Somalia Mission Expands: EU To Target Pirates Up to Two Kilometers Inland

Last week, the European Union agreed to expand its anti-piracy mission to include land-based targets in Somalia. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that air attacks up to two kilometers inland will be allowed. But an expansion of the mandate could face obstacles in Berlin, where opposition politicians warn that EU forces could get dragged into fighting on the ground.

Until now, the European Union’s Operation Atalanta, which targets pirates off the coast of Somalia, has been restricted to purely maritime operations. But that could soon change, now that the EU has agreed on a controversial expansion of the mission.

Last Friday, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to expand the operation to include the coastal region. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the ministers agreed that Atalanta units should be able to target pirates and their infrastructure up to a limit of two kilometers (1.2 miles) inland. If the expansion is approved, it will be the first time that Western forces are allowed to target pirates on the Somali mainland.The expanded Atalanta mandate is aimed mainly at the pirates’ infrastructure, and the use of ground troops has been specifically ruled out. The operations will be limited to air strikes against targets such as storage tanks, boats and radio facilities. Initially, the EU wanted to keep secret the limit for how far forces could penetrate into the country, amid concerns that the pirates could simply shift their facilities further inland.

The limit itself was the subject of prolonged debate in Brussels. Military representatives had originally proposed a limit of four kilometers, but this met with considerable resistance from Germany and Spain. In the end, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle succeeded in arguing for strict limits on the land-based operations.

Avoiding Civilian Casualties

An expansion of the mission could have significant consequences for the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, which is currently taking part in the Atalanta mission with 291 soldiers and the combat support warship Berlin, stationed off East Africa. Germany is one of the few contributing countries that has helicopters on board its ships which could be used to attack targets along the coast of Somalia from the air. Military experts argue that such attacks should ideally be carried out with cannons mounted on helicopters, to hit the targets as accurately as possible and avoid civilian casualties. The helicopter cannons are considered particularly accurate, and the gun operators also have the advantage of having the target directly in front of them.

But if the German navy is to play a role in the expanded mission, then Berlin will need to get a new mandate for the operation approved by the German parliament, the Bundestag. The original plan was to get the mandate approved by Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet this week in a fast-track process. Now, however, sources in Berlin say that the cabinet will not vote on the mandate until mid-April. After that, the Bundestag will debate the extension.

There are already signs that Germany’s two main opposition parties, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens, will not support expanding the mandate to allow air strikes on the mainland. That could make things tricky for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration. Although the government doesn’t technically need opposition support to get the mandate through parliament, the German government traditionally aims to achieve cross-party support for the Bundeswehr’s foreign missions, the idea being that such missions should enjoy broad support among the German population.

But even before that debate gets started properly, German politicians are already expressing doubts about the EU’s new approach. Even if the operation excludes the use of ground troops, if a helicopter were to have a technical problem, or be shot down from the ground, then soldiers might suddenly need to go ashore. Western nations still have painful memories of a 1993 incident in Somalia — later the subject of the book and film “Black Hawk Down” — when two US helicopters crashed in the Somali capital Mogadishu and an angry mob dragged the bodies of the pilots through the streets of the city.

A Militarization of the Problem

Critics such as SPD defense expert Rainer Arnold also oppose what they describe as a further militarization of the piracy problem. Arnold argues that piracy should be fought by targeting the flows of the millions of dollars the pirates earn in ransoms for kidnapped Westerners. In the run-up to the EU foreign ministers’ decision, Arnold had already announced that his party might oppose such a mandate in the Bundestag.

It remains unclear, however, whether the whole SPD parliamentary group would follow his lead in rejecting the expansion. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for example, the party’s floor leader in parliament, was involved in setting up the mission while German foreign minister, a position he held from 2005 to 2009. It would be hard for him to now reject the mission out of hand.

It’s not just politicians who have misgivings about expanding the operation, either. There are also people in Germany’s law enforcement agencies who doubt whether the planned attacks against pirates’ infrastructure will yield real successes. In a recent closed-doors discussion, experts from Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), argued that the pirates’ small bases could hardly be distinguished from fishermen’s facilities from the air. Such air attacks, they said, carried a high risk of so-called collateral damage — in other words, civilian casualties.

In addition, possible air strikes would probably only cause the pirates to move their infrastructure further inland or into villages inhabited by innocent Somalis. Such relocation would also make it harder for intelligence agencies to track down the pirates’ hostages.

International Operations

The sea off the Somalia coast is regarded as the most dangerous in the world. Last year alone there were around 230 pirate attacks. With Somalia still without a functioning government, scores of young men continue to set out to sea to hijack ships passing along the vital trade route. The vessels and their crews are then held hostage for ransom, a lucrative activity.

The EU launched Operation Atalanta in December 2008 in a bid to tackle the problem. Last week, EU foreign ministers decided to extend the operation until December 2014.

NOTE: They need to quit arguing and directly hit the ports and enclaves, enough messin with em. No prisoners either.

As well as EU member states, non-EU countries such as Norway, Croatia and Ukraine have also contributed to the operation. The force has around 1,500 military personnel at its disposal. Depending on the time of year, it typically has between four and seven surface warships and two or three reconnaissance aircraft deployed off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean. Military units are currently drawn from a core group of 13 contributing countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, among others.In addition to Atalanta, there is a substantial international force in the area, including the US-led, multinational group called the Combined Maritime Forces. NATO, too, is present and ships from China, India, Japan, Russia and other countries also patrol the waters.

Until now, the fight against Somali piracy has been mainly restricted to targeting the boats used by pirates. In addition, Atalanta forces track the motherships that pirates use to operate hundreds of kilometers from the coast. The mission also provides escorts to World Food Program vessels delivering food aid to the Somali people.

FBI removes 876 pages of training material on jihad for being inaccurate or offensive to Muslims

The Obama Administration continues its war against the truth about Islam and jihad. If any of this material was really inaccurate, then certainly it should have been removed. One wonders, however, who was judging its accuracy — was it Muslim Brotherhood-linked operatives intent on whitewashing uncomfortable truths about Islam? Or was it an informed and patriotic analyst? And removing material deemed “offensive to Muslims” is unconscionable, especially since Islamic supremacist anti-freedom groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations find offensive any and all anti-terror material that is accurate at all about the source of the jihad threat.

“At FBI, 876 pages of agent training material related to Muslims found offensive or inaccurate,” by Pete Yost for the Associated Press, March 30 (thanks to all who sent this in):

WASHINGTON (AP) — An FBI review of agent training material critical of Islam uncovered 876 offensive or inaccurate pages that had been used in 392 presentations, including a PowerPoint slide that said the bureau can sometimes bend or suspend the law.The bureau has not released the material, but Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois described a few pages of it in a letter asking FBI Director Robert Mueller to institute five changes so that inappropriate FBI training on Islam doesn’t happen again. On Friday, the FBI confirmed the number of inaccurate or offensive pages and presentations.

The bureau also said the documents that are either offensive or inaccurate have been taken out of training presentations.

Every trainer was identified and interviewed by an FBI inspection team and the team determined that the problems were performance-related — poor judgment or inadequate training — rather than intentional misconduct, said FBI spokesman Michael Kortan.

As a result, instructors were counseled and in some cases removed from training positions.

Durbin said he’s disturbed that the FBI doesn’t plan to produce a written report on the six-month review. He said he wants the agents who received the bad training to be retained.

It began last September after the online publication reported that the FBI had discontinued a lecture in which the instructor told agent trainees in Virginia that the more devout a Muslim is, the more likely he is to be violent. The analyst subsequently gave a similar lecture at an FBI-sponsored public-private partnership in New York City.

Kortan declined to address the issue of retraining.

Out of 160,000 pages of training material reviewed, just 876 pages — less than 1 percent — were “inconsistent with the FBI’s core values,” said Kortan. “We strongly disagree that the analysts being trained were led to believe that we actually bend or suspend the law in any way. The one reference used in the slide was poorly described.”…

Durbin is out for blood, and Stalinist reeducation:

Durbin’s letter said he wants the FBI to turn over the offending training material to the Senate Judiciary Committee and wants unclassified versions of the material to be released to the public; wants instructors responsible for the inappropriate training reassigned; and wants to retrain agents who received the bad training. Durbin also wants the bureau to undertake a review of FBI intelligence analyses of Islam, American-Muslims and Arab-Americans; and wants a detailed training curriculum on Islam that has been approved by experts on Islam.Earlier this month, the FBI posted on its website a set of training principles which said that training must emphasize that religious expression, protest activity and the espousing of ideological beliefs “are constitutionally protected activities that must not be equated with terrorism or criminality” in the absence of other information about such offenses.

Posted by Robert

Obama Administration won’t prosecute Muslim who threatened to blow up White House

Why not? Do you think they would have hesitated to prosecute if a “right wing extremist” had threatened to blow up the White House? “Obama Administration Won’t Prosecute Saudi It Claims Threatened to ‘Blow Up White House,’” by Edwin Mora for CNS News, March 29 (thanks to Barbara):

( – The Obama administration says it will not prosecute a Saudi Arabian national who the administration claimed in congressional testimony entered the United Stateson a student visa and then was arrested after threatening to blow up the White House.On March 6, top officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security in both written and verbal testimony that DHS had arrested a Saudi national who was “threatening to blow up the White House and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States.”

A U.S. anti-terrorism law–18 U.S.C. 113B–says that a “person who, without lawful authority, uses, threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction … (3) against any property that is owned, leased or used by the United States or by any department or agency of the United States, whether the property is within or outside of the United States; or 4) against any property within the United States that is owned, leased, or used by a foreign government, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

The statute says “the term ‘weapon of mass destruction’ means … any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title.” Section 921 says: “The term ‘destructive device’ means— (A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas—(i) bomb, (ii) grenade, (iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, (v) mine, or (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses.”

In a written statement provided to, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS division responsible for enforcing the immigration law inside U.S. territory, said it has had the Saudi national in custody since Jan. 10 and that he is undergoing deportation proceedings. The statement said that “federal and local authorities declined criminal prosecution.”

The March 6 congressional hearing at which the DHS officials said this Saudi national had threatened to blow up the White House was called to examine why the U.S. government had allowed Moroccan national Amine El Khalifi to live illegally in the United States for 13 years before he was arrested while allegedly attempting to commit a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol. The ICE officials who testified cited the January arrest of a Saudi national who they said had threatened to blow up the White House as evidence of ICE’s effectiveness in tracking foreign nationals whose visas had expired or been revoked.

The two DHS officials who testified were John Cohen, DHS’s deputy counterterrorism coordinator, and Peter Edge, the deputy executive associate director for investigations at ICE.

“More recently in January 2012, ICE Special Agents from the Washington, D.C. office arrested a Saudi Arabian national who was admitted as an F-1 nonimmigrant student and violated the terms and conditions of his admission,” Cohen and Edge said in written testimony they jointly submitted to the committee. “The individual was referred for investigation after his status was terminated in SEVIS for failure to maintain student status, as well as for possessing several indicators of national security concerns, including threatening to blow up the White House and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States.”

Edge told the committee about the Saudi national in his verbal testimony before the committee.

“In January 2012, for example,” Edge testified, “ICE special agents from our Washington, D.C., office arrested a Saudi Arabian national who was admitted as an F-1 nonimmigrant student and violated the term and condition of his admission.”

“The individual,” Edge said, “was referred for investigation after his status was terminated in SEVIS [Student and Exchange Visitor Information System] for failure to maintain student status as well as for possessing several indicators of national security concerns, including threatening to blow up the White House and the Saudi Arabian cultural mission to the United States.”

SEVIS is an Internet-based system created by DHS to house information about people who come to the United States on student visas.

After Cohen and Edge testified in the subcommittee, asked ICE a series of questions about the Saudi national the two officials said had threatened to blow up the White House: Has he, or will he, be charged with any crime? Is the individual in custody or has he been removed? Where and what was he studying? How long has he been in the United States?

ICE initially responded by directing to the local police department of Fairfax County, Va., saying that it was handling the investigation.

Fairfax County Police Spokeswoman Shelley Broderick confirmed that her department carried out an investigation of the Saudi national, but said that the police department could not provide any information about him because he had never been charged by them. Broderick added that federal authorities, not local ones, would be responsible for any terrorism-related charges….

When asked if an individual who threatens to blow up the White House can be prosecuted by federal authorities, a Department of Justice spokesman said in an e-mail, “Whether or not such a case would or could be charged in federal [court] depends entirely on the evidence available to investigators and prosecutors, the underlying facts/circumstances of the matter, and the law.”

“That’s all I have for you,” said the Justice Department spokesman.

According to the report of the 9-11 Commission, one of the Sept. 11
hijackers, Hani Hanjour, was a Saudi Arabian national who was admitted to the U.S. on a student visa.

Posted by Robert 

Saudi Spring waits to arrive

The decades-old winter of frozen and fossilized structures and systems in the Arab world are thawing.

The term exceptionalism in the Arab context harks back to Samuel Huntington’s thesis that envisages the progression of democracy in waves. The third wave was frozen after its initial advances in the 1970s. It never washed the shores of the Arab/Muslim world, according to this thesis. Hence the Arab exceptionalism. Today, the term has been reinvented in the context of the Arab Spring. The Spring is a year old, and not a single crowned head has rolled so far. Hence, the monarchical exceptionalism.

The institution of monarchy does provide a buffer between the monarch and his subjects in the form of a government structure. The king has the privilege of sacking a besieged government and still remaining in power. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the oil-wealth, a small population, huge government patronage, welfare economy, etc., provide additional immunity. On the other hand, an aging leadership, internet-savvy and educated youth, assertive women, sectarian divisions, and a contagious “Arab Spring” all around in the neighborhood indicate a partial and potential vulnerability of the Saudi King.

Youth, women & minorities

The condition of the youth, women and the minorities is the barometer of a country’s socio-political health. A closer scrutiny of these three segments of Saudi society is necessary to understand the general ethos in the country. There is no uniform mobilization and there have been no widespread protests in the country so far. The Saudi youth, women and the Shias in the east of the country have voiced their grievances separately, nonetheless.

In view of the tightly secured Saudi streets, cyberspace has provided an alternative platform to mark the popular protests. Internet activists have resorted to it in a big way. Blogs have appeared to express the anger; documentaries have been made to expose poverty that has never been acknowledged. Petitions have been signed to call for a constitutional monarchy. There was an attempt at forming a political party. The founders were arrested almost immediately.

Saudi women live under the guardianship of their male relatives. Their decisions to get education, to work, to travel or to receive health care must be endorsed by their guardians. They are not permitted to drive or ride in a vehicle driven by someone who is not a close male relative or an employee. King Abdullah evoked a flurry of expectant speculation, when he stated that the Saudi women would “one day be able to drive.” That was soon after he inherited the Saudi monarchy. After waiting several years for that “one day,” the women have become restive. Late last year, some drove and posted the videos of themselves behind the wheels on YouTube and other social networks. Their cases are pending before the courts and they will not go unpunished.

Late last year, King Abdullah announced in a five-minute speech televised live that he was granting women the right to vote in future municipal elections, the right to run as candidates, and that they would be appointed to the Shura Council, the 150-member body that advises the King on legislation and policy. This time around, fewer Saudi women are reported to be excited about it. Some are skeptical, and many more cynical.

All Saudis follow Islam. There is a major sectarian cleavage between the Sunni and the Shia interpretations of Islam. The Shias are the largest minority in the country, constituting anywhere between four and 15 per cent of the population and numbering anywhere between one and four million. What makes the Shia situation crucial is the fact that the oil wealth is located under their soil and in the water around their land. Left to themselves, theirs could be the richest state in the entire region. Protests erupted in the Eastern Province on the “Day of Rage” in mid-March last year, and have continued since then. A hundred people have been arrested, scores have been shot dead.

Survival, sectarianism & Iran

The Saudi responses to the Arab Spring in its neighborhood can neatly be summarized in three words: survival, sectarianism and Iran. Zainul Abedin ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi did not survive the onslaught of the Arab Spring. The signs of its nascent arrival in the Kingdom are already evident. An active foreign policy to claim leadership of the Sunni Arabs, therefore, is an imperative for the royal survival. Iran, a Shia non-Arab power across the Gulf waters, to that extent, is the prime target of Saudi activism.

The Saudi involvement with the Arab Spring has seen a progression with each case. The Saudis were reportedly disappointed by the U.S. abandoning the besieged Hosni Mubarak and offered to restore the monetary assistance that the U.S. withdrew from him. King Abdullah came out in support of Mr. Mubarak from his sickbed in Morocco. The Saudis’ response to the Libyan developments was one of reticence, even as they went along with the Qatari lead in inviting foreign intervention.

Yemen is a complicated and multi-layered conflict situation. The Saudis have three major concerns. One, the Saudi-born-and-bred al-Qaeda has found a safe haven in Yemen. Two, the long and uncontrolled border has been a regular route for illegal immigration, arms smuggling and narcotics trade. Three, the Saudis fear waves of Yemeni refugees, if the situation deteriorates. The Saudis have sought to manage the Yemeni situation, first by granting the former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, political asylum, and then facilitating his exit.

It was the Spring in Bahrain that jolted the Saudis into action. A small island Kingdom with a Sunni ruler and roughly 70 per cent Shia population, Bahrain has always been divided along the sectarian cleavage. The Spring, predictably, turned into the Shia struggle for equality. Political stability and a compliant regime in Bahrain are of utmost importance to the U.S., as the American base on the island is considered the most important strategic territory outside the U.S. proper. Any disturbance in the country would be unacceptable to the U.S. and its Saudi ally.

As the violence erupted beyond the Bahraini authority’s capability to tackle it, the Saudis stepped in. A convoy of 150 armored troop carriers and about 50 lightly armed vehicles carried about 1,000 Saudi soldiers across the King Fahd Causeway into Bahrain in mid-March.

The Saudi stand on Syria, unlike on Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, is to support the uprising. Lest there be a doubt about its motive in castigating President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive policy, the Saudi Prince, Turki al-Faisal, explained it thus: “The impending fall of Mr. Assad’s barbarous regime provides a rare strategic opportunity to weaken Iran. Without this vital ally, Tehran will find it more difficult to foment discord in the Arab world. Today, there is a chance for the United States and Saudi Arabia to contain Iran and prevent it from destabilizing the region.” The quote is an open admission; even an assertion. The Saudi path to Iran runs through Syria.

What next?

Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in North Africa have been the harbingers of the Arab Spring. All three of them have witnessed regime changes and are in the process of taking stock and moving forward at their own individual pace. Whether the Spring will spread eastward in a typical domino fashion to the rest of the Arab world remains to be seen. Whether it eventually brings about a comprehensive reshaping of the region is uncertain at best. What is certain is that the decades-old winter of frozen and fossilized structures and systems in the Arab world are thawing. And Saudi Arabia is no exception.

(Professor Gulshan Dietl is at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.)(The Hindu)


Sharia is Islam

Belgium is on its way to becoming a totalitarian state:

The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: “Welcome to ‘Belgistan.” In fact, some are now calling it the Muslim capital of Europe… The Christian Broadcasting Network CBN


Islamization of the Workplace

(Atlas Shrugs)

Wegman’s has put up a sign asking customers buying pork or alcohol not to use a particular checkout line when a Muslim teenager is on duty as the cashier.

More islamization of the marketplace. This is a pattern.

If you dont want to handle meat that’s not halal, work for a Muslim butcher. Don’t take a job at Wegman’s, Wal-mart or Target. But it is not about that. It’s about imposing Islam on non-Muslims. Special accommodations for a “special class.” This is part of a systematic campaign to impose the sharia on the secular marketplace. Muslim workers suing Disney over their sixty-year-old dress code or Muslim cashiers suing Wal-Mart and Target over their refusal to handle meat that is not halal is all part of a much larger supremacist effort. It has succeeded in Europe, which is all but doomed. They mean to replicate it here. This is well documented in my book, Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.

The media shapes the story like it’s a great thing and oh doesn’t everyone thinks it’s a great idea? No, we don’t.

Sign at Wegmans draws attention
Posted at: 03/30/2012 (hat tip Brandy)
By: Ray Levato |

It’s a first for Wegmans in this area. They’ve put up a sign asking customers buying pork or alcohol not to use a particular checkout line when a Muslim teenager is on duty as the cashier.
The sign went up a week ago at their Lyell Avenue store.

Wegmans says they haven’t gotten any in store complaints and Wegmans was very upfront about the cashier. They just wouldn’t allow us in the store to talk with her or customers.
Spokeswoman Jo Natale says the cashier is a teenaged girl who wears a head covering. She told her supervisor she was uncomfortable handling those items because of religious reasons. So the store manager who had experience with this type of situation outside of Rochester decided to put up a small sign whenever the girl was at the checkout counter.

It says, “If your order contains pork or alcohol product, we respectfully ask that you choose another lane.”

Wegmans also says the girl has been coached what to say if customers ask why. People News10NBC spoke with outside the Lyell Avenue Wegmans store said they were okay with it and one even knows Christians who don’t like the idea of serving alcohol.

Bernard Thomas said, “I feel like if they’re going to hire her and she’s got to have the job, why shouldn’t we respect her. Just go to another cashier.”
Darlene Hucko said, “I would respect her beliefs and go to the next line if I had alcohol.
Levato said, “You think that’s okay.”
Hucko said, “I think it is okay.”
Alex Gritsvuta said, “I’m from a Christian background and waiters…the Christian girls that I know have a problem serving alcohol to people in a bar. Not in the bar necessarily, maybe in the restaurant.”

Mosqueing the workplace

1. Greeley CO and Grand Island, Nebraska: JB Swift meat packing plants. Muslims get special break times. Non-Muslims protested because of the inconvenience caused to them.

2. DELL Computers: Nashville.

In February 2005, thirty-one Muslims working at the Nashville, Tennessee plant of the computer firm Dell walked off the job after they were denied permission to leave their workstations and pray. Dell fired the Muslim workers, but CAIR took up their cause and began to pressure Dell to change its practices in order to accommodate Islamic prayer during the workday. Dell quickly caved. Within a month the corporation had agreed to reinstate the employees who had walked out, give them back pay, and allow them time on the job for Islamic prayer. Dell also agreed to give its managers training in accommodating Muslim demands in the workplace.

3. TARGET: in March 2007 Muslim cashiers at some Target store outlets in Minneapolis began to refuse to ring up pork products, causing delays as they had other cashiers handle the untouchable items or even told customers to ring them up themselves. Target Corporation finally opted for the path of least resistance, offering to allow the Muslim cashiers to wear gloves while operating the cash register, so as to avoid touching any of the offending pork, or to shift the recalcitrant, pork-hating cashiers to other jobs within the store.

4. FIRED for EATING BACON: Lina Morales, who for ten months held a job at Rising Star, a telecoms company in Florida. One fateful day in 2004 she was eating a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich at work, and was summarily fired for violating a company rule against eating pork products on company premises. However, Morales said that she had never agreed to comply by any such rule, and indeed, “When I got hired there, they said we don’t care what religion you are.”

Special accommodation for Muslims:

5. In September 2007, the Indianapolis Airport announced that, as part of a $1.07 billion terminal renovation scheduled to be completed by November 2008, footbaths would be installed in a restroom used by cab drivers — so that the drivers, almost all Muslims, could easily perform the rituals required before Islamic prayers. The floor-level sinks, which cost $400-600 each, would be financed through airport revenue. An airport spokesman, David Dawson, insisted, “These facilities are for everybody’s use.”

<6. In 2007 a public school, the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, announced plans to construct full preparation facilities for Islamic prayer – despite having prohibited a coffee cart from playing Christmas carols on campus the previous year. New York University followed suit in October 2007, as have many other public colleges and universities. Seventeen universities have announced plans to install footbaths, including Boston University, George Washington University and Temple University. And all of this is going on at the instigation of the MSA — a Muslim Brotherhood organization.

7. Ridgeland School District 122 – comprising five schools in Oak Lawn, Illinois – blazed a trail when it banned pork from school cafeterias, so as to avoid offending Muslim students. (The possibility that non-Muslim students might be offended by having to conform their eating habits to Islamic dietary regulations was apparently not considered.) The pork ban even included Jell-O, since gelatin is made from pork products.

8. In San Diego’s Carver Elementary School, when over one hundred Somali Muslim students enrolled after a charter school closed in 2006, school officials scheduled breaks so that Muslim students could pray during school time, and even introduced sex-segregated classes to conform to Islamic sensibilities. Pork, of course, vanished from the school cafeteria, and Arabic classes were added to the curriculum. Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, “In effect, Carver administrators have carved out a school within a school expressly for Muslims, elevating them above Christian and Jewish students. They’ve had 15 minutes of instruction time taken away from them, so Muslims can roll out their prayer mats. It amounts to a special privilege afforded a specific religion, which plainly does not have our best interests at heart.”

Sharia finance:

Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Dow Jones, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank, Lloyd’s, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Standard & Poors have created “Sharia Advisory Boards,” staffed with Islamic clerics and scholars, in order to help them bring their financial practices into line with Islamic norms – so as to attract Muslim investors and help Muslims in the West find ways to avoid breaking Islamic law in their financial transactions.

A journalist who has exhaustively documented Sharia finance initiatives, Alyssa A. Lappen, reported that “among the perils of shari’a finance, according to a January [2008] analysis by Moody’s Investors Service are: A central role in investment decisions for shari’a scholars who are actually Islamic clerics; investors being forced to accept weak positions; short track records of major investors; multiple complex asset types; risky interest rates and new ventures; plus a lack of transparency combined with corporate management and risk control in the hosting Third World countries.”

Posted by on Saturday, March 31, 2012