Latest Analysis & Commentary

Iran: Ayatollah Boroujerdi Being Prepared for Execution

by Shabnam Assadollahi  •  October 1, 2014 at 6:30 am

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

At 2:30am this morning friends telephoned and told us in tears that they had been informed from Iran that the prison guards have just transferred Ayatollah Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi to prepare his execution.

Human rights advocates for Iran take these reports seriously and I ask all human rights organizations, concerned individuals, and governments from international community to react and intervene.

Please contact your government representatives and pressure the executioner regime of Iran, to stop them before they hang Mr. Boroujerdi. We are also asking the regime of Iran to immediately release this innocent freedom-loving Iranian cleric; his only crime is advocating for separation of Religion from the State in Iran.

Background Information about his case:

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Turkey? Antisemitic? Who, Me?

by Burak Bekdil  •  October 1, 2014 at 5:00 am

"Why are you running away, you sperm of Israel?" — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to a Muslim protestor.

"Being a sperm of Israel in Turkey means... to get used to living on hate speech, insults and curses every day; held accountable for every act of the Israeli government although you may never even have stepped foot in Israel; treated as a 'foreigner' in the country where you were born, served in the military and you pay taxes." — Vedat Haymi Behar, digital marketing solutions coordinator, in Radikal.

Will the real Erdogan please stand up: From "Why are you running away, you sperm of Israel!" to... "I am very sad to see that my country, myself, and my colleagues, sometimes, are labeled as being antisemitic."

Last May an explosion at a mine in western Turkey killed 301 miners. Ankara declared national mourning. But President (then-Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan's response to the town's grief was unusual for a head of a government.

After protestors scolded him, he, with his bodyguards, went into a supermarket and, as video footage revealed, Erdogan grabbed one protestor, a Muslim, by the nape of the neck and yelled: "Why are you running away, you sperm of Israel!" After the incident the man also told the press that he was slapped by Erdogan; then, thinking better of it, the man testified that he had been beaten by Erdogan's bodyguards, not by the prime minister; and he finally apologized to Erdogan for "forcing the prime minister to insult him."

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Salmond's Legacy for Scotland: Civil War

by Malcolm Lowe  •  October 1, 2014 at 4:00 am

The losers are declaring war on all who disagree with them. They have adopted Salmond's attempts to pit one part of the population against another: not just young against old, but manual workers against the middle classes, city slum dwellers against country people, men against women, any section of the population that preferred Yes against another section that did the opposite.

The foolish devotion of Labour councilors to Palestinian militancy paved the way for nationalist mania.

An apartment building in Leith, Scotland with both YES and NO referendum posters and Union flag. September 2014. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Brian McNeil)

By a 10% majority, the inhabitants of Scotland voted No to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" The first reaction of Alex Salmond, the leader of the Yes campaign, was to admit defeat and resign as head of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and as First Minister of the devolved Scottish government. Within a day or two, however, he began urging the minority of Yes voters to delegitimize the majority and to work for a seizure of independence in the future by any available maneuvers.

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Anjem Choudary, in His Own Words

by Soeren Kern  •  September 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

"In the Quran it is not allowed for you to feel sorry for non-Muslims. I don't feel sorry for him." — Anjem Choudary.

"Eventually the whole world will be governed by Shari'ah & Muslims will have authority over China Russia USA etc This is the promise of Allah." — Anjem Choudary.

"Under the Koran the sale of alcohol is prohibited and if one were to also drink alcohol, that would be 40 lashes." — Anjem Choudary.

"We [Muslims] take the Jizya, which is ours anyway. The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-Muslim]. They give us the money. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar. We take the money." — Anjem Choudary.

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary (right) praised one of the murderers of British solider Lee Rigby (left) as a "martyr" and said Rigby would "burn in hellfire" as a non-Muslim.

The British Islamist firebrand Anjem Choudary has been released from police custody after he was arrested for allegedly being a member of a banned terrorist group.

Choudary and nine other radical Muslims were detained during dawn raids in London on September 25 as part of an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation into Islamist-related terrorism.

Choudary—one of the most high-profile jihadists in the United Kingdom, and well known for his relentless resolve to implement Islamic Sharia law there—is a former spokesman of the Muslim extremist group, al-Muhajiroun (Arabic: The Emigrants).

Al-Muhajiroun—which repeatedly celebrated the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001—was banned under the UK Terrorism Act 2000, in January 2010.

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Why State Dept. Defends UNRWA's Artificial "Refugee" Designations

by Steven J. Rosen  •  September 30, 2014 at 4:00 am

The U.S. State Department has chosen to act as UNRWA's patron and the protector of its mission, perpetuating and expanding the refugee issue as a source of conflict against Israel.

Apparently more Israeli houses hurt peace, but multiplying the number of refugees is fine.

Here is a paradox: UNRWA, the United Nations agency that manages the Palestinian refugee issue, follows rules that contradict United States law and policy, and its practices result in perpetuating and multiplying the refugee problem rather than resolving it. Yet the U.S. Department of State gives unquestioning support to UNRWA's refugee designation rules[1], even on occasion defending them in detail. How can this be?

For example, almost two million Palestinians who have long been settled in Jordan and have for decades enjoyed Jordanian citizenship[2], are routinely counted as "refugees" by UNRWA, and the State Department supports it. This, in spite of the fact that, under U.S. law, a person who has citizenship in the country where he resides, and enjoys the protection of that state, cannot lawfully be eligible for refugee status.[3] How can State justify this contradiction?

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Iran's "Hanging Machine" to Execute Reyhaneh Jabbari

by Mina Ahadi, Nazanin AfshinJam, Shabnam Assadollahi and Shadi Paveh  •  September 29, 2014 at 9:20 am

Reyhaneh Jabbari has been transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison to be hanged — while the world parties at the UN and gets ready to permit Iran nuclear capability.

Reyhaneh Jabbari in court during her trial.

Reyhaneh Jabbari has been transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison to be hanged — while the world parties at the UN and gets ready to permit Iran nuclear capability.

While the West is focused on an Iran nuclear deal and defeating ISIS terrorists, the executioner-regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues violating human rights.

The regime has just transferred Reyhaneh Jabbari to Rajai-Shahr Prison in Tehran and, as she is transferred to be executed, told her to say goodbye to her mother and family.

The Petition to Save Reyhaneh Jabbari from being hanged has been signed by over 188,000 people, but as usual has been ignored by the Iranian regime.

Reyhaneh Jabbari's execution may carried out by tomorrow.

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Islam in the Rear-View Mirror

by Salim Mansur  •  September 29, 2014 at 5:00 am

Broadly speaking, the struggle within Islam is between Muslims who embrace the values of the modern world in terms of freedom, individual rights, gender equality and democracy on the one side, and Muslims opposing these values and insisting on a Sharia-based legal system on the other. Any Muslim who even questions this version of Islam they refer to as a heretic or, worse, an apostate to be killed.

For Muslims who embrace modernity, Islam is a matter of personal belief, not a political system.

A reformed Islam -- greatly desired and sought after by swelling numbers of Muslims -- cannot succeed without the support of non-Muslims.

Sir Muhammad Iqbal, (left) of British India and Malek Bennabi of Algeria were two prominent Muslim reformist philosophers and writers in the 20th century.

A decade after operatives of al Qaeda attacked the United States, the Arab and Muslim world was seized by popular uprisings. The so-called "Arab Spring" erupted in Tunisia, swept into Libya and Egypt where dictators of long standing were toppled and, as of this writing, the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria appears doomed in a bloody stand-off against insurgents who are steadily gaining ground.

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Radical Islam, Israel and Agitprop

by Guy Millière  •  September 28, 2014 at 5:00 am

Many Europeans who would laugh at the idea of negotiating with ISIS or al-Qaeda say that Israel should negotiate with Hamas.

Almost nobody sees that the invention of the "Palestinian people" has transformed millions of Arabs into a genocidal weapon to be used against the Israelis, and even, as in Europe recently, the Jews. Transforming people into a genocidal weapon is a barbaric act.

Israel was urged to find ways to coexist peacefully with people who did not want to co-exist with it. Terrorism against Israel fast became acceptable: a "good" terrorism.

Hamas's stated aim is the destruction of Israel. Its stated way to achieve this aim is terror attacks, called "armed struggle" by Hamas leaders. To this day the Palestinian Authority has not ceased praising and promoting terrorism.

If hatred of Israel is increasing in the U.S., it is largely confined to academics and other extreme radical circles, many of which are funding or receiving funding from Soviet-style agitprop organizations. Journalists are recruited to disseminate descriptions of "facts" as if they were real facts. Pseudo-historians rewrote the history of the Middle East. The falsified version of history replaced history.

Although U.S. President Barack Obama is not one of them, Israel still has many friends among Americans. Virtually all American leaders know that Israeli technology is essential to the U.S. economy. (Image source: The White House)

Understanding radical Islam requires going back to its roots.

The Christian idea of rendering "unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's" never existed in Islam. Its absence has had consequences, including, possibly, the decline of the Muslim civilization and the feeling of humiliation that resulted.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when Muslim clerics observed that the Islamic world was not keeping pace with the West and was on the verge of collapse, they may have decided they needed answers.

Some of these clerics turned to the West, where they chose to study Western political ideas. They spoke of necessary reforms, and created secret societies and nationalist organizations.

Other clerics chose dogmatic, strict readings of the Quran. They found inspiration in the writings of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and in the established fundamentalist movements.

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Slaying Ever Smaller Dragons

by Douglas Murray  •  September 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

Having slayed, or helped to slay, a dragon, they spend their days stalking the land and looking for ever more glorious fights — but with a diminishing supply of dragons. Eventually they may be caught either swiping at thin air, identifying friends as foes — or mistaking foes for friends.

So fixated were they on trying to stop the opposition from getting any electoral support that they used their energies to suppress a film that would have brought the first-hand testimonies of raped children to wider public attention at the first possible moment.

Unite Against Fascism followers protesting.

Cases such as the gang-rape of 1400 girls in Rotherham, England often cause a media fuss for a week or so, then the fuss tends to die down. But it ought not to. Otherwise those responsible are never held to account and few of the lessons that should to be learned ever are.

Police Commissioner Shaun Wright, who presided over much of that disgrace, has done an amazing thing and actually resigned. Many of us had assumed that he would stay in his highly-paid office until his term was up, just as Joanna Simons of Oxfordshire County Council managed to stay after presiding over an identical case in her area a year ago (she subsequently offered a self-pitying "lessons have been learned" apology of her own). But welcome as it is, one resignation does not address a systemic and indeed societal, failure.

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Palestinians and the "Death Boats" Scandal

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

As the past few weeks have, shown, hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians would rather risk their lives at sea than live under Palestinian governments and leaders whose only goal is to enrich their bank accounts.

Instead of creating job opportunities for young men and women, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority [PA] have spent the past 7 years fighting over money and power. They are now busy planning how to lay their hands on the millions of dollars that are supposed to go to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Hamas wants to use the PA as a tool through which the international community channels funds to he Gaza Strip — a move that would ultimately empower Hamas to tighten its grip over the Palestinian population there.

They said that Hamas officials are providing the emigrants with forged visas and travel documents to enable them to enter Europe.

Relatives of missing Palestinian migrants who were on boats that sank near Malta demonstrate in Gaza, Sept. 22, 2014. (Image source: AFP YouTube video screenshot)

Over the past few weeks, dozens of Palestinian migrants from the Gaza Strip have been killed or injured while trying to reach Europe by sea.

At least 500 Palestinians have gone missing after the boats carrying them sank in the sea. Some reports have suggested that rival gangs deliberately sunk the boats. The gangs are fighting for the cash the Palestinians are prepared to pay to leave the Gaza Strip. Palestinians refer to the situation as their "Death Boats" scandal.

The Palestinian migrants are said to have paid thousands of dollars to Hamas officials and Egyptian smugglers to facilitate the exodus from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority [PA] Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki claimed that each Palestinian paid $1,000 to Hamas personnel at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Others are believed to have paid $5,000 each to leave the Gaza Strip.

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Holy Land: The Perils Facing Christians

by Pierre Rehov  •  September 27, 2014 at 4:00 am

"All this talk about Israel being behind the pain of Christians in the Palestinian Territories is nonsense. Muslims intimidate us. They burn our stores, steal our real estate. They build mosques beside our churches, and make sure that the calls for prayer disrupt our services. They attack our daughters. There are many cases of rape that have never been reported. Families hide it out of shame, they move away. They flee." — Christian official.

Under dhimmi laws, non-Muslims under Muslim rule may not testify against Muslims, so it is virtually impossible for Christians whose lands have been stolen, or whose lives have been threatened, to appeal to the local legal system.

Apparently the story is only appealing when Israel can be blamed.

Clergy from various churches at a Christmas reception in Jerusalem. (Image source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

If you ask anyone in the Middle East the meaning of the saying, " First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people," he will answer with a smile: "First, we will get rid of those who pray on Saturday, and then we will get rid of those who pray on Sunday."

A recent survey conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs shows that the Christian Population of Bethlehem dropped from 90% in the 19th century down to 60% in the 1990s. Today Christians make up less than 10%. What happened?

Of course, many Christians fled in the 1940s and 1960s, out of fear of the war, or as a result of intensive anti-Jewish propaganda. At that time, Christians already suffered discrimination from Muslims, and many also opposed the rebirth of the Jewish nation. Their views, apart from their faith, were more influence by the local, Arab culture, than by the European Enlightenment.

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Stop Denying the Obvious: Islam is a Problem

by Geert Wilders  •  September 26, 2014 at 9:45 am

To defeat IS we should do more than just bomb its strongholds in the Middle East; we should no longer turn a blind eye to the violent nature of Islam. We should demand that those who settle in our countries cast aside values incompatible with ours. There is a huge problem -- also in our countries - cause by the violent exhortations of Islam. Only when we face this truth will we be able to win this war we are in.

Although the majority of Muslims are moderate, thousands of innocent civilians all over the West have fallen victim to terrorists inspired by Islam. IS has announced that every citizen of the West is a target.

70% of Dutch Muslims consider the religious rules of Islam more important than the secular laws of the country where they are living.  Survey, December 2013,  by Prof. Ruud Koopmans, Humbolt University, Berlin

A military alliance, led by the United States, is currently bombing the forces of the Islamic State [IS] in Iraq and Syria. Many European nations, such as the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and others, are participating in this offensive. IS, however, is not just a threat to the Middle East, but also to our own countries. The presence in IS's ranks of hundreds of Muslims born in the West, carrying Western passports, is a huge domestic security risk. Whether we like it or not, war has also come to our streets.

And whether we like it or not, Islam has everything to do with it. "No religion condones the killing of innocents," President Obama recently said. David Cameron added about the IS terrorists: "They claim to do this in the name of Islam, that is nonsense, Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters."

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Switzerland: Land of Jihad

by Soeren Kern  •  September 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

Al-Qaeda will once again become legal in Switzerland in 2015 because a further extension of the ban of the group is not possible under Swiss law.

"[It is] debatable whether Switzerland possesses an adequate legal framework to mitigate this [jihadist] threat." — Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point.

Another factor obstructing an official ban appears to be bureaucratic confusion. Swiss authorities are impeding progress by "blocking" each other. — Berner Zeitung

If the NDB's estimates are correct, they would imply that—in terms of percentage—there are now more Swiss jihadists in Syria than French jihadists. France has the largest Muslim population in Europe.

"IS shows us that modern terror threats can only be combatted through prevention." — Thomas Hurter, President of the National Security Commission.

Mixed messages: To date, Switzerland has been unable to ban the Islamic State, and its existing ban on al-Qaeda is due to expire in 2015. But in a 2009 referendum, the Swiss voted to ban the construction of mosque minarets. Above, posters from the 2009 referendum campaign.

Swiss lawmakers have filed a motion calling on the Swiss Parliament formally to ban the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] from operating in Switzerland.

The measure—signed by more than 40 politicians from across the political spectrum—is in response to new revelations that the IS has established a network of cells inside Switzerland to raise money and recruit fighters for the jihad in Syria and Iraq.

The jihadist cells are primarily focused on providing financial, logistical and propaganda support to help the IS establish an Islamic theocracy in the Middle East, according to a report published by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) on September 21.

But terrorism analysts are warning that the cells could easily be used to perpetrate terror attacks inside Switzerland.

According to the NZZ, Swiss authorities are investigating at least three Iraqi nationals who are the alleged ringleaders of IS activities in Switzerland.

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Iran Executing "Iran's Mandela," Dissident Hero Ayatollah Boroujerdi

by Shadi Paveh  •  September 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Now that the world's headlines are dominated by ISIS, and while Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is at the UN, Iran is using these distractions to step up its executions, its mass-arrests of minorities, and now its execution of Ayatollah Boroujerdi -- that is if Iran, by again withholding crucial medical attention, does not passively execute him first.

Iran's Prosecutor of the Special Clerical Court, Mohammad Mohavadi, stated that the punishment for these crimes of "anti-government views" is execution, and said that all those who had a hand in publishing Boroujerdi's book will also be killed. When Boroujerdi suggested an open, public debate, Mohavadi announced that his office did not participate in debates, just trials and punishments [executions]. The regime has been trying to kill Ayatollah Boroujerdi for the past 8 years of his 11-year prison sentence.

The threat of execution comes only one day after Ayatollah Boroujerdi's latest letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Days before Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses United Nations General Assembly, Ayatollah Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi, the prominent dissident clergyman was informed that he will be executed for "anti-government views" -- that is if Iran, by again withholding repeatedly-requested medical attention, does not passively execute him first.

According to reliable sources inside Iran, "Ayatollah Boroujerdi's health condition is worse than ever, and prison doctors have said that if the prisoner does not receive immediate medical attention, he will die within days or even hours...." The authorities have been refusing medical intervention.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi has spoken out against political Islam and been strong advocate of the separation of religion and state, for which Iran sentenced him to 11 years as an Iranian political prisoner.

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How Turkey Plans to "Combat Anti-Semitism"

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 25, 2014 at 5:00 am

In Turkey, hate speech is a crime only if it is committed against Muslim Turks.

The penalty for failing to pay the tax [only for Jews] should be the revocation of the Jew's business and the seizure of his property. — Faruk Kose, columnist for Yeni Akit, honored with a permanent seat aboard Turkish President Erdogan's private jet.

President Barack Obama talks with then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a previous meeting, in Washington, Dec. 7, 2009. [Official White House Photo]

At the beginning of September, President Barack Obama met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Wales. After the meeting, the White House said in a statement: "They exchanged views on how best to cooperate in the struggle against ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and Levant/Syria] and violent extremism in Iraq and Syria, and on the need for strengthened measures against foreign fighters transiting to and from the battlefield." What could be more normal if the U.S. president discussed measures against extremism with the president of a country that now borders ISIS?

But it was bizarre that Obama and Erdogan also discussed one topic that was neither NATO- nor ISIS-related. The White House said: "The President and President Erdogan also discussed the importance of building tolerant and inclusive societies and combatting the scourge of anti-Semitism."

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