Reader’s Links, Oct. 29, 2018

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

173 Replies to “Reader’s Links, Oct. 29, 2018”

  1. Make America Crazy Again
    Fighting Trump with violent madness.
    October 29, 2018
    Daniel Greenfield

    Republicans want to kill children in schools and the elderly in nursing homes. When they’re not plotting to enslave black people, or conspiring with the Russians to rig elections, they want to destroy the planet and kill everyone living on it.

    Every single human being.

    These aren’t the ravings of a crazed bum getting high in an alley. They’re the daily broadcasts of CNN.

    America is being run by the next best thing to Hitler who locks up children in cages for his own amusement. Not only did Trump personally kill half of Puerto Rico based on a random statistical survey of people willing to talk to leftist grad students (the Washington Post had already declared that, “When it comes to extreme weather, the president is complicit”), but he’s a nationalist, which sounds like Nazi.

    You don’t have to be crazy to make this stuff up. Most J-school graduates are stupid, ignorant and eager as parrots to imitate the cries of the birdbrains with the brightest plumage and the shrillest politics.

    But they’re not crazy. They do however drive others crazy.

    A new study in the Journal of American College Health claims that 1 out of 4 college students could develop PTSD because of the 2016 election. Of course that’s a headline from the Washington Post, which means even less than a statistical survey of a “diverse group” of undergrads from Arizona State.

  2. What Will Happen When the Migrant Caravan Reaches the Border?
    Look to Gaza.
    October 29, 2018
    Robert Spencer

    President Trump has put the thousands who are advancing to the U.S. border on notice: “To those in the Caravan, turnaround, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!” But there is no chance that they will heed his words. They will continue to advance inexorably toward the United States, and what will happen when they get here? A likely answer to that comes from the recent border protests in Gaza.

    The Jerusalem Post reported last May: “Some 40,000 Palestinians took part in violent demonstrations at 13 different locations along the fence, throwing stones, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails at the fence and IDF troops, as well as burning tires and launching burning objects such as kites with charcoal or containers of burning fuel with the intention of setting fires in Israeli fields, the IDF said.”

    This was a Hamas operation. That same month, Aaron Klein reported in Breitbart: “Hamas, desperate over its increasingly precarious situation in Gaza and eager to please Iranian paymasters, has escalated the premeditated, openly violent campaign aimed at breaching the Israel-Gaza border and attacking nearby Israeli communities.” And Hamas official Salah Bardawil admitted at that time: “In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus noted: “This proves what so many have tried to ignore: Hamas is behind these riots, and the branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests’ could not be further from the truth.”

  3. What the Media and the Synagogue Shooter Have in Common
    October 28, 2018
    Daniel Greenfield

    Robert Bowers, the Squirrel Hill synagogue shooter, and the mainstream media had one thing in common.

    They hated the Jews in the Trump administration.

    “Trump is surrounded by kikes,” he wrote.

    Soon after the shootings, media lefties like Franklin Foer took up the shooter’s call.

  4. The Latest Synagogue Shooting Has Nothing To Do With Trump
    October 28, 2018
    Daniel Greenfield

    n an era of political bad faith and media cynicism, the obvious has to be said.

    In 1999, Buford O. Furrow, a white supremacist, opened fire at a Jewish Community Center in the Los Angeles area. Five people were shot, including several children.

    In 2014, Frazier Glenn Miller, a white supremacist, opened fire at a JCC in the Kansas City area. The people he ended up shooting were all non-Jewish.

  5. FIGHTING TALK China’s military ordered to ‘concentrate preparations for fighting a war’ as tensions with West grow

    President Xi Jinping told generals to ‘strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war’

    CHINA’s President Xi Jinping has told his military commanders to “concentrate preparations for fighting a war” as Beijing ramps up fighting talk with the West.

    The communist ruler’s instructions come amid rising tensions over the future of the South China Sea and Taiwan and weeks after a Chinese warship tried to ram a US Navy destroyer.

    video at site

    • Remember the President of Honduras told VP Pence that Venezuela is paying for the caravans, this means that China, Russia and Iran are paying for the caravans. This must be kept in mind when we think about why the caravans are moving now when they will help the Repubs in the midterms. China is making growling noises in the South China Sea and we are being forced to divert part of our military to the Southern border.

  6. Daesh-Related Militants in Syria Received Canisters With Toxic Gases – Reports (sputniknews, Oct 29, 2018)

    “Militants in northern Syria transferred two canisters filled with chlorine and sarin to groups loyal to the Daesh* terrorist group, Syrian state media reported on Monday.

    “Militants from Jaysh al-Izza, linked to the Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist group, outlawed in Russia], on Sunday transported two canisters with chlorine and sarin from Ltamenah to Qalaat al-Madiq, northwest of Hama. These canisters were handed over to the Daesh-affiliated terror groups in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” a source told the SANA news agency…”

    • White Helmets Started Filming Fake Chemical Weapons Attack – Russian MoD (sputniknews, Oct 29, 2018)

      “According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the filming of the fake chemical weapons’ attack has already begun.

      The Russian Defense Ministry has stated that several dozens of ‘White Helmets’ members had arrived in the Syrian Aleppo province from Idlib to carry out a chemical weapons’ provocation.

      The White Helmets have already started the filming, involving unknown local residents, the Russian military stated.

      “Militants of illegal armed groups do not abandon their attempts to destabilize the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The Russian center for reconciliation received information from residents of Aleppo that they [militants] are preparing another provocation with the use of toxic agents to accuse the government forces of using chemical weapons against the local population,” Lt. Gen. Vladimir Savchenko said as quoted by Russia’s Defense Ministry.

      He said several dozen members of the White Helmets organization had arrived in Aleppo province to carry out the chemical weapons provocation, adding that terrorists had brought containers with toxic agents required for the provocation to Aleppo from Idlib…”

  7. Young woman is caned in public as punishment under Sharia law for being ‘in close proximity’ to her boyfriend in Indonesia (dailymail, Oct 29, 2018)

    “The 21-year-old was whipped along with her boyfriend before crowds for being caught in ‘close proximity’ to each other.

    The archaic public humiliation took place today in the city of Banda Aceh where Sharia law is strictly observed and enforced.

    People are flogged as many as 200 times for a range of perceived crimes such as gambling, drinking alcohol, gay sex or any non-marital relationship.

    The barbaric practice was ramped up in 2001 by the government in Jakarta to bolster their authority as separatists sought to gain power.

    The region made a peace deal with the government in 2005 and sharia law was strengthened further.

    Men and women are struck with bamboo canes in front of onlookers, many of whom are men in uniform who take their own photographs.

    For the crime of being in ‘close proximity’ to the opposite sex one can expect 10 to 25 lashings with the switch…”

  8. HATE: Two Jewish Girls Attacked In Brooklyn Jewish Neighborhood On Friday Afternoon

    Anti- Jewish hate and violence has been the most common form of religiously motivated hate crime since the FBI began tracking these things. And yet the media has summarily ignored it.

    wo Jewish girls were victims of a senseless attack in broad daylight, just hours before shabbos.

    The incident occurred just after 3pm on President Street between Utica and Schenectady Avenues. Two Jewish girls were walking to their house, when a black female in front of their house approached them, and punching one of the girls in the face, as well as hitting her with a rock.

  9. Netflix comedy show “KILL ALL THE JEWS!” #CancelNetflix #Pittsburgh @netflix
    By Pamela Geller – on October 28, 2018

    The increasingly leftwing @Netflix is running a particularity unfunny, obscene and antisemitic comedy special. “Bert Kreischer: Secret Time.” In it Kreischer screams, “F*ck, I’m killing all the Jews!” It’s this kind of rhetoric, this norming of Jew-hatred, that feeds madmen likes synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. It is currently running on Netflix, right now as we speak. Did Robert Bowers watch it?

    Here is a letter from a Netflix viewer:

    Dear Sirs: I was watching the comedy program on Netflix, “Bert Kreischer Secret Time.” Within his routine, he jokes about killing all the Jews because they killed Jesus. I was shocked to hear this. I’m sure you were not aware of this content, which is why I’m bringing this to your attention. I urge you to remove this video from Netflix because it is despicable to hear this hatred, said in a comedic environment and to see people laughing at the idea of killing all the Jews and also promoting an anti-Semitic meme. I’m sure this is not in keeping with Netflix programming content policy. Please let me know when and how you have removed this offensive production. Thank you for your help with this. Sincerely, XXXXXX

  10. Report: Africa Not Creating Enough Jobs for Booming Youth Population (voa, Oct 29, 2018)

    “A new report says African nations are failing to create enough jobs for a booming young population even as some countries have seen strong economic growth.

    The latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance sounds a warning for a continent where the sub-Saharan population is projected to double by 2050.

    The report released Monday says Africa’s overall GDP has risen nearly 40 percent over the past decade but the continent’s average score for sustainable economic opportunity has increased just a fraction of 1 percent.

    Africa is seeing the rise of young opposition leaders in countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe and Cameroon who are impatient with some of the world’s oldest or longest-serving heads of state. Earlier this month, some in East Africa said they would unite with like-minded colleagues in West and southern Africa to form a movement to challenge the misrule that has plagued the continent.

    Experts warn of coming turbulence as about 60 percent of Africa’s population is under age 25, with birth rates among the highest in the world and health conditions improving for many. The United Nations says sub-Saharan Africa is projected to be the source of more than half of the world’s population growth between now and 2050, straining countries’ abilities to provide good education, jobs and health care.

    “Africa has a huge challenge ahead. Its large and youthful potential workforce could transform the continent for the better, but this opportunity is close to being squandered,” Mo Ibrahim, the Sudan-born billionaire who leads the foundation behind the new report, said in a statement. “The evidence is clear — young citizens of Africa need hope, prospects and opportunities. Its leaders need to speed up job creation to sustain progress and stave off deterioration.”

    Strong economic growth doesn’t necessarily lead to more opportunities, the new report says. Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Algeria have some of the highest GDP in Africa but are among the lowest for job creation.

    The report also warns that education in 27 countries across the continent is now on the decline, further hurting the young population’s future.

    And “alarmingly, citizens’ political and civic space in Africa is shrinking,” the report adds, meaning less room for an increasingly connected, tech-savvy population to express concerns and seek solutions, with potentially explosive results.”

    • To the Chinese who are colonizing Africa, and the Twisted-Ragheads converting sunni to shitte there, these Africans must look like cannon fodder. Use the people as meat to fight us, running dogs.

      • Cannon Fodder, Sniper Bait, etc. that is what they are to both groups especially since neither group thinks they are truly human.

        • That’s very true. It’s sickening.
          Like the Japanese who took Manchuria didn’t think the Chinese were fully human.

          But they respected the Jews. I had family that survived the war in Shanghai. Times were tough, but the Japanese wouldn’t even consider applying Nuremburg Laws to the Jews in areas they occupied.

  11. Chinese Bank Stops Iranian Oil Transactions Ahead of US Sanctions
    By Pamela Geller – on October 28, 2018

    Here yet again we see the Trump effect. In placing new sanctions upon the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US was sending a message to other governments: choose. Choose which country you’d rather do business with — America or Iran. Even China, which is America’s global competitor in so many ways, is choosing the US, as this story indicates. President Trump has been proven correct again and again, and all he gets in response is vituperation and abuse, and impeachment if the Democrats win the House, plus removal from office if they win the Senate. Don’t let that happen. Vote.

    • This one is interesting in several ways, there is the obvious one that Pamela Geller points out, then there is the very real possibility they are afraid that the sanctions would destroy their bank and that this effect would spread to the other Chinese Banks and the Chinese Government. Or a combination of the two.

  12. REVEALED: Two sisters, aged 16 and 22, found duct-taped together and washed up on banks of Hudson River were Saudi nationals living in Virginia and their family insists it WASN’T a suicide pact

    Authorities identified two bodies that washed ashore along Hudson River after cops speculated they had a suicide pact to jump off George Washington Bridge
    Rotana Farea, 22, and her sister, Tala Farea, 16, were from Saudi Arabia
    The pair had most recently been living in Fairfax, Virginia, with their mother
    Rotana had recently moved to New York, and Tala was visiting
    A passerby called 911 around 3pm on Wednesday after they spotted the bodies
    Police said both women were fully clothed and both were even wearing coats

    They were bound together at the feet and waist, facing each other and both were fully clothed.

  13. KKK incident at Islamic centre is hate crime, say Belfast police

    People in hooded Ku Klux Klan costumes posed outside centre in Newtownards, County Down

    At least eight people posed in Ku Klux Klan outfits outside an Islamic prayer centre near Belfast at the weekend, in an incident that is being investigated as a hate crime.

    The hooded individuals were photographed with their arms aloft and their fists clenched outside the building in Newtownards, County Down on Sunday evening. At least two were holding a wooden cross. The centre was subject to an apparent Islamophobic attack last year when a severed pig’s head was left by the entrance.

    George Hamilton, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, described the incident as “disgusting” and confirmed his officers would be investigating it as a hate crime. “There’s no place for it anywhere in Northern Ireland and we will investigate this, we will gather evidence and we will report that evidence to the public prosecution service,” he said on local radio.

    The incident has been widely condemned by political and religious leaders. Dr Raied Al-Wazzan, of the Islamic Centre in Belfast, said: “I understand it is Halloween, people are dressed in costume, but to go there specifically wearing that costume in front of an Islamic centre is not acceptable.”

    Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan show he added: “Unfortunately this is not the first incident that has happened around Newtownards. This is the second time [the centre] has been targeted.”

    Iman Atta, the director of Tell Mama, a group that campaigns against Islamophobia, said: “Standing outside a mosque with KKK hoods sends a message that Muslims are not only unwelcome, but that they should beware. The police need to find these individuals and haul them into court to send a message that such hate will not be accepted.”

    Kellie Armstrong, an Alliance party Stormont assembly member, urged the police to review CCTV evidence from local bars where the group were believed to be drinking before putting on their masks.

    She said: “Everyone knows exactly what the KKK stands for. The KKK represents a brand of hatred not wanted or welcome in the area. This group did not simply dress up for Halloween, rather they deliberately posed outside the prayer house in Newtownards.

    “This is a clear demonstration of aggression and bullying towards one particular religion and that is a hate crime.”

    Peter Weir, a DUP assembly member for the area that covers Newtownards, said: “The Ku Klux Klan is a deeply repugnant racist organisation and anyone happy to associate themselves with such a vile body is clearly a moron. That such a large group of people took the time and the effort to get their costumes completely correct, and above all the fact that they chose to pose outside the Islamic prayer centre in Newtownards, takes this episode of stupidity to a more sinister connotation.”

    The PSNI confirmed it had received reports at about 5pm on Sunday of a group of people dressed as KKK members around Greenwell Street in Newtownards.

    Insp Richard Murray said: “Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected. Our inquiries are ongoing, and we are treating this as a hate incident at this time.”

    Gang in Ku Klux Klan costumes pictured outside Northern Ireland Islamic centre

    The PSNI say they are treating incident as a hate crime after images spread on social media

    • I am not being sarcastic but I can’t think of any sensitive place that the Chinese haven’t infiltrated. After 8 years of Obama it is surprising their scientists aren’t the ones running the research programs.

    • At Least 55 Houthi Militiamen Killed in Saada, Southern Hodeidah (aawsat, Oct 29, 2018)

      “Around 55 Iran-backed Houthi militiamen were killed and others injured in clashes with the Yemeni National Army, the coalition raids of the legitimacy support coalition in Saada, northwest of Sanaa, and south of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

      Yemeni army forces, backed by a heavy air raids by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, were able to directly attack Houthi concentrations, achieve high-value military objectives across various combat fronts and continue a strong push against coup-held southern fronts.

      In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Houthi coupists admitted to the killing of 40 members and the injury of dozens in clashes on landbridges connecting the coup-captured Sanaa and the eastern port of the city Hodeidah…”

  14. Arab Coalition: Houthis Promote Sectarianism in Yemen Schools (aawsat, Oct 29, 2018)

    “The Saudi-led Arab coalition blamed on Monday the Iran-backed Houthi militias for the deterioration of the education sector in Yemen.

    The Houthis are introducing sectarian curricula at schools, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh.

    He also accused the Houthis of kidnapping teachers and sending students to Iran to indoctrinate them with sectarian ideology.

    As a result of these practices, more than 4.5 million children have been deprived of an education and forced to join the battlefield, he continued…”

  15. 5,200 Construction Projects in Saudi Arabia Worth $819 Bn (aawsat, Oct 29, 2018)

    “Diversification of Saudi Arabia’s construction portfolio calls for a wide range of new building solutions and equipment, organizers of The Big 5 Saudi said.

    More than 5,200 construction projects are underway in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council’’s largest and most populous country, according to a report by BNC Network.

    Valued at $819 billion, these account for 35 percent of the total value of active projects across the GCC, the report added.

    Despite recent challenges faced by the sector attributed to low oil prices and a reported shortage of qualified workers, construction is recording a 4.1 percent increase this year in Saudi Arabia, it stated.

    A recent BMI research forecasts the sector’s annualized average growth at 6.13 percent from 2018 to 2022.

    “The construction sector’s immediate outlook is extremely promising,” said Roni El Haddad, the event director of The Big 5 Saudi, the Kingdom’s premier construction event.

    “The recent launch of the Public Investment Fund backed multi-billion-dollar Amaala resort in September along with the already announced Neom and Red Sea Project, in what is already being dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East”, is a proof of that.”

    “Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 along with significant investment in housing and infrastructure development promoted across the country by local authorities, are revitalizing the construction industry and generating interest in a growing number of international players,” Haddad explained.

    Notably, the urban construction sector is the largest contributor to the construction sector’s expansion with 3,727 active projects valued $386.4 billion, said BNC Network’s report.

    The utility sector is the second largest with 733 projects worth $95.6 billion, followed by transportation, with 500 projects valued at $156.2 billion.

    Some of the major urban construction projects in Saudi Arabia include the King Abdullah Security Compounds (Phase Five) and the Grand Mosque (Holy Haram Mosque expansion), each valued $21.3 billion and developed by the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs in Makkah.

    Also in Makkah, a $1.7-billion hotel, the Makkah Residence Development (Phase Two), is expected to open its doors by the end of 2019, offering 3,000 five-star rooms as Vision 2030 plans to attract 36 million pilgrims a year to the country’s holy places.

    In Riyadh, however, a $3.5-billion mixed-use development project called “The Avenues – al-Malqa” is due for completion by 2020 over an area of 1.7 million sqm.

    Set to open in 2022, the Mall of Saudi – An Narjis, developed by Majid al-Futtaim Group, is valued at $3.2 billion.

    “In Riyadh, the Saudi Arabia National Guard is also building 6,000 villas over seven million sqm with a $1.3 billion investment,” noted Haddad.

    Jeddah’s skyline is expected to be enriched by the $1.1-billion Darb al-Harmain Complex at the end of 2018.

    The new Jeddah Downtown (Phase One), a mega urban development project worth two billion dollars, will also revamp the Corniche area with 12,000 new housing units by the end of 2022.

    Megaprojects like Neom, the city planned over 26,500 sqkm in northwestern Saudi Arabia, along with the thousands already under construction across the country, are pushing the demand for innovative building solutions in the Kingdom.

    The organizers of ‘The Big 5 Saudi,’ dmg events, said they expect 15,000 visitors, looking to source thousands of products for their projects at the next edition of the event.

    It will run from March 10 to 13 at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events, hosting more than 400 local and international exhibitors across dedicated product zones.”

  16. Saudi activist: Twitter has become tool for tyrants (memo, Oct 29, 2018)

    “Saudi prominent human rights activist Manal Al-Sharif said that social media platform, Twitter has become a tool for tyrants to silence dissent.

    Speaking at the SingularityU Nordic “global innovation” conference held last week in Stockholm, Al-Sharif deleted her Twitter account live on stage.

    The next day she released a video on YouTube in which she explained her decision.

    According to Al-Sharif, Twitter has become a platform “for mobs of trolls, pro-government mobs and bots” who are paid for by oppressive governments.

    “If the same tools we joined for our liberation are being used to oppress us and undermine us, and used to spread fake news and hate, I’m out of these platforms,” she added.

    Al-Sharif who has been a prominent campaigner for women’s right to drive in the kingdom, said she has also deleted her Facebook page…”

  17. Gang involved in selling women into marriage busted in K-P (tribune, Oct 29, 2018)

    “Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police on Monday arrested a gang involved in selling helpless women into marriage with older men and then forcing them to steal valuables from their in-laws.

    Initial investigation revealed that the women were first forced to marry men in various parts of Punjab and then blackmailed to rob their in-laws and runaway back to the gang members.

    Shabqadar DSP Muhammad Riaz produced the accused persons, including four men and three women before to the media…”

  18. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami barred ahead of Dec. polls (AA, Oct 29, 2018)

    “With parliamentary elections looming this December, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party has been effectively barred from competing, the country’s electoral authority announced late Monday

    Bangladesh’s Election Commission cancelled the registration of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party, in a new notice.

    “The commission secretariat issued a notification on Sunday after it recently got the full order of the High Court” — the lower division of the Supreme Court — Helal Uddin Ahmed, the commission’s secretary, confirmed to Anadolu Agency. The notice was issued on Sunday but only announced on Monday

    In 2013, the High Court declared Jamaat-e-Islami’s registration with the Election Commission illegal, but a detailed decision spelling out the order only just arrived at the commission.

    Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has yet to respond to the move.

    But Mujibur Rahman, the party’s vice chair, claimed the election commission’s decision was prejudiced.

    “Instead of providing a favorable atmosphere for the upcoming national elections in December, the election commission is working for the Awami League [ruling party] to make the party’s candidates victorious,” he charged.”

  19. Tunisia: IOM uses theater to reflect on migration (ansamed, Oct 29, 2018)

    “‘Le radeau’ (the raft) opened on Sunday night at the cinema Le Rio in Tunis. The play on migration by Cyrine Gannoun and Majdi Boumatar will subsequently be performed in Medenine on November 1, Sfax on November 2 and Seliana on November 4. IT is part of an awareness campaign on the risks and misconceptions associated with irregular migration, coordinated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the theater El Hamra, in cooperation with the Tunisian education and cultural ministries, through regional cultural delegates in Medenine, Seliana and Sfax.

    The public during the play is invited to ideally participate in the adventure of eight characters during their crossing of the Mediterranean Sea – amid illusions, hopes, tragedies and the search for a better life.

    The UN agency said in a statement that theater is a metaphor to reflect on migration by giving centrality to humanity and culture to bring the voice of migrants at the center of attention, beyond the political and economic aspects and the media.

    The initiative vies to promote safe and human migration, in everybody’s best interest, while creating a debate on the migration issue. The meetings are free, IOM said, and enable the public to reflect and discuss on the opportunities and challenges posed by migration. (ANSAmed)”

  20. What you need to know about the ‘Swiss law first’ initiative (thelocal, Oct 29, 2018)

    “On November 25th Swiss voters will be casting their ballots in what is one of the country’s most significant referendums in recent years: the so-called ‘Swiss law not foreign judges’ initiative. Here we take a look at the key issues.
    What is the background to the initiative?

    The initiative, also known as the ‘self-determination’ initiative’ (SDI) is backed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and is part of an ongoing debate in Switzerland about the country’s relationship with the international community and the extent to which international law and international organizations like the the European Union affect Swiss sovereignty.

    With the initiative, the SVP, which has a nationalist agenda and supports tighter controls on immigration, wants the role of international law in Switzerland to be greatly reduced so that the country has control over its own affairs.

    It argues Switzerland’s adoption of international law is threatening the country’s unique system of direct democracy, where Swiss voters are sovereign and can put forward popular initiatives calling for changes to the constitution.

    In recent years, the party has strongly criticised the government for failing to fully implement an SVP-led popular initiative against mass immigration which was backed by voters in 2014 because it would have contravened its free movement agreement with the EU.

    The SVP has also accused the government of heavily watering down a 2010 popular initiative to deport foreigners guilty of serious criminals by giving judges discretionary powers.

    The party says that the failure to fully implement these initiatives means Swiss freedom and independence are under threat. Many people in Switzerland share these views.

    What are the arguments in favour of the initiative?

    The Swiss People’s Party party says the SDI would protect Switzerland’s system of direct democracy– which it argues is a cornerstone of the country’s success model – as well as create greater legal certainty, and help ensure Swiss freedom and independence.

    The SVP also argues the initiative would put an end to the growing influence of international organisations (like the United Nations and the European Union) on Swiss law. In a document outlining why people should vote for the initiative, the party stress it would help the tie the hands of foreign judges at courts such as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

    What does the initiative entail?

    Put simply, the initiative would see Swiss law always take precedence over international law.

    The only exceptions would be what the constitution calls the “mandatory provisions of international law”. This is a legal grey area, but the committee behind the initiative has cited bans on slavery and torture as examples where international law would continue to take precedence.

    How is this different from the current situation?

    The initiative entails a shift in the hierarchy of international law and Swiss law – itself a topic of hot debate. Currently, international law takes precedence over Swiss law – at least in principle. The constitution states the federal government and the cantons must “respect international law”.

    But because the constitution doesn’t outline a clear mechanism for how to settle disputes between the two, the Federal Court has plenty of elbow room when it comes to deciding which should take precedence in particular situations.

    Under the terms of the SDI, however, Switzerland would be required to apply a strict mechanism to deal with conflicts between international law and the constitution. This would happen, for example, in cases where voters cast their ballots in favour of popular initiatives that contravene international law.

    In such cases, Switzerland would have to try and renegotiate international treaties, and if this is not possible, it would have to pull out of them.

    With Switzerland bound by some 5,000 international treaties, a ‘yes’ vote could potentially see the country face its own version of Brexit and facing years of negotiations and re-negotiations with its international partners.

    Who opposes the initiative?

    In short: almost everyone. The SVP is the only political party to support the initiative: other parties in Switzerland have actually taken a united stand against the SDI, which Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga recently described as a “dangerous experiment”.

    The Swiss parliament and the Swiss government have both come out strongly against the proposal. The government says it threatens the stability, prosperity and credibility of Switzerland as an international partner.

    “Switzerland is a small country which has everything to gain by respecting its engagements written in international law,” said the government in a statement last year.

    The government at the time noted the initiative could threaten human rights, with Switzerland’s ability to systematically implement the European Convention on Human Rights placed at risk.

    It also argues that Switzerland has plenty of room to manoeuvre in terms of how and when it adopts international law, with voters having wide-ranging participation in such decisions. (The SVP has countered this by saying that in recent years international law has had “an absolute and automatic primacy over domestic law”.)

    According to the government, the SDI would actually strip Switzerland of a lot of its flexibility in terms of lawmaking, and would lock the country into a rigid and dangerous mechanism.

    Among the other opponents to the SDI is a group of 120 NGOs known as the Civil Society Alliance which argues the initiative is actually an attempt to deceive the Swiss electorate. The group argues the SVP has wants Switzerland to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights so that popular initiatives that discriminate against minorities can be rolled out without legal obstacles.

    They have described the popular initiative as a “Trojan horse [that] would be released into our constitution, opening gates and doors for arbitrariness and discrimination”.

    Also opposing the initiative is the big business lobby economiesuisse which has stated the initiative is an attack on legal certainty and on the ability of Swiss businesses to conduct international trade because it puts in jeopardy hundreds of international treaties that safeguard those firms access to foreign markets.

    Is the initiative going to be successful at the polls?

    At this stage, it seems unlikely. A recent survey by Bern-based gfs found 39 percent of Swiss voters were either in favour or strongly in favour of the self-determination initiative while 55 percent were against or strongly against it.

    However, the issues behind the referendum will not go away any time soon.”

  21. ‘Submission’ or integration: Should France teach more Arabic in schools? (thelocal, Oct 29, 2018)

    “The French government has promised to “take back control” and boost the teaching of Arabic in state schools. But the plan has sparked an angry if predictable response from the right who suggest it will only encourage Islamist fundamentalism in France.

    In the ethnically mixed Paris suburb of Kremlin-Bicetre, a group of children sit quietly at their desks while outside their classmates frolic in the autumn sunshine.

    “Ayna yaskunu Adel? (where does Adel live)” teacher Hanan asks the children, pointing to a textbook drawing of a boy and girl in a village with a school and a mosque.

    Hands shoot up, and a little girl replies that he lives behind the “madrassa”, or school.

    Welcome to Lissane, one of a growing number of private language schools where the children and grandchildren of North African immigrants go to learn classical Arabic on Wednesday afternoons, when schools are closed, and on the weekend.

    While Hanan’s students, aged 7 to 10, study interrogative pronouns in one of seven classrooms housed in a former office building, a group of four-year-olds next door is singing a nursery rhyme about the parts of the body.

    So far, so normal, with the notable difference that female teachers wear the Muslim headscarf, a garment banned along with other religious symbols in state schools.

    But it is not so much the headscarves as the “Islamic sciences”, or religion lessons, conducted at Lissane and many other private Arabic language schools, that have drawn scrutiny in a country that has an uneasy relationship with its Muslim minority, the largest in Europe at an estimated five million.

    Lissane’s co-founder Abdelghani Sebata, a 37-year-old Algerian law graduate, says that the religious component of the course — which includes learning verses of the Koran — is “very light”.

    “We leave the religious side to the families,” he told AFP.

    But at the many mosques that also teach children to read and write the Arabic used in official communications, literature and media across the Arab world, as well as in the Koran, Islam is the main focus.

    ‘Submission’ fears

    A report on radicalisation last month by the Institut Montaigne, a respected liberal French think-tank, warned that Arabic classes had become “the best way for Islamists to attract young people into their mosques and (private) schools”.

    In response, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer — one of centrist President Emmanuel Macron’s most combative ministers — announced plans to take back control.

    Arguing that classical Arabic should be treated like all other “great languages” such as Russian and Chinese, he vowed to develop its teaching in
    state schools in order to combat “the drift towards self-ghettoisation” in private institutions.

    His proposal drew a furious reaction from rightwingers who view the use of Arabic by North African immigrants with hostility, seeing it as evidence of a failure to integrate.

    Luc Ferry, was was education minister under former centre-right president Jacques Chirac, questioned whether the government was bent on “fighting Islamism or bringing it into public education” — suggesting that by giving Arabic more prominence it was doing the latter.

    “We’re in a logic of submission,” fumed Louis Aliot, a lawmaker from the far-right National Rally (formerly National Front) party, echoing the title of a novel by controversial author Michel Houellebecq, “Submission”, which imagines a France ruled by Islamists.

    Few options

    Hakim El Karoui, author of the Institut Montaigne report which revived a long-running debate about France’s insistence that immigrants ditch their ethnic identities on arrival and embrace Frenchness, said he was “not at all” surprised by the reaction on the right.

    “Everything to do with Arabs drives them a bit mad,” El Karoui, a Tunisian-born geography scholar and former government advisor, told AFP.

    He points to the increasing scarcity of schools offering Arabic — France’s second-most spoken language, and one used by over 430 million people worldwide — as evidence of their reluctance to teach a subject associated with “problematic” immigrants.

    Only 567 primary schoolchildren studied Arabic last year, a third of the number who took Chinese as their mandatory second language. Most chose English.

    In secondary school, just 11,200 pupils studied Arabic, which is offered in a handful of schools in each city, mostly elite city-centre colleges.

    ‘Singers, hip-hoppers, scientists’

    With demand far outstripping supply, parents have turned to mosques, religious associations and private schools like Lissane, which together attract some 80,000 students, according to a government estimate cited by the Institut Montaigne.

    Ines Kridaine, a 35-year-old Tunisian living in France for the past 13 years, enrolled her daughter Ikram in classes at Lissane at the age of four.

    Five years later Ikram can understand her Tunisian relatives, follow Arabic news channels and read the Koran. But Ines, who wears a headscarf and a loose abaya robe, still wishes Arabic was taught during class time.

    “It should be treated like any other language,” she said.

    Writing in Le Monde newspaper last month, the head of the prestigious Arab World Institute in Paris, former Socialist minister Jack Lang, defended Arabic as the language of “Arab Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists, bloggers, social media, young people, writers, poets, artists, singers, hip-hoppers, scientists, researchers, journalists, companies and innovators”.

    It’s a view shared by Jerome Gercet, principal of an international secondary school in the southeastern city of Grenoble that has to turn away applicants for its Arabic section each year.

    After graduation, most of his students go on to study political science, medicine, business, engineering, arts or administration.

    That’s proof, he said, that Arabic is “a subject of excellence.””

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