« Oct. 2005 |
Main Page |
Dec. 2005 »

Please read just a few of the headlines that World Net Daily has published.

November, 2005

Anti-Christian rampage features 2,000 Muslims
Organized vandals in buses burn churches, convent, schools, homes of pastors, priests


They came in buses to the small village of Sangla Hill in the Nankana district of Punjab in Pakistan.

Some 2,000 organized Muslims first vandalized three churches, a nuns' convent, two Catholic schools, the houses of a Protestant pastor and a Catholic priest, a girls' hostel and some Christian homes, according to Asia News.

Then they burned them to the ground, while about 450 Christian families fled yesterday. They have not returned.

The Justice and Peace Commission accuses the police of "criminal negligence" because they did not intervene.

Lawrence John Saldanha, archbishop of Lahore Archdiocese and chairman of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, said "the attack seems to have been planned and organized as the attackers were brought to the site in buses and instigated to commit violence and arson. It gave our people a lot of fear and anxiety but we hope the government will do something."

The violence began 10 a.m. Saturday and was apparently motivated by the latest blasphemy case. On Friday, a Christian, Yousaf Masih, allegedly burned some copies of the Quran and disappeared. One of his brothers, Salim Masih was arrested the day before. The Commission of Justice and Peace in Lahore ruled that the blasphemy accusations were false and stemmed from the accusers having a financial dispute with the families they accused.

Saqib Sohail Bhatti, a Christian in Sangla Hill, explained Masih is an illiterate who would not even be able to distinguish the Quran from any other book.

Muslim clerical leaders yesterday called their flocks to gather outside the Jamia Madni Masjid central mosque where they urged them to attack the Christians. In fiery speeches, the leaders provoked the mob to set to fire each and every Christian place of worship.

The angry mob started with Masih's house and then turned on the house of his brother. Then they headed for the Presbyterian Church, setting ablaze the building, books and the house of the local pastor, Tajamal Perveiz. Then they turned on the Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit and the adjacent convent as well as the home of the Father Semson Dilawar, the parish priest.

The crowd of some 2,000 Muslims also caused severe damage to the Saint Anthony schools, destroying furniture, records, laboratories and the library.

The Church of the Salvation Army was also damaged.

A Christian member of Parliament, Akram Gill, accused police of sitting on their hands during the rampage.

He telephoned for help but got none. Anwar Sohail, who also witnessed the incidents, told Asia News that "police were there when the mob came to attack the Catholic Church but they fled away and let the protesters enter the Church."

World Net Daily
  November, 2005

Daughter 'shocked' by dad's pro-death caregivers
Attitude shift follows $200 million campaign to 'transform the culture of dying'

The daughter of a nursing home patient, who recently died under "suspicious" circumstances, mourns not only her father but her lost faith and trust in a health-care system she considers complicit in his death.

"One thing that has shocked me throughout this ordeal is the number of health-care 'professionals' that seem to major on killing rather than healing," Deanna Potter told WND. "It's truly frightening to think that these are people charged with overseeing health care for very old and very sick human beings."

Potter is one of five surviving children of Jimmy Chambers, who suffocated in the early morning hours of Oct. 24 after his tracheotomy tubes became unhooked and the nursing home staff did not respond to alarms that should have sounded and attempt resuscitation. Potter and her siblings have requested an investigation by South Carolina authorities.

WorldNetDaily exclusively reported Chambers' death came amid a bitter familial dispute over whether to keep the 79-year-old paraplegic man connected to the ventilator he had relied on since suffering a broken back and spinal chord injury during an Aug. 20 riding-lawnmower accident.

Viola Chambers asserted her husband of 58 years, who signed a living will in Iowa in 1990, did not want to be kept alive by artificial means. But 10 other family members – including four of the five children – and his initial treating physician, Dr. Kenneth Bookman, signed sworn statements that Chambers himself indicated he wanted to stay on the ventilator, receive rehabilitative therapy and live. They say he communicated this by nodding his head "yes" and "no" to questions put to him during a Sept. 8 family meeting witnessed by 13 people in his Naples, Fla., hospital room.

"He was asked specifically if he wanted to stay on the ventilator and his answer was 'yes,'" wrote Bookman in a notarized letter documenting the event, a copy of which was supplied to WND. "He was asked if he understood that he would likely never go home again, and would likely live in a ventilator facility, on the ventilator, for the rest of his life and his answer was 'yes.'"

According to Bookman, Chambers was off of sedation and aware enough to comprehend and make decisions regarding life support. Bookman and the 10 family members considered Chambers' living will revoked.

Yet, the life and death tug-of-war continued after Chambers was transferred to Anne Maria Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in North Augusta, S.C., in late September. Viola Chambers made the staff and new treating physician, Dr. Nicholas Sanito, aware of the living will and obtained Sanito's signature on a Do-Not-Resuscitate order, or DNR, according to documents filed with the local probate court.

Since Chambers had not designated a durable power of attorney, Mrs. Chambers was affirmed as his medical decision-maker by the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman, the state agency charged with advocating on behalf of nursing home patients.

While Sanito found Chambers "awake, alert and interactive" and "trying to speak" during an examination on Sept. 26, according to the documents, Chambers was considered – although not formally declared – incapacitated. Potter asserts her mother requested morphine and ativan be dispensed to her father in such a way that he was infrequently sober enough to communicate and ordered the removal of all communication devices from his room, including his nurse call button.

According to Potter, her mother also ordered her husband not be given antibiotics for pneumonia, from which he suffered for two weeks before a court-appointed guardian ad litem intervened.

Viola Chambers repeatedly declined comment to WND. Nursing home administrator Marcy Drewry also declined to comment.

"What was so shocking to me was how determined my mother was that he should die," said Potter. "She could see how responsive he was. But she had made up her mind … after his back surgery and there was no backing her down. There must be a spirit of death that overtakes people's minds. I just don't understand it at all."

According to Potter, many of her father's caregivers also appeared driven to end his life.

"One of the nurses who caused the most trouble for my dad was my mother's favorite nurse at the hospital. She would come into the room and tell her that my father's 'not in there.' 'He's not capable of making decisions.' 'He's not aware. He's not thinking. He's not able to think.' She would say the most horrible things," said Potter. "I finally had her removed from the case. I finally told the social worker at the hospital, 'If I see her in this room I will physically remove her myself.' So they removed her."

"One of the doctors also said, 'If this was my father, I wouldn't let him go on.' Well, golly. I just don't understand that," she continued.

Hospice watchdog Ron Panzer with the Hospice Patients Alliance frequently hears this same complaint from relatives of nursing home and hospice patients across the country. He sees a utilitarian flavor of secular bioethics permeating decision making and actual practice within the medical community.

"The medical system is not so interested as it used to be on caring for the medically complex patients. They're dumping them into hospice rather than maintaining them and trying to save them," Panzer told WND. "The utilitarian approach is, 'Well, you're using too many dollars. You're too expensive to care for. ... You're better off dead."

A recent national survey found nearly two-thirds of physicians support physician-assisted suicide.

The e-survey of 677 practicing physicians, conducted by HCD Research last month, found 62 percent believe they should be permitted to dispense life-ending prescriptions to "terminally ill patients who have made the decision to die due to unbearable suffering," according to the marketing and advertising research company's press release, which was virtually reprinted in the current editions of Mental Health Weekly, Health & Medicine Week, Biotech Business Week, Science Letter, Pharma Law Weekly, Life Science Weekly, Physician Law Weekly, Biotech Week, Obesity, Fitness & Wellness and Health Insurance Law.

Glenn Kessler, managing partner of HCD Research, told WND the survey was not commissioned, but done by the company as a public relations effort. The results were sent to the firm's clients, who are pharmaceutical companies. Kessler readily admits he's a "bleeding heart liberal Democrat," but told WND the company doesn't really care about the results of their polls.

"Although the high percentage of physicians who support the ability to prescribe such medications may be somewhat surprising, I believe it is the result of physicians' personal relationships with their patients and the desire to act in the best interest of each patient," Dr. Craig Alter, a specialist in the Pediatric Endocrinology Division of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is quoted as saying in the press release.

The attitude shift from always treating medically complex patients to embracing and, often, hastening their deaths also comes as a result of a decade-long campaign by leaders in the hospice industry and right-to-die advocates, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and George Soros' Project on Death in America. As WorldNetDaily reported, Soros's PDIA and the RWJF invested nearly $200 million throughout the 1990s with the goal of "transforming the culture of dying."

The initiative to promote palliative care and utilization of hospice succeeded in altering medical textbooks and curricula at medical and nursing schools across the country, as well as changing state laws to recognize and enforce the use of advance directives and DNRs.

What's called the "third path" between pain and assisted suicide has become the generally accepted protocol within the health-care system. The "third path" involves hastening death through the removal of life-sustaining medical procedures and treatment – including assisted feeding, antibiotics and oral hydration and nutrition – accompanied by heavy, and sometimes terminal, sedation. While it may be appropriate for terminally ill patients suffering intractable physical pain and in the end stage of disease, Panzer and other critics view this "third path" as a backdoor to euthanasia for non-terminal individuals, like Terri Schiavo.

A WND analysis of the language used in the living wills approved by legislators in nearly half the states indicates they appear solely created for the purpose of supporting the "third path" protocol. Many states like Illinois, Iowa, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington articulate an aversion to "prolonging the death process" without requiring the patient actually be dying.

Only four states, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma and Tennessee, specifically call for patients to be "terminally ill" before their advance directive gets executed. Most other states instead reference a "terminal condition" or "incurable or irreversible condition," which critics contend gives wide latitude to physicians and caregivers in hastening death.

The Iowa living will Chambers signed states that should he have an "incurable or irreversible condition that will result either in death within a relatively short period of time or a permanent state of unconsciousness" it was his desire that his life not be prolonged by the administration of life-sustaining procedures.

Death was not considered imminent, however. And when Chambers was taken off the morphine and ativan days before he died, nurses and family members – including Viola Chambers – found him conscious. The last time Deanna Potter saw her dad alive he blew her a kiss and reaffirmed his will to live and pursue therapy with a "big smile" and a thumb's up. He died approximately 10 hours later.

"I want it to be made plain what happened to him. I want it to be made plain what a strong, determined man he was and how he wanted to live," Potter told WND. "And the greatest injustice in my mind was that ... all the people around him were determined to deny him that right."

World Net Daily
  November, 2005

Wal-Mart faces boycott for 'banning' Christmas
Top retailer accused of discrimination while promoting Kwanzaa, Hanukkah

A Catholic advocacy group has launched a national boycott against Wal-Mart, claiming the world's No. 1 retailer has in effect "banned" Christmas, while promoting other seasonal holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

But Wal-Mart tells WorldNetDaily it has "absolutely not" banned Christmas, but is just "trying to serve all our customers for the holiday season."

According to the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the controversy was sparked when a woman recently complained to Wal-Mart that the store was replacing its "Merry Christmas" greeting with "Happy Holidays."

The League says the woman received an e-mail response from a customer-service representative, reading exactly as follows:

Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than "christmas" which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with "christmas" red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue speculated the writer of that e-mail was perhaps drunk, so he sent the response to Dan Fogelman in Wal-Mart's public-relations department.

Donohue received back a response from Fogelman, who wrote in part:

As a retailer, we recognize some of our customers may be shopping for Chanukah or Kwanzaa gifts during this time of year and we certainly want these customers in our stores and to feel welcome, just as we do those buying for Christmas. As an employer, we recognize the significance of the Christmas holiday among our family of associates ... and close our stores in observance, the only day during the year that we are closed.

"It's nice to know that Wal-Mart is closed on a federal holiday," explains Donohue, who says he's asking the leaders of 126 religious organizations spanning seven religious communities to boycott the retail giant.

He points out, and WND confirmed, that when using the company's online search engine, if the world "Hanukkah" is entered, 200 items for sale are returned. The term "Kwanzaa" yields 77. But when "Christmas" is entered, the message returned says: "We've brought you to our 'Holiday' page based on your search."

WND screen capture of Wal-Mart website shows when 'Christmas' is entered in search engine, results are deferred to a 'Holiday' page

However, the search also brings up a secondary link on which to click, which reveals 7,970 items that match the "Christmas" term.

When WND entered the name "Jesus," 5,668 items were displayed. And when the phrase "War on Christmas" was submitted, the Wal-Mart search engine produced the new book by Fox News Channel host John Gibson, subtitled "How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought."

"Wal-Mart is practicing discrimination," Donohue maintains.

But has Wal-Mart "banned" Christmas in any fashion?

"No. Absolutely not," company spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart said, telling WorldNetDaily that Wal-Mart became aware of the boycott late yesterday. "We already serve a diverse customer base, and we're just trying to help them to celebrate their individual needs and wants."

A company news release dated Nov. 1 promoting shopping at this time of year uses the words "holiday" or "holidays" 18 times, without a single mention of Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

One sentence had the H-word four times:

Based on the theme "Home for the Holidays," Wal-Mart's holiday campaign celebrates the holiday style of some of Wal-Mart customers' favorite celebrities, including Garth Brooks, Destiny's Child, Martina McBride, Jesse McCartney, and Queen Latifah, each enjoying the holidays at their actual homes.

Garth Brooks among celebrities featured in Wal-Mart's 'Home for the Holidays' campaign

Reaction on Internet messageboards is mixed.

"I am going to walk into Wal-Mart and go tell the manager Merry Christmas and let him or her know I am leaving there empty-handed," writes one poster.

Another states: "Their policy seems reasonable to me. They're not banning Christmas, as have other store chains. They're just going after potential customers who don't happen to celebrate Christmas. That's just good business sense."

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer, with over $285 billion in sales, and a workforce of 1.6 million.

As WorldNetDaily has previously reported, the celebration of Christmas is a major cultural battleground in the U.S., dating back to colonial America when Christians in New England outlawed Christmas, saying it was based more on ancient pagan traditions than instruction from the Bible.

In his Pulitzer Prize finalist, "The Battle for Christmas," historian Stephen Nissenbaum at the University of Massachusetts documents the American development of the holiday now ensconced in popular culture.

"In New England, for the first two centuries of white settlement," writes Nissenbaum, "most people did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, the holiday was systematically suppressed by Puritans during the colonial period and largely ignored by their descendants. It was actually illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681 (the fine was five shillings). Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Christmas gain legal recognition as an official public holiday in New England."

World Net Daily
  November, 2005

Christian girls shot near church
Attack follows beheadings of 3 high school students

Two 17-year-old Christian girls were shot in the second recent attack of its kind in Indonesia.

Washington, D.C.-based International Christian Concern said two armed men shot the girls – Siti Nuraini and another identified only as Ivon – at close range with pistols near a Pentecostal church in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Both girls are in critical condition, in a coma.

The attacks followed the beheadings of three Christian high school students in the area late last month.

ICC said the new attack took place as 10 national police officials of the Muslim-majority nation were in Central Sulawesi probing the beheadings.

According to some reports, the perpetrators of the beheadings are in custody but have not been formally charged.

The Poso area, which has a relatively large Christian population, has seen at least 40 attacks recently against the Christian community, including shootings, killings and major bombings.

World Net Daily
  November, 2005

Radical Islam blamed for French rioting
Muslims 'scorn' Europe's ways, 'conspire to take it over'

As rioting that began in a poor, mostly Muslim, neighborhood near Paris a week ago continues to spread to other suburbs and cities across France and parts of Europe, U.S. experts and at least one American lawmaker believe radical Islam is most likely responsible for the chaos.

And, they say, despite the characterization by several media outlets that those perpetuating the violence are primarily disaffected youth upset with French economic and social policies, the fact the unrest spread so quickly and is virtually limited to Muslim neighborhoods signifies a deeper, ideologically driven motive.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., in an interview with WND, said he believes the chickens are coming home to roost in France because, for years, the country with the largest Islamic population in Europe has ignored rising Muslim tensions within its own borders. The real issue the French "are now dealing with," he said, "is [that] you cannot integrate some people into your society."

Daniel Pipes, an expert on Islam and the director of the Middle East Forum, a think tank promoting American ideals in that region, thinks the riots in France are a microcosm of the larger radical Islamic goal of gaining a solid foothold in Europe.

"The great majority of Muslims in Europe see themselves as bearers of a superior civilization and see themselves growing prodigiously," he told WND. "Through a cultural, religious and demographic confidence they feel scorn towards European ways and conspire to take it over."

Lee Kaplan, spokesman for United American Committee, an organization striving to educate more Americans to the threat of radical Islam, suggested France's quest to be "evenhanded" in its dealings with its massive Muslim immigration has backfired and now reached a point where Paris has little choice but to meet the problem head-on. In an interview with WND, he suggested that "with 5 million Muslims in France – the most in all of Europe," this week's chaos was inevitable.

Origin of unrest

According to earlier reports, the rioting – which has seen the destruction of hundreds of vehicles, public buses and buildings – began Oct. 27 after the accidental deaths of two Muslim teens. Both boys were electrocuted while hiding from police in an electrical power substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Reports said police were in the area checking identification papers when the two boys ran away from them.

By week's end, riot police and firefighters were battling scores of Muslim rioters, some armed with weapons and Molotov cocktails. A police union official likened the violence to "civil war" in calling for the government to impose a strict curfew as French leaders vowed to restore order in the worst crisis of domestic violence in the country in decades.

As rioting exploded in France, Muslim-influenced unrest also began in Denmark, fueling further speculation that Europe is increasingly under siege by Islamic extremism. In the Danish rioting, Kaplan said, Muslim immigrant youths have even taunted authorities, saying, "This territory belongs to Islam; you don't belong here."

Much of the chaos, analysts said, is tied to the lack of Muslim integration into European society – whether by design or by choice. In France and Denmark alike, many cities dominated by Islamic faithful have been deemed too dangerous for police and are, effectively, "no-go zones."

"The riots typify French reaction to Islamism and spring from a European approach to the Islamic wave of migration into Europe," according to Islam analyst Robert Spencer.

Writing in FrontPage magazine, Spencer explained, "After WWII, the French built so-called 'sink estates' for the workers they encouraged to emigrate to help rebuild the nation, as did Germany."

Most of these workers came from Turkey and colonies in North Africa.

"Instead of planning for their integration into society, however, the French allowed these communities to grow and fester in economic and social isolation," Spencer said. "After two generations, the sink estates have proven to be nothing more than preplanned ghettoes, and the workers have no future except as second-class citizens of the nations they helped rebuild from devastation."

Tancredo believes many Muslims don't want to become "European." And he says the French and Danish riots are part of a larger militant Islamic movement perpetually at odds with the West.

The French "really don't want to integrate and assimilate, I think, the Muslims into French society, but I also think the Muslims are not interested in doing that themselves," he said. "This division, this rampaging nature manifesting itself in these riots and everything else, is an example of the clash of civilizations" he believes threatens Europe and the United States.

"The rioters are part of a population that has never considered itself French," says Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch and author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam."

Adds Pipes, "Kids burning cars and buildings aren't specifically doing that in an attempt to 'take control.' But I do think that, ultimately, is the significance of what they're doing.

"This isn't comparable to the 1960s race riots in the U.S.," he said. "This does have, deep down, an Islamic agenda of control, even if the kids doing the rioting aren't cognizant of that" at the moment.

World Net Daily
  November, 2005

Other related articles from other sources:


Merry Christmas is NOT Offensive
—Jews Should Protect Religious Freedom for Everyone

Well, December is nearly here which means the dreaded “C word” is upon us.  Put politely, “the holiday season” is nearly here.  We shall all hear those “Happy Chanukahs” and “Happy holidays,” but rarely a “Merry Christmas.”  Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive.  I think we Jews may be making a grievous mistake in allowing them to banish Christmas without challenge.

We see obsequious regard for faiths like Judaism and even Islam, while Christianity is treated with contempt.  I don’t want Judaism treated with less respect. I want Christianity to be treated with as much respect. 

Step up to the greeting card racks in your local drug store and see what I mean.  Virtually every Chanukah card is respectful.  Similarly, every Kwanza card is a paper paean to this rootless, recent invention.  You won’t find many cards taking vulgar shots at those holidays. 

You will, however, find tasteless cards that mock Christmas.  You’ll find off-color risqué Christmas cards that you’d be embarrassed to be caught looking at.  Few even mention Christmas, almost as if the word is so offensive that casual card browsers should be protected from accidental contamination.  Secularism is saying, if we can’t completely banish Christmas, let’s at least turn it into a bad joke.

Our self-appointed “leaders” in the Jewish community do us no favor by denouncing every public expression of Christian faith as if it were a ham sandwich at a barmitzvah.  Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews to be leading the extirpation of all signs of Christian fervor from the village square.  Just look at France. Only a religion can stand up to another religion.  Christianity could have defended France, but secularism wiped pushed Christianity into retreat.  Now, Islamic fundamentalism has its way because there is nobody with moral fervor to resist.  Secularism promotes cowardice, not courage and that is bad for everyone.

Nearer home, Palm Beach prohibited a Christian group from placing a Christian manger scene alongside a menorah on public property.  One of the plaintiffs, a Christian woman named Maureen Donnell, told Fox News, "They've discriminated against us, they allow the menorahs but they have absolutely no interest in these Nativity scenes." 

Although Palm Beach didn’t always welcome Jews, today it is a city with a large Jewish population.  It would have done wonders for Jewish Christian friendship if Palm Beach’s Jews would have valiantly defended religious rights for everyone, not just for Jews.  Too bad they missed this opportunity.  Remember, friendship is a two-way street.

This I can promise all Jewish parents—trying to prevent your children from awareness of Christianity is not enough to fill them with a love for Judaism.  That takes dedication.  You should not allow your children to listen to rap music’s obscene lyrics.  But neither should you recoil in horror when your kids hear Christmas carols.  It is invariably a local Reform rabbi who teams up with the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the school singing carols.  Christianizing the culture is not the problem for Jews, secularizing it is.

A music teacher in a Washington school removed Christmas from the lyrics in Dale Wood's "Carol from an Irish Cabin" to read: "The harsh wind blows down from the mountains and blows a white winter to me.” 

Parent Darla Dowell, whose 7-year-old daughter sang the song, called the decision "absurd."  "I think the most important thing that angers me is that they sent a message to my child that there's something wrong with Christmas and saying Christmas and celebrating it and performing it at her school with her peers," Dowell told Fox News. She couldn't understand why it's okay to exclude Christmas when her daughter was forced to sing Hanukkah tunes that included lyrics about the "mighty miracle" of Israel's ancient days. In that song, there were at least six mentions of the Jewish holiday.

Will Mrs. Dowell think better of Jews on account of their yanking Christmas?  How exactly does this aggressively applied double standard help to maintain the mutual respect that used to characterize relations between American Jews and Christians?

A 1989 Supreme Court decision found a Nativity scene on city property to be unconstitutional. The court emphasized that the privately owned crèche was indisputably religious. In the same case, however, a five-judge majority found that a nearby display, featuring an 18-foot Hanukkah menorah did not violate the Establishment Clause.  In the interests of fairness and friendship, we Jews ought to protest the court’s anti-Christian bias.  Nationwide, Christmas Nativity scenes are banned from city halls and shopping malls but Chanukah menorah’s are frequently permitted. 

I know the court’s distinction but I reject the legal fiction that a menorah, over which I say a blessing invoking God’s name, is merely a cultural symbol.  I think most Christian’s also find that distinction meaningless and offensive.  

As an Orthodox rabbi with an unquenchable passion for teaching Torah and devoting myself to the long term interests of Judaism and America’s Jewish community, I believe we Jews must turn our backs on the secularism that will sink us all.  An act of friendship would be welcome.  Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends—a very merry Christmas.  Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.


Rabbi Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox Rabbi

Consultant struck off for actively ending patient's life

A hospital consultant investigated over the deaths of dozens of patients was struck off the medical register yesterday for taking "active measures" to end the life of a patient against his family's wishes.

Dr Ann David, an anaesthetist, took Robert Symons off a life-support system hours after his wife and son expressed "strong opposition" to treatment being withdrawn, the General Medical Council ruled.

It also found that she had not explored all options before taking "active measures" to "prematurely" end Mr Symon's life.

Dr David, 47, from Rayleigh in Essex, was not present having declined to take further part in the 10-day hearing after the panel refused to let her voluntarily erase herself from the medical register which would have brought the hearing to a close before findings were announced.

She has previously faced a police investigation over Mr Symons's death and that of 40 of other patients at Basildon Hospital in Essex between 1997 and 1999.

However the cases were dropped in December 2001 after the Crown Prosecution Service advised that there was "insufficient evidence" to proceed.

A spokesman for Essex Police said yesterday that the force had been in touch with Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust and would be considering the "relevance" of the GMC's decision to any further police action.

Mr Symons, 60, was admitted to intensive care at Basildon hospital on Jan 22, 1999, suffering from septicaemia and his condition quickly deteriorated.

On Feb 16 Dr David formed the view that he should be taken off a ventilator because he had no chance of survival, but his wife Edna, now 66, and son Gary said they were "strongly opposed", the panel heard.

Hours later, however, Dr David gave Mr Symons, a milkman from Basildon, a high dose of sedatives and had him taken off the machine, a decision the panel ruled was "clinically unjustified". He died within 20 minutes.

Prof Michael Whitehouse, the chairman of the fitness to practise panel, said: "It is imperative that a doctor differentiates between actively ending the patient's life - an unlawful act - and letting a patient die without distress.

The panel recognises that even if all possible steps had been taken this patient may still have died. However he had an undeniable right to all reasonable treatments before the decision to withdraw treatment was made." He added: "The patient was not in imminent danger of dying, and was recorded as being conscious and orientated."

Dr David told the hearing last week that she was "disillusioned by everything that had happened" and planned to become a maths teacher.

Mr Symons's widow said yesterday: "I feel justice has been done and I think she has got what she deserved."

She said of her husband's treatment: "Everything went wrong that could go wrong. He was only in there for a few weeks but during that time he caught pneumonia, MRSA and was covered in bed sores.

"Just before his death he said to me 'Edna I will never trust another doctor'. I said 'don't worry I will sort it out' that was my promise and I wanted to keep it." She described how she and her son had pleaded with Dr David not to turn off her husband's ventilator.

"She said she didn't need permission. She went into another room and did it." Dr David was suspended on June 30, 2000, after colleagues first raised concerns over her work practices. She never worked at the hospital again but continued to collect her £90,000-a-year salary for five years.

She resigned earlier this month after the conclusion of a panel of inquiry commissioned by the hospital trust which criticised the care given by her in the cases to two patients.

Telegraph Group Limited

Family of nine massacred by rebels

A couple and their seven children were massacred yesterday in southern Thailand, where a Muslim insurgency has killed more than 1,000 people in two years.

Officials said around 30 Islamist militants surrounded a house in the village of Bo-Ngo, firing bullets and grenades before shooting those inside with handguns.

The victims were Luteng Arwarebueza, 44, his wife, and their seven children, aged from one to 20. Nine other people in nearby houses were injured.

The governor of Narathiwat province, Pracha Tearat, said that Mr Arwarebueza was a former rebel who quit the insurgency five months ago.

He "had received constant threats from militants and the massacre was to set a precedent for other defectors," said Mr Pracha.

"They killed the entire family for revenge. It's barbaric."

Muslims make up only about five per cent of the Thai population but are the majority in the four southernmost provinces, which once formed an independent sultanate of Pattani.

They have long complained of discrimination.

The government has been powerless to contain the insurgency, which has religious and separatist elements, in spite of the presence of 30,000 troops.

Telegraph Group Limited