Please read some current events from a variety of media.
It is still legal to tell the truth in the Netherlands: Geert Wilders has been cleared. Wilders is the leader of the third-largest party in that country, and the protagonist in the largest Islamic challenge yet to the Western notion of the freedom of speech. He made a number of statements about Islam that, while entirely true and accurate, got him hauled into court on charges of “inciting hatred,” and the Netherlands came quite close to criminalizing the speaking of unpleasant truths. But Wilders was acquitted last week, and this bullet was dodged. Challenges to the freedom of speech, however, are still very much with us, and will only grow more virulent.
"It is my strong conviction,” Wilders remarked, “that Islam is
to Western values, to freedom of speech, to the equality of men and
heterosexuals and homosexuals, of believers and unbelievers."
things are all true and rather obvious: Every day brings fresh
about the oppression of women and homosexuals in countries ruled by
law. Then there is the escalating persecution of Christians in
countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia, and the suppression of
speech and open debate about Islamic supremacism and jihad violence all
the Islamic world—in accord with the provision of Islamic law that
criticism of Islam and Muhammad a capital offense.
Mr. Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of , , and (all from Regnery-a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).
This article was found at:
'Why elections if the executive branch rules by decree?'
An organization that represents the 75 percent of American citizens who want more control over illegal immigration is calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama over his involvement in the transfer of weapons to Mexican drug lords and his efforts to provide amnesty to illegal aliens.
"President Obama is no longer the legitimate president of the United States," said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, in calling for the action today.
"By arming drug and human smugglers with assault weapons that have been used to kill American and Mexican citizens and police forces, and by ordering amnesty for illegal aliens which has been rejected by both the Congress and the American public more than eight times, Obama has committed a form of treason against the United States and must be removed from office by Congress," he said.
His call joins a chorus of other voices who already have expressed the idea. Those comments have come from a number of columnists and commentators, one member of Congress, a former member of Congress and retired military leaders. Even Vice President Joe Biden, then a senator, at one point said he would support impeachment of a president who misuses the executive power to take the nation into a war.
Gheen cited the developing "Operation Gunrunner" scandal in which federal agents had gun shops sell weapons to customers suspected of links to Mexican drug gangs. He also pointed ot Obama's "recent edict instructing federal employees to establish a form of amnesty for illegal aliens in defiance of the Congress, existing federal laws, and the U.S. Constitution."
Gheen noted Obama's ICE director, John Morton, issued a memo June 17 to all ICE field office directors, special agents-in-charge and chief counsel, authorizing them to decline to remove illegal aliens who meet the qualifications for amnesty under the DREAM Act amnesty – which has failed repeatedly in Congress.
He also said congressional investigations have "determined that Obama's ATF and Justice Department have been supplying assault weapons to the drug cartels that import most of America's cocaine, methamphetamine, and illegal immigrants."
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is a national organization with more than 40,000 supporters who represent the majority of Americans who want America's existing immigration laws enforced, Gheen said.
He said the issue is that the president "made it clear to the American public that he does not care what they think, what the current federal laws are, what the U.S. Constitution says, or what Congress has ratified."
"Congress must take immediate action to stop Obama or the American Republic will fall. What use are elections, candidates, or the Congress, if the executive branch rules by decree?" he said.
"Never before in the history of the United States has an occupant of the White House displayed less concern for the Constitution and the rule of law than Barack Obama. It's about time somebody said it: It's time to impeach Obama," Farah wrote.
Attorney Larry Klayman, a former Justice Department prosecutor, founder of Judicial Watch and now of Freedom Watch, agreed.
Klayman cited Obama's decision to refuse to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, his pursuit of Arizona in court over its decision to defend its citizens from illegal aliens invading the state, his "visceral hatred and subversion of the state of Israel" and others.
The first statement from a member of Congress on the issue came from U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who responded to this question from Think Progress: "I know Newt Gingrich has came out (sic) and said if they don't reverse course [regarding trials for terror suspects] here, we ought to be talking about possibly impeaching either Attorney General [Eric] Holder or even President Obama to try to get them to reverse course. Do you think that is something you would support?"
Franks replied: "If it could gain the collective support, absolutely. I called for Eric Holder to repudiate the policy to try terrorists within our civil courts, or resign. So it just seems like that they have an uncanny ability to get it wrong on almost all fronts."
WND also reported that former congressman and GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said for current members of the House and Senate to uphold their oath to defend the United States against enemies "foreign and domestic," they need to file impeachment charges against Obama.
Tancredo wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Times that Obama's "refusal to live up to his own oath of office – which includes the duty to defend the United States against foreign invasion – requires senators and representatives to live up to their oaths. Members of Congress must defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, that means bringing impeachment charges against Mr. Obama."
Above are just several examples of a long string of voices decrying executive neglect of upholding the oath to defend, and as well as abuses of power that point to the impeachment remedy. To read this article in its entirety visit World Net Daily at:
Congressman asks IRS to probe 'Muslim Mafia'
Cites letter indicating CAIR sought funding from Libya's Gadhafi
© 2011 WND World Net Daily
Responding to the IRS removal of tax-exempt status for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Virginia congressman has asked the federal agency to investigate whether the D.C.-based Muslim lobby group has "illegally received or solicited funds from foreign governments or agents."
Republican Rep. Frank Wolf said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman that he wants to resolve the question of whether foreign and potentially hostile governments have funded CAIR, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.
Wolf brought to the IRS's attention a copy of a recently disclosed letter from CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad to Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi in which Awad appears to solicit money for a CAIR project.
"I am concerned that Awad and CAIR may be soliciting – and receiving – funds from other unsavory foreign governments and organizations, including some that may be sponsors of terror," Wolf wrote.
The lawmaker also cited reports that indicate Awad and other CAIR representatives may have traveled to Sudan to solicit funds from Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, whose hard-line Islamic regime has been held responsible for more than 2 million deaths in a jihad against Christians and animists in the country's south.
IRS earlier this month purged CAIR from its list of tax-exempt organizations. Donations to the group are no longer tax-deductible, even though CAIR continues to claim on its website that contributions are deductible.
The gross delinquency raises new suspicions that CAIR – identified in a recent terror-finance case as a front group for Hamas – is concealing from the American public details about its already shadowy financial activities.
CAIR is a regular staple of the cable news programs where it claims to be a "Muslim-American civil rights group."
The Washington-based group receives millions of dollars in donations, pledges and other support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other terror-tied Arab states, as revealed in the bestseller "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America."
As WND has reported, CAIR has filed a lawsuit against "Muslim Mafia" co-author P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris, who collected thousands of pages of CAIR documents destined for a shredder while working as an intern.
CAIR's complaint asks a federal judge to expunge all copies of "Muslim Mafia". A lawyer defending the Gaubatzes says CAIR is attempting to eliminate evidence that could lead to criminal prosecution.
"Muslim Mafia" presents evidence that CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper has misled Washington reporters about the source of most of CAIR's financial support.
Although Hooper has repeatedly denied that CAIR receives foreign support, smoking-gun video footage obtained during the Gaubatzes' six-month covert investigation of CAIR indicates otherwise.
A State Department cable citing Hooper by name, moreover, directly contradicts Hooper's denials about foreign support, according to "Muslim Mafia," which exposes the secret inner workings of CAIR, among other radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America.
CAIR in January 2007 prepared a secret "strategy" memo launching what the "Muslim Mafia" authors call a hostile influence operation against Congress to undermine homeland security and anti-terror efforts.
The memo states that CAIR would try to "influence" the intelligence committees, along with committees dealing with homeland security and justice, while placing interns in "congressional offices."
CAIR has been successful in both endeavors, using Mideast funds free of taxation in the process.
Read article in its entirety at World Net Daily at
The solicitor for Pittsburgh Public Schools says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a former eastern Pennsylvania police chief couldn't claim free speech in a private employment matter was a sound one.
"I think it represents a common-sense distinction between getting up at a public meeting and saying, 'I'm an employee, I live here, and taxes are too high,' which are matters of general concern, and work-related speech," Ira Weiss said of the decision Monday.
But Pittsburgh labor attorney Joshua Bloom said the ruling is another example of citizens' rights in the courts being chipped away.
"The courts have ruled that people can petition and file grievances, but now they're saying it's OK (for governments) to destroy their lives if they do it. It makes no sense," Bloom said, adding, "The Supreme Court seems to be endorsing a culture of tyranny, secrecy and coercion in the public workplace."
The case originates in the Luzerne County borough of Duryea, which fired police Chief Charles Guarnieri in 2003. He filed a union grievance, and after an arbitrator returned him to the job, council drew up 11 directives for his return, including that he had to have council permission for overtime. The directives were thrown out after Guarnieri filed a second union grievance, and then he sued in civil court, saying the directives were in retaliation for the first grievance.
Guarnieri said the retaliation violated the petition clause of the First Amendment, which allows citizens to petition the government for redress of grievances.
In an 8-1 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erred and that Guarnieri should have had to show he spoke as a citizen on an issue of public concern, which is what the First Amendment's speech clause requires.
"The right of a public employee under the Petition Clause is a right to participate as a citizen, through petitioning activity, in the democratic process," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. "It is not a right to transform everyday employment disputes into matters for Constitutional litigation in the federal courts."
He added, "It is precisely to avoid this intrusion into internal governmental affairs that this Court has held that, while the First Amendment invests public employees with certain rights, it does not empower them to 'Constitutionalize' the employee grievance."
Guarnieri's case has been sent back to the lower court for reconsideration.
The ruling hurts not only public employees, Bloom said, but also private citizens who depend on government workers to keep an eye on government.
"Public employees are in the best position to speak out about corruption, illegalities, incompetence, oppression and waste," he said.
"The Supreme Court recognizes that just because someone is a public employee, it doesn't give them the right to sue for matters that are purely employment-related for First Amendment issues," Weiss said. "If it's a complaint about their employment status, it's not a whistleblower case."
This article can be found in its entirety at
WORLDNET DAILY EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY
What's worse than asking ninth-graders intrusive and sexually
questions on a school survey, even if they do live in a liberal
It's discovering misbehavior, coming to exactly the wrong conclusion about the causes and recommending more harm be done.
A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control shows that teenagers in public schools who believe themselves to be homosexual or bisexual are taking more risks all across the board. While this should not come as a big surprise to the average American with common sense, it is a stunning revelation to our psychobabbly federal public health professionals. After all, they can't even bring themselves to say "Stop it!" to men who have anal sex with other men.
But now that we have this information, it gives an important snapshot, if we evaluate it appropriately.
However, the CDC researchers jumped to predictable conclusions. Among the solutions was the need for "supportive" school environments – meaning, approval of homosexuality – including more "gay straight alliance" clubs and pro-homosexual teacher diversity training. Also, health-care settings and workers need training to be more "open and nonjudgmental."
The researchers believe these kids just suffer from low self-esteem – which may be true – but they assume it's the fault of others, including the general social stigmatization of homosexuality. Then, of course, with no supporting evidence, they apparently adopt the "gay" lobby's position that views against homosexuality are unwarranted and inevitably provoke bullying and self-harm. Homosexuality is either innate, or benign, or both, according to the unsupported, accepted narrative.
Yet let's look at some details of the CDC findings that don't jibe with these conclusions. For instance, are we actually supposed to believe that low self-respect or social rejection because of one's homosexual identity causes teens to refuse to wear seat belts? That was one of the risk behaviors higher among "sexual minority" youth. How about driving after having consumed alcohol? What about being abused by a date or being forced to have sex? Wouldn't that be "gay-on-gay" violence? This would put at least some "gay" kids in the category of "bullier/abuser." Whoops! There goes another talking point.
Seriously, the percentages reporting dating violence are distinctly higher among the "sexual minority" youth. Why aren't we seeing a proliferation of anti-violence programs aimed specifically at these kids?
Or how about having already, at their tender ages, had sex with at least four people? Is promiscuity a common reaction to real or perceived discrimination? Or failing to use a condom if they are having sex?
The problem here, of course, is the solutions themselves are biased and discriminatory. Nor would they be applied in comparable situations. For instance, there's considerable evidence that overweight students experience bullying and social rejection more than others. And, these kids more often attempt suicide and engage in other risky conduct. So, where are the obesity-affirmation school programs? Why not recommend those?
As usual, political correctness has swallowed common sense. This data reveal troubled kids with issues that often pre-date puberty, heading down a road of self-harm. Others along the way may contribute, but the core dysfunction doesn't go away by joining a "gay straight alliance."
Ironically, all this is being reported along with another alarming and related indicator. From another section of the CDC comes the latest HIV surveillance report with these findings about young males:
MSM [males who have sex with males] aged 13–24 had the greatest percentage increase (53 percent) in diagnoses of HIV infection from 2006 through 2009.
Yet public schools must keep on "affirming" this behavior? This is educational and medical malpractice. Truly caring adults would be looking at the big picture, not exploiting already troubled kids for a harmful political agenda. No matter what causes these kids to engage in dangerous behaviors, encouraging them to embrace one more – homosexuality – is only going to bring more heartbreak and harm into their already complicated lives.
This article has been abbreviated. It may be read in it’s entirety at
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
by Christine Armario
Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation's Report Card, showed a solid grasp of American history. Results released Tuesday showed the two other grades didn't perform much better, with just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency.
The test quizzed students on topics including colonization, the American Revolution and the Civil War, and the contemporary United States. For example, one question asked fourth-graders to name an important result of the U.S. building canals in the 1800s. Only 44 percent knew that it was increased trade among states.
"The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. "These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education."
Education experts say a heavy focus on reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind law in the last decade has led to lagging performance in other subjects such as history and science.
"We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills," said Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. assistant education secretary.
Of the seven subjects on the national test, students performed the worst in U.S. history. Officials with the National Assessment Governing board, which oversees the tests, say the results aren't comparable to the other tests because different students take each exam in different years.
The scores on the history test did not vary remarkably from years past; in 1994, for example, 19 percent of fourth-grade students scored proficient or better in U.S. history.
More than 7,000 fourth-grade students, 11,000 eighth graders and 12,000 high school seniors from a nationally representative sample took the test last year.
To be considered proficient, they had to get certain scores out of 500. For fourth-graders, the score was 243. Eighth-graders needed 294, and 12th graders had to get a 325.
Judy Brodigan, who was head of the elementary social studies curriculum for the Lewisville, Texas, school district for a decade, said history and social studies classes aren't as much of a priority for school districts as math and reading. She noted that many states only test history and social studies starting in middle school, which means elementary school students don't get the background they need in the subject.
"When the foundation isn't built in elementary school, these students are coming to middle school lacking crucial skills," Brodigan said. "What it means is that in what is becoming a more and more global society, American students are more and more at a disadvantage."
Educators said history is critical to students learning how to become better citizens and understanding how the country's political and cultural systems work. Students need to not only recognize leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, but also understand why they were important to the development of the country.
"Overall the quality and success of our lives can only be enhanced by a study of our roots," said Steven Paine, former state schools superintendent for West Virginia. "If you don't know your past, you will not have a future."
FROM WASHINGTON TIMES
See lack of precedent for individual mandateJune 8, 2011
by Stephen Dinan
President Obama’s health care law received a chilly reception Wednesday from a federal appeals court that seemed wary of approving a major expansion of government coercion over the economic activity of millions of Americans.
Acknowledging they are breaking new ground in considering this case, the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Atlanta questioned whether there is any precedent in more than two centuries in which the Supreme Court has upheld a law that forces individuals to buy a private good or service - in this instance, the individual mandate that every American obtain health insurance.
“If we uphold the individual mandate in this case, are there any limits on Congress‘ power left?” said Chief Judge Joel Dubina, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, who seemed most hostile to the Obama administration’s defense.
The other two judges, both appointed by President Clinton, peppered each side with questions, but signaled their own concerns about the lack of specific precedent for upholding this type of mandate.
“I want to know, going back to the first principles, is there anything out there that actually suggests that Congress can compel a private party to buy a private product on the open market if they’re not disposed to do so,” Judge Stanley Marcus said.
Wednesday’s nearly 2 1/2-hour hearing is the third time an appeals court has heard a case on the issue, which all sides believe will eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court.
Hold Florida lawmakers accountable for fair state districtsJune 8, 2011
Now is the time for Florida voters to hold the Legislature accountable to obey the state Constitution on the critical issue of redistricting.
Enshrined in the document since the 2010 elections are two Fair Districts amendments that require lawmakers, using 2010 Census data, to redraw legislative and U.S. congressional districts in a nonpartisan way before the 2012 elections.
And end a long, sordid record of politicians drawing maps to favor whatever party holds the reins of power, protect incumbents against competition and give voters little choice at the ballot box.
Democrats wrongly did it in the 1990s, when they controlled Tallahassee, and Republicans wrongly do it now.
Just take a look at Florida House District 29 for evidence of the bizarrely shaped districts that have resulted from the gerrymandering. It trails south in a thin strip from North Brevard to rural Indian River County to maximize the number of Republican votes.
The seat was won by Rep. Tom Goodson in the GOP primary in August last year. Predictably, the Cocoa Republican faced no Democratic opposition.
Other districts in the state snake across as many as eight counties, linking far-flung cities or illogically divide communities.
Outrage at the practice led Florida voters to pass the Fair Districts amendments by 63 percent last year, a margin mirrored in Brevard County. That showed broad support across party lines for a less partisan approach to redistricting.
In a victory for democracy last week, the U.S. Department of Justice — which must review election law changes because of previous racial discrimination in voting in some Florida counties — reaffirmed the wisdom of Fair Districts, giving the amendments the go-ahead.
The ruling counters false claims by lawmakers, trying to preserve their hold on power, that Fair Districts would hinder minorities’ voting rights.
It also sends a loud message that tactics to obstruct the reforms must end, including from Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon.
The Winter Park Republican joined the House to a misguided lawsuit to kill the congressional Fair Districts rules coming from U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. The suit should be dropped immediately.
That lawsuit is only the latest recent attempt by lawmakers to preserve their power and block the voters’ will. Here is the shabby history:
-- In 2010, then Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and other mostly GOP state lawmakers tried to sabotage the effect of Fair Districts, voting to put on fall ballots a tricky counter amendment that would have nullified the reform mandate.
In September, the state Supreme Court rightly yanked the proposed amendment as misleading.
-- Three days after taking office this year, Gov. Rick Scott secretly halted the routine clearance process for the redistricting amendments, refusing to send them promptly for review by the Justice Department, as required by law.
The Justice Department’s approval of the Fair Districts standards is big step forward, but no time for advocates to rest on their laurels.
Legislative committees are charged with coming up with new district boundaries by June 2012.
You can bet there’ll be more attempts to undermine the wholly sensible requirements that districts be contiguous, compact geographically, and not drawn to favor or disfavor any party or incumbent.
Citizen pressure is needed You can get more informed by
FROM MIDDLE EAST QUARTERLY
Middle East Quarterly
How great is the danger of extremist violence in the name of Islam in the United States? Recent congressional hearings into this question by Rep. Peter King (Republican of New York), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, have generated a firestorm of controversy among his colleagues, the press, and the general public. Though similar hearings have taken place at least fourteen times since 2001, King was labeled a latter-day Joe McCarthy and the hearings called an assault on civil liberties and a contemporary witch-hunt. Yet the larger dilemmas outlined by both the congressman and some of his witnesses remain: To what extent are American Muslims, native-born as well as naturalized, being radicalized by Islamists? And what steps can those who are sworn to the protection of American citizenry take that will uncover and disrupt the plots of those willing to take up arms against others for the sake of jihad?
Root Causes and Enabling Mechanisms
While scholarly inquiry into the root causes and factors supportive of terrorism has accelerated since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, there are few empirical studies that attempt to measure the relationship between specific variables and support for terrorism. To date, almost all of the professional and academic work in this field has been anecdotal surveys or case studies tracing backward through the personal profiles of terrorists and the socioeconomic and political environments from which they came.
An item that may help to understand the growth of modern jihadism appears in Marc Sageman's 2004 study, which found that 97 percent of jihadists studied had become increasingly devoted to forms of Salafist Islam highly adherent to Shari'a (Islamic law) while on their path to radicalization, despite many coming from less rigorous devotional levels during their youths. This increase in devotion to Salafist Islam was measured by outwardly observable behaviors such as wearing traditional Arabic, Pakistani, or Afghan clothing or growing a beard.
When viewed together, a picture emerges that may give researchers, as well as law enforcement officials, a way to monitor or potentially to predict where violent jihad may take root. Potential recruits who are swept up in this movement may find their inspiration and encouragement in a place with ready access to classic and modern literature that is positive toward jihad and violence, where highly Shari'a-adherent behavior is practiced, and where a society exists that in some form promotes a culture of martyrdom or at least engages in activities that are supportive of violent jihad. The mosque can be such a place.
That the mosque is a societal apparatus that might serve as a support mechanism for violent jihad may seem self-evident, but for it to be a useful means for measuring radicalization requires empirical evidence. A 2007 study by the New York city police department noted that, in the context of the mosque, high levels of Shari'a adherence, termed "Salafi ideology" by the authors of the report, may relate to support for violent jihad. Specifically, it found that highly Shari'a-adherent mosques have played a prominent role in radicalization..
There is a need for the study and corroboration of a relationship between high levels of Shari'a adherence as a form of religious devotion and coalitional commitment, Islamic literature that shows violence in a positive light, and institutional support for violent jihad. By way of filling this lacuna, the authors of this article undertook a survey specifically designed to determine empirically whether a correlation exists between observable measures of religious devotion linked to Shari'a adherence in American mosques and the presence of violence-positive materials at those mosques. The survey also sought to ascertain whether a correlation exists between the presence of violence-positive materials at a mosque and the promotion of jihadism by the mosque's leadership through recommending the study of these materials or other manifest behaviors.
Identifying Shari'a-Adherent Behaviors
Shari'a is the Islamic system of law based primarily on two sources held by Muslims to be respectively direct revelation from God and divinely inspired: the Qur'an and the Sunna (sayings, actions, and traditions of Muhammad). There are other jurisprudential sources for Shari'a derived from the legal rulings of Islamic scholars. These scholars, in turn, may be adherents of differing schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Notwithstanding those differences, the divergence at the level of actual law is, given the fullness of the corpus juris, confined to relatively few marginal issues. Thus, there is general unity and agreement across the Sunni-Shiite divide and across the various Sunni madh'habs (jurisprudential schools) on core normative behaviors.
Surveyors were asked to observe and record selected behaviors deemed to be Shari'a-adherent. These behaviors were selected precisely because they constitute observable and measurable practices of an orthodox form of Islam as opposed to internalized, non-observable articles of faith. Such visible modes of conduct are considered by traditionalists to have been either exhibited or commanded by Muhammad as recorded in the Sunna and later discussed and preserved in canonical Shari'a literature. The selected behaviors are among the most broadly accepted by legal practitioners of Islam and are not those practiced only by a rigid subgroup within Islam—Salafists, for example.
Among the behaviors observed at the mosques and scored as Shari'a-adherent were: (a) women wearing the hijab (head covering) or niqab (full-length shift covering the entire female form except for the eyes); (b) gender segregation during mosque prayers; and (c) enforcement of straight prayer lines. Behaviors that were not scored as Shari'a-adherent included: (a) women wearing just a modern hijab, a scarf-like covering that does not cover all of the hair, or no covering; (b) men and women praying together in the same room; and (c) no enforcement by the imam, lay leader, or worshipers of straight prayer lines.
The mosques surveyed contained a variety of texts, ranging from contemporary printed pamphlets and handouts to classic texts of the Islamic canon. From the perspective of promoting violent jihad, the literature types were ranked in the survey from severe to moderate to nonexistent. The texts selected were all written to serve as normative and instructive tracts and are not scriptural. This is important because a believer is free to understand scripture literally, figuratively, or merely poetically when it does not have a normative or legal gloss provided by Islamic jurisprudence.
The moderate-rated literature was authored by respected Shari'a religious and/or legal authorities; while expressing positive attitudes toward violence, it was predominantly concerned with the more mundane aspects of religious worship and ritual. The severe material, by contrast, largely consists of relatively recent texts written by ideologues, rather than Shari'a scholars, such as Abul Ala Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb. These, as well as materials published and disseminated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, are primarily, if not exclusively, aimed at using Islam to advance a violent political agenda.
Mawdudi (1903-79), for one, believed that it was legitimate to wage violent jihad against "infidel colonizers" in order to gain independence and spread Islam. His Jihad in Islam, found in many of the mosques surveyed, instructed followers to employ force in pursuit of a Shari'a-based order:
Similarly, Qutb's Milestones serves as the political and ideological backbone of the current global jihad movement. Qutb, for example, sanctions violence against those who stand in the way of Islam's expansion:
These materials differ from other severe- and moderate-rated materials because they are not Islamic legal texts per se but rather are polemical works seeking to advance a politicized Islam through violence, if necessary. Nor are these authors recognized Shari'a scholars.
The same cannot be said for some classical works that are also supportive of violence in the name of Islam. Works by several respected jurists and scholars from the four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence, dating from the eighth to fourteenth centuries, are all in agreement that violent jihad against non-Muslims is a religious obligation.
The caliph … makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians … provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax.
The Fiqh as-Sunna and Tafsir Ibn Kathir are examples of works that were rated "moderate" for purposes of this survey. The former, which focuses primarily on the internal Muslim community, the family, and the individual believer and not on violent jihad, was especially moderate in its endorsement of violence. Relatively speaking, the Fiqh as-Sunna expresses a more restrained view of violent jihad, in that it does not explicitly call for a holy war against the West even though it understands the Western influence on Islamic governments as a force that is destructive to Islam itself.
Nonetheless, such texts do express positive views toward the use of violence against "the other," as expressed in the following:
Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "The ties of Islam and the principles of the religion are three, and whoever leaves one of them becomes an unbeliever, and his blood becomes lawful: testifying that there is no god except God, the obligatory prayers, and the fast of Ramadan." … Another narration states, "If anyone leaves one of [the three principles], by God he becomes an unbeliever, and no voluntary deeds or recompense will be accepted from him, and his blood and wealth become lawful." This is a clear indication that such a person is to be killed.
Similarly in Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
The survey's findings, explored in depth below, were that 51 percent of mosques had texts that either advocated the use of violence in the pursuit of a Shari'a-based political order or advocated violent jihad as a duty that should be of paramount importance to a Muslim; 30 percent had only texts that were moderately supportive of violence like the Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Fiqh as-Sunna; 19 percent had no violent texts at all.
This article has been abbreviated, it includes specific writings and survey results that you will find of interest. The article in its entirety can be found at:
Middle East Quarterly
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Israel National News
May 24, 2011
Israel is the only country that has guaranteed freedom of all faiths in Jerusalem, which must remain undivided, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Congress Tuesday. In unusually strong language, he told members of Congress that Judea and Samaria are part of the ancient Jewish homeland that our forefathers walked in and that the 650,000 Jews living there "are not ‘occupying’ the region.” He strongly criticized the changed versions of history that are being promoted by others.
Interrupted dozens of times by standing ovations, after minutes-long applause as he entered the chamber, Netanyahu also said that there are 300 million Arabs in the Middle East, but the only ones who are free are Israeli citizens.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted in his opening remarks that the "ground is still shifting” in the Middle East and that the uprisings in the Muslim countries represent people’s demands for liberty.
He thanked the United States for helping Israel reach its defense capabilities despite the “tough” economy. He jokingly said that the United States doesn't have to help build Israel--it is already built. More seriously, he said that the United States doesn't have to send soldiers to defend Israel, because Israel defends itself.
The Prime Minister did not change any of his policies, and put paid to rumors that he was going to announce new concessions. He expressed his policies in down-to-earth and homey language that clearly enthused the legislators. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was on the podium to receive him. U.S. President Barack Obama was on his way back to the United States from a visit to Ireland.
He jokingly noted that Israel is larger than the Delaware, Biden’s home state, and larger than Rhode Island, “but that’s about it.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that the entire length of the Washington Beltway is larger than the width of the Israel that the Palestinian Authority demands, which would be 9 km. wide, hardly "strategic depth"..
He made it clear that he is willing to agree to borders for a Palestinian Authority country that would place some Jews outside of Israel’s borders, but did not mention that this would be only in settlement blocs and gave the impression of giving up less, rather than more.
Netanyahu also stressed that the borders must be negotiated because Israel “will not return to the indefensible borders of 1967.” He relied on his interpretation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that any future borders of Israel will not be identical with the 1949 Armistice Lines that existed until the Six-Day War in 1967. He repeated his insistence that the Jordan River have an Israeli Army presence, remarking that in the MIddle East, peace depends on the ability to defend oneself.
The president has called for “land swaps,” a concept that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not mention and one which has little chance of getting off the ground because Israeli Arabs have little interest in giving up their freedom and economic security as Israeli citizens.
The vast majority of Jews living beyond the 1949-1967 borders live in greater Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv,” the Prime Minister said in his address. “These areas and other places of historic, strategic and national importance will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel," he asserted.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also buried the issue of “refugees,” meaning the Arabs who either fled Israel in the wars in 1948 and 1967, or their descendants.
"Jews around the world have a right to immigrant to the only Jewish state, and Arabs around the world should have the right to immigrate to a Palestinian state.” he told Congress.
In case anyone doubted his intentions, he added, “This means that the refugee problem will be solved outside the borders of Israel".
Repeating that the obstacle to peace is not the creation of a Palestinian State to which six successive Israeli Prime Ministers agreed, but the Palestinian acceptance of the existence of a Jewish State, Netanyahu called to Abbas to tell Palestinians clearly that Israel has a right to exist. Meanwhile, he said, incitement continues in PA school curricula, squares are named after terrorists and the only reward Israel got for leaving Lebanon and Gaza was 12,000 rockets fired at its children.
"Imagine a siren sounding and giving you 60 seconds to find shelter before a missile strikes. You couldn't live with that. No one can live with that,” he said emphatically, adding, "Israel is not what is wrong in the Middle East. Israel is the only thing that is right in the Middle East."
'Strip Congress of legislative role in favor of unaccountable experts?'
April 25, 2011
Most of the legal challenges to Obamacare, the president's signature legislation that allows the federal government to take over health-care decision-making, focus on the "unconstitutional individual mandate" that defines sitting in one's living room as "interstate commerce" and demands the purchase of government-approved health insurance.
However, there's a new round of alarms developing over what critics have described as the ultimate "death panel," concerns that have been raised because Barack Obama himself suggested giving an already-unaccountable board more authority.
It's the idea of Obama's Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is one of 150 board and commissions established by Obamacare but is the most notorious because it would be made up of 15 Obama-appointed individuals and would dictate Medicare policy affecting millions of seniors and disabled Americans with essentially no congressional or judicial oversight.
It was during Obama's recent speech in which he condemned a plan to cut the deficit by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., he referenced Obamacare and its critics.
"What they'll say is, well, you know what, that will never work because it's government imposed and it's bureaucracy and it's government takeover and there are death panels," the president said. "I still don't entirely understand the whole 'death panel' concept. But I guess what they're saying is somehow some remote bureaucrat will be deciding your health care for you."
Obama then specifically said his panel's authority should kick in at an earlier time than it already is scheduled to become the law.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, who has authored "Doctor in the House" on the issue of the nationalization of health care, said the IPAB was a bad idea when ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., proposed it before voters removed him from office, and it hasn't gotten better.
"Now for the first time ever the primary party for health care for seniors, Medicare, is going to be able to tell you what kind of care you can get, where and when you can get it and worst of all, when you've had enough," he told WND today.
"If all you're looking to do is be able to figure how to take care of old people cheaply, this is the way to go," he said. "If what you want to provide is meaningful medical care, why would you set up or embellish a system that leads to waiting lists and rationing?"
He cited Obama's recent comments, and said the board will become "the central command and control system" and the "primary tool" to limit, ration, reduce or restrict treatments.
Among other reactions was Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online, who followed Obama's vague references with an explanation.
"They're back. Rationing, death panels, socialism, all those nasty old words that helped bring Republicans victory in 2010 … They're back because of IPAB. Remember that acronym. It stands for The Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB is the real death panel, the true seat of rationing, and the royal road to health-care socialism.
"Policy wonks and political junkies may know a bit about this health-care rationing panel, but most Americans have barely heard of it. That has got to change," he wrote.
Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, initially referred to "death panels" in Obamacare referencing the end-of-life instructions that originally were included.
"But IPAB is the real death panel (as Palin herself later noted), a body of unelected bureaucrats with the power to cut off care through arbitrary rules based on one-size-fits-all cost calculations," Kurtz wrote.
It was in Obama's speech decrying Ryan's money-saving plan that he suggested expanding the authority of the individuals he would expect to pick.
"We will change the way we pay for health care – not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need," he said.
There were a multitude of similar alarms being raised after that speech, but those actually taking action on the issue are those at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix.
Its attorneys have filed a lawsuit over the provision, arguing that nowhere in the Constitution is the concept of an all-powerful and non-reviewable panel.
"No possible reading of the Constitution supports the idea of an unelected, stand-alone federal board that's untouchable by both Congress and the courts," said Clint Bolick, litigation director for Goldwater.
The organization describes the authority Obama endorses for IPAB: It wouldn't have to follow the basic steps for adopting and enforcing administrative rules. Its payment schedules and policies couldn't be examined by courts and automatically would become law unless amended by Congress through a difficult and complex procedure. And even if Congress would repeal the board in 2017, Obama's strategy automatically delays the effectiveness of that repeal until 2020.
The Institute's lawsuit in federal court opposes IPAB as simply unconstitutional – and it apparently is the only lawsuit challenging Obamacare on this crucial argument.
'Protecting any new federal agency from being repealed by Congress appears to be unprecedented in the history of the United States," said Diane Cohen, the Goldwater Institute's lead attorney in this case.
The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents a number of clients in this lawsuit including U.S. Reps Jeff Flake, Trent Franks and John Shadegg of Arizona. The congressmen have supported repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Other reactions to Obama's plans include:
Meanwhile, Obama officials have granted 1,040 waivers to the new law already, because many groups, especially unions who supported Obama, and companies, contend they simply cannot meet its requirements, so shouldn't have to.
The total prompted a video commentary on Obama administration actions:
The site is sponsored by Let Freedom Ring, Americans for Tax Reform, CWA, 60 Plus, Independent Women's Voice and the College Republican National Committee. It allows visitors to e-mail the Obama administration asking for their own waivers. Visitors can select whether they want to ask for exemptions from the law's $500 billion in tax increases, taxpayer funding of abortion or the individual health insurance mandate, among others.
In the federal courts, Obamacare already has been declared
by at least two federal judges and it appears en route to a decision by
U.S. Supreme Court. Also, numerous state legislatures are considering
legislation that simply would exempt their state's citizens from its
requirements. One state had a proposal to make it a crime to try to
Officials in Jerusalem warning 'planned attack is already in motion'
JERUSALEM – The new Egyptian government has refused to share important intelligence information with Israel, including details of a terrorist plot against Israelis thought to be imminent, WND has learned.
Last week, officials in Jerusalem warned of the possibility of Hezbollah terrorist attacks against Israeli targets overseas, saying "a planned attack is already in motion," Israel's Channel 2 reported.
Security officials here believe Hezbollah is not planning an attack so large that it would lead to another war with Israel, but they said the Iranian-backed group would attempt a hard hit on overseas Israeli targets in the immediate future.
In light of the immediate threat, Israel requested an exchange of information on Hezbollah with Egypt's intelligence apparatus, but Cairo refused to cooperate, according to security officials here who spoke to WND.
The officials said such information sharing was routine under the previous regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
The officials said Egypt is thought to have an important bank of information on Hezbollah cells, particularly in the Sinai desert following the arrests and interrogations several months ago of a major Hezbollah cell accused of plotting against Mubarak.
WND reported the vast majority of that cell escaped from Egyptian prison in February amid the chaos then engulfing Mubarak's regime.
Members of the cell were arrested in June 2009. At the time, Egypt's public prosecutor, Abdel-Magid Mohammed, announced the country had arrested 13 alleged Hezbollah agents on suspicion of planning attacks inside Egypt.
In 2009, WND was first to report Iranian soldiers aiding the Hezbollah members were nabbed in Egypt.
A senior Egyptian security official, speaking from Cairo, told WND in 2009 his country had information Hezbollah cells – working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – had been coordinating terrorist activities inside Egypt with al-Qaida elements known to be present in the Sinai.
The accusation that Iranian-backed agents were working with al-Qaida could not be verified by Israeli security officials. If accurate, it would mark a major turning point for Hezbollah, which has openly clashed with al-Qaida over ideology. Hezbollah espouses a strict Shiite Islamic belief system, while al-Qaida adheres to fundamentalist Sunni Muslim beliefs.
Al-Qaida has been blamed for a string of major, deadly suicide bombings inside Egypt the past few years mostly targeting hotels and other tourist sites. The Egyptian government previously has admitted it was likely al-Qaida was still operating in the Sinai.
The Egyptian security official speaking to WND said the Hezbollah-Iranian agents in Egypt were working with al-Qaida to plot attacks against tourist sites, particularly those known to be popular with Israelis.
According to separate informed security officials with direct knowledge of the situation, Hezbollah, working directly with Iran, began setting up cells inside Egypt at least two years ago. The cells consisted of well over 80 agents, said the sources.
The goals of the cells operating in the country include plotting to destabilize the Egyptian regime to advance Iranian interests, planning attacks against Israelis at tourist sites, aiding Hamas in Gaza and establishing a base of Iranian operations along the strategic Suez Canal.
The pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported Egypt arrested the chief of the Hezbollah cell, identified as Sami Shehab. The newspaper claimed Shehab confessed his cell monitored tourist sites in the Egyptian resort cities of Taba, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh, and tracked Israeli ships passing through the Suez Canal.
Latest signs of Egyptian militancy
The purported refusal of Egypt to share intelligence information with Israel comes amid fears in the country of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood seeks to restore the Islamic caliphate, a political empire that once ruled the Middle East. Both Hamas and al-Qaida are Brotherhood offshoots.
Earlier this month, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intentions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said "if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime."
The same day, Egypt's foreign minister said Cairo was ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Tehran after a break of more than 30 years, signaling a clear shift in Iran policy since the fall of Mubarak.
"The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve to have mutual relations reflecting their history and civilization," said Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby after meeting with Iranian official Mugtabi Amani.
Days after Mubarak stepped aside, Egypt allowed the passage of two Iranian warships through the strategic Suez Canal for the first time since 1979.
Also WND reported
the Egyptian military command met with Hamas to discuss ways to build a
relationship with the Islamist organization.
Warns Israel can take unilateral actions of its own if U.N. declares Palestinian state
If the United Nations unilaterally declares a Palestinian state, Israel should respond by immediately annexing the Jewish communities in the strategic West Bank, declared a Knesset member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.
Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of Israel's parliament, pointed out the 1993 Oslo Accords restrict both Israel and the Palestinian Authority from taking unilateral action outside of negotiations.
However, he contended that if the PA follows through with seeking a U.N. declaration of a Palestinian state, and the international body approved the motion, the Jewish state should take unilateral measures of its own.
"We should (then) announce that we are annexing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, immediately. The same way (Prime Minister) Menachem Begin did it with the Golan Heights and we did it in Jerusalem, we should do the same with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria."
Danon was speaking in a radio interview with Aaron Klein, WND's Jerusalem bureau chief who hosts an investigative program on New York's WABC 770 AM Radio.
The Likud Knesset member was referring to the Israeli annexation of the eastern sections of Jerusalem, which contain the Temple Mount, after it recaptured the territory in the 1967 Six Day War.
Also, Israel in 1981 annexed the Golan Heights, which looks down on Israeli population centers, after neighboring Syria twice used the plateau to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
Danon told Klein that any U.N.-created Palestinian state would be "like a state on Facebook."
"They will get a lot of 'likes,'" he said. "People will support them. Countries will support them. But on the ground we will have to make sure that we control the borders. We control the security issues."
He warned a Palestinian country would be a "state of terrorism" that would be controlled by Iran.
Judea and Samaria, commonly referrer to as the West Bank, contains large Palestinian cities as well as Israeli communities, some in biblical cities, such as Beit El and Hebron.
The Palestinians seek a state in the pre-1967 borders, meaning the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem.
The PA been saying for at least two years they may seek a vote at the United Nations Security Council for the declaration of a Palestinian state.
Previously, PA officials stated the Obama administration would not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Palestinian state.
In 2009, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA "reached an understanding with important elements within the administration" to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.
Asked to which "elements" he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.
In a clear attempt to pave the way for a U.N. vote on the matter, the international body announced last week the PA possesses the capacity to function as a state.
"In six areas where the U.N. is most engaged, government functions are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state," stated a U.N. report released last Tuesday.
The six areas were "governance, rule of law and human rights; livelihoods; education and culture; health; social protection; and infrastructure and water."
Still, the report cautioned, "The key constraints to the existence and successful functioning of the institutions of a potential state of Palestine arise primarily from the persistence of occupation and the unresolved issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The reference to "occupation" is controversial, since the territories were never part of any previous Palestinian state, and Israel is historically tied to the West Bank.For more information on this topic, click here
U.S. government has no strategy to deal with Muslim Brotherhood
Mrs. Myrick was particularly concerned about the role the Muslim Brotherhood plays in the United States.
The federal government has no strategy to counter the Muslim Brotherhood at home or abroad, according to the chairwoman of the House panel that oversees counterintelligence and terrorism.
“The federal government does not have a comprehensive or consistent strategy for dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated groups in America,” Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick said during a hearing Wednesday. “Nor does it have a strategy for dealing with the Brotherhood in Egypt or the greater Middle East.”
The North Carolina Republican is chairwoman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism, human intelligence, analysis and counterintelligence. Mrs. Myrick said at the hearing that she planned on scheduling closed classified hearings on the Muslim Brotherhood this session with government officials.
Established in 1928 in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood is widely considered the first organization to push for political Islam or Islamism, a movement that seeks to replace civil law with Islamic or Shariah law.
Islamists were repressed for decades by the governments in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. But with the wave of uprisings that have toppled those governments, political parties and social movements inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood may be poised to try to assume political power in those countries for the first time.
At the hearing, during which nongovernment experts gave testimony, opinions on this point differed.
To read more of this article, visit:
WHISTLEBLOWER MAGAZINE STATES OF REBELLION
While millions of outraged Americans protest what they see as a lawless and power-mad Obama administration, many wonder how much clout individuals can really have in reining in a wildly out-of-control government.
But suppose, in addition to citizens with little power beyond their vote, those standing up to the federal government were named Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Montana, Maine, South Dakota – and many more?
Incredibly, though under-reported by the establishment press, that's exactly what is happening right now, as the April issue of Whistleblower documents in-depth, in "STATES OF REBELLION: How legislators and governors nationwide are openly challenging a rogue president."
A wide-ranging rebellion is indeed under way – by a large majority of states – against what they claim are intolerable and blatantly unconstitutional encroachments by the federal government. And they are seriously intent on declaring such unconstitutional laws null and void in their state.
Here's how Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of the bestselling book, "Nullification: How to resist federal tyranny in the 21st century," succinctly lays out the issue in the April Whistleblower:
Nullification begins with the axiomatic point that a federal law that violates the Constitution is no law at all. It is void and of no effect. Nullification simply pushes this uncontroversial point a step further: If a law is unconstitutional and therefore void and of no effect, it is up to the states, the parties to the federal compact, to declare it so and thus refuse to enforce it. It would be foolish and vain to wait for the federal government or a branch thereof to condemn its own law. Nullification provides a shield between the people of a state and an unconstitutional law from the federal government.
Take Obamacare: Most people know the GOP-led House of Representatives repealed it (though the Democrat-controlled Senate almost certainly will not, nor will Obama ever sign it). And many also know 27 states are challenging Obamacare in court. But what few understand is that at least 11 states are attempting to legislatively nullify Obamacare within their borders. So far, an act to nullify the entire federal health-care law has become state law in Montana and Idaho, has been approved by one house in North Dakota, and introduced in eight other states – New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
What about the federal government's labyrinthine gun laws? Eight states have already passed laws – signed by their governors – telling Washington its firearms regulations are not valid in those states for weapons manufactured and purchased in-state. Many other states are on the same legislative track.
There's much more: Utah last month became the first state to make gold and silver legal tender in that state. Twenty-four states are defying Obama by copying Arizona's immigration law – the one the Obama Justice Department sued Arizona over. Lawmakers in 40 states are working to halt the epidemic of "anchor babies" establishing "birthright citizenship." And 13 states are considering laws that would require every presidential candidate – including Barack Obama – to prove he is a natural-born citizen before his name can be placed on that state's ballot in presidential elections.
Posted: April 21, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to bring a decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver into alignment with its precedents in a dispute over cross memorials to fallen Utah state highway patrol troopers.
Officials with the Alliance Defense Fund today said they have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court that asks the court to affirm the constitutionality of roadside memorial crosses honoring the fallen officers.
The high court last year concluded in another case that a cross erected by a private group on public property in honor of fallen members of the military was constitutional.
ADF argues that the precedent also should apply to the Utah dispute.
"One atheist group's agenda shouldn't diminish the sacrifice made by Utah highway patrol officers and their families. We are asking the Supreme Court to allow the families of the fallen to honor their loved ones through these constitutionally permissible memorials," said ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione.
"The Supreme Court recently signaled that individualized memorial crosses honoring fallen troopers simply do not amount to a government establishment of religion. That guidance applies directly to this case," he said.
A district court judge affirmed the constitutionality of the memorials, but when the dispute was elevated to the Denver court, the judges condemned the crosses on the narrowest of margins, 5-4.
The four judges who dissented raised strong objections to the censorship that the decision appeared to impose.
"The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm," the Supreme Court wrote in its 2010 decision regarding a cross memorial in the Mojave Desert. "A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."
Argued the ADF brief, "The 10th Circuit's decision conflicts with this court's Establishment Clause precedent. The 10th Circuit invalidated the challenged roadside memorials by (1) fixating on their cross shape, (2) ignoring most of their features, history, and context, and (3) opining that the Establishment Clause forbids such displays unless the overall setting nullifies any religious significance."
However, "This court … has denounced each of these analytical missteps. In short, the 10th Circuit's approach, if allowed to stand, will prohibit the government from accommodating public displays of religious symbols, forbid a widely embraced means of commemorating fallen heroes on public property, and manifest an unconstitutional hostility toward religion."
ADF warned that if the Utah crosses are disallowed, the result "could jeopardize similar memorials honoring other fallen heroes across the nation, including 14 crosses on Colorado's Storm King Mountain where firefighters lost their lives in a 1994 wildfire."
The case originated with complaints from American Atheists who sued the Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Transportation Department, alleging the memorials are a government establishment of religion.
That claim was pursued even though the memorials are funded and maintained by a private group, the Utah Highway Patrol Association, which supports patrol officers and their families.
WND columnist David Limbaugh, when the earlier ruling banishing the crosses was released, blasted the judiciary for its "allergy" to Christianity.
"Our politically correct-intoxicated culture is so allergic to expressions and symbols of Christianity that our courts leap to absurd conclusions to cordon off the chief allergen: Christianity," he wrote at the time.
"The egregious constitutional infraction here is not that the government put up the signs, which it didn't, but that the memorials were placed along public roads. Thus, 'reasonable' passing motorists – as opposed, I guess, to those afflicted with anti-Christian road rage – might well assume that the government is endorsing the Christian religion. Horror of horrors. My gosh, what would the largely Christian founders think?"
He continued. "I don't think it's a reasonable inference at all that the government is making a religious statement by permitting the placement of these memorials along the public highway. On the other hand, I think the government would be (and is) making a statement against Christianity by denying this group access because of its paranoia about going into Christian-spawned anaphylactic shock."
The memorials have remained in place during the court process,
future depends entirely on the high court accepting the case and
lower court's decision.
VOICE OF AMERICA
Police in China
detained hundreds of Christian worshippers as they gathered for
outdoor service in Beijing.
The detentions are the latest in a crackdown on individuals and groups
by the government to pose a threat to social stability.
BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
District taking money, but censoring Christians?
Lawsuit challenges decision to edit messages on project bricks
Posted: January 25, 2011
By Bob Unruh
A lawsuit has been filed accusing Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, Calif., of taking money from Christians who bought paving stones as part of a fund-raiser, but then refusing to include them in the final project because of the Christian "verbiage" the stones contained.
A spokeswoman for the school in the Desert Sands Unified School District told WND that it was an outside organization, the parent teacher organization, that was running the fundraiser and the school did not have a responsibility.
"We were surprised because the ADF had brought the issue forward to us [and we] were reviewing it to see what we could do. We're very sensititve to the First Amendments rights to speech and religion," said Cindy McDanielBut the accusations were spelled out in a complaint filed just days ago in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Eastern Division-Riverside by the the Alliance Defense Fund.
It explains that small paving
stones were sold for $100 and large ones for $250 in the school
fund-raiser, and purchasers were allowed to include messages such as:
But two Christians who bought stones, one was the purchase of five small stones for $500 and the other was the purchase of one large stone for $250, were refused permission to have their stones displayed along with the others.
"The government cannot single out Christians because their religious viewpoint does not coincide with campus orthodoxy," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. "Christians have the same First Amendment-protected rights as everyone else does on public school campuses, and their messages are no less worthy of exposure than other individuals'."
The project was launched in February 2010 by the Palm Desert parent teacher organization. It was approved by the principal, board and superintendent.
"No limitations were given as to the content of the messages on the pavers – other than the length – and the fundraiser policy stated that the messages could be used to pay tribute, create a legacy, commemorate a special event, or give recognition to various entities," the ADF explained.
Hart and Sheryl Caronno shortly later made their purchases, "for which they later paid."
Then in August the bricks were made, but the two purchasers "were notified that their pavers' inclusion on the walkway was denied because they quoted Bible verses," ADF said.
District officials cited their perception of the "separation of church and state" as a reason, presuming "erroneously" that the Bible verses would establish an unconstitutional establishment of religion, the ADF said.
The ADF said the district did, however, accept other religious messages, such as a Hindu quote from Mahatma Gandhi and even a Bible quote, "Yes, it is possible," in Spanish.
It was a memo from Karen Rohrbaugh of the parent teacher organization that raised concerns about the "religious verbiage."
The principal, Patrick Walsh, agreed. "We need to respectfully decline the donation of bricks quoting scripture from the bible," he wrote. "I'm sure most parents will understand the constitutional protections regarding the separation of church and state."
The paving stones then were
handed over to the purchasers, the case explains.
Ground Zero imam: 'True' Muslims implement Shariah
Tells faithful they must pay 'ultimate price' to see paradise
by Aaron Klein
"True" Muslims who enter the highest levels of Muslim paradise are those who pay the ultimate price of sacrifice for the goal of implementing Shariah Islamic law, declared the imam who has become the new face of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City.
In a recent mosque sermon obtained by WND, Imam Abdallah Adhami opens with an Islamic prayer declaring the supremacy of Allah over the universe.
Adhami stated the message of the Quranic figure Muhammad "is the continuity and the culmination of all the messages of all the prophets before him, from Adam to Noah to Abraham and Moses and Jesus and everyone in between."
"And that message is the supremacy and the total dominion of the lord [Allah] of the world," he stated.In his sermon, Adhami discussed Islamic oral tradition regarding "true" Muslims worthy of entering "Jannah," or the Islamic paradise.
Stated Adhami: "You have to pass all your tests, and the only time that you know you are truthful in implementing the change that Shariah sought for you to implement is when you have paid the ultimate price of sacrifice."Later in the lecture, Adhami states Muslims have more of a right than do Jews to the biblical prophet Moses.
"We love Moses more than them. We are more worthy of loyalty to Moses, more than they are. We love him more than they do," he stated.This seems to be a theme for Adhami.
Two week ago, WND broke the story that Adhami declared in a separate lecture that Muslims have "more of a right" than Jews to the biblical prophet Moses.
In the same lecture, Adhami urged Muslims to "compete" with other religions.
Meanwhile, others have been scrutinizing Adhami's background.
Writing at the NewsReal blog writer Joseph Klein revealed Adhami was a guest speaker at the annual convention of the Islamic Association for Palestine in 200o. T he theme of the convention was "All Palestine is Sacred!"
Adhami was reportedly joined at the speakers' rostrum by Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to contribute services to or for the benefit of the Palestine Islamic Jihad.
IAP went defunct in 2005. It was established in 1981 by Hamas political operative Mousa Abu Marzook.
Like the ISNA, the IAP was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document — titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" – as one of the Brotherhood's 29 likeminded "organizations of our friends."
Also, the Atlas Shrugs website, run by blogger and activist Pamela Geller, found Adhami has expressed appreciation for Islamic cleric Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Adhami has called Wahhaj "Our Beloved Imam" and the "voice of the spirit of Islam in America and its pride."
Also, Adhami's website, Sakeenah, hailed Wahhaj for his "devoted leadership to the community" and his role "as a pioneer in the American Muslim experience."
"Since the 1970s, Imam Siraj has tirelessly laid the foundations for many scholars and leaders that would follow him," the website stated. "From activism to challenges, to the Nation of Islam to revolutions, follow Imam Siraj as he retraces the footsteps of his life."World Net Daily
Courts have ‘special animosity’ for Christians
of 'infecting' children
March 16th, 2011
A Louisiana driver was stopped and detained for having a "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his vehicle and warned by a police officer about the "subversive" message it sent, according to the driver's relative.
The situation developed in the small town of Ball, La., where a receptionist at the police department told WND she knew nothing about the traffic stop, during which the "suspect" was investigated for "extremist" activities, the relative said.
It followed by only a few weeks the release of a Department of Homeland Security report, "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment", which prompted outrage from legislators and a campaign calling for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The report, which cites individuals who sport certain bumper stickers on their vehicles as suspect, was delivered to tens of thousands of local law enforcement officers across the nation.
WND is withholding the driver's name and the relative's name at their request.However, the situation was described on the American Vision blog.
According to the relative, it happened this way: Her brother-in-law was driving home from work through the town, which has a local reputation for enhancing its budget by ticketing speeders. He was pulled over by police officers who told him "he had a subversive survivalist bumper sticker on his car."
"They proceeded to keep him there on the side of the road while they ran whatever they do to see if you have a record, keeping him standing by the side of the road for 30 minutes," she told WND.
Finding no record and no reason to keep him, they warned him and eventually let him go, she said.
The company that sells the bumper sticker is The Patriot Depot, where Chief Operating Officer Jay Taylor told WND the woman had told his staff about the situation while ordering more bumper stickers.
"It's rather shocking," he said. "We supposedly have freedom of speech in our country.
"We joke around every now and then how our spouses will come to visit us in jail," he continued, citing his products that say, "The Audacity of Nope," "Taxed Enough Already," "Born Free, Taxed to Death," "Bring Home Our Troops: Send the Democrats" and "I'll Keep my Guns and Money, You Keep the 'Change'."
"We hope people realize this is serious," he said.
American Vision noted the "background check" that was done on the driver.
"Why? [He] had purchased and displayed a conservative 'Don't Tread on Me' bumper sticker.""
The commentator wrote, "The bumper sticker is based on the famous flag designed by American Revolution era general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. The yellow flag featured a coiled diamondback rattlesnake ready to strike, with the slogan 'Don't Tread on Me!' underneath it. Benjamin Franklin helped make the rattlesnake a symbol of Americans' reluctance to quarrel but vigilance and resolve in defense of their rights. By 1775 when Gadsden presented his flag to the commander-in-chief of the Navy, the rattlesnake was a symbol of the colonies and of their need to unite in defense of threats to their God-given and inherited rights. The flag and the bumper sticker symbolize American patriotism, the need to defend Americans' rights, and resistance to tyranny's threats to American liberty. Those threats included-and include-illegal taxation, profanation of Americans' rights, and violation of the fundamental principles of American law."
American Vision continued: "The notorious Department of Homeland Security memo, which was apparently based on the infamous Missouri State Police Report that described supporters of presidential candidates Bob Barr, Ron Paul, and Chuck Baldwin as 'militia'-type potential extremists and potential terrorists, is not the first effort of leftist radicals to slander their political opponents as 'extremists.'"
"'Liberals' and other leftists have been calling defenders of traditional American limited, constitutional government, free enterprise, and individual liberty 'extremists' since at least the 1964 election," the Vision America statement said. "Small town police misled by phony left wing 'reports' are bad enough. Federal government agencies and their armed agents under the direction of leftist radicals are exponentially worse."
WND reported earlier on the DHS report, which advised about the "extremism" that could be expected from returning veterans, those who support homeschooling and oppose abortion, post certain bumper stickers on their vehicles and other factors.
The DHS not only issued that report, but also an earlier memo defining dozens of groups, members of animal rights organizations, black separatists, tax protesters and others as "threats."
That item, the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" reportedly was rescinded almost immediately, but Benjamin Sarlin of The Daily Beast recently obtained and published online a copy of the unclassified memo, dated March 26, 2009.
It defines the "tax resistance movement" – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as "groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified."
It states that tax protesters "have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals."
Apparently, the DHS analyzes the "threat" level of
Internet news websites like WorldNetDaily, for the lexicon defines
"alternative media" as "a term used to describe various information
sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues
that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and
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A Middle East expert and former Air Force special agent is set to launch a "counter-terrorism tour" across America in which he plans to visit a mosque in each state in 50 days to assess their threat to the nation's security.
Dave Gaubatz told WND the ultimate aim of his project, which begins April 16, is to shut down Islamic centers "that advocate violence against America" and to prosecute the Islamic leaders "for sedition or treason if they are encouraging their worshippers to attack America from the 'inside.'"
"This objective will only be met if American citizens become involved in their communities and say 'no more,'" Gaubatz said.
He said he receives contact almost daily from citizens who complain that law enforcement officials are not listening to their concerns.
In fact, he said, intelligence on the Islamic centers he plans to visit has been provided by concerned Christian, Jewish and Muslim citizens.
Gaubatz said many law enforcement officers that understand the Islamic threat are hindered by political red tape that prevents them from conducting timely investigations."Most counter-terrorism intelligence collected is filed away and never shared with the public," Gaubatz said. "An objective of this project will be to bring counter-terrorism issues to the attention of the public; and they, in turn, should demand their respective law enforcement departments and elected officials focus on protecting their families and our country."
His assessment of each mosque will be based on available written materials, study material provided for children, discussions with Islamic leaders and observations based on his 25 years of professional training.
Gaubatz, a U.S. State Department-trained Arabic linguist and counter-terrorism specialist, has more than two decades of experience in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. He was deployed to Nasiriyah, Iraq, in 2003, where he collected intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and espionage.
Gaubatz said he will declare his intentions at each of the pre-selected mosques in a professional manner, hand the leaders his card and confront them on any violent material he observes or on any information they distribute that advocates an Islamic state in the U.S.
"It is important to understand not all mosques and Islamic leaders advocate violence against the U.S., but initial research and intelligence obtained from sources indicate many do," he said.
The objective of the mapping project, which stopped due to lack of funding, was to systematically classify every known mosque in the U.S. in a rigorous, scientific fashion, based on the premise that the more a mosque or community of Muslims adheres to Shariah, or Islamic law, the greater its threat to U.S. national security.
During his upcoming 50-day journey, Gaubatz plans to make any relevant information his finds available to law enforcement, and he will keep the public abreast of his travels with photos, video and audio uploaded on his website.
"The public needs this information right now," he said. "With or without public funding, I will conduct the assessment."
His previous charting of about 100 mosques showed "the more adherent the mosque is to Shariah, the more likely you are going to find the material to back that up."
Gaubatz found, for example, at the Islamic Center of South Jersey in Palmyra – where three Muslims charged with terrorism regularly worshipped – a strict, Shariah-adherent leadership that eagerly distributed jihadist materials supportive of seminal Shariah proponents such as Sayid Abul Maududi, the founder of the radical Pakistani party Jamaat-e-Islami, and Syed Qutb, whose ideas shaped al-Qaida
Gaubatz discovered that the mosque tied to the Muslim who went on a shooting rampage at Salt Lake City's Trolley Square mall in 2007 ranked high in Shariah adherence. In Blacksburg, Va., he met the imam who was asked to pray at the nationally televised service for slain students at Virginia Tech and discovered he leads a Shariah-compliant mosque that backs the genocidal Islamist regime in Sudan.
Gaubatz contends many Islamic groups and organizations take on a legal and peaceful veneer in English-speaking settings but often preach quietly in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu "a very violent and anti-American jihad."
Virtually all Islamic leaders in the U.S. have been particularly careful since the 9/11 attacks about what they say publicly, Gaubatz said. But many Shariah-compliant mosques and schools distribute materials supporting or calling for violent jihad.
Gaubatz has spent a considerable amount of his time investigating the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which has enjoyed access to the White House, the State Department, Homeland Security and other branches of government despite evidence of its ties to Hamas and other radical groups.
Gaubatz noted CAIR has a campaign to put Shariah-promoting materials into American libraries.
"I've gone to several hundred public libraries and this material is in there," he said. "People don't realize what it is until you start looking at the author, and it came from Saudi Arabia, sent to CAIR. And CAIR is putting it into our public libraries."
As WND reported, Gaubatz publicly served CAIR leaders last November with legal notice of a lawsuit on behalf of Muslims who claim the group victimized them in a fraud scheme involving a lawyer who is unqualified to practice.
Gaubatz said his group has been told by many sympathetic Muslims that to minimize the threat of another attack, authorities should ask foreigners seeking entry into the U.S. if they agree with Shariah.
"If they agree, according to the Muslims who have told us this, then they should probably not even be given entry here," he said.
"It's so easy. You can't agree with Shariah law and say that you are peaceful," Gaubatz continued. "You can't do it. Now there are Muslims in the United States who do. They say, we don't agree with Shariah law, we don't want Shariah law. But then, to the pure Muslim, they are not Muslim."
Some Muslims want to reform Islam, he said, and retain only peaceful elements.
"That's fine, but then you are not pure Muslim," Gaubatz said.
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A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be "challenged."
The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.
The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.
The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.A statement released by a publicist working for the mother, whose children now are 10, 11 and 12, said Mangum stripped her of her right to decide what is best for her children's education.
The judge, when contacted by WND, explained his goal in ordering the children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have a "more well-rounded education."
"I thought Ms. Mills had done a good job [in homeschooling]," he said. "It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement."
The judge said the husband has not been supportive of his wife's homeschooling, and "it accomplished its purposes. It now was appropriate to have them back in public school."
Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, "What's in the best interest of the minor children," and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother's.
And he said that while he expressed his opinion from the bench in the court hearing, the final written order had not yet been signed.
However, the practice of a judge replacing a parent's judgment with his own regarding homeschooling was argued recently when a court panel in California ruled that a family would no longer be allowed to homeschool their own children.
WND reported extensively when the ruling was released in February 2008, alarming homeschool advocates nationwide because of its potential ramifications.
Ultimately, the 2nd Appellate District Court in Los Angeles reversed its own order, affirming the rights of California parents to homeschool their children if they choose.
The court, which earlier had opined that only credentialed teachers could properly educate children, was faced with a flood of friend-of-the-court briefs representing individuals and groups, including Congress members.
The conclusion ultimately was that parents, not the state, would decide where children are educated.
The California opinion said state law permits homeschooling "as a species of private school education" but that statutory permission for parents to teach their own children could be "overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent."
In the North Carolina case, Adam Cothes, a spokesman for the mother, said the children routinely had been testing at up to two years above their grade level, were involved in swim team and other activities and events outside their home and had taken leadership roles in history club events.
On her website, family friend Robyn Williams said Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated but that ordering the children into public schools would "challenge the ideas you've taught them."
Williams, a homeschool mother of four herself, said, "I have never seen such injustice and such a direct attack against homeschool."
"This judge clearly took personal issue with Venessa's stance on education and faith, even though her children are doing great. If her right to homeschool can be taken away so easily, what will this mean for homeschoolers state wide, or even nationally?" Williams asked.
Williams said she's trying to rally homeschoolers across the nation to defend their rights as Americans and parents to educate their own children.
Williams told WND the public school order was the worst possible outcome for Ms. Mills, who had made it clear she felt it was important to her children that she continue homeschooling.
According to Williams' website, the judge also ordered a mental health evaluation for the mother – but not the father – as part of the divorce proceedings, in what Williams described as an attack on the "mother's conservative Christian beliefs."
According to a proposed but as-yet unsigned order submitted by the father's lawyer to Mangum, "The children have thrived in homeschool for the past four years, but need the broader focus and socialization available to them in public school. The Court finds that it is in the children's best interest to continue their homeschooling through the end of the current school year, but to begin attending public school at the beginning of the 2009-2010 instructional year."
The order proposed by the father's lawyer also conceded the reason for the divorce was the father's "adultery," but it specifically said the father would not pay for homeschooling expenses for his children.
The order also stated, "Defendant believes that plaintiff is a nurturing mother who loves the children. Defendant believes that plaintiff has done a good job with the homeschooling of the children, although he does not believe that continued homeschooling is in the best interest of the children."
The website said the judge also said public school would "prepare these kids for the real world and college" and allow them "socialization."
Williams said the mother originally moved into a homeschool schedule because the children were not doing as well as she hoped at the local public schools.
"We're pleased the appeals court recognized the rights of parents to provide education for their children," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. "This decision reaffirms the constitutional right that's afforded to parents in directing the education of their children. It's an important victory for families who cherish the freedom to ensure that their children receive a high quality education that is inherent in homeschooling."
"Parents have a constitutional right to make educational choices for their children," said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. "Thousands of California families have educated their children successfully through homeschooling. We're pleased with the court's decision, which protects the rights of families and protects an avenue of education that has proven to benefit children time and time again.
The North Carolina ruling also resembles a number of rulings handed down against homeschool parents in Germany, where such instruction has been banned since the years of Adolf Hitler's rule.
As WND reported, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented previously on the issue, contending the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion.""The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling," said a government letter in response. "... You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. ... In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement."
WND also reported recently when a German appeals court tossed out three-month jail terms issued to a mother and father who homeschool their children. But the court also ordered new trials that could leave the parents with similar penalties, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The case involves Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, who last summer received formal notices of their three-month sentences.
The 90-day sentences came about when Hesse State Prosecutor Herwig Muller appealed a lower court's determination of fines for the family. The ruling had imposed fines of about 900 euros, or $1,200, for not sending their children to school
Muller, however, told the parents they shouldn't worry about any fines, since he would "send them to jail," the HSLDA reported.
HSLDA spokesman Michael Donnelly warned the homeschooling battle is far from over in Germany.
"There continue to be signs that the German government is cracking down on homeschooling families," he reported. "A recent letter from one family in southern Germany contained threats from local school authorities that unless the family enrolled their children in school, they would seek fines in excess of 50,000 euros (nearly $70,000), jail time and the removal of custody of the children."
HSLDA officials estimate there are some 400
homeschool families in Germany, virtually all of them either forced
into hiding or facing court actions.
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The ruling came in a case stemming from a dispute in Utah in which a religious organization called Summum demanded the city of Pleasant Grove display a monument containing its seven "aphorisms." Summum argued the city already had accepted a donated monument displaying the Ten Commandments in a city park.
Lawyers with the American Center for Law and Justice, who defended the city, said a requirement that governments display any message offered was "scary" and would lead to absurd scenarios.
"The Minutemen in Massachusetts? We need a Redcoat. A George Washington statue? Why not George the 3rd. A Holocaust memorial? How about a Hitler memorial?" said the ACLJ's Frank Manion in a previous interview with WND.The non-profit legal group also had suggested that according to Summum's logic, the nation could be required to allow a "Statue of Tyranny" in New York Harbor to accompany the Statue of Liberty.
The Supreme Court's ruling concluded those fears are "well founded."
At the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, judges had ruled that Summum was entitled to have its monument displayed by the city.
The ACLJ contended Ten Commandments monuments nationwide were the real targets of the legal action, because in many circumstances, cities or other governments likely would order such monuments removed rather than order acceptance of others.
Today's decision, ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow told WND, is a "huge victory."
"This decision allows government to convey messages about its own history of its community, and includes religious monuments," he said. "Religious monuments are not treated differently than others. Most significantly, the government get to make the selections."
The ACLJ, which has worked on the case with the Thomas More Law Center, explained the Constitution "does not empower private parties to force permanent displays into a park, crowding out the available physical space and trumping the government's own vision" for the parks.
A monument is not the same as a message delivered in a public forum, either, the opinion said.
"Speakers, no matter how long-winded, eventually come to the end of their remarks; persons distributing leaflets and carrying signs at some point tire and go home; monuments, however, endure. They monopolize the use of the land on which they stand and interfere permanently with other uses of public space. A public park, over the years, can provide a soapbox for a very large number of orators – often, for all who want to speak – but it is hard to imagine how a public park could be opened up for the installation of permanent monuments by every person or group wishing to engage in that form of expression," said the court.
"There may be situations in which it is difficult to tell whether a government entity is speaking on its own behalf or is providing a forum for private speech, but this case does not present such a situation. Permanent monuments displayed on public property typically represent government speech," the opinion said.
"Just as government-commissioned and government-financed monuments speak for the government so do privately financed and donated monuments that the government accepts and displays to the public on government land … We think it is fair to say that throughout our Nation's history, the general government practice with respect to donated monuments has been one of selective receptivity."
The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. David Souter filed an opinion concurring in judgment.
In his arguments to the high court, Sekulow said another ruling in the case would "create havoc in America over how local, state and federal governments choose to memorialize significant events."
He suggested the basic question is whether a city gets to decide which permanent, unattended monuments, if any, to install on city property. The answer is 'Yes,'" he said. "The fact is that government speech means the government can control its message. For example, accepting a Statue of Liberty does not compel a government to accept a Statue of Tyranny."
"Summum's assertion of a right to force its monument upon the city has no legitimate basis in Supreme Court case law," Sekulow said.
Summum, founded in Salt Lake City in 1975, calls itself a church. The group sued Pleasant Grove in federal court, alleging that because the city had a donated Ten Commandments monument in a city park, the First Amendment required the city to accept and display a monument to Summum's seven aphorisms.
The aphorisms, according to the group's website, predate the Ten Commandments and include: The principles of psychokinesis, correspondence, vibration, opposition, rhythm, cause and effect, and gender.
The "church" claims the aphorisms were written on the
original stone tablets given by God to Moses, which he broke when he
saw the Israelites had manufactured a golden calf idol during his
absence. The organization says the tablets were broken because Moses
realized people couldn't understand the aphorisms, so he came down a
second time with the Ten Commandments.
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"Well, his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven't seen any birth certificate," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told constituents in Cullman County. "You have to be born in America to be president."
Where's the proof Barack Obama was born in the U.S. or that he fulfills the "natural-born American" clause in the Constitution? If you still want to see it, join more than 250,000 others and sign up now!
WND has reported on multiple legal challenges to Obama's status as a "natural born citizen." The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
Some question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama's American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama's citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.Here is a partial listing and status update for some of the cases over Obama's eligibility:
In addition, other cases cited on the RightSideofLife blog as raising questions about Obama's eligibility include:
WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi had gone to both Kenya and Hawaii prior to the election to investigate issues surrounding Obama's birth. But his research and discoveries only raised more questions.
The governor's office in Hawaii said there is a valid certificate but rejected requests for access and left ambiguous its origin: Does the certificate on file with the Department of Health indicate a Hawaii birth or was it generated after the Obama family registered a Kenyan birth in Hawaii, which the state's procedures allowed at the time?
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JERUSALEM – Two newspaper executives were arrested yesterday on charges of "intent to outrage" the "religious feelings" of Muslims.
Their alleged crime? Republishing an article that refers to Islam as "oppressive" and states the religion's prophet, Muhammad, had sex with a 9-year-old girl and ordered the murder of Jews.
The incident unfolded in India, where Ravindra Kumar, an editor, and Anand Sinha, publisher of the country's Statesman newspaper, turned themselves into police following complaints from local Muslims. The complaints cited a law that makes illegal the "malicious intent" to "outrage religious feelings." The two were released on bail today.
The Statesman had republished an article Feb. 5 originally printed in Britain's Independent newspaper titled, "Why should I respect these oppressive religions?" The author, columnist Johann Hari, was lamenting what he said was the erosion of rights to criticize religion."I don't respect the idea that we should follow a 'prophet' who at the age of 53 had sex with a 9-year old girl and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him," Hari wrote.
Although the piece prompted little outcry in Britain, angry Muslims reportedly have been demonstrating in front of the Statesman's offices. Baton-wielding police broke up several protests the past two weeks.
Kumar already issued a public apology for reprinting the article.
"The essential ingredient of the law under which we are charged is malicious intent," Kumar told reporters today.
"But how could we anticipate the protest when the article generated no controversy in Britain, which has substantial Muslim population, after it was carried originally by the Independent?" he said.
India, the world's second most populous country, is mostly Hindu. About 13 percent of the population is Muslim.
"There is no minimal age for entering marriage. You can have a marriage contract even with a 1-year-old girl, not to mention a girl of 9, 7, or 8. This is merely a contract [indicating] consent. The guardian in such a case must be the father, because the father's opinion is obligatory. Thus, the girl becomes a wife," said Ahmad Al-Mu'bi, an officiant for marriages.World Net Daily
Ron and Rita Palma filed the exemption with their son's school district in 2006 after coming to the conclusion the year before that the required vaccinations violated their conscience and sense of God's leading for their family.
Rather than accept the standard exemption form, however, the Bayport-Blue Point Union Free School District demanded the couple meet with school attorney David Cohen. The Palmas have twice been compelled to sit down with Cohen to be interrogated about their faith and their convictions about vaccines.
"If you believe God is on your side," Cohen asked in the most recent of the two interviews, conducted last fall, "does that mean he's not on the side of someone who believes in immunization?"
"Do you have conversations with God? Has God told you not to immunize?" the attorney asked. "Explain it to me."
Cohen described to the Palmas' attorney that the purpose of the interview was two-fold: to determine whether the Palmas' beliefs are actually religious, as opposed to philosophical or political; and to determine whether the beliefs are "sincerely and genuinely held."
The school district's most recent interrogation of the Palmas was videotaped, and a segment – which shows the attorney, Cohen, while the Palmas and their attorney sit off-screen – can be seen below:Rita Palma told WND that being compelled to defend her faith before an attorney and answer questions about her family's lifestyle, diet, medicinal choices and personal convictions was "unbelievably invasive."
"It's almost beyond words what we were put through," Palma said. "It's such an abusive power, it's so arrogant that 'outrageous' doesn't even label it correctly. It's something you can't even imagine that somebody would take it upon themselves to do – to judge the sincerity of your belief.
"Particularly in a school district," Palma said, "taking it upon themselves to judge your relationship with God? Have you ever heard of such a thing?"
Not only were the Palmas grilled, however, their attempts to file religious exemptions were also ultimately denied.
Following both interviews, the first in 2006 and the last in 2008, the school district deemed the Palmas' beliefs were not sincerely held.
"This determination," wrote the school in 2006, "was made based upon your meeting with the school attorney and information which we received, which significantly calls into question your stated beliefs."
Rita Palma explained to WND that her choice not to immunize her children was a decision of conscience and of following God's leading. In the interview with the lawyer, Palma further explained that she sees a distinction between medicine as a healing for sickness and vaccines, which she described as injecting a sickness as step toward heath. The latter, she insisted, violates her understanding of trust in God and his design for the body.
The school district's denial, however, cited a medical test Palma gave her son as evidence that her beliefs are too inconsistent to be sincerely and genuinely held.
The district's second denial, in 2008, further criticized the Palmas, a self-described Catholic family, for misquoting the Bible and claimed that if their objection was truly a matter of religious conviction, they could have sought something other than public school for their son.
The Palmas appealed the original denial to the state's commissioner of public education, only to be denied again.
Now, with the help of New York State Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, the Palmas are working to prevent other parents from enduring the same interrogation or contra-conscience mandatory immunization of their children.
Gottfried, chair of the state Assembly's health committee, has sponsored New York bill A00883, which amends state law to ban "sincerity tests" and states, "The current common practice of government agencies scrutinizing and judging a parent's religious beliefs is inappropriate in a democracy that values the First Amendment.
"There could be concern that some parents might falsely claim a religious exemption," the bill continues. "But it is greatly outweighed by the burden that the intrusive, prolonged inquiry imposes on bona fide objectors forced to defend their religious beliefs."
WND contacted the offices of attorney David Cohen for response or comment but received no reply.World Net Daily
A woman arrested at the Cairo airport because her identity card described her as a Christian has been threatened for her faith by the judge in her case, according to a new report.
As WND reported, authorities in Egypt deprived the woman's two children, ages 2 and 4, of food to try to coerce her to abandon Christianity and return to Islam.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency, a woman identified as Martha Samuel Makkar was arrested Dec. 13 as she, her husband, Fadl Thabet, and two sons were trying to leave Cairo for Russia.
Makkar, formerly known as Zainab Said Abdel-Aziz, was accused
of carrying forged government documents, because she identified herself
as a Christian. Islamic law forbids Muslims from abandoning the faith.
Now, according to Compass Direct News, she has been granted bail, and released to rejoin her husband and sons at home pending her forgery trial.
However, the release was not without complications.
Makkar's lawyer, Nadia Tawfiq, reported that Judge Abdelaa Hashem questioned Makkar closely about her Christian faith during a courtroom hearing.
The decision to grant her bail came Saturday in the hearing before Hashem after Makkar told the judge about her new Christian faith and her abandonment of Islam.
Tawfiq told Compass Direct "the judge then said, 'I want to talk with Martha alone,' so we all left the room, and he said to her, 'Nobody changes from Muslim to Christian – you are a Muslim.'
"And she said, 'No, I am a Christian.' He told her, 'If I had a knife now, I would kill you,'" the lawyer said.
Makkar, 24, has said she's been enduring death threats from police and members of her extended family for the five years since she converted.
There is no established legal precedent in Egypt for allowing people to leave Islam. And national law doesn't provide a channel through which to change the religious designation on an identity card.
The Compass report said George Abyad, 67, and Masood Guirges, 55, employees of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria, also were arrested on suspicion they aided Makkar with her papers.
The American Center for Law and Justice has participated in a fight to keep a man who fled Egypt from being deported from the U.S. A recent decision from the 3rd U.S. District Court of Appeals gave Sameh Khouzam the right to challenge Egypt's "diplomatic assurances" that he would not be tortured on his return to the Middle East nation.
Egypt has been demanding his extradition in a homicide case he alleges is trumped-up. The case has been highlighted by spokesman Sam Grace of Coptic News. He praised U.S. District Judge Thomas Vanaskie's earlier ruling that Khouzam "most assuredly has a right not to be tortured."
"We live in a time that is really as bad if not worse than the time of the martyrs," he said.
Multitudes of Christians have been attacked, and many killed, yet not one Muslim ever has been convicted in the attacks, he said.
"The why is very simple, because Shariah law says the blood of the Muslim should not be shed for the blood of an unbeliever," he said.
Grace said since Egypt's constitution concludes laws derive from the Quran, persecution of Christians is not only allowed but endorsed by the government.
"In the last 10 years, more than 5,000 Christians have been massacred in Egypt," he told WND. "Hundreds of businesses and homes first have been looted, then burned and destroyed. Churches have been burned and destroyed."
Grace told WND that attacks, lootings and burnings are common in Egypt on Fridays, after the local imam preaches violence against Christians at his mosque.
"The life of a Christian in Egypt is now worth zero. Every Muslim now knows killing a Christian [is not prosecuted]," he said.
A report from the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights concluded Coptic Christians in Egypt have been harassed, tortured and killed by Muslims for 1,400 years.
"They have been subjected to all kinds of hate crimes
including, the abduction of young Coptic girls, the killing of Coptic
women and children and the destruction of their places of worship," the
World Net Daily
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A federal judge today denied a further attempt by the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations to extract attorney fees and costs in a case nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage brought against the Muslim lobby group.
Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected CAIR's request for reconsideration of her Nov. 12 order denying a motion that Savage pay attorney's fees to the Washington, D.C.-based group.
Illston previously dismissed Savage's copyright infringement and RICO lawsuit alleging CAIR illegally published singled-out quotes and audio excerpts from his show regarding Islam, misappropriated his words and used the clips for its own fundraising purposes, damaging the value of his copyrighted material.As WND reported, Savage called Illston's November decision a "huge victory for me, personally, but also for the rest of America who is afraid of this lawsuit-happy group of intimidators."
Savage said Illston is a "bona fide liberal, yet she followed the law in the fees motion."
"CAIR tried to tell her in their claim that she 'should get' me, because they were all liberals," he said. "You have to read their sloppy claim to believe it. Now, people will not be afraid to file suits if they have a legitimate claim against CAIR or any other Soros-funded group."
CAIR waged a public campaign using excerpted Savage remarks to urge advertisers to boycott his top-rated program. CAIR stated its campaign successfully resulted in Savage losing $1 million in advertising.
Part of Savage's lawsuit alleged CAIR received millions in foreign funding and that the Islamic group may have been wrongfully acting as a lobbyist or agent for a foreign government, violating its nonprofit status.
Savage also alleged CAIR was engaged in racketeering, describing the group as a "mouthpiece of international terror" that helped fund the 9/11 attacks, a contention strongly denied by CAIR.
But Illston concluded it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism.
Illston wrote in her ruling that Savage could try to rewrite the racketeering portion of his suit to better fit the specifics of his case.
In May 2007, CAIR was identified by the government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving the Holy Land Foundation, a charity allegedly affiliated with Hamas. Federal prosecutors listed CAIR under the category: “Individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.”
The government also listed Omar Ahmad, CAIR's founder and chairman emeritus, under the same category.
CAIR is registered as a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRS codes, which restrict "lobbying on behalf of a foreign government." CAIR's website claims it receives no foreign government support.
But CAIR's headquarters near the U.S. Capitol until recently was owned by the ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the ruler's foundation has pledged $50 million to capitalize a long-term CAIR public-relations campaign.
The UAE formally recognized the Taliban, and Dubai reportedly acted as the transit point for cash for the 9/11 hijackers. Two of the hijackers were from the Emirates, and one served in the UAE military.
Until 2005, the Al Maktoum Foundation run by Dubai's ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid held the deed to CAIR's headquarters just three blocks from the Capitol. The same foundation reportedly has held telethons to raise money for families of Palestinian "martyrs" during the intifada – or terrorist war – started in September 2000 against Israel. It recently pledged a $50 million endowment for CAIR.
CAIR argues that any assertions it receives money from foreign governments is "disinformation."
"This is yet another attempt to invent a controversy," the group said. "CAIR's operational budget is funded by donations from American Muslims."
CAIR, however, has never publicly acknowledged $1 million controlling interest that the ruler of Dubai's foundation took in its national headquarters just one year after 9/11.
The group also received $500,000 from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the sheik whose $10 million relief check after 9/11 was rejected by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he blamed U.S. policy toward Israel for the attacks.
"There is nothing criminal or immoral about accepting donations from foreign nationals," CAIR asserted. "The U.S. government, corporations and non-profit organizations routinely receive money from foreign nationals."
"Bin Talal is not a member of the Saudi Arabian government," the group added in a statement. "He is a private entrepreneur and international investor."
This may be a distinction without a difference, Savage's lawyers argued, since bin Talal is a member of the Saudi ruling family.
World Net Daily
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