Reader’s links for May 29, 2020

Daily Links Post graphic

Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.

This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.

So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.

This is the new Samizdat. We must use it while we can.

About Eeyore

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

149 Replies to “Reader’s links for May 29, 2020”

  1. CBC – New Brunswick doctor linked to new COVID-19 outbreak

    Three more COVID-19 cases in northern New Brunswick have been linked to a doctor at a hospital who contracted the coronavirus outside the province.

    Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says the doctor’s decision not to self-isolate was “very irresponsible.”

    • CBC – New Brunswick officials investigating scale of COVID-19 outbreak

      A new cluster of six COVID-19 cases linked to a doctor who travelled to Quebec and didn’t self-isolate on his return is being thoroughly investigated, says New Brunkswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell.


  2. Peel principal on leave after ‘xenophobic and racist’ comment

    The principal of a diverse Brampton high school is on leave after a “xenophobic and racist” comment was made during a virtual staff meeting, the Peel public board says.

    The Peel District School Board — already grappling with a damning provincial report that found rampant racism and dysfunction — has hired an external investigator to look into the incident and took the unusual step of issuing a public statement about it on Central Peel Secondary School’s website.

    Sources told the Star that during a discussion about an enriched science class, the principal is alleged to have made a comment about students learning to build bombs.

    “In a discussion related to the placement of students in regional programs, principal (Julie) DeMaeyer made a comment that was xenophobic and racist,” wrote director of education Peter Joshua. “She immediately recognized that her statement was hurtful and discriminatory and apologized for the remark.”

    The comment raises “concerns” given the board’s policies, and it is “our responsibility to provide safe and inclusive places to learn and work,” Joshua said, adding that DeMaeyer is now on home assignment “pending the outcome of an investigation.”

    He told the Star the probe should not take more than a few days.

    “It won’t be long,” he said in a telephone interview. “I really do understand and appreciate the urgency of this matter” and, once a report is filed, the board will “make some decisions about next steps.”

    While Joshua would not comment on possible discipline in this case, he said measures, in general, can range from mandatory training to removal from the school or even dismissal.

    DeMaeyer could not be reached for comment.

    The Peel board has been struggling to address issues of racism — in particular anti-Black racism — as well as dysfunction and divisiveness among senior staff and trustees. Late last year, Education Minister Stephen Lecce sent in three reviewers who issued a scathing report on years of “painful and difficult” incidents that were ignored.

    The reviewers also said Islamophobia was a growing concern and they saw French curriculum materials “that were clearly Islamophobic (and) conveyed blatant hostility to the Muslim community.”

    Almost one-quarter of all Peel students are Muslim.

    Brampton Trustee David Green said he received a call earlier this week from a Central Peel staff member who told him her principal made an Islamophobic comment during a virtual staff meeting.

    Green said the staff member, who isn’t Muslim, told him, “I am very hurt, very upset and very disappointed that this comment was made.”

    “No staff, no student, should have to put up with anything like that,” said Green, who said he is familiar with the school as he coaches its cricket team.

    Green said other staff members who attended the meeting corroborated the complaint.

    He said he personally spoke with the director and urged him to conduct a “third-party investigation right away.”

    According to Green, the principal sent staff an apology letter, saying that she “misspoke.” At least two staff said the “apology was not good enough,” he said.

    Green said it’s hard to restore trust once it’s gone.

    “When people lose trust in someone, in my view, I don’t think the working relationship is going to be the same,” Green said. “And what happens is that trickles down to students. We want to make sure that all students, in every school in Peel, have the best opportunity that they can have in life. So they need to be in an environment where they can see the relationships between staff members are strong and supportive.”

    Asked about the incident, Lecce said in a statement, “It is abundantly clear that we must continue our work to confront racism, discrimination and xenophobia within our schools. In 2020, our children deserve to learn in an environment that celebrates our differences and unites us around common pluralistic values that define our country.”

    The National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a statement Thursday urging DeMaeyer to issue a public apology, via the board, to the school and the local Muslim community.

    The council also asked that the board require anti-Islamophobia training for all educators and staff, and create a “Muslim student affairs co-ordinator” to help handle the “everyday concerns of Muslim students and families” within the board.

    Joshua said the “work never stops” on equity issues. The board has worked with the Muslim council for several years, he said, and more system-wide training on Islamophobia was already in the works.

    https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2020/05/28/peel-principal-on-leave-after-xenophobic-and-racist-comment.html

    NCCM demands further action from Peel district School Board over Islamophobic incident

    THE National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) on Thursday demanded further action from the Peel District School Board (PDSB) in light of alleged Islamophobic remarks by Principal Julie DeMaeyer of Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton.

    On May 27, DeMaeyer was temporarily removed from her position as the PDSB investigates an Islamophobic remark she made during a staff meeting.

    “While we appreciate the PDSB taking the step to temporarily remove Principal DeMaeyer and investigate her remarks, this does not go far enough.The alleged remarks made by Principal DeMaeyer are not the first time students have been referred to as a bomb threat by PDSB employees,” said Mustafa Ali, NCCM Strategy and Government Relations Advisor.

    Just three months ago NCCM raised concerns about a PDSB teacher who removed a Muslim student from class and called him a bomb threat.

    “These incidents are symptomatic of a deeper systemic issue at the PDSB that needs to be addressed immediately. Muslim students make up 23.5% of the PDSB student population. At a minimum, Muslim parents should be able to expect that their children will not be referred to as bomb threats by their teachers and principals,” said Ali.
    The NCCM recommends that the PDSB immediately take the following steps:

    Issue a public apology from DeMaeyer to the Central Peel Secondary School community and to the Canadian Muslim community in Peel region.

    Mandate anti-Islamophobia training across the PDSB for teachers, principals and staff
    Instate a Muslim student affairs coordinator to address everyday concerns of Muslim students and families in PDSB

    https://www.voiceonline.com/nccm-demands-further-action-from-peel-district-school-board-over-islamophobic-incident/

    • Who is defending this woman’s rights? Does she not have any rights?

      What are Canadian values?
      Democracy
      Separation of religion and state
      Non-acceptance of violence
      Freedom of expression and thought for all individuals
      Gender equality

      Islamist groups, Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami are paving the way to introduce Shari’ah law in Canada.

      Should Canadians DEMAND the Islamic Circle of North America remove the following
      Women are inferior to men
      Western civilization is the enemy of Islam
      Music is satanic work
      A Muslim wife must obey her husband when he calls her to bed
      A majority of dwellers of hell are women
      Apregnant adulteress is to be stoned after giving birth

      I as a Canadian demand Imams stand during the playing of the National anthem.

      Is it not of concern that 17 of the 19 high schools in Mississauga, the Muslim Student Association is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood?

      Canadians should demand that Islamic groups in Canada that participate in the Al Quds rally against the Jewish community should not be allowed.

      At the Muslim Conference in Toronto speakers talked about killing homosexuals. Canadians should demand this hate speech stop and they should apologize.

      Political correctness, the word Islamophobia, wielded by Islamists and apologists to silence any critics of Islam.

      “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of War, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom he may not know, but whom Allah doth know. whatever he shalll spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and he shall not be treated unjustly”.

      Sheik Houssein Muhammad America of Montreal:
      “Beating in Islam is a type of education. The beating is used after exhausting all effective and successful solutions and it turned out that there is no treatment without it….This is the case regarding the wife if you are right…..if the estrangement fails the beating of the wife is permitted”.

      The INCA education program for members in Canada:
      The majority of dwellers of Hell are women
      Adulterers should be stoned
      Hands should be chopped off thieves
      Honour killing is acceptable in Islam
      Slave-girls are conditionally legal
      Muslims will dominate the Jews and kill them
      Islam will be victorious over the disbelieving people.

      The Muslim Brotherhood groups in Canada:
      “if you are the gatekepper, the self-appointed representative, you might at some point actually become the representative. If the government see you as a reliable partner, and, for example, it’s a big thing in a lot of European countries to teach Islam in schools then the government will appoint you to teach Islam in public schools. then you have the abiotic shape the education system. so becoming a gatekeeper is a very important thing for them….They want to be the ones telling you what Muslims think”.

      Young Muslims in Canada website:
      My brothers! The ummah that knows how to die a noble and honourable death is granted an exalted life in this world and eternal felicity in the next. Degradation and dishonour are the results of the love of this world and the fear of death.

      Therefore, prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death. Life itself shall come searching after you.

      You should yearn for an honourable death and you will gain perfect happiness. May Allah grant myself and yours the honour of martyrdom in His way”.

      Imam Mustafa Khattab of the Edmonton Islamic Anatolia Islamic Center That received 4 million dollars in funding:
      “gays are diseased and require a “special treatment”. I do not like to be associated with gay people”.

      Imam Mazin Abdul-Adhim, living in London, Ontario and the Canadian leader of Hibz-it-Tharir:
      “We Muslims owe nothing to Canada”.
      “Canadian soldiers are war criminals”.

      Winston Churchill:
      “When Muslim’s are in the minority they are very concerned with minority rights, when they are the majority there are no minority rights.”

      WHAT DID THIS WOMAN SAY THAT WAS SO AWEFUL?

      I DEMAND THAT ALL CANADIAN POLITICIANS READ TOM QUIGGINS BOOK “SUBMISSION “ and maybe take a look at the hatefilled Qur’an.

      AND LISTEN TO JULIE DeMAEYER …they might learn the truth.

      • I am awfully sorry if I offended anyone when I misspelled awful.
        All men make mistakes and only fools repeat them.

        Julie DeMaeyer just “misspoke” like all the Imams who have been charged and the charges dropped because they “misspoke”.

          • Ha, I wished I would have thought of that when I was a young girl playing solo saxophone at the Kiwanis Music Festival and blew C sharp instead of c. The conductor’s eyes bulged so large I thought his head was going to explode. We did take first place but that moment killed my desire to tour with Tina Turner. LOL

            I did sing on live tv after that and dam if I didn’t feint half way through the song.

            I never sang in public again until I was in a pub in Ireland a few years ago. Mind you I did have a few double Irish whiskey with baileys.

  3. U.K. proposes citizenship for Hong Kong residents

    The U.K. is looking to provide Hong Kong residents with a path to citizenship in response to China’s controversial new national security law. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the proposed policy change Thursday.

    It would affect Hong Hong British national passport holders, which is a group of about 300,000 people who lived in the region before it became Chinese territory. Raab said the move would extend visa rights, allowing Hong Kong nationals to stay in the U.K. for longer than six-months.

    “If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will change that status and we will remove that six month limit and allow those BNO passport holders to come to the U.K.,” explained the secretary. “And to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months, and that would itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.”

    https://www.oann.com/u-k-proposes-citizenship-for-hong-kong-residents/

  4. New York City Outlaws Use of ‘Alien,’ ‘Illegal Immigrant’; All Now Referred to as ‘Noncitizens’ (breitbart, May 29, 2020)
    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/29/new-york-city-outlaws-use-of-alien-illegal-immigrant-all-now-referred-to-as-noncitizens/

    “The New York City Council announced on Thursday that it will no longer allow the “dehumanizing” and “offensive term” “alien” or “illegal immigrant” to describe individuals in the conduction of official city business.

    The city will now use “noncitizen” to describe everyone who is not a citizen, blurring the distinction between a green card holder, a refugee, a temporary guest worker, a tourist, and an illegal alien.

    A breach of the new law could result in up to a $250,000 fine.

    “BREAKING: New York City just became the first major U.S. city to prohibit the use of the dehumanizing and offensive term ‘alien’ in local laws, rules, and documents. From now on, the term will be ‘noncitizen,’” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted.

    “No human being is illegal,” Johnson said in a statement. “This degrading terminology never belonged in our laws, in our language, or in our lives. By taking this step, New York City would become the first major city in the United States to remove these offensive terms from its laws. It is my hope that other big cities will follow suit.”

    The Daily Mail reported on New York City being the “first major U.S. city” to regulate speech in this manner:

    The legislation was sponsored by Queens City Councilman Francisco Moya, who said it was not a question of political correctness but that the terms were outdated. Moya added that they are often used to degrade an undocumented person.

    “These words are outdated, and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe. It’s time to retire them,” Moya said. “Words matter. The language we choose to use has power and consequences. It’s time we as a city use our language to acknowledge people as people, rather than to dehumanize them and divide us.”

    The vote was also applauded by commissioner of NYC Immigrant Affairs, Bitta Mostofi, who stated: ‘At a time when the federal government is engaged in divisive policies and racist rhetoric, we are proud to have worked within the administration with the council to show that there is a better way, one that recognizes the humanity of New Yorkers.’

    The legislation was championed by seven city council members from Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, the Mail reported.

    Steven Matteo was one of four council members who voted against the law, claiming that it is important to differentiate the difference in immigrant status.

    “Not all noncitizens are the same” Matteo said, according to Staten Island Live. “Some are tourists, students, or temporary or permanent legal residents, while others have entered and/or remain in this country unlawfully.”

    “This legislation is an ill-conceived attempt to erase these important distinctions from all city government publications,” Matteo said.

    “Mayor Bill de Blasio must now sign the bill into law and the legislation will take effect 60 days after its enactment,” the Mail reported. “It will not affect any direct references in the City Charter or Administrative Code to a federal law or program.”

    As Breitbart News reported, last year, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights made using the term “illegal alien” discriminatory.

    “Furthermore, the use of the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a patron, amounts to unlawful discrimination under the [New York City Human Rights Law],” the document released by the commission stated.

    The document added that use of these terms “may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other.’”

    The infraction of that law also could lead to up to a $250,000 fine.”

  5. Greece denounces planned ‘fiestas’ outside Hagia Sofia

    Greece denounced on Friday a decision by Turkey to hold a “fiestas” outside Istanbul’s Byzantine-era cathedral Hagia Sophia during Friday’s prayers on the anniversary of the city’s 1453 conquest by Ottoman troops.

    “The fiesta that Ankara is preparing in Hagia Sophia is disturbing and is a matter of denouncement because, among other things, it has been designated a museum of world cultural heritage and is currently being used to promote other purposes,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday, speaking to Greek broadcaster SKAI.

    Petsas said this isn’t the first time that Turkey is using the museum for other purposes.

    https://www.ekathimerini.com/253193/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-denounces-planned-fiestas-outside-hagia-sofia
    ===========================================
    Erdogan Announces Islamic Prayer at Hagia Sophia on Anniversary of Fall of Constantinople

    A replica wall of the famous Byzantine-era walls of Contantinople was erected outside Hagia Sophia on Thursday as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a prayer to commemorate the 567th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople would be held at the site on Friday.

    “I will take part in (festive) events in Istanbul to commemorate the anniversary of its conquest. Firstly, we will open a hospital in the Sancaktepe district. In the evening, the Al-Fatiha surah of the Quran will be read and prayers will be held in Hagia Sophia,” Erdogan said in a televised address on late Thursday.

    Erdogan has repeatedly irked Athens by suggesting that Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site which now serves as a museum, could be reconverted into a mosque.

    Built in the sixth century, Hagia Sophia was the main seat of the Greek Orthodox Church for almost one thousand years. It remained so until it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the city, then-known as Constantinople, in the year 1453.

    Turkey’s secular founder turned the structure into a museum in 1935, and it attracts millions of tourists each year.

    https://eu.greekreporter.com/2020/05/28/erdogan-announces-islamic-prayer-at-hagia-sophia-on-anniversary-of-fall-of-constantinople/

  6. George Floyd, fired officer overlapped security shifts at south Minneapolis club

    A former club owner in south Minneapolis says the now-fired police officer and the black man who died in his custody this week both worked security for her club up to the end of last year.

    George Floyd and now-former Officer Derek Chauvin both worked security at the El Nuevo Rodeo club on Lake Street, according to Maya Santamaria. Santamaria owned the building for nearly two decades, but sold the venue within the last few months.

    “Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Santamaria said. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.”

    5 INVESTIGATES has reached out to Chauvin’s attorney and the Minneapolis Police Department, but they could not be reached for comment at the time this story was published.

    https://kstp.com/news/george-floyd-fired-officer-overlapped-security-shifts-at-south-minneapolis-club-may-28-2020/5743990/

  7. Trump terminates relationship with World Health Organization

    President Trump announced that he is terminating the U.S.’s relationship with the World Health Organization. He did not take questions from the press.

  8. NIH head: Coronavirus ‘good candidate’ for vaccine

    Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, says that the coronavirus is a “good candidate” for medical researchers to accomplish finding a vaccine.

    • Sky news Exclusive: ‘99% chance’ COVID-19 vaccine will work, say Chinese scientists

      Chinese scientists working on a COVID-19 vaccine have told Sky News they are “99%” sure it will be effective.

      Sinovac, a Peking-based biotech company, currently has its coronavirus vaccine in stage 2 trials, with more than 1,000 volunteers participating.

      Our China Correspondent Tom Cheshire has visited the labs in Peking and has this report.

  9. Winnipeg officials update after naked man steals ambulance, crashes into cultural centre

    A naked man stole an ambulance Friday morning before crashing the emergency vehicle into a cultural centre about a block later.

    Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane provided details of the incident, saying that “within 70 seconds” the paramedics realized the individual was threatening harm to them and activated their emergency button. Very shortly after, the ambulance was stolen and crashed.

    “We’re very grateful that nobody suffered any — that none of the crews, none of the public, apart from the individual — suffered any injury in this incident,” said Lane.

    The man is recovering and getting help, he added

  10. AFP – Scientists raise concern over hydroxychloroquine study

    Dozens of scientists have raised concerns over a large-scale study of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine published in the Lancet that led to the World Health Organization suspending clinical trials of the anti-viral drugs as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

    Hydroxychloroquine, normally used to treat arthritis, has become one of the most high profile drugs being tested for use against the new coronavirus.

    This is partly because of comments by public figures including US President Donald Trump, who announced this month he was taking the drug as a preventative measure.

    In research published in the Lancet on May 22, Mandeep Mehra of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US looked at records from 96,000 patients in hundreds of hospitals between December and April and compared those who received treatment with a control group.

    The study concluded that treatment with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, an anti-malarial, showed no benefit and even increased the likelihood of them dying in hospital.

    Both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.

    The research published in the Lancet medical journal followed numerous smaller studies that suggested hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in treating COVID-19 and may even be more dangerous than doing nothing.

    Within days the WHO temporarily suspended use of the drugs in its Solidarity Trial, which has seen hundreds of hospitals across several countries enrol patients to test possible treatments for COVID-19.

    “This impact has led many researchers around the world to scrutinise in detail the publication in question,” said the open letter in response to the study, which was signed by a number of prominent scientists and published Thursday.

    It added that this scrutiny raised “both methodological and data integrity concerns”.

    One of the main concerns was a lack of information about the countries and hospitals that contributed to the data, which was provided by Chicago-based healthcare data analytics firm Surgisphere.

    The authors also list “implausible” ratios of use of the drugs in some continents and discrepancies in the data for Australia, where they said there were more deaths recorded in the hospitals covered by the study than official figures for the entire country.

    “Surgisphere (the data company) have since stated this was an error of classification of one hospital from Asia. This indicates the need for further error checking throughout the database,” the letter said.

    ‘SERIOUS DOUBTS’

    Among the signatories are clinicians, epidemiologists and other researchers from around the world, from Harvard to Imperial College London.

    Francois Balloux of University College London, said he believed it was his “duty” to add his name to calls for answers to questions about the study and for greater transparency.

    “I have serious doubts about the benefit of CQ/HCQ treatment for #COVID19 infection, and cannot wait for the whole drama to be over,” he said on Twitter, where #LancetGate was trending among science accounts.

    “Though, I believe ‘research integrity’ cannot be invoked only when a paper doesn’t support our preconceptions.”

    The letter was also signed by French researcher Philippe Parola, a colleague of the Marseille-based professor Didier Raoult, whose work has been at the forefront of promoting hydroxychloroquine and has also been subject to criticisms over methodology.

    The Lancet said it had received “several questions” over the study.

    “We have referred these questions to the authors and they are working to address the issues that have been raised,” it said in a statement.

    The coronavirus crisis has put enormous strain on the normally sedate system of scientific publication, with an avalanche of research and the process of peer review considerably accelerated.

    A spokesman for the WHO said a comprehensive review of the drugs was expected to reach a conclusion in mid-June.

    “Any decision on the hydroxychloroquine arm of the study must be based in a comprehensive analysis of the available evidence, particularly from concluded and ongoing randomised trials,” said spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

    https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/scientists-raise-concern-over-hydroxychloroquine-study-1.4960362

    • the guardian – Covid-19 study on hydroxychloroquine use questioned by 120 researchers and medical professionals

      Surgisphere issues public statement defending integrity of coronavirus study published in the Lancet

      More than 120 researchers and medical professionals from around the world have written an open letter to the editor of the Lancet raising serious concerns about a large and widely publicised global study that prompted the World Health Organisation to halt several Covid-19 clinical trials.

      On Thursday Guardian Australia revealed that the Australian data in the study, published last week, did not reconcile with health department records or databases.

      The study found Covid-19 patients who received the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates and experiencing more heart-related complications than other virus patients. The large observational study analysed data from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19 who received the drug alone or in combination with antibiotics, comparing this data with 81,000 controls who did not receive the drug.

      Questions about the paper’s statistical modelling were also raised by Columbia University in the US, prompting Surgisphere, the company that manages the database of patients used to inform the study, to issue a public statement defending the integrity of the study.

      But now further questions have been raised about the Surgisphere database and the study methodology. The signatories to the open letter, directed to the Lancet and the study authors, include prominent sceptics of the value of using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19. The letter lists 10 major concerns about the statistical analysis and data integrity of the study.

      “The authors have not adhered to standard practices in the machine learning and statistics community,” the letter states. “They have not released their code or data.”

      The Lancet is among the many signatories to a statement on data sharing for Covid-19 studies.

      “There was no ethics review,” the letter continues. “There was no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions. A request to the authors for information on the contributing centres was denied. Data from Australia are not compatible with government reports. Surgisphere have since stated this was an error of classification of one hospital from Asia. This indicates the need for further error checking throughout the database.”

      The letter also states that the data from Africa in the study indicates that nearly 25% of all Covid-19 cases and 40% of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording, and patient monitoring. “Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely,” the letter says.

      The letter also expressed concern about unusually small reported variances in baseline variables, interventions and outcomes between continents, despite significant differences in demographics.

      There is currently no strong, replicated evidence that any drug is effective for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19. This includes hydroxychloroquine, which has long been used for malaria and autoimmune diseases, but its safety and harm profile for treating those illnesses is understood. It is not well understood for Covid-19.

      Governments around the world have warned against using hydroxychloroquine for treating or preventing the virus, highlighting the drug’s potentially toxic side effects and potential to cause heart abnormalities. There have been serious reports of harm due to people self-medicating with hydroxychloroquine and related drugs during the pandemic.

      Researchers are not calling for clinical trials to be halted in the light of the Lancet study. There is a consensus that more strong studies are needed exploring treatments including antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials.

      “There is uniform agreement that well conducted RCTs [randomised control trials] are needed to inform policies and practices,” the signatories to the Lancet letter said.

      Guardian Australia has contacted the Lancet, Surgisphere and the authors of the study for a response to the concerns outlined in the letter.

      Surgisphere founder Dr Sapan Desai, also an author on the Lancet paper, said before the release of the letter he appreciated the “enthusiasm and lively discussion with respect to our important multi-national observational registry study published in the Lancet medical journal”.

      “We appreciate the highly complimentary responses that we have received and the requests for data-driven partnerships as well as clarifications,” he said.

      “The analyses were carefully performed, and the interpretations provided were intentionally measured. We studied a very specific group of hospitalised patients with Covid-19 and have clearly stated that the results of our analyses should not be over-interpreted to those that have yet to develop such disease or those that have not been hospitalised. We also clearly outlined the limitations of an observational study that cannot fully control for unobservable confounding measures and concluded that off label use of the drug regimens outside of the context of a clinical trial should not be recommended.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/29/covid-19-surgisphere-hydroxychloroquine-study-lancet-coronavirus-who-questioned-by-researchers-medical-professionals

    • NYT – Scientists Question Validity of Major Hydroxychloroquine Study

      Experts are demanding verification of data and methods used in a study of malaria drugs used to treat Covid-19. The study suggested the drugs may have increased deaths.

      More than 100 scientists and clinicians have questioned the authenticity of a massive hospital database that was the basis for an influential study published last week that concluded the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat people with Covid-19 did not help and may have increased the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and death.

      In an open letter addressed to The Lancet’s editor Richard Horton and the paper’s authors, the scientists asked the journal to provide details about the provenance of the data and called for the study to be independently validated by the World Health Organization or another institution.

      Use of the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid-19 has been a focus of intense public attention. President Trump has touted the promise of hydroxychloroquine, despite the absence of gold-standard evidence from randomized clinical trials to prove its effectiveness, and has recently said he was taking the drug himself in hopes of preventing coronavirus infection.

      The scientists’ challenges to The Lancet paper come at a time of increasing debate about the risks of the rush to publish new medical findings about Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The paper, published May 22, included data on tens of thousands of patients hospitalized through April 14, meaning that the authors analyzed the trove of data, wrote the paper and went through the journal’s critical review of its findings in less than six weeks.

      The experts who wrote The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to disclose information on the hospitals that contributed patient data, or even to name the countries where they were located.

      The company that owns the database is Surgisphere, a firm in Chicago that claims to have access to patient medical records from around the world.

      “Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25 percent of all Covid-19 cases and 40 percent of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording,” the scientists wrote. “Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely.”

      A spokeswoman for The Lancet, Emily Head, said in an email that the journal had received numerous inquiries about the paper, and had referred the questions to the authors. “We will provide further updates as necessary,” she said.

      Dr. Sapan S. Desai, the owner of Surgisphere and one of the paper’s authors, said the database that was used is an aggregation of the anonymous electronic health records of hospitals that are Surgisphere’s customers.

      Contractual agreements with the hospitals bar the sharing of patient level data, Dr. Desai added, though it is available to qualified scientists for research purposes.

      “Our strong privacy standards are a major reason that hospitals trust Surgisphere, and we have been able to collect data from over 1,200 institutions across 46 countries,” the statement said.

      He said the company is certified by the International Organization for Standardization and audited by an external third-party auditor, which he identified as DQS, in Schaumburg, Ill.

      “Every aspect of our data acquisition, warehousing and reporting is audited as part of those very strict certifications,” Dr. Desai said in an email, adding that mandatory audits take place at least four times a year.

      Scientists who wrote and signed the letter criticizing the study included clinicians, researchers, statisticians and ethicists from academic medical centers, including Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University and Duke University.

      “In the interests of transparency, we also ask The Lancet to make openly available the peer-review comments” that led to this manuscript’s acceptance for publication, they wrote.

      Allen Cheng, a professor of infectious diseases at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, who signed the letter, said in an email that the individual hospitals included in the database should be identified.

      “Ideally, the database should be made public, but if that isn’t possible, it should at least be independently reviewed and an audit performed,” he said.

      The paper’s authors said they had analyzed data gathered from 671 hospitals on six continents that shared granular medical information about nearly 15,000 patients who had received the drugs and 81,000 who did not, while shielding their identities.

      Surgisphere’s data was also the basis of a study of coronavirus patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month by some of the same authors, including Harvard’s Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, as well as for two versions of an article on the use of an antimicrobial drug to treat Covid-19 that were not published in an established medical journal.

      Though other observational studies had already reported possible harms associated with the malaria drugs and the Food and Drug Administration had issued a safety warning about their use, the World Health Organization suspended clinical trials of the drugs after The Lancet paper was published.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/health/virus-hydroxychloroquine-lancet.html

  11. WHO Announces Covid-19 Technology Access Pool to Democratize Virus Research

    Tedros Adhanom-Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization announced the launch of the Covid19 Technology Access Pool or “C-TAP,” an initiative to help achieve “equitable access” to virus defense resources.

    He listed 5 priorities for the initiative:
    1. Public disclosure of gene sequencing research
    2. Public disclosure of all clinical trial results
    3. Encouraging equitable distribution of trial data between governments, research funders, and pharmaceutical companies
    4. Licensing treatments and vaccines to large and small producers
    5. Promoting open innovation models and technology transfer to increase local manufacturing and supply capacity

  12. Canadian Council of Imams alleges ‘Islamophobia’ at CRA after Ottawa mosque loses charity status

    The Canadian Council of Imams is calling on the federal government to investigate their allegations of Islamophobia within the Canada Revenue Agency for making what they call “false” and “misleading” claims against two Muslim leaders.

    The allegations come after the CRA stripped the charity status of the Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque in 2018 following audits that raised concerns about past guest speakers and “activities that promote hate and intolerance.”

    The CCI said that the CRA published “defamatory” statements against two of its members, Imam Abdullah Hakim Quick and Imam Said Rageah, which “falsely” connected them to “hate, intolerance, and terrorism.”

    Both Quick and Rageah said their apologies for past comments were not considered by the CRA and there was no effort made by the agency to give them a chance to respond to the allegations, which they said often included statements being taken out of context.

    “Through its defamatory characterizations of Dr. Quick and Imam Rageah, the CRA has exhibited reckless indifference towards the truth,” the CCI said. “The allegations against both these respected community leaders …. [perpetuates] harmful and toxic Islamophobic stereotypes.”

    “By falsely connecting two well-respected Canadian Imams from CCI to hate, intolerance, and terrorism, the CRA has driven fear in the Muslim community about the possible existence of Islamophobia in the CRA’s audit process and its auditors.”

    The CRA audit also took issue with Abu Usamah At-thahabi and Bilal Philips who spoke at the mosque and who the CRA alleged made anti-Semitic comments in the past and promoted violence. They were not part of the CCI’s complaint as they are not members. They did not respond to a request for comment from Global News.

    According to CRA documents, Quick had “advocated for the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to be liberated from the ‘filth’ of the Jews” and was condemned by the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority in 2004 for what was termed “hate speech” towards homosexuals. The CRA did not accuse any of speakers of making the remarks at the Ottawa mosque.

    Quick admitted to making statements about the punishment of homosexuals in the past but has publicly apologized. He said he is not anti-Semitic or homophobic.

    Quick, who claimed he’s never been to New Zealand, said his comments condemned by the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority in 2004 came from a video that was recorded in “the 90s.”

    According to CRA documents, Quick allegedly said that “AIDS is caused by the ‘filthy practices of homosexuals’” and that the Islamic position on homosexuality is death.

    “I stated the position of Islamic law on homosexuality … I apologized online for any hurt that I caused to any individual because of what I said,” Quick told Global News, adding that he has since had the YouTube video removed. “The hurtful thing is that the CRA has now resurrected this old argument, which has been laid to rest.”

    Quick alleged his repeated apologies and work to denounce extremism were intentionally omitted by the CRA and he was never given the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

    The CRA declined to answer a detailed list of questions from Global News about the audit and allegations against the two Imams citing “confidentiality provisions” in the Income Tax Act.

    “The CRA registers charities in Canada, and is responsible for making sure they comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and related court decisions,” the agency said in a statement. “The CRA achieves this through a balanced program of education, client service, and responsible enforcement, including audits to protect the integrity of the charitable sector.”

    Mosque officials have denied promoting intolerance and said the issues dated back to more than five years ago. The audit covered the years 2012 and 2013. Speakers are now pre-screened, they said.

    The Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque did not formally contest the CRA’s findings.

    “But what can we do?” Ali Abdulle, the mosque treasurer, told Global News last year.

    Born a Christian before converting to Islam as a young man, Quick is a prominent imam in Toronto with a significant presence on social media with close to 800,000 likes on Facebook and over 12,000 fans on Instagram.

    He’s received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to Canada and has worked with the RCMP to help de-radicalize young Muslims. He’s also done work or held positions at the University of Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum.

    In 2016, he signed two declarations condemning the shooting in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub. In the same year, he was one of two Canadian imams put on a hit-list by the so-called Islamic State, who called for his murder after he denounced the terror group and Jihadist extremism.

    • However, he’s also faced controversy in the past and a long line of critics who have called for his speaking appearances to be cancelled.

      The CRA highlighted a lecture video where he allegedly talks about the “History of the Crusades” and purifying an Islamic shrine from the “filth of Christians and Jews.” Quick said his comments were “wrongly interpreted” and he was solely talking about the desecration of mosques and not calling for the death of Jewish people.

      “My lawyers said [the CRA allegations], at a minimum, it’s negligent. At the maximum, it’s extremely Islamaphobic,” he said. “I’m a teacher and a religious leader and credibility is important.”

      “If you destroy the credibility of a religious figure or a teacher, you’ve basically destroyed that person’s livelihood.”

      CCI member Imam Rageah, who runs the Toronto Islamic Centre, was quoted in an Australian newspaper report, according to the CRA, that said he had been denied entry to the country and “displayed anti-Western and homophobic attitudes.”

      “The CRA also has concerns with regard to Mr. Rageah’s relationship with the Al-Maghrib Institute, and his role as founder and leader of the Journey of Faith conference, which has afforded individuals known for their extremist opinions, an opportunity to address thousands of gatherers in Toronto,” according to the documents.

      Rageah immigrated to Canada from Somalia when he was just 14 and grew up in Welland, Ont., as a Catholic. He now serves as an imam at the Sakinah Community Centre in Scarborough and also has a large following on social media boasting hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and YouTube.

      He’s appeared at anti-racism talks alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory and hosted other politicians from all stripes including Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair at events at the Sakinah Centre over the years.

      Rageah, like Quick, said he was never given the opportunity to respond to the CRA’s accusations and his positive work in the community was intentionally omitted in the CRA report.

      “The work of the CRA really damaged me at all levels,” Rageah told Global News. “They never gave me the opportunity, never asked ‘Why did you say this?’ They just concluded.”

      “They said ‘this is a preacher of hate’ and this is the evidence. It was all baseless evidence.”

      Rageah said the Journey of Faith conference has not been held in Canada since 2011.

      “The conference was public, and the conference organization team had due diligence measures in place. There were never any instances of controversy or expressions of hatred by any speaker occurring at the conference, or prior to the conference,” he said.

      Rageah said the CRA mostly based its comments on news stories from media reports around the world and did no work to verify any claims. He claimed he’s never been denied entry to any country.

      The CRA footnotes each allegation with a link to a news story and did not respond to questions about whether they verified the claims.

      “If you’re a government entity, a trustworthy entity, an entity that people rely on, your sources should not be from a third party,” Rageah said. “It shouldn’t be cut and paste.”

      The CRA highlighted a 2014 news story by the Newcastle Herald that said Rageah had been denied entry to Australia and displayed homophobic attitudes for saying “homosexuals, they are fighting for their rights day and night and then it became legal and you cannot do anything about it.”

      Rageah said he was speaking about this in the context of Muslims fighting for their rights the same way the LGBTQ2 community has.

      “I said to my congregation, ‘look they had no rights in the past, they struggled they fought for their rights, and they were given their rights,’ not that we should take away their rights.”

      Although the CRA took issue with the imam’s connection to the Al-Maghrib Institute – a U.S. organization with previous ties to extremists – Rageah said his “ties” were limited to a handful of guest lectures and it was “irresponsible” to link him to extremists. He claimed to have no relationship with the institute since 2013.

      “The CRA has ruined my reputation by accusing me of something that I’m not,” he said. He claims he’s been frequently stopped at the border for additional questioning since CRA’s report was publicized in the media last year.

      The Al-Maghrib Institute has received media scrutiny in the past for it’s connections to alleged extremists, like Anwar al-Awlaki, who U.S. intelligence has alleged was a senior recruiter for Al-Qaeda. Reports alleged that the Al-Maghrib Institute had sold al-Awlaki’s recordings in the past (although a media report says the Al-Maghrib Institute banned the recordings in 2009). Media has also reported that some of the Al-Maghrib Institute’s students would later be alleged to be involved in terror plots.

      Navaid Aziz, a spokesperson for Al-Maghrib Institute, said the organization and its instructors have taken public stances against violent extremism.

      “Al-Maghrib Institute has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination or expressions of extremism from its platforms,” Aziz said. “It is unfortunate that the CRA maligned the name of the institute in this report without giving Al-Maghrib an opportunity to address their concerns, which we would have gladly done.”

      Rageah faced criticism in the past for controversial comments including that the 9/11 plane attacks were not the work of Muslims and calling for Allah to “destroy” the enemies of Islam.

      He admitted he said, “9/11 was not the work of true Muslims.” He claimed his words were taken out of context and intentionally misrepresented to be used against him for political reasons.

      “I keep telling the youth, I keep telling the media, no decent Muslim would ever justify [those attacks],” he said. “If you really study Islam you will see Islam condemns this behaviour.”

      Rageah and Quick said the CRA should issue a public apology and retract the comments in the audit.

      “It’s a big trauma because I’ve been known as a person who stood for social justice and against extremism and now I’m being labeled as a hate preacher,” Imam Quick said.

      https://globalnews.ca/news/6992014/islamophobia-cra-muslim-leaders/

  13. Denver Riot Out of Control: Protester Run Over After Jumping on Woman’s Car, Gun Shots Fired Towards Capitol (VIDEO)

    Riots are continuing to sweep the nation following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Denver became the latest city to spin out of control on Thursday evening.

    A protester was run over after a mob swarmed a woman’s car and the man jumped on the hood.

    The woman plowed through the crowd — with him still on top of her vehicle. When he attempted to walk away, she took a sharp turn and ran him down.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/denver-riot-control-protester-run-jumping-womans-car-gun-shots-fired-towards-capitol-video/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=the-gateway-pundit&utm_campaign=dailyam&utm_content=daily

  14. The Battle of Covadonga: A ‘Mustard Seed’ of Liberation Is Planted in Islamic Spain

    Nearly thirteen-hundred years ago a profoundly important battle was waged.
    May 29, 2020
    Raymond Ibrahim

    Nearly thirteen-hundred years ago yesterday, on May 28, 722,* a little known but profoundly important battle was waged, setting the tone for the next eight hundred years of Christian/Muslim “coexistence” in Spain: the Battle of Covadonga.

    Ten years earlier, Arabs and Africans—“Moors,” under the banner of Islam— had “godlessly invaded Spain to destroy it,” to quote from the Chronicle of 754. Once on European soil, they “ruined beautiful cities, burning them with fire; condemned lords and powerful men to the cross; and butchered youths and infants with the sword.”

    After meeting and beating Spain’s Visigothic nobles at the Battle of Guadalete — “never was there in the West a more bloody battle than this,” wrote the Muslim chronicler al-Hakam, “for the Muslims did not withdraw their scimitars from them [Christians] for three days” — the invaders continued to penetrate northward into Spain, “not passing a place without reducing it, and getting possession of its wealth, for Allah Almighty had struck with terror the hearts of the infidels.”

    Such terrorism was intentionally cultivated, in keeping with the Koran (3:151, 8:12, etc.). For instance, the invaders slaughtered, cooked, and pretended to eat Christian captives, while releasing others who, horrified, fled and “informed the people of Andalus [Spain] that the Muslims feed on human flesh,” thereby “contributing in no small degree to increase the panic of the infidels,” wrote al-Maqqari, another Muslim chronicler.

    https://cms.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/05/battle-covadonga-mustard-seed-liberation-planted-raymond-ibrahim

  15. Ten Jihadists Killed in Western Burkina Faso: Army
    https://www.thedefensepost.com/2020/05/29/jihadists-killed-burkina-faso/

    “Ten “terrorists” died in an offensive against a jihadist base in the west of Burkina Faso on Thursday, according to the army’s chief of staff.

    The West African country is battling an Islamist revolt, which has also exacerbated deadly inter-ethnic tensions. Since 2015, nearly 900 people have died and 840,000 have fled their homes.

    A unit of soldiers and gendarme carried out the offensive in the rural locality of Worou in Sourou province, said the statement, which was not independently verifiable. “This anti-jihadist operation allowed us to neutralize 10 terrorists and to recover weapons and motorcycles,” it said, adding that one gendarme was injured.

    Burkina Faso’s armed forces are leading counter-terror operations with increasing frequency.

    The impoverished Sahel country is part of a regional effort to battle an Islamist insurgency, along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Chad.

    Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are struggling despite help from France, which has 5,000 troops in the region.

    Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger killed around 4,000 people last year, according to UN figures.”

  16. Fresh Jihadist Violence Hits Northern Mozambique
    https://www.thedefensepost.com/2020/05/29/jihadist-violence-mozambique/

    “Islamist militants terrorizing remote communities in Mozambique’s Muslim-majority north mounted a fresh attack on Thursday, police sources said, striking Macomia district in an early morning assault.

    Gunmen forced the population of several thousand inhabitants to flee, while the military and police withdrew from the area according to a police officer who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. “We can’t defeat them. They’re very strong,” the officer who hid in the bush since dawn told AFP.

    The attack comes a week after Mozambique called on its southern African neighbors to help it fend off the escalating jihadist insurgency that began in 2017.

    Despite President Filipe Nyusi‘s promises, neither the police nor the army, recently shored up by foreign private security companies, has succeeded in preventing attacks.

    Called in from the port city of Pemba some 156 kilometers (96 miles) away, reinforcement helicopters operated by private security companies flew in a few hours after the assault erupted, to repel the attackers.

    The officer said although government buildings were destroyed, the damage could have been worse if not for the air force response that pushed the militants back.

    Over the last two years over 1,100 people have been left dead by the Islamist group known as “Al Shabaab” that has swept through the gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado.

    Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP), affiliated with the Islamic State group, has claimed some of the attacks in the region since last June posting images of slain soldiers and seized weapons. The jihadists have grown bolder over the past two months, stepping up attacks into towns and unmasking themselves, openly declaring their campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate in the region.

    Some 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, while there is also increasing concern among energy companies operating in the region.”

  17. CAIR Mm yesterday
    Wear masks
    Socially distance
    Join us for a protest today 5pm to 8pm
    Hennepin County Government Center
    300 6th St. S
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    55415

    We demand the four Minnesota cops who killed George Lloyd on Memorial Day be jailed and CHARGED for MURDER

  18. 3 Iran Guards Killed in Border Clash
    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2308231/3-iran-guards-killed-border-clash

    “Three Iranian border guards were killed on Friday by unknown gunmen in a Kurdish area near the country’s western border with Iraq.

    The official IRNA news agency said the three were killed in clashes with “bandits” while patrolling near the town of Sardasht, located about 530 kilometers west of the capital, Tehran.

    It said several of the attackers were also killed during the clash but did not elaborate further.

    The area has seen occasional fighting between Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists, as well as militants linked to the extremist ISIS group.

    Earlier in May, unknown gunmen killed three members of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in a shootout that also took place in a Kurdish area.

    Iran’s eastern border has been the scene of occasional clashes with Baluch militants.”

  19. White House reposts Khamenei tweet after Twitter flags Trump for ‘glorifying violence’
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/white-house-reposts-iran-khamenei-tweet-twitter-flags-trump-glorifying-violence

    “Sharing a screenshot of a tweet from the account of Iran’s supreme leader, the White House on Friday suggested that Twitter is unfairly targeting Donald Trump, after several of the US president’s tweets were flagged as “misleading” or “glorifying violence”.

    The official White House Twitter account shared a screenshot of a post madelast week by the unverified account of Ali Khamenei, in which Iran’s supreme leader defends the right of Palestinians to resist Israel’s occupation.

    “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, @Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators, and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform,” reads the White House’s post that accompanied the screenshot.

    The post in question was part of a Twitter thread that the Iranian leader’s account shared last week for Quds Day, an event that highlights the Palestinian cause, which has been commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan each year since it was initiated by Iran in the 1970s.

    “The struggle to free #Palestine is #Jihad in the way of God. Victory in such a struggle has been guaranteed, because the person, even if killed, will receive ‘one of the two excellent things.’ Also, crimes against Palestine trouble any human’s conscience & inspire opposition,” the Khamenei post reads.

    ‘Jihad’ is an Arabic word meaning struggle…”

  20. Saudi propaganda is demonising Islam and the Palestinian cause
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/saudi-propaganda-regime-shooting-itself-foot

    “Arecent report by the Saudi 24 news channel suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood was backing southern separatists in the Yemeni city of Aden – a vicious falsehood, as it is common knowledge that the separatists are supported by the UAE, a state hostile towards the Brotherhood.

    In Palestine, Hamas is described as a terrorist organisation in Saudi media, accused of taking the people of Gaza hostage to fulfill its agenda.

    These are just a couple of ways in which Saudi state media disseminates absurd propaganda, as the government embarks on a widespread campaign to refurbish its image and control the narrative about its policies, both domestically and abroad. The hypocritical campaign stems from a desire to mislead, control and distort reality, in an effort to protect Saudi interests.

    Strict censorship
    There is no such thing as free speech in Saudi Arabia. The internet is heavily controlled and monitored, with strict censorship of books, newspapers, magazines, films, television and social media. The mass media serves as a propaganda mouthpiece for the establishment.

    What makes things worse is the official stance that any type of criticism of the government is seen as a potentially destabilising and dangerous “sin”. The crackdown on Saudi independent voices is fierce, even if opinions are expressed vaguely and without any clear reference to Saudi authorities.

    Dozens of prominent clerics and intellectuals have been arrested in what Human Rights Watch has called “a coordinated crackdown on dissent”.

    Saudi Arabia is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. In this climate of repression, professional media outlets are replaced by propaganda that serves the regime, promotes its worldview and demonises its rivals at the domestic, regional and international levels.

    Only one narrative of events is promoted and circulated, but because Saudi policies these days tend to be unpredictable, loyalist propaganda can end up contradicting itself. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once touted as a reliable ally; now, he is a new Ottoman caliph, “terrorising” the region into submission.

    The Assad regime in Syria was once portrayed as a monster that had to be toppled; now, we are told, it could be rehabilitated and even become an ally against Turkey. Such fluctuations have to be “justified” by government mouthpieces, whose ludicrous contradictions have been parodied on Twitter.

    Saudi trolls
    Social media platforms have not escaped the Saudi crackdown on freedom of information. The potential for social media to facilitate political communication in the kingdom has been devastated by persistent interference and surveillance by the government.

    Twitter, in particular, is considered a threat to be tamed, policed, and used to control dissent. While Twitter periodically culls accounts tied to this disinformation network, the Saudi “troll army” is still going strong, manipulating “likes” and retweets to spread propaganda and give a false impression of the popularity of Saudi policies.

    And yet, these actions do not serve the state’s interests. Instead, they obscure a key means by which to track and trace public opinion. In Saudi Arabia, there is virtually no “civil society”, no genuine structural representation of the public, and no outlet by which to influence the decision-making process.

    Driving Saudi propaganda is the notion that the Muslim Brotherhood and so-called “political Islam” are the kingdom’s main strategic enemies. This is why Saudi Arabia backed the bloody 2013 coup in Egypt, which overthrew the country’s first democratically elected government. It is also why the state is hostile towards Qatar, which sided with the Egyptian democracy and the Arab Spring in general; and Turkey, which took a similar stance.

    Islamophobia thriving
    Saudi authorities appear to have become obsessed with Islam itself, with the state-owned al-Arabiya channel agitating against mosques and other Islamic institutions in the West, claiming that they are dangerous, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and funded by Qatar or Turkey. From Swiss museums to French high schools, organisations are discredited for being “connected to Qatar-backed Muslim communities”.

    The whole Muslim presence in Europe is essentially painted by Al Arabiya as having “terrorist” affiliations. Islamophobia is thriving in the corridors of power in Saudi Arabia, even more than in the far-right movements of Berlin or Paris.

    Saudi Arabia needs its propaganda network now more than ever, as it remains locked in a bitter struggle with Iran for regional dominance, turning to Israel for support under the notion of “your enemy’s enemy is your friend” (or perhaps the Saudi government merely capitalised on that threat to get cosy with Israel). But this move could end up backfiring on Saudi Arabia.

    The dismal, short-sighted approach of the Saudi regime has led to another disastrous policy: turning against the Palestinian cause, in favour of US President Donald’s Trump’s “deal of the century”. Saudi Arabia has also embarked on a crackdown against scores of Palestinian Hamas supporters inside the country.

    Impossible mission
    Saudi propaganda revolves around one central theme: inciting ultra-nationalist sentiments among the youth. Slogans such as “Saudi Arabia for Saudis”, “Great Saudi Arabia” and “Saudi Arabia First” have contributed to a new narrative, described by analyst Madawi al-Rasheed as “not simply a spontaneous grassroots movement but a state-led initiative under the auspices of the crown prince”.

    The new sense of nationalism advocates a break not only from past religious conservatism, but also from any commitment to Arab and Muslim causes – particularly, the Palestinian issue, including the status of the holy city of Jerusalem.

    Saudi propaganda tactics range from disinformation and outright lies, to demonisation, name-calling and scapegoating.

    Supported by the Saudi troll army, commentators and activists have pushed hashtags on Twitter aiming to delegitimise the Palestinian cause, with slogans such as “Palestine is not my cause”. Dehumanising Palestinians goes hand-in-hand with showing Israel in a favourable light – an impossible mission, but the Saudi regime continues to shoot itself in the foot.

    Saudi Arabia’s war on the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed its legitimacy, both politically and morally. The situation is sad and absurd.

    The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

    Ahmad Rashed Said
    Ahmad Rashed Said is a Saudi political analyst and commentator with expertise in mass media and communications.”

  21. US senator calls for criminal investigation of Twitter over Iranian accounts
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-senator-ted-cruz-calls-criminal-investigation-twitter-over-iranian-accounts

    “US Senator Ted Cruz requested that the Justice and Treasury departments investigate Twitter for allegedly violating US sanctions by allowing designated individuals, specifically Iranian officials, to maintain active accounts on the social media platform.

    In a letter sent on Friday, Cruz called on US Attorney General Bill Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to investigate Twitter “for possible criminal violations” of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

    The provision authorises the president to regulate international commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to unusual or extraordinary threats to the United States.

    Encompassed within the IEEPA is Executive Order (EO) 13876, added in June 2019, which outlines US sanctions guidelines against Iran.

    “The Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice should investigate what appears to be Twitter’s blatant and willful violation of IEEPA and EO 13876 by providing services to Khamenei, Zarif, and other designated Iranian entities,” Cruz said in his letter, referring to Iran’s supreme leader and foreign minister, respectively, by their surnames.

    He also urged the Justice Department to “enforce any violation through sanctions and by seeking civil and criminal penalties” against Twitter.

    Cruz said he had contacted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey concerning the accounts of designated individuals and groups back in February, “informing him that Twitter and its principals face criminal liability and sanctions exposure for providing social media accounts to [designated] Iranian persons”.

    Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, public policy, trust and safety at Twitter, responded to Cruz’s February letter, saying that the company examines a group’s activities “both on and off Twitter to determine whether they engage in or promote violence against civilians to advance a political, religious, or social cause”.

    “Under this policy, a Twitter user is not allowed to affiliate with and promote the illicit activities of a terrorist organisation or violent extremist group,” Gadde said in a letter dated 3 April.

    She also noted that under its terms of service, Twitter does not ban military or government entities “because of the public interest in learning about these types of statements”. She highlighted the importance of Iranian officials to have access to the platform during the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Tehran harder than any country in the Middle East.

    “Fundamental values of openness, free expression, public accountability, and mutual understanding matter now more than ever. Regardless of the political agenda of a particular nation state, to deny our service to their leaders at a time like this would be antithetical to the purpose of our company, which is to serve the global public conversation,” she concluded.

    Cruz called Twitter’s response “untenable”…”

  22. Russia eyeing expansion of military bases in Syria
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200529-russia-eyeing-expansion-of-military-bases-in-syria/

    “Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed on Friday two ministries to hold talks on getting additional property in Syria, Anadolu Agency reports.

    Russian defense and foreign ministries will negotiate with the Syrian side the transfer of additional ground and water area under the lease agreement, authorizing Russia to use the naval facility at Tartus and airbase Hmeimim for 49 years on a free-of-charge basis, says a document, published on an official website.

    “Accept the proposal of the government of the Russian Federation to sign Protocol No. 1 to the agreement between the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the deployment of an aviation group of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic dated Aug. 26, 2015 on the transfer of additional ground and water areas,” the document said.

    Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

    Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.”

  23. Greece to evict over 10,000 refugees from shelters
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200529-greece-to-evict-over-10000-refugees-from-shelters/

    “Over 10,000 refugees in Greece that have been granted asylum now face eviction from accommodation facilities where they are currently staying, Anadolu Agency reports.

    The country’s Ministry of Migration Policy plans to replace these refugees with asylum seekers on Aegean islands in an attempt to decongest camps there.

    These facilities are intended to accommodate asylum-seekers whose applications are still being processed.

    As soon as they are granted asylum, they are obliged to leave the facilities after a grace period of one month, according to a new legal framework.

    Cornelia Ernst, a member of the European Parliament, criticized Greece by saying the decision could leave many refugees homeless and without financial means, partly due to the suspension of public services as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    “Two thousand asylum seekers have had their applications refused during the lockdown, and have only been given one week to appeal while most COVID-19 measures remain in place. The deadline is this Friday,” said the German lawmaker.

    She added: “Urgent action is required to change the course of the Greek government, stop the evictions and make sure the deadlines are fair!””

  24. Jihadist violence shutters 2,500 Burkina Faso schools: watchdog
    https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/5/26/jihadist-violence-shutters-2-500-burkina-faso-schools-watchdog

    “Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso have caused 2,500 schools to close since 2017, depriving 350,000 children of a proper education, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

    In a 102-page report, the rights monitor said it had documented 126 attacks on schools, teachers and students, more than half of which occurred last year.

    At least 12 teachers have been killed and others have been abducted or tortured, it said.

    Those killed include five teachers shot at a primary school, two teachers who were beheaded, and a retired volunteer teacher who was gunned down as he tutored children.

    Armed Islamists “are not only committing war crimes, but are undoing years of progress in improving children’s access to education,” said Lauren Seibert, who authored the report.

    The attacks have had major consequences for youngsters, including trauma, increased child labour and risks of child marriage for girls, the report said.

    The investigation is based on interviews with more than 170 people, including 75 teachers, 35 current and former students, as well as witnesses of attacks and relatives of victims.

    Around 900 people have died in Burkina Faso since 2015 when jihadists, crossing from neighbouring Mali, began to carry out attacks, often inflaming deadly inter-community tensions.

    Nearly 840,000 people in the impoverished Sahel country have fled their homes.

    In Burkina Faso, Mali and neighbouring Niger, around 4,000 people lost their lives last year due to jihadist or jihadist-associated violence, according to UN figures.”

  25. EU Contributes €157 Million to Morocco’s COVID-19 Response Fund
    https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/05/304258/eu-contributes-e157-million-to-moroccos-covid-19-response-fund/

    “The European Union (EU) transferred a grant of MAD 1.7 billion (€157 million) to Morocco on Monday, 26, to aid in the country’s COVID-19 response.

    A joint press release from the Ministry of Economy and the EU Delegation announced the news today, May 29, saying, “The Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform, Mohamed Benchaaboun, and EU Ambassador Claudia Wiedey welcomed the payments from the European Union which took place on May 26.”

    The statement said the EU injected the grant into Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19…”

    • Morocco Donates €3 Million to EU’s ‘Coronavirus Global Response’
      https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/05/304233/morocco-donates-e3-million-to-eus-coronavirus-global-response/

      “Morocco has contributed €3 million to the European Commission’s “Coronavirus Global Response” campaign, aiming for universal access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, and testing.

      The contribution is in line with Morocco’s willingness to strengthen its cooperation with the EU, especially in the fields of scientific research and innovation, a press release from Morocco’s Ministry of National Education announced on May 29.

      Morocco’s donation also represents the country’s participation in the joint international efforts to mitigate the economic, social, and psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the press release added…”

  26. Morocco Arrests 12 Sub-Saharan Migrants for Death of African Man
    https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/05/304154/morocco-arrests-12-sub-saharan-migrants-for-death-of-african-woman/

    “Moroccan police have arrested 12 sub-Saharan migrants for their alleged involvement in a deadly assault on an African man in the city of Meknes, near Fez.

    The case involves assault and stabbing that resulted in the death of a man from an unidentified African country. The suspects include two women.

    Police acted after receiving an alert about a dispute between the victim and a sub-Saharan migrant.

    The fight became physical and the assailant used a stabbing weapon, according to a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).

    The victim, a man, died upon arrival to the emergency room of a hospital in Meknes.

    In a security operation, police arrested all 12 suspects allegedly involved in the fight.

    The DGSN’s preliminary investigation directly implicated two suspects in “this criminal act, while the rest of the detainees are suspected of having participated in the assault and violence against the victim.”

    Police put all the suspects in custody for further investigation.”

    • Tom Fitton on Flynn-Kislyak transcripts: ‘No wonder they’ve been hiding them

      Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton talks to FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs about mail-in voting, President Trump’s social media executive order and the Michael Flynn-Sergey Kislyak transcripts

  27. DAILY MAIL – INDIA _ Drunk Hindu priest, 70, beheads man in Indian temple as a human sacrifice to goddess who came to him in a dream and said it would end coronavirus

    Sansari Ojha decapitated Saroj Kumar Pradhan, 52, in Cuttack on Wednesday
    He had a long-standing feud with Pradhan and had been drinking on the night
    The priest surrendered to police the following day and the axe was seized

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8369177/Indian-priest-beheads-man-sacrifice-goddess-order-end-coronavirus.html

  28. BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: According to Attorney the DNI Allegedly Has Call Records Between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks – It’s Now Presumed Brennan’s CIA Was More Involved Than We Thought

    CIA Involvement in the Creation of the Russia Hack and Seth Rich Cover-up is now the focus of Group requesting the truth behind Trump-Russia collusion sham.

    In June 2016, Ellen Nakashima, a Deep State favorite from the Washington Post, released a report that the Democrat National Committee (DNC) had been hacked by Russia. The firm that validated this was Crowdstrike and its President Shawn Henry confirmed the claims. In December 2016, Ms. Nakashima followed up her reporting with the outlandish claim that the CIA had determined that Russia hacked the DNC because Russia wanted Trump to win the election. Nakashima also reported that the the Intel Community had determined that Russia also sent the emails to WikiLeaks. This position was reinforced by the Mueller gang in their efforts to have President Trump removed from office.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/breaking-exclusive-dni-allegedly-call-records-seth-rich-wikileaks-now-presumed-brennans-cia-involved-thought/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=the-gateway-pundit&utm_campaign=dailypm&utm_content=daily

  29. Turkey marks 567th anniversary of conquest of Istanbul
    https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-marks-567th-anniversary-of-conquest-of-istanbul-155174

    “Turkey on May 29 marked the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul on its 567th anniversary with a series of events.

    Sultan Mehmet II conquered the city from where the Byzantines ruled the Eastern Roman Empire for more than 1,000 years.

    The conquest transformed the city, once the heart of the Byzantine realm, into the capital of the new Ottoman Empire.

    “I congratulate the 567th anniversary of the Conquest of Istanbul, one of the most spectacular victories in history, which closed one era and started another era. I commemorate all of our heroes, who have made this land home to us, especially Fatih Sultan Mehmed Han [Mehmed the Conqueror], with mercy, gratitude and respect,” President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an wrote on Twitter.

    Erdo?an also greeted the boats, decorated with Turkish flags, which passed through the Bosphorus to mark the historic occasion.

    Mehmed II, the Ottoman emperor who conquered Istanbul and thus earned the title “conqueror,” was only 21 years old when he sent the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire to the dusty pages of history and leveled up a Turkish state into an empire that would rule regions in multiple continents for centuries to come.

    A series of event were also planned throughout the day on May 29 in the city, which is now home to some 16 million residents.”

  30. Turkey: Fatih on course for 1st Black Sea deep drilling
    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-fatih-on-course-for-1st-black-sea-deep-drilling/1858126

    “Turkey’s first drillship, Fatih, set sail from Istanbul’s Haydarpasa Port for a drilling mission in Black Sea, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday.

    Speaking at the send-off ceremony, the minister said that Fatih’s 103-meter long towers were disassembled in Haydarpasa port to enable the vessel for a safe passage under the bridges through the Bosphorus and is projected to reach Trabzon in northeastern Turkey on June 1 to be reassembled.

    “After completing nearly 1.5 months preparation period, Fatih will start its first drilling in Black Sea in the Tuna-1 location in mid-July,” Donmez said.

    Turkey will continue to carry on offshore exploration studies which is vital for the country’s energy independence, he added…”

  31. Turkey ‘neutralizes’ 2 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq
    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-neutralizes-2-pkk-terrorists-in-northern-iraq/1858005

    “Turkey on Friday “neutralized” two PKK terrorists in northern Iraq in an air-backed operation, according to the country’s National Defense Ministry.

    The terrorists were “neutralized” in an air-backed operation in the Gara region after they were detected reconnaissance and surveillance activities, the ministry said on Twitter…”

  32. EXCLUSIVE: Delaware News Station Threatens to Have GOP Congressional Candidate Arrested for Press Conference

    Delaware news station WBOC has threatened to have America First congressional candidate Lauren Witzke arrested if she held a press conference in front of their station.

    Witzke, who is running on a net zero immigration moratorium and putting Americans First, has been supporting the owner of the V Spa, which received a cease and desist notice from the state for planning to reopen in protest of the shut down order.

    “Governor Carney’s excessive COVID-19 lockdowns have reached a boiling point today,” Witzke told the Gateway Pundit. “Not is he preventing small business owners from putting food on the table for their families, but now he’s clearly violated the First Amendment in threatening to arrest and fine peaceful protesters. My opponent Chris Coons is silent as our rights are being trampled.”

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/exclusive-delaware-news-station-threatens-gop-congressional-candidate-arrested-press-conference/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=the-gateway-pundit&utm_campaign=dailypm&utm_content=daily

  33. Greece will ‘build the wall’ on Turkish border to deal with migrant threat
    https://rmx.news/article/article/greece-will-build-the-wall-on-turkish-border-to-deal-with-migrant-threat

    “Greece is now scrambling to seal its land border with Turkey by tripling the size of an existing 12-kilometer fence and deploy hundreds of officers after the Turkish government threatened to resume the influx of migrants to Europe through Greece.

    The decision to build a border fence spanning the border comes after Greek authorities sent 400 specially trained offices, including riot police, to the Evros region and placed them on code-red alert. There are already 1,100 officers in the area and an additional 800 are supposed to arrive in the upcoming weeks.

    Greece will defend itself from Turkey by extending an existing border fence, said Defense Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos. He added the move to build a fence will severely hamper Turkey’s ability to threaten Europe, according to Voice of America.

    “It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “Once this fence goes up, Turkey will be severely compromised of its ability to push through migrants. And if that happens, then Ankara will have lost its most powerful tool of leverage against Europe… and its chances, therefore, of clinching a new deal with Brussels, plus added financial support will fade.”

    Greece preparing for mass migration influx from Turkey
    Even though both states are NATO allies, their mutual relationship worsened when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an opened the borders for millions of refugees who were trapped in Turkey up until then. By doing this, Turkey scuttled an existing EU deal that saw Europe provide billions in aid to Turkey in exchange for Turkey preventing its estimated 4 million migrants from leaving its territory.

    When Greece opened its border to Europe, Greece was already pressured with more than 100,000 migrants.

    As migrants made their way to Greece, Turkish forces have been accused of not only helping migrants cross the border, but were also filmed firing tear gas at Greek police. Germany’s federal intelligence agency also said it had evidence that Turkish intelligence agents were instigating riots at the border.

    Turkey only closed its borders and forced migrants back to migrant centers after the COVID-19 outbreak, but as restrictions are now easing across Europe, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?oglu hinted that migrants in Turkey would be allowed to travel to Europe after coronavirus restrictions end.

    “There were migrants in the refugee camp who went to the border with Greece but this stopped due to the pandemic. I do not say this as a threat, but after the pandemic is over, the refugees will definitely want to leave and go there,” Çavu?o?lu said.

    Over the weekend, Turkish soldiers tried to prevent Greek soldiers from surveying marshland terrain around the Evros River to extend the fence. Residents reported that they spotted troops entering Greek territory, but this claim was later denied by Turkish authorities.

    However, Defense Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos noted that there were many suspicious movements from Turkish forces at the time. Turkish armed forces have been accused by Frontex, which is responsible for protecting the European Union’s external border, of firing live ammunition at Greek and German police forces operating at the border in the past.”

  34. Czech Republic refuses to accept migrants from Greece; interior minister says 17-year-old migrant males not suitable for country
    https://rmx.news/article/article/czech-republic-refuses-to-accept-migrants-from-greece-interior-minister-says-17-year-old-migrant-males-not-suitable-for-country

    “According to the Czech Minister of the Interior Jan Hamá?ek, there are no child refugees in the Greek camps who would be suitable for transport to the Czech Republic.

    The minister said it would not make sense to bring 17-year-old Afghans or Pakistanis males to the Czech Republic during a parliamentary session. He repeated that the Czech Ministry of the Interior considers the whole matter closed.

    “There are no children who would be homeless, abandoned, and suitable for relocation to the Czech Republic. There are many 17-year-old Afghans and Pakistanis who, in my opinion, have no chance of any reasonable resocialization in the Czech Republic,“ said Hamá?ek.

    According to him, these young men would probably soon go to Germany or Sweden to their relatives. The Czech Republic will continue to help resolve the situation in the Greek migrant camps materially, the Czech Interior Minister concluded.

    Non-profit organizations and personalities have repeatedly called for the country to take in unaccompanied migrant minors.

    Czech MEP Michaela Šojdrová came up with a proposal to accept 50 Syrian orphans from Greek camps. At the beginning of September last year, Greece asked the EU interior ministers to accept unaccompanied child refugees.

    As Remix News reported in January, the Czech Minister of the Interior asked Greek counterpart for a list of Syrian children, but the Greek side repeatedly refused to select the children according to nationality, claiming that the cases must be addressed individually.

    Interior Minister Jan Hamá?ek said even then that he considers teenage Afghans to be a security risk.

    Other countries such as Germany have vowed to take in 1,800 unaccompanied minors, with 47 arriving in the country.

    Several Christian Democractic Union (CDU) members of parliament voiced their dissatisfaction that adolescent men arrived in Germany instead of what was supposed to be a number of unaccompanied young women.

    “Germany is getting stiffed by the UNCHR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees],” said Hessian CDU member of the Bundestag Hans-Jürgen Irmer while critiquing the agency. “Before Germany accepts more such migrants, other countries are now obliged to do so.””

  35. Secret Muslim prayer rooms considered a threat by Czech police
    https://rmx.news/article/article/secret-muslim-prayer-rooms-considered-a-threat-by-czech-police

    “Many Muslims in the Czech Republic often head to small prayer rooms, which are outside the reach of the Czech authorities and where police say some extremist groups tend to organize and congregate.

    Not only Czech police officers say such prayer rooms are risky but some Muslims also believe they are as well.

    Every Friday, Muslims gather in inconspicuous houses such as the one in the small village of Tuchom??ice in the northwest of Prague where they prepare to hold their traditional Friday prayer. The house does not resemble a classic larger-sized mosque but is instead a nondescript small house.

    It is very difficult for authorities to monitor these small prayer rooms. Furthermore, no one knows what is being preached here, and that could be a problem, extremism experts warn.

    A leading Czech expert on extremism Miroslav Mareš from Masaryk University in Brno warns that the creation of such smaller prayer houses abroad was one of the reason that security forces lost control over the Muslim community.

    Based on experiences from abroad, Czech police should focus more on these hidden prayer houses.

    “Although 95 percent of Muslims cause no problems, we know from abroad that Muslims have radicalized in such smaller groups. It is a good reason for the police to monitor the situation,” said Mareš.

    Police officers from counter-extremism and counter-terrorism departments often point out that they are unable to learn about newly established Muslim prayer rooms soon enough.

    “It might take several months before we find out that Muslims or other religious groups set a new meeting place for themselves. And during that time, someone within the community can become radicalized,” explained one of the police officers.

    The Czech Security Information Service (BIS) also pays attention to the possible radicalization of Muslims, the BIS spokesman Ladislav Šticha confirmed.

    Furthermore, some Muslims admit that they are not happy about the existence of these small prayer houses, which are often disguised as the residence of some company.

    “I must admit that the excesses of some Muslims originate outside of the big prayer houses,” says chairman of the Czech Muslim Community Center, Muneeb Alrawi, who added that concentrating people in large mosques is especially important as it makes work easier for authorities and security forces.

    Czech Muslims have opened several Muslim centers and prayer houses in the country. None of these houses look like classic mosques as the ones traditionally seen in Arab countries.”

  36. George Floyd protests in NYC turn violent: Officers punched, pelted, more than 40 people arrested

    New York City police arrested more than 40 demonstrators Thursday evening after violent protests that followed the death of a man in police custody in Minnesota earlier in the week, police said.

    Demonstrators turned out to protest the death of George Floyd, who died after an encounter with Minneapolis police on Monday. Video of the incident went viral and has led to protests around the U.S. — including incidents of looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    The NYPD told Fox News that multiple officers sustained injuries, including one who was struck in the head with a garbage can and another who was punched in the face.

    Some protesters spit at officers — despite mandates to wear a mask in public and practice social distancing in the city hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Another protestor attempted to remove an officer’s gun from its holster, a police spokesperson told Fox News.

    “Peaceful protest is always the best way to protest,” the spokesperson urged.

    In total, the FDNY confirmed to Fox News four police officers were injured and transported to nearby hospitals.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/george-floyd-protests-nyc-turn-violent-several-arrested

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