Showing posts from November 8, 2020

Violent extremism linked to failure of migrants to integrate, EU says

  Reference to Islam removed from EU governments’ declaration after disagreements A police officer stands guard in front of the Bataclan concert venue during a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks in Paris, France. Photograph: Benoît Tessier/Reuters The rise of violent extremism in Europe has been linked to the failure of migrants to integrate, in a hard-debated joint declaration by EU governments on the recent terror attacks. The statement by EU home affairs ministers was described by Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, as a “great sign of solidarity” when delivered on Friday but it had been heavily watered down from a controversial initial draft. After a week of disagreements over the contents of the proposed declaration pushed by France, Austria and Germany, references to Islam were removed along with demands for newcomers to learn the languages of their new home and “earn a living for on

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum is at an impasse

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) was launched in Tunisia on 9 November. It is organized by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) headed by American diplomat Stephanie Williams. The task of the Forum, as well as of all international events on Libya in recent years, is to end the civil war, restore the unity of the country and the structure of state power. In addition, the LPDF should choose a new government and a new prime minister, who are likely to replace the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli (pictured is GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj). This interim government will act until new elections are held in six months and the permanent government of Libya is approved. The overall objective of the LPDF will be to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to holding national elections in the shortest possible timeframe,“ the UN mission said in a statement. The Italian journalist and specialist on Liby

'We are not fighting against a religion, we are fighting against violent extremists' Seehofer

The story of Russian star biathlete Evgeny Ustyugov  (pictured) , who stands accused of doping but maintains his innocence, has not only made headlines in sporting circles in recent weeks, but has also spawned a legal saga that is unlikely to end anytime soon. It all began with allegations of widespread doping following the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Ustyugov, winner of a gold medal at the Olympics, got caught in the dragnet and was subsequently stripped of his award and banned from the sport by the International Biathlon Union's (IBU) Anti-Doping Hearing Panel in February this year. The case is ongoing as Ustyugov challenged the sanction before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is expected to hear the appeal next year. On the top of that, the IBU initiated other proceedings before the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ADD) in Switzerland earlier this year. The bone of contention was a curious one: abnormally elevated

Split on Islam and Migration, EU Vows to Crackdown on Extremism

  (Bloomberg) -- European Union governments promised a coordinated crackdown on violent extremism, as the bloc walks a tightrope between tackling the threat of terror attacks and stigmatizing Muslims and immigrants. “We should promote that religious education and training -- preferably within the EU -- is in line with European fundamental rights and values,” EU home affairs ministers declared on Friday in a joint communique. A French-led push in earlier draft versions of the ministerial statement to explicitly task the European Commission with “steering work” toward reforming the training of Imams was removed from the final text. Still, on the eve of Friday’s virtual meeting, European Council President Charles Michel said “the training given to Imams practicing in Europe does not sufficiently take into account our fundamental values.” He also called for setting up one or more educational and training institutions to promote “an Islam which unequivocally embraces” EU st

Government Restrictions on Religion Rise Globally

  Border guard police in Burma (Myanmar) patrol the fence in the “no-man’s land” at the country’s border with Bangladesh in August 2018. During the course of the year, more than 14,500 Rohingya Muslims were reported by Human Rights Watch to have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape abuses, and at least 4,500 Rohingya were stuck in the border area. (Phyo Hein Kyaw/AFP via Getty Images) In 2018, the global median level of government restrictions on religion – that is, laws, policies and actions by officials that impinge on religious beliefs and practices – continued to climb, reaching an all-time high since Pew Research Center began tracking these trends in 2007. The year-over-year increase from 2017 to 2018 was relatively modest, but it contributed to a substantial rise in government restrictions on religion over more than a decade. In 2007, the first year of the study, the global median score on the Government Restrictions Index (a 10-point scale based

Women Under Islam: A feminist takes an unblinking look at gender repression in the Muslim world.

  Islamic Gender Apartheid: Exposing a Veiled War Against Women , by Phyllis Chesler (New English Review Press, 462 pp., $29.99) P hyllis Chesler’s crucial early encounter with the reality of Muslim social norms began in 1961, when, at the age of 20, she married an Afghan student she met while attending Bard College. Totally unprepared for what was to follow, she accompanied him to his family home in Kabul. Nearly 50 years later, Chesler told this extraordinary story in detail, in her 2013 book An American Bride in Kabul . Using her old journals and letters, she describes her five months in her father-in-law’s patriarchal, polygamous Muslim household, from which, sick and undernourished, she finally escaped. Buttressing this account are details from the extensive reading Chesler did over many years in an effort to understand better her own experience, and that of women in the Muslim world generally. Turning her attention first to her own, American, society, Chesler became

Left wing extremism: 90% of NPA cadres recruited from schools: ex-commie

  MANILA – A former cadre of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) revealed that 90% of cadres were recruited from schools. Appearing in a public interview Friday for the first time since he severed ties with the communist group in December 2008, Jeffrey Celiz, alias “Ka Eric”, said he wants to put an end to the more than 50 years of sowing fear and terror activities of the CPP-NPA, a movement he served for 27 years. Ka Eric admitted he and his fellow cadres were recruited while they were in college. He was about to turn 18 years old when he was recruited into the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) at the West Visayas State University by the cadres of the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) through their legal front organizations. “We all started through a legal organization but they are not purely legal,” he said, adding that Red-affiliated organizations give the impression that above-ground organizations are legal by ridi

Is there a way to stop jihadis in Europe?

  The most recent attacks highlight the particular danger posed by individual perpetrators who are part of a network of sympathizers. (AP) Dresden, Paris, Nice and Vienna. After four terror attacks in barely a month, it’s clear that, five years after the deadly attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, Islamist terror in Europe has not been defeated. Once again, politicians are considering imposing stricter controls at the borders, promising closer cooperation with security services, and calling for tougher action against Islamist militants who are deemed a threat. The most recent attacks highlight the particular danger posed by individual perpetrators who are part of a network of sympathizers. What are these people like? What motivates them? The current overview of Salafism in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, warns: “Special attention must be paid to the considerable potential of young,

Microsoft: Russian, North Korean hackers target vaccine work

  The first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s Covid vaccine clinical trial at University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. (AP file) Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. It said in a blog post Friday that most of the attacks in recent months were unsuccessful, but provided no information on how many succeeded or how serious those breaches were. Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers, the U.S. government said in July while announcing criminal charges. Microsoft said most of the targets–located in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States–were “directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for .” It did not name the targets but said most had vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials. The company ide

Trump bans US investment in Chinese military-linked firms

It could add to pressure on companies that already face U.S. export bans and other sanctions. President Donald Trump has stepped up a conflict with China over security and technology by issuing an order barring Americans from investing in companies that U.S. officials say are owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The impact of the order on Thursday wasn’t immediately clear but it could add to pressure on companies including telecom equipment giant Huawei and video surveillance provider Hikvision that already face U.S. export bans and other sanctions. It is Mr. Trump’s first major action toward China since he lost his re-election bid to challenger Joe Biden. Economists and political analysts have said even if Mr. Trump was defeated he was likely to launch more actions Beijing before he leaving office on Jan. 20. Political analysts expect little change in policy under Mr. Biden due to widespread frustration with China’s trade and human righ

Jammu Kashmir: At least 8 Pakistan Army soldiers killed in retaliatory firing by Indian Army

NEW DELHI: At least eight Pakistan Army soldiers were killed on Friday in retaliatory firing by Indian Army in response to the ceasefire violations from across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir , army sources said. "The list of Pakistan Army soldiers killed includes 2-3 Pakistan Army Special Service Group (SSG) commandoes," Indian Army sources said. Earlier today, three Indian security forces personnel were among six persons killed in multiple ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control ( LoC ) from Gurez sector to Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. In a tweet, defence ministry spokesperson said that the Indian Army inflicted heavy losses on Pakistan in retaliatory shelling. "Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation using mortars & other weapons along the LoC spread across multiple sectors, including Dawar, Keran, Uri & Naugam, deliberately targeting civilian areas. Our troops retaliated strongly ca

'China eyes influencing UN by via peacekeeping missions'

  China plans to increase peacekeeping troops  |  Photo Credit: IANS Key Highlights The move comes at a time when China and India have been engaged in a standoff along the LAC China is planning to send 8000 troops to UN peacekeeping missions New Delhi: To enhance its influence at the United Nations, China has planned to deploy more troops on the ground for peacekeeping missions, a top government source said, news agency IANS reported. The move, it is believed is also aimed to diminish India's role in such missions.  According to the agency report, Army sources said 'China is also planning to send another 8,000 troops after sending 2,000 troops for UN peacekeeping missions'. "China is making efforts to send more and more troops for such missions where soldiers o

French forces kill al-Qaida-linked commander in Mali

  In this May 19, 2017 file photo, a French soldier stands inside a military helicopter during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the troops of Operation Barkhane. A statement from the French defense minister said Moussa was in charge of training new jihadist recruits. (Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP, File) French ground forces and military helicopters killed a jihadist commander linked with al-Qaida in Mali along with four others, the French military announced Friday. The operation Tuesday targeted Bah ag Moussa, military chief for the RVIM Islamic extremist group, who had been on a U.N. sanctions list and was believed responsible for multiple attacks on Malian and international forces in the country, French military spokesman Col. Frederic Barbry told reporters Friday. Surveillance drones helped French forces in Mali identify Moussa’s truck in the Menaka region of eastern Mali, which was