Latest Analysis and Commentary
by Raymond Ibrahim • August 25, 2019 at 5:00 am
Three men and one woman robbed, beat, and poisoned Sagheer Masih, a 35-year-old Christian auto-rickshaw driver. "He was well-mannered, polite and very friendly. Knowing he had the responsibility of taking care of three younger siblings... he ensured that he always got to work early and left late in order to gather as much money as he could to care for them.... Instead of killing him in on the spot, they forced him to drink poison and acid and left him there to die...." — International Christian Concern, June 20, 2019, Pakistan.
"Their tactic is to befriend someone when they come in [to prison]. If they don't convert, they will then start spreading rumours about them, that the person is a snitch, so that they will be ostracised. Then the beatings follow." — An inmate, according to a Ministry of Justice report; The Times, June 7, 2019, United Kingdom.
"We cannot allow the Christians... to allege that Jesus is the Son of God," explained one mosque leader; "this [is] a serious blasphemy to Muslims." — Morning Star News, June 3, 2019, Uganda.
Pictured: The small village of Sobane Da, in Mali, where at least 95 Christians were murdered by Fulani gunmen in June. (Image source: United Nations/MINUSMA/Flickr)
Slaughter of Christians
Mali: On June 9, Islamic Fulani gunmen massacred at least 95 Christians — including women and children. During their rampage in a Christian village, they set it ablaze before leaving; several of the slain were burned alive. "About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups," a survivor recalled. "They first surrounded the village and then attacked — anyone who tried to escape was killed.... No one was spared — women, children, elderly people." Security sources confirmed that the raiders also randomly killed domestic animals in the village. It was "virtually wiped out."
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by Amir Taheri • August 25, 2019 at 4:00 am
In one of those delicious ironies that add flavor to history, as the G7, which ended up including Russia after the fall of the USSR, saw its real power to affect global trends decline while its ambitions to rule the world spiraled. The group could do nothing about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the disintegration of the USSR, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the seizure of power by the mullahs in Iran, China shifting gears towards a capitalist system, the wars triggered by Saddam Hussein and the rise of international terrorism in the name of religion. More importantly, perhaps, the "global politburo" had no role in the dramatic technological changes that dragged the world into something bigger than the Industrial Revolution.
By the mid-1990s the G8 summit, as it was before Russia was kicked out, had morphed into a talking shop and a photo-op for political leaders in search of relevance in a new world they could no longer control. In one of the summits, hosted in Lyon by France, the participants made "decisions" on almost everything under the sun, knowing all along that they had neither the intention nor the power to act on any of them.
Well, how relevant is the G7 today? The short answer is: not very much.
How relevant is the G7 today? The short answer is: not very much. Pictured from left to right: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte and President of the European Council Donald Tusk pose during a G7 coordination meeting on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France. (Photo by Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
Journalists across the globe have always regarded this time of the year, the heart of the summer, as the silly season in which nothing of much interest happens, at least on the political front. The silly season is filled with news of the birth of double-headed sheep in New Zealand, the discovery of the remains of Atlantis, the lost continent, in the Algerian Sahara or, to add a bit of spice, the suicide of a pedophile billionaire in a high-security prison in America.
Thus, one might say that the G7 summit in the French resort town of Biarritz, starting Saturday, is an exception to the silly season rule. Or is it?
The summit was the brainchild of French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who first hosted it as a G6 in 1975 with Britain, Italy, Japan, West Germany, and the US attending.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh • August 24, 2019 at 5:00 am
The controversy surrounding the crackdown on illegal workers and businesses, and the increased fear in Lebanon that the Palestinian protests could plunge the country into violence and anarchy, are likely to escalate in the coming days: the Lebanese authorities appear determined to continue.
Lebanon's discriminatory and apartheid laws and measures against Palestinians are not new. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinians in Lebanon are excluded from key facets of social, political and economic life. Palestinian refugees face legal restrictions that limit their rights, including the prohibition to work in 39 professions and to own property. Moreover, they have limited access to state-provided services such as health and education. Professions that remain prohibited for Palestinians include healthcare, engineering, transport, fishing, and the public sector and law.
It takes little imagination to predict the global uproar were, say, Israel to ban Arabs from working as engineers, can drivers, nurses or physicians. The international community and pro-Palestinian groups, however, seem distinctly indifferent about the plight of Palestinians in an Arab country.
While the Lebanese people's fear of Palestinian violence in their country is warranted, there is no reason why any Arab country should be subjecting Palestinians to discriminatory and apartheid regulations. The story of the mistreatment of Palestinians in Lebanon is a microcosm of a bigger problem: the Arab "betrayal" and "abandonment" of Palestinians.
It is time for the Arab countries to replace lip service to the Palestinians with deeds. It is also time for the international community and so-called pro-Palestinian groups to start reckoning with the real suffering of Palestinians, particularly in Lebanon.
Many Lebanese have expressed concern over the growing Palestinian protests in their country – particularly that the demonstrations are now taking place outside Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Pictured: The Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images)
The Lebanese are angry. Why? Because Palestinians are protesting a crackdown on illegal foreign workers in Lebanon, thereby exposing Lebanese racism and a hatred of their Palestinian brothers.
For the past three weeks, thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon have been demonstrating against the Lebanese authorities' crackdown on illegal workers, which is directed mainly against Palestinians and Syrians living there.
"The Palestinians are not foreigners in Lebanon," said the Palestinian academic and political analyst, Abdel Sattar Qassem.
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by Denis MacEoin • August 23, 2019 at 5:00 am
It is important... to note that, in recent years, many Muslims have openly and firmly come out to oppose all forms of Jewish hatred and anti-Zionism.
In the West, they are the best integrated, and therefore and should be given the greatest support from social agencies and governments.
On April 24, 2014, thirty French imams signed an open letter in Le Monde, in which they denounced antisemitism and terrorism... Similarly, [in] May 18, 2018, a group of prominent British Muslims placed an open letter... in the Daily Telegraph to urge other Muslims to come out against antisemitism whenever it can be seen.
"[W]e also admit and have to be honest that there is a substantial set of people within Muslim communities who circulate anti-Semitic tropes and who use the Palestinians and their quest for statehood, as a means of targeting Jewish communities. This is not acceptable...." — 'Muslims Against Antisemitism' website (United Kingdom).
These reform-minded individuals and groups deserve our full support.
On February 19, 2019, thousands, including French President Emmanuel Macron and other politicians, gathered in Paris to protest the sharp rise of antisemitism in France. Among the crowds was a group of male and female Muslims who carried a banner reading "Musulmans Contre l'Antisémitisme" (Muslims Against Antisemitism), with a proper Arabic translation underneath. Pictured: The February 19, 2019 rally in Paris. (Image source: Olevy/Wikimedia Commons)
It is no secret that Muslims have for centuries found ways to follow an anti-Jewish ideology embedded within holy books. In the Qur'an, for instance, one verse says:
Say (O Muhammad SAW to the people of the Scripture): "Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah: those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath, those of whom (some) He transformed into monkeys and swines, those who worshipped Taghut (false deities); such are worse in rank (on the Day of Resurrection in the Hellfire), and far more astray from the Right Path (in the life of this world)." -- (Qur'an 5:60; Mohsin Khan translation]
A hadith promises:
"That on Judgment Day, the Muslims will fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and the trees will speak, calling upon the Muslims: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill them.'"
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by Majid Rafizadeh • August 22, 2019 at 5:00 am
"As long as Iran has money, we will have money...." — Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Lebanese paramilitary party; CNSnews.com.
"Iran Executed 110 In Six Months, Including Minors" — Radio Farda, July 5, 2019.
It is not hard to track Iran's aggression and quest for regional dominance in the Middle East.
What should come as a surprise, is that the Democratic presidential candidates have apparently not learned a thing from the damage their nuclear deal inflicted -- in Iran, in the region and even as far as Venezuela -- under the leadership of their former president.
The Democratic Party's presidential campaign is receiving massive interest in Iran. Pictured: A Democratic Party presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The ruling mullahs of Iran, whose undue influence and bullying in the region have been significantly restrained by America in times past, have, as expected, been championing hate and dissent against Washington. They have been monitoring events in the United States with keen attention; a vivid example is the massive interest the Democratic Party's presidential campaign is receiving from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs seem to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Democratic Party -- why not? The former administration of President Barack Obama was most generous and sympathetic to their cause: being able to create a nuclear-weapons capability.
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by Raymond Ibrahim • August 22, 2019 at 4:00 am
While the persecution of a Christian can be motivated by particular circumstances -- conflicts, sexual attraction, convenience, gain, and so on -- attacks on inanimate symbols would seem to reflect a hatred for Christianity and its followers that needs no "reason" and seemingly gains nothing.
From one end of the Middle Eastern world to the other -- and in Arab, African and Asian nations, and increasingly in the West -- this sort of hate has become a regular occurrence, seemingly "normalized."
Although so-called "mainstream media" reported some of the desecrations -- probably mostly because the Islamic State had already publicized them -- they rarely report that "everyday" extremists also engage in this macabre practice.
Sadly, despite the Western establishment's insistence that religiously-inspired terror is a product of anything and everything but teachings, doctrines and text, the widespread appearance of people desecrating Christian graves and their crosses speaks of something else.
Pictured: A caretaker at the Commonwealth military cemetery in Gaza City stands over broken headstones on May 10, 2004 in the Gaza Strip. Vandals with axes and shovels desecrated 32 graves of soldiers killed in World War I, including those from Britain and India. (Photo by Getty Images)
Although the persecution by members of some religions of live human beings, such as Jews and Christians, is certainly more monstrous, attacks on inanimate religious symbols possibly give an even clearer indication of a deadly hate borne for the "other."
Consider, for instance, extremists desecrating and destroying Christian cemeteries and their crosses. While the act itself is largely "symbolic" -- in that no living person gets hurt -- it is also reflective of a committed hatred that transcends, say, responding to a physical threat. While the persecution of a Christian can be motivated by particular circumstances -- conflicts, sexual attraction, convenience, gain, and so on -- attacks on inanimate symbols would seem to reflect a hatred for Christianity and its followers that needs no "reason" and seemingly gains nothing.
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by Bassam Tawil • August 21, 2019 at 5:00 am
While Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib is using the controversy surrounding her visit as an excuse to launch scathing attacks on Israel, Palestinians seem to be more worried about failed leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This concern is not something that Tlaib seems to share with Palestinians because for her the only wrong-doing is coming from Israel.
"Praising suicide bombers and pushing blood libel is not 'criticizing Israeli policy.'" — Charles Sykes, The Bulwark, August 19, 2019.
As a Congresswoman, Tlaib should have been worried that a US Embassy was forced to cancel an event to help Palestinians because of threats and calls for a boycott.
It would have been helpful had the Palestinian-American Congresswoman made an effort to persuade Palestinian Authority officials to resume their relations with the US administration and explore ways of boosting the Palestinian economy and improving living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a Congresswoman, she should be working to build, and not destroy, bridges between her people and the US. Her fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, however, embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans.
If Tlaib really cared about the Palestinians, she should be campaigning against the PA and Hamas leaders engaged in a power struggle over money and power. Moreover, she should be calling for reforms and democracy under the PA and Hamas. The least she could do is demand an end to human rights violations by the PA and Hamas or demand that they hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. She could also demand an end to crackdown on freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas.
As a Palestinian-American Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib should be working to build, and not destroy, bridges between her people and the US. Her fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, however, embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans. (Photo by Christ Chavez/Getty Images)
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib is apparently upset because she was not able to agitate against Israel during a proposed visit to her grandmother there.
"I would like to request admittance to Israel," she had written, "in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit. Thank you, Rashida Tlaib."
When her letter was leaked to the media, however, Tlaib quickly backtracked:
"Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart."
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by Lawrence A. Franklin • August 21, 2019 at 4:00 am
In the short term, al-Qaeda evidently wants to pressure the United States to withdraw from direct involvement in the Middle East. ISIS, on the other hand, wants to cleanse the region's Arab regimes of secular dictatorships, corrupt ruling elites and insufficiently devout Muslim intelligentsia.
There is, however, a serious complication. The Taliban-al-Qaeda coalition is now being challenged by increasingly strong ISIS forces in several Afghan provinces. The United Nations recently estimated that ISIS still have roughly $300 million at their disposal. Moreover, some "disaffected" or hardline Taliban fighters opposed to ongoing negotiations with the U.S. are defecting to ISIS.
The West should take no pleasure in the global competition between al-Qaeda and ISIS. It is a competition that incentivizes each terrorist network to upgrade its recruitment appeal for the next generation of jihadists.
In its effort to sustain a pro-Western regime in Afghanistan, the United States might instead take advantage of an opportunity already in place. In an area of such unrest, and where it is still unclear what the word of those making promises is worth, it might be wise to keep a modest footprint rather than withdraw all troops. To abandon the area totally, as President Obama abandoned Syria and Iraq, and then find it overrun with terrorist groups, would be, as one saw, a catastrophic mistake.... Although admittedly less than ideal, it still be might be far less costly in life and treasure, as with the Middle East, to safeguard the area and gather intelligence, rather than to leave and then have to go back. It is an opportunity that would be foolhardy to give up.
In its effort to sustain a pro-Western regime in Afghanistan, the United States might instead take advantage of an opportunity already in place... it still be might be far less costly in life and treasure to safeguard the area and gather intelligence, rather than to leave and then have to go back. Pictured: U.S. soldiers on patrol near Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2014. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
While the world's two most prominent and competing jihadist networks, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), share the ultimate objective of establishing a global Islamic caliphate and ushering in the apocalyptic age of the Mahdi. Their intermediate goal seems to be replacing the liberal nation-state system with a worldwide Muslim Ummah. Their immediate aims are different.
In the short term, Al-Qaeda evidently wants to pressure the United States to withdraw from direct involvement in the Middle East. ISIS, on the other hand, wants to cleanse the region's Arab regimes of secular dictatorships, corrupt ruling elites and insufficiently devout Muslim intelligentsia.
Al-Qaeda and ISIS also differ in strategy, tactics, relations with fellow Muslims, treatment of non-Muslims and methods of proselytization.
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by Judith Bergman • August 20, 2019 at 5:00 am
How does a society deal with religious institutions that profess values which are the very opposite of the value system of the Western society in which they live?
"When I was in high school, there were around 50,000 people with a non-Western background in Denmark. Today, there are almost half a million. In one generation, our country has changed". — Lars Løkke Rasmussen, then prime minister of Denmark, January 1, 2019.
The Integration Barometer -- which measures the degree of assimilation in the municipality among young people with a non-Western background -- showed that almost one third of 18-29 year-olds (31%) believe that "religious and cultural laws must be adhered to, even though they may be contrary to [Danish] law". The issue, then, is whether these young people believe that Islamic sharia law should take precedence over Danish law.... In addition, the number of youths who view democracy in a positive light has fallen from 86% in 2016 to 79% in 2018.
It recently came to light... that a committee under the government's Ministry of Church Affairs, which is responsible for formally approving mosques in Denmark, has been handing out approvals for them without knowing "whether they [the mosques] were ruled from abroad, whether women's rights were suppressed, or there were other problematic conditions". Formal approval of a mosque means that the mosque becomes eligible for tax benefits and is permitted to bring foreign preachers to Denmark on a special visa.
When the association behind the mosque [asked]... to be approved as a religious community, it had in its statutes a provision saying it operated under the supervision of Iran's 'Supreme Leader', Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At first, this news was a matter of concern for the Ministry of Church Affairs, but then Ahlul Bait simply rewrote its statutes and the ministry gave its approval.
In his New Year's speech on January 1, 2019, Denmark's then prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, mentioned that religious parallel societies constitute a problem and that immigrants need to learn to "put secular laws over religious ones". (Photo by Rune Hellestad/Getty Images)
Earlier this year, in his New Year's speech, Denmark's prime minister at the time, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, mentioned that religious parallel societies constitute a problem and that immigrants need to learn to "put secular laws over religious ones".
What, however, if, in the community involved, there seems no desire to do that?
"When I was in high school", Rasmussen continued "there were around 50,000 people with a non-Western background in Denmark. Today, there are almost half a million. In one generation, our country has changed".
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by Andrew Ash • August 20, 2019 at 4:00 am
Rashida Tlaib had asked to go to "Palestine," which so far does not exist, on a trip arranged and co-sponsored by a Palestinian not-for-profit organization, Miftah, headed by longtime Israel-antagonist, Hanan Ashrawi. The group is described by Becket Adams in the Washington Examiner as "an exceptionally anti-Semitic group that praises Palestinian terrorists and claims Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover. The organization also publishes Neo-Nazis and calls for the destruction of Israel." Miftah has also called female suicide bombers heroes.
"I have never felt more Palestinian, than I have felt in Congress", she defiantly declared to the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights in April 2019. That does seem a bit rich, coming from the same woman who has taken succour in tweeting that Senators who supported a pro-Israel bill "forget what country they represent."
She simply seems uninterested in any type of protest that does not involve either noisy eviction or arrest, or in which she cannot get attention or be regarded as a victim. It is hard not to wonder what she is doing for her constituents. Is the wish to bash Israel actually what keeps the good voters of Michigan awake at night? And is anti-Semitism now the accepted new face of the Democrat party?
"I have to tell you, we have to understand first, what is the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement? It's an anti-Semitic, basically genocidal movement that wants to see the end of Israel. So make no mistake, these are not moderates coming to visit Israel. Israel per its 2017 law has a right to prohibit activists, especially those who want to see it wiped off the map, from coming in." – M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (left) had asked to go to "Palestine," which so far does not exist, on a trip arranged and co-sponsored by a Palestinian not-for-profit organization, Miftah, a group described in the Washington Examiner as "an exceptionally anti-Semitic group that praises Palestinian terrorists and claims Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover." (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D- Michigan) decided to pull the plug on the trip to Israel she was due to make, originally with her fellow "Squad" member, Ilhan Omar, after they both were invited on an official congressional trip but declined.
Although both Tlaib, and the equally outspoken Ms Omar, had initially been refused entry because of their radical views promoting the obliteration of Israel by boycotting it, being boycotted back was not part of the plan, it would appear. Tlaib was finally granted permission on "humanitarian grounds", after an emotive plea to Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, in which she set out her reasons for wanting to visit her Palestinian grandmother in the West Bank.
The newly minted congresswoman then back-tracked and has now decided to cancel the trip altogether.
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by Soeren Kern • August 19, 2019 at 5:00 am
The legislation's main barriers to Spanish citizenship have been obligatory exams on Spanish language and socio-cultural history, the need to travel to Spain and exorbitant fees and costs — all without any guarantee of success.
"We want to express our disappointment because this law, which was supposed to restore justice, has become increasingly complicated. If we observe the procedures, the prerequisites, the number of documents to be submitted, the certified translations, the fees, the language and culture exams and the need to travel to Spain, we cannot but wonder about the reason for all of these hurdles." — Jon Iñarritu García, a congressman representing the Basque Country.
Although official data on the number of Sephardic Jews who will have obtained Spanish citizenship under the 2015 law will not be available until all applications are processed... initial indications show that the law has failed to "right a wrong."
Spain today has one of the smallest Jewish communities in the EU. Fewer than 50,000 Jews currently live in Spain -- a fraction of the number who lived in the country before 1492, when they were forced to convert to Catholicism or leave the country. Pictured: The "El Transito" Synagogue in Toledo, Spain, which was dedicated in 1357. When the Jews were expelled in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave the building to the Church. (Image source: Selbymay/Wikimedia Commons)
A piece of much-heralded legislation to grant Spanish citizenship to up to 3.5 million descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492 is about to end in failure: fewer than 10,000 Jews have been awarded Spanish passports ahead of an October 1, 2019 deadline.
Spanish leaders promised that the law — which entered into force on October 1, 2015 for a period of three years and was extended for one additional year — would "right a historic wrong" and demonstrate that more than 500 years after the Inquisition began, Jews are once again welcome in Spain.
The legislation, however, introduced so many cumbersome bureaucratic hurdles to obtain Spanish citizenship that most prospective hopefuls appear to have been deterred from even initiating the application process.
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by Alan M. Dershowitz • August 19, 2019 at 4:00 am
Let me be clear: I never met Virginia Giuffre, who is now 36 years old. There is documented evidence that until she met her lawyers in 2014, Giuffre never accused me.... In one email, a well-known journalist urged her to include my name because of my fame, writing that although there is "no proof " that Dershowitz had sex with you, he is a "good name for your pitch." Giuffre then included me, but as someone who she met and did not have sex with.
And later, after meeting her lawyers who are seeking millions of dollars of compensation, she suddenly "remembered" having had sex with me in seven different locations, despite incontrovertible documentary evidence that I could not have been at those locations during the relevant time periods. The bottom line: There is not a scintilla of evidence corroborating Giuffre's accusations against me.
Here is the truth: Secret Service and other records prove that the Gores and [Bill] Clinton were never on Epstein's island. She vividly remembered spending her "sweet 16" birthday celebration with Epstein, but her employment records prove – and she now concedes – that she didn't meet Epstein until a year after she turned 16. This means she was above the age of consent at the time she claimed to have had sex with Epstein's friends. It is not just me, the Gores and Bill Clinton that Giuffre falsely accused.
The time has come to investigate Giuffre's claims. Months ago, I published and op-ed asking the FBI to investigate me, as well as my accuser and her lawyers... Lying under oath is a crime. I want both of our accounts fully investigated and the person not telling the truth to be prosecuted. I believe that false accusations of sexual misconduct, deliberately made to obtain money, is a serious crime.
Alan Dershowitz. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Hulu)
For nearly five years, I and my family have been victims of a premeditated, financially motivated effort to destroy me personally and professionally.
I believe if the authorities investigated the matter, they would conclude I was a victim of a serious crime. The suicide of Jeffrey Epstein last weekend has again raised the scandal involving him to national headlines.
One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has accused me of having sex with her when she was below the age of consent.
It is a false accusation, demonstrably so as more documented evidence has emerged that indicates the claims against me were suggested by others who stood to benefit financially by accusing me.
Let me be clear: I never met Virginia Giuffre, who is now 36 years old.
There is documented evidence that until she met her lawyers in 2014, Giuffre never accused me.
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by Giulio Meotti • August 18, 2019 at 5:00 am
"I don't believe in these two words [human rights], there are no human rights. But in Western countries, there are animal rights. In Australia they take care of frogs.... Look upon us as frogs, we'll accept that — just protect us so we can stay in our land." — Metropolitan Nicodemus, the Syriac Orthodox archbishop of Mosul, National Catholic Register.
"Those people are the same ones who came here many years ago. And we accepted them. We are the original people in this land. We accepted them, we opened the doors for them, and they push us to be minorities in our land, then refugees in our land. And this will be with you if you don't wake up." — Metropolitan Nicodemus.
"Threats to pandas cause more emotion" than threats to the extinction of the Christians in the Middle East. — Amin Maalouf, French-Lebanese author, Le Temps.
Most Christian churches in and around Mosul, Iraq were desecrated or destroyed by ISIS. Pictured: The heavily damaged bell tower of Saint John's Church (Mar Yohanna) in the town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, on April 16, 2017. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Convert, pay or die. Five years ago, that was the "choice" the Islamic State (ISIS) gave to Christians in Mosul, then Iraq's third-largest city: either embrace Islam, submit to a religious tax or face the sword. ISIS then marked Christian houses with the Arabic letter ن (N), the first letter of the Arabic word "Nasrani" ("Nazarene," or "Christian") . Christians could often take no more than the clothes on their back and flee a city that had been home to Christians for 1,700 years.
Two years ago, ISIS was defeated in Mosul and its Caliphate crushed. The extremists, however, had succeeded in "cleansing" the Christians. Before the rise of ISIS, there were more than 15,000 Christians there. In July 2019, the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, disclosed that only about 40 Christians have come back. Not long ago, Mosul had "Christmas celebrations without Christians".
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by Amir Taheri • August 18, 2019 at 4:00 am
Iran is one of few countries in the world where the list of celebrities at any given time includes a number of poets and where poetry recitals draw crowds that compete with those of pop-music concerts.
One of the first acts of Khomeini's regime was to have the young poet Saeed Soltanpour, abducted from his wedding ceremony, and executed on a spurious charge of "Communist militancy." Later, the poet Rahman Hatefi-Monfared, alias Heydar Mehregan, also a noted journalist, was put to death under torture in one of Khomeini's prisons.
Celebrating [Esmail ] Khoi's great poetical achievement would be a fit tribute to what three generations of Persian poets have achieved during almost a century of exceptional creativity. Nobel judges should not miss the opportunity to share the joy that modern Persian poetry has given lovers of poetry all over the world.
Whatever you may think of Iran, you are likely to acknowledge it as one of the oldest homelands of poetry. Any list of top poets from all over the world is likely to include at least one or two Persian names -- say Omar Khayyam or Molavi (Rumi). Pictured: Omar Khayyam. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
Whatever you may think of Iran, you are likely to acknowledge it as one of the oldest homelands of poetry. Any list of top poets from all over the world is likely to include at least one or two Persian names -- say Omar Khayyam or Molavi (Rumi). Goethe believed that poetry has reached its peak of beauty with Hafez of Shiraz.
I know of only two countries, Iran and Russia, where poetry still finds a mass audience and poets could attain celebrity status.
Ask any Iranian who the persons they most admire are and you are likely to hear a list of poets -- from Ferdowsi and Saadi centuries ago to Iraj Mirza and Forugh Farrokhzad more recently. For the average Iranian, the poet is not only a creator of beauty but also the guardian of the nation's conscience. Iran is one of few countries in the world where the list of celebrities at any given time includes a number of poets and where poetry recitals draw crowds that compete with those of pop-music concerts.
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by Gordon G. Chang • August 17, 2019 at 5:00 am
The People's Republic of China, nonetheless, is already an AI powerhouse, and for America to maintain its edge—and to prevent U.S. tech from being used for exceedingly disturbing purposes —Washington should force U.S. companies to end cooperative AI projects in China.
The West should be seriously concerned: whoever wins at AI will both dominate the global economy and field the most destructive conventional military force.
Unfortunately, American companies are helping China's leaders in what many call—correctly—crimes against humanity. For instance, AI researchers from Microsoft, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Michigan State University gave keynote speeches at the Chinese Conference on Biometric Recognition in Xinjiang in August of last year on facial recognition, a social-control technology.
Some of Google's research is in China. The company has three AI operations there: the Google AI China Center in Beijing, established in 2017, and partnerships with China's two premier educational institutions, Peking University and Tsinghua University....If the labs remain open, the net flow of AI learning will be out of the U.S. into China.
Moreover, Chinese researchers, if they could not work for American companies in China, would not, as Vox suggests, necessarily find employment in their homeland. Some of those seeking research slots would follow other Chinese to the United States, and that would exacerbate one of Beijing's big AI vulnerabilities. "China's Path to AI Domination Has a Problem: Brain Drain," is the title of an August 7 article posted by the MIT Technology Review. The U.S. can make that crucial problem even more severe.
Chinese artificial intelligence. We need to ask what would happen if the world's most dangerous regime were to dominate the world's most powerful technology. Photo: Getty Images.
China, writes Amy Webb in Inc., has been "building a global artificial intelligence empire, and seeding the tech ecosystem of the future." It has been particularly successful, Webb, the founder of the Future Today Institute, believes. "China is poised to become its undisputed global leader, and that will affect every business," she notes.
Not everyone shares Webb's assessment that Chinese researchers are in the lead. America, after all, is home to most leading AI tech. The People's Republic of China, nonetheless, is already an AI powerhouse, and for America to maintain its edge—and to prevent U.S. tech from being used for exceedingly disturbing purposes, Washington should force U.S. companies to end cooperative AI projects in China.
Artificial intelligence permits machines to mimic human functions such as driving vehicles, recognizing spoken words, and playing games of skill like chess and Go.
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