Latest Analysis and Commentary

Why Palestinians Do Not Have a Parliament

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  October 18, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances. They cannot write to or phone their elected legislators to complain about anything. All they can do is resort to social media, especially Facebook, to air their views.

  • As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not tolerate criticism particularly well, he doubtless feels more comfortable delivering speeches at international forums such as the United Nations, the European Parliament and his own Fatah and PLO institutions than at the Palestinian parliament. The others are places where no one takes him to task for his tyranny.

  • In the past few years, scores of Palestinians have been harassed, arrested and interrogated by Abbas's security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.

The Fatah Revolutionary Council, dominated by people loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has recommended that Abbas dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). This is yet another attempt by Abbas to silence his critics and prevent an open debate among Palestinians about his policies. Pictured: The PLC building in Ramallah on January 28, 2006, three days after its last election. (Photo by Zharan Hammad/Getty Images)

Parliaments, among the strongest manifestations of a democracy, represent the electorate, enact laws and oversee the government through hearings and inquiries.

Apparently, this does not apply to the Palestinians, who, as a result of the power struggle between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, have, for the past 11 years, been without a functioning parliament.

The Palestinian Authority's unicameral legislature is the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Both the PA and PLC were established after the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993. The first Palestinian legislative election took place in January 1996. The second, and last, election took place in January 2006; it resulted in a victory for Hamas.

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UNESCO: Why the United States Needs to Watch Out

by Shoshana Bryen  •  October 18, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • The Old Testament is read by Christians with the same reverence as the New Testament. Jesus did NOT send the money changers out of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

  • UNESCO votes inform the way people think about history. One can disagree with Israeli policies and practices while agreeing that the Land of Israel is the historic space of the Jewish people. But when UNESCO erases that connection, there remains no reason to posit that there should be a State of Israel at all. Which leaves the Hamas and Fatah position that "Palestine from the River to the Sea" as the natural arrangement of things.

  • To the extent that Europeans (and some Americans) dismiss their traditional, biblically grounded understanding of the Middle East, Israel and the free world are less secure. UNESCO's members understand that such dismissal by the West advances their goal toward the elimination of Israel. The United States should, too.

UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. (Image source: Fred Romero/Flickr)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), regarding international interest in preserving historic sites in Israel, is a sham. Its work consists mainly of denying a Jewish connection to the land and its history. In a 2016 vote, UNESCO denied any connection between Israel and its historic Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- a retaining wall which is all that is left of the ancient Jewish Temples (Solomon's Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE).

In 2017, UNESCO's resolution on "Occupied Palestine" announced that:

"...all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the 'basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith..."

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Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google's Poisonous 'Dragonfly'

by Judith Bergman  •  October 17, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • If the big social media companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

  • Google has decided it will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work because Google employees were upset that the technology might be used for lethal military purposes. Yet Google is planning to launch a censored search engine in China that will empower a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state.

  • Freedom Watch filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, claiming that they suppress conservative speech online.

  • A Media Research Center report found that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube stifle conservative speech and that in some instances staffers have admitted that doing so was intentional.

  • Chinese officials prevented a journalist, Liu Hu, from taking a flight because he had a low "social credit" score. According to China's Global Times, as of the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed rail trips.

Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, code-named "Dragonfly," which will aid and abet a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state. (Image source: [Photo of woman] iStock)

The internet, especially social media, has become one of the primary places for people to exchange viewpoints and ideas. Social media is where a considerable part of the current national conversation takes place.

Arguably, big tech companies, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, therefore carry a responsibility to ensure that their platforms are equally accessible to all voices in that national conversation. As private commercial entities, the social media giants are not prima facie legally bound by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and are free to set their own standards and conditions for the use of their platforms. Ideally, those standards should be applied equally to all users, regardless of political or other persuasion. If, however, these companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

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Turkey: Enabling Mass Illegal Migration into Greece

by Uzay Bulut  •  October 17, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Turkish authorities repeatedly have threatened Europe with an influx of migrants. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threats should not be ignored.

  • Ever since the migrant crisis started to escalate in 2011 -- with the onset of civil war in Syria -- those who were critical of mass, unchecked immigration have been called "racists," "bigots" or "Islamophobes."

  • Today, however, the continued chaos in many European countries caused by immigration, and accompanying increase in crime -- including murder and rape committed by Islamist extremists -- appear to have proven the critics right.

A recent surge of illegal migrant arrivals has put the Greek city of Thessaloniki in crisis. "Dozens of migrants have turned Aristotelous square in the center of Thessaloniki to a makeshift camp," with many "sleeping in the open." Pictured: The Idomeni migrant relocation camp, near Thessaloniki. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Greece is currently facing a serious surge in undocumented migrant arrivals in the Evros region, an entry point for migrants illegally trying to enter the country from Turkey. Arrivals have roughly doubled since 2017, and Athens is holding Ankara responsible.

The influx from places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh and African countries into Turkey reportedly has been on the rise in recent months, with 1.5 million people from Muslim countries waiting on the Iranian border to enter Turkey. This has sparked fears in Athens that they could be heading for Greece.

According to a fact sheet released last month by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), "Sea arrivals [in Greece] peaked this month with 4,000 people. Land arrivals through Evros also increased to 1,400."

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What Multiculturalism Hides

by Jan Keller  •  October 16, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The policy of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the benefits of cultural diversity for society and the state, is an example of the exploitation of others based on a fantasy of virtue. Those at whom the sweet talk of multiculturalism is aimed, can see that it has done nothing to improve their lot, and are now realizing that their future is bleak.

  • If we bring in highly qualified immigrants to our workforce, we would be taking away from poorer countries the best they have to offer, and the situation in those countries will further deteriorate. The result will be an even greater flow of unskilled migrants escaping those countries.

  • The proponents of the new multiculturalism want to share their welfare states with masses of refugees who -- through no fault of their own -- will be unable to participate in financing themselves for a long time to come.

(Image source: iStock)

Multiculturalism is not a manifestation of Europe's generosity, or some noble embodiment of love and truth. Multiculturalism is what remains after mass migration reveals itself as a threat, rather than a benefit, to the economies of European countries.

Take, for instance, the example of France. After the Second World War, when France underwent a boom of economic growth, waves of migration were viewed favorably: there were many job opportunities for unskilled and medium-skilled laborers, and the native French population aspired to work in the tertiary sector, which offered more qualified, better-paid jobs. From the end of the war until the mid-1970s, foreign workers tended to come to France temporarily, without their families, and return to their countries of origin. These workers were generally recruited from former French colonies to do menial and low-paying jobs -- not in order to enrich the culture of the host country.

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Saudi Arabia: Challenges for "Vision 2030"

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  October 16, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • To execute the IPO of Saudi Aramco in a successful and timely way, the Saudi government needs to deal appropriately with definite issues.

  • These include claims that Saudi Aramco has been overvalued by Saudis; "concerns about minority shareholder rights, the transparency of oil reserves," and "how the Saudi government will balance national interests and its duty to shareholders" ; meeting the New York Stock Exchange's stringent transparency standards; and the possibility that a New York listing places the IPO at risk of being seized in lawsuits claiming Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11 attacks.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the strategic plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to boost the kingdom's economy, is facing a major challenge. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the strategic plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to boost the kingdom's economy, is facing a major challenge. Its cornerstone -- the opening up of the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco to outside investors -- is possibly being postponed by at least a year, to 2021.

Since early 2016, the Saudi government, Aramco's sole shareholder, has been working to place up to 5 percent of Aramco on the stock market. In October 2017, MBS told Reuters that Aramco's IPO was on track for 2018, and that it could be valued at more than $2 trillion. In an interview in Washington, DC in March 2018, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, "We have prepared all documentation to be ready to do both domestic and international listings." He added, however, that the kingdom needed to be sure whether "this [is] an optimum time to execute."

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The Palestinian Battle against a Plan that Does Not Exist

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  October 15, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • While Palestinian hatred for President Trump and his administration does not come as a surprise, what is strange is that the two Palestinians factions -- Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- are now using the US president's awaited plan to throw mud at one another.

  • Mahmoud Abbas evidently wants the world to believe that Hamas is working for Trump and Israel. Hamas, for its part, wants Palestinians to believe that if anyone is part of the Trump administration's "conspiracy," it is Abbas and his Fatah faction.

  • Guess who gets caught in the crossfire -- again. The Palestinians. It is they who continue to pay the price for the vicious strife between their "leaders" -- in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas evidently wants the world to believe that Hamas is working for President Trump and Israel. Pictured: Abbas delivers a speech at the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

No Palestinian -- or anyone else for that matter -- has been made privy to US President Donald J. Trump's long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, which has also been referred to as the "deal of the century." This minor detail however, has not prevented the Palestinians from rejecting the rumored plan, on the pretext that it is aimed at "liquidating" the Palestinian cause and national rights.

Hardly a day passes without Palestinian leaders and officials across the political spectrum behaving as if they know every detail of the "deal of the century." The Palestinians are not even prepared to wait until the US administration actually presents a plan.

The Palestinian rejection of a yet-to-be-announced peace plan should not surprise anyone. The Palestinians will never accept any plan from a US administration they consider extremely "hostile" to the Palestinians and "biased" in favor of Israel.

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Global Zero and Its Nuclear Globaloney

by Peter Huessy  •  October 15, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • According to the Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, an agreement on "No First Use" would be in a new treaty -- one in which everyone "sincerely vows" never to use nuclear weapons first.

  • If warheads were actually removed from both submarine- and silo-based missiles, however, it would take months to put them back on the missiles, assuming the storage facilities used for the warheads were not destroyed in a preemptive Russian or Chinese attack. Talk about painting a bull's-eye on your nuclear forces.

The Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, calls for the unilateral disarmament of more than two-thirds of the US nuclear deterrent, including placing most US warheads in storage bunkers far removed from the missiles that could carry them. Pictured: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California during an operational test on April 26, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

The Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, has released a new 107-page report -- "The End of Nuclear Warfighting: Moving to a Deterrence-Only Posture" -- that calls for the unilateral disarmament of more than two-thirds of the US nuclear deterrent and the adoption of a Chinese deterrent strategy including placing most US warheads in storage bunkers far removed from the missiles that could carry them.

The report's conclusions are as follows:

US Deterrent Policy

  • China and Russia have no incentive to attack the United States, so the US can cut in half its nuclear arsenal -- unilaterally -- as the US no longer has to worry about the size of the Russian nuclear arsenal in measuring its own deterrent.

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Christians Sentenced to Death Under Sharia Law

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  October 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

  • In response to the latest abuses against Christians, Amnesty International has initiated an "urgent action" appeal. It has called on the Iranian regime to "quash the convictions and sentences of Victor Bet-Tamraz, Shamiram Isavi, Amin Afshar-Naderi, and Hadi Asgari, as they have been targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedoms of religion and belief, expression, and association, through their Christian faith." However there are far more stories of Christian persecution throughout Iran, than just these four.

  • What is important to note is that in countries, run by sharia law, the constitution becomes inferior to the Islamist laws of the land. When radical Islam gains power, every article in the constitution becomes contingent on compliance with sharia. The rights that are promised in the constitution therefore become null and void.

  • It is not enough to hope that one day Christians will be able to practice their faith in Iran without fear of persecution or death; action must be taken by the global community to ensure that the Iranian regime stands by its own constitution and provides its Christian citizens with equal rights and protections.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Virgin Mary Tehran, Iran. (Image source: Orijentolog/Wikimedia Commons)

Frequently, Shiite Islamic preachers and leaders can be heard stating that Islam recognized "People of the Book," which refers to Christians and Jews. This assertion sounds as if Islam gives Christian and Jews the same level of status and respect as their Muslim counterparts.

That argument was recently confirmed when the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, claimed that "Christians have the same rights as others do." With that confirmation, it might be easy to assume that Christians are relatively safe in Iran. But are they?

In speeches, and on paper, these words probably give the impression that Christians are not only welcome in Iran, but given equal rights and protections. However, the everyday experiences of Christians in Iran, tell a very different story.

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"Genocide against Christians"
Extremist Persecution of Christians, April 2018

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  October 14, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Two days later, Christian homes in the region were attacked again. "Some Muslim villagers had a meeting in one of the mosques. They incited people against us. After the meeting they set fire to a wood store owned by my brother, and four other houses," said another Christian resident. Police responded by arresting five Christians as they tried to put out the fire. — Egypt.

  • On April 27, the government made the death penalty "mandatory" for anyone who blasphemes against Islam... And in the case of blasphemous remarks or sacrilegious acts, according to the law, the death penalty is now mandatory." — Voice of the Martyrs, Mission Network News, Mauritania.

  • A Christian nun who was driven out of her convent in Qaraqosh, Iraq by the Islamic State was denied a visa from the nation that provided refugee status to tens of thousands of Muslim men. — United Kingdom.

A Muslim migrant from Pakistan vandalized two churches in Germany, including St. Peter's Church in Chemnitz (pictured at right), on April 23. (Image source: (Zaufatsch/Wikimedia Commons)

Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Pakistan: A Muslim man set a Christian woman on fire because she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. Asma Yaqoob, 25, with burns covering nearly 90 percent of her body, died five days later. According to her father, his son and he were waiting for Asma, a domestic servant, at the home of her employer, when she answered a knock on the door. "After some time we heard her screaming in pain," he said. They "rushed outside to see what had happened" and saw Rizwan Gujjar, 30, a onetime family friend, fleeing "while Asma was engulfed in flames." Three months earlier Gujjar had begun pressuring Asma to marry him. She, "not wanting to recant her Christian faith," politely declined and tried to avoided him, says another report. So, on April 17, when she answered the door, he doused her with gasoline and set her aflame. According to her mother:

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Rebuilding Syria: The Responsibility Principle

by Malcolm Lowe  •  October 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • One is amazed by the audacity wherewith those foreign interveners who have caused the most destruction in Syria call upon the rest of the world to foot the bill for rebuilding what they themselves have demolished. So the First Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that those foreign countries which intervened in Syria to pursue their own political aims – primarily Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey – should pay up to rebuild everything that they destroyed.

  • The Second Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that any other country or international factor should condition any further financial assistance upon the replacement of the current Syrian regime with a plausible alternative, be it through free elections or the installation of a temporary international regime, followed by Nuremberg-type trials of the chief criminals of the current regime and the repatriation and resettlement of all refugees without any form of discrimination. The Russian Federation has the military power to keep Assad the titular president of Syria forever, but it cannot expect the rest of the world to pay for such a Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet in Ankara, Turkey, on April 4, 2018. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

Twice during 2018, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met to discuss their various interests in Syria. On both occasions, their concluding joint statement called upon the rest of the world to assist in repairing the damage caused by the ongoing Syrian civil war, in which they had intervened on behalf of one faction or another. In their Joint Statement of April 4, the presidents:

"... Called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase its assistance to Syria by sending additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage;"

Identical wording was included in their Final Statement of July 31.

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Spain: Islamic State Recruiting in Prisons

by Soeren Kern  •  October 12, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The group — which Spain's Interior Ministry described as a jihadi "Prisons Front" ("frente de cárceles") — was engaged in recruiting, indoctrinating and radicalizing other inmates, as well as in plotting new jihadi attacks.

  • "We want to prepare ourselves for the jihad for Allah. I have good news: I have created a new group, we are willing to die for Allah at any moment. We are waiting to be released from prison so that we can begin working. We have men, we have weapons and we have targets. All we need is practice." — Mohamed Achraf, in a letter written from prison to another inmate.

  • "The majority of the individuals being investigated, far from being deradicalized, have not only remained active in jihadi militancy, but have become even more radical during their incarceration." — Spanish Interior Ministry.

On October 1, Spanish counterterrorism police searched Mohamed Achraf's prison cell in Campos del Río penitentiary in Murcia and discovered that he was running a "disciplined and organized" network of jihadi inmates dedicated to recruiting and radicalizing other inmates, as well as to plotting attacks against specific targets. (Image source: Spanish Interior Ministry)

Spanish police have dismantled a jihadi network operating inside and across more than a dozen Spanish prisons. The network, allegedly linked to the Islamic State, was established and operated by one of the most implacable jihadis in the Spanish prison system — apparently under the noses of prison authorities.

The network's existence has called into question not only the effectiveness of security procedures in Spanish prisons, but also of Spanish "deradicalization" programs, which are aimed at "rehabilitating" Islamic militants for eventual "reinsertion" into society.

The group's core members included 25 jihadis in 17 different prisons (accounting for more than half of the 30 Spanish prisons equipped to house jihadi convicts), according to the Interior Ministry, which provided details of the counterterrorism operation on October 2.

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How Palestinians Lie to Europeans

by Bassam Tawil  •  October 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • In the eyes of Hamas and its supporters, it is fine for Palestinians to throw explosive devices and firebombs at soldiers, but it is completely unacceptable for the soldiers to defend themselves. According to the twisted logic of the Palestinian leaders, it all started when Israel fired back.

  • Those who sent the Palestinians to clash with the Israeli soldiers along the border with the Gaza Strip are the only ones who bear responsibility for killing more than 150 Palestinians and injuring thousands of others.

  • The goal the Palestinians have in mind is to see Israel gone. All of it. Mahmoud Abbas believes he can achieve this goal by waging a diplomatic war against Israel in the international community -- one aimed at delegitimizing and demonizing Israel and Jews.

  • The question, again, remains whether the international community will ever wake up to realize that Palestinian leaders are playing them for fools. The European Parliament delegation that visited Ramallah is a good test case: What message will its members convey back at home: the truth about the ruthless and repressive Palestinian Authority, or the lies that were spoon-fed to them by Abbas and his friends?

In the days before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 27, his security forces were waging a massive crackdown on his critics and opponents in the West Bank, arresting more than 100 Palestinians. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says it wants the international community to exert pressure on Israel to "halt violations against the Palestinians and international law." The demand was relayed to members of a delegation from the European Parliament who met on October 8 in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. At the meeting, Hamdallah also renewed the PA's call for providing "international protection" for the Palestinians.

Hamdallah's appeal to the European Parliament representatives should be seen in the context of the PA leadership's ongoing campaign of lies and incitement against Israel. The appeal also smacks of hypocrisy and deceit.

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Greece: Majority Rejects Institutions of the Far-Left

by Maria Polizoidou  •  October 11, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • After being subjected to decades of anti-Semitic brainwashing -- fostered chiefly by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and its tentacles -- Greeks have begun to view Israel as a role-model state.

  • During World War II, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini was a very close ally of Adolf Hitler's. In other words, the Arabs of Palestine have the blood on their hands of half a million Greeks who perished during the German occupation. Marwan Toubassi, the Palestinian ambassador to Greece, is thus among the last people on earth who should be lecturing the Greek people about morality, values and historical ties.

  • Who benefits from the KKE's war against the Greek-Israeli friendship and from a defamation of the EastMed pipeline? The answer is Turkey, of course, but also Qatar, Russia and Iran.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus are cooperating closely on the EastMed pipeline, a joint project that would supply east Mediterranean gas to Europe. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (left), Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (center) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) meet on January 28, 2016 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Image source: Cyprus Ministry of the Interior/Wikimedia Commons)

Greece is a deeply divided country. It has two camps. One is the "institutional camp," which is presented to the global community and the international press. The other is what can be called the "people's camp," which considers the existing political regime a "Corpus Separatum" -- a separate entity.

The institutional camp consists of the corrupt political system, the oligarchs, the academic community and the media -- all soldiers in an army of globalization and multiculturalism. It is a system that feeds on the Greek populace, and, for its political and economic survival, depends on a strategic alliance with the Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf.

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Pakistan: Death or Life for Christian "Blasphemer"?
Ruling Expected on the Fate of Asia Bibi

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  October 10, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • In her memoirs, Asia Bibi wonders "whether being a Christian in Pakistan today is not just a failing, or a mark against you, but actually a crime." Her question is finally about to be answered by Pakistan's Supreme Court.

  • Because the word of a Christian is not valid against the word of a Muslim, blasphemy accusations by Muslims against Christians are common and routinely result in the imprisonment, beating and even murder of Christians -- as when 1,200 Muslims deliberately burned a young Christian couple to death in 2014 for allegedly insulting Islam.

  • "The Maulvis [clerics] want her dead. They have announced a [monetary] prize... for anyone who kills Asia. They have even declared that if the court acquits her they will ensure the death sentence stands." — Asia Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih.

  • This is arguably why Pakistani authorities continue to delay issuing a final verdict -- to give Bibi time to die "naturally" in prison -- as other Christians have, under "mysterious" circumstances. Instead of placating the world but angering Islamists by releasing her, or placating Islamists but horrifying the world by executing her, the Pakistani judicial system has abandoned Bibi to a deathtrap of a prison cell for a decade, where wretched conditions, severe maltreatment, unattended illnesses, psychological abuse and beatings should have killed her, as they have many others before her.

Asia Bibi and two of her five children, pictured prior to her imprisonment on death row in 2010 for "blasphemy."

On October 9, Pakistan's Supreme Court heard the final appeal of a Christian woman who has been on death row for nearly a decade on the accusation that she insulted Islam's prophet Muhammad. The woman's fate is now sealed: "They [judges] have come to a decision, but it has been reserved," reported Mehwish Bhatti, an officer with the British-Pakistani Christian Association, from the courthouse.

Aasiya Noreen -- better known as "Asia Bibi" -- is a 47-year-old married mother of five children who was charged with violating Pakistan's notorious blasphemy law nearly a decade ago.

According to her autobiography, Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water, on June 14, 2009, Bibi went to work picking berries in a field. Although she was accustomed to being ostracized by the other female pickers on account of her Christian faith, things came to a head when, on a sweltering summer day, she drank water from a common well.

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