Monday, July 31, 2006
This summer, a group of Muslims is touring Germany with a mosque on wheels. They hope their ''rolling mosque'' will help change German public opinion, which often associates Islam and Muslims with terror and fanaticism.
On a recent Friday afternoon, a truck with a large trailer pulled up across from the historic town hall in Hanau, near Frankfurt. Oriental music blasted from the speakers, attracting attention.
A stage had been built on top of the trailer. A cupola and two minarets soared above the roof. Pillars and arches decorated the sides. Alongside was written "Islamobil," a word made up from the German words for Islam and automobile.
The Islamobil is a sort of travelling mosque, one that aims to inform Germans about Islam. A group of young Muslims from the small city of Brühl near Cologne came up with the idea in 2001 and will travel around Germany with it this summer.
One of the founders, Gülüzar Keskin, said the idea was born out of the desire to explain and illustrate Islam on-the-spot.
''First we established an organization with the goal of informing Germans about Islam,'' Keskin said. ''Then we thought it would be a very good and practical idea to create a mobile mosque and travel around Germany in it."
The image of Islam and Muslims has deteriorated in Germany since the terrorism attacks on Sept.11, 2001. Many citizens associate the religion with terror, fanaticism and the repression of women. The organizers hope the Islamobil will correct this picture.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
The Mosaic Religious Community has advised its Jewish members against speaking Hebrew loudly on the streets of Oslo or wearing Jewish emblems. The suggestion has infuriated some in the membership.
It comes after a Jewish man wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, was assaulted on an Oslo street Saturday. The Mosaic Religious Community wants its members to be careful.
"We have encouraged our members to avoid speaking Hebrew loudly on the street," Anne Sender of the Jewish organization told newspaper Vårt Land. She also told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that men may want to reconsider wearing the yarmulke.
A briefing paper produced for Members for the 1992/3 Session of the British Parliament
ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC - BRIEF
ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC, leader of the SDA (Muslim Party of Democratic Action), is currently the President of the Presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina. He was born in Bosanski Samac in 1925, went to school in Sarajevo, and eventually completed law school; he had no schooling in religion within the Islamic school system .
Izetbegovic's Early Years
From his early youth, Izetbegovic dedicated himself to Islamic work. At 16 he became part of the group that founded religious-political organisation "Yung Muslims" in Sarajevo, in 1940. From the very outset the "YM" was modelled on fundamentalist formations in the Islamic world, such as "As- subban al-muslimun" and "Al-ikwan al-muslimun". One of the five points of the "YM" programme insisted on the unity of the Muslim world through the creation of one large Muslim state .
During the Second World War, the "YM" grew and become part of a network of Islamic religious groups headed by the highly conservative theologian of the Mehmed Handzic (1906-1944). The "YM" were not officially pro-fascist in orientation, though they were pursuit for this by the Communist regime after 1945. There were, however, many individual examples of active collaboration with the Ustashi government .
Izetbegovic was arrested in 1946, for his significant participation in founding the Muslim journal MUDZAHID. He spent the next three years in jail for promoting hatred. At the same time, his friend Nedzib Sacirbegovic was given a four year prison sentence. Sacirbegovic is now Izetbegovic's personal representative in the USA and his son Muhamed, is Bosnia-Hercegovina's ambassador to the UN. Izetbegovic has systematically promoted to top positions in the SDA people who were political "cadres" in the original "YM" movement .
In February 1949, the "Yung Muslims" started an open revolt . This was short-lived. During subsequent trials held in Sarajevo in 1949, four members of the "YM" were sentenced to death and many were given prison sentences . After this lesson, Islamic activists stopped creating illegal groups and started working on Islamisation "from underneath" . This meant penetrating the very pores of the system's institutions, including the formal Islamic community, because the activists considered their leaders to be traitors to the authentic Islamic cause. From the beginning Izetbegovic preferred Shiite Islamic radicalism in comparison to the Sunni .
Izetbegovic's doctrine - "The Islamic Declaration"
Izetbegovic published many articles in Muslim journals (TAKVIM, GVIS, etc.), discussing the sad state of Islam and the necessity for its universal regeneration . In 1970, he wrote and distributed to people of confidence, his specific manifesto or programme for radical pan-Islam - the ISLAMIC DECLARATION .
In this booklet, similar to many of the same type circulating in the Islamic world, but the only one of its sort in Yugoslavia, Izetbegovic advocated:
- general Islamic moral and religious regeneration;- a return to true Islamic values;- (re)Islamisation of Muslims;- creation and strengthening of different types of Islamic unity;- struggle, up to and including political and armed war for the creation of an Islamic order in countries where Muslims represent majority, or near majority of the population .
In line with his pan-Islamic and anti-secular thinking,Izetbegovic stated in the ISLAMIC DECLARATION that: - there should be the establishment of "a united Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia";- with reference to the Turkish model - "Turkey as an Islamic country used to rule the world. Turkey as an imitation of Europe represents a third-rate country, the like of which there is a hundred in the world.";- "there can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions";- "the Islamic movement must and can, take over political power as soon as it is morally and numerically so strong that it can not only destroy the existing non-Islamic power, but also to build up a new Islamic one" .
The ISLAMIC DECLARATION is imbued with a deep-set intolerance towards "the values of western civilisation", both capitalist and Marxist. It was re-published in 1990 in Sarajevo, testifying to the fact that its author, in the meantime, had in no way gone back on his positions - one of Islamic fundamentalism .
Muslims who gathered around the re-published ISLAMIC DECLARATION, were former members of the "YM" and new activists. They tie their activities to those of Muslim centres abroad - religious, political, propaganda and economic - above all with specific groups in Iran .
In his book ISLAM BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, published firs in the USA (1984) and then Turkey, develops his views on the superiority of Islam over all other religions, cultures, ideologies and philosophies. This book was published in Serbo- Croatian, only in Belgrade in 1988; the Sarajevo authorities used all means to prevent it getting published at all .
Izetbegovic - leader of Bosnia's Muslims
With a group of Muslim activists, Izetbegovic was arrested in 1983 for activities against the state. As the chief defendant, he was sentenced to fourteen years. In 1988, he was released after less than six years of prison . After the fall of Communism in Yugoslavia, Izetbegovic became one of the leaders in the creation of the SDA party (1990), as a Muslim political party. He was elected President with the support of his old fellows from the ranks of the "YM" and the support of the young radicals .
Izetbegovic gave his new, nominally national and civilian political party, a deeply-set religious connotation. As the first president of the collective Presidency of this young state, and by far the most influential Muslim politician on the soil of former Yugoslavia (having ousted his more popular rival Fikret Abdic), the strength of his position allows him to pursue his youthful (pan)Islamic dreams .
His internal and external policies changed tactfully as per the power struggle both inside and outside of Yugoslavia. But, from a strategic standpoint Izetbegovic has not budget an inch from his early conception that "every good Muslim, through his formal engagement, including the political one, at all times and all places, must above all serve Islam, by force if necessary" . Because of Izetbegovic's anti-Communism, the fundamentalist radicalism of the political programme contained in the ISLAMIC DECLARATION, went virtually unnoticed in most western countries .
As such, the rise of a native and authentic Islamic fundamentalist movement in Yugoslavia, was for the West, up until recently, an incomprehensible and inconceivable idea .
For some, it remains so today . This fanatical conviction of Izetbegovic - namely that the highest motive justifies every move, every decision, (including that of disposing of his predecessors), has definitely helped plunge Bosnia into the midst of an ethnic and religious war .
Only after one carefully considers the foregoing does it become understandable why, recently, Izetbegovic signed an agreement for the "cantonisation" of Bosnia with representatives of the European Community in Lisbon, and cancelled it two days later. Izetbegovic will accept any kind of deal in order to get his way - he is not ashamed if it is proved that he lies, because he says "all is allowed for Islam" .
Now it seems logical why Izetbegovic visited only radical Muslim countries during the first nine months of his presidency . Izetbegovic is a man who is willing to sacrifice half of the population to achieve his religious goals - to be the first president od an Islamic state in Europe - however small . In the light of above facts one can better understand Izetbegovic's statements of sympathy for the "Islamic Revolution" in Iran .
Only Izetbegovic and Ayatollah Khomeini, out of all presidents who officially visited Turkey, did not pay respect to the grave of Ataturk - for them he was traitor of fundamentalist Muslim principles .
Friday, July 28, 2006
"Iranians volunteer to fight Jihad against Israel," from AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Surrounded by yellow Hezbollah flags, more than 60 Iranian volunteers set off Wednesday to join what they called a holy war against Israeli forces in Lebanon.
The group — ranging from teenagers to grandfathers — plans to join about 200 other volunteers on the way to the Turkish border, which they hope to cross Thursday. They plan to reach Lebanon via Syria on the weekend.
Organizers said the volunteers are carrying no weapons, and it was not clear whether Turkey would allow them to pass.
If Turkey lets them pass, it will once again demonstrate its unfitness for EU membership.
Paris, 28 July 2006
Last week, the Israeli chapter quit the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), in disgust at the Federation's denunciation of the Israeli Air Force destruction of the Al Manar Hizbollah television stationin Lebanon. In a letter to the IFJ General Secretary, Aidan White, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that "your camouflage for terror has already borne fruit: your Brusselsneighbour, La Libre Belgique, in its op ed of 25 July entitled 'C'est le sionisme qui mène à la guerre' (It is Zionism which leads to war), hasblatantly endorsed Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Hizbollah's commander and bankroller, 'to wipe the State of Israel off the map'".The letter continued, "the newspaper goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, maliciously crossing the red lines of civilized press discourse: In distorting quotes from Jewish protagonists of Zionism as the only national liberation movement of the Middle East, La Libre Belgiquestates that 'the founding doctrine of Zionism was racism and colonialism… the people of Israel, as a superior people and the modern continuation of the Chosen People… Israel in the Middle East is the apartheid South Africaof southern Africa - a Euro-American colony'".According to the Centre, "The Libre Belgique (LB) op ed moved on from racism to the Holocaust to a new call for a definitive Final Solution".LB: -"By what right do Israeli leaders, most born after 1945, speak in the name of the victims of Nazism?By what right do they appropriate the exclusive memory of a crime against all humanity?"Samuels suggested that "it was not 'all humanity', but, indeed, the leaders and people of Israel - every Jew alive today, whether in Israel or in the Diaspora - who were marked for extermination by Hitler. Yet, La Libre Belgique robs the victims of their own victimology."He adds that "finally, the hop, skip and jump to a call for genocide, as a prominent Belgian daily, cognizant of Belgium's own complicity in the deportation of the Jews, unambiguously declares: 'We were shocked to hear the Iranian President say that Israel should be wiped off the map. It would, however, surely be the only solution to see the State of Israel disappear, politically of course. … The policy of 'twopeoples, two States', the policy of the partition of Palestine on a political and ethnic basis, is a policy of apartheid that will never bring peace. Let us return to what was always, until Oslo, the project of the PLO…'"As a postscript, the letter stresses LB's clearly biased agenda of La Libre Belgique in claiming: "When a government judges that the life of one soldier is more important than that of dozens of children and civilians, on the sole pretext that this soldier is a Jew while the dozens of civilians and children are Muslim, Christians and non-believers, then the State that represents this government is a racist State".Samuels contends that "if every state would value the life of each of its soldiers, as in the case of Israel for ALL its soldiers, whether Jewish, Druze, Muslim Beduin or Arab Christians - all Israeli citizens who serve in the Israel Defence Forces - then war would be a less likely policy option. The IFJ legitimized Hizbollah terrorists as "Al Manar journalists" who, in fact, care not a wit for the number of their fighters lost as "martyrs" in their atrocities against civilians. La Libre Belgique has endorsed the antisemitic genocide of the same Iranian regime that sent one million of its children to detonate mines with their own bodies in the 'Jihad' against Iraq".The Centre urged the IFJ and La Libre Belgique "to acknowledge responsibility for their positions, just as the Stürmer editor, Julius Streicher at Nuremberg, or the three Rwandan journalists at the United Nations Arusha court. None had taken a single life, but all were condemned for media incitement to mass murder".The letter called on the IFJ Secretary to bear responsibility for the possible consequences of his words: first, a wave of violent antisemitismacross Europe; second, a Belgian debate on whether to open its gates tofive million Israeli refugees.Samuels then disabused the IFJ of this latter scenario, assuring the General Secretary that "that will never happen, for it is the very language of La Libre Belgique that ensures the resistance and indomitability of the Jewish State".The letter concluded, "Can we expect the IFJ to condemn La Libre Belgique for its antisemitism and undoubted violation of the IFJ's own code of journalistic conduct?"
Can Karpat, AIA Balkanian section
One day before the death of the former Yugoslav dictator, the former Kosovar prime minister, who is the only important ethnic Albanian indictee, had his bail restrictions eased by the war criminal court. Moreover, Ramush Haradinaj is likely to return to political life. The Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia relaxed a ban on Haradinaj's public appearances and political activities. Against the background of the UN-mediated talks on Kosovo final status that are under way in Vienna, Haradinaj's political comeback can have an effect of a powerful blast for the Kosovar inner political scene that has not yet recovered from Ibrahim Rugova's death…A “usual CV”Ramush Haradinaj was born on the 3rd of July 1968 in Glodjane (a little village bordering Albania in Decani municipality, western Kosovo). Haradinaj is two-month younger than Hashim Thaci, the well-known political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). After close cooperation within the UCK ranks, the two men became political rivals in their new “civil lives”. Yet, their profiles are marked with more than one similarity.As the eldest of seven children of a farmer, Ramush Haradinaj grew up in the country. He completed primary school in Rznici and secondary school in Decani and Djakovica. He wanted to study astronomy and enrolled at Pristina University in 1987. However, the same year he was appealed to serve in the Yugoslav People's Army. He completed his mandatory military service in Pirot and Dimitrovgrad (south-eastern Serbia). After his return he wanted to continue his studies. After the student demonstrations in 1989, however, he left for Switzerland. He claimed that his family was marked down by Serbian authorities as “troublemakers” and that his efforts to study astronomy in Kosovo were blocked. Haradinaj frequently travelled illegally to Kosovo, hiding from the police. He left Kosovo for good in 1991. Haradinaj was to stay in Switzerland for six years, ostensibly to study. Apparently he led a vagabond yet a colourful life there. He worked as security guard at rock concerts, nightclub bouncer, gymnastics coach and bodyguard. Not all of his jobs were as harmless as those were.During that eight-year voluntary exile in Switzerland, Haradinaj stayed in touch with the resistance movement in Kosovo. He joined the Marxist-Leninist organisation People's Movement of Kosovo, which is believed to have created the UCK. Thereafter, Haradinaj alias “Smajl” studied war skills and martial arts. In the mid-1990's he lived in Tirana, where he began to prepare for "rebellion". In 1996, he finished his paramilitary training in Albania, and he took part in organising camps in Kukës and Tropojë (north-eastern Albania). He transferred arms to Kosovo through the Prokletija mountains (northern Albania).Haradinaj returned to Kosovo in mid-1997. Along with his brothers, Daut and Shkëlzen, he began to organise armed attacks on Serbian police in the village of Ranic in Decani and the village of Ponosevac in Djakovica, and on the refugee camps in Junik and Babaloc. In March 1998, he became one of the Zone Commanders of the UCK. He held the western command operating in Dukagjin operational zone, which covered an area as large as Pec, Decani, Djakovica and part of Istok and Kline. During the war, Haradinaj was called the "Fist of God" by his followers.On Haradinaj’s initiative, a special UCK unit was formed in Glodjane, his native town. Idriz Balaj alias "Toger" (Lieutenant) was appointed to the command of the Black Eagles - a special unit to carry out “special deed”. Today Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj alias “Maxhup” (Gypsy), who was the Deputy Commander of the Dukagjin Operative Staff, were accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for having co-perpetrated a joint criminal enterprise between March the 1st and September the 30th, 1998. The Black Eagles is charged, among other alleged crimes, with harassing, beating, expelling, abducting, detaining and torturing the Serbs and those Albanians and Roma Gypsies, who were perceived to be collaborators or not supporting the UCK. Those seven months in a way marked Haradinaj’s whole life, for his name is stigmatised by the Serbs as well as by the international community with this precise period of time.By summer 1998, the late President of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova decided to do something about the UCK, which became more and more popular amongst the Kosovo Albanians. A certain Ahmet Krasniqi, a former colonel in the Yugoslavian Army, was given 4.5 million Dollars by Rugova’s administration in order to establish a rival military structure: the Armed Forces of the Kosovo Republic (FARK). In western Kosovo, the FARK initially cooperated with, and then fell out with UCK’s western command led by Haradinaj. Tension between the UCK and the FARK did not last for long. According to the New York Times columnist, Chris Hedges, on the 21st of September, Krasniqi was eliminated by the UCK or by Albanian secret police or both in Tirana. In June 1999, Haradinaj allegedly ordered the killing of another four members of the FARK. One of those victims was from the Musaj family, a powerful Albanian clan, which traditionally supports Rugova and the FARK. It is also claimed that there was a serious inter-mafia conflict between the Haradinaj and Thaci clans on the one hand and the Musaj clan on the other. On the 6th of July 2000, as is Albanian custom, the brothers of the dead went to Haradinaj’s father to ask for their brother’s bones. Haradinaj later that night went to the brothers in the village of Strelci (western Kosovo) and entered the family compound armed. That was a serious break of the Albanian code of honour.Russian daily Pravda quoted Cedda Prlincevic, former Chief Archivist in Pristina explaining the essence of this code of honour: “One book has a great hold over Kosovo Albanians. It's called the 'Canon of Leke Dukagjiniis'. It's a 15th century text that spells out codes of behaviour. It goes into great detail on how to carry out blood feuds, when and whom it is proper to kill. It lays out the proper methods to use when killing, rules and regulations and so on. And this Canon is alive among Albanians today, especially since the fall of communism”.Who opened fire first that night is not known. Haradinaj ended up wounded. He was flown by helicopter onto Landshut, Germany to be treated in an American Army hospital for shrapnel wounds. Although the wound was physically not serious, it might be very serious politically. On the 1st of September 2000, Jane's Intelligence Review commented: “Even if his health does not suffer, some may consider his political career to be over as the Albanians now see him as someone who breached the code of honour”. Jane’s went even further and claimed that the main reason of quarrel between Thaci and Haradinaj after 2000 was not that the former defended a multi-ethnic society, but this break of the Canon. Yet Haradinaj’s political career, which had already begun by 2000, was not to be harmed by that incident as it was foreseen by Jane’s.Prime minister for three monthsRamush Haradinaj, also known simply as “Ramush” in whole Kosovo, is very popular in the region. Many Kosovo Albanians consider him as a hero. Some sources claim that the United States considers Haradinaj as the “second best” after Thaci. Concerning the shooting incident in Strelci, Pravda went as far as accusing the American officials of removing the evidence at the crime scene in order to protect Haradinaj. After the UCK was officially disbanded on the 20th of September 1999, a Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) was formed by 2000. Haradinaj was appointed Deputy Commander, under Agim Ceku.Haradinaj, who obtained his law degree at Pristina University after the war, first began his political career in Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK). However, when Thaci abandoned his pan-Albanian vision and ostensibly opted for a multi-ethnic Kosovo, Haradinaj quitted DPK in March 2000. On the 11th of April, he retired from his post in the KPC. On the 29th, he founded his own party as a coalition of five nationalist parties, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK). According to the British Sunday Times: “Diplomats in Pristina said Haradinaj entered politics last year at the behest of Britain and America, which wanted to see the UCK's support base split”. Haradinaj’s AAK was intended to gather ex-UCK soldiers, those who were dissatisfied with Thaci’s new political line, opponents of Rugova and even former communist leaders. Amongst the members, there were those, who claimed for the “liberation” of southern Serbia and western Macedonia. On the eve of the 28th of October 2000 municipal elections, AAK seemed to be a radical party.According to Serbian sources, on the 25th of May 2000, Haradinaj participated in the Gnjilane meeting, whose goal was continuing of war in Serbia and preparation for war in Macedonia. Same sources accused Haradinaj of smuggling of arms and secret training of Albanian terrorists from southern Serbia. Haradinaj was also allegedly involved in the operations of Albanian terrorists in Macedonia. The organised smuggling of drugs, cigarettes, oil, oil derivates, weapons, vehicles and other goods provided the main financial funds. The visible face was -as always- very different. AAK had strong representation on local municipal boards. Support comes mainly from the Dukagjin region. In the 17th of November 2001 general elections, AAK obtained 8 seats in the Assembly, and became the third partner of the governing coalition with LDK (Democratic League of Kosovo of Ibrahim Rugova) and DPK. According to Serbian sources, though, Haradinaj did not hesitate to liquidate his political opponents even after that date. In January 2003, Haradinaj allegedly organised the assassination of Tahir Zemaj, a FARK commander, his son Enis and nephew Hysen on the Pristina-Pec road. Zemaj was supposed to be the main witness in the proceedings against Haradinaj and his brother Daut, who was sentenced by the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) judiciary for crimes against Albanians in June 1999 and imprisoned in the second half of 2002.In the 23rd of October 2004 general elections, AAK raised slightly its votes and obtained 9 seats in the Assembly. However, Thaci’s DPK now consigning to opposition, Haradinaj began to push hard in order to enter into coalition with Rugova’s LDK. That was a daring step. In regard of the tradition split in Kosovo, any sort of cooperation between the ex-UCK and ex-FARK factions was unthinkable. Since the end of the war, more than 70 murders are said to have been committed in three of the province's regions, Decani, Kline and Pec, and each of these cases has been linked to the political blood feud between the two camps. The majority of the victims were members of either Haradinaj's or Rugova's party. That is why, Kosovo Albanian daily Epoka e Re, which is close to Thaci’s DPK accused Haradinaj of “treason to wartime friends”. Analysts agreed that Ramush Haradinaj’s decision to enter into coalition with LDK was partly motivated by the fact that his possible indictment by the ICTY would be complicated by the prime minister position. The LDK decision was motivated by the desire to take more ministerial positions. LDK signed, though, to an agreement that was disproportional to the election results: AAK with only 8.4 percent of votes took over 30 percent of governmental positions. It is believed that the position of prime minister, which would normally go to the largest party in the coalition, was “sacrificed” for the position of President.European Union Foreign Affairs Representative, Javier Solana was slightly irritated: “Whoever the prime minister, he has to work on the standards issue and if in the end the prime minister is somebody who has to go to The Hague, he may not be the most appropriate person to work towards those standards”. The UNMIK did not react at all. On the 3rd of December 2004, Haradinaj was elected prime minister by the Assembly by a vote of 72 to 3. His premiership marked a traumatised period following the riots in March 2004. The Serbs of Kosovo, seeing that the Albanians did not hesitate to elect a prime minister, who risked to be accused by the ICTY, were more concerned than ever about their own security in the region. Most of the Serb representatives elected at that time boycotted the Assembly. Belgrade called Haradinaj's nomination "a failure of the UNMIK". Haradinaj's opponents accused him of being “a proven criminal against Serb civilians, women and children”. 36-year old Prime Minister Haradinaj, who once quitted DPK in order to establish a more radical party, opted for a new political line, ironically similar to that of Thaci. In an interview, he emphasised that his priority was “to ensure free movement for all Kosovars, Serbs and Albanians” and to build a “tolerant society with European standards”: “I can forgive. I fought for a very simple reason - to be free. We will forgive. As a result that we are free, no one will suffer. I am prepared to bring flowers to those who suffered”.The forgiving Haradinaj held the office for only three months. On the 4th of March 2005, the ICTY charged Haradinaj with 17 counts of crimes against humanity and 20 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war.On the 8th of March, Haradinaj voluntarily turned himself in to the custody of the ICTY. Hundreds of Kosovo Albanians turned out to see him off as he flew to the Netherlands to face the charges. He urged calm in the province during his absence. When he first appeared before the court on the 14th of March, 2005, he pleaded not guilty for every count against himself. On 6th of June, 2005, Haradinaj was granted provisional release. The case is at the pre-trial stage. Haradinaj is the highest ranking Kosovo Albanian to be accused by the ICTY and his case is one of the most high-profile since the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Haradinaj could face life imprisonment if convicted of any of the charges. If acquitted, however, Haradinaj wants to re-enter politics.After Haradinaj surrendered to The Hague, Bajram Kosumi of AAK took up the post of prime minister. On the 21st of January this year, President Rugova passed away. Kosovo definitely goes through one of the most decisive moments of its history. And Haradinaj, one the most popular personalities in the region, is not allowed to get involved in any public political activity. Whether his main rival Hashim Thaci will benefit from his absence or not, is to be seen in the coming days, after the Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia makes it final statement.
American Council for Kosovo
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Writing for an outfit called FamilySecurityMatters.org last week, Weekly Standard contributor and longtime champion of Balkan Muslims Stephen Schwartz describes an overnight bus ride from Kosovo's capital Pristina to a resort town in Montenegro:
"A man behind me began speaking almost immediately and without stopping, in Albanian — which I understand…insistently focused on the nature of G-d (a favorite subject for Islamic fundamentalists), [and on] the nefarious influence of Sufis who thought they could reinterpret the faith, the evil intentions of Americans, Iraq, and bloodshed. I was startled because it is rare to hear Albanians, after the rescue of Kosovo, badmouth Americans…G-d is one, who are these people like this American who come and try to tell us how to be Muslims? What about Iraq? Why is this American here with his friend?"
Schwartz then describes a rest stop: "I did not find out where I was until I asked a waiter in the restaurant, because none of the Albanians crowded in the back with me and my Sufi companion and the whisperer in darkness would speak civilly to me. When I asked one man, in Albanian, the name of the town, he answered in Serbian: 'ne znam,' 'I don't know.' Another said it was the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica (it wasn't). And finally a thin punk who could not have been over 20, and who, I soon realized, had been encouraging the voice behind me, said in perfect English, 'I don't understand English.' At the end of the rest period all three people filed back into the bus and avoided looking at me.
"Muhammad woke up and asked me what was going on. I told him, 'Someone back here is making Wahhabi speeches.' He grinned as if in disbelief, but said, 'I'm not surprised.'"
Nor should anyone else be, given this shockingly predictable consequence of our 1990s misadventures in the Balkans. Only Mr. Schwartz is surprised — understandably, given what he wrote just last year:
There are not now and never have been, in recent times, 'Muslim militants' in Kosovo, aside from a handful of individuals and some Saudi and other Gulf Arab-state cells operating through relief agencies...No 'international Islamist factions' are present in Kosovo or presently involved with Kosovo. No 'international Islamist factions' were involved in the Kosovo war…Kosovar Muslims are extremely anti-Islamist and pro-American.
Kosovo is the most heavily-policed, militarily-occupied region in Europe. It does not now and has never had a 'fundamentalist minority' in the sense the term is now understood, and no serious evidence to the contrary can be produced.
So what happened? Did the Albanians whom Mr. Schwartz encountered on his trip turn fundamentalist overnight? Or maybe, just maybe even for Muslims in the throes of gratitude to the West, the first allegiance is to Islam. Apparently, some people need to actually get on a bus with hostile Albanian Muslims to learn what the rest of us have been able to glean from dispatch after dispatch coming out of the region. For example, there is the fact that the Kosovo Liberation Army whom we fought for had trained with al-Qaeda, and there was the Albanian applicant to al-Qaeda who boasted of his experience fighting Serb and American troops in Kosovo. And still Mr. Schwartz would be surprised to pick up the Jerusalem Post this week and read this about the Balkan Muslims he's spent years shilling for: "Jewish groups are troubled by a new property restitution law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina that officially discriminates in favor of the country's Muslims."
Read it all.
Can Karpat, AIA Balkanian SectionThursday, 27 July 2006
Hashim Thaci was only 31 years old when he became the indispensable partner of the NATO in Kosovo. Six years ago, former leader of the controversial Kosovo Liberation Army converted himself into a presentable politician as leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo. Now he is the main opponent of Ibrahim Rugova. The man of extraordinary times tries hard to become the man of ordinary times …Born to be wildHashim Thaci was born on the 24th of April, 1968 in Brocna in municipality of Srbica (northwest of Drenica valley). According to his brief profile published in Kosovo Assembly web site, Thaci studied philosophy and history (in the University of Pristina), and then attended postgraduate studies in the University of Zurich, in history of Southeast Europe and international relations departments. According to other less official sources however, he was not a student model…A certain Beqir Osmani from Drenica remembers well the youth of Thaci: “We know well who he is. We know what he did, how he was in school and what kind of education he received. Everyone on the Kosovska Mitrovica market had great problems with Thaci, who stole goods from traders. Even the customers complained. He fought in pubs of Mitrovica and Srbica. He has no education at all. He only attended two first classes of a certain secondary school. Today however he meets with international politicians. What he can actually discuss with them is far from being clear”.Serbian officials however know him from more “honourable deed” than commonplace thefts and quarrels in public areas.During his university years, Thaci was one of the Albanian student leaders, and the first student president of the parallel university in Pristina. Kosovo Albanians, full of resentment over the 1989 annulment of the autonomy of Kosovo by Slobodan Milosevic, established in early 1990’s underground administrative and educational institutions.By 1993, in Switzerland, Thaci joined the Kosovo Albanian political emigration. He was one of the founders of the Marxist-Leninist organisation People's Movement of Kosovo, which is believed to have created the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).From 1993, as a member of the inner circle of the UCK, Thaci alias Snake (Gjarpni) was responsible for securing financial means, training and armament. After he completed his military training in Albania, he was engaged in a number of terrorist actions in Kosovo.Thaci is also known as the organiser of the Drenica-Group. The group controlled between 10-15 per cent of criminal activities in Kosovo in connection with smuggling of arms, stolen cars, oil and cigarettes as well as with prostitution, the establishment and maintenance of connections with the Albanian, Czech and Macedonian mafia. Other than that, Thaci’s sister is married to Sejdija Bajrush, one of the leaders of the notorious Albanian mafia.On the 25th of May, 1993, Thaci, along with the Drenica-Group members Rafet Rama, Jakup Nuri, Sami Ljustku and Ilijaz Kadriju, participated in the attack on the railroad crossing in Glogovac (central Kosovo) when four Serbian policemen were killed and three seriously wounded. Thereafter, according to the deposition of Rafet Rama on the 11th July, 1997 in the District Court of Pristina, Thaci and others went into hiding in wood in Drenica. Yet, they often visited Albania, Switzerland and Kosovo.On the 17th of June, 1996, Thaci with other accomplices opened fire on a Serbian police car on the road Mitrovica-Pec in Sipolje (north of Kosovo). Same year, according to the deposition of Rama, Thaci and his gang threw hand grenades into the Serbian barracks “Milos Obilic” in Vucitrn (central Kosovo). In July 1997, Thaci was sentenced, in absentia, by the District Court of Pristina to 10 years in prison for criminal acts of terrorism. In February 1998, a central arrest warrant was issued in his name. Thaci was condemned for having ambushed and attacked patrolling Serbian policemen.Wrath of Thaci not only fell upon Serbian officials, but Albanian dissidents as well. Chris Hedges from New York Times accused Hashim Thaci and his two confidents, Azem Syla the UCK’s Minister of Defence and Xhavit Haliti the Ambassador to Albania, of murdering top commanders within the UCK itself and other potentially opponent Kosovo Albanian nationalists (“Leaders of Kosovo Rebels Tied to Deadly Power Play”, 25 June 1999). Hedges interviewed for his article a former member of the secessionist movement in Switzerland, Rifat Haxhijaj, who stated: “When the war [against Serb authority] started, everyone wanted to be the chief. For the leadership this was never just a war against Serbs - it was also a struggle for power”. In 1997, a Kosovo Albanian reporter, Ali Uka, who was a supporter of the Kosovo independence movement though too critical for the taste of its leadership, was found dead in his apartment in Tirana. His roommate at the time of his death was no other than Thaci the Snake. According to former UCK officials, Thaci conducted assassinations in cooperation with Tirana, which often placed members of its secret police “at the disposal of the rebel commanders”.According to Bujar Bukoshi, once the Prime Minister of the Rugova government in exile, “Cadavers have never been an obstacle to Thaci’s career”.In 1995, following the Dayton Accord, which putting an end to the Yugoslavia War did not mention at all the Kosovo problem, Kosovo Albanians began to lose their faith in Ibrahim Rugova and his passive resistance strategy. There must be some other way to fight against Serbians. That way was the UCK, which claimed for the first time in February 1996 the assault to a Serbian refugees’ camp in Bosnia. In January 1997, Serbian rector of the University of Pristina was seriously wounded by a trapped car. The perpetrator was again the UCK.In 1997, on 28th of November, the symbolic day of the Independence of Albanian people, during the funeral of a teacher killed by Serbian soldiers in Ludovic (central Kosovo), the UCK made its first public appearance. After Serbian forces killed 53 members of the Adem Jeshari family in Drenica in March 1998, because they suspected Jeshari of being a UCK leader, suddenly tens of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, who had used to support Rugova's passive resistance, transferred their loyalty and took up arms with the UCK. In February 1998, the Serbian police and the Yugoslavian Army entered Kosovo, destroyed many villages and caused 2000 of victims and the flight of 250.000 refugees. From April until September, there were serious quarrels between Yugoslavian troops and the UCK. The second Kosovo war began. On the 15th of May, 1998, Rugova smiled at cameras as he shook the hand of Milosevic in Belgrade. The day of the UCK was finally there …However during the summer offensive of the Yugoslavian Army, the UCK had to endure serious military reverses. The man, who helped its reorganisation, was Thaci.On the 13th of October, Richard Holbrook, American negotiator and Milosevic signed an accord. Milosevic conceded the retreat of Serbian forces, the ceasefire and the arrival of 2000 “unarmed controllers” of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Three days after, the accord was categorically rejected by the UCK. Quarrels resumed. The UCK bade that fight bring more.And it did. By the autumn of 1998, Milosevic was not the man of the Dayton Accord anymore. Serbia launched the winter offensive, which started by Christmas night and culminated with the massacre of Racak where 45 Albanians were killed as revenge for the actions that the UCK undertook against Serbian security forces. The Western world found the evil of the story: Milosevic and Serbians.By the autumn 1998, the language of the UCK changed as well. It was not the Marxist-Leninist movement of old times anymore. The UCK also revised its plans of “Greater Albania” since it saw what a deploring political and social situation welcomed Kosovo Albanian refugees in Albania. The UCK turned its initial ideal of “Greater Albania” into “Greater Kosovo”, though skilfully hid its dream from the international community. The Western world found the good of the story: the UCK and Kosovo Albanians. The year of 1999 was to change the fate of the UCK as well as that of Hashim Thaci, now political leader of the Army, for good.Why decorate the bandit with sheriff badge?What a change it was. Only two years ago, the Western world called the UCK extreme or terrorist and condemned its acts as criminal, only comparable to those of the Red Khmers, who massacred their own people in Cambodia. The CIA added the UCK on the list of world terrorist organisations.In less than a year, the UCK was promoted from a terrorist organisation to a resistance movement. And its new political leader, 31-year old Hashim Thaci, was going to gather the fruits of that sudden change in Western attitude.Ibrahim Rugova, who denied even the existence of the UCK or at the best denounced it as Serbian secret services’ trick, did not want to be a mere witness of the unpreventable ascension of Hashim Thaci. In fact, the ultimate pacifist did what no one could have ever dreamt of him. By summer 1998, a certain Ahmet Krasniqi, a former colonel in the Yugoslavian Army, was given $4.5 million by Rugova’s administration in order to establish a rival military structure: the Armed Forces of the Kosovo Republic (FARK). Tension between the UCK and the FARK did not last for long. According to the New York Times columnist, on the 21st of September, Krasniqi was eliminated by the UCK or by Albanian secret police or both in Tirana.Hashim Thaci, as head of the Albanian delegation, was invited to Rambouillet pour parleys in Paris on the 6th of February, 1999. Rugova was there only to witness his own decline. Thaci stubbornly refused to accept the Western proposition for the autonomy of Kosovo. Negotiations resumed on the 19th and ended with the ratification of the accord by the UCK on the 23rd. The document was a turning point. First of all, it meant the international recognition for the UCK. It foresaw an interim government of Kosovo including the three major parties: the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of Rugova, the United Democratic League (LBD) allied with the UCK and of course the UCK itself. And the Prime Minister was going to be Hashim Thaci. The document also promised a referendum, which would however never take place.On the 24th of March, the NATO started bombing former Yugoslavia. During the intervention, the UCK became a kind of “land troops” of General Wesley Clark, supreme commander of NATO forces. After all, that was necessary: Who else but the UCK would have known better the land and pinpointed vital military targets to NATO planes to bomb? Yet the NATO chose to co-operate with a highly suspect and unpredictable partner.After 78-day NATO bombing, by June 1999, the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the UN Mission (UNMIK) entered Kosovo. Hashim Thaci, self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Kosovo was triumphant. “Madeleine Albright is in love with Thaci. Jamie Rubin is his best friend. It's not helpful. Thaci arrived here with the impression that he has the full weight of the American government behind him. He believes he has earned the right to rule”, stated the first head of the UNMIK, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UCK celebrated the victory everywhere in Kosovo as if the NATO did nothing for it. Albanian houses and official buildings were decorated with UCK banners. Unlike Rugova, Thaci was everywhere in Kosovo to take care of his fellow Albanians.However, Serbian officials denounce still today that because of Thaci’s UCK, targets, which were far from being military, were bombed by the NATO and left Yugoslavian territories ravaged with several civil victims. In March 2000, the Voice of Russia accused the UCK of “built-in tension”. According to the radio, in December 1998, the UCK deliberately killed four Serbian policemen in Racak (central Kosovo) in order to provoke Serbian forces to retaliation. The radio went on that Serbian forces did not kill 45 Albanian farmers but UCK soldiers. The UCK, deceiving the international community, tried to prepare the field for the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia. Serbia insisted that its forces made some “gruesome discoveries” when they liberated the town of Klecka (south of Pristina) in August 1998. The NATO, proud of having prevented Serbian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, after June 1999, found itself accused of supporting Albanian counter-cleansing against Serbians and Roma Gypsies.Gracko was a Serbian village not far from Pristina, surrounded by Albanian villages and controlled by UCK forces. On the 23rd of July, 14 Serbian farmers while harvesting their crops were killed by UCK soldiers, according to Gracko inhabitants. Thaci condemned the assault and denied any responsibility. The incident took place six weeks after the NATO entry in Kosovo and only one month after the signature of the “Undertaking of Demilitarisation and Transformation of the UCK” between Thaci and British General Mike Jackson, head of the KFOR. Ironically many of the Gracko inhabitants were Serbian refugees from Bosnia and Krajina region of Croatia. Those, who were allegedly expelled by troops under the command of General Ante Gotovina who is currently at The Hague to answer the allegations against him. The difference, if not numerical (150 victims to 14), must be political. The NATO, which showed Serbians as the evil of the story and thus justified its intervention on international platform, could not accept that its closest partner was not that angelic after all. This would have annulled the legitimacy of its own intervention.The fatal mistake was that the international community reduced the conflict of Kosovo to a black-and-white mentality with angelic figures on one hand and demonic figures on the other. However the Balkans as a whole is abundant of grey zones. History itself can testify.It is still claimed that during his premiership, Thaci used former UCK soldiers in elimination of his political opponents, in creating an ethnically pure Kosovo forcing Serbians to live in enclaves. Thaci thought differently of the newly formed Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), mainly formed by ex-UCK men. The KPC, in theory a civil guard, was to become the official Kosovo Army. Pleurat Sejdiu, former UCK representative to London, suggested that the UCK was ordering its regional commanders not to entirely decommission its ranks. Serbians denounced Thaci for organised prostitution, narcotics and arms traffic. Thaci allegedly conducted his political campaigns and fed Albanian terrorist groups by those means.However the visible face of Thaci was totally different. On the 8th of March, 1999, the pragmatic hard-liner founded the Party for the Democratic Progress of Kosovo, later the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK). The party program was not different from that of Rugova’s LDP: Social, political and economic development, amelioration of health care and education, security and of course full independence of Kosovo. The DPK was supposed to gather those, who were disappointed with “rugovism”. What Thaci did not count with was that there were also those, who were disappointed with “thacism”. Some ex-UCK men found Thaci’s new line too soft. January and February 2000 saw the birth of two new UCK-designed Albanian guerrillas: the National Liberation Army of Macedonia in northwest of Macedonia and the Liberation Army of Presevo-Medvedja-Bujanovac in southwest of Serbia. Those former UCK-cells were to be engaged in insurgencies in Presevo Valley in Serbia (2000) and in Macedonia (2001). In March 2000, Ramush Haradinaj, ex-UCK commandant, left the DPK to found his own Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK). It is claimed that Haradinaj’s entry on political scene was sponsored by Britain and the USA in order to split the UCK base. Haradinaj was also the deputy Commander of the KPC.As to Kosovo Albanians, they were tired of insecure atmosphere, which marked the Thaci period. In four months only, the OSCE reported 348 murders, 116 kidnappings, 1070 lootings and 1106 arsons. After June 1999, the UCK and then the DPK imposed their own candidates as local authorities. Some of them however were incompetent for their posts. Kosovo Albanians showed their dissatisfaction with the DPK in the 28th of October 2000 municipal elections, which was a great blow for the Party. It must also be remembered that on the 5th of October, Milosevic was replaced by democrat Vojislav Kostunica in Serbia. Serbian threat did not exist anymore. On the 15th of December, 1999, a Provisional Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK), which ended Thaci’s interim government, was founded. The PAVK was supposed to be a big coalition between the LDK and the DPK. Rugova and his Bukoshi government boycotted it for some time. However Thaci did always venerate Rugova as an honourable rival.He should venerate him. After a period of disillusionment with Rugova, despite his meeting with Milosevic and his inexplicable absence in Kosovo until 2000, Kosovo Albanians faithfully turned once again to their pacifist President. In fact, Kosovo Albanians were confused: in villages, it was common to hear them chanting "UCK, UCK!" and then "Rugova, Rugova!" and "NATO, NATO!" feeling no contradiction in supporting all of their liberators. Rugova’s legitimacy vis-à-vis Thaci’s was irrefutable: two times he was officially elected President. Thaci was never legitimated by elections. Kosovo Albanians wanted to have two trumps though opposite at the same time at hand: moderate Rugova and radical Thaci. On the 29th of June, 2000, the Agreement on Understanding was signed between Bernard Kouchner, head of the UNMIK and Artemije, Episcope of Raska-Prizren (Sandzak). Serbian Episcope, who accused Thaci of hypocrisy and of trying to create a mono-ethnic Kosovo, obtained the legalisation of Serbian enclaves and the participation of a Serbian delegation in PAVK meetings. Following PAVK meetings were boycotted by Thaci, who thereafter decided to freeze of his Party's participation in joint administrative structures: “The territorial integrity of Kosovo had been and is still being violated. KFOR and UNMIK were unwilling to resolve problems. Mitrovica [north of Kosovo], which was the originator of enclaves, is still divided while no discussion is allowed within PAVK about this or any other problem and question which requires swift action”. As to Rugova, he declared that he accepted the Agreement just because he considered it as temporary. Those reactions were typical of them.From that date on until March 2004, relations between Thaci and the UNMIK deteriorated. Key powers retained by the UNMIK (defence, justice, foreign policy), the Constitutional Framework of April 2001 defined which powers the provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) could wield. In the 17th of November 2001 elections, the DPK obtained 25.7 per cent of the vote and obtained 26 seats in the Assembly. Thaci’s DPK entered the big coalition as the second big party after the LDK. Prime Minister was the most moderate member of the DPK, the man famous for having defused ethnic tensions in divided town of Mitrovica, Bajram Rexhepi. Thaci was relentless on full independence and asked more power for the PISG. However now that Serbian pressure attenuated, more grave and immediate problems were on agenda. Kosovo is still one of Europe’s poorest regions. More than a half of its people live in poverty. The average salary of those, who work, is 200 Euros per month. According to official statistics, the unemployment rate is 57.1 per cent, while more than 70 per cent of the youth aged 16-24 are unemployed.In April 2002, the UNMIK proclaimed “standards before status” policy to defer independence pressure. Failure to define Kosovo’s status and premature donor withdrawal turned reconstruction boom into recession in 2003. In the 23rd of October 2004 elections, the DPK, with 30 seats in the Assembly, consigned to opposition. After two-day riots in March 2004, which ended with 19 dead and 900 wounded, Kosovo Albanians were looking for peace and stability.Hashim Thaci continues to be an unpredictable figure. In October 2005, with his insistence on a resolution of independence, which would be adopted in the Assembly to clarify its position rejecting any kind of negotiations or dialogue with Belgrade, he caused a major crisis with the UNMIK, which granted no authority to the PISG to proclaim independence.By the end of November, when the final status negotiations finally started, Thaci published a noteworthy article in International Herald Tribune (25.11.2005): “Perhaps the best incentive for all of us is for the European Union to admit Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro as three independent countries who have implemented the same standards of democratic development, minority protections and economic safeguards, under the umbrella of NATO. In this way, the entire region can be demilitarized with open borders, a free flow of people, goods and services, strong rule of law, and a vibrant economy with a common currency that unites our various communities. Then and only then will the hatreds and conflicts of the past be truly consigned to collective memory and not resurrected in the experience of each successive generation”. However, Thaci has a red-line. He is against Belgrade’s option “cantonisation”: “It did not work in Bosnia and it will not work in Kosovo. I am more ambitious for my country”. His ambition is decentralisation, not based on ethnic divisions - a proposition held by the UNMIK as well since March 2004 riots. One problem though: Thaci refuses to discuss decentralisation issue during the status negotiations since the reformation of local power is an issue, which concerns Kosovo institutions. Although other members of the Albanian status negotiating team unanimously stated that decentralisation couldn't be part of the talks, one may wonder if Thaci’s unpredictable temper may change the course of history. Since 1995, there is a new Albanian movement called “Vetevendosje” (self determination) in Kosovo guided by a 30-year old former student leader and political prisoner Albin Kurti, who reminds of Thaci of old times: relentless, determined (though non violent). Famous American Balkan specialist, Tim Judah wrote then with right: “If at a crucial point in talks, one of the Albanian parties - for example, the DPK of former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci - decides to swing his support behind Kurti then the outcome of talks, especially if a wave of anti-Serbian ethnic cleansing similar to that of March 2004 also breaks out again, cannot be predicted”.Yet this threatening possibility may be exactly what the West wants to use as a trump against the Serbian delegation. With a stick-and-carrot strategy (Rugova as carrot and Thaci as stick), the West would make Serbians accept what they thought unacceptable before for fear of the worst.
American Council for Kosovo
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Swedish government knew in 2000 that Saddam Hussein’s government demanded kickbacks from companies participating in the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, officials and news reports said Tuesday.
An unidentified Swedish company informed the country’s embassy in Amman, Jordan, in 2000 that Iraq was demanding 10 percent “fees” on all deals as a way to circumvent U.N. sanctions on Saddam’s regime, according to a Swedish Foreign Ministry document published on the Web site of Swedish Radio.
The document was sent from the embassy in Amman to the Foreign Ministry and Swedish delegation at the United Nations in December 2000, Swedish Radio said.
The document stated clearly that the extra fees violated U.N. sanctions. But it was “clear that an open Swedish engagement in this issue would negatively affect other Swedish business opportunities” in Iraq, it said. [emphasis added]
This is startlingly reminiscent of Swedish behavior in World War II, turning a blind eye to Nazi atrocities, and profiting handsomely from the sale of raw materials and armaments.
Ed Morrisey of Captain’s Qaurters picked up on the implication: that Kofi Annan has been caught in a bald-faced lie.
Turtle Bay has long claimed ignorance of the problem until the 2003 invasion of Iraq produced reams of evidence of kickbacks and payoffs. Kofi Annan claimed that the UN didn’t audit the OFF program thoroughly enough and never had any awareness of the vast monies being kicked back to Saddam Hussein. This announcement by Sweden makes clear that the UN had both knowledge and evidence of the corruption and a pretty good idea of its scope, but declined to enforce its own sanctions against the dictator.
Jay Leno: President Bush says he's personally working on a solution to global warming. He says thanks to Republicans, soon every American will receive a voucher for a free popsicle. ... White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said when President Bush was told that he was recorded saying a four letter word, he rolled his eyes and laughed it off. Which is ironic. Bush is now reacting to himself the way everyone else does. ... Vice President Dick Cheney said today when it comes to war, Americans need to know where he stands. Forget the war—I want to know where he stands when he goes on a hunting trip. ... More rockets were fired into Israel today. Israel responded by bombing more targets inside Lebanon. Now there's talk the U.S. might send some troops over there to help with border security. That's when you know the people over there are in trouble—when they start asking our advice on border security. ... We have 25,000 English-speaking people in Lebanon. That's more than there are in L.A. ... Democratic Congressman Lincoln Davis from Tennessee said that we should outlaw adultery and make it a felony. You know what you call a Democrat who comes out against adultery? A Republican. ... And you thought a lot of congressmen went to jail for bribery. How overcrowded it is going to be now? ... John Kerry said today that if he were president the current conflict in the Middle East wouldn't be happening. And then his wife Teresa said, "Yes dear, I know. Now will you take the garbage out?"
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Hundreds of Hizballah propaganda photographs are emanating from the city of Tyre, Lebanon: Yahoo! News Search Results for tyre.
But here’s what was happening in Tyre last August, in a photo from TIME Magazine’s Inside Hizballah slideshow. (Hat tip: Robert.)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
By JAMES BISSETT, Former Canadian ambassador to the former Yugoslavia
Tod Lindberg is right that the EU and NATO countries should not turn their backs on Balkan countries wishing to share in the peace and prosperity of the new Europe. However, he is wrong to suggest that it was only Slobodan Milosevic's "genocidal policies" that set the Balkans in flames in the early 1990s and wrong to condemn Serbian determination to maintain Kosovo as an integral part of its territory ("Where Milosevic's butchery held sway," Op-Ed, July 11). It has become fashionable to blame Milosevic and Serbia for everything that went wrong in the former Yugoslavia while overlooking the concerns of the Christian Serbian population in Bosnia and in Kosovo at the grim prospects of having to live in Muslim-dominated states. Alia Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosnian leader, was an Islamist extremist who made no attempt to hide his plans for destroying the Christian entity in Bosnia, writing, "There can be no peace or co-existence between the Islamist faith and non-Islamist institutions." As for Agim Ceku, the so-called prime minister of Kosovo, the Canadian military knows what crimes he is guilty of even if the Hague Tribunal refused to indict him. In 1993, Mr. Ceku commanded Croatian forces that violated a U.N.-brokered cease-fire and overran three Serbian villages in the Medac pocket. When the Canadians counterattacked and re-entered the burned villages, they discovered all of the inhabitants and domestic animals had been slaughtered. Mr. Ceku later also ordered undefended Serbian villages shelled in violation of the rules of war, causing heavy casualties among the civilian population. In 2002, Mr. Ceku was indicted by Serbia for responsibility as a Kosovo Liberation Army commander for the murders of 669 Serbians and other non-Albanians during the fighting that broke out in Kosovo in 1998. The indictment includes murder, abduction, torture and ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population from Kosovo. This is the man recently invited to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a meeting obviously planned to show U.S. support for Kosovo independence. For many outside observers, including this writer, the continued support by the United States for an independent Kosovo is incomprehensible. Granting independence to Kosovo would be a serious violation of Serbia's territorial integrity, which is one of the most cherished principles of international law and is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. U.S. violation of this principle would have far-reaching implications for the very framework of international peace and security. Independence for Kosovo also would create a criminal and terrorist state in the heart of the Balkans. This is not a happy prospect in today's world. Kosovo independence would set a precedent for other aspiring ethnic groups for independent status and would destabilize not only the Balkans, but many other parts of the world. It also would mark a low point in U.S. foreign policy. It is difficult to be held up as the champion of the rule of law, of democracy and the global war on terror, while at the same time giving support to war criminals and terrorists.
American Council for Kosovo
... a new property restitution law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina that officially discriminates in favor of the country’s Muslims.
A law passed earlier this month allows people living in state-owned apartments that were nationalized under the former Yugoslavia’s socialist regime to purchase the dwellings. But the law – backed by lawmakers from the country’s Muslim majority – provides that any apartment previously owned by the Muslim community cannot be purchased if the community objects to the sale.
“Holders of tenant’s tenure for apartments whose formal owners are wakfs can not buy up those apartments without previous written approval of the apartment’s owner,” the law states, using the Arabic word for a Muslim community endowment.
The Jewish community, as well as the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, was not given the same veto power. [....]
The law would mean that Holocaust survivors or their heirs wouldn’t obtain fair compensation for their former property, according to Jakub Finci, chairman of the country’s small Jewish community.
“I think it’s another injustice done not only to Jews but all other former owners who waited 50 years to get back their property,” Finci said.
The Inter-Religious Council, which includes Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox representatives, says the legislation would leave people whose apartments were nationalized with little possibility of regaining their property.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Dr. Artemije Radosavljevic speaks truth to power. From CNSNews.com, with thanks to Sparta:
(CNSNews.com) - A prominent Serbian Orthodox bishop Thursday said the U.S. was allowing Islamic extremists to wage war on Christians in Kosovo by deciding not to oppose Kosovo's independence.
Kosovo is an autonomous province in Serbia with a population of about 2 million, most who are ethnic Albanian and Muslim. It is currently administered by the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), but negotiations which began this year are expected to eventually result in independence for the province.
However, Dr. Artemije Radosavljevic on Thursday issued a warning about the prospect of and independent Kosovo.
"At a time when America is leading the free world in a global struggle against jihad terror, Kosovo-Metohija must not continue to be an exception, where for reasons we do not understand, American officials have taken the side of the criminals and jihadists," Artemije said during a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Artemije, the bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, has traveled to the United States on several occasions to meet with government officials and urge them to oppose independence for Kosovo.
He told reporters that the region has become a "black hole of corruption and crime" since it became a protectorate of the United Nations in 1999, following NATO bombings that were intended to encourage then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosovic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo.
Since 1999, the Kosovar Albanians have targeted Serbian Orthodox Christians, according to Artemije, allegedly burning down more than 150 churches, driving more than 220,000 Christians from the region and killing thousands more.
Granting Kosovo independence from Serbia would make Serbian Christians more vulnerable to violence from the region's Muslim majority.
"Detaching Kosovo from democratic Serbia," Artemije said, "would mean a virtual sentence of extinction for my people in the province and create a rogue state in which the terrorists are the government."
He added that there have been thousands of Christians captured and killed by Muslim extremists, including numerous videotaped beheadings. "Why are jihad beheadings an outrage in the rest of the world, but not when they're happening in Kosovo to Christian Serbs?" Artemije asked.
Friday, July 21, 2006
A weird letter from Iranian madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to German Chancellor Angela Merkel asks her to help find a “solution” to Zionism: Iran leader asks Germany for help on Zionism.
I think we know what sort of solution he has in mind. Interesting that he assumes he’ll find sympathetic ears in Germany.
A German government official said on Thursday that letter written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to German Chancellor Angela Merkel asks her to help solve the Palestinian problem and deal with Zionism. “There’s nothing about the nuclear issue (in the letter),” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the extreme sensitivity of the issue for the German government. “It’s all related to Germany and how we have to find a solution to the Palestinian problems and Zionism and so on. It’s rather weird,” The official, who has seen the letter, said. ...
“It’s extremely touchy (for the German government),” said the official, adding that the government did not yet know if or how it would respond. “There are a lot of propaganda phrases about Israel and the Jews inside.” ... “It’s not negative like Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush. He is not criticizing Germany,” he said. “It’s basically about how we have to work together and solve the problems of the world together.”
A woman shouts anti-Israeli slogans while holding up a placard of Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a demonstration in Berlin, July 21, 2006. Some several thousands Lebanese and Palestinian protesters gathered to protest against the Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon and Gaza. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY)
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Now he's in Israel. 'In a statement following what he called a "frank" meeting with Israel's Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni, Solana condemned the kidnapping of three IDF soldiers, but said he recommended that Israel "act proportionately" in its attacks on Hizbullah and do everything to avoid hurting Lebanese civilians. The EU emissary said that in such a manner, Israel would be able to win the hearts of the citizens of southern Lebanon. Solana made a veiled reference to Syria and Iran, calling for such countries with influence over Hizbullah to use it. "I'd like to say also very clearly: those that may have influence to help solve this problem - they have to do it soon - immediately," Solana said. Asked about the EU's refusal to classify Hizbullah as a terrorist group, Solana said that the EU does not possess sufficient data to determine whether the group can be included on its list of terrorist organizations. He insisted that the issue was a legal one and not a moral one.'
Logic of war? Win the hearts of the people of southern Lebanon? Syria and Iran use their influence? Hizballah not a terrorist organisation? Where has this man been all this time? Doesn't he realise that Hizballah, the Shiite army born and bred in the Shia heartlands of Lebanon and fostered by their allies Syria and Iran, have prepared for this war for years, and now they've triggered it they're in no mood to stop. He says he finds the provocation hard to explain. Does he really not know? Doesn't he ever read a newspaper? Who is he? He's representing an entire continent, telling Israel what twenty-five European countries think, and all he has to offer is a bag old cliches, warn-out formulas and stale, tiresome compromise. He doesn't seem to understand what's going on at all.
Why has Europe sent such an ignorant man on such a useless mission? His vacuous words reveal the emptiness of his portfolio: a man who represents nothing obviously can't say anything. He runs for what he thinks is the moral high ground and looks down chiding derisively at those below fighting like children and tells them "Behave".
Who does he answer to for his facile comments? No one. What democratic body questions his conduct, complains of his imbecilic meddling? None. Like a second-rate Kofi Anan he travels the world spreading the message of European superiority, feted by governments desperate for European money, a reinvented relic of Europe's colonial past, from the only European country still to possess a colony in the Arab world.
The Free West's Weblog
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The United Nations [Actually, it’s the European Union, not the United Nations. —ed.] High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana said during a press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni that the UN has no sufficient data to determine whether the Hizbullah can be included in the list of terror organizations. He also added that the issue at hand is legal, not ethical. (Ronny Sofer)
Istok. Serbs who visited their property in the Kosovo village of Srbobran were lucky to escape after they were attacked by Albanians residing in the village, Serbian newspaper Politika reads today. The Serbs were made to leave the village in order to escape the clash with the group of Albanians. Only a few days ago Albanians robbed a house which was being built for a returning Serb, after which they set fire to it. Meanwhile the work on five of the 59 Serbian houses, which existed in the village before 1999, is almost finished.
American Council for Kosovo
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The drubbing that Serbia and Montenegro's combined soccer team took in the World Cup last month is a metaphor for what's happening to the final remnants of the former Yugoslavia. The last chapters of Yugoslavia's end are being written in political backrooms instead of on the battlefield, but the final slice-up could still trigger a return to nationalist violence if solutions are forced on the region. In May, the tiny, mountainous republic of Montenegro took the democratic option.It voted to strike out on its own, achieving independence without a drop of blood spilled. But the voluntary defection of a nation whose majority population shares bloodlines, language and the Christian Orthodox religion with most Serbs was a huge psychological blow in Belgrade, where retro-nationalism is back in style. Now it all comes down to Kosovo, a province in southern Serbia whose people overwhelmingly favor an independence that its legal owner, Serbia, declines to grant. The international community has made little secret of its intention to break this logjam with a deciding vote for the ethnic Albanians who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's populace and want out. There are four serious problems with this approach. First, it downgrades negotiations and makes the wishes of the affected people secondary to those of outsiders fed up with having to patrol and rule Kosovo themselves. Since a 1999 NATO air war wrested control of Kosovo from Serbian forces, NATO and U.S. troops have patrolled and the United Nations has ruled. Any imposed solution is likely to displease all sides. Second, it rewards lawlessness and ethnic retribution. The U.N. pretends security problems are history, but the reprisal murders of ethnic Serbs continue - the latest a 68-year-old man shot in his home. Ethnic Albanian police were attacked recently simply because they were patrolling with ethnic Serbs. Independence talks were supposed to follow ethnic reconciliation, not precede them. The likely outcome will be another ethnic exodus and violent reprisals. Third is the gleeful reaction from Moscow. Vladimir Putin has boasted about how he plans to cite Kosovo's independence as a precedent for the secession of pro-Russian, Christian ethnic enclaves in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. This is stoking fears about recharged independence movements from the Catalans and Basques in Spain to the Uighurs in China. Finally and most significantly will be the erosion of the bedrock principle of territorial sovereignty enshrined in the U.N. charter. The United Nations probably will have to approve any solution imposed on Serbia - putting it in the position of approving the abrogation of territorial sovereignty of a member nation. No wonder former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. emissary trying to negotiate a way out of the Kosovo mess, reportedly is pressing to delay a resolution of the situation into next year. Washington, tired of having U.S. troops tied down in Kosovo, has made little secret that it wants forward movement by year's end. Artificial deadlines in this case are not helpful, particularly given the potential of this final slicing up of Serbia to propel ultranationalists into power. Serbia's reformers have found and returned the bodies of 836 murdered Kosovo Albanians hidden in mass graves around Serbia - the awful legacy of the most recent war. But more than 2,000 people are still missing from the Kosovo conflict, representing most ethnic groups in the formerly multiethnic province. Reconciliation and face-to-face talks are the best way to cure the pain of these deaths - not an imposed solution that would violate core tenets of international law and simply propel another cycle of ethnic repressions and separation.
American Council for Kosovo
Monday, July 17, 2006
Marchers chant ‘death to Israel’ at Berlin landmark.
(Hat tip: Baldy.)
BERLIN, (Reuters) - More than 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinians staged an anti-Israeli protest at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Monday, police said.
A Reuters witness said demonstrators were chanting “death to Israel” and “death to Zionists”, while some carried placards bearing the image of Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Police said around 1,200 people took part in the protest at the German capital’s famous landmark, not far from a major memorial to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
BATMAN, Turkey — For Derya, a waiflike girl of 17, the order to kill herself came from an uncle and was delivered in a text message to her cellphone. “You have blackened our name,” it read. “Kill yourself and clean our shame or we will kill you first.”
Derya said her crime was to fall for a boy she had met at school last spring. She knew the risks: her aunt had been killed by her grandfather for seeing a boy. But after being cloistered and veiled for most of her life, she said, she felt free for the first time and wanted to express her independence.
When news of the love affair spread to her family, she said, her mother warned her that her father would kill her. But she refused to listen. Then came the threatening text messages, sent by her brothers and uncles, sometimes 15 a day. Derya said they were the equivalent of a death sentence.
Consumed by shame and fearing for her life, she said, she decided to carry out her family’s wishes. First, she said, she jumped into the Tigris River, but she survived. Next she tried hanging herself, but an uncle cut her down. Then she slashed her wrists with a kitchen knife.
“My family attacked my personality, and I felt I had committed the biggest sin in the world,” she said recently from a women’s shelter where she had traded in her veil for a T-shirt and jeans. She declined to give her last name for fear that her family was still hunting her. “I felt I had no right to dishonor my family, that I have no right to be alive. So I decided to respect my family’s desire and to die.”
Sunday, July 16, 2006
In "Analogy of Zidane and the Muslim Ummah," Farhad Khadim at Iviews.com (thanks to Fjordman) see the World Cup championship soccer match between Italy and France as an analogy for the global jihad:It was then that it occurred to me that what I had just witnessed was a microcosm of the Muslim Ummah, played out in a soccer field before the eyes of the whole world. For me Zidane was the Muslim Ummah, with past glory and achievement crowning his forehead, leading his people to victory, achievement and a respectable place among nations. His opponents were bent on striking him down, and one in particular, Materrazi was an embodiment of the monstrous powers who are bent on occupying, provoking and stereotyping the Muslim Ummah.And like the Ummah today, the provocation was too much for him. He snapped and did something uncharacteristic because he felt victimized. Perhaps he was called a "dirty terrorist" as some report, or his sister or mother were called by some degrading name as others report. Whatever it was, he lost all sense of where he was, his legacy, his future and the difference he could have made to the game, and fell victim to the deliberate provocative assaults on his person.I see his reaction as analogous to the protests, flag burnings and other emotional outbursts committed by Muslims against others who may have deliberately provoked them.Yes, everyone knows that calling people terrorists makes them become terrorists.Like Zidane, we shock the world when we do things uncharacteristic of our faith, and we betray those who see in us a ray of hope for civilization.Or do you just act true to the example of Muhammad and the teachings of the various Islamic sects and schools of law? Watch for my next book, The Truth About Muhammad, coming October 9 from Regnery Publishing.Like Zidane, the Muslim Ummah has suffered provocations and deliberate attempts to tarnish its image, despite great civilizational achievements for a millennium. And like Zidane, we snap when we cannot take it any more.Like Zidane's suffering of an alleged abuse, we also suffer the abuse of the desecration of our holy symbols, occupation of our lands, colonization, genocide and murder of innocent civilians. And like him, the temptation is to turn our back on history, our legacy of patience and restraint and to lash out without considering whether our actions are ethical or strategic. Kidnappings, bombing of innocent civilians, destruction of property after the cartoon episode are all images that have come to characterize the Ummah.What, then, explains the centuries of jihad warfare carried out by the great Islamic empires of the past, when they had no conceivable provocation? Why did Muhammad travel to Tabuk to attack the Byzantines, though they had taken no notice of him? Why did the Muslim jihad warriors sweep through the Middle East and North Africa and into Europe in the early centuries of Islam, although the states they conquered had done nothing whatsoever to them?jihadwatch
Saturday, July 15, 2006
"Here we have the Director of the American College beaten and robbed, American sailors in uniform fired upon, and an American-non commissioned officer robbed and maltreated by Turkish troops who were sufficiently under control to obey the command of a Turkish officer when they were going too far." -- Excerpt from "The Great Betrayal" A Survey of the Near East Problem" by Edward Hale Bierstadt
The incident described above remains forgotten because it occurred following the entry of Turkish troops in the City of Smyrna in September 1922 when the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal Pasha began slaughtering the Greek and Armenian Christian populations. The story is told by Edward Hale Bierstadt, an American who was the executive of the United States Emergency Committee which provided aid and assistance to Greek and Armenian Christian refugees who were being displaced by the Turkish Kemalists. The anti-American outbursts which took place during this tragic period comes to mind because of what is transpiring in present day Turkey.
Anti-Americanism and Islamic fundamentalism are faring quite well in Turkey today. On February 14, 2006, the New York Times published an article entitled, "If you want a film to fly, make Americans the heavies". The article described the success of a film shown in Turkish movie theatres entitled, "Valley of the Wolves- Iraq". This film depicts American soldiers (as well as a Jewish American doctor) as carrying out atrocities and massacres against Turkish and Iraqi Muslims. The article by Sebnem Arsu notes "Anti-American novels, including one that portrays a war between the United States and Turkey, have been selling briskly, and Hitler's "Mein Kampf" was a best seller last year."
Since 1994, the myth of a secular and western Turkey has been undermined by the Islamic upheaval in Turkey. In March of that year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now Turkish Prime Minister) was elected Mayor of Constantinople (Istanbul). Erdogan's Islamic mentor Necmettin Erbekan became Prime Minister as head of a coalition government in 1996. By 1997, the Generals (known as Kemalists because of their devotion to the nationalist theories of Mustafa Kemal) temporarily disrupted the Islamist rise to power. The Turkish Military has traditionally established a cult of personality around Kemal in the manner that the Soviets had established cults around Lenin and Stalin, and sought to restore Kemal to his status as a venerated ruler.
Read it all.
Friday, July 14, 2006
British taxpayers paid for a Muslim cleric who has defended suicide bombers to attend a conference on Islam in Turkey, it has emerged.
The Government paid for Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his wife to fly from their home in Qatar to Istanbul for the two-day event, and for their accommodation in a five-star hotel.
The 80-year-old cleric was the focus of furious protests in 2004 when he visited Britain as a guest of London mayor Ken Livingstone.
He is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant group with offshoots around the world which acts as the ideological engine room of Islamist extremism.
Mr al-Qaradawi, who has also called for the execution of homosexuals and opposed equal rights for women, addressed the opening day of the £300,000 conference.
He has defended Palestinian suicide bombers who attack Israel as "a weapon which the weak resort to".
He was invited to speak by a steering group that included Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the former head of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Foreign Office confirmed that it had covered Mr Qaradawi's expenses as part of its support for the conference, which took place earlier this month....
A spokesman for the FCO defended the decision to pay for Mr Qaradawi to attend the conference: "It is our view that you have got to engage in discussion with individuals with whom you don't necessarily agree."
Great. In that case, I'm sure you fellows must have some money for the anti-jihad resistance as well. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll tell you where to send the check.
More dhimmitude at the highest levels of the British government. "British Foreign Office Under Fire for Engaging With Radical Muslims," from CNSNews.com, with thanks to Nicolei:
London (CNSNews.com) - The British government has drawn too close to the radical international Islamic movement, a prominent think tank here has charged.
Drawing on previously confidential documents, the conservative Policy Exchange said at a press conference the British Foreign Office has decided to "engage with" extremist Islamic figures in the Middle East.
Martin Bright, who authored a report for the think tank, cited official papers he said had been provided by an anonymous source showing that the foreign office considered talking to groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood to be necessary if reform was to take place in the region.
In a position paper circulated last summer, two Foreign Office consultants argued that G8 governments had to enter dialogue with these movements -- which call for the creation of an Islamic state -- if the West was to avoid a "clash of civilizations."
"If we are serious about reform in the Middle East, we must do business with those who are struggling to relate their faith [to] the world as it is," wrote authors Richard Murphy and Basil Eastwood.
In May, the British government revealed that it had since September 2001 been in contact with members of the Muslim Brotherhood who sit in the Egyptian Parliament, and also with representatives of the same organization based in Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon.
Bright said this policy had also led to the government letting two controversial figures into the country within the last year.
On July 14 2005, a week after the terrorist attacks on London, a Foreign Office advisor on Islamic affairs, Mockbul Ali, wrote that the Home Office -- which handles visas -- should let Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, visit the United Kingdom.
An Egyptian-born scholar based in Qatar, Qaradawi has controversially written in praise of Palestinian suicide bombers and urged Muslims to fight against U.S. forces in Iraq.
Ali argued that Qaradawi had also condemned the London bombings and that he was a popular figure whose views were shared by many Muslims in Britain.
"We certainly do not agree with Qaradawi's views on Israel and Iraq, but we have to recognize that they are not unusual or even exceptional amongst Muslims. In fact it is correct to say that these are views shared by a majority of Muslims in the Middle East and the UK," Ali wrote.
"To act against Qaradawi would alienate significant and influential members of the global Muslim community."
Ali also approved the visit last September of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, a Bangladeshi lawmaker who reputedly preaches violence against the West.
Ali said that while Sayeedi might be regarded as "very conservative," he also had a large following and could be regarded as "mainstream."...
Haras Rafiq, a member of a taskforce on extremism set up by the Home Office after the 7/7 bombings and comprising scholars, imams and community representatives, said Wednesday he was frustrated by the government's tendency to talk solely to a small number of Islamic groups, most of whom were heavily religious.
"I'm afraid of my children becoming radicalized," he said. "I'm not the only one."
Haras, you have every reason to be afraid of that.