Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Claude Raines, Reigns

Many in Muslim world want sharia as law of land: survey

Large majorities in the Muslim world want the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia as the official law in their countries, but they disagree on what it includes and who should be subject to it, an extensive new survey says.
I would be interested in the same survey conducted among Muslims in western democracies. How could they wish for other, and see in the mirror, a Muslim?
We have a long path to travel.

High Cap Magazine PSA

h/t Jawa

Tsarnaev family received $100G in benefits

Fuckin' amazing:

The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned. 
“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today. 
The state has handed over more than 500 documents to the 11-member House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which today met for the first time and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify. 
“I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving,” said state Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick), the committee’s chairman. 
Linsky’s committee has requested documents from the DTA, the state’s Medicaid director and Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz. But so far the committee has not released the records publicly, citing a privilege the DTA is asserting under state law. 
Transitional assistance officials also told the Herald tonight that the agency was conducting its own investigation into whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family ever notified the DTA about his extended trip to Russia, and has since expanded its probe to include a full history of the benefits received by the entire Tsarnaev family.
They were Murderers for hire - and, it turns out, WE HIRED THEM. 

From Ace:
The point isn't simply that many terrorists take advantage of Western welfare states, the same way they take advantage of Western freedoms and Western technology. The point is that extreme anti-social terrorist ideologies (radical Islam, in particular) seem to breed in "oppositional" cultures supported by various government welfare benefits....
In fact, there's a good argument that "welfare benefits + ethnic antagonism" is the universal recipe for an underclass with an angry, oppositional culture. The social logic is simple: 
Ethnic differences make it easy for those outside of, for example, French Arab neighborhoods to discriminate against those inside, and easy for those inside to resent the mainstream culture around them. Meanwhile, relatively generous welfare benefits enable those in the ethnic ghetto to stay there, stay unemployed, and seethe. Without government subsidies, they would have to overcome the prejudice against them and integrate into the mainstream working culture. Work, in this sense, is anti-terrorist medicine. (And if you work all day, there's less time to dream up ways and reasons to kill infidels.) 
I think there's a sociological reason at play too. People will find something in their lives that gives them meaning. 
For many people, work does give their lives meaning. Few like work, but most understand the accomplishment of standing on one's own feet and providing for oneself (and one's family). 
The welfare state may put food in one's mouth, but it does so at the expense at stripping a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and meaning from the recipient. And that void willbe filled by something else. While people do not require meaning, as a strict biological matter, as they require food, water, air, and shelter, they do crave it-- it's probably on the level, as far as centrality to one's being, as sex.

Pastor Saeed Abedini in solitary confinement

FNC Shannon Bream sent me the info below:
American Pastor Saeed Abedini Thrown into Solitary Confinement in Iran; Health Deteriorating
Already badly weakened by months of beatings and torture that have resulted in internal bleeding, American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, is facing perhaps his most grave situation since his imprisonment last fall. Family members in Iran confirm that Pastor Saeed, along with nine other prisoners, have been placed in solitary confinement with new reports indicating that in addition to the severe internal bleeding he is experiencing, which has gone untreated, he is a now facing issues with his kidneys.
We have been able to confirm that the horrible conditions in Evin Prison led Pastor Saeed and a number of prisoners in Ward 350 to sign a letter expressing to prison officials their concern about the lack of medical care received and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit. The prisoners expressed their dissatisfaction in a peaceful, silent protest in an outside courtyard at the prison.
That apparently prompted prison officials to retaliate, selecting ten of the prisoners and placing them in solitary confinement. Our sources indicate that Pastor Saeed is likely to be beaten again, in private, away from other witnesses and prisoners. At the same time, there’s concern that his kidneys are no longer operating properly, the result of the internal injuries he has received over many months. Pastor Saeed has been told not to expect medical treatment or care for many months. And when family members showed up at prison today to visit Pastor Saeed, they were turned away and told he is no longer permitted to have visitors.
This latest very troubling development has Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, extremely concerned:
“Saeed has internal bleeding and now issues with his kidneys because of the beatings,” said Naghmeh. “We believe that he is being beaten in solitary confinement. We have no way of finding out about his health. There will be no more visitations allowed and we will have no way of knowing how Saeed is doing. Saeed had previously told his family that when he was in solitary confinement in the past, that was the hardest time in his life. That every hour was like one year and that he was losing his memory and his health was deteriorating quickly. Please pray for his health and healing. Pray for his release. Pray that the Lord would use this for His Glory and salvation of many.”
You can get additional details here from Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) represents Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children who reside in the United States.
Thanks in advance for your interest in this important story.
Gene Kapp
American Center for Law and Justice

Anything Goes

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows, anything goes

Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four letter words writing prose
Anything goes

The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today
And black's white today
And day's night today
When most guys today that women prize today
Are just silly gigolos

Francis Albert Sinatra - the prognosticator

Lingerie Firm Launches Women's Underwear -- For Men...

France Is Preparing to Drastically Cut Immigrant's Welfare Benefits

Redneck Texan sends this along with a sagacious/prescient observation:
I think this is by design to cause communal violence, and provoke a strong response. A "you better get on this train to Turkey for your own safety" kind of response. 
Interesting to note that this is a Leftist plan that cant be blamed on the far Right.
It seems that migration policies of a leading country in Europe, France, are seriously changing. The country is no longer able to hold back the crowd of migrants, many of whom do not want to integrate into the social and economic life of their new home country. The upcoming radical changes for migrants were announced by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

After a meeting on the National Immigration and Integration, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced significant changes in the country's migration policy. The government will reduce financial assistance to immigrants, and this reduction will be substantial. Starting March 1 of next year, French immigrant benefits will be reduced by 83 percent. The amount of compensation to immigrants who voluntarily want to return home will be also reduced. If earlier the government paid 300 euros for every adult and 100 euros for every minor, in March of 2013 these amounts will be reduced to 50 and 30 euros, respectively.

One of the main provisions of the new immigration rules in France is the reduction of unemployment benefits. New rules will directly affect many of the immigrants who do not want to be of real assistance to the country and whose main goal is the existence at the expense of French taxpayers.

Journaliste Americaine: Coping with The Truth That The Boston Bombers Were Muslim

Is the Catholic Catechism's view on the Muslim god wrong?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,1 paragraph 841, Muslims together with the Catholics, "adore the one, merciful God."  This cannot be true.  The Muslims and Catholics do not adore the same God.  In order to provide sufficient context for the quote from the Catechism, I have cited 2 paragraphs before and after paragraph 841.
  • 839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."[325]  The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,[326] "the first to hear the Word of God."[327] The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ",[328] "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."[329]
  • 840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
  • 841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."[330]
  • 842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:  All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .[331]
  • 843 "The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as 'a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.'
If the Catholic Church is stating in paragraph 841 above, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that there are those within the Muslim community who may find salvation by becoming Christians and not remaining Muslims, then I would agree.  But, it does not appear to be saying this.
What is disturbing is the statement that "together with us they [Muslims] adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."  So, Catholics and Muslims both "adore the one, merciful God."  Quite frankly, it would seem that the Roman Catholic church has a faulty understanding of the God of Islam.
Islam acknowledges that it serves the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  But in so doing it is stating that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were Muslims!  Furthermore, Islam denies that God is a Trinity.
  • "They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them," (Quran 5:73, Yusuf Ali).
  • "They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no Allah save the One Allah. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve," (Quran 5:73, Pickthal).  See Chapter five of Online version of Quran.
Since the Trinity is the true biblical doctrine of God, how can the Muslims who deny the Trinity "adore the one, merciful God"?  They cannot.  Furthermore, in Christianity, Jesus is divine in nature (John 1:1,14Col. 2:9).  Yet, the Quran states that Jesus is not divine:
  • "They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things," (Quran 5:17, Pickthal).
  • "And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!" (Quran 5:30, Pickthal)
Obviously, the Muslims do not adore the one true merciful God because they serve a false god.  They deny the Trinity and the deity of Christ.  Quite simply, they deny the true God and are not capable of adoring the true God as long as they hold to the false teachings of Islam. Therefore the paragraph in the CCC cannot be correct.
"The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." (CCC, 841).

Iraqi Government Shuts Down Al Jazeera For Promoting Violence

Al Gore and his Western minions promote Al Jazeera, but Iraq has enough sense to deal with it on a practical level.

Al Gore and his minions WANT Western Civilization to fail.

Iraq's government knows it is no position to play such dangerous games.

Some good news out of Iraq: the government has susspended the license of Al Jazeera for promoting violence. Other broadcast licenses were also suspended. The violence has been growing since Obama ordered U.S. military forces to withdraw but over 200 Iraqis have died in just the last week. Al Jazeera wants to destabilize the government of Iraq and turn the country over to al-Qaeda terrorists. It's not at all clear the Iraqi government can survive against an Al Jazeera-supported Sunni insurgency.This is not "censorship" because Al Jazeera is not a legitimate news organization. It is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and a mouthpiece for terrorist groups.As the New York Times concedes, "All but one of the channels are aligned with Sunni financial backers..."The Times reported that, in a written statement, a senior American official said, "Besides giving the appearance of trying to cover up security force actions and intimidate the press, this undermines confidence in the Iraqi government's ability to govern democratically and guarantee freedom of expression."That's nonsense. Al Jazeera is not about "freedom of expression" or "freedom of the press."  The statement shows that Obama is siding with the violent Sunni extremists in Iraq, not the government.Perhaps this development will alert some Americans to what is in store for the U.S. if the new "Al Jazeera America" gets into 40-50 million homes, especially in Arab-Muslim regions like the Detroit metro area in Michigan.

Female DNA found on bomb components in Boston Marathon probe, source says

Female DNA was found bomb components used in the attack this month on the Boston Marathon, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to Fox News, though the source cautioned that it is too early to draw hard conclusions from that evidence.

"No one should expect that the investigation is over," the source told Fox News in confirming the development first reported by the Wall Street Journal, adding that it is just one piece of evidence that investigators are looking at.
The revelation about female DNA came on the same day that the FBI went inside the Rhode Island home of bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's widow's parents, and the nearby family of a man identified as his mysterious mentor hired a family spokesman to keep the media at bay.

"We are there as part of our ongoing investigation, but we aren't permitted to discuss specific aspects of our case," an FBI official said outside the suburban Providence home where Katherine Russell and her 3-year-old daughter are staying.

Authorities suspect Tsarnaev and his younger brother dropped, then detonated two bombs near the finish line of the April 15 marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260.

The 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed several days after the bombing in a shootout with police. The 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured alive but wounded and is now at a medical detention center.
Russell has not been named as a suspect in the April 15 bombing. A home health aide, she reportedly worked up to 80 hours per week and did not know her radical Muslim husband's plans to carry out a terror plot. The widow has kept a low profile since the attack, and is believed to have been living with her parents in West Kingston, R.I., since her husband was exposed as a terrorist and then killed in a police shootout.

Meanwhile, an attorney for the family of a man who some of Tsarnaev's family members say is the mysterious "Misha" who radicalized Tamerlan Tsarnaev said his parents are under extreme stress and fearful of all the publicity the case has brought them. They confirmed their son, Mikhail Allakhrdov, is the Misha who was a spiritual tutor of Tsarnaev's some years ago. But in an interview with The New York Times, Allakhrdov, a Ukrainian Christian who converted to Islam, said he had not had contact with Tsarnaev for several years and that he never encouraged him to take up violence.
Richard Nicholson told reporters he expects law enforcement will "be asking additional questions" of the parents, implying that authorities have already spoken with the family.

"At some juncture they will be closing that part of the investigation," Nicholson said.

Additional information that was not included in this article:

Earlier Monday, FBI agents went to a Rhode Island home to collect a DNA sample from Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police April 19. She has been staying with her parents since the bombings.
The sample will be compared with the genetic material recovered.


Ignorance (and the Purposeful Ignoring) of the Reality of Islam Is Built Into The FBI's System

From Richard Fernandez at PJ Media:
Despite an abundance of suggestive information, the FBI seemed singularly unable to see Tsarnaev as a threat. Part of the reason, according to the Washington Examiner, was that blindness was engineered into the system.  
The agents were trained not to see it. It is quite possible, though, the FBI agents who interviewed Tsarnaev on both occasions failed to understand what they saw and heard because that’s what they were trained to do. As The Washington Examiner’s Mark Flatten reported last year, FBI training manuals were systematically purged in 2011 of all references to Islam that were judged offensive by a specially created five-member panel. Three of the panel members were Muslim advocates from outside the FBI, which still refuses to make public their identities. Nearly 900 pages were removed from the manuals as a result of that review. Several congressmen were allowed to review the removed materials in 2012, on condition that they not disclose what they read to their staffs, the media, or the general public. ...  
But to really learn you have to be prepared to listen to what you don’t want to hear. The future only contains new information if it tells you something you don’t know. But bureaucracies want to make all new knowledge predictable, consistent with the existing narrative. And homogenization destroys information.

Administration Officials Are Threatening Benghazi Witnesses & Whistleblowers Into Keeping Quiet

From GretaWire:

At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers, or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned. 
Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate intelligence committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistleblowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials. 
“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.” 
Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. 
However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to September 11, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded; and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials falsely described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video. 
“It’s frightening and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘We’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘We’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”
Brecker Brothers
Live In Barcelona

Michael Brecker: Tenor/EWI
Randy Brecker: Trumpet
James Genus: Bass
Mike Stern: Guitar
Dennis Chambers: Drums
George Whitty: Keyboards

Track List:
1 Above and Below
2 Spherical
3 Some Skunk Funk
4 Common Ground
5 Song for Barry
6 Inside Out

Monday, April 29, 2013


From Breitbart:

With America battling the threat of Islamist terrorism from within, Europe is experiencing a dangerous phenomenon of its own: exporting of Islamism from Europe to the Middle East. According to the Associated Press, European mayors are now attempting to limit the travel of their citizens to Syria to fight “holy war” against the Assad regime in Syria. The AP reports: “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."

The lack of integration of many young Muslims into Western countries has created the threat of domestic-based terrorism inside Europe. Now, that terrorism may be exported elsewhere. The United States has already dealt with American immigrants fighting on behalf of Al-Qaeda in Somalia. For years, the FBI has been trying to unlock the secrets of what ABC News describes as “a recruiting pipeline from the Twin Cities, which boast large Somali immigrant problems, to Somalia.” Similar phenomena have been described with regard to terrorists originating in Western countries traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well.
In order to prevent the same sorts of activity in Belgium, Belgian officials have participated in an anti-terror sweep designed to arrest potential terrorists wanting to travel to Syria. In Brussel, a mayor banned a Muslim soup kitchen he felt was recruiting angry young Muslims to Syria.
Just as importantly, Europol, the European police agency, says that fighters who return from foreign countries after participating in terrorism “have the potential to utilize their training, combat experience, knowledge and contacts for terrorist activities inside the EU.” After America’s experiences with the Chechnyan-visiting Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Europe is deeply concerned about something similar happening on its own soil.
The European hard left is attempting to stop European authorities from shutting down such travel, however. Jos Vander Velpen, chairman of the Belgian League of Human Rights, says “We are talking about views that these youngsters hold, and you cannot change opinions with a repressive approach.” That was precisely the attitude taken by the authorities with regard to the Tsarnaevs.

Grandpa Tell Me Bout The Good Old Days

Sam Taylor
Harlem Nocturne

Tamerlan's Former Girlfriend Said He Beat Her And Tried To Convert Her To Islam

Moderate Muslim or Extremist?

The ex-girlfriend of one of the Boston bombers has revealed that he tried to turn her against the U.S. and beat her if she wore Western clothing. 
Nadine Ascencao says that over the course of her relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he was transformed from a fun-loving student into an Islamic extremist who shunned American life. 
The 24-year-old lost her virginity to the Chechen immigrant and said she was besotted with him – but now she admits she had a ‘lucky escape’.
One minute he was a Moderate Muslim, the next he was an Extremist.
Ms Ascencao told The Sun: ‘One minute he’s this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense. 
‘He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. 
Tamerlan said I couldn’t be with him unless I became a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did.’ 
Tsarnaev apparently stopped her from listening to pop music or watching television, and tried to control who she spent time with. 
‘Tamerlan told me I should only talk to Muslim girls, not other “slutty” girls,’ Ms Ascencao said. 
And when she wore Western clothing, he would fly into a rage and even attack her, she added. 
‘He hated my tight trousers and made me wear long skirts,’ she told The Sun. 
‘Towards the end I was wearing a hijab. He once ripped a pair of my jeans and hit me in the face with them.’ 
The pair’s relationship seems to have hit the rocks after Tsarnaev started seeing Katherine Russell after meeting her at a nightclub. 
He would apparently play the two women off against each other, pitting them in competition to learn Islamic verses.
He met his next girlfriend at a nightclub. He must be a Moderate Muslim.

Obama budget would order all workers not enrolled in a tax-deferred retirement account to get one

From Will at THE OTHER NEWS:

Obama budget would order all workers not enrolled in a tax-deferred retirement account to get one.HT: WhiteHouseDossier.By KeithKoffler.
Requiring private citizens to engage in a specific form of commerce is a new and pernicious abuse of government power. Most conservatives understand the need for some – even as they try to limit it – government encroachments in the form of taxes, regulations of economic behavior, and dictates in the name of national security. But telling you what you must do, as opposed to providing limited controls on what you do so that you don’t harm others and even perhaps yourself, is a brave new world.

And so, in case you need proof, we have a mostly overlooked provision in the Obama budget – though not by CNS News – which would order all workers not enrolled in a tax-deferred retirement account to get one.

That’s right, if this provision of President Obama’s budget passes, you are automatically enrolled in a retirement account whether you want to be or not. Even if you desperately need those funds for current expenses or are quite sure you octogenarian Aunt Noonie is going to leave you a fist full of stock options. You can opt out if you want, but the whole purpose of these “automatic opt in” schemes is that most people don’t. It’s effectively government deciding on your economic behavior.

We’ll see more of these types of government-directed lifestyle and economic choices as people get used to being ordered by Big Wet Nurse to purchase federally mandated health insurance. One area to watch out for – and we’re already seeing it with New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s cancellation of the Big Gulp and Michelle’s requirement that kids eat slightly seasoned twigs for lunch – is government control of your diet.

Because you, YOU, with your bag of Nachos – you’re raising everybody’s health costs and YOU’D BETTER CUT IT OUT. And if you don’t, well, we’ll just cart some Nachomakers off the jail for purposely addicting children to their product’s irresistible cheesy flavor. Obamacare heralds a brave new world of federal intrusion into your life. But don’t worry too much. The Politburo always knows what’s best.Hmmmm......I'm not a Dictator ....but i'll tell you how to run your lives.Read the full story here.

Belgium: Racist "Hate Speech" Convictions For Tearing Up A Koran In Front of a Group of Muslims

From Volokh Conspiracy (with thanks to Will at THE OTHER NEWS):

Dr. Jogchum Vrielink (coordinator of the Centre for Discrimination Law at the University of Leuven, Belgium) passes this along:
In Belgium a man was convicted for ‘racist hate speech’ because he publicly tore up a Koran, before the eyes of a group of Muslims. The case illustrates the need to protect free speech against those seeking to criminalise ‘Islamophobia’.
On 8 June 2012 a man, identified as Arne S., participated in a demonstration organised by a radical right-wing political party, Vlaams Belang (‘Flemish Interest’), opposing the construction of a mosque in the Belgian coastal city of Ostend. In the aftermath of the demonstration S. tore up a Koran in the presence of a small group of Muslims, with whom he had exchanged words. The public prosecutor indicted S. for incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence on the basis of race and ethnic origin.
The defendant’s attorney called for an acquittal, arguing that no infraction on the anti-racism legislation had occurred. The criminal court in Bruges convicted the man, however, on 11 March 2013. Due in part to the unfavourable criminal history of the defendant, the sentence was relatively severe, consisting of an effective prison sentence of four months and a fine of 600 euros. The court held that the facts were serious and testified to “a blatant lack of tolerance and a highly questionable attitude”.
The ruling fits within a wider development in the legal world in general, and in Belgium in particular, of increased sensitivity to what is often referred to as ‘Islamophobia’. Another notable example of this trend, within Belgian case law, was the conviction, a few years ago, of an individual who, while drunk, had shouted “Terrorist!” at a sun-tanned, but Caucasian (!), snack bar owner, adding that the latter should “return to his own country”. The criminal court in Ypres regarded this too as racist incitement to hatred. The Centre for Equal Opportunities – a government institution responsible for enforcing the federal Belgian discrimination and hate speech legislation – welcomed this conviction at the time. A representative was quoted saying that the defendant “had targeted a man whom he thought was of foreign descent”, and that – as such – he had had “the intention to affect this person”. “Several people have been convicted for similar statements, but it remains a strong signal by the court”, the Centre’s representative concluded.
On the political level too some are attempting to increase the legal sensitivity for ‘Islamophobia’. Senators Fauzaya Talhaoui and Bert Anciaux, for instance, introduced a draft resolution on 21 February 2013, aimed at the ‘the fight against Islamophobia’. Following the definition offered by the Runnymede Trust, the Senators understand ‘Islamophobia’ to entail the ‘strong presence’ of any of eight elements, including: ‘Islam as monolithic and static’; ‘Islam as inferior to the West and as barbaric, irrational and sexist’; and ‘Islam as violent, providing support to terrorism, and actively involved in a clash of civilisations’. Such ‘Islamophobic’ ideas, Talhaoui and Anciaux contend, “incite to discrimination and racism, and require unequivocal condemnation and judicial prosecution”. They argue that the police and that the office of the public prosecutor should be instructed to treat the issue as an absolute priority.
Race vs. religion
The judgement of the criminal court of Bruges appears to rise to the challenge set by the draft resolution. In doing so, it has several problematic aspects and implications though.[1] For starters, there is the fact that the legislation concerning racial hate speech is applied. The case involves tearing up a Koran, in the presence of Muslims, following a demonstration against the construction of a new mosque. This would primarily seem to involve the criterion ‘religion’ rather than ‘race’. While hate speech on the basis of religion is prohibited in Belgium as well, it is covered by a different provision (in separate legislation). Nevertheless, the court convicted S. on the basis of the prosecutor’s indictment under the anti-racism legislation. Exactly how the case would involve racial hate speech is not clarified in the ruling.
This ‘racialization’, if you will, of what is considered ‘Islamophobia’ is a hazardous development as racist speech is traditionally accorded a lower degree of constitutional and human rights protection than speech concerning religions. The latter concerns people’s belief systems and ideas, which cannot and should not be insulated against criticism and attacks; at least not to the same extent as speech targeting someone’s racial characteristics. Treating ‘Islamophobic’ speech as racist speech under hate speech legislation serves to unduly limit and chill free speech, requiring public debate to tiptoe around religion, for fear of causing offence. Allowing hostile criticism, ridicule and even ‘desecration’ of religious tenets and beliefs is a necessary price of living in a free society.
Constitutional Court
An important further shortcoming of the Bruges court’s ruling is that it pays no heed to the restrictive interpretations that the Belgian Constitutional Court handed down in connection with the incitement provisions in both the antiracism and antidiscrimination legislation (See e.g. rulings 157/2004 (NL/Fr), 17/2009 (NL/Fr) and 40/2009 (NL/Fr)). The Constitutional Court held that, for the purposes of these provisions, incitement must be understood as actively urging or instigating third parties to effectively undertake hateful, discriminatory or violent action vis-à-vis the targeted persons or groups (excluding incitement to ‘mere’ negative attitudes or feelings from the scope of the hate speech provisions). Moreover, the Constitutional Court required the presence of a demonstrable, special intent: a deliberate, ill will to incite to the aforementioned behaviour.
To the extent that tearing up a Koran does (and seeks to do) anything, taking into account the context of the case, it is mainly to taunt or ‘provoke’ the targeted group itself. Although this may not be morally commendable behaviour, it is not prohibited under the incitement provisions. The suspect does not seem to actively have encouraged third parties to foster hatred or engage in violence against Muslims, in any way.
Symbolic speech
Even regardless of the above, it is rather curious to qualify tearing up a book as a criminal offense; at least, if the book is one’s personal property. Legally speaking, you may tear up, shred, burn, dissolve or even eat any book you own. The fact that it here concerns a book that others regard as holy, does nothing to change this in principle. Quite the contrary even, since the destruction of the book in this case amounts to a form of ‘symbolic speech’, protected not only under someone’s property rights, but by the freedom of expression as well. Only legal systems that fail to take the separation of Church and State sufficiently seriously, regard causing damage to sacred books as a legitimate ground for legal prosecution. Of course, conversely, people have as much right to oppose and criticize the destruction of books, both by means of speech and through other (legal) modes of protest.
What if the Koran belonged to someone else? Although the judgment remains silent on this point, the media accounts of the case had the defendant claiming that the Muslims had actually thrown the book at him, in order to hit him. Even in that (slightly bizarre) hypothesis, the culprit – it seems – can at most be charged with damaging someone else’s property, and not with incitement to religious hatred or violence (let alone racial hatred). Besides, that version of events also begs the question whether someone who knowingly throws his property at someone else’s head, thereby does not himself elicit any damage subsequently done to it.
Do the context of the case and the personal history of the accused not serve to cast a different light on the analysis? After all, it did concern a member of a radical right-wing party, with a criminal record, who had just participated in a demonstration against the construction of a mosque. Although this might, again, make a moral difference, it changes little if anything from a legal point of view. All of the previous arguments apply regardless of the political background of the accused. Constitutional rights are there to protect right-wing nationalists as well.
All the more so, since it would be virtually unimaginable that ripping up any other holy book than the Koran would lead to a similar legal response.[3] Rare attempts by Christians to have ‘blasphemous’ speech prosecuted under the discrimination legislation, have – for instance – consistently been rejected by Belgian courts; and rightly so. In that regard, the prosecution and conviction in this case seem to be driven, in part, by fear of reactions of the Muslim community. If anything can be considered ‘Islamophobia’, however, it is precisely this.