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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MFS - The Other News

                    Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation tonga 5.3 - 5.1 !More info here.

  • The Last Incarnation of Barack Obama.(Heritage).If there was any doubt where President Barack Obama’s ideological heart lies, yesterday he let it be known loud and clear in a wide-ranging speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama is at his core a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who sees the federal government as the answer to all of America’s problems. And he is charging full steam ahead on this far-left course toward Election Day 2012, despite the total failure of his big-government policies and an American people who have flatly rejected the message he is trying to sell.True to form, President Obama yesterday did what he does best: He delivered a flowery speech and flexed his rhetorical muscles. It’s a talent that won him the presidency, but unfortunately it hasn’t won the future for the American people. And that’s because the President’s underlying philosophy is terribly flawed. After three years of a massive expansion of government, the enactment of Obamacare, hundreds of billions of dollars in failed stimulus spending, government ownership of General Motors, a Big Labor/pro-unionization onslaught, threats of even higher taxation, the promulgation of more unnecessary regulations, and a total failure to confront the entitlement challenge, the verdict is in on President Obama’s record and the soundness of his statist, progressive philosophy. Deficits are soaring, the economy is stagnant, 13.3 million Americans are out of work, and job growth is flat. Not surprisingly, the President’s speech did not touch on those facts.Ironically, the President’s conception of America–that it is a land of no opportunity–stands in stark contrast to his own personal story, which he even trumpeted in his speech. Barack Obama came from meager beginnings and now sits in the Oval Office. There are countless stories of other Americans who have risen and found success on their own merit in this fertile land. But speaking to America’s rugged individualism and the notion of achieving success without the helping hand of the government would not serve President Obama’s progressive agenda. In his world, the government is the giver of all things, the defender of the middle class, and the architect of prosperity. Likewise, success is not something to be championed but to be demagogued in the name of the expansion of the state.Over the past three years, we have seen the President articulate many ideas and cloak himself in many different philosophies. Of late, he has even called himself a tax-cutter and posed as a deficit hawk, all while calling for massive amounts of new spending. But with yesterday’s speech, he has emerged in his truest incarnation–a hard-line progressive to the core. The speech fits perfectly with reports that the Obama 2012 campaign has come to the realization that it will lose white blue-collar voters by large margins and is concentrating instead on cobbling together a coalition of culture elites and racial minorities. The abandonment of the middle class–or, rather, the fact that the middle class has abandoned him–puts in context this latest incarnation of the President as he prepares to run next year.This is not the way to lead America to prosperity, to stand the economy on its feet, or to put the millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Rather than make government bigger and more intrusive, now is the time to make it smaller and more responsible so that entrepreneurs can achieve what Washington cannot manufacture: new jobs, new ideas, and a better America for future generations. But that America is quite different from the one President Obama envisions.Hmmmm....."CHAINS you can believe in"?Read the full story here.

  • GOP senator says support for Obama Iran policy 'has collapsed'.(TheHill).The Obama administration’s strategy for securing congressional support for its Iran policy “has collapsed,” a GOP senator charged Tuesday.Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) offered harsh words for the White House, which he said should support tougher Senate sanctions meant to curtail Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.“Not one senator stood with the administration” last week when the upper chamber unanimously approved a plan to sanction firms and other governments that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, Kirk said.He said the 100-0 vote in the Senate on that language “sent a message” that senators feel the administration is not moving aggressively enough with Iran.Kirk and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pushed the measure, which would prohibit any U.S. financial entity from engaging in transactions with any foreign government, central bank or other financial firm that does business with the Central Bank of Iran.In the current era of ultra-partisan politics, Kirk said, “you don’t get any better than 100-to-zero.”Administration officials strongly oppose the new sanctions, saying it could drive up global oil prices and dissuade allies from joining efforts to further isolate Tehran. The amendment was added to a Defense authorization bill that must still be approved after a conference between House and Senate lawmakers.Menendez and Kirk say the White House negotiated with them on the final language of their amendment and signaled their approval, only to slam it last week in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez publicly rebuked administration officials during that hearing.The senators had added a provision to allow the White House to waive the terms of the sanctions should oil market conditions or a national security crisis occur, and they believed these had been enough to secure administration support.But the administration stepped up its effort to kill the plan this week by sending a letter to House and Senate conferees hammering out the final 2012 Pentagon authorization bill. Kirk and Menendez responded on Tuesday with a letter of their own arguing that the Senate language approved last week on Iran should be rolled into the final Defense authorization bill.Lawmakers can no longer afford to “listen and nod while the administration talks of incrementalism … and engagement,” Kirk said. “Time is running out.”Pressure on the administration has stepped up since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed Iran is closer than ever to fielding a nuclear weapon. Kirk’s comments came during a forum on Capitol Hill where the American Enterprise Institute rolled out a new report about how a nuclear-armed Iran might be contained.There is a growing consensus in Washington and other Western nations “that preemptive military action is unappealing, leading many to suggest that containing a nuclear Iran is a reasonable option,” states the AEI report.But, the conservative think tank warns, “containment is hardly a cost-free policy.”Such a policy would require enhanced diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions, but it also would require “increased efforts on other fronts,” including diminishing Iran’s economic efforts and its influence in energy markets, the think tank said.“The keystone of any containment policy is a military strategy of deterrence,” AEI said.The U.S. would have to beef up its own nuclear arsenal — at a time when further cuts there are possible — while also committing to “prolonged” counterintelligence, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency presence “around Iran’s perimeter,” according to the report.AEI said a containment strategy also would require “a large and persistent conventional covering force operating throughout the region and a reinforcing force capable of assured regime change.”But the Obama administration is shifting its foreign policy focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, which will include moving some military forces and platforms out of the Middle East.Hmmmm.....The 'king' won't like this, how dare you.Read the full story here.

  • The State Department vs. Free Speech.(Hudson).By Nina Shea, Paul Marshall.Last July in Istanbul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired a "High-Level Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance" with the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Mrs. Clinton invited the OIC to Washington for a conference to build "muscles of respect and empathy and tolerance." That conference is scheduled for Dec. 12 through Dec. 14.For more than 20 years, the OIC has pressed Western governments to restrict speech about Islam. Its charter commits it "to combat defamation of Islam," and its current action plan calls for "deterrent punishments" by all states to counter purported Islamophobia.In 2009, the "International Islamic Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Academy," an official OIC organ, issued fatwas calling for free speech bans, including "international legislation" aimed at protecting "the interests and values of [Islamic] society," and for judicial punishment for public expression of apostasy from Islam. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu emphasizes that "no one has the right to insult another for their beliefs."The OIC does not define what speech should be outlawed, but its leading member states' practices are illustrative. Millions of Baha'is and Ahmadis, religious movements arising after Muhammad, are condemned as de facto "insulters" of Islam, frequently persecuted by OIC governments, and attacked by vigilantes. Those seeking to leave Islam face similar fates.Muslim reformers are widely and specifically targeted for supposedly anti-Islamic speech. In Afghanistan, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, editor of "Haqooq-i-Zen" ("Women's Rights") magazine, was imprisoned by the Karzai government for publishing "un-Islamic" articles criticizing stoning as a punishment for adultery. In Iran, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was imprisoned for arguing that "political leadership by clergy" was contrary to Islam. In Bangladesh, Salahudddin Choudhury was imprisoned for hurting "religious feelings" by advocating peaceful relations between Bangladesh and Israel.Egypt bans books and imprisons Muslims whose views are contrary to the state-funded Sunni center, Al-Azhar. Others are similarly punished for deviating from locally dominant Islamic sects not only in repressive Pakistan and Sudan, but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria and other ostensibly moderate countries.OIC pressure on European countries to ban "negative stereotyping of Islam" has increased since the 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh for his film "Submission" and the Danish Muhammad cartoon imbroglio of 2005. Many countries (such as France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Sweden), hoping to ensure social peace, now prosecute people for "vilifying" Islam or insulting Muslims' religious feelings.Encouraging a more civil discourse is commendable, and First Amendment freedoms mean the U.S. won't veer down Europe's path anytime soon. But if the Obama administration is committed to defending constitutional rights, why is it, as the OIC's Mr. Ihsanoglu wrote in the Turkish Weekly after the Istanbul meeting, standing "united" on speech issues with an organization trying to undercut our freedoms? Mr. Ihsanoglu celebrates this partnership even while lamenting in his op-ed that America permits "Islamophobia" under "the banner of freedom of expression."President Obama should put a stop to this nonsense and declare that in free societies all views and religions are subject to contradiction and critique—and the OIC must learn to tolerate that. The alternative is what the late Indonesian Muslim President Abdurrahman Wahid called "a narrow suffocating chamber of dogmatism.Nina Shea is a Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.Paul Marshall is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.."Hmmmm......The problem is that President Obama a.k.a. Barry Soetoroe was raised as a Muslim in Indonesia.Read the full story here.

  • Correction from White House: President didn’t say he’s ‘mad living here’.(TheHill).By Judy Kurtz.Note to critics of President Obama and any remaining birthers out there: Contrary to what the White House originally claimed, the president didn’t actually say he was “mad” living here. An oficial transcript from the White House from a Sunday event recognizing the Kennedy Center Honorees sent out that night quoted Obama saying during his remarks, “I’m mad living here a little bit.”What? The leader of the country is actually angered by residing here? The horror!But before any Obama opponents could start getting that quote printed on bumper stickers, the White House sent out a correction. On Monday morning, the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary blasted out an email with a subject line that read: “CORRECTION: Remarks by the President at Reception for Kennedy Center Honorees.” Got to love the all-caps sense of urgency.It turns out that Obama didn’t tell the crowd, “I’m mad living here a little bit,” but instead said, “I’m ad-libbing here a little bit.”Read the full story here.

  • Perry: Obama 'at war' with Christians.(WE).Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, who is increasingly emphasizing religion in his appeal to Iowa Christian conservatives, said today that President Obama's use of foreign aid to promote international gay rights demonstrates that the president "is at war with people of faith."This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country," Perry said in a statement. "Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong."Perry added that the policy consideration shows that Obama is "out of touch with America's values."He concluded by saying that "President Obama has again mistaken America's tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles."Read the full story here.

  • Obama Issuing Memo Making It Official U.S. Policy To Consider a Country’s Treatment of Gays And Transgenders a Precondition To Foreign Aid.(Politico).President Barack Obama is issuing a memo today that will make it official U.S. policy to consider a country’s treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender bias a condition of foreign aid while making it easier for those being persecuted for their sexual preference to be granted asylum.Obama’s memo, which will be followed by a speech in Geneva by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “will coordinate US government agencies with respect to LGBT Issues and make it a component of US foreign policy to decriminalize LGBT status, make it a consideration for foreign aid and coordinate the asylum process for those who are being persecuted,” according to a person familiar with the policy.“The Obama Administration has made a tremendous difference in the lives of LGBT people in the United States and this new strategy helps to extend that presidential leadership across the globe,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who met with Secretary Clinton earlier today in Geneva. “There is no question that the administration’s record of advancing equality for LGBT people has been enhanced by the leadership of Secretary Clinton who consistently underscores the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.”Read the full story here.

  • 'White House pushes to weaken Iran sanction'.(Ynet).The Obama administration is pressuring Congress to ease the potential impact of crippling sanctions on Iran's Central Bank, arguing that the restrictions will drive up oil prices and wind up being a boon for Tehran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. In a plea to House and Senate negotiators writing a broad defense bill, the administration has asked for substantive changes to a provision that would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, including a six-month delay for all the penalties. But the chief sponsors of the sanctions, which the Senate resoundingly backed last week on a 100-0 vote, are resisting the request.In a letter late Monday to House and Senate negotiators, Sens. Mark Kirk, a Republican, and Bob Menendez, a Democrat, pleaded with them to leave the sanctions intact. The penalties are "tough, responsible and, most importantly, bipartisan," the two lawmakers wrote. "It provides the administration another key tool to curb Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, while keeping oil markets stable and encouraging other nations to reduce Iranian oil purchases. With the support of every single United States senator, it needs no alternations." Lawmakers said they hope to complete work on the massive, $662 billion defense bill by the end of the week. Tougher sanctions against Iran have widespread support in Congress, reflecting concerns not only for US national security but also ally Israel's as well. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced a new set of penalties against Iran, including identifying for the first time Iran's entire banking sector as a "primary money laundering concern." This requires increased monitoring by US banks to ensure that they and their foreign affiliates avoid dealing with Iranian financial institutions. But lawmakers in the House and Senate have pressed ahead with even tougher penalties despite reservations by the administration. Lawmakers cited the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran is suspected of clandestine work that is "specific to nuclear weapons," its alleged role in the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States and the attack on the British Embassy in Tehran. "If this brutal and terrorism-sponsoring regime achieves this goal, if Iran gets the bomb, we in the US and freedom-loving nations around the world would have failed what is our generation's greatest test for securing the 21st century," Kirk said Tuesday at a forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.The Kirk-Menendez measure added to the defense bill would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products. The sanctions on petroleum would only apply if the president, in six months, determines there is a sufficient alternative supply and if the country with jurisdiction over the financial institution has not significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian oil. It also allows the president to waive the penalties based on national security.Read the full story here.

  • Mitt Romney blasts Obama on Israel, Iran. Ahmadinejad "should be indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide."(Yahoo).Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney blasted President Barack Obama's approach to Israel, charging he has "immeasurably" damaged Middle East peace prospects and failed to confront Iran.The former Massachusetts governor, in excerpts of a speech to be delivered on Wednesday to the Republican Jewish Coalition, also declared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "should be indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide.""I want every country in the region that harbors aggressive designs against Israel to understand their quest is futile and that continuing it will cost them dearly," he said in the remarks, which his campaign made public.Romney accused Obama of having called on Israel to "adopt indefensible borders," having "insulted" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and having been "timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear Iran.""These actions have emboldened Palestinian hard-liners who now are poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas and feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table," he said in a reference to the Palestinians' push for UN membership, which Obama has vowed to block.Obama "has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East," Romney charged in excerpts of his speech to the group, which was holding a forum for Republican presidential candidates in Washington on Wednesday.Romney, who recently lost the frontrunner's mantle to former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said Israel would be his first foreign trip as president and vowed to reaffirm that the staunch US ally must exist as "a Jewish state."Still, some Democrats have joined Republicans in openly worrying that the Obama administration has not shown sufficient "urgency" about tackling the issue, in part because it has resisted new sanctions on Tehran's central bank."A nuclear-armed Iran is not only an Israel problem, it is problem for the United States and all the decent countries of the world," said Romney.Romney said Ahmadinejad should not "be invited into polite society" but pursued for past comments against Israel under Article 3 of the UN-approved Genocide Convention of 1948, to which Iran is a party, that makes "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" a crime.With an eye on the November 2012 elections, Republicans energized by Obama's low popularity have slammed his Middle East policy, hoping to pump up Christian conservatives and erode Democrats' usually strong support from Jewish voters.They have argued that Obama has placed undue pressure on Israel while seeking little from the Palestinians as he has sought to revive stalled Middle East peace talks.Read the full story here.

  • Do American Muslims Want To Take Over Our Country?(DocsTalk).By Michael Brown.Do Muslims living in our land want to see an Islamic America, with prominent mosques dotting the landscape of every major city, with Islamic laws instituted throughout the nation, with the name of Muhammad revered throughout society, with the Koran memorized by children, with American men stopping five times daily to pray to Allah, with American women dressing modestly, with Islamic dietary practices strictly followed and the whole nation fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan? Of course they do, unless they are more nominal, secular Muslims. Those who are deeply devoted to their faith certainly want to convert us to Islam and bring us into submission to Allah. You might say, “So what’s the big deal? Islam, like Christianity, is a missionary religion, and both want to spread their faith around the world. Don’t devoted Christians have similar ambitions?”Yes and no. On the one hand, conservative Christians and Muslims both believe they have the true revelation of God for the world, the former in the Bible, the latter in the Koran. They both believe that their way is the best way, and they both believe in proselytizing.On the other hand, Islam is a law-based religion (similar to Judaism, except that Judaism is not devoted to converting the world), and “Islam” actually means “submission,” specifically, submission to Allah and his law. And so for Muslims, this is not simply a matter of converting people to a faith but also of bringing the society under Islamic rule.That’s why it’s easy to name countries that are Muslim, like Iran or Saudi Arabia, in which the citizens are required to live by Islamic law, whereas there’s not a country on the planet that is “Christian” in a parallel sense.As explained by, “There is no separation between the religious and the political in Islam; rather Islam and Sharia [law] constitute a comprehensive means of ordering society at every level.”In keeping with this, “Islamic scholarship divides the world into dar al-Islam (the House of Islam, i.e., those nations who have submitted to Allah) and dar al-harb (the House of War, i.e., those who have not). . . . Then as now, Islam’s message to the unbelieving world is the same: submit or be conquered” (ibid.).As expressed by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the man who spearheaded the radical Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah in the late 1970’s and from there spread worldwide, “those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation” (from his book Key to the Secrets).Islam doesn’t just look to convert people, it looks to convert countries, and conversion means conquest.Even when Muslims are in the great minority, they have a way of exerting a disproportionate influence and making disproportionate demands. That’s why here in America, Butterball turkeys are being slaughtered in conformity with Islamic law, which presumably means they were slaughtered in Allah’s name. And that’s why the name Muhammad (or, Mohammed) has become the most popular boy’s name in countries like England (surpassing Jack in 2010) or in cities like Oslo and Amsterdam.And let’s not forget that radical Muslims number at least 150 million worldwide, to use a very low number. For them, Islam can also advance by the sword. (In contrast with Islam, such views are almost universally repudiated by Christians today as standing in clear violation of the teaching and example of Jesus who urged his followers to put down the sword and take up the cross.)As Khomeini stated: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! . . . Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! . . . Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! . . . There are hundreds of other psalms [from the Koran] and Hadiths [sayings and acts of Muhammad] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”In all probability, the more secular Muslims among us would strongly reject these words, but there are tens of millions of Muslims (perhaps several hundred million) who are in complete harmony with Khomeini, and it is foolish to ignore the violent rhetoric of a people so numerous and passionate.The stark reality is that Muslims worldwide are working to turn America into an Islamic nation, whether by proselytism, societal influence, ideological dominance, legal imposition, or, in some cases, even the sword. And that includes plenty of Muslims living in our midst today.Hmmm......"An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam". ~ Ayatollah KhomeiniRead the full story here.

  • 24 Hours in Pakistan – Rumors of a Creeping Military Coup.(Memri).By: Tufail Ahmad.On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, President Asif Zardari left Pakistan for treatment at a hospital in Dubai following the reported development of a heart condition the previous night. Given the recent volatility of the political situation in Pakistan, speculative reports quickly emerged on social networking sites and in the Pakistani and international media of a creeping military coup in Pakistan. December 6 was a public holiday in Pakistan, the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram, when Muslims – mostly Shi'ites – mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. Most Pakistani newspapers were not published on December 7, the day after Zardari's departure for Dubai. On December 7, Dubai ruler Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum visited Zardari in the hospital. Sheikh Muhammad, who also the UAE vice president and prime minister, wished President Zardari a "speedy recovery," according to the official WAM news agency, which gave no further details about the Pakistani president's condition.The civilian government led by Zardari and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been under near-fatal pressure from the Pakistani military and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) following the recent Memogate, a controversy over the possibility that Zardari and Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani were behind a secret memo delivered to U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen this summer seeking his intervention to prevent a military coup in Pakistan. Ambassador Haqqani had been forced to quit over the issue. According to a report on the website of the Urdu-language daily Roznama Jang, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that Zardari was taken to hospital, presumably in Islamabad, following a "heart discomfort" and was treated there. Babar further clarified that the president had walked by himself to the hospital from the presidential residence, and also had walked to his departure for Dubai, and added that he is "healthy" and that there was no truth to media reports referring to a brain hemorrhage.Mian Muneer Hans, a Dubai-based member of Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said that the president landed in Dubai around 7:30 pm on December 6, adding: "He walked to his car in the airport and was not in any ambulance."Mian Muneer Hans said that Zardari, who was accompanied by his doctor and Pakistani Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain, was taken straight to the American Hospital in Dubai.The Pakistani president is in a tricky situation, in which his alleged good health adds to rumors about recent pressures by the Pakistan Army on the civilian government, notably after the Memogate scandal, forcing him to leave for Dubai. However, if he actually is ill, there has been no factual clarification from the government; nor has the Dubai hospital come forth to stop the rumors. Coincidentally, Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who often speaks the mind of the civilian government, was injured in a car crash on December 7 – possibly unconnected to the Zardari health issue. According to a report, doctors in Dubai "are yet to determine whether the president's condition was due to an adverse reaction to the medication he was taking or a development related to his pre-existing cardiac condition."A statement from Prime Minister Gilani's media office today said that "the president went to Dubai following symptoms related to his pre-existing heart condition… The president will remain under observation and return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors."Soon after Zardari left for Dubai, the U.S. media raised a question mark concerning the continuity of the civilian government. A blog on the website of the influential Foreign Policy magazine, to which most of speculative Pakistani media reports referred, published a blog titled "President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan – is he on the way out?"The blog quoted "a former U.S. government official" with access to the White House as saying that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari to convey his condolences over the weekend regarding the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in the November 26 NATO raid, the Pakistani president was "incoherent."According to Foreign Policy, the former U.S. official said that "the noose was getting tighter – it was only a matter of time" before President Zardari could be forced out by resigning from Dubai on account of "ill health."Adding to the difficulties of the civilian government, Pakistan's main opposition leader and former two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded that removal of the Zardari government is "necessary" to protect the country's "sovereignty." Speaking within hours of Zardari's departure, Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party has recently not been on good terms with the Pakistani military, said that the "failed and self-directed policies of sitting rulers have led the country to the verge of destruction, and the departure of the PPP-led allied government is vital to protect the country's sovereignty and stability."The fast-spreading rumors in Pakistan gain strength because of the unique situation in Pakistan, especially with regard to the Pakistani military's near-total control on foreign policy-making, which has isolated the civilian government. Commenting on the reason behind the mushrooming rumors regarding a likely military coup, Badar Alam, editor of Herald magazine, said that there is a perception that the civilian government is on its last legs, adding: "Look at what has happened in the last two months. The memo scandal, last month's NATO border attack, corruption cases against the government in the Supreme Court, the rallies by the opposition in the streets, and reports of pressure within the ruling party. All these create an atmosphere of uncertainty… "I don't know who is behind the rumors. But they definitely weaken the government further. It creates an image of instability in the country and gives the impression that anything can happen at any time."Read the full story here.

  • Russian navy squadron sails to Syrian port; Damascus deploys tanks on Turkey border.(AlArabiya).Russia’s Defense Ministry said a navy squadron has set off for the Mediterranean as an Egyptian official said that a U.S. nuclear submarine has passed through the Suez Canal earlier this week heading to the Mediterranean. Russian news reports quoted the ministry as saying that the squadron was to make a call at the Syrian port of Tartus to replenish supplies. The ministry said the visit had been planned long ago and had no relation to the Syrian crisis, The Associated Press reported.Russian television stations showed the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft cruiser sailing off Tuesday from Severomorsk, the Arctic base of Russia’s Northern Fleet. The carrier is being escorted by a destroyer and several supply ships and will be joined later by several other warships.Moscow has strongly opposed the Western push for international sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for its violent crackdown on protests. Although the U.S. and the European Union imposed waves of sanctions against Syria in the past months, Washington and its allies have shown little appetite for intervening in another Arab nation in turmoil. However, an Egyptian navigational source said that a U.S. nuclear submarine has set off from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, according to Al Arabiya. The source said it might be heading to the Syrian coasts.The news comes almost two weeks after the U.S. carrier George Bush crossed the Suez Canal on Nov. 20, heading to the Mediterranean and accompanied by five warships. Syria’s state-run media said on Monday that the country’s military has held war games during which the army test-fired missiles and the air force and ground troops conducted operations “similar to a real battle.” State TV said the exercise was meant to test “the capabilities and readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression.” It said the war games were held on Sunday.In October, Assad warned the Middle East “would burn” if the West intervenes in Syria, according to The Associated Press.Syria is known to have surface-to-surface missiles such as Scuds capable of hitting deep inside its archenemy Israel. State TV said the exercise was meant to test “the capabilities and the readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression.”The drill showed Syrian missiles and troops were “ready to defend the nation and deter anyone who dares to endanger its security” and that the missiles hit their test targets with precision, the TV said.State-run news agency SANA quoted Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha as telling the forces that participated in the maneuvers “to be in full readiness to carry out any orders give to them.”Meanwhile, there were reports of a move by a huge number of Syrian tanks from the Maaret al-Numan in Idlib to the borders with Turkey, Al Arabiya reported. On Tuesday, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that Syrian border guards blocked an infiltration attempt from Turkey by about 35 “armed terrorists”It said some of those who came over the border were wounded and escaped back to Turkey, where they received aid from the Turkish army. The wounded were transported in Turkish military vehicles, SANA said.“The border guards forces suffered no injuries or losses. They warned they would stop anyone who even thinks of touching Syria’s security or its citizens,” SANA said.On Tuesday, clashes erupted between army defectors and security forces in the town of Dael in southern Deraa province, the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters.“There were raids and arrests ... and random gunfire and stun grenades exploding to terrify the people,” it said. All telephone lines and mobile phone connections were cut off.The Syrian news agency earlier reported the funerals of seven army and police members killed in fighting with armed rebels. Syria says the latter are “terrorists” organized and financed from abroad.Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have stalled and Syria is now the target of international economic sanctions and a travel ban on senior officials.Read the full story here.

  • Russia is behind Syria’s conditional approval of an observers’ committee.(AlArabiya).Russia was the main reason behind Syria’s conditional approval of the Arab League’s initiative and its willingness to allow a committee of observers to monitor the situation in the country, diplomatic sources told Al Arabiya.According to the sources, Moscow put intense pressure on Damascus and took part in drafting a response to the Arab League in a way that allows for more maneuvering on Syria’s part with both Arab and foreign countries.The sources explained that Russia’s stance reflects its attempt to strike a balance between its interests in the Middle East and its reputation on the international level, especially in the light of worldwide reports about the violations of the Syrian regime.Russia, the sources added, intentionally leaked reports about its role in lobbying for giving the committee of observers access to Syria. This was clear in statements made by the Russian deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov.Reports that reached Al Arabiya said that Syria and Russia have formed “a crisis cell” and that the hot line between the two countries is open 24/7.Al Arabiya learned from both these sources and other Arab and regional contacts that the Russian leadership is working on two fronts: the first is providing Syria with a defense line, and the second is pushing the Syrian regime to offer some concessions provided that they do not include the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad or the questioning of his legitimacy.Al Arabiya also learned from reliable sources that Russia is counting on some kind of compromise to be reached between the Syrian regime and the Arab League that would allow the observers to enter the country under certain conditions. The decision by Washington, London, and Paris to return their ambassadors to Damascus, sources argue, demonstrates that observers might be in Syria soon and that the diplomats of the three countries want to make sure they are there when and if the committee’s work starts.Read the full story here.

  • Muslim Brotherhood: Subverting Free Societies from Within.(MEForum).By Raymond Ibrahim.The online version of the long-running Arabic journal Ruz al-Yusif carries an exclusive interview with Sheikh Osama al-Qusi entitled, "Former Salafi: Salafis Have Distorted Islam." In the interview, Qusi discusses the "true thoughts" of the various Islamic groups, which "they conceal under a political mask"; he insists they have "distorted and exploited" Islam.What he says concerning the Muslim Brotherhood and its methods of indoctrination and subversion are particularly noteworthy—notwithstanding Obama's Director of National Intelligence's assurances that the Brotherhood is a "largely secular" organization.First, about Sheikh al-Qusi. He spent the last 39 years in different Islamic organizations in Egypt—beginning with the Brotherhood in the 1970s and ending with the more extreme Salafis. He still claims to be, not just a Muslim, but a Salafi—a sincere follower of "pure" Islam, as dictated by its prophet Muhammad. But he maintains that all Islamic groups are "manipulating" Islam for their own political ambitions. Accordingly, he "announced his break and washed his hands of them all, refusing to be a merchant of religion." If laudable, some of his positions are unorthodox, for instance, that it is permissible to have a Christian or female for a leader.When asked to discuss "how it all began" for him, Qusi reminisced:In the beginning, one is a born Muslim; then you begin to be lured, from whence, you do not know.I was a medical student in the 1970s and the Muslim Brotherhood lured me to them from within the university. Nor did I even realize they were the Brotherhood. Anwar Sadat was president during this time, when he committed his greatest mistake—a mistake he paid for with his life. Not that he released these groups from the prisons after [his predecessor] Abdul Nasser had incarcerated them; but rather for giving them the green light to work in all fields of Egyptian society, thinking he would use them to get rid of his Socialist and Communist opponents. So he permitted them to work in trade unions, school unions—giving them every opportunity to hold official positions [Emphasis added].As a student I had noticed that some of my fellow classmates were considerably older, eventually realizing they were former prison inmates. They began to distribute hand-written copies of Sayyid Qutb's books, which were banned at the time. And we thought that they were heroes, imprisoned for their commitment and intellectual rigor, persecuted by the regime for their patriotism. Unfortunately, they greatly influenced us, since, at the time, we did not know how to differentiate truth from falsehood in regards to the ideas, principles, and pronouncements they exposed us to—to the point that religion and politics became one and the same for us. This was the beginning of my deviation.When asked how he would describe the Muslim Brotherhood, Qusi cautiously answered: "All these organizations—without exception—are not without radicalism."Here, then, is firsthand testimonial from someone closely affiliated with the Brotherhood on how born Muslims can be lured and indoctrinated from within—and all in a very legal, peaceful manner. Sadat's fault was less that he freed the Brotherhood, more that he allowed them legitimacy.Qusi went on to discuss how these groups learned that the assassination of Sadat and the strikes of 9/11 were nothing to celebrate, to the point that some of those involved renounced these acts, having learned that stealth and patience are more effective than open warfare, which only brings unwanted attention.All this is a warning to the West, where Muslim organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front group, implement the strategy their parent organization has perfected over the course of decades—incrementally subverting free societies from within.Read the full story here.

  • Euro Crisis Uncertainty.Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts.(Spiegel).Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. "In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale," he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn't managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: "Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth." He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion -- by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October -- the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.Nevertheless, the Greeks today only have €170 billion in savings -- almost 30 percent less than at the start of 2010.The hemorrhaging of bank savings has had a disastrous impact on the economy. Many companies have had to tap into their reserves during the recession because banks have become more reluctant to lend. More Greek families are now living off their savings because they have lost their jobs or have had their salaries or pensions cut. In August, unemployment reached 18.4 percent. Many Greeks now hoard their savings in their homes because they are worried the banking system may collapse. Those who can are trying to shift their funds abroad. The Greek central bank estimates that around a fifth of the deposits withdrawn have been moved out of the country. "There is a lot of uncertainty," says Panagiotis Nikoloudis, president of the National Agency for Combating Money Laundering.The banks are exploiting that insecurity. "They are asking their customers whether they wouldn't rather invest their money in Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Germany."Nikoloudis has detected a further trend. At first, it was just a few people trying to withdraw large sums of money. Now it's large numbers of people moving small sums. Ypatia K., a 55-year-old bank worker from Athens, can confirm that. "The customers, especially small savers, have recently been withdrawing sums of €3,000, €4,000 or €5,000. That was panic," she said. Marina S., a 74-year-old widow from Athens, said she has to be extra careful with money these days. "I have no choice but to withdraw money from my savings," she said.Read the full story here.

  • Syria reports gunbattle on Turkish border.(TodaysZaman).Syrian border guards blocked an infiltration attempt from Turkey by about 35 "armed terrorists", the official Syrian news agency SANA said on Tuesday, as Syria forces battle a growing threat from army defectors and rebel fighters. SANA said some of those who came over the border were wounded and escaped back to Turkey where they received aid from the Turkish army. The wounded were transported in Turkish military vehicles, SANA said. Relations between Syria and Turkey have disintegrated since the government of President Bashar al-Assad began using force to suppress a popular revolt. Turkey has said a buffer zone may be required on its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria if the violence causes a mass exodus of Syrians fleeing the cities.A rebel Free Syrian Army of defectors and Assad opponents is believed to be smuggling fighters and weapons into Syria from Turkey to launch attacks on Assad's forces. "The border guards forces suffered no injuries or losses. They warned they would stop anyone who even thinks of touching Syria's security or its citizens," SANA said.The agency earlier reported the funerals of seven army and police members killed in fighting with armed rebels. Syria says the latter are "terrorists" organised and financed from abroad. Clashes erupted on Tuesday between army defectors and security forces in the town of Dael in southern Deraa province, the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "There were raids and arrests ... and random gunfire and stun grenades exploding to terrify the people," it said. All phone lines and mobile phone connections were cut off.  What began nearly nine months ago as a peaceful protest against Assad, inspired by the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, has slid closer to civil war as armed opposition groups organise and protect city districts.Read the full story here.

  • Australian man to get lashed for ‘blasphemy’ in Saudi Arabia.(BikyaMasr).An Australian man arrested in Saudi Arabia last month while performing the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj, is to be lashed 500 times for alleged “blasphemy.”Mansour Almaribe was on Tuesday found guilty of blasphemy in a Saudi court, but according to The Australian, his family fears that the 45-year-old will not survive the lashes and a subsequent one-year in prison.Almaribe is a father of five and was charged with insulting companions of the Prophet Mohamed.According to eyewitness accounts, the Australian was arrested while he was praying in a group.Australia’s department of foreign affairs said the Australian ambassador in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom, Neil Hawkins, was discussing the situation with local authorities and was urging the Saudi government to release Almaribe.“The Australian ambassador has been in touch with Saudi authorities after a 45-year-old Australian man was sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to one-year in jail and 500 lashes,” a department spokeswoman was quoted by The Australian as saying.According to ABC News, Almaribe has serious health problems and his son, Mohamed, said that he doubts his father would survie the lashing sentence.“500 slashes on his back and he has back problems. I wouldn’t think he’d survive 50,” the son told ABC News.Read the full story here.

  • Tunisia's Religious Police Is This the Fate of Tunisia?"(HudsonNY).A"committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice" has been launched in Tunisia. It is not an official committee, but it is supported by Salafist groups there. Political parties are remaining astonishingly idle, totally incompetent to stop a violent minority that it is threatening personal liberties. The Tunisian civil society is active against the committee, but does not have the political instruments to take action against this newly formed organization.These self-appointed custodians of Islamic virtues are aggressively intervening in public life: They occupy mosques and Quranic schools, and are trying to impose on them imams with Salafist views. They are verbally and physically aggressive towards women who do not abide by their code of dress, they also physically and psychologically assault intellectuals and film makers.Lately, they have come under the spotlight after they decided to forbid Professor Ikbal Gharbi, appointed by the government to the post of director of the religious radio station Zitouna FM, to enter her office. The reason, according to them, was that Prof. Gharbi had no religious background, despite her being an eminent professor of at the Theological Zitouna University in Tunis. In reality, this committee objects to a woman being in charge of a religious radio station, and for Prof. Gharbi being known as a reformist with a modernist interpretation of the Quran.The Tunisian media outlet Kapitalis asks in an article what the objectives are of such a committee and what the effects will be over the different classes of the population. The editorial writer, Meriem.Kh, on the media outlet Investir en Tunisie reminds us that the religious police were created in Saudi Arabia in 1940 to implement Islamic rules and prescriptions, and that nowadays there are still countries with special police forces dedicated to force people to observe religious rules. But then she asks the central question: "Is this the fate of Tunisia? Is this post-revolutionary Tunisia?"Only a firm reaction from the secular and liberal sector of the country -- a majority if only they had been united and not fragmented into a myriad tiny parties -- can prevent Tunisia from becoming a confessional country. This is the second phase of the revolution after the fall of former dictator Zine Abidine Ben Ali -- the real battle ahead for democracy in Tunisia.Hmmmm.......Read the full story here.

  • Belarus - Off with their heads.(MoscowNews).by Andrew Roth.Two men convicted of a bombing that killed 15 people and injured hundreds more in the Minsk Oktyabrskaya metro station in April were sentenced to death without a chance to appeal yesterday. Belarusian rights activists have responded that the case was “hastily” concluded and that the death penalty will put an end to any further investigation into a bomb blast for which there is still no established motive. While the terrorist attack was one of the worst in Belarus in recent years, public support for the death penalty may be waning in the country today.Cited as posing an “exceptional risk” to society, the two men, Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, both 25, were sentenced last week to be shot by a firing squad. Both men were convicted of making the bomb, although it was Konovalov who planted the device in the metro, said the court. Konovalov was also convicted of a series of earlier bombings, including one in Minsk that injured 54 people in 2008 and one in his native city of Vitebsk in 2005 that wounded nearly the same number.Prosecutors offered no motives for the attacks and the case has been dogged by accusations of coerced testimony and little physical evidence that the pair actually constructed the bomb. “For me, the most important thing is that this crime, in my view, wasn’t investigated in full,” said Henri Malosse, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee.A representative of the Belarus based rights network Vysna told Russia Profile that the case exhibited many of the irregularities and abuses regularly associated with law enforcement in the country. But “when the death penalty is applied, that’s the end of it. Any further investigation into the case will just stop,” he added.Belarus, often called the last dictatorship in Europe, also remains the last country in Europe to employ the death penalty. According to the multinational rights organization Amnesty International, more than 400 individuals have been put to death in the country since Belarus emerged independent from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991. Capital punishment was far more prevalent in the beginning of the decade than it is now.The high-profile case has generated a strong reaction from the European community, which has issued declarations asking the Alexander Lukashenko government to commute the two men’s sentences. “The crime they were found guilty of was barbaric, but their punishment should not be the same,” said the council’s general secretary, adding that Belarus should introduce an “immediate moratorium” on the use of the death penalty.It’s unclear whether Belarusian society is interested in abolishing the death penalty. Anatoly Glaz, a local Public Chamber member and the deputy head of the Belarus Commission for Human Rights, said: “For the kinds of crimes that they committed, I don’t think anyone would be of a different opinion [than the death penalty]. Let God be their judge,” Interfax-West quoted him as saying. While government polls suggest that only 4.5 percent of Belarusians support immediate abolition, independent polls suggest that that number may be as high as half of the population.The tradition of requests for clemency and mercy from the Tsar has a long history in Russia. In Belarus, Lukashenko has only commuted one sentence since the fall of the USSR. Nonetheless, the mother of the accomplice in the case, Kovalyov, has written to Lukashenko, maintaining her son’s innocence and requesting that the investigation continue. “I am asking you not to kill my son Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, but instead to find those who are actually responsible for these terrorist crimes,” she wrote. Hmmm......From judge - Jury and executioner.Read the full story here.

  • Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys for Desperate Israelis.(Stratrisks).S ource: BloombergAliaksei Yafimau shudders at the memory of the burly thug who threatened to kill his relatives. Yafimau, who installs satellite television systems in Babrujsk, Belarus, answered an advertisement in 2010 offering easy money to anyone willing to sell a kidney.He saw it as a step toward getting out of poverty. Instead, Yafimau, 30, was thrust into a dark journey around the globe that had him, at one point, locked in a hotel room for a month in Quito, Ecuador, waiting for surgeons to cut out an organ, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.The man holding Yafimau against his will was Roini Shimshilashvili, a former kickboxer who was an enforcer for an international organ-trafficking ring, according to evidence gathered by police in Kiev. Yafimau says that when he pleaded with Shimshilashvili to let him get out of the deal and go home, the big man sliced the air with Thai-boxing moves and threatened him.“He said if I didn’t go through with it, he would leave me in Ecuador and kill my family,” Yafimau says.Doctors removed Yafimau’s left kidney in July 2010 and transplanted it into an Israeli woman, according to the Kiev police investigation. On the plane back to Belarus, on the western border of Russia, Shimshilashvili told Yafimau that if he wanted to live, he shouldn’t talk to police.“I am afraid for my life,” says Yafimau, standing outside his mother’s Babrujsk apartment building, a nine-story, Soviet- era edifice that’s surrounded by weeds and trash. The traffickers paid Yafimau $10,000. He says it wasn’t worth the fear that haunts him today.Organ trafficking is on the rise, as desperate people seek transplants in a world that doesn’t have enough donors. About 5,000 people sell organs on the black market each year, according to Francis Delmonico, an adviser on transplants to the World Health Organization.It’s against the law to buy or sell an organ in every country except Iran, says Delmonico, who is president-elect of the Montreal-basedTransplantation Society, which lobbies governments to crack down on illicit procedures.Bloomberg Markets reported in June that U.S. citizens and others from the Americas suffering from kidney failure were going to Nicaragua and Peru to buy organs in a shadowy trade that injured and killed donors and recipients.That U.S.-Latin American connection is dwarfed by a network of organ-trafficking organizations whose reach extends from former Soviet Republics such as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova to Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and beyond, a Bloomberg Markets investigation shows.Many of the black-market kidneys harvested by these gangs are destined for people who live in Israel.In Kosovo, Ratel, who has dual citizenship in Canada and Great Britain and was appointed by the European Union to help restore the country’s criminal justice system, is overseeing a pivotal organ-trafficking case. It includes participants and victims from Belarus, Moldova, Turkey and four other countries.The EU has administered the courts in Kosovo since 2008, the year the country the size ofConnecticut declared independence from Serbia after a civil war. Ratel, who arrived in March 2010 as part of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, says the country has become a center for organ trafficking.Ratel built a case against nine doctors, hospital administrators and recruiters on charges of buying and selling kidneys for patients in Georgia, Germany, Israel, Poland and Ukraine, as well as Canada and the United States.In Israel, an unresolved religious debate hampers organ donation — from both the living and the dead. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a leading arbiter of Jewish law in Israel, advises that donating body parts violates religious tradition, which holds that upon death, a body should be buried intact.“It is not permitted to remove any organ,” Elyashiv, who’s 101 years old, said in a public statement in March 2008.Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, Israel, is leading a drive to get 100 colleagues to sign a document advocating organ donation. He says the Torah tells people to help others when they can, especially if it means saving a life. He says donating an organ is a mitzvah, or good deed.“I hope that many more Jews will become part of the organ donation network,” Eliyahu says.Doctors performed 24 illegal transplants at Medicus Clinic in 2008, for patients from Canada, Israel, Germany, Poland and the U.S. who paid for the life-saving operations, according to the Kosovo criminal charges. Ratel’s office accused Harel on June 6 of leading that organ-trafficking gang.The laws and rules designed to prevent the trafficking in organs aren’t working. While prosecutors in places such as Israel, Brazil, Kosovo and Ukraine have successfully crippled some of the organ-trading gangs, they’re fighting powerful economic forces.As long as there’s a worldwide shortage of legal donors for life-saving transplants, the exploitation of the poor will only grow, Kosovo-based prosecutor Ratel says.“There’s burgeoning organized-crime activity in trafficking of human organs,” he says. “It will take serious efforts by governments and hospitals to stop it.”Hmmmm....Turkish “Doctor Mengele” Claims Innocence".Read the full story here.

  • Belgium: Islam discriminated, says researcher.(IIE).Via GvA (Dutch): "Islam is discriminated in Belgium. It's never recognized in a true multicultural fashion," writes researcher Jonathan Debeer (Policy Research Centre on Equal Opportunities, Antwerp University) in a recently published book. His study also shows that Muslims reject the Muslim Executive.Debeer sees discrimination of Islam in many fields:
  1. Islam was recognized already back in 1974, but mosques were only recognized in 2007.
  2. The newly recognized religious community have to satisfy various formalities that didn't apply in the past (such as submitting annual budgets).
  3. The Muslim Executive represents the whole of Islam, but all candidates are screened by State Security and many democratically elected persons are rejected. That doesn't happen by other religions.
  4. The Flemish decree of public worship was written for Catholicism with its hierarchical structure, and hasn't been adapted to Islam.
  5. His research also showed that Muslims themselves are critical of the Muslim Executive. They don't agree on its functions (administrative or also religious?), they think it's inefficient, they think that they delay the recognition of new mosques and imams. Above all, Muslims say that the Executive is not representative. The Turks and Moroccan in the Executive fail to agree on things.Debeer criticizes the Magits report, which calls for one representative body for every recognized religion. Debeer says this fits the Catholic mold, and that religions should be represented by multiple bodies.Read the full story here.

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