Tuesday, December 15, 2009
George Soros says UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic
Georgy-porgy is up to his tricks again. No mention of the sampling method. You can prove anything you like without random sampling
Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe — but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study. The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London. This compares with 49% of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23% who feel German.
The findings, based on more than 2,000 detailed interviews, suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of the European Union.
The report will reopen the debate about the merits of multiculturalism, a policy that has actively promoted cultural and religious differences among minorities in Britain but has been criticised as a barrier to integration by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
France prides itself on its secular notion of citizenship and has banned Muslim pupils from wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in classrooms. Yet the study, by the Open Society Institute, found only 41% of Muslims in Paris see themselves as French.
The report appears to contradict previous research in the UK suggesting some Muslims are failing to embrace British values. A Populus poll in 2006 claimed that 7% of British Muslims believed suicide attacks on fellow civilians could be justified. The debate about the integration of Europe’s 20m Muslims was thrown into sharp relief last month when the Swiss controversially voted to ban the building of new minarets.
Many Europeans worry that aspects of Islam — such as women’s rights — clash with their own values. A survey conducted last week for Le Parisien newspaper found only 54% of French people think Islam is compatible with their society.
The Soros study, however, found that strength of religious belief made no difference to how patriotic Muslims feel. Conducted over two and a half years, the report involved 2,200 in-depth interviews and 60 focus groups in 11 cities across Europe with large Muslim communities. The cities were chosen to be representative of varying levels of integration and cohesion across the continent.
In Britain, researchers focused on Leicester, which is often held up as a successful model of multiculturalism, and Waltham Forest, east London, where bungled police raids on nearby Forest Gate in 2006, targeting suspected extremists, had alienated many Muslims.
The survey found that levels of patriotism are much higher among second-generation Muslims. In Leicester, 72% of Muslims born abroad said they felt British; this figure jumped to 94% among UK-born Muslims.
Experts believe that Muslims in Germany may feel less patriotic because they have only been allowed citizenship since the 1990s. France’s divisive history with its colonies, such as Algeria, could explain its lower levels of patriotism.
The report also discovered that 55% of Muslims across the EU believe that religious and racial discrimination have risen in the past five years. “There is a disturbing message that emerges from these findings,” said Nazia Hussain, director of the research project. “Even though Muslims overwhelmingly feel British, they’re not seen as British by wider society. That said ... there has been a policy of trying to accommodate difference here and it appears to be paying off.”
Throw out the race card
by Jeff Jacoby
WHATEVER ELSE might be said about Tiger Woods, he has never confused his ethnic and racial makeup -- he is part Asian, part black, part American Indian, and part white -- with his identity. "My parents have taught me to always be proud of my ethnic background," he said as a 19-year-old U.S. Amateur champion in 1995, but "the critical and fundamental point is that ethnic background and/or composition should not make a difference. It does not make a difference to me. The bottom line is that I am an American."
Race didn't turn Tiger Woods into a great golfer any more than it made him a serial philanderer, and it is hard to imagine anything less relevant to his current marital turmoil than skin color. Yet from the Associated Press comes a report headlined "Tiger's troubles widen his distance from blacks" -- an entire news story devoted to "the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer." Apparently they have all been white. Apparently some people think that matters.
It isn't just the AP. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson suggested last week that "the most interesting aspect" of Woods's humiliating fall is "the whole Barbie thing." Robinson disavows any desire "to pronounce judgment on Woods's moral fiber" -- he would rather dwell instead on "how much the women who've been linked to Wood resemble one another" and why none of them have "yellow or brown skin."
Is that really what matters in the Tiger Woods drama -- the racial diversity of the women he has allegedly slept with? Must everything be turned into a matter of race?
Few cultural ideas are more pernicious than the race fetish -- the regard for skin color or ethnicity as the most significant factor in human behavior. Few falsehoods have caused more misery. If anything ennobled 20th-century liberalism, it was the conviction that human beings ought to be treated without regard to the hue of their skin or the shape of their eye. As Thurgood Marshall argued in a 1948 brief for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, "Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society."
America's greatest modern domestic achievement was to transform itself from a society in which invidious racial classifications were entrenched in law and custom -- a society in which the "wrong" skin color was a bar to everything from decent schooling to political power -- to one in which blacks can be anything: judges and entrepreneurs, journalists and lawmakers, billionaire golfers and four-star generals -- and president of the United States.
Over the past two generations, in a blink of history's eye, America was transformed from a nation in which the race card trumped nearly everything to one in which it trumps nearly nothing. So why do so many people keep trying to play it?
When US Representative Artur Davis, an Alabama Democrat, voted against the House leadership's health care bill last month, he was denounced in racial terms by members of his own party. "You can't vote against health care," Jesse Jackson told a Congressional Black Caucus reception, "and call yourself a black man."
When posters appeared in which President Obama's face was Photoshopped to resemble Heath Ledger's creepy Joker from the Batman movie The Dark Knight, it was promptly slammed as racist. "All that's missing is a noose," wrote LA Weekly's Steven Mikulan -- despite the fact that Ledger was white, the Joker is white, and the poster's one-word message -- "Socialism" -- had nothing to do with race.
Or is "socialism," too, a racial issue? In an essay the Christian Science Monitor published in October, University of North Carolina professor Christopher Lee insisted that Obama's critics use the S-word to disguise their true "xenophobic, hypernationalistic, and, yes, racist" views.
It is so odious, this impulse to make everything a racial matter. Whether it comes from right or left, whether the context is congressional legislation or celebrity gossip, the race card invariably diminishes and divides us.
"There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America," declared Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "There's the United States of America." True, we may not be there yet. But isn't the surest way to an America in which race makes no difference to stop speaking and acting as if it does?
They are named David. They are clean-shaven dental students and attendees of community colleges. They study hard, play sports, and open Facebook accounts. Their friends call them "normal Joes." And they're being arrested in ever-growing numbers, would-be terrorists plotting to kill their fellow Americans and conduct "holy war" at home and abroad. Wednesday's arrest in Pakistan of five Muslim-American men attests to a growing phenomenon: the radicalization of young American Muslims on American soil.
When the New York Police Department first issued a 90-page report in August 2007 asserting that what it called "homegrown radicalization" was destined to become a major terrorist threat, many of the nation's civil libertarians, self-proclaimed Muslim spokesmen, and even law enforcement officials were outraged. Civil libertarians warned that the NYPD's conclusions would lead to religious and ethnic profiling in policing. Muslim groups demanded and got meetings with senior NYPD officials. FBI analysts and officials disputed the NYPD's findings in interviews and congressional testimony.
But the department stood its ground, and police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly backed his troops. The department's intelligence division continued its research, and the report gradually found supporters in Washington. With the arrest of the five young Americans in Pakistan, and with the charges filed last month against recruiters from al-Shabaab alleged to have enlisted Somali teens in Minnesota to fight in the Somali civil war, the report's once-controversial conclusions appear to be all too true.
At a Tuesday conference for Operation Shield, an NYPD program that shares intelligence and security tips with local businesses and private security firms, Mitchell D. Silber, the NYPD's director of intelligence analysis, outlined his analysts' updated findings. His bottom line hadn't changed, he told the audience of over 200. While al-Qaida remained a vital source of "inspiration and an ideological reference point," the more insidious terrorist threat was younger Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 35 who had no direct al-Qaida connection but who had become radicalized by exposure to extreme interpretations of Islam. The NYPD had seen nothing that would mitigate its concern that members of New York's diverse Muslim population of 600,000 to 750,000 people--about 40 percent foreign-born--might be vulnerable to radicalization.
What was new, Silber said, was the department's understanding of the growing importance of the "spiritual sanctioner"--a religious figure who provides justification for violence, often through mosque lectures or radical websites. A prime example, he said, was Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Sunni imam who had preached at Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia in 2001 and 2002. The 9/11 Commission concluded that two of the 9/11 hijackers--Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi--had worshipped at that mosque in spring 2001. So, too, did Major Nidal Hasan, the army psychiatrist whom the government has charged with the murder of 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas last month. Silber added that al-Awlaki's radical tracts had been linked to plotters in three other terrorist schemes: plans by six radical Islamists in 2007 to attack the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey; the 2006 plot to blow up multiple jet aircraft in flight; and the plot by the so-called "Toronto 18" to detonate po! werful truck bombs in downtown Toronto in 2005 and 2006.
Silber said that the key plotters in 30 of some 33 plots that the NYPD had examined, or 90 percent, had been radicalized in the West and were targeting the country in which they had been radicalized. In the past year alone, Silber went on, U.S. authorities had uncovered nine plots that had elements of homegrown radicalization, indicating that radicalization was an ongoing problem in the U.S. In half a dozen of these cases, he said, people who had contemplated traveling abroad to carry out violence decided instead to try to do it within the United States. This kind of threat "is substantially greater than what we have seen in the past," Silber said.
I was reminded of a Pew poll of American Muslims three years ago that showed that a third of American Muslims between the ages of 18 and 29 said that they supported suicide bombings.
Still, there may be some good news buried in the NYPD's graphs and charts. First, the number of al Qaida-inspired, homegrown terrorist plots against the West peaked in 2004 (experts are still hotly debating why that year saw such a high number - perhaps as a reaction to the 2003 Iraq invasion). Second, almost none has succeeded. Except for the case of Major Hasan, who may or may not have had links with a militant Islamic group, there have been no lethal terror attacks in the West since the bombings of the London Tube and train stations in July 2005.
Consider the five Muslim Americans arrested in Pakistan this week. Pakistani officials said that the five had used their American passports to travel to Pakistan to meet with representatives of Jaish-e-Muhammad, a banned Pakistani militant group with links to al-Qaida. The young men were said to be seeking training to conduct jihad in northwestern Pakistan and against American troops in Afghanistan. One had even recorded a farewell video to his family. Their overtures to terrorist groups were rejected, Pakistani officials said, because they lacked the requisite references from trusted militants.
What's encouraging is that the families of the five had reported them missing to law enforcement officials, and that a Muslim-American group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which itself has been accused by Steven Emerson and other terrorism analysts of helping radicalize American Muslims, encouraged the families to contact the FBI. And Nihad Awad, CAIR's cofounder--who had previously been reluctant to acknowledge that the Muslim-American community had a problem with potential radicalization--finally acknowledged as much this week. The incident in Pakistan should remind us that in addition to the intelligence-led policing efforts of the NYPD and the FBI, our most powerful defense against Islamic radicalization and terrorism is the efforts of mainstream Muslim-Americans to help prevent extremists from carrying out their plots.
Insane Indonesian pilot freed to fly again
It's just typical Indonesian face-saving on behalf of an Indonesian airline. The pilot ignored the plane’s automated warning system as it sounded alarms fifteen times. He also ignored calls from the co-pilot to go around and make another approach. There have been suggestions that his Muslim beliefs were responsible for his actions and that the crash was deliberate -- a successful attempt to kill lots of "infidels".
An Indonesian court has overturned the criminal negligence conviction of a Garuda pilot whose plane crash landed in 2007, killing 21 people including five Australians. The Yogyakarta High Court today announced its verdict on the appeal brought by Marwoto Komar, who was convicted and sentenced to two years' prison in April.
The court said prosecutors had failed to prove Komar "officially and convincingly guilty of a crime". The panel of five judges ordered the charges against Komar be dropped and that his "position" and "dignity" be returned.
Komar's lawyer Muchtar Zuhdy applauded the court's move. "The defendant tried to make a maximum effort as a captain to save the plane and the passengers," Zuhdy said. "He is not guilty." Zuhdy believes the court's order that the charges be dropped means prosecutors will not be able to appeal the decision. "That means this decision is the final decision," Zuhdy said.
Komar's Boeing 737 slammed onto the runway at Yogyakarta airport, careered into a field and exploded in flames on March 7, 2007. Five Australians were killed in the crash: diplomat Liz O'Neill, AusAID official Allison Sudradjat, Australian Federal Police officers Brice Steele and Mark Scott, and Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish.
Investigators had argued Komar ignored a series of warnings not to land the plane as he brought it in at about twice the safe speed. But Komar blamed the disaster on mechanical problems.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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