Monthly Archives: April 2013

Euro mayors try to keep youths from going to Syria

From his city hall under Belgium’s most imposing cathedral, Mayor Bart Somers is wracking his brains trying to figure out how to keep young Muslims from going to fight “holy war” in Syria against the Assad regime.

Through much of western Europe, scores of Islamic youths have heeded the call to take up arms for a cause that is only a few hours away by plane. The phenomenon has alarmed authorities amid signs that the insurgency is becoming increasingly radicalized, with strong infiltration by al-Qaida. European authorities see a double danger, one that’s summed up by Somers who describes the youths as “cannon fodder” in Syria — and potential “full-blown terrorists” if they make it back home alive.

But it all raises a conundrum: In a free society, how can you prevent these young people from packing up and leaving?

“The major challenge of each democrat is to see what we can do in the fight against fundamentalism without sacrificing our own democratic laws,” said Somers. “Otherwise we play into the hands of the terrorists.”

That dilemma was again put to the test two weeks ago when Belgian authorities organized a major anti-terror sweep seeking to weed out agitators inciting young Muslims to fight against the Assad regime. In a high-profile raid of four dozen homes, police put six people behind bars, raising criticism among some that they had overstepped their bounds by infringing on freedom of speech.

In the Brussels municipality of Schaarbeek, the mayor even banned a soup kitchen for the needy, among them young Muslims, fearful that the charity workers were inciting youths to fight in Syria. The action came after two Muslim schoolboys disappeared, apparently to Syria — departures that Mayor Bernard Clerfayt linked to soup kitchen recruitment.

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Saudi minister: US to remain energy dependent

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Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi has called the US push for energy independence “naive,” saying the country will continue to need Middle Eastern oil long into the future.

Saudi Woman Given Lashes For Texting Stranger by Mistake

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A Saudi woman has been sentenced to eight lashes by a court in Qatif for mistakenly sending a text message allegedly promoting the Shiite branch of Islam.

The 30-year-old woman, identified only as YH, has been pronounced guilty for sending an SMS to another Saudi woman, containing a group of telephone numbers under the name ‘Shiite Islamic religious services’.

Canadians Are Paying More in Taxes than Basic Necessities

Summed up, the average Canadian family faced a tax bill of $31,615 in 2012 against income of $74,113. That means 42.7 per cent of the family’s budget went to paying for government. For perspective, in that same year 36.9 per cent of the budget went to paying for food, clothing, and shelter combined. Indeed, families now pay more in taxes that they do for basic necessities.

And it doesn’t end there.

Canada train plot suspect traveled to Iran

Investigators believe one of two suspects charged in Canada with plotting to blow up a railroad track carrying passenger trains traveled to Iran within the past two years, U.S. law enforcement and national security officials said on Thursday.

Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian-born doctoral student, traveled to Iran on a trip that was directly relevant to the investigation of the alleged plot, the officials said.

Today in Jewish idiocy

“Gulf states ready for peace, says well-connected US rabbi.”

And closer to home: CIJA is funding a Peace Now lecture.

Paging QAIA! Lebanese mayor cracks down on homosexuality in his town

The Lebanese mayor of Dekwaneh defended his actions in an interview Tuesday after he ordered Lebanese security forces to raid and shut down a gay-friendly nightclub in the Beiruti suburb town.

Several club-goers were arrested and forced to undress in the municipal headquarters, where they were then photographed naked.

“I saw 25 men outside, or what looked like boys and men. I went inside… I saw people kissing, touching each other, and a man wearing a skirt. These homosexual acts that are happening… are scandalous sexual acts,” Antoine Shakhtoura said.

Shakhtoura had ordered the nightclub Ghost to be shut down on charges of “promoting prostitution, drugs and homosexuality.”

The closure of the club occurred “without legal notice,” said the founder of Lebanese LGBTQ rights organization Helem, Charbel Maydaa, pointing out that the police already oppress gay and transgender people.

Those arrested included “people from the Syrian community and a Lebanese transsexual woman, who was harassed and forced to undress in the municipal headquarters,” said Maydaa.

“Of course we made them take off their clothes,” Shakhtoura said referring to the people they transferred to the municipality’s headquarters who were also photographed there.

“We saw a scandalous situation and we had to know what these people were. Is it a woman or a man? Turned out to be a half woman and half man. I do not accept this in Dekwaneh,” he insisted.

“We didn’t fight for and defend this land and our honor for some people… to practice these things in my neighborhood, Dekwaneh,” Shakhtoura added.

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