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A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in France: February 2017 by Soeren Kern

Children and women are being raped by human traffickers inside the Camp de la Linière, a migrant camp in the northern French city of Dunkirk; they are forced to have sex in return for blankets, food or the offer of passage to Britain. A volunteer worker referred to the children as being like “little steaks” because they were considered so appetizing and vulnerable to traffickers.

The breakdown in law and order in Muslim neighborhoods in Paris is being fueled by impunity for criminals and a lenient judicial system, according to Hugues Moutouh, a former advisor to the Interior Ministry.

“You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up.” — French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, cancelling a meeting with the Grand Mufti of Lebanon.

The report implies that deradicalization, either in specialized centers or in prisons, does not work because most Islamic radicals do not want to be deradicalized.

February 1. The Interior Ministry reported a 45% decline in attacks against Jews and Muslims in France in 2016, but a 17.5% increase in attacks against Christians. The ministry said there were 1,125 attacks against Jews and Muslims in 2016, down from 2,034 attacks in 2015. It also reported 949 attacks against Christians in 2016, up from 808 attacks in 2015. Attacks against Christians jumped by 245% between 2008 and 2016.

February 2. Undercover police wearing burqas and qamis (traditional Arab gowns) were filmed apprehending a drug dealer in the Marseille’s Bricarde district, a notorious no-go zone. Police confirmed the “totally normal camouflage technique” after the cellphone video was posted on social media. A local resident complained: “This gives the impression that you basically have to be Muslim or look like a Muslim in order to blend in.” Another resident said:

“I think that trying to blend into the crowd in order not to attract attention is a good way of catching traffickers. What’s more, the police are not really respected on the council estates, which have become no-go areas. Even the police are scared to go there, which isn’t right. So it’s hardly surprising that when they come they have to disguise themselves — although I can understand why lots of people are criticizing them for it.”

February 3. Abdallah El-Hamahmy, a 29-year-old Egyptian national, attacked four French soldiers at the Louvre in Paris. He was carrying two backpacks when he approached the soldiers, who were on patrol at the entrance to the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall, beneath the museum. When they told him that he could not bring his bags into the mall, he lunged at them with a machete and began shouting “Allahu Akbar.” After a brief struggle, one of the soldiers opened fire, leaving El-Hamahmy in critical condition. El-Hamahmy had arrived in Paris legally on January 26 after obtaining a one-month tourist visa in Dubai. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack “terrorist in nature.”

Iran’s New Crackdown Christians, journalists and opposition leaders are the latest targets.

Iran will hold another Potemkin election in May, and we can already predict the media narrative if one of the so-called hard-liners wins the Iranian Presidency. The blame will lie with the Trump Administration for failing to show sufficient respect for “moderate” incumbent Hasan Rouhani. Except Mr. Rouhani’s rule hasn’t been moderate.

Witness the latest repression targeting the mullahs’ usual suspects. Tehran’s Prosecutor-General on Sunday announced it had sentenced a couple to death because they had founded a new “cult.” The announcement was short on details, but the charges could mean anything from running a New Age yoga studio to a political-discussion club.

The authorities have also detained Ehsan Mazandarani, a reporter with the reformist newspaper Etemad (“Trust”), according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The nature of the charges against Mr. Mazandarani isn’t clear, and his relatives say he is on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison. He had previously served most of a two-year sentence on trumped-up security charges.

Mr. Mazandarani’s detention followed last week’s arrest of dissident reporter Hengameh Shahidi, who also faces “national-security” charges. Ms. Shahidi has been an adviser to Mehdi Karroubi, one of two pro-democracy candidates in 2009’s fraudulent election. Mr. Karroubi and opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi have been under house arrest since 2011. Having hinted at freeing them during his campaign, Mr. Rouhani has kept mum on their cases since coming to office in 2013.

Then there is the crackdown on Christians. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps late last month arrested two Iranian Catholics in northwestern Iran and seized their Bibles and prayer books. The incident came to light in a Fox News report last week.

It isn’t clear if the two Catholics, a mother and son, are converts, though that seems likely. Historic Christian communities such as Assyrians and Armenians are afforded second-class protection under Iranian law, while apostasy by Muslims is punishable by death. Despite some early rhetoric about tolerance, Mr. Rouhani has been unwilling or unable to improve conditions for religious minorities.

There is also the status of some half a dozen U.S. and U.K. dual citizens who have been taken hostage by the regime while visiting Iran. These include father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi, both U.S. citizens, and Nazenin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British citizen who is serving a five-year sentence on secret charges.

Nearly four decades after it was born, the Islamic Republic remains an unbending tyranny. The Trump White House shouldn’t spend energy hunting for moderate negotiating partners in the Islamist regime because there aren’t any. They’re under arrest.

To Falk’s discredit by Ruthie Blum

The outrageous report released this week by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western ‎Asia — which concludes “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that ‎constitute the crime of apartheid” — should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with its co-author, ‎Richard Falk.‎

This is not the first time that the former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian ‎Territories has given bias a bad name. Indeed, throughout his career, the American legal “scholar” has ‎shown a deep loathing for Western democracies, including his own, while not even attempting to ‎disguise his deep attraction to and affinity for evil Islamists. ‎

Though infamous since 2001 for blaming the U.S. for the 9/11 attacks, linking the Boston Marathon ‎bombings to America’s Mideast policies and warning that Israel was committing genocide, Falk was ‎busy apologizing for bloodthirsty radicals and their regimes long before that.‎

In January 1979, when he was still a professor of international law at Princeton, Falk accompanied ‎former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Don Luce, a prominent member of Clergy and Laity ‎Concerned (established in 1965 by the National Council of Churches to “struggle against American ‎imperialism and exploitation in just about every corner of the world”) on a private, eight-day fact-‎finding mission to Iran. At the end of the trip, the trio stopped over in France to meet Ayatollah ‎Ruhollah Khomeini, who had been living in exile for 14 years.‎

Right around this time, the ousted, cancer-ridden Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country. ‎Two weeks later, on February 1, Khomeini returned to his native land to take the helm of the new ‎Islamic Republic of Iran.‎

On February 16, Falk published an op-ed in The New York Times called “Trusting Khomeini.” In it, he ‎waxed poetic about the Muslim cleric, who would turn Iran into the nuclear weapons-hungry ‎theocracy that it is today. “The depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude ‎prejudices seems certainly and happily false,” Falk wrote.‎

He then went on to praise Shiite Islam. “What is distinctive, perhaps, about this religious orientation is ‎its concern with resisting oppression and promoting social justice,” he said, concluding: “Having ‎created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may ‎provide us with a desperately needed model of humane governance for a Third World country.”‎

This “humane governance” began with the backing of students who took over the U.S. Embassy in ‎Tehran and held dozens of its staff hostage for 444 days, while then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter tried ‎to negotiate their release by “understanding the grievances” of Tehran’s mullahs.‎

Hezbollah Develops Domestic Arms Industry with Iranian Know-How Lebanon transforms into a vassal state of the Mullahs. March 17, 2017 Ari Lieberman

Not many people have ever heard of Souk El Gharb, a sleepy Lebanese village perched on a mountain top overlooking Beirut but in 1983, this village was the scene of ferocious fighting between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and an assortment of Syrian-backed leftist and Muslim anti-government militias. For a while, the LAF, backed by the United States, was holding its own against the militias, beating back several coordinated attacks and even mounting offensives of their own.

But the LAF was doing more than just winning; it was unifying the nation splintered after many years of civil war and Palestinian occupation. The bulk of the Palestine Liberation Organization – a foreign entity that had occupied nearly half of Lebanon for 10 years – had just been expelled by the Israel Defense Forces and a multi-national force (MLF) composed of U.S. Marines, French and Italian troops took up positions in and around Beirut to promote stability in the nation’s capital. Israel’s 1982 invasion and the presence of the MLF gave Lebanon a chance to re-assert its sovereignty.

But the LAF’s good fortune was short-lived. On October 23, 1983 Hezbollah suicide bombers slammed their explosive laden trucks into the U.S. Marine and French army barracks killing 241 U.S. military personnel and 58 French servicemen. In early 1984, the MLF withdrew and the LAF quickly unraveled in the face of overwhelming firepower. Lebanon once again fell under the malign influence of Syria and later Iran, through its Shia proxy force, Hezbollah.

In May 2008 the Lebanese government made one last effort to re-assert sovereignty over the nation, which was by now almost fully under the control of Hezbollah, and by extension Iran. The government declared Hezbollah’s parallel militarized telecommunication network to be illegal. It also sought removal of Beirut Airport’s security chief Wafic Shkeir, who was a Hezbollah operative and was actively assisting Hezbollah with the movement of clandestine arms shipments and other contraband.

Hezbollah responded ruthlessly and swiftly moved to the offensive, taking over government controlled buildings and neighborhoods while the LAF watched helplessly. Lebanon’s last gasp at freedom failed and the country was now firmly under the control of Hezbollah and the mullahs of the Islamic Republic.

Nick Kostov and Stacy Meichtry:Eight Injured in Shooting at High School in France Seventeen-year-old gunman has been taken into police custody, official says

PARIS—A gunman opened fire inside a high school in southern France on Thursday, injuring eight people, according to the Interior Ministry.

The 17-year-old student who fired the shots at the Alexis de Tocqueville high school in the town of Grasse, near Nice, is now in police custody, said Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. He added that the school’s principal was among the injured when the “very heavily armed” student opened fire.

All of the high-school students are now safe, Mr. Brandet said, adding that police had surrounded the school to look for possible accomplices.

Mr. Brandet said that there was no indication so far that the shooting is related to terrorism.

The assault revives concerns in a country that has been on high alert after a series of terror attacks. Grasse is only around 20 miles from Nice, where a truck attack, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility, killed 86 people in July last year.

Rodrigo Duterte Faces Impeachment Complaint From Philippine Lawmaker Though unlikely to pass, complaint raises the stakes on opposition efforts call Mr. Duterte’s credibility into question By Jake Maxwell Watts

A Philippines lawmaker filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, the highest-profile challenge yet as resistance builds against the firebrand leader.

Opposition politician Gary Alejano filed the complaint at the Philippines House of Representatives on Thursday, accusing Mr. Duterte of corruption, violating the constitution, betraying public trust and “other high crimes.”

“We are of the firm belief that President Duterte is unfit to hold the highest office of the land and that impeachment is the legal and constitutional remedy to this situation,” he said.

While the complaint itself is unlikely to pass, it raises the stakes on opposition efforts call Mr. Duterte’s credibility into question.

“It just seems rather dramatic that everything seems so coordinated at this stage,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters Thursday.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a Duterte ally, called the allegations fabricated and the impeachment bid “stupid.”

Battle lines are hardening as Mr. Duterte’s term draws on. For the first few months after he came to power in June—an outsider with a sweeping mandate to rid the country of illegal drugs and bring prosperity to society’s poorest—Mr. Duterte enjoyed approval ratings as high as 80%.

Now that support appears to be unraveling, largely over his pursuit of his drugs pledge. The government’s antinarcotics campaign has led to more than 8,000 deaths, mostly at the hands of police or vigilantes. The murder of a South Korean businessman by rogue antinarcotics officers inside police headquarters—committed in October but not uncovered until January—sparked public outrage and prompted Mr. Duterte to suspend his drug campaign, saying he had to reorganize the police.

Mr. Duterte’s opponents were emboldened to accuse him of corruption. One senator, Antonio Trillanes, alleged he and his family had channeled some $50 million through their bank accounts when he was mayor of Davao City in the country’s south. Mr. Duterte has denied any wrongdoing.

Witnesses called to testify in a senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings have accused the president of ordering killings during his more than two decades as mayor. A former policeman said on Feb. 20 that Mr. Duterte personally oversaw a vigilante death squad in Davao, a charge the president denies.

Opposition politicians aren’t alone in criticizing the president. The powerful Roman Catholic Church told followers in February that the drug war amounted to “a reign of terror in many places of the poor.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Germany, France Condemn Turkish President Erdogan’s Verbal Attacks In a joint statement, Germany’s Merkel and France’s Hollande stop short of threatening any consequences By Anton Troianovski

BERLIN—The leaders of France and Germany condemned Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attacks on European states Thursday, in a sign that some European countries are closing ranks against the Turkish leader’s increasingly outspoken remarks against his next-door allies.

But the joint statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande stopped short of threatening any consequences, underscoring the political tightrope Europeans have to walk as they try to quell domestic anger without escalating the conflict with a crucial ally.

“Comparisons with Nazism and aggressive statements against Germany or other [European Union] member states are unacceptable,” the offices of the two leaders said in their written statement.

Mr. Erdogan has lashed out at Germany and the Netherlands, comparing their governments to the Nazis after authorities in those countries prevented Turkish officials from holding campaign events there.

The two leaders said the type of Turkish campaign events that have sparked the dispute could still be allowed in their countries as long as they were properly registered.

Other European politicians have gone further, blocking appearances by Turkish politicians. Dutch authorities over the weekend deported a Turkish minister from Rotterdam as she attempted to hold an unauthorized political rally to promote an April 16 referendum on changes to Turkey’s constitution that would boost the authority of Mr. Erdogan.

German local authorities have pulled the permits for several rallies, including in the city of Hannover on Thursday for an event Friday featuring a senior pro-Erdogan politician.

Michael Galak: Bill Leak- Australia’s First Free-Speech Martyr

I can’t imagine how Bill Leak coped as bravely and for as long as he did, not with the authorities and Muslim fanatics each determined to put his head on a pole. This is Australia’s disgrace: a relentless, speech-enforcing bureaucracy making common cause with head-loppers.
I do not ask, how he died, for medical opinion tells us it was a heart attack. I do ask why he had to die as he did, weary and stressed after months of unconscionable official harassment. Bill Leak, cartoonist extraordinaire is lost to us. No more of that sardonic wit. Gone forever the sharpshooting sniper whose targets were the pompous and the self-righteous and the lies they tell each other and will use any means at their disposal to make the rest of us bow before them too.

And if we don’t, if we refuse to genuflect before their lies? They’ll persecute us and make us pay, in Bill’s case with his life.

The Inquisition hated to spill blood, it preferred that heretics be racked and broken then quietly expire. Bill’s heart exploded, that is what the death certificate says. Yet still he died as countless heretics have died — those who dared to think differently, who dared to speak their heretic thoughts aloud. They died lest they contaminate others with their heresies. What did they accuse you of, Bill, what was your crime? Of telling the truth as you saw it? Of ruffling feathers by whipping idiots into lathers of froth and turmoil?

My hands are trembling as I write. My eyes are full of tears. My heart is heavy with foreboding. When an artist, a writer, a poet, a satirist is persecuted, the country that lets it happen slides toward totalitarianism. No, that’s wrong. A country that funds a spiteful bureaucracy to punish those of whose words it disapproves is already there. It’s just a question of degree. To tolerate that is worse than simply being stripped of the freedom millions died to win and defend. Rather, it is to throw away freedom and liberty like so much worthless rubbish. Today they pick off a cartoonist and a laughing, joyful mob dips its hankies in the blood for souvenirs. Tomorrow? It could be any door — your door, my door, any door — on which the enforcer’s fist bangs in the darkness.

I state it plainly, people, in the USSR, where I lived and grew up. Like Bill Leak, I was hauled in front of the unsmiling, self-righteous, angry, shouting komsomoltsy of the Young Communist League for my desire to emigrate to the West. My wife and I, two thought-criminals together. We were denounced as Western spies and Zionist traitors, criminals who deserved to be shot. We did not know at the time if we would have to find someone prepared to care for our four-year old daughter if we were taken away. In the USSR that was the fate of those who declined to submit to their tormentors. I saw people being accused in front of many of anti-Communist thoughts or deeds or words. I knew people, like Bill, who were taken to hospital with heart attacks. Their friends stayed silent or publicly turned against them. I saw all this and worse.

I lived it and survived it. I escaped it. Or so I thought.

Raúl the Reformer and Other Cuban Fables President Trump should abandon his predecessor’s feckless policy toward the Castro regime. By José Cárdenas

In the run-up to President Obama’s decision to reverse U.S. policy toward Cuba in December 2014, the American public was fed a steady diet of assurances by Cuba experts. Raúl Castro, who succeeded his brother Fidel in 2008, was “a pragmatic reformer,” they maintained — he recognized the country’s desperate need for change. Despite the lack of evidence that Raúl was ever anything but a hardline, murderous Communist, the experts insisted that he would boldly usher in a liberalizing transition to a Chinese- or Vietnamese-style “mixed economy” and that the U.S. needed to get in the game to “help” the process along.

No such reforms ever materialized. Instead, Raúl presided over an unprecedented expansion of the Cuban military’s control over the nation’s economy, especially in the tourist sector. In short, he cut his military cronies into government revenues to ensure their enduring loyalty. (U.S. tourists may as well write their checks out directly to the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces and the repressive Ministry of the Interior.)

The experts blamed Fidel Castro. It seemed his presence even in retirement induced an “executive paralysis.” His vocal opposition to change resulted in a “psychological pressure on the system to keep it as it is,” as Alvaro Vargas Llosa of the Independent Institute told the Christian Science Monitor.

Fidel’s death, then, would serve as a liberating event for Raúl, removing the younger brother from his older brother’s shadow. “Now that Fidel is gone, there may be a boldening, a quickening of the economic reforms,” an analyst told CNN after the elder Castro died last November. “There may be a louder voice within the Politburo . . . from the side of the reformers, the modernizers to allow more economic progress.”

Suffice it say, no such boldening has occurred, and the bloom is now off the Raúl rose. Indeed, he is now merely a “transitional president” between the old guard and the future. He has said he would retire as president next year. As one proponent of Obama’s policy lamented to the Miami Herald, “Raúl Castro and his aging colleagues seem to lack the vision and energy to drive comprehensive reform, so the Cuban people will have to wait until 2018 when new leadership — a new generation — comes forward.”

That would be the 56-year-old Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Raúl’s designated successor. But the reality is that Diaz-Canel is a colorless civilian apparatchik with no power base who — if he survives — will be no more than a figurehead atop a military-dominated regime. That’s because what is being planned in Cuba is a transfer of power not to a new generation of Cubans but to a new generation of Castros — specifically, Raúl Castro’s son and his son-in-law.

German judges sanction Jew hatredOp-ed: A recent court ruling on a synagogue attack has fanned the flames of anti-Semitism in Europe Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

November 10, 1938, 16-year-old Gertrude Rothschild was recruited by her rabbi to hurriedly enter the ruins of their synagogue in Konstanz am Bodensee to help gather up and bury the burned remains of their Torah scrolls, all that remained after the infamous night of violence, Kristallnacht. The story remained etched in Gertrude’s memory. She later survived the Gurs concentration camp, in Vichy, France.

Gertrude understood why people burned synagogues. Decades later, she embedded the memories of Kristallnacht in the minds of her children and grandchildren, one of whom is a co-author of this piece. We all knew from an early age that when a synagogue was attacked, the core of our Jewishness was defiled and threatened.

Post-World War II Germans understand this fact and have acted accordingly when such anti-Semitism reared its ugly head. That is, until the court in Wuppertal. We don’t have the courage to tell Gertrude, now in her nineties, that those blacked-robe judges (and the regional court that later confirmed the ruling), decided that three Muslims who set fire to a German synagogue were making a political protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza War, and therefore could not be convicted of anti-Semitism.

If German history isn’t sufficient a guide, a definition of anti-Semitism has been adopted by 31 European nations, and should guide German jurisprudence in erasing this travesty. But the stain and pain remain.

As Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz put it, “The idea that attacking a synagogue can be justified as an anti-Israel political protest, rather than anti-Jewish hate act, is as absurd as saying that Kristallnacht was merely a protest against poor service by Jewish store owners.” Or, we might add, claiming that torching a mosque is a protest against ISIS. Or dismissing the desecration of the Cologne Cathedral as a consequence of long-simmering discontent over the medieval Crusades.

The German courts’ decisions will further fuel the anti-Semitism engulfing Europe. Jews are specifically warned not to wear kippot or other Jewish symbols in many European capitals. Holocaust survivors in Malmo, Sweden — where, ironically, they settled after escaping the Nazis — are fearful of walking to synagogue on the Sabbath because the anti-Israel political establishment won’t protect them or their rabbi from anti-Semitic threats. Armed guards are stationed in front of synagogues throughout the Continent — yet, according the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Jews do not feel safe inside their own houses of worship.