This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, March 31, 2017

"Keep Religion Out of Public Schools"

"It is deeply troubling to see elected officials participate in meetings where they do not challenge people advocating to deny the human rights of fellow Canadians based on irrational fear and hatred."
Ihsaan Gardee, executive director, National Council of Canadian Muslims

"This meeting was about the place of religion in public schools. That meeting was attended by a number of people from a number of different groups, including people from Rise Canada."
"Kellie does not believe that this longstanding Canadian practice [of keeping religion separate from education in public schools] should be changed to accommodate one group.”
"She is committed to building a country that promotes the shared values of hard work, generosity, freedom, tolerance, equality of opportunity and equality of the individual. That includes the freedom to practise your religion and the responsibility to be tolerant of other people's religions."
Michael Diamond, spokesperson, Conservative leadership candidate Leitch
A YouTube video shows Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch at an event with members of Rise Canada in Brampton on Sunday.
A YouTube video shows Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch at an event with members of Rise Canada in Brampton on Sunday.  (RISE CANADA/YOUTUBE)

"We don't support or promote activities/dialogue against any religion or faith. We respect all."
"This was a free event and everyone was free to ask questions."
Concerned Parents of Canada

"This was an open public meeting where anyone could attend. We and many others heard about this meeting and attended. Other groups and individuals were present and spoke before Dr. Leitch arrived."
"And of course at the meeting anyone could raise their hand and ask questions."
Jennifer Bushmill, Rise Canada
Ihsaan Gardee speaks of irrational fear and hatred as a backlash by non-Muslims that people like him like to label "Islamophobia". There is nothing irrational about being inspired to fear terrorism, and terrorist acts that take place all over the globe as are all connected to Islam for the most part; at least the vast preponderance are, and the linkage of Islam and its sectarian and jihadist violence against other Muslims as well as non-Muslims through conflicts and blood-letting throughout the Middle East and North Africa and southwestern Asia is indisputable.

The spillovers of violently aggressive Islamist jihad into Europe and North America and elsewhere represent issues that non-Muslims deal with in obvious connections with Islam and terrorism. So it is hardly irrational to react to all these manifestations of Islam-inspired violence. And nor does that reaction or questioning of Islam denote unreasoning hatred or the label of "Islamophobic", a term which fundamentalist Islamist groups themselves favour in an effort to turn the tables on critics of Islam as biased racists to silence them for fear of earning such a label.

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch appeared at a site in Brampton, Ontario last Sunday where she interacted with other people who had decided to show up at a rally whose purpose was to decry that public schools were becoming sites where Islamic prayer sessions were being conducted to service Muslim children and youth. Canada has no such tradition of turning over public schools for multiple use as prayer sites, and nor should any such public institution of a secular government paid for through universal taxes become such a site.

Present at the gathering was a controversial organization which considers Islam "a barbaric ideology" and in a democratic society free to express opinions of this sort, it is hardly surprising that citizens, based on what can be seen and attributed to Islam, feel its practices deserve that description. The Rise Canada group has taken it upon itself to counter mosque construction in Mississauga, Ontario. It was Concerned Parents of Canada, however, that arranged for this event to discuss their opposition to religious events taking place in Canadian schools.

Ron Banerjee, director of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy group introduced himself to Kellie Leitch on this occasion. He happened also to address the gathering, speaking of "Sharia creep". Indeed, a decade or so ago, Muslim groups in Ontario were intent on persuading the province to legitimize Sharia; in the end this was averted because of public backlash, but the effort continues, with both Muslim MPPs and MPs advancing the Islamist agenda by introducing motions to their legislatures condemning "Islamophobia".

That absurd labelling and its connotations are now so well engrained in people's consciousness, making them squeamish about wearing such a label imposed should they question anything about Islam, that it has become popular to support a motion such as this in the House of Commons, despite that a majority of Canadians, put to a vote would reject it.

As for promulgating hatred, and failing in the Canadian equality and pluralism values of respecting other religions, Islam fails on both counts. It was only last month that it was revealed that a mosque in Toronto and another in Montreal preached division and hatred and violence at Friday sermons, which were also posted in videos online. And where was the protesting Mr. Gardee then, let alone other Muslims choosing to defend the rights of others?

On February 18, 2017 CIJnews exposed excerpts from supplications (originally in Arabic) recited by Aymen Elkasrawy and Shaykh Abdool Hamid at Masjid Toronto mosque in 2016:
O Allah! We ask you… [to give us] victory over the enemies. O Allah! Raise the standing of Islam and the Muslims. O Allah! Give victory (help) to your oppressed slaves all over the world, east to west. O Allah! Give victory (help) to your slaves who believe in the oneness of Allah, O the Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Destroy the criminals. O Allah! Destroy anyone who inflicts injustice on your slaves, O the Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them. O Allah! Do not defer [it] on them.O Allah! Seize them with the seizure of One Mighty, Omnipotent [referring to a Quranic verse that deals with the punishment Allah inflicted on Pharaoh and his people].
[O Allah!] Give us victory over the disbelieving people… O Allah! Give victory to Islam and raise the standing the Muslims. And humiliate the polytheism and polytheists. O Allah! Give victory (help) to your slaves who believe in the oneness of Allah, O the Lord of the Worlds!O Allah! Give them victory over the criminal people. O Allah! Destroy anyone who killed Muslims. O Allah! Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims. O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them. O Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews! O Allah! Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!
O Allah! Raise the standing of Islam and the Muslims.And humiliate the polytheism, the polytheists, the infidels and the atheists. And Give victory (help) to your slaves who believe in the oneness of Allah.O Allah! Give victory to our oppressed and deprived Muslim brothers and the mujahideen (those who engage in jihad) everywhere.O Allah! Pour on them patience and steadfast their feet. And give them victory over the disbelieving people. And give them victory over the evildoersAnd give them victory over the criminals.
See also:
  • Supplications at Masjid Toronto Mosque: “Slay them one by one and spare not one of them” (click HERE)

Images on social media showed protesters carrying signs with anti-Muslim slogans as worshippers were entering a Toronto mosque.
Images on social media showed protesters carrying signs with anti-Muslim slogans as worshippers were entering a Toronto mosque.  Facebook

The photograph shown above represents reaction to the hate-mongering at Canadian mosques and the selective conscience of human-rights-demanding Muslims who fail to regard that fundamental right as reflecting universal rights, not rights specific to Muslims.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Air Travel Out of Montreal: How Safe?

"There are serious issues that have been raised, which is why I questioned the federal Transport Ministry. But there are police on the scene and I have assured myself that they are well aware and are following the situation closely."
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, Quebec City

"As for various risks, including radicalization, ADM works with the different law enforcement agencies responsible for risk investigation, prevention and analysis."
"At present, ADM has not been informed of any specific threat."
"Montreal—Trudeau airport is unquestionably among the most secure locations there is."
Aeroports de Montreal 

"Transport Canada works closely with partners such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, Canada Border Services Agency, airport authorities and local law-enforcement agencies to maintain the highest security standards at Canadian airports."
"Canadians can be assured that their government takes security matters very seriously and will not hesitate to take appropriate action to mitigate risks and respond to any threats, when identified, to the transportation system."
Transport Minister Marc Garneau
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said all the country's airports, including Trudeau, are secure and protected by 'multi-layered' security.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said all the country's airports, including Trudeau, are secure and protected by 'multi-layered' security. (Charles Contant/CBC)
"We do conduct, on a continuous basis, threat analysis, risk analysis, vulnerability analysis, just to make sure we can face any kind of threat."
Pierre-Paul Pharand, vice-president, airport operations
There -- the confident voice of authority gives assurances that all is well, nothing amiss -- move on folks. Have niggling doubts, do you? And why might that be? So four employees at Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, a very busy air hub to be sure, were discovered to have been 'radicalized', with evidence found to validate suspicions that they represented a threat to security and presumably life and limb of passengers boarding planes that these Islamist schemers may have planned to destroy mid-air through some planted explosive device.

Don't worry, be happy, everything is under control. The statement above, by Mr. Pharand, in charge of airport operations should be sufficiently reassuring. What's that? The four employees, according to Mr. Pharand, don't happen to work for his corporation, Aeroports de Montreal? How strange!  And Mr. Pharand has no idea who they are or who they work for, but the airport is unable to terminate their employment, since they don't work for his corporation. There's a confidence-builder....!

Four airport employees have been under suspicion, and as a result of that suspicion growing to a level that cannot be ignored, their access levels were 'scaled back'. Not suspended, or removed, and the employees placed under arrest of anything drastic like that, mind. But authorities are busy, checking into the possibility that four were radicalized. Which is an aversive shorthand alluding to Muslims engaging in terrorism.

The Journal de Montreal published a report and the TVA network reported that two of the four employees still work at the airport despite that all have been definitely implicated in radicalization. Evidence has been established that they've searched out pro-ISIL websites as well as other propaganda on social media. That kind of innocent pastime has been supplemented by searches online for strategies on producing homemade explosives; an "abnormal number" of times.

Still, Aeroports de Montreal asserts with confidence that there is no reason for concern since the airport is "among the most secure locations there is." With its own safety and security patrol, it collaborates with the RCMP, with CSIS and the Surete du Quebec. There you go, a big sigh of relief is in order. Just overlook that part of the report that points out one of the employees with access to restricted areas including runways and airplanes had commented approvingly on the November 2015 Paris attacks.

On TVA, a segment was played by an undercover camera showing an airport employee with an access card appearing to board a parked airplane minus the imperative of being searched beforehand. Any employee, according to Aeroports de Montreal, who works in such restricted areas must carry a pass, would be frequently investigated and monitored, subjected to random searches as well as being identified by digital fingerprint technology before entering. In theory, evidently.

Airport security
The Airport Patrol, Montreal police, RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Sûreté du Québec all have jurisdiction at the airport. (Radio-Canada)

Here are two interesting perspectives to juxtapose against each other: Montreal Mayor Denis Codere soothingly remarks: "It's a matter of ongoing vigilance, but I think there's no [need] to panic". Well, thank heavens for that. Tayler Stoute, on the other hand, a worker in international departures at a duty-free shop, is rather conflicted feeling about the critical matter of security. "It is a bit concerning, because there are many people who just walk through security every day without being searched and that is definitely a concern."

Definitely, Mr. Stoute, most definitely. Take your pick: the soothing assurances of the authorities, versus the observable experiences of those on the scene.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stagnation in the Arab Middle East

"When Nasser ruled Egypt or when Saddam, [Hafez] Assad, and Qaddafi were in power and at their climax, the Arab League had some weight as a tool in these leaders’ hands."
"Later, however, it became a place for chicken fights and empty rhetoric."
Youssef Cherif, Tunisian political analyst

"The Arab League is a dead body being kept in the ICU [intensive care unit] out of hopes we can find a new remedy to revive the Arab regional order."
"The major decisions being taken about the region are not being taken by Arab strongmen anymore, they are being taken by Iran, Turkey, and Russia."
Oraib Rantawi, director, Al Quds Center for Political Studies, Amman, Jordan

"The Arab political system has failed to solve the crises and halt the collapse, as the trust of Arab citizens in the joint Arab institutions has eroded."
Ayman Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister

"Israel is continuing to expand settlements and wreck chances of peace ... There is no peace or stability in the region without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause through a two-state solution."
King Abdullah, Jordan
Arab League summit (Photo:Reuters)
Arab League Summit - Reuters
Ah, Israel, of course Israel, the balefully mendacious, malignant entity whose presence is the cause of all that roils the Middle East. One sliver of a Jewish state, the presence of fewer than seven million Jews surrounded by several hundred million Arab Muslims has had such a profound effect on the neighbourhood that Arab states whose monarchs, sheikhs, dictators and tyrants have been unable to concentrate on governing to the best of their abilities; the democratic presence of a nation that accepts Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Druze, Muslims and Iranian Baha'i as citizens has deranged the Middle East.

The Arab League did the best it could in response to the presence of an enemy of such gross magnitude, combining military attacks time and again to dislodge Israel's stubborn, malign presence, and all to no avail. Unavailing to the tiny Jewish nation's challengers, that is, but useful to the Jewish state in the sense that it conquered territory previously its own in historical context, but viewed by historical Arab conquest as the possession of Islam, not Judaism. The result of the last of those wars in 1967 led 22 Arab states to an agreement that assuaged their wounds.

"Three nos", in the sense that they would never agree to a peace with Israel, never give the Jewish state recognition, and under no circumstances negotiate with Israel. To do so would represent a normalizing of relations between the Arab and Muslim nations which wanted no truck with a Jewish state in their midst. Its very presence represented an assault on the most basic of Islamic principles; that land once consecrated to Islam could never be permitted to revert to another religion; blasphemous in its very thought let alone reality.

But then, second thoughts kicked in eventually, as reality settled in for the long haul; Israel was there and meant to remain just where it was. An astonishingly generous Arab Peace Initiative came out of the 2002 Arab League Summit when 22 Arab states agreed to recognize Israel and to come around to establishing normal relations, with the required provision that Israel agree to surrender all territory it had gained before the 1967 failed Arab assault. The establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return of Palestinian 'refugees' to Israel representing the non-negotiable foundation of the Initiative.

As the world well knows, the Initiative still languishes since those demands would starkly enfeeble the existence of Israel. Therefore, all that has occurred, from the transformative demands of the Arab Spring to the downfall of dictators and the rise of triumphant Islamism and worldwide jihadist terrorism can be laid at Israel's feet, to take full responsibility. It is true that Hamas was founded courtesy of the Muslim Brotherhood, to accomplish through terrorism what combined Arab armies hadn't succeeded in doing.

And Islamism, which Israel's irritating presence precipitated, turned Iran away from its emerging Western-style of progress into a convincing terrorist-supporting state which bred its proxy militia Hezbollah, leaving Libya's strongman Ghaddafi's title as the geography's breeder of terrorism in the dust. The Arab states' conflict with Aryan Iran, each challenging the other for supremacy leading to a reemergence of the traditional enmity between Shiite and Sunni in a virulently violent atmosphere is also obviously the fault of Israel's presence.

Iraq's post-Saddam collapse into a divided state with Sunni and Shia militias dedicated to destroying one another, an obvious Israeli plot to divide and conquer. Syria's Bashar al-Assad's Alawite Shiite government's vicious war on his Sunni majority civilians, is quick to identify Israel's baleful presence as the cause of hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians. Libya left in a quicksand atmosphere of roving armed tribal militias and violence, clearly also Israel's doing. The proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, another devilish plot by Israel.

It may appear on the surface that the Ayatollahs in Iran have funded and trained Shiite militias in support of the Baghdad government, and finances Hezbollah, but it is all Israel's fault. Leading Oman, Iraq and Lebanon to attempt to convince the Arab League to restore ties with Tehran. Sectarianism where Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia insist the Arab League must dedicate itself to a united Arab Sunni bloc, counters that initiative. Israel is behind it all, needless to say, sowing discord wherever it can.

There at the Arab League were the  honourable, trustworthy and blameless Sunni Arab States represented by their rogues' gallery of monarchs, oil sheikdoms, and military dictatorships, and there, decidedly not in attendance were Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain, steeped in venomous strife. Division among the Arab states. And so, there is also division, unfortunately, among those present at the summit; whether to keep Syria's Assad at arm's length of disapproval for his wholesale slaughter of  Sunni Arabs, or to re-unite him with the League.

It is a matter of principle, of honour, that all Arab nations be included, irrespective of the bloodshed and horrors they impose upon their people. Israel, by contrast, has no honour, needless to say. It is a country of war, not peace. Just ask the Arab League.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Harbouring Terrorist Entities in Canada

"[Videos discovered by investigators at the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada that] demonize Israel, characterize the Arab-Israeli conflict as a religious war, appeal for all Arab and Muslim nations to join in the struggle against Israel and glorify martyrdom."
Canada Revenue Agency

"IRFAN-Canada did not directly or indirectly assist Hamas. The case against IRFAN-Canada is built around unproven and unreliable assertions of links or associations."
"[IRFAN-Canada is a humanitarian organization that had] aided thousands of Palestinian orphans [and provided] basic human needs to help the most vulnerable."
"IRFAN-Canada's executive director, Rasem Abdel Majid suffered] financial and reputational loss as a result of the [government of Canada terrorist listing for the group] listing. [He lost his job, cannot operate a personal bank account and] has been subject to increased scrutiny and detention during travel despite being 73 years old and having no criminal record."
IRFAN-Canada court application file

Muslim groups and governments like other totalitarian governments have a penchant of naming themselves in terms evoking trust and respect, just the way Nazi Germany's political party called themselves the Social Democratic party, and the Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party calls itself the Justice and Development party. The buzzwords of freedom, liberty, human rights and calls to compassion shield such parties from deeper scrutiny. Islamist groups operating under the radar of Western authorities have become skilled in promoting themselves as upholders of the public weal.

They emphasize values they hold in common with Western ideals persuading sympathizers to the cause of Islam as a religion of peace that it is just that, even when stark evidence to the contrary roils the world with violence and bloodshed from the Middle East to Africa, Europe to North America. There is a bevy of political groups portraying themselves often as charitable and humanitarian in their outlook and purpose that have been placed on Canada's list of terrorist entities

The list of designated terror groups numbers some fifty-three factions inclusive of al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Hezbollah. And those terror groups as a result have the status of illegal criminal entities in Canada, despite which they have infiltrated the country at many levels, quietly and at times publicly inciting their followers and sympathizers to support their work through joining or funding it. Federal auditors reached the conclusion that IRFAN-Canada represented an "integral part" of the network fundraising for Hamas.

Information on the Public Safety Canada website described the non-profit IRFAN-Canada as having "transferred approximately $14.6 million worth of resources to various organizations with links to  Hamas". Now, for the second time, the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada has launched an effort through the courts to have itself removed from the list of terrorist entities by the Government of Canada, portraying itself as having no connection with Hamas, being strictly a humanitarian group.

The use of heartwrenching mental images of Palestinian 'orphans', aided in their thousands, and the provision of "basic human needs" for the "most vulnerable" is a fairly transparent ploy in its obvious psychological manipulation through efforts to portray IRFAN-Canada as a benevolent society which it clearly is not, and it wouldn't be the first time by a long stretch that a 'charity' operating in Canada does so to funnel funding directly to Islamist terrorist groups. This is precisely what Khadr senior did in raising funds for al-Qaeda in Canada.

But things appear to be aligning nicely for such groups. It cannot be ignored that the recent passing of Motion 103 in the House of Commons, decrying "Islamophobia" could very well have the effect of encouraging such groups to continue their funding of terrorist groups while insisting they are innocent of any such activities, depending on any criticism of anything remotely connected with Islam to be denounced as "Islamophobia".
Abdel Halim Al Ashqar: We heard about Jerusalem for Human Services but we didn't hear from our brothers at the (Islamic) Association (for Palestine) about what they do. So, I hope that media and public activism in Canada is mentioned if there is something prepared. It might be first opportunity for some of the brothers to meet people from Canada.
Abdel Halim Al Ashqar ...Now, the second question, brother Abou Basem, is for Canada: how much do you raise annually?
Abou Basem: ... m. The first half of this year [we raised] 214,000.
Abdel Halim Al Ashqar: [How about] last year?
Abou Basem: This is for '93. From now until June '93, we raised 214,000. In 1992 [we raised] 167 for the entire year.    Wiretapped evidence

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Arab League Treaty Organization (ALTO)

"[The United States should] fully support, help organize and assist those regional partners create an 'Arab NATO-like' structure and framework."
"Build an Arab Army that is able to secure their regional responsibilities."
Lt.-Gen. Mike Flynn (former head), Defense Intelligence Agency, June 2015

"It [Arab NATO] is something that is very different, hasn't been discussed before. And it's actually a much bigger deal -- much more important deal in a sense [for the Middle East]"
"It would take in many, many countries and would cover a very large territory."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump

"[Iran has been deterred] because of America's angry tone ... How much longer will we be blackmailed and forced to compromise""
"If we do not change our strategy and continue to operate according to orders from officials who are stuck in the mud, our situation will deteriorate daily."
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force

"When Trump was elected, [government officials] said that Trump was unpredictable and makes unconsidered decisions -- and that is why it is better for us [Islamic Republic of Iran] to refrain from saying anything to offend him ...."
Iranian news article, Tasnin News Agency

"These developments have given rise in Tehran to a sense that it is besieged and under an emerging existential threat, in light of the crystallization of a comprehensive U.S.-Russia-Arab [including Israel] front against the Iranian revolutionary regime."
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
Arab heads of state meet as King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, seen on screen, speaks, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Embattled Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "stooges of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic republic for the chaos there and demanding that airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. Saudi King Salman has vowed that the military intervention in Yemen will not stop until the country is stable. (Associated Press)
Arab heads of state meet as King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, seen on screen, speaks, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Embattled Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country “stooges . The Washington Times

Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain, former UN-appointed Middle East envoy who travelled extensively to the Middle East, attempting to find some way to ameliorate the breakdown of authority in a number of Arab countries where the Arab Spring protests had brought about destabilizing conditions impacting on Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria and where Iraq and Afghanistan in particular have been battling insurgencies thanks to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The rise of the Islamic State jihadists and its spread to North Africa with Boko Haram and and al Shabaab identifying with ISIL, reflects the rise and spread of fundamentalist, violent Islamism. Yet, it is the sectarian enmity between Sunni and Shiite Islam reflected in Iraq and Syria that exemplifies the deeper core issue that is roiling the Middle East, and its most direct cause can be laid directly at the feet of the Iranian Ayatollahs carrying on the work of Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

"If you had a benign regime in Iran, all of the problems in the Middle East would be resolvable", stated Tony Blair, summing up his conclusions resulting from his two former executive positions. The ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran to present itself as the commanding nation of the Middle East and beyond representing the Shiite branch of Islam, has led it to forging a path toward obtaining nuclear weapons. It has made common cause with North Korea in perfecting advanced ballistic missile technology along with nuclear warheads.

With an arsenal of nuclear devices, Iran would feel confident that fear would aid it immensely in convincing the Arab countries that Persian Iran should be back in commanding control of the geography as the legitimate representative of Islamic power. Iran has been strategizing for decades  since the Iranian Revolution, to aspire to and succeed in presenting itself as the major regional power. That all other countries in the region are Arab and Iran is Aryan, with the exception of Israel, underscores Iran's ambition and the Arab nations' reaction.

Shiism is a minority branch of Islam, with Sunni Islam representing over 70 percent of the faithful; each considering the other to be illegitimate and themselves only reflecting the true face of Islam. Iran has been plotting its imperious rise as a hegemonic power, rousing Shiites in majority Sunni countries to defy the Sunni authority. It has dedicated itself to grooming terrorist groups like the Houthi in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and using them as military proxies.

Iraq is now in its political orbit, as is Syria, both with majority Shiite populations. Iran meddles in Gaza, supporting Palestinian Hamas, the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the former applauding the latter's primary purpose of existence, an ambition matched by Iran's own similar threats to annihilate the State of Israel.

The Arab League has ample reason to deprecate and to fear Iran's intentions, and should Iran acquire the nuclear weapons it has long sought to produce, a guaranteed race by other nations in the Middle East to acquire their own is certain to ensue, with predictable results; utter chaos, particularly taking into account the Byzantine politics and liaisons that take place among Arab states and non-state militias.

The new President of the United States made an unequivocal statement that  his country will no longer continue to act as military policeman for other parts of the world, including its substantial investment in time, energy, funding and troops. He has stated his intention that other nations be persuaded to build up their own resistance to threats. And where his predecessor saw fit to appease Iran, this administration has warned the Republic instead against its nuclear-seeking trajectory.

The idea that an 'Arab NATO' is long overdue appeared to find approval among the Arab nations themselves. That a combined Arab Army capable of seeing to its own defense is feasible received the agreement of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Libya and Jordan. It was, in fact, Egypt's President Abdel al-Sisi two years ago who, in warning of the blight of radical jihadis threatening Middle East stability, the original idea of a military alliance across Arab states emanated.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are embroiled in Yemen where the Shiite Yemenite Houthis, supported and incited by Iran, ousted the legitimate head of government. And everywhere, branches of al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant make their presence known, usurping authority and threatening stability. Egypt is faced with the ongoing problem of the Muslim Brotherhood inciting Salafist Bedouin, al-Qaeda groups and Hamas in the Sinai, to attack Egyptian police and military.

Libya's post-Ghaddafi split into tribal warring factions with two governments and roaming, armed militias vying with Islamic State to ensure that any semblance of civil order to be established remains unachievable, leaves that country a hornet's nest of violence. Egypt is threatened by Libya's instability as well. It is long past time for the Arab League to bring itself together in a common purpose; to restore a working semblance of order out of the discord that has toppled governments and given haven to wildly brutal Islamists.

According to MEMRI, the new assertiveness in tone taken by the Trump administration in contrast to the meek compliance of the Obama administration, has led Iran to cease its provocations against American navy ships, threatening plans to sink them. When Trump "put on notice" the Republican Guard Corps after the launch of a long-range missile on January 29, it signalled no more looking the other way and a follow up launch was cancelled.

Iran testing a 'Persian Gulf' ballistic missile in 2010 AFP/Getty

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Governing Egypt

"I was certain from the beginning that the man who served his country and fought for it for 30 years could never kill his people."
"Today's release proves he is an icon and that the Egyptian people are smart ... Mubarak is not a killer, but a respectable man."
Samir Abdulaziz Al-Aswany, 47, bank employee, co-founder, Mubarak support group

"I feel a little pain in my heart, but it will not interrupt my day any more."
"I no longer have hope in this judicial system and I am not waiting for it to prosecute any criminals or those who have ruled or committed crimes in their names."
Mona Sief, Egyptian activist

"Whether Mubarak is at home or in prison, the revolution continues to be part of the hearts and minds and consciousness of millions of the young people of Egypt."
"And they cannot change this."
Ahmed Abdallah head, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seen in this 2016 file photo, is said to be resting at home with his family.
Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seen in this 2016 file photo, is said to be resting at home with his family. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press) 

What the secular and leftist activists in Egypt seem to have lost sight of is that their successful protests and demonstrations that brought out so many ordinary Egyptians supporting their campaign for greater freedom and for Egypt to become a democracy with free and fair elections succeeded in overturning the government of the day, but at the same time, they lost the campaign they had embarked upon, to the opportunistic Muslim Brotherhood.

The democracy-inclined, autocracy-defying protesters had no viable political structure. They relied upon social support from among Egyptians and it was, more or less, forthcoming to a degree. But it was the well-organized, and disciplined structure of the Muslim Brotherhood that took advantage of the downfall of the government of Hosni Mubarak and the interim leadership that stepped in to plan for a free election that just happened to privilege the Brotherhood.

Thousands of protesters called for the ouster of Mubarak during a 2011 uprising. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

This, in a country whose succession of governments since the early 20th Century struggled to channel the Islamist Brotherhood away from government. The Brotherhood, held as a criminal organization by that succession of governments, was instrumental in the assassination of Mr. Mubarak's predecessor and fellow military officer, Anwar Sadat, targeted for signing a peace treaty with Israel. Its offshoot, Hamas, now controls Gaza, a terrorist group dedicated to destroying Israel.

In the 80-some-odd years of its existence and its underground activities, appealing to the greater collective of Egyptian poverty-stricken rural dwellers, fundamentalist in their Islamic devotion, the Brotherhood branched out to launch Brotherhood franchises in other countries of the Middle East and North Africa, installing itself to become the global manifestation of fundamentalist Islam, alongside Saudi Arabia's Wahhabist funding of madrasses everywhere Muslims exist.

When Mohammad Morsi, a prison escapee and elite of the Brotherhood, won the presidential election, he, like Hamas was elected in a free, democratic vote by a majority of voters and Morsi, like the Hamas executive became a theocratic autocrat, imposing on the country aspects of fundamentalist Islam upending the expectation of the originators of the protests in Tahrir Square in 2011 envisioning that Egypt would become a free and democratic country.

When Morsi's government failed to aid the faltering economy, targeted Egyptian Copts, imposed shariah, ruled over an increasingly violent and crime-ridden society impervious to complaints by Egyptians, his chief of the military Abdel Fatah al-Sissi warned him, but Morsi ignored that warning, leading to his ouster and the rise of another military government under President al-Sissi, who has done the unthinkable; criticized Islamist jihad and dysfunctional Islam, urging Al Azhar university to help bring about a modernization of Islam.

The Brotherhood, declared along with Hamas, a terrorist organization, incited violence, and supported terrorism in the Sinai peninsula. Egypt's population, the largest Arab population in the Middle East with over 80-million people, appears like most other Arab countries, to respond best to the firm control of a autocratic leader prepared to put down revolts, respond forcefully against violent tendencies in Islamists, and balance the needs of an economy lacking large oil resources.

Giving former President Hosni Mubarak his freedom at age 88, after years of incarceration in a military hospital simply represents justice reflective of the region. He did serve his country for three decades, as a man who was loyal to and loved his native land. President al-Sissi would have seen no reason to continue to detain his predecessor, and nor did the Egyptian court that released him from detention.

As for charges of corruption and repression, what is viewed as detestable in the West appears to be a way of political life in a tribal-based society of religious imperialism.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Enabling Hateful Incitement

"The three most targeted groups since 2006 have been the Jewish community, the Black community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. In 2015, the Jewish community, followed by the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community were the most victimized groups. The three most reported criminal offences motivated by hate/bias in 2015 were mischief to property, assault and criminal harassment. The Jewish community was the most victimized group for mischief to property occurrences, while the LGBTQ community was the most victimized group for assault occurrences. The Muslim community was the most victimized group for criminal harassment occurrences".
Toronto Police Service Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, 2015

"...O Allah! Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Give us victory over the disbelieving people... Give victory to Islam... humiliate the ...polytheists... Destroy anyone who displaced the sons of the Muslims...Count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!"
Ramadan 2016, Imam Ayman Elkasrawy,  Masjid Toronto mosque
Ayman Elkasrawy, imam of the Masjid Toronto mosque (front row, wearing white), said on video: "... slay them one by one and spare not one of them... Give us victory over the disbelieving people... Give victory to Islam... Purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews!" (Image source: Video screenshot from Masjid Toronto via The Rebel)
"Our country is very diverse. I think that we need to continue to build those bridges amongst Canadians, and this [motion M-103] is just one way that we can do this, by really understanding the issue and really listening to what Canadians have to say."
"I'm really looking forward to the track that the Canadian Heritage Committee takes on this."
Iqra Khalid, Liberal MP, Mississauga, Ontario

"The word 'Islamophobia' can be used to mean both discrimination against Muslims and criticism of Islamic doctrine or practice. It is important that we not conflate the two -- religious people deserve legal protection, but religions do not."
"People should not discriminate against individuals, but should feel quite free to criticize the doctrine, history, or practise of any religion."
Garnett Genuis, Conservative MP, Commons debate
Anti Islamophobia Protests 20170304
Protesters clash at a demonstration about the anti-Islamophobia motion in Montreal on March 4. There were several protests and counter-protests about M-103 across the country this winter. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

It is interesting that Muslims like to portray themselves as being victimized by an unfair society that fails to recognize their exceptionalism as faithful of Islam. Non-Muslim societies have an unfortunate penchant of characterizing Islam as an intolerant, violent religion that unfailingly promotes strife between people, destabilizing societies, inciting its faithful to proselytize whether by blandishment or violence, or long-term suffocating of indigenous cultures through sheer numbers of birth-rate inflation is irrelevant.

The very same Muslims who feel entitled to complain that they are victims of racism and anti-religious bias are the same Muslims who sit complacently at Friday prayers in the proliferating mosques of Europe and North America listening to imams invoke against the infidels, the kuffars, the Christians and the Jews who have surrendered the right to live as virtuous human beings in their own right, by insulting Islam through their steadfast refusal to convert to the only true religion.

Islam's goal of complete conquest of the world through converting those who insist on respecting the wrong religion, and those whose spiritual convictions are absent cannot be achieved until the parts of the world Islam views as "houses of war" are transformed into the "house of peace" that is Islam. Without achieving that monopoly of one religion and one religion only reigning supreme over the world population signalling the final success of conquest, the world-wide caliphate cannot arise.

The great goal of that achievement does honour to Allah, the spirit of the almighty in its final, complete and irrefutable majesty. Those who do their utmost to halt the vaunted progress of Islam are enemies of light and champions of darkness. Which explains why it is that they must be vanquished and sent to the final solution to enable Islam to achieve its god-given purpose. So there can be no quibbling among the Muslim faithful over the sermons demonizing Non-Muslims. Entirely legitimate.

What fails the legitimacy test is those same sinners and enemies of Islam defaming the Prophet and Islam, an intolerable assault labelled by the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots as the sin of "Islamophobia", a pathological condition that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has dedicated itself to eradicating through introducing a motion to the United Nations to make it a criminal offence to indulge in Islamophobia, a criminalization effort that has not yet reached success.

In Canada, most Canadians do not support the notion that the concept of Islamophobia has merit and that there should be a political, social, legal proscription against that concept. But the Liberal Government of Canada is complacent in its belief that the motion which MP Iqra Khalid introduced should be supported and passed, condemning Islamophobia. Completely oblivious, and perhaps deliberately so, that the motion represents the first in a connected thread of manipulations enabling Islam to be defended from criticism while it continues to agitate for hatred against non-Muslims.

The motion calls on the government to do three things:
  • Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
  • Quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.
  • Compel the Commons heritage committee to develop a government-wide approach for reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia.
MP Khalid referred to the heritage committee moving on from the approval achieved in a Parliamentary vote that took place on March 23 -- resulting in a 201 to 91 acceptance of the motion -- now proceeding with the collection of data on hate crime reports and to conduct assessments for affected communities' needs, with findings presented in an eight-month period.

Previous to the vote, Conservative MP David Anderson recommended "Islamophobia" be removed and in exchange the motion read that it would "condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other religious communities", but this reasonable and realistic alternative was rejected out of hand by the government-leading Liberals.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Carrying On

"His age is surprising as most terrorists are radicalized at a much younger age. It would be my assessment that he has probably had quite a troubled past, with involvement in drink or drugs leading him into criminality."
"Then at some point, possibly in the last decade, he has converted to Islam and changed his name."
"Then it appears that he has fallen under the malign influence of others who have encouraged or persuaded him to carry out this attack, possibly for money for his family."
David Videcette, (former) Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer, security expert
A vigil is held in Trafalgar Square, London, to remember those killed in the Westminster terror attack, the day after a lone terrorist killed 4 people and injured several more, in an attack using a car and a knife. The attacker managed to gain entry to the grounds of the Houses of Parliament, killing one police office
Vigil in Trafalgar Square to remember the victims of the Westminster Terror attack. Credit Ben Cawthra/LNP

Strange how readily semi-exonerating reasons can be advanced by those in the field of security and intelligence in assessing the behaviours and intentions of religiously-driven psychopaths. It is as though to even conceive of odious acts of vicious terrorism must have a basis in the pathology of victimhood somewhere back in the perpetrator's history. Not precisely exculpatory, but vaguely sympathetic, understanding, as though to say, yes he committed an atrocity but circumstances drove him to it.

The circumstances of hatred of absolute misanthropy leavened with the yeast of a religious dedication to conquest, a religion jealous of its status on a global scale of influence and following, restive at number two on the theological hit parade, aspiring by all and any conceivable -- and many none too conceivable but undertaken with purpose regardless -- to wrest top spot from the reigning world religion in scope and popularity. After all, is there any other world religion that can boast having complete control over all aspects of followers' lives?

A religion whose scriptures narrated by god himself to the Prophet Mohammad teaches the faithful in Islam to hate, to aspire to slaughter non-believers because they are less than human and the world has only enough space for faithful Muslims. A recent video of impromptu interviews with pedestrians in a popular Turkish shopping zone featured an interviewer with a succession of men, all of whom when asked their opinion of non-Muslims commented they should be slaughtered for the sin of atheism, they are not human, but living scum. And this is a country linking Europe to the Middle East. (via @OnlineMagazin).

The now-dead London jihadist attacker Khalid Masood had a reputation of "violent extremism", according to British police, but he was not on their intelligence radar as an Islamist fanatic until he rampaged in a vehicle at 80 kilometres an hour along Westminster Bridge in London, killing three pedestrians, and then knifing to death a British police officer who was guarding the Houses of Parliament. A fitness buff, he was no doubt in good physical shape to manage the feat that locked down Parliament.
Tobias Ellwood
Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood has been called a hero as he tried to save the life of the policeman stabbed in the terror attack. Credit Stefan Rousseau, PA

He had a number of convictions to his criminal discredit beginning at age 18, a social misfit who went on to commit a variety of criminal acts over the decades. Authorities believe that his 'radicalization' into fundamentalist Islam took place during his many incarcerations. And he was known to live with his wife and young children in areas well known as representing  Islamist extremism.  There is no shortage of testimonials from neighbours who viewed him as 'normal', however.

"He was always polite and would say 'hello, hello' to me. You could tell they were religious, his wife always wore traditional dress. I last saw them just over a month ago. They had three children", said Kaodi Campbell, 25. A neighbour in Luton saw him only at night: "He was like a shadow, you wouldn't often see him. He was often in Islamic dress, black clothes with a hat", described Monica. And that's fairly typical for comments made by people of those who have committed odious acts; they were 'nice', they were 'normal'. He was 'polite, shy', said neighbour Katie Garriques.

And his association with Anjem Choudary, finally imprisoned for terror offences, a despicable Islamist preacher promising that the final Islamification of Britain was not long in the future, influential among his large following, marked him out as just another Islamist among many.  It makes some kind of grim sense that he was shot three times in the chest at close range by a bodyguard of the British minister of defence, as Masood was in the process of killing a police officer.

The United Kingdom is infused with a large Muslim immigrant population. Its largest, most populous city has a Muslim mayor. MI5 speaks of no fewer than ten thousand identified radical Islamists under suspicion, but not under surveillance, because no police or secret service or intelligence agency, or all combined with a common purpose to protect the common weal, has the infinite resources it would take to surveil them all. Masood was "known to MI5", and there the story stalled.

So, Britain, like Belgium, like Holland, like France, like Germany, trudges on. The modus operandi is an extremely popular one with Islamist terrorists; from the streets of Jerusalem to Germany and France, driving a vehicle with the intention of committing multiple homicides has succeeded and is incited by ISIL. The use of knives is hugely popular among Muslims wishing to inspire terror in others while committing themselves to violent murder against the unsuspecting.

The successful operation that just concluded on the Westminster Bridge and the corridors of British political power will inspire others to achieve similar fame.  Canada too had a taste of vehicular homicide in the death of Warrant Office Patrice Vincent, mowed down by another Muslim convert who then attacked police with a knife before being shot dead.  Another Islamist extremist shot dead Cpl.Nathan Cirillo, on duty at the National Cenotaph, then went on to storm Parliament before he too was shot dead, but not before locking down the Parliamentary Precinct and central Ottawa.
Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is shown here in a Twitter photo posted by @ArmedResearch. The RCMP has released the full, unedited version of his cellphone manifesto.
Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is shown here in a Twitter photo posted by @ArmedResearch. The RCMP has released the full, unedited version of his cellphone manifesto.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Their successes inspire others to emulate their attacks in the hopes that they too will become celebrated martyrs whose names will be inscribed in blood and fame in the annals of Islamist jihad, entitling them to direct entry to Paradise with all the attendant entitlements awaiting their arrival. A French Islamist drove a vehicle through a busy Antwerp shopping area Thursday, but his exploit was foiled as pedestrians, more accustomed in Belgium than elsewhere to dodge this type of threat leaped to safety.

And the man, identified as 39-year-old Mohamed R., was intercepted and arrested, French President Francois Hollande remarking on its coincidence with Wednesday's attack in London, commenting that the French citizen was "trying to kill people or create a dramatic event"; an amazing leap of intuition, or perhaps even a logical deduction....

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Where Does Erdogan Leave Off and ISIL Start?

"We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out."
"They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gate just opposite Big Ben. A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman."
"I have never seen anything like that. I just can't believe what I just saw."
Rick Longley, London, England

"As part of long established and well-rehearsed plans, Parliament was locked down and the Met responded in line with our plans for a marauding terrorist attack."
"That response included uniformed and specialist trained firearms officers."
Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism, Metropolitan Police Service, London
Police hold a gun to a man on the ground
Nearby, police could be seen holding a gun to a man on the cobbles inside the grounds of the palace. BBC
"Turkey is not a country that can be pushed and shoved, whose honour can be toyed with, whose ministers can be ousted, whose citizens can be dragged on the ground."
"These developments are being watched in all corners of the world. If you continue this way, tomorrow no European, no Westerner anywhere in the world will be able to step onto the streets safely, with peace of mind."
"The European Union is provoking] a struggle between the cross and crescent."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramps up his anti-European rhetoric on Wednesday, warning that the safety of Western citizens could be in peril if European nations persist in what he described as arrogant conduct.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramps up his anti-European rhetoric on Wednesday, warning that the safety of Western citizens could be in peril if European nations persist in what he described as arrogant conduct.   (Yasin Bulbul / The Associated Press

If anyone ever doubted the malevolent mind of Turkey's president -- complacently viewing Turkey as the portal from Europe to the Middle East, a former Islamist hegemonic power known as the Ottoman Empire, ruling over the Islamic world that transitioned at the turn of the last century into an Islamic-style democracy bridging the gap between East and West, Islam and Christianity, Sharia and western justice, secularism and sectarianism -- his threats against a European civil-political-trade coalition that his nation aspires to join, should make it abundantly clear his nation represents an ill fit for NATO.

Turkey, under the Islamist governance of the Justice and Development party led by Erdogan is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an admirer of the Brotherhood's terrorist offshoot Hamas, a partner of Iran, and a more discreet supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It has not been beyond Erdogan and his minions to threaten Europe and blackmail it into submission for fear he will unleash the release of additional tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to breach the shores of a Europe already inundated with earlier floods of migrants and refugees.

This is a leader whose irascibility and volatile temperament is set aflame time and again when he sees his plans foiled. He views Turks who have lived for generations in Germany, Holland, France, United Kingdom and elsewhere as loyalists not to the countries in which they are now citizens but to Turkey. He intervenes in the affairs of other countries, insisting that expatriates have rights consonant with Turkish values. And in his rage with Europe, he has advised Turks living abroad to practise jihad through increasing the numbers of children they bear, to overwhelm their host countries.

He incites Turks to protests and to violence against the governments to whom their loyalty, as citizens of Europe and elsewhere should take priority, based on his apoplectic rage over foiled plans to convince expatriate Turks to vote in a referendum that would hugely expand the powers he holds as president or Turkey, further enfeebling its fading democratic values. His conflict with his own Kurdish population infamously pits Turks against that significantly-sized minority whose aspiration is to achieve a sovereign land mass on their own authentic heritage geographic region.

While other democratic nations express their solidarity with the United Kingdom after the terrorist attack that killed three innocent people and injured up to 40 others, many of them foreign visitors to London, some critically wounded, Erdogan crows that Europe has brought this type of terrorism on itself by failing to acknowledge Turkey's greatness and Erdogan's superior position as a leader of a great nation entitled to expectations of appeasement and agreement with all of his demands.

Al Jazeera viewers react with joy over London Terror Attack

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tracing the Presence and Instructions of Christ

"He was one of more than a million people living here then, an ordinary Jew who had original ideas and attracted some followers."
"His fame only really started after his death."
Gideon Avni, head of archaeology, Israeli Antiquity Authority

"We have not found any evidence of the person of Jesus, but we have found lots of things about what happened at the time he lived, such as the population and the material culture that grew because of him."
Eugenio Alliata, professor of Christian archaeology, Franciscan biblical school, Jerusalem

"These coins give us a rare look into this Christian ancient world."
"The hoard was found amongst large stones that had collapsed alongside the building. It seems that during a time of danger the owner placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall."
Annette Landes-Nagar, archaeologist, Beit Shemesh, Israel
Photo by Lehava Center – Beit Shemesh Pikiwiki Israel under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

There are ancient artifacts awaiting discovery everywhere in the Holy Land of ancient Judea. More than anywhere else on Earth when construction projects are under way, archaeologists are on the lookout for the presence of antiquities to give additional clues to those who lived there thousands of years earlier, how they lived, what their lives were like. And when a highway was being rebuilt fairly recently, it was revealed that there was evidence of an ancient Christian village having sat there that welcomed pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, a millennium and a half earlier.

A cache of rare Byzantium-era coins was discovered, hidden by their owner for the previous 1,400 years within the walls of a stone building in the village so recently unearthed. The village, archaeologists believe, was named Einbikumakube. Within Israel, approximately 40,000 objects of antiquity are discovered annually, and many represent the existence of Christianity in the region, proof if any was needed, of the important place of Christianity in the Middle East.

Enquiring and curious journalist were invited to take part in an informative tour of the Israel Antiquities Authority's central warehouse in Beit Shemesh, 40 minutes west of Jerusalem. There, they had a glimpse of the tens of thousands of relics of the distant past that have been discovered across Israel since 1948, maintained at the warehouse from where they are placed on display in museums, for the public to view as objects testifying to the region's heritage.

Although the latest objects that were discovered cannot be interpreted as evidence of the existence of Jesus, they do give some clues about the time that he lived and the manner in which residents of the area at the time lived. Archaeologists feel fairly confident that, with the assistance of hundreds of finds from archaeological digs, they can reconstruct Jesus's life with a fair degree of accuracy from the Church of the Nativity, revered as  his birthplace, forward to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre..

As far as Professor Alliata of the Franciscan biblical school in Jerusalem is concerned, the most recent artifacts corroborate biblical narratives of Jesus's life, placing his existence and its times into a context of reality. The artifacts also are useful to the trained scientist of ancient history for the insight they provide respecting Christians following Jesus's teachings after his Crucifixion; evidence of the Christian movement from the end of the first century.

On March 19, archaeologist Annette Landes-Nagar of the Israel Antiquities Authority displays ancient coins from the Byzantine era, which were found last summer during excavations near the Arab Israeli village of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Christian pilgrims travelled to Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, throughout the Byzantine period and during the period of the Crusades. The vulgar, day-to-day items being unearthed from those times of antiquity enable archaeologists to study the life of Jesus and his instructions. The coins are estimated to have been placed within the building wall around the year 614, matching the period when Persian armies invaded the Holy Land and in their passage, destroyed churches and Christian communities.

Behind them, but not associated with them until much later in its history, came the rise of Islam.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Closure for Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin

"I'm happy. With this apology, I can have peace. My family and I, we're grateful to finally have closure. This is a victory for us, a victory for Canada, and for every Canadian who holds dear the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, due process,the rule of law, equality, dignity."
"I never lost hope. [I am grateful my father is alive to witness the apology and] can again call himself a proud Canadian."
"Being a Muslim, the understanding I have from my faith, is that I should condemn the bad actions of people, but I should never hate the person. That distinction between the person and the action, it was not easy for me, and I struggled for so many years."
"But I'm very thankful to God that I was able to reach the point where I was able to forgive the people who did this to me, be they the people in Canada or in Syria. I don't have hatred. I don't have feelings of revenge. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable for what happened."
"I'm a living example of what could happen under C-51 [Anti-Terrorism Act]."
"They were very difficult feelings to reconcile: The country that I loved betrayed me and set me up for torture and did nothing to help me, then continued to smear me."
"Throughout the last fifteen years, I have seen a very ugly side of humanity, but I also have seen a very bright, hopeful, loving side of it."
Abdullah Almalki, Syrian-Canadian, political activist, wrongly accused torture survivor
Abdullah Almalki
(Natalie Holdway/CBC)

In 2001 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police characterized Mr. Almalki to Syrian intelligence agencies as an "imminent threat". Soon afterward in an RCMP memorandum, the Canadian investigators wrote they were "finding it difficult to establish anything on him other than the fact he is an Arab running around". A fairly astonishing admission of the failure of their lengthy investigation of this man, tinged with an aura of racial bigotry, coming from an official source.

Mr. Almalki, who had graduated from Carleton University with a degree in engineering, spend 22 months in custody in Syria, when he was arrested there in May of 2002 on suspicion of links to terrorists. There he was tortured, based on information with no actual basis in factual discovery that Canadian intelligence had conveyed to Syrian authorities. While he was being held and undergoing torture, he had no Canadian consular assistance; he was abandoned to his fate.

Mr. Almalki had been the target of a national security task force named Project A - O Canada, under surveillance for six years by the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the FBI. Those who knew him were interviewed, his computers were confiscated for analysis when his home was raided, and all the while he maintained himself to be innocent of any wrong-doing. His pleas of innocence failed to convince investigating authorities.

In the end, however, it was the Syrian justice system that found him innocent of the alleged crimes he was said to have committed, and released him. Soon after he returned to Canada after his ordeal, he and his family launched a $100-million civil lawsuit, ten years ago. They sought an  official apology and financial compensation to acknowledge his pain and suffering. Over an eight-year period the government spent millions in contesting the lawsuit, until several years ago arbitration set in.

And finally, Abdullah Almalki and the government reached a settlement and the apology was produced and received. The financial end of the settlement remains sealed to the public, and Mr. Almalki has agreed there would be no disclosure. He was not alone in being incorrectly charged with terrorism; there were other Muslim Canadians who faced similar situations of being arrested abroad, incarcerated and tortured, and they too have seen their cases finally settled.
canada torture settlement

Abdullah Almalki (right to left), Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El-Maati arrive at a news conference in Ottawa on Oct. 21, 2008. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Mr. Almalki intends now to get on with his life, dedicating himself to the continuation of his role as a  human rights and national security activist. His goal is to have the Anti-Terrorism Act repealed so that the Canadian spy agency will no longer have the right to disrupt threats they perceive to national security. This is obviously a non-starter. There is no denying that Canada has been and continues to be under threat by foreign and home-grown jihadis interested in destabilizing the country and harming its citizens.

In a sense, post-9/11 it is hardly surprising that Mr. Almalki came to the notice of Canadian intelligence. By any metric what he was engaged in appeared to link him to terrorism. He operated a business out of Ottawa selling communications equipment to a large company in Pakistan with ties to Pakistan's military. It is well enough known that Pakistan is a source of violent fundamentalist jihadis. Some of the equipment Mr. Almalki's firm had sold to Pakistan was found to be possessed by the Taliban. And, of course, Pakistan's military and its intelligence agency had close ties to Afghanistan's Taliban.

Since Canada was part of the coalition fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, any equipment in the hands of the Taliban that aided them in their conflict with the NATO-led military coalition meant that items that would advantage them originating in Canada were being used in deadly assaults against Canadian members of the military.

Mr. Almalki's interpretation of his faith bears little resemblance to the Islam based on the Koran which authorizes the faithful to commit to jihad. But there are others among the faithful who practise what the Koran and Friday sermons in mosques demand of the faithful. The predations of Islamist jihadis against other Muslims in sectarian conflicts and in jihad's wider outreach to the non-Muslim world has given the West ample reason to commit itself to intelligence gathering and terror-prevention.

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