Latest Analysis and Commentary

European Court Applies Double Standard against Israeli Products

by Soeren Kern  •  November 18, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Court of Justice ruling, which effectively encourages the strict French labelling requirements to be applied across the European Union, has been roundly condemned as reflecting the EU's anti-Israel bias. Many commentators noted that of all the world's many territorial conflicts — from Crimea to Northern Cyprus to Tibet to Western Sahara — the EU has singled out Israel as the only country subject to special labelling requirements.

  • "There are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes across the world, yet the ECJ has not rendered a single ruling related to the labeling of products originating from these territories. Today's ruling is both political and discriminating against Israel." — Israeli Foreign Ministry.

  • "It also goes against the international standard of trade set by the World Trade Organization... This is the worst kind of fiddling while Rome burns. The European court quoting Israel for its 'breach of the rules of international humanitarian law' whilst Hamas and its acolytes are bombing innocent civilian populations in Israel is one of the most perverse ironies I have witnessed in quite some time." — Menachem Margolin, Chairman, European Jewish Association, Brussels.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that food products made in so-called Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights must be specifically labelled as such and may not carry the generic label "Made in Israel." The ruling has its origin in a lawsuit filed by Psagot Winery (pictured), which operates vineyards in so-called occupied Palestinian territory, and the European Jewish Organization. (Image source: iStock)

The Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU's highest court, has ruled that food products made in so-called Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights must be specifically labelled as such and may not carry the generic label "Made in Israel."

The ruling, which singles out Israel, was presumably motivated not by concerns over food safety or consumer protection but by the EU's anti-Israeli foreign policy preference. It has been roundly criticized as biased, discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

The labelling case has its origins in questions regarding the interpretation of EU Regulation 1169/2011, dated October 25, 2011, concerning consumer information on food products. The regulation was ambiguous on the issue of the labelling of food products from Israel.

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Radical Persecution Must Be Eradicated

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  November 18, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The captives, some as young as five years old, were reportedly "tortured, starved and sexually abused."

  • "The government of Pakistan failed to adequately protect these groups, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations; this occurred despite some optimism about the potential for reform under the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan." — United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's, 2019 Report.

  • A first step towards eradicating this threat might be establishing an international interfaith coalition of Muslims, Christians and other religions, with chapters in every country, to stand up against religious persecution and on behalf of the right of every individual to harbor beliefs and engage in practices of his or her choosing.

In Pakistan, the abduction of girls and young women for the purpose of forced conversion is commonplace. The victims of kidnappings are mainly Christian and Hindu. The Catholic Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Shaw (pictured), recently expressed alarm at the spike in abductions and forced conversions. Pictured: Archbishop Sebastian Shaw. (Image source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office/Flickr)

On September 26, Nigerian soldiers liberated more than 300 men and boys -- some as young as five years old -- from what could be called a prison masquerading as an Islamic school in the city of Kaduna in northwestern Nigeria.

"Most of the freed captives seen by a Reuters reporter in the city of Kaduna were children, aged up to their late teens. Some shuffled with their ankles manacled and others were chained by their legs to large metal wheels to prevent escape...

"Reports carried by local media said the captives had been tortured, starved and sexually abused...

"One young man, Hassan Yusuf, said he had been sent to the school because of concerns about his way of life following a few years studying abroad.

"'They said my lifestyle has changed - I've become a Christian, I've left the Islamic way of life,' said Yusuf..."

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The "Great Pleasure in Destroying Christians": The Persecution of Christians, September 2019

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  November 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "These regulations [from 2006] stipulate that all places of non-Muslim worship must be licenced. However, the government has yet to issue any licence for a church buildings [sic] under this ordinance, ignoring applications from churches to regularise their status in accordance with the ordinance." — International Christian Response, September 25, 2019, Algeria.

  • Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board sought to deport a refugee family — a mother and three children — that had fled their native country of Nigeria after they were attacked and threatened with death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity.... "They face a 'fatwa' (a pronouncement of death) against them for converting to Christianity from Islam. They believe they face certain death if they are returned to Nigeria. They are quite fearful." ... Supporters of the family said the government was not taking the time to establish the family's humanitarian status or perform a proper risk assessment. "They're trying to boot [them] out of the country before then." The family's current status is unclear.

Around mid-September, British police in Preston, Lancashire announced that they would be taking no action against a man who had earlier threatened to sodomize anyone who dares convert to Christianity. Pictured: The city center of Preston. (Image source: Andrew Gritt/geograph.ork.uk/Wikimedia Commons)

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: On September 22, the jihadi group, Boko Haram, released a video depicting the execution of two Christian aid workers. Lawrence Duna Dacighir and Godfrey Ali Shikagham, both members of the Church of Christ in Nations, appeared on their knees, in front of three armed men, who proceeded to shoot them. Both Christians had gone to Maiduguri — near where they were captured — to help build shelters for people displaced by Islamic extremist violence. In the same video, and "speaking in the Hausa language, the middle one of the three terrorists says ... that they have vowed to kill every Christian they capture..." Responding to the executions, Pastor Pofi, a cousin of the two executed Christians, said:

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Old Tricks and the Iraqi Genie

by Amir Taheri  •  November 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • They claim since force cannot impose democracy, it was wrong for the US to invade Iraq and dislodge Saddam Hussein. They ignore the fact that though force cannot impose democracy, impediments to democracy can, and have been, removed by force.

  • Iraqi officials wonder how so many Iraqis, including many statistically-classed illiterates, manage to send and receive text messages on their smartphones. Those officials do not realize that even the poorest peasant is now able to pick up the rudiments of the alphabet and a vocabulary of a few hundred words to express his anger and passions and to coordinate action with those who share his concerns.

  • Tehran is wrong in toying with the idea of ending the uprising with a bloodbath as in Syria. Washington is wrong to think that yet another election with the same rules and same cast of characters would do the trick. The Najaf mullahs are wrong to believe that Iraqis will obey their fatwas as they did a generation ago. Tribal chiefs are mistaken in thinking the big "Sheikh" could secure a big cheque in exchange for calming down his kith-and-kin.

  • But, the fact remains that old tricks will not push that genie back into the bottle.

Pictured: Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on October 25, 2019. (Image source: Xequals/Wikimedia Commons)

Although it is too early to speculate about the outcome for the Iraqi uprising, one fact is clear: What we witness is the result of a multiple misunderstandings, by participants in the current drama and those who watch from the sidelines.

There are, first, those who see Iraq as a secular version of the "original sin". To them, toppling Saddam Hussein was the starting point of a journey that could only lead to hell.

They claim since force cannot impose democracy, it was wrong for the US to invade Iraq and dislodge Saddam Hussein. They ignore that though force cannot impose democracy, impediments to democracy can, and have been, removed by force.

Then there are those who believe that though Saddam is gone, Saddamism remains a dominant feature in Iraqi life. The talk in Baghdad cafes these days is of the danger of the emergence of a new Saddam.

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Jeremy Corbyn Poses a Potent Threat to Western Security

by Con Coughlin  •  November 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • By far the most likely casualty of a Corbyn government would be the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, where there is a strong likelihood that other member states of the alliance will be deeply reluctant to share highly sensitive material with a British prime minister who has spent his entire political career openly associating with regimes and groups that are utterly hostile to the West and its allies.

  • At the heart of his hard Left approach to foreign policy lies a deep hatred for the US and its role in safeguarding the interests of the Western democracies.

  • Thus Mr Corbyn's instinct is to be more sympathetic to the views of Russia, Iran, North Korea and the Assad regime in Syria than Britain's long-standing allies in Washington and Europe.

Mr Corbyn makes no secret of where his true sympathies lie. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

With the British general election now well underway, Britain's allies need to give serious consideration about how they would deal with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party's hard left candidate, in the event of him becoming prime minister.

The prospect of Mr Corbyn entering Downing Street is of particular concern for the US given the current level of close cooperation that currently exists between Washington and London, especially regarding national security issues.

As one highly influential American security source told me earlier this week, "A Corbyn government would not just be a disaster for Britain. It would be a disaster for the US and other Western allies who work closely with London on a whole range of global security issues."

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France: An "Inverted Colonization"

by Guy Millière  •  November 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Soon after, Muslim organizations that had asked for students to have the right to wear the veil in schools also asked for a change in the school curriculum -- in history, so that Muslim civilization would be presented in a more "correct" and "positive" way.

  • "If the way I dress disturbs you, leave my country". — Signs at a demonstration, October 27, 2019.

  • "Any criticism of Islam is now blasphemy." — Ivan Rioufol, columnist, Le Figaro, November 4, 2019.

  • Details lead one to see that the anti-Christian acts were mostly acts of church vandalism, the anti-Semitic acts were very often violent attacks against Jews or cemetery desecrations, and that the anti-Muslim acts were almost only anti-Muslim graffiti or the laying of slices of bacon the entrance to a mosque or in the mailbox of a Muslim organization. No Muslims were physically attacked.

  • "We are not in a project of assimilation." — Yassine Belattar, former advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, October 27, 2019.

  • Éric Zemmour has suggested that France is threatened not by a risk of "partition", but by an inverted "colonization".

(Image source: iStock)

On October 12, 2019, a meeting of the Regional Council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté was held in Dijon, a quiet town in central France. A woman wearing a long black veil was in the audience, apparently accompanying a group of students. All at once, the head of the National Rally party group at the Regional Council, Julien Odoul, rose and said that the presence of a woman wearing an Islamic headscarf in a public building was incompatible with the values ​​of the French Republic:

"We are in a public building, we are in a democratic enclosure. Madame has all the time to keep her veil at home, in the street, but not here, not today. It's the Republic, it's secularism. It's the law of the Republic, no ostentatious signs."

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The 92nd Street Y Engages in McCarthyite Censorship and Lies About It

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  November 15, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The representative of the 92nd Street Y acknowledged that the accusation [a disproved and defamatory accusation of sexual relations with an underaged girl] was unfounded, but said it didn't matter: "We don't want protests or trouble." So suddenly I found myself blacklisted — or as it's now called, "de-platformed"....

  • It reminded me of my days at Brooklyn College, when professors were blacklisted based on accusations that they had been Communists or fellow travelers. Institutions that had blacklisted them often claimed that they didn't believe or support the accusations, but they too didn't want protests or trouble. So the easy way is to censor, de-platform, or disinvite instead of standing up for principle, due process, and truth.

  • The public, particularly those who support the Y and participate in its programs, have the right to know the truth. They have the right to express their views as to whether a long-time speaker should be denied a platform at the Y based on false and disproved accusations. I would be happy to debate this issue at the Y. I have just written a new book — Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo — in which I discuss how false accusations can destroy a career. I challenge the Y to have a public discussion on this important issue.

  • I will not allow my life's work — on behalf of Israel, the Jewish community, Soviet Jewry, human rights, civil liberties, teaching students, writing books, and defending the accused — to be "cancelled" by a totally false accusation by a woman I never met and by the cowardly McCarthyism of the 92nd Street Y.... I will continue to fight for truth and justice as I have during my entire life. I will not remain silent even if the 92nd Street Y tries to silence me.

Pictured: The 92nd Street Y in New York City. (Image source: Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons)

The storied 92nd Street Y, which presents itself as a paragon of free speech dialogue and openness, is engaging in McCarthyite censorship -- and trying to hide it.

For the last quarter century or more, I have been one of its featured speakers. The director told me that second only to the late Eli Wiesel, I have been the most frequently invited participant in its events. I have lectured, dialogued, participated in panels and moderated, on dozens of occasions about a range of subjects. I debuted my best-selling books about Israel and Jewish life – Chutzpah, The Case for Israel and others -- at the Y. It became something of a tradition.

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Europe: The New Political Weapon of 'Islamophobia'

by Alain Destexhe  •  November 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The objective of using the word "Islamophobia" appears to have been to make Islam untouchable by placing any criticism of it as equivalent to racism or anti-Semitism.

  • The word "Islamophobia" deliberately intends to transform the critique of a religion -- a fundamental right in Western societies -- into a crime.

  • "The term 'Islamophobia' serves several functions....Above all, however, the term is intended to silence Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce their religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and dogmatic." – Pascal Bruckner, in his book, Un racisme ordinaire : Islamophobie et culpabilité, Grasset, 2017 [English version: An Imaginary Racism: Islamophbia and Guilt, Polity 2018]

  • It is not Muslims people "hate," any more than they hate Hindus or Buddhists or Shintos. It is the violence and coercion that some adopt -- what is known as jihad or holy war -- that people reject.

  • In the attacks at the Bataclan Theater and other sites in 2015, terrorists murdered 131 persons and wounded 413. Is it irrational to remember who was calling those shots?

As noted by the journalist Stéphane Charbonnier, murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, Islamophobia "is not only a poorly chosen word but also a dangerous one." (Image source: Arzu Çakır/VOA/Wikimedia Commons)

France is once again profoundly divided over Islam. Last Sunday, November 10, a "March against Islamophobia" was held in Paris in response to an appeal from 50 public figures. In an op-ed in the leftist newspaper Libération, the demonstrators pleaded to "stop Islamophobia and stop the growing stigmatization of Muslims, victims of discrimination and aggression".

Two recent incidents ignited the public debate and served as a pretext for the march. On October 26, an 84-year-old man shot and injured two men while trying to set fire to the mosque of Bayonne. Earlier in October, in the Regional Assembly of Burgundy, a member of the National Rally party (RN) complained about the presence in the gallery of a woman wearing an Islamic headscarf. The French political class and media condemned both incidents almost unanimously.

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Europe Backs Iranian Nuclear Breakout

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  November 14, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Tehran shelters members of the terrorist group Al Qaeda, and it is reportedly continuing to facilitate the group's operations.

  • Now imagine if this rogue state obtains nuclear weapons, what kind of destruction could it inflict on the world?

  • The international community, particularly European nations, must take urgent steps to counter Iran-backed international terrorism and prevent it from becoming a nuclear state.

Iran continues to smuggle weapons and provide military, financial, intelligence and advisory assistance to proxies throughout the Middle East, such as the Houthis, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militias, Kata'ib Hizballah, and Hamas. Pictured: Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah visits Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Image source: khamenei.ir)

When the US State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism on November 1, 2019, four countries -- North Korea, Sudan, Iran, and Tehran's staunch ally, Syria -- were listed as state sponsors of terrorism. The annual report describes the theocratic establishment of Iran as "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism" in 2018.

How, in 2018, did the Iranian government receive the title "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism"? The criteria by which it is determined if a country should be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism are based on whether that state has constantly provided support for acts of terrorism.

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The 4,006 Palestinians the Europeans Have Not Heard Of

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 13, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinians held in Syrian prisons are probably not overly concerned about whether or not a bottle of wine made by Jews is labeled by the Europeans.

  • The Europeans, however, who never stop moralizing to the rest of the world, take a different view: they seem to perceive settlement products as more dangerous than the repressive and brutal measures taken by the Syrian authorities against Palestinians.

  • The Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, are meanwhile too busy hunting down critics on Facebook to pay any heed to the Palestinians in Syria.

  • Much better, from their point of view, for the international community to spend its time disgorging hate against Israel and Jews; after all, at least that serves the Palestinians in their real project of delegitimizing, and destroying, the region's only free and democratic state.

The Palestinians held in Syrian prisons are probably not overly concerned about whether or not a bottle of wine made by Jews is labeled by the Europeans. The Europeans, however, seem to perceive settlement products as more dangerous than the repressive and brutal measures taken by the Syrian authorities against Palestinians. (Image source: iStock)

As all eyes are turned on the latest tensions in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian terror groups have been firing rockets at Israel in retaliation for the Israeli killing of Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, the number of Palestinians killed in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011 has risen to 4,006.

The plight of the Palestinians in Syria, however, is of no concern to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who continue to be obsessed with destroying Israel. The international community, including the United Nations and human rights organizations, are also clearly not interested in the suffering of Palestinians in Syria -- or in any other Arab country.

The 4,006 Palestinians killed in Syria were not targeted by Israel; evidently that is reason enough for the international community and the UN to look the other way.

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A Jewish Democratic Congressman Called Me a Nazi Collaborator

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  November 13, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • For [Congressman Steve] Cohen [D-TN], the issues surrounding impeachment are one-sidedly simple, and there is no reason for anyone to express or listen to opposing points of view. Therein lies the true road to tyranny: when government officials like Cohen berate people for expressing contrary points of view, free speech and dissent are chilled.

Alan Dershowitz. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Hulu)

Congressmen Steve Cohen, who has a long history of one-sided condemnation of Israel, recently called me a Nazi collaborator on MSNBC as the show's host Alex Witt sat silently by. Here is the context: several days earlier, I had been on a Fox News show discussing impeachment when the host and another panelist began attacking Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, who was preparing to testify the next day regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of the Ukraine. When the attack on Vindman occurred, I had never heard of him and had no idea why he was being vilified. Since I had no knowledge to offer, I remained silent about Vindman and continued to discuss the subject at hand, namely impeachment.

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The Palestinian Christmas Show

by Bassam Tawil  •  November 12, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "The Palestinian Authority has been offering us money to remain silent. They are trying to bribe us so we would remain silent about the crimes of the police." — Marian al-Hajal, video on Facebook, October 2019.

  • "We want a civil and humane state based on the rule of law and justice." — Palestinian Professor Jamal Harfoush, who currently lives in Latin America.

  • As far as Marian is concerned, the PA police version is nothing but an attempt to cover up for their criminal behavior. She and many Christians want the world to know, particularly on the eve of Christmas, that Christians have become easy prey under the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

  • As far as PA President Mahmoud Abbas is concerned, it is business as usual. The cries of the Christian family in Bet Jala seem entirely lost on him.... Abbas may be worried about the future of the hefty funding he gets from Christian countries and organizations, if they find out what his police did.... What he seeks is to continue ensuring the success of the Palestinian lie that Christians are fleeing because of Israel.

  • Will the international community and press continue to swallow -- as they have done year after year -- the diet of lies that the PA leaders and spokesmen feed them?

Following the death of her 63-year-old mother during a raid "for unpaid debts" by the Palestinian Authority (PA) police, Marian al-Hajal and many Christians want the world to know that Christians have become easy prey under the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Pictured: PA policemen stand in Manger Square, Bethlehem, in front of the Church of the Nativity. (Image source: iStock)

In a few weeks' time, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will perform its annual Christmas deception show. As is its custom, the PA will invite foreign journalists and diplomats to Bethlehem, where its spin doctors will wax poetic about good relations and harmony between Christians and Muslims in the city on the eve of Christmas. PA officials often seize this opportunity to blame Israel for the "plight" of Palestinian Christians, who make up only one percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

There is one incident, however, that the PA officials will do their utmost to keep under wraps. It is the story of 63-year-old Terez Ta'amneh, a Christian woman from the town of Bet Jala, near Bethlehem, who died when PA police officers raided her home to arrest her son, Yusef, for unpaid debts.

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Austria: Will Politics Enable a Minority to Impose an Agenda?

by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff  •  November 12, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • The Greens would be happy to replace Europe's Judeo-Christian cultural order with a radical multiculturalism that includes an acceptance of, and presumably a possible replacement by, the laws of Islam.

  • Replacing Europe's historical values could be the very path that [former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian] Kurz and his party have claimed to oppose.

Pictured: Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Austria's recent general election has implications for the West as a whole. The snap legislative election, held on September 29, was spurred by what has come to be called the "Ibiza scandal" – a scandal named after the location of a shady meeting that took place earlier in the year between Heinz-Christian Strache -- Austria's deputy chancellor and head of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) -- and a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

According to a video that surfaced in May of the clandestine meeting, the woman indicated her wish to take control of Austria's leading daily newspaper, Kronen Zeitung, and Strache said that he could assist her through governmental contracts in exchange for the financial backing of his party.

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Germany: "We Expect Imams from Abroad to Speak German"

by Soeren Kern  •  November 11, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The latest annual report of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.... warned that the Erdoğan-aligned Islamist movement Millî Görüş is strongly opposed to Muslim integration into European society....

  • The Konrad Adenauer Foundation also reported that the German government's initiative to offer Islamic theology courses at five German universities has failed to produce German-speaking imams. This failure stems, in part, from the fact that the Turkish government has refused to cooperate with the initiative.

  • The German government is unlikely to ban the foreign financing of mosques anytime in the near future. Such a move would, presumably, infuriate Erdoğan, who controls the floodgates of mass migration to Europe. Turkey continues to hold effective veto power over Germany's Islam policy.

The German government, after years of equivocating, has approved a measure that would require clergy from abroad to prove that they have sufficient German language skills before they are allowed to work in Germany. According to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (pictured), "Knowledge of the German language is indispensable for a successful integration... This is all the more important when clergy are reference points for many other immigrants. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

The German government, after years of equivocating, has approved a measure that would require clergy from abroad to prove that they have sufficient German language skills before they are allowed to work in Germany.

The move, aimed at cracking down on foreign government control over Muslims in Germany, comes after an academic study found that approximately 90% of the imams leading the 2,000 or so mosques in Germany are from abroad.

The new measure, approved by the Cabinet on November 6, would amend two German laws — the Employment Regulation for Foreigners (Beschäftigungsverordnung) and the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsverordnung) — to stipulate that, in the future, anyone seeking to obtain a residence permit for the exercise of religious employment must demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of German.

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Turkey: Hate Speech against Christians and Jews

by Sezen Şahin  •  November 11, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Member of Parliament Garo Paylan hinted that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not only failed to do enough to prevent hate speech, but actually has been instrumental in spreading it.

  • According to a study conducted by the Hrant Dink Foundation, in 2018, there were 4,839 editorials and news stories targeting national, ethnic and religious groups. Chief among those targeted were Jews and Armenians... The verbal attacks on those groups appear to have concrete consequences.

  • Perhaps when US President Donald J. Trump meets with Erdoğan in the White House this week, he might ask, as did Paylan: What kinds of activities does your government carry out to prevent hate speech?

Member of Parliament Garo Paylan hinted that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not only failed to do enough to prevent hate speech, but actually has been instrumental in spreading it. Pictured: Garo Paylan. (Image source: Armenian National Committee of America video screenshot)

Billboards with images of blood-splattered crosses and Stars of David that began to appear in October on bus stops in central Turkey were removed recently, after eliciting an explosive response from a concerned opposition parliamentarian and a complaint by the country's main human rights organization.

The disturbing images on the billboards -- created by the Islamist Anadolu Youth Association and the National Youth Foundation, affiliated with Islamist Felicity Party -- were accompanied by the Qur'anic verse, 5:51:

"O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers." (Arberry translation)

"Ey iman edenler! Yahudileri ve Hristiyanları dost edinmeyin. Onlar birbirlerinin dostudurlar ve sizden kim onları dost edinirse, O'da onlardandır. Allah zalimler topluluğunu doğru yola eriştirmez."

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