zum Schluss bestritt sie die Tat. Der Fall ist nur ein Beispiel für barbarische Strafen, wie sie in dem Königreich verhängt werden. Sie unterscheiden sich kaum von der brutalen Justiz des "Islamischen Staats" (IS). » | Von Vera Kämper und Raniah Salloum | Freitag, 23. Januar 2015

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Obituary

THE GUARDIAN: Monarch whose reign saw the spread of division, corruption and strife, and was saved only by ‘black gold’

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who has died aged 90, promised much but accomplished little. By the time he came to the throne in 2005, he was 81 years old. And though he had gained considerable experience as acting monarch after his brother King Fahd’s stroke, he was beset by numerous difficulties – dynastic, democratic, religious, ideological, regional and global – and, with only rising oil revenues in his favour, found himself unable to address them to any significant extent.

Abdullah’s succession as Saudi Arabia’s sixth monarch resulted from his father King Abdulaziz ibn Saud’s strategy of marrying the daughters and widows of defeated enemies. It was hoped that Abdullah’s birth in Riyadh would end the enmity between the ousted northern Hail emirate and the newly emerging Saudi kingdom. Abdullah’s mother, Fahda bint Asi al-Shuraim, was the widow of Saud ibn Rashid, who ruled over the emirate before its collapse at the hands of Saudi forces in 1921. Abdullah continued the tradition of his father and included, among his 30 or so wives, daughters of the Shaalan of Aniza, al-Fayz of Bani Sakhr, and al-Jarba of the Shammar tribe.

On the basis of his mother’s background, a plethora of images were cultivated around Abdullah. Images of the monarch as the repository of the tribal bedouin heritage flourished as Saudi Arabia drifted into globalisation and a consumer culture. After a traditional upbringing in the royal court and with no formal modern instruction, the king capitalised on this heritage. His maternal connections and limited education, together with a speech impediment, delayed Abdullah’s rise to pre-eminence among the many sons of the founder of the kingdom. » | Madawi al-Rasheed | Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s New King Salman Moves Quickly to Settle Future Succession

The new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
THE GUARDIAN: Salman bin Abdulaziz also promises to continue the policies of his predecessors following death of Abdullah after nearly two decades in power

Saudi Arabia’s new king moved swiftly on Friday to name the country’s interior minister as deputy crown prince, making him the second-in-line to the throne, as he promised to continue the policies of his predecessors in a nationally televised speech.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s actions came as the oil-rich, Sunni-ruled kingdom began mourning King Abdullah, who died early on Friday at the age of 90. He had spent nearly two decades in power, though officially became king in 2005. Abdullah was buried following Friday’s afternoon prayer, which was attended by Muslim leaders, Saudi princes, powerful clerics and Arab businessmen. » | Ian Black, Middle East editor, and Associated Press | Friday, January 23, 2015

Prince Charles to Fly to Riyadh Following Death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Clarence House confirms Prince of Wales will fly to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to pay his respects

The Prince of Wales will fly to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to pay his respects to the late King Abdullah, Clarence House has confirmed.

The Prince has been a regular visitor to Saudi Arabia over the years and counted the king as a personal friend.

It is understood he would not have been able to attend the funeral ceremony itself, as only Muslim men will be allowed. Instead he is expected to pay a visit to the new king, the current Prince Salman, a 79-year-old half brother of Abdullah.

Clarence House said in a statement: "The Prince of Wales, representing Her Majesty The Queen, will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay his condolences following the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, HM King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud." » | Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter | Friday, January 23, 2015

Government Criticised for Lowering Flags along Whitehall in Honour of King Abdullah

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Flags lowered along Whitehall in honour of the Saudi King, who faced fierce protests over human rights

A government decision to fly flags at half-mast along Whitehall to honour the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been criticised.

The Saudi regime has faced fierce criticism in recent weeks for carrying out the public beheading of a woman and condemning a blogger to 1,000 lashes.

Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace also lowered their flags, as a mark of respect.

Louise Mensch, the former Conservative MP, took to social media to say political leaders were “gutless cowards”.

“It is so unacceptable to offer deep condolences for a man who flogged women, didn't let them drive, saw guardian laws passed, & STARVES THEM,” she wrote on Twitter.

Women are still banned from driving in the oil-rich kingdom.

"UK flag half mast, mourning King Abdullah. So sad for all the sorcerers & apostates he could still have beheaded," wrote Maarten Boudry, another Twitter user. » | Holly Watt, Whitehall Editor | Friday, January 23, 2015

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Dies: World Reaction

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: With the Prince of Wales and Joe Biden confirmed to attend King Abdullah's funeral in Riyadh, we round up the world reaction to the death of Saudi Arabia's King

Read world reaction here | Telegraph’s Foreign Staff | Friday, January 23, 2015

German Mother of Three Becomes Face of Pegida Anti-Islam Movement

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Kathrin Oertel thrust to limelight as face of Pegida after resignation of its founder, Lutz Bachmann

A previously little known 36-year-old mother of three has been thrust into the limelight as the new public face of Germany’s Pegida anti-Islam movement, following the resignation of its founder, Lutz Bachmann, after a photograph emerged of him posing as Adolf Hitler.

Kathrin Oertel was already Pegida’s spokeswoman, but the sudden resignation of Mr Bachmann has left her as the only widely known leader of a movement in crisis.

Even before Mr Bachmann’s resignation, her appearance on a German television talk show earlier this week made her a nationally recognisable figure.

Under Mr Bachmann’s leadership, Pegida grew in a matter of months from a grassroots organisation that only attracted a few hundred protesters at its first demonstration against the “Islamisation” of Germany to a movement that has dominated the national political agenda in recent weeks and can draw 25,000 people onto the streets.

But Ms Oertel now has to defend a movement that has been rocked not only by the scandal over Mr Bachmann, but also by Islamist terror threats, massive counter-protests that have brought more than 100,000 Germans onto the streets against it, and a dispute with an extremist breakaway faction. » | JUnstin HUggler in Berlin | Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Dies at 90

THE GUARDIAN: Abdullah’s half-brother Crown Prince Salman has ascended to the throne

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died aged 90 after a short illness, state television announced late on Thursday. He has been succeeded by Crown Prince Salman, his half-brother.

The news came after the king was admitted to hospital on 31 December suffering from pneumonia. His condition was said to have improved a few days later.

Rumours of the king’s death circulated on social media before Saudi TV began broadcasting Qur’anic verses – often a harbinger of bad news – and the announcement was made. He is to be buried on Friday afternoon.

Beyond confirmation that Salman has ascended the throne lie troubling questions about the succession, the stability of an unreformed absolute monarchy and the prospects for its younger generation of royals at a time of turmoil in the region – including the destabilising crisis in Yemen. » | Ian Black, Middle East editor | Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE GUARDIAN: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: Monarch whose reign saw the spread of division, corruption and strife, and was saved only by ‘black gold’ » | Madawi al-Rasheed | Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia dies aged 90: King Abdullah, who has ruled Saudi Arabia since August 2005, has died after battle with pneumonia » | Rochard [?] Spencer, Middle East editor and Harriet Alexander | Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz al-Saud – obituary: King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia ruled his nation during a period of unprecedented upheaval in the Arab world » | Thursday, January 22, 2015

BBC AMERICA: Obituary: King Abdullah: The absolute ruler of one of the most conservative societies on Earth, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had to tread a narrow line between maintaining relationships with the West and appeasing opinion at home. » | Thursday, January 22, 2015