Monday, June 16, 2014
Be more British PM tells UK Muslims: PM issues powerful new pledge to combat extremism
Muslim clerics in the UK who inflame terrorism by denouncing free speech, equality and democracy will be opposed in a ‘muscular’ new defence of ‘British values’, David Cameron has pledged.
In a powerful intervention clearly aimed mainly at ‘preachers of hate’, the Prime Minister says the failure to stand up to such firebrands has ‘allowed extremism – both the violent and non-violent kind – to flourish’.
He plans to use the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – 12 months from today – to reassert British values in a ‘Magna Carta for Modern Britain.’
It is time to stop being ‘squeamish about Britishness’ and tell everyone who lives here that refusing to accept British laws and the British way of life is ‘not an option’, Mr Cameron argues.
The Prime Minister will emphasise the commitment by insisting that Magna Carta becomes part of the school curriculum.
Downing Street stressed the Prime Minister’s comments, which come in an article in today’s Mail on Sunday, are aimed at all sections of the community, not just Muslims. However, they appear to signal a key change in the stance of successive recent governments, Tory and Labour, on this sensitive issue.
They have faced claims that some unrepresentative ethnic minority leaders have been given free rein to promote extremist views – and trample on UK laws and rights on democracy, women’s equality, religious freedom and tolerance.
Mr Cameron’s initiative is a direct response to the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal of Islamist extremists who infiltrated state schools.
School inspectors said that at some Muslim-dominated schools in Birmingham, pupils were taught that white women were ‘prostitutes’, boys and girls were segregated, Christmas events were scrapped, tombolas were banned as ‘non-Islamic’ and children in biology lessons were told that evolution was untrue.
The dispute convinced Mr Cameron that it was time to lead a fightback on behalf of British values.
In addition, there are growing fears that radical preachers are encouraging young British Muslims to join terrorists fighting to bring down the democratically elected government of Iraq.
And it is alleged radical clerics have tried to establish ‘Sharia Law Zones’ in some British cities with bans on gambling, music and alcohol.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to teach British values in schools, but Mr Cameron wants to go further.
‘It isn’t enough simply to respect these values in schools,’ he says. ‘They’re not optional; they’re the core of what it is to live in Britain.
‘In recent years we have been in danger of sending out a worrying message: that if you don’t want to believe in democracy, that’s fine; that if equality isn’t your bag, don’t worry about it; that if you’re completely intolerant of others, we will still tolerate you,’ he writes.
‘This has not just led to division, it has also allowed extremism – of both the violent and non-violent kind – to flourish. We need to be far more muscular in promoting British values and the institutions that uphold them.
‘A genuinely liberal country believes in certain values, actively promotes them and says to its citizens: this is what defines us as a society.’
Mr Cameron says Britain’s ‘belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law’ are vital and ‘as British as the Union Flag, football and fish and chips.’
Such freedoms did not ‘come from thin air’ – and will not be surrendered, he declares.
‘Our values and respect for the history that helped deliver them and the institutions that uphold them form the bedrock of Britishness.
We should not be squeamish about our achievements, or bashful about our Britishness.
‘We should be proud of what Britain has done to defend freedom and develop these institutions – Parliamentary democracy, a free press, the rule of law – that are so essential all over the world.’
He added that it was essential for economic and social reasons, and that the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta was an ideal time to restate British freedoms – and make it clear everyone had to respect them.
Mr Cameron will also be holding a ‘one year to go’ Magna Carta reception at Downing Street tomorrow.
Revealed suspects in secret terrorism trial: Victory for free Press as court rejects plan to keep British public in the dark
Two terror suspects can now be named for the first time after the Court of Appeal rejected chilling plans to hold Britain’s first secret trial.
Top judges said they were ‘gravely concerned’ that prosecutors wanted to try the men anonymously and behind closed doors.
They went on to say that it was ‘difficult to conceive of a situation’ where the departures from the principle of open justice could ever be justified, although the ‘core’ of the Old Bailey trial will still be held temporarily in secret to protect national security.
The decision represents a victory for open justice and comes after the Daily Mail and other media groups fought to have the draconian restrictions lifted.
The two defendants can now be named as Erol Incedal, a British national of Turkish origin, and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, a British national of Algerian origin.
The pair, both 26, were arrested by Metropolitan Police firearms officers in October. They are due to go on trial as soon as next week accused of serious terrorist offences.
Incedal, who has links to London and was born overseas, is accused of ‘engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts’, which carries a potential life sentence.
He and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, of London, are accused of possessing terrorist documents, including a file named ‘bomb making’ hidden on their mobile phones.
Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, who has described himself as a ‘fun-loving’ person online, faces a fourth charge under immigration laws of improperly obtaining a British passport.
The former ‘team leader’ for a charity housing association worked with vulnerable adults after graduating with a second-class degree in economics, and is listed as a joint director of a firm which appears to sell mobile phone software.
Last week the Daily Mail and other media groups argued that to hold a trial in secret would be a ‘totally unprecedented departure from the principles of open justice’.
The Mail has long campaigned to expose the risk to democracy and openness from secret courts and there has been controversy around closed family courts, super-injunctions and civil cases involving national security.
After a week of deliberation, Lord Justice Gross rowed back on the original decision of the trial judge and underlined the importance of open courts. Giving his ruling at the Court of Appeal, he said open justice is a ‘hallmark and a safeguard’ of the rule of law.
He added that only the ‘minimum departure’ from the principle should be considered, even in the most serious cases.
A spokesman for the Attorney General Dominic Grieve said holding the trial behind closed doors was necessary to protect national security
A spokesman for the Attorney General Dominic Grieve said holding the trial behind closed doors was necessary to protect national security
But he said holding the ‘core’ of the terror trial temporarily in secret is justified in the ‘exceptional’ case for unknown national security reasons because the desire for all hearings to be open must give way to the ‘yet more fundamental principle’ that courts must ‘do justice’.
Sitting with two other judges, Lord Justice Gross went on to say: ‘We express grave concern as to the cumulative effects of holding a criminal trial in camera [behind closed doors]and anonymising the defendants.We find it difficult to conceive of a situation where both departures from open justice will be justified.’
Parts of the trial, including the swearing-in of the jury, charges, part of the prosecution opening, verdicts and – if appropriate – sentence will now be held in public.
In an unusual move, journalists will also be allowed to listen to most of the proceedings, but will not be allowed to report them until a later date. The reporters will sign confidentiality agreements and must leave their notes in the courtroom every day. They face ‘severe sanctions’ if information leaks out.
The judges made it clear that full details of the trial could possibly be published in the future, a decision that they will have to review at the end of proceedings.
Sadiq Khan, Labour’s justice spokesman, said the ruling has shown that a complete ‘cloak of secrecy’ is not acceptable.
But last night Tory MP Dominic Raab said MPs should still debate the bid to hold the majority of the terror trial in secret. He said the State could ‘hand-pick’ who covers the trial and make sure that existing powers were used to protect sensitive information.
Liberty spokesman Isabella Sankey said: ‘The judges are clear that open justice is a priceless foundation of our system and faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.
‘But their wholesale deference to these vague and secret ministerial “national security” claims is worrying. Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.’
How a Dad’s Involvement Can Change His Children’s Future
Children with involved fathers are more likely to graduate from college—particularly among middle- and upper-income families but also among those from lower-income backgrounds, a recent study found.
According to this new research by Brad Wilcox at the University of Virginia, the family structure that best promotes this involvement is a married, intact family. This is the case for youth from lower-educated homes as well as those from more highly educated homes.
Wilcox also found fathers are more involved with their children today than they have been in the past. The amount of time fathers spend with their children each week has increased from 4.2 hours on average in 1995 to 7.3 hours on average in 2011. The down side is that fewer teens live in intact families, particularly teens from working-class and lower-income homes.
On the other hand, their peers from college-educated homes are “triply advantaged,” according to Wilcox: “They typically enjoy more economic resources, an intact family, and an involved father.”
The question then is, how to keep youth connected with their fathers, or, as Wilcox puts it, how to “bridge the fatherhood divide between children from college-educated and less-educated families.”
Increasing the odds that more children are raised in homes with their married mother and father is a crucial factor in the equation.
Today, more than 40 percent of children are born to unwed mothers. Among lower- and moderately educated (high school diploma or less) households, the number is much higher. Taking this factor into account along with the high rate of divorce, 55 percent of children are expected to spend some time outside of an intact-parent family before they reach their 18th birthday.
Despite the trends, accepting the decline of marriage is not the answer. Marriage is critical to helping children succeed, as Wilcox’s research and a multitude of other studies attest. Marriage is the foundation of a strong society, helping men, women and children thrive.
Some communities are taking action. In his recent book, Brigham Young University professor Alan Hawkins describes a plan for helping individuals and couples build and maintain lasting, healthy marriages. As I wrote last month in Public Discourse, Hawkins makes the case that preparing for and maintaining a healthy marriage is a lifelong endeavor. His strategy includes relationship and marriage education throughout different stages of life: from helping youth in high school learn how to build healthy relationships that will prepare them for marriage down the road, to helping couples in crisis salvage their marriage if possible.
Hawkins points to examples of schools, communities and states that have taken important steps to providing opportunities to build and strengthen marriages.
For example, he points to high schools in Alabama that have taught “relationship literacy education” classes. Students who participated in these classes had more realistic attitudes about marriage and better conflict-management skills a year after participating, compared to their peers who didn’t participate. More than half of the students came from low-income households.
Additionally, First Things First in Chattanooga, Tenn., runs a “community healthy marriage initiative.” First Things First provides marriage education courses, operates public advertising campaigns about the importance of marriage and sponsors events for couples and families. They report that their efforts have reduced divorce rates in their community by nearly 30 percent (although a more rigorous evaluation is needed).
Finally, Utah and Oklahoma have taken the lead on marriage initiatives by providing marriage and relationship education to couples.
There are promising examples, yet far more is needed. As Hawkins points out, the United States must renew a culture of marriage if real change is to take place. Leaders at every level need to promote the culture of marriage.
A restoration of marriage in the United States will ensure more children have the opportunity to thrive, not only academically but when it comes to their physical and emotional health, as well as their own relationship success. Ultimately, it will mean providing a culture that gives Americans the greatest likelihood to succeed in achieving their dreams.
OIC Demands Czech President Apologize for Condemning Islamic Anti-Semitism, but He has the Perfect Comeback
Czech President Milos Zeman gave an amazing speech condemning Islamic anti-Semitism:
“I am not reassured by the claims that this is the work of only a small fringe group. Quite the contrary. I believe that xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism stems from the essential ideology that these fanatical groups are based on.
“And let me provide a proof of this assertion in a quote from one of its sacred texts. ‘The Jews will hide behind stones and trees. Then the tree will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’ The stone will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’"
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was none too happy with the Czech president:
"The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, stated that the Czech President’s recent statements on Islam are in line with the previous statements the President made in the past, where he linked “believers in the Quran with anti-Semitic and racist Nazis”; and that “the enemy is anti civilization spreading from North Africa to Indonesia, where two billion people live”.
Despite over a thousand years of Muslim ethnic cleansing and persecution of Jews, Madani claimed that anti-Semitism was a European phenomenon. Apparently the Europeans wrote the Koran and the Hadiths.
Madani called the Czech president “Islamophobic” and said that “Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance” -- as the current events in Iraq remind us.
Mr. Madani urged the international community to take strong and collective measures to promote peace, harmony and tolerant co-habitation among peoples of diverse religious faiths, beliefs, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Madani comes from Saudi Arabia where no churches or synagogues may be built. Where non-Muslims are forbidden from entering Mecca.
“It is only appropriate that President Milōs Zeman apologizes to the millions of Muslims worldwide for his deeply offensive and hateful anti Islam statements,” the OIC press release said.
Zeman however declined the offer. To quote his spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček:
“President Zeman definitely does not intend to apologise. For the president would consider it blasphemy to apologise for the quotation of a sacred Islamic text.”
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.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.