Turkey: the new Turks are very similar to the old ones

Turkish people

Turkish people. Not a lot of prospects that their descendants will look like them, if we consider the results of this poll, Image via Wikipedia

In the year 2011, 23 percent of Turks think men should be able to marry up to four wives, but not the opposite – against 10 percent in 1996. Interestingly, 60 percent, both male and female, think women should obey men, while 33 percent think women deserve to be beaten by their husbands if they do not obey – compared to 19 percent in 1996. And, naturally, 70 percent think children may be damaged if mothers work. The political findings of the survey are no less interesting. Seventy-five percent of Turks think the West is at fault for poor relations with Muslim nations. And 53 percent blame the U.S. and West for poverty in Muslim countries. Unsurprisingly, 82 percent have a negative opinion of Christians while only 4 percent have a favorable opinion of Jews. Forty-five percent and 41 percent think that the most violent religions are Christianity and Judaism, respectively. And only 9 percent of Turks believe Arab groups carried out the attacks on 9/11.

via Enjoy your New Young Turk – Hurriyet Daily News.

Anyway, let them enter the European Union… as a “gesture of conciliation with the Islamic world”… 😯

TX to MFS.

Wilders’ case: OIC critics “repeated attacks against Islam”

Portrait of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary-Ge...

Image via Wikipedia

In a statement released las June 30, 2011 in Astana, Khazakhstan, when holding the 38th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC Member States, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemned the repeated attacks against Islam and the acts of defamation and insults perpetrated against the Prophet Muhammad and his many wives by the right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders. For the Secretary General of the OIC, Mr Wilders has taken a dangerous path which is to derail the peace and harmony among civilizations by fanning and spreading hatred against Islam and Muslims, both in his own country and in other European countries.

Turkish Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that the denigration of Islam and the sacred image of the Prophet Muhammad by Wilders has reached a stage that it can no longer be tolerated under any circumstances, including the right to freedom of expression. He urged the Government of the Netherlands to take the appropriate measures needed to contain the hate campaign and incitement orchestrated by Wilders, who is a coalition partner of the Dutch government. He expressed deep concern over the silence observed in this regard by the Dutch government, something that could affect the good bilateral relations now existing between the Member States of the OIC and the Netherlands.

Via ExtremeCentre.org. Translated by T&P.

Spain: the Govt wants to forbid religious images in taxis

This verges on obsession… if in the end is true (something that is possible and probable):

Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Rubens)

Image via Wikipedia

It is not uncommon to see in taxis religious images, especially of the Virgin Mary, among the self-employed taxi sector. This tradition continues especially in Andalusia, where the image of a local virgin, as well as of St. Christopher, patron saint of drivers, have become iconic symbols for these workers. Industry representatives have complained that, with the Religious Freedom Act, will be forced to remove religious symbols from their cars. The Government contends that, under the principle of secularism, possession of symbols or clothing that express a religious affiliation in public services be prohibited.
This law prohibits carrying “overt” symbols (ie visible and taken with the intent to be seen) of belonging to a religion. “Instead of banning things that do not harm anyone, the Govt should worry about those who search through Spanish dumpsters for food“,complains Alvaro Sevilla, a taxi driver that has no problem in displaying an image of the Virgen del Rocío over the glove compartment of his vehicle. Like him, his colleagues do not understand a measure that would end a practice of many taxi drivers, so they require “greater flexibility in this regard
“There is no secular symbol that comfors me more than a picture of the Virgen del Carmen”, says Alberto Ibáñez, a businessperson from Cordoba. He remembers excited a serious accident at the entrance of Lucena and in which he was miraculously saved by that image. At least he feels that and hasn’t found any standard secular value that makes he think otherwise. Another partner of the province of Montilla  (Cordoba) recalled that on one occasion, a temporary worker from the Maghreb complained about the presence of a small crucifix with the wheel and for that reason, refused to travel on board in the “blasphemous” vehicle.

More here.

Saudi Arabia and the “Arab spring”

The recipe for Saudi Arabia to contain the spread to its territory in the riots of the “Arab spring” that began six months ago, has three ingredients: strong hand, intensified diplomatic activity and increasingly huge amounts of money on social assistance .

Outside, the Saudi authorities are driving something like the “counter-revolutionary internationalism” and are work on several diplomatic fronts to prevent the triumph of the uprisings in the region, especially in the Arabian Peninsula. And especially the ones against monarchies.

Domestically, Riyadh has been to work to spend billions on social assistance, especially in housing development and job creation (in the Ministry of Interior) -.

They are using this formula to try to prevent revolt because of the high unemployment (10% according to official figures, 20% according to other calculations). Meanwhile, the country politics remain the same, being one of the most closed and where there is less freedom in the world.

More here.

Morocco: director of main newspaper jailed

The current King of Morocco, His Majesty Moham...

King Mohammed VI. Morocco. Image via Wikipedia

One month and twelve days after his arrest, the journalist Rachid Nini has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of about 89 euros for “contempt of justice“.

In the pages of ‘Al Massae‘, the most widely read daily newspaper of all Morocco, he used 9 items to denounce “terrorist practices” of state security forces and “unfair trials” in matters Islamists.

Our team continues to work as before, we will not stop”, he told ElMundo.es Jajili Yussef, a spokesman for “Al Massae” who also considered that “they have put behind bars the best reporter of all Morocco, his imprisonment gives us strength to continue and protect our editorial line, based on the reporting of corrupt our system“.

More here.

Saudi Arabia: Law professor imprisoned and incommunicado for writing about the future of the regime

Mohammed 'Abdullah al-'Abdulkareem

Dr. Mohammed ‘Abdullah al-‘Abdulkareem, a 40-years-old law professor, married with three children, was arrested on December 5 at his home by four plain-clothed men, believed to be members of the General Intelligence Service (al-Mabahith al-‘Amma) of the Ministry of Interior as well as by several uniformed police officers.

According to activists in Saudi Arabia, minutes after his arrest, he called his wife that they were helding him arrested, but would return at night.

He did not return, and since then has been held incommunicado. Saudi activists believe he is in prison in Riyadh Al Ha’ir.

It is not known why he was arrested, but is believed to be related to an article he wrote and published on its Facebook Page on 23November.

In the article, written in Arabic and entitled “The crisis of political conflict between the ruling factions in Saudi Arabia,” posed the following question: “Is the continuity of the kingdom, united in an entity subject to the existence of the family [ruling]? “. He answered the question by examining the uncertainty surrounding the succession to the royal family and other institutional processes that affect the future of Saudi Arabia. He didn’t advocate violence in the article or referred to it at all.

They think he may be undergoing torture.

Photo.

TRanslated by T&P.

Afghanistan: Red Cross abandons long-time employee Sayed Musa, accused of apostasy

Saed Musa is that ex-Muslim, convert to Christianity, who has been working for Red Cross for 15 years.

Said Musa

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Red Cross in Afghanistan (ICRC) has not intervened on behalf of a long-term employee who was arrested and imprisoned because he is Christian. This, despite that the Red Cross mandate includes “visiting prisoners” and “helping victims of conflict and internal violence, whoever they are.”

Read here. Tx to here.

Background: 1, 2, 3.

More information and photo: here.

UN: Islamic countries continue pushing for blasphemy resolution

Fifty-six Islamic countries, members of the UN, claim that the General Assembly this month shoulc approve a resolution condemning “defamation of religions”, which restrictsf reedom of expression in the West and spread worldwide the “blasphemy law“existing only in several Muslim countries. As we remember the “blasphemy law” is even more controversial after the sentencing to death of Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi.

The draft UN resolution is sponsored by Pakistan as the country spokesman for the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest pressure group of world from Muslim states.

The initiative has the majority within the Human Rights Council United Nation, where the OIC and its states are the majority among the 47 Council members. For years, at the request of Pakistan, the Council has annually approved a resolution against “defamation of religions. ”

The text was again approved at their request, text in which the UN condemns the criticism appearing in the free press against radical Islam, since the terrorist attack of September 11. The aim of the Muslim states is to find sufficient support in the General Assembly to approve the resolution during the current session.

Secretary of State of the EE-UU, Hillary Clinton, has rejected the Muslim initiative at the UN on the grounds that it is contrary to freedom of expression. U.S. and European governments warn that further legal condemnation of “defamation of religions” hides the danger that serve to accentuate the persecution of religious minorities especially against the followers of Jesus Christ.

Background.

Venezuela: Chávez Seeks to Censor Internet

Hugo Chávez is tired of your pokes, tweets and comments. If he has his way, a bill making its way through Parliament that includes restrictions on social media giants, will become law.

…The wording of the bill that would censor social networks calls for protecting citizens “moral and ethical honor”. As such, it would also control adult programming. It proposes applying limits on content in “electronic media” according to the time of day and would call on internet service providers to establish mechanisms to restrict nefarious adult content.

The bill comes at a time of turmoil for Venezuelan legislators as Chávez is once again seeking decree powers that would grant him special powers to enact laws as he sees fit.

via No More Pokes? Chávez Seeks to Censor Facebook, Twitter – Fox News Latino.

Some Venezuelans have protested outside the National Assembly.

Chávez has said the powers could extend up to 18 months. “The text of the law allows him to issue decrees across a wide range of areas including housing, land, finances and security“.

Background.

Nobel Awards: Liu Xiaobo’s day

Liu Xiaobo with his wife.

This year, the lovers of freedom have enjoyed the selection made by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The image of the kind China they tried to paint during the Beijing Olympics is now far away. Today the real China is portrayed to the world for not releasing Liu and for preventively arrestng the relatives, friends and associates of the awarded dissident. The economic fate of China has changed thanks to free market forces. But that doesn’t mean at all that the  Chinese leadership will allow a real political reform. At this time of global financial crisis, we can not forget that many governments have ignored their own volition and the deplorable human rights situation in the last Communist empire, thinking more than anything that China buys their debt and that that money can pay for their own domestic financial excesses. But in a fit of human decency, the Free World will celebrate Liu’s Award.

A Chinese proverb says: “One generation plants the trees, but another is enjoying the shade.” People like Liu Xiaobo are planting the trees. It may take more or less time, but future generations will definitely enjoy the shade.

El día de Liu Xiaobo | The Americano.

Foreign policy: EU Spanish Presidency and the Maghreb

Coat of arms of Morocco

Image via Wikipedia

I read this interesting topic in an article by the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS.org), thanks to Delito de Opiniao.

Little comment: I believe that the EUMorocco Union is not very beneficial for EU. Firstly, because Morocco has not obliged itself to anything on Human Rights inside its territory or about the illegal immigration business that crosses the country from South to North. Censorship is regularly applied to MSM or publications discussing the Monarchy role, Islam or the territory of the Kingdom. I have spoken about this before. There is also a worrying trend of arresting Christians, a trend explained here.

Secondly, because the EU-Morocco means basically the creation of a United Economic Space between the EU and Morocco, something tremendously beneficial for the Maghreb country but not so ideal for Europe. That Space means that Moroccan citizens will be given freedom to stablish their own businesses in Europe, in fact meaning they can enter without the normal obligations of every other foreign citizen.

Of course, this relates specially with Morocco. I agree more or less with the rest of the article.

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Burma: persecution on Karen people, another unmentioned subject on international press

MAE SOT, THAILAND - October 30 : Naw Baw, an e...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Karen people of Burma have been fighting for independence for over 60 years. Far from gaining freedom, though, the Karen people have instead become the victims of massive genocide.

Many of the Karen people are Christians, and it has become apparent that the ethnic cleansing taking place at the hands of the Burmese government is a direct attack against Christians. Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says once the military has finished off the Christians, they will likely move on to Buddhists.

“We could see, in the next couple of months or a year, a huge genocide of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people slaughtered, because the government wants to present this image that everybody in Burma is supportive of the military government; that is not true,” says Klein. “The only ones that support it are the military.”

Klein says reports show that over 500,000 have already been killed either as a direct result of military violence or from lack of medical care afterward. 150,000 Burmese refugees wait anxiously in Thailand while another million are stuck at the border of Myanmar and Thailand.

…”UN employees reported that over 3,300 villages have been burned to the ground,” says Klein. “It’s surpassing what happened in Rwanda and Darfur, and yet nobody seems to notice.”

via Mission Network News.

I think these attacks are aimed at anyone who is not supporting the Military Junta. But whatever the cause (and it could very well be Christianity), it’s alarming this doesn’t get the UN to condemn Burma. It has proved absolutely unable to do anything sound there, but at least it would underline the problem there, wouldn’t it?

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Freedom: middle classes living in dictatorships aren't very anxious to end them

These new middle classes in developing countries are still fragile and fear unstability. They are ready to accept authoritarian regimes which offer some kind of order, in exchange of those regimes not slowing, with corruption or patronage their ambition of social progress, their aspiration to compete under equal conditions and their desire for giving their sons and daughters a better future”, says the British historian Lawrence James, author of  The Middle Class: a history.

(via).

The article refers to people living under dictatorships such as Chinese citizens. It’s a particularly interesting analysis, specially when it says that maybe that lack of interest in democracy has its basis in the inexistence of a history of democracy or, at least, of fighting for it throughout an important period of time. So, the citizens get used to live with no individual freedoms, as servants of the State. That produces fear, so they are not going to denounce something if they consider they can be hurt in any form by that State. The latter of course, knows this so it reinforces the fear through subtle means (censorship of new ideas or of ideas not liked by the regime, for example) or less subtle and more brutal means (such as the imprisonment of dissidents).

We’ll see what are the consequences for average Chinese people, now that both Google and GoDaddy have announced they are not operating in China anymore.

Iran: more arrests of regime critics

Icon for censorship

More censorship in Iran. Image via Wikipedia

It seems that some of the activists for democracy detained by the Iranian regime some days ago, belonged to Iran Proxy, which:

has used twitter and their website in the fight against web filtering. In an interview with Radio Farda, a representative of the group said they have been working for six years in an ‘underground’ fight against censorship.

Its main blogger has been arrested accused of “carrying some human rights activities”:

(Ultra-conservative newspaper) Keyhan reported that the leader of the group is a blogger named “Seyed Hussein Ronaghi Melki” whose pennames are Babak Khoramdin or Babak blogger.

Meanwhile, Iranian reformist websites “announced [fa] that Mehdi Aboutorabi, founder of Persian Blog, a leading blog provider in country in the country, and supporter of Moussavi, had also been arrested”.

Rafsanjani’s grandson has also been arrested when he arrived in Tehran airport from abroad. He is accused of taking part in the post-elections’ protests, held last year.

(via)

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Vilks' cartoons: Iranian Basij students call to suspend relations with Sweden

Iranian official news agency reports:

After Swedish newspapers republished a sacrilegious cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Iranian Basij students call on the Foreign Ministry to suspend relations with Sweden.In a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Basij students from eight main universities in Tehran urged Iranian diplomatic authorities to swiftly cut ties with Sweden until Swedish officials apologize for the move and take meaningful measures against the insensitive media sources.

The letter said that Muslims have been suffering from such biased publicity by certain Western countries in the name of freedom and democracy. It described the move as a Westerm trend backed by the “international Zionism” in recent years and added that its aim was to violate the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

We are witnessing the repeat of this nasty conspiracy by certain Swedish newspapers. They hold a grudge against the greatness of Islam and Qur’an,” it said.

via Iranian students urge suspension of ties with Sweden.

Before:

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China: is it becoming a Fascist state?

A very interesting question:

With its strong emphasis on technology, the military, strong single-party leadership and a collective national identity that refuses to recognize pluralism, China is displaying increasing — and worrying — symptoms of fascism. From the military parade surrounding the 60th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Oct. 1 to forced relocation and assimilation programs targeting ethnic minority groups such as the Uighurs, China is in many ways reminding us of the fascist states that reared their ugly heads in the first half of the previous century.

The Far-Eastern Sweet Potato: China shows signs of neo-fascism.

Other things contradict it, specially that Chinese leaders are not carismatic.

Anyway, is this Fascism? is this Communism? Or is it just a dictatorship? Of course, lack of freedom, a strong military, strong single-party leadership or collective national identity can be found both in Hitler’s Nazi Germany and in Stalin’s Communist Russia. The same with targeting ethnic minority groups (Hitler hated them, specially Jews; Stalin too, i.e. Ukranians and Holodomor).

I would just say that it is a totalitarian dictatorship.

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Venezuela: Chávez creates militias to defend “Bolivarian revolution”

ramiro-valdes-y-hugo-chavez And of course, “Castroite” thugs are enchanted that their Government’s colony –something real after the arrival of Cuban dark lord Ramiro Valdés (right, with Chávez)-, really defends them:

President Hugo Chávez called on the popular power authorities today to create militias to defend the Venezuelan Revolution in the 184 communes that are constituted at national level.

According to the Head of State, the residents in those areas, made up by hundred of families with low resources, will receive military training to resist any attack.

We won’t attack anybody, but we have to get ready to defend hand to hand, millimeter by millimeter, the territory of this Revolution, he pointed out during his Sunday program Aló, Presidente.

Hugo Chávez

Continue reading

Venezuela: Anti-Chavez TV channel dropped

Venezuelan cable television providers dropped a channel Sunday that has been critical of President Hugo Chavez, citing violation of broadcast laws.

Radio Caracas Television, which lost its broadcasting license in 2007 and became a cable-only channel, disappeared shortly after midnight on Saturday.

RCTV was the only station that did not air the entire speech of Chavez during pro-government marches earlier on Saturday.

via Anti-Chavez TV channel dropped in Venezuela – CNN.com.

I will update later with reactions.

Thanks, world-wide leftist morons for supporting this wannabe dictator in his quest for dictatorship.

Netherlands: prosecuting Geert Wilders

The trial of right-wing Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has begun in an Amsterdam district court under tight security, with about 200 supporters gathered outside the courtroom.

Wilders, who is on 24-hour surveillance after receiving death threats, is standing trial on five counts of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

… His radically anti-Islamic statements have proved popular in recent years among Dutch voters, who have made his Party for Freedom the second-largest party in the European Parliament. Recent polls also suggest it may become the largest party in the Dutch Parliament after national elections in May 2011.

…If convicted in the Amsterdam court on all counts, Wilders faces more than a year in jail. Prosecutors, however, have not ruled out asking for an acquittal.

Before: Geert Wilders on trial today.

UKIP calls for burqa ban in Britain

Now that Sarkozy has abandoned the law to ban the burqa because of the “danger of stigmatization” that could suffer burqa’d women, English UKIP wants to ban the burqa:

British right-wing political party UKIP is reportedly mulling a call to ban the wearing of the burqa and the niqab, after claiming the clothing is an affront to British values.

The party is also keen to address the influence of Sharia law in Britain, he told the newspaper.

“We are not Muslim bashing, but this is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”

UKIP is to make an announcement on Sunday denouncing the burqa as a threat to gender equality and a danger to public safety, as terrorists could use them to conceal their identity, the newspaper said.

via UK political party calls for burqa ban – Politics & Economics – ArabianBusiness.com.

More in BBC.