Latest Analysis and Commentary

Sweden: Hate Speech Just for Imams

by Judith Bergman  •  February 22, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • In Sweden, comments that object to sexual violence against women in the Quran are prosecuted, but calling homosexuality a "virus" is fine.

  • Antisemitism has become so socially acceptable in Sweden that anti-Semites can get away with anything, and no one even notices, as Nima Gholam Ali Pour reports.

  • One of Sweden's main news outlets, in fact, described anti-Semitism as simply a different opinion. Clearly, in the eyes of Swedish authorities, neither homosexuals nor Jews count for much.

  • Swedish authorities also give large sums of money to organizations that advocate violence and invite hate preachers who support terrorist organizations such as ISIS. One of the speakers SFM hired was Michael Skråmo, who has publicly called on his fellow Muslims to join ISIS and has appeared in propaganda videos, posing with assault rifles alongside his small children.

Michael Skråmo, a Swedish convert and ISIS jihadist, brought his family to Syria. He has also urged Muslims in Sweden to bomb their workplaces.

Are some individuals receiving preferential treatment under Sweden's "hate speech" laws? It seems that way.

Under the Swedish Penal Code, a person can be held responsible for incitement if a statement or representation made "threatens or disrespects an ethnic group or other such group of persons with regards to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation".

In 2015, the imam at Halmstad mosque, Abu Muadh, said that homosexuality was a "virus" from which parents were obliged to protect their children.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL) filed a legal complaint in October 2015. "[M]any people are listening [to the imam] and there is a risk that the opinions and other expressions of homophobia will spread among believers, as they attach great importance to their representatives' words", said Ulrika Westerlund, chairman of RFSL.

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Jews Under Assault in Europe

by Robbie Travers  •  February 22, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • A German court actually ruled that firebombing a place where Jews worship is somehow different from attacking Jews.

  • Why was the Israeli embassy not attacked, rather than a synagogue whose worshippers were presumably not Israeli? Presumably the worshippers were German. What happened in the German court was pure Nazi-think and the most undisguised antisemitism: that Jews are supposedly not Germans.

  • Meanwhile, another German Court again rejected an action against your friendly neighborhood "sharia police."

  • In Germany, it seems, firebombing synagogues is merely "anti-Israeli" even if there are no Israelis there, and "police" who use Islamic sharia law -- without legal authority and within a system of law that persecutes women, Christians, Jews and others -- are acceptable and legal.

  • The anti-Semitism facing Jews at UK universities led the Baroness Deech to declare British University campuses "no-go zones" for Jews.

  • Simply defining and identifying anti-Semitism is only the start. It is also necessary to start tackling the anti-Semitic attitudes of Islamic communities across Europe and the attitudes of immigrants coming to our nations.

  • What needs to be made clear is that you are welcome here as long as you respect Jews, Christians and all others, as well.

Anti-Semitic graffiti [Illustrative]. (Image source: Beny Shlevich/Flickr)

Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe." While this is an admirable position to hold, it sadly could not be farther from the truth. The poison of anti-Semitism festers in Europe once again.

Europe is seeing yet again another rise in the number of Jews leaving the continent. Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (IJPR), notes that the number of Jews leaving France is "unprecedented"

The results of the study show that 4% of the French and Belgian Jewish populations had emigrated those countries to reside in Israel.

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Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  February 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm

In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel's fault that there is "growing anti-Semitism around the world." Balfour, who is a descendent of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago, wrote the following: "the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world." He argued further that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "owes it to the millions of Jews around the world" who suffer anti-Semitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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The Offer that Turns the Gaza Strip into Singapore

by Bassam Tawil  •  February 21, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Last week, Hamas received an offer that no sane entity would turn down. The offer did not come from Hamas's allies in Iran and the Islamic world. The offer, to turn the impoverished Gaza Strip into "the Singapore of the Middle East," came from Israel.

  • "The Gazans must understand that Israel, which withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the last millimeter, is not the source of their suffering -- it is the Hamas leadership, which doesn't take their needs into consideration... The moment Hamas gives up its tunnels and rockets, we'll be the first to invest." — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

  • Hamas does not want a new "Singapore" in the Middle East. Hamas wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. The welfare of the Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on the mind of Hamas. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel.

  • Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the unemployed poor Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in the jihad to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.

Whither the future of Gaza: to be "the Singapore of the Middle East," or to more terrorism and war? Sadly, Hamas does not want a new "Singapore" in the Middle East. Hamas wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. The welfare of Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on the mind of Hamas.

The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has once again demonstrated its priorities: killing Jews. That clearly takes precedence over easing the plight of the two million Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip.

Since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, the conditions of the Palestinians living there have gone from bad to worse. Crisis after crisis has hit those under the Hamas rule; electricity and water as well as lack of medicine and proper medical care are in dangerously short supply.

Disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have left the Gaza Strip dangerously short of fuel, resulting in massive power outages. Palestinians there consequently have had to resort to using wood for cooking and heating. Hamas, which has brought about three wars that wreaked havoc on its people, is unable to provide them with basic needs.

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What is a Killer Imam Doing in Public Libraries in Canada?

by Saied Shoaaib  •  February 21, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • How is it possible that books that advocate violence and extremism meet the "selection criteria" of the Ottawa Public Library, but those that speak out against violence and extremism do not?

  • The presence of these Islamic books, and these books alone, in Canada's public libraries, without any others to contradict them, gives them legitimacy. They are seen to represent a certain form of Islam that the government of Canada and the City of Ottawa recognize.

  • This indicates that there is official support for the extremist and terrorist version of Islam, and at the same time no support for a humanist interpretation of Islam.

  • This surah [4:74] also indicates that if you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are in a state of war against your host country. If you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are living with the enemy.

  • If we are to reject this danger, it is important that libraries and other institutions have books that reject these Islamist views and confront their hatred, extremism and violence.

A copy of One Hundred Questions in Islam by Dr. Muhammad al-Ghazali, found in the Ottawa Public Library. The image at right shows the inside cover of the book, with the Ottawa Public Library Stamp.

The Muslim Brotherhood classifies as one of their great intellectual leaders Imam Mohammed al-Ghazali (1917-1996). He famously decreed that the assassination of the Egyptian Muslim thinker, Farag Foda, was acceptable. In the views of al-Ghazali, Farag Foda was an apostate for defending secular values and human rights. Moreover, al-Ghazali went into an Egyptian court and defended the assassins: "Anyone who openly resisted the full imposition of Islamic law," he said, "was an apostate who should be killed either by the government or by devout individuals." He added: "There is no penalty in Islam to kill the apostate by yourself when the government fails to do so."

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France's Muslim Demographic Future

by Yves Mamou  •  February 20, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • France's Muslim population could quickly grow to close to 15-17 million, but no one can know precisely unless the law prohibiting the official collection of ethnic data is changed.

  • These figures do not take into consideration the Muslim population that immigrated to France from North Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s. There are a few million of them -- nobody knows how many exactly. For demographers, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are not regarded as immigrants anymore. These Muslims are, rather, integrated into statistics as French citizens born of French parents. They are Muslim, but under the statistics radar.

A new study from France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, "Being born in France to an immigrant parent," provides some telling information on the ethnic composition of French society.

From time to time, France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) offers a glimpse of the ethnic composition of French society. The study, "Being born in France to an immigrant parent" (Être né en France d'un parent immigré), published in February 2017, is one of them.

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Israel's Public Relations: The Problem and the Solution

by Bernhard Lazarus  •  February 20, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • It is worth noting that the Jewish State was effectively created through the efforts of the countries of the world in San Remo and Geneva years prior to the Holocaust.

  • Jerusalem, except for fewer than 200 years in the 11th and 12th Centuries, when it was the capital of a short-lived Crusader State, has only been a capital city under Jewish rule. At other times since the Roman conquest it was not even considered by Muslims, or anyone else, a provincial city of consequence.

  • In the War of 1948-49, Jordan illegally seized Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed its Jewish inhabitants, destroyed all the synagogues and on top of the ancient sacred Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, after taking ancient Jewish headstones to use as the floor of latrines, Jordan built a hotel.

  • The aggression by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967 was overturned by Israel. Israel liberated Jerusalem, took control of the Golan Heights, from which Syrians had been shooting down at Israeli farmers, and entered the West Bank, which was under illegal Jordanian occupation.

  • Anti-Apartheid movements in South Africa wanted equal political and other democratic rights for all -- irrespective of race -- but never advocated the destruction of South Africa.

  • Israel currently has no Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the post of Minister of Information does not exist. This creates the message, as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir put it, of being the "prime minister of six million prime ministers".

  • An even more urgent condition is that Israeli authorities refuse to deal with the considerable number of renegade Israeli academics (and others) harming Israel on the international scene, presumably for their personal reasons.

"War is the continuation of politics by other means," said by General Carl von Clausewitz nearly 200 years ago, has now morphed into: "Politics is war by other means".

Enemies who are inferior militarily have understood this; hence, from the height of admiration after the Six Day War, Israel has hit bottom, sharing the position with the likes of North Korea.

How and why is this?

A knowledge of history is essential; therefore it is the first thing one's enemies try to destroy. If one can falsely claim that biblical places such as Rachel's Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple Mount or even Jerusalem are Islamic, even though Islam did not, historically, exist until hundreds of years later, one can consequently claim that there never was a Jewish connection to the land – so then why should the Jews have it?

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A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: January 2017

by Soeren Kern  •  February 19, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural struggle." — German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

  • German authorities issued 105,000 visas for so-called family reunifications in 2016, a 50% increase over the 70,000 visas issued in 2015, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The 105,000 visas for family members were in addition to the 280,000 new asylum seekers who arrived in Germany in 2016.

  • Police say Sudanese migrants, many of whom were allowed to enter Germany without having their fingerprints taken, have "created a business model" out of social security fraud. Local officials have been accused of covering up the fraud.

  • An employee at a social security office handed her boss a file with 30 cases of suspected fraud. After he refused to act, she contacted the police. She was fired for "overstepping her authority."

  • Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble revealed that the migrant crisis would cost German taxpayers €43 billion ($46 billion) during 2016 (€21.7 billion) and 2017 (€21.3 billion).

  • The Bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, said there could be no reconciliation between Christians and Muslims. Islam is a "post-Christian phenomenon, with the claim to negate the core content of Christianity," he said.

The Bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, said on January 30 that there could be no reconciliation between Christians and Muslims. Islam is a "post-Christian phenomenon, with the claim to negate the core content of Christianity," he said. "Only those who do not know their own faith or do not take it seriously can consider a comprehensive integration of Islam as possible." (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/StagiaireMGIMO)

January 1. Some 2,000 "highly aggressive" migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East gathered at the central train station in Cologne and the square in front of the iconic Cologne Cathedral, where mass sexual assaults occurred on New Year's Eve 2015. A massive police presence consisting of 1,700 officers deterred mayhem. Police reported three sexual assaults on New Year's Eve 2016, compared to more than a thousand on the same day in 2015.

January 1. In Berlin, at least 22 women were sexually assaulted during New Year's Eve celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate, despite the presence of 1,700 police officers. Police initially reported six assaults, but after inquiries from local media raised that number. In Hamburg, at least 14 women were sexually assaulted. Police arrested three Iraqis, three Syrians, two Afghans, one Eritrean and one German-Russian.

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The Vatican's Relations with Islam

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  February 19, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • "They are driving us out of the Middle East," declared Pope Francis on returning from Turkey.

  • "[I]t would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people." — Pope Francis, counseling Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

  • While this welcoming stance is in keeping with the fundamental beliefs of the Catholic faith, the Pope as the "Good Shepherd" has an obligation to protect his flock from the militants among the refugees.

  • Within the Catholic Church, there also exists a sub-dominant counter-melody that warns about Islamic hostility to the values of Judeo-Christian civilization.

  • Cardinal Sarah targets what he refers to as "Islam's pseudo-family values which legitimize polygamy, female subservience, sexual slavery, and child marriage."

  • At some point, the Catholic Church might raise the issue of persecution of Christian minorities in Muslim-majority countries at international fora such as the United Nations. The Church also could publicly ask Muslims of good will to express their solidarity with the persecuted and request international organizations to intervene to protect Christians.

  • Given the centuries of hostility between Christendom and dar-al-Islam (the World of Islam), the Vatican's caution may be understandable, but is ill-advised and no longer tenable.

Pope Francis washes and kisses the feet of a group of refugees in Rome, in March 2016. (Image source: CatholicTV Network video screenshot)

Perhaps, in the light of the harm dhimmitude can do to both civic life and faith, the Catholic Church might re-assess its stance toward Islam from one of friendly engagement to cautionary disengagement. As radical jihadists continue to martyr Christians throughout the world, such a re-evaluation of Islam by the Vatican seems appropriate.

These hate crimes against Christians are occurring against a backdrop of fifteen centuries of hostile, relations between Christianity and Islam -- from the Islamic takeover of Persia, the great Christian Byzantine Empire in Turkey, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Greece and Southern Spain.

As Catholics comprise more than half of the globe's two billion Christians, a sober reassessment of Islam by Rome could be of great import and attract more people to Christianity when, as with Brexit, they see that the Church is aligned with a reality they see every day with their eyes.

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Welcome to Sweden, Eldorado for Migrants!

by Nima Gholam Ali Pour  •  February 18, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • From the perspective of a poor migrant, the cash Sweden gives to all who come seems a lot of money, without working a single day to get it. This makes Sweden a paradise for the migrants of the world who do not want to work. The Swedish taxpayer pays for this party.

  • Recently, the city of Malmö bought 268 apartments, so newly arrived migrants would have a roof over their head. But at the same time, Swedish citizens in Malmö have to wait more than three years in line to rent an apartment.

  • While Swedish taxpayers are forced to fund all these benefits for migrants, the migrants do not have to adapt to the Swedish way of living.

  • In 2015, the proportion of rapes where the police actually found the suspect was 14%. In 86% of the rapes, the rapist got away.

  • It needs to become clear that the responsibility for becoming integrated into Swedish society rests entirely on the newly-arrived migrants. Migrants who do not receive a residence permit must go home or somewhere else.

Screenshot from a government-sanctioned video propagating "new Swedes will claim their space, bringing their culture, language and habits, and it's time to see this as a positive force" and "old [native] Swedes have to integrate as well" in this new reality.

In 2016, Sweden received 28,939 asylum seekers. Sweden is a predominantly Christian country in northern Europe, and yet most asylum seekers to Sweden came from three Muslim countries in the Middle East: Syria (5,459), Afghanistan (2,969) and Iraq (2,758). Why is it that people from these three Muslim countries choose to cross Europe to come to Sweden? What is it that Sweden offers that attracts people from the other side of the world?

It is not the major metropolises in Sweden that attract these people. 56% of Sweden's land area is covered by forest. Besides the Swedish capital Stockholm, there is no Swedish city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Sweden's average annual temperature is around 3°C (37.4°F), so it is not the weather that attracts tens of thousands of people from Muslim countries to Sweden.

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Trump: Palestinians Must Earn a Two State Solution

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  February 17, 2017 at 11:30 am

President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eban once put it: "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

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Scandinavia: The West's Citadel of Anti-Semitism

by Giulio Meotti  •  February 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • Hate for Israel has become a real obsession in Scandinavia, which revived the glorious partnership between the liberal "useful idiots" -- the ones concerned about equality and minorities -- and the Islamists, the ones concerned about submission and killing "infidels".

  • Despite the fact that Jews in Norway are only 0.003 percent of the total population, Oslo is now world's capital of European anti-Semitism. Norwegian newspapers are full of classic anti-Semitic tropes.

  • A festival in Oslo also rejected a documentary, "The Other Dreamers," about the lives of disabled children, simply because it was Israeli. "We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel," wrote Ketil Magnussen, the founder of the festival.

  • The same racism exists in Sweden. Dagens Nyheter, the most sophisticated Swedish newspaper, published a violently anti-Semitic op-ed entitled, "It is allowed to hate the Jews".

  • Does Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström really mean that to defeat Islamic aggression, Israel must surrender? The Palestinians' situation is indeed desperate, but as they have had full autonomy for decades, their desperate situation is caused by their own corrupt leaders who appear deliberately to keep their people in misery try to blame it on Israel, in the same way that people maim children to make them "better" beggars.

  • The Nazi daily Der Stürmer could not have drawn it better.

In January 2009, an Arab mob in Malmö pelted a peaceful Jewish demonstration with bottles, eggs and smoke bombs. The police pushed the Jews, who had a permit for their gathering, into an alley.

On January 12, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten published an article about Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and his senior adviser: "The Jew Kushner reportedly pushed for David M. Friedman as the new ambassador to Israel", Aftenposten wrote. The newspaper had later to apologize for calling Kushner "the Jew".

A few weeks earlier, the city council of Trondheim, Norway's third-largest city, passed a motion calling on its residents to boycott Israeli goods -- a city aspiring to be "Israel-free". Then it was the turn of another Norwegian city, Tromso, population 72,000, whose city council approved a similar motion. More than 40% of Norwegians are already boycotting Israeli products or are in favor of doing so, according to a poll.

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Palestinian Assault on Freedoms

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  February 16, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinians seem to be marching towards establishing a regime that is remarkably reminiscent of the despotic and corrupt Arab and Islamic governments.

  • By failing -- or, more accurately, refusing -- to hold the PA accountable for its crackdown on public freedoms, American and European taxpayers actively contribute to the emergence of another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East.

  • Palestinian professor Abdel Sattar Qassem, who teaches political science at An-Najah University in Nablus, is facing trial for "extending his tongue" against PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials.

  • Many Palestinians used to say that their dream is that one day they would have a free media and democracy like their neighbors in Israel. But thanks to the apathy of the international community, Palestinians have come to learn that if and when they ever have their own state, its role model will not be Israel or any Western democracy, but the regimes of repression that control the Arab and Muslim world.

Professor Abdul Sattar Qassem (left) is facing trial for "extending his tongue" against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) and other senior PA officials.

A novelist, a journalist and a university professor walk into a bar. Sounds like a joke, but it stops being funny when these three figures are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) crackdown on public freedoms, above all, freedom of expression.

The crackdown is yet more proof of the violent intolerance that the Western-funded PA has long shown its critics.

It is also a sad reminder that more than two decades after the foundation of the PA, Palestinians are as far from democracy as ever. In fact, the Palestinians seem to be marching in the opposite direction -- towards establishing a regime that is remarkably reminiscent of the despotic and corrupt Arab and Islamic governments.

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UK: Free Speech for Dictators Only

by Robbie Travers  •  February 16, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • How come, then, that John Bercow did not think it advisable to oppose the Emir of Kuwait's visit due to its "sexism" and "immigration ban"? No, Bercow granted the Emir a speech in the Queen's Robing Room.

  • It is evidently acceptable to be a representative of some of the world's most repressive dictatorships, with policies far worse than President Trump's, and yet visit Parliament, but a democratically-elected leader in the free world and a key ally, who may hold some views with which Bercow disagrees, makes him unacceptable.

  • What is it that the people trying to keep Trump from speaking are afraid others might hear?

UK Prime Minister Theresa May meets with US President Donald Trump at the White House, January 27, 2017. (Image source: UK Prime Minister's Office)

When Theresa May announced, to the gathered press at the White House, an invitation for Donald Trump to make an official state visit to the United Kingdom, there were some in Britain who apparently oppose his views -- and, in a democratic and free society, express their opposition. There also were, however, concerns that these critics may have been acting hypocritically, as well as without considering due process.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow declared that he would not invite Trump to make a speech before Parliament due to the president's alleged "sexism" and "racism," and the British Parliament's opposition to those stances, as well as, further, due to Trump's temporary restrictions on immigration until better procedures for vetting applicants can be put in place .

Bercow, however, never adhered to due process: he should first have consulted the Speaker of the House of Lords or the Lord Chamberlain.

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Turkey: Record-Breaking Purge in Academia

by Burak Bekdil  •  February 16, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Turkey suffered the largest decline in freedoms among 195 countries over the past year, according to Freedom House.

  • Erdogan's academic purge is 38 times bigger in size than the generals' after the 1980 military coup.

  • According to data compiled by Turkey Purge, PEN International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Stockholm Center for Freedom, 128,398 people have been sacked, while 91,658 are being detained.

  • Worse, neither the academics on the purge list nor their students were allowed to protest peacefully. Their attempted protest on February 10 at the School of Political Sciences in Ankara met a huge police force and was crushed.

  • You have all the freedoms you want -- so long as you are a pro-Erdogan Islamist.

Professor Yuksel Taskin, who was recently purged from an Istanbul department of journalism, tweeted: "This is a pure political 'cleansing'. But my conscience is clear. Let my students know that I shall never, ever bow down!" (Image source: Hakan YÜCEL video screenshot)

Nearly three centuries later -- and slightly revising the historian Shelby Foote's famous line -- "A Turkish university, these days, is a group of buildings around a small library, a mosque and classrooms cleansed of unwanted scholars."

The "Great Turkish Purge" launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist, autocratic government in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July surprised many in its size. It should not have done. The failed putsch gave Erdogan's government a golden opportunity to advance his crackdown on dissent of every kind. No wonder Erdogan, on the night of the attempt, said: "This [coup attempt] is a gift of God".

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