Europe is ours

Ours, I tell you! Dirka dirka Muhammad Jihad! Muahahahahahahaha!!!!
Islam could soon be the dominant force in a Europe which, in the name of political correctness, has abdicated the battle for cultural and religious control, Prof. Bernard Lewis, the world-renowned Middle Eastern and Islamic scholar, said on Sunday. The Muslims "seem to be about to take over Europe," Lewis said at a special briefing with the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post. Asked what this meant for the continent's Jews, he responded, "The outlook for the Jewish communities of Europe is dim." Soon, he warned, the only pertinent question regarding Europe's future would be, "Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?" The growing sway of Islam in Europe was of particular concern given the rising support within the Islamic world for extremist and terrorist movements, said Lewis.
I wonder if this prediction will be as accurate as Lewis' last one. Read more for Bernie's take on the Persian threat. When will some kind soul put him out of his misery?
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Justice done

Nothing makes me happier than this kind of news:
TACOMA, Washington: A couple in the U.S. state of Washington has been sentenced to home confinement for forcing their immigrant niece to work long hours in their home and at the family espresso stand, and they also must pay her US$65,000 (about €50,000) for her labor. Abdenasser "Sammy" Ennassime, 47, and his wife Tonya, 41, of Lakewood, pleaded guilty in September to federal charges of forced labor and harboring an illegal alien, respectively. Under the plea agreement, government lawyers recommended home confinement, three years of probation and back wages.
The treatment of household servants and distant relatives taken in for that purpose in countries in the Arab world is utterly shameful. If that court had jurisdiction over Morocco, you'd have hundreds if not thousands of similar cases.
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Oops

People in my Arabic class yesterday were talking about this New York Times story about an Arab-American army recruiter. A photo that ran with the story shows a T-shirt that reads "If you can read this" (in Arabic) and then below, "The National Guard needs you" (in English). But the grammar of the first line seems incorrect. Normally, after the conditional particle, the verb should be in the past, not the present. (I'd like native Arabic speakers to confirm this.) This would hardly be the first or most egregious mistake the US armed forces have made trying to communicate with Arabs..
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"Victim of airport confusion"

Here's the implausible story of what happened to those 17 Egyptian students who went AWOL in the USA:
Lawyers for some of the students say they were misunderstood and that the U.S. government has been too hard on them. Some students say they fear persecution if sent back to Egypt. "They are considered pariahs," said Amy Peck, an Omaha, Neb., lawyer who represents three of the students. "This case has been headlined in Cairo." The students disappeared right around the time authorities announced a foiled plot to attack U.S.-bound airliners with liquid explosives. One of the students, Eslam Ibrahim El-Dessouki, says he fell victim to airport confusion. Extra security checks caused him to miss his connecting flight, and he couldn't find the other students, he said in a court statement. He called an uncle who lived in Minnesota, who suggested he go there so relatives could help, he said. El-Dessouki jumped on a bus and headed to the Midwest. Mohamed Ibrahim El Sayed El Moghazy, 20, Ahmed Refaat Saad El Moghazi El Laket, 19, and Moustafa Wagdy Moustafa El Gafary, 18, also scattered after arriving in New York. They told Peck, their lawyer, that once they landed at the airport, three other students turned to the rest, bid farewell and took off. That panicked the remaining members of the group, the three said, because all had been told that if any one of them didn't show up at Montana State University, the rest would lose their passports and immediately get sent back to Egypt.
It sounded all along like these guys wanted to have fun rather than go to some boring seminar about American civics. Stupid of them, but I can certainly understand where they came from.
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... and welcome to Canada

arar_maher.jpg A man got beaten into a false confession. The internal security agency lied to the government and to the public to cover up their brutality and incompetence. The government lied to the public to cover up their culpability. When the man complained, government officials told lies to the press in an attempt to discredit him. Sure sounds familiar, but the country could come as a surprise: Canada. Maher Arar was picked up by US officials acting on intelligence ineptly gathered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (yep, the guys in the little red uniforms) while transiting the US on a Canadian passport and exported to Damascus for interrogation where (surprise!) he was tortured. After he returned to Canada and complained, as yet unnamed “government officials� started a campaign to smear him in the national press. Here, however, the parallels to countries closer to the home come to an end. See, we know all this because an independent commission was set up under a judge—a judge who was going to get his full salary whether or not he came up with the real facts of the matter—and that commission was able to impel the testimony of a range of key players and make most of its findings known. It’s unpleasant to be reminded that internal security operatives are a breed that transcends cultural and national identity, but here’s the silver lining: a willful, independent judiciary can be an effective counterweight. Something to remember next time there’s a demo outside the Judges' Club.
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The T-shirt incident in full

In Raed Jarrar's own words:
Then I once again asked the three of them : "How come you are asking me to change my t-shirt? Isn't this my constitutional right to wear it? I am ready to change it if you tell me why I should. Do you have an order against Arabic t-shirts? Is there such a law against Arabic script?" so inspector Harris answered "you can't wear a t-shirt with Arabic script and come to an airport. It is like wearing a t-shirt that reads "I am a robber" and going to a bank". I said "but the message on my t-shirt is not offensive, it just says "we will not be silent". I got this t-shirt from Washington DC. There are more than a 1000 t-shirts printed with the same slogan, you can google them or email them at wewillnotbesilent@gmail.com . It is printed in many other languages: Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, English, etc." Inspector Harris said: "We cant make sure that your t-shirt means we will not be silent, we don't have a translator. Maybe it means something else". I said: "But as you can see, the statement is in both Arabic and English". He said "maybe it is not the same message". So based on the fact that Jet Blue doesn't have a translator, anything in Arabic is suspicious because maybe it'll mean something bad! Meanwhile, a third man walked in our direction. He stood with us without introducing himself, and he looked at inspector Harris's notes and asks him: "is that his information?", inspector Harris answered "yes". The third man, Mr. Harmon, asks inspector Harris : "can I copy this information?", and inspector Harris says "yes, sure". Inspector Harris said: "You don't have to take of your t-shirt, just put it on inside-out". I refused to put on my shirt inside-out. So the woman interfered and said "let's reach a compromise. I will buy you a new t-shirt and you can put it on on top of this one". I said "I want to keep this t-shirt on". Both inspector Harris and Mr. Harmon said "No, we can't let you get on that airplane with your t-shirt". I said "I am ready to put on another t-shirt if you tell me what is the law that requires such a thing. I want to talk to your supervisor". Inspector Harris said "You don't have to talk to anyone. Many people called and complained about your t-shirt. Jetblue customers were calling before you reached the checkpoint, and costumers called when you were waiting here in the boarding area". it was then that I realized that my t-shirt was the reason why I had been taken to the secondary checking. I asked the four people again to let me talk to any supervisor, and they refused. The Jet Blue woman was asking me again to end this problem by just putting on a new t-shirt, and I felt threatened by Mr. Harmon's remarks as in "Let's end this the nice way". Taking in consideration what happens to other Arabs and Muslims in US airports, and realizing that I will miss my flight unless I covered the Arabic script on my t-shirt as I was told by the four agents, I asked the Jet Blue woman to buy me a t-shirt and I said "I don't want to miss my flight." She asked, what kind of t-shirts do you like. Should I get you an "I heart new york t-shirt?". So Mr. Harmon said "No, we shouldn't ask him to go from one extreme to another". I asked mr. harmon why does he assume I hate new york if I had some Arabic script on my t-shirt, but he didn't answer. The woman went away for 3 minutes, and she came back with a gray t-shirt reading "new york". I put the t-shirt on and removed the price tag. I told the four people who were involved in the conversation: "I feel very sad that my personal freedom was taken away like this. I grew up under authoritarian governments in the Middle East, and one of the reasons I chose to move to the US was that I don't want an officer to make me change my t-shirt. I will pursue this incident today through a Constitutional rights organization, and I am sure we will meet soon". Everyone said okay and left, and I went back to my seat.
There's more there...
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Arabic is a dangerous language

So dangerous, in fact, that you can't board airplanes wearing a T-shirt with an Arabic slogan:
Arabic T-shirt sparks airport row A demonstrator wears a similar T-shirt at a New York protest in July An architect of Iraqi descent has said he was forced to remove a T-shirt that bore the words "We will not be silent" before boarding a flight at New York. Raed Jarrar said security officials warned him his clothing was offensive after he checked in for a JetBlue flight to California on 12 August. Mr Jarrar said he was shocked such an action could be taken in the US. US transport officials are conducting an inquiry after a complaint from the US Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. JetBlue said it was also investigating the incident but a spokeswoman said: "We're not clear exactly what happened."
By the way, isn't Raed Jarrar the famous counterpart to Salam Pax on the original Iraq war blog "Where's Raed"?
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Sarko and French Arabs

Interesting post at Aqoul on the fury of French Arabs at Nicholas Sarkozy's pro-Israel comments during this war:
So Sarkozy bridged part of the gap between conservatives and xenophobes that weakened the classical French right. By doing so, he's built a voter base large enough to make him the likely next conservative president. And unlike Jospin who lost Arab votes precisely after infuriating them by his statements against Hezbollah - the Sarkozy right-wing base is strong enough not to need Arabs as referees and there will probably be no conjunction of factors which could make Arab votes such a key factor again for the 2007 elections. All the talk about an Arab voter base which suddenly appeared in the aftermath of the 2002 election and on which Arabs could have capitalized is gone. Despite more Arab-related arguments against Sarkozy in 2007 than against Jospin in 2002, Arabs will be virtually powerless. Probably a proof that a spontaneous success gotten by luck more than by political organization and maturity dies away as quickly as it comes.
I tried to leave a comment but got an error message, so here it is (it makes more sense if you read the full article): I am not so sanguine about the CFCM - it puts Islamists and people who are essentially agents for the Moroccan and Algerian governments in charge of representing the entire Maghrebi-Arab community. I interpret Sarko's pro-Israel stance not as an appeal to the far-right (which is not necessarily pro-Israel, sometimes for anti-Semitic reasons) but rather the mainstream Atlanticist right and part of the hawkish left. Basically his position dovetails nicely with the growing number of French intellectuals who are taking a pro-American stance, such as BHL, Alain Finkelkraut, and others. This is the fundamental split between the Chiracquistes and Sarko: it's about their position on the US as an ally and as a model to change French society. As for an "Arab vote" in France, as far as I can see it is not organized, so it's hard to predict its impact.
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Canada's pro-Israel stance backfires on Harper

Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is paying the price for his support of Israel in the current war. The 250,000-strong -Lebanese-Canadian community is furious with his description of Israel's strikes as a "moderate response" to Hizbullah's activities. Polls now indicate that 77% of Canadians want to remain neutral on this war while 61% of people in Quebec, where Harper's conservatives were hoping for a breakthrough, are resolutely against supporting Israel. A coalition of 60 NGOs will be protesting on Sunday against the government's position. As many as 50,000 Lebanese-Canadian were believed to be in Lebanon when the war started, and several have already been killed by Israel strikes. Also see this Le Monde article [$].
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Darell Issa weighing in?

Not a single conversation thesedays about US policy in the region, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and what have you--that does not end with the question, where are the Arab Americans, and why aren't they as organized as the pro-Israel lobby. Issandr has blogged several postings about this subject before. Anyways, Zazou posted some critical comments on Darell Issa, the US congressional representaive from Lebanese decent, who is no stranger for us here in Cairo, with his regional visits that usually include meetings with Hosni, Gamal, and the NDP posse... Worth checking out: Poor Lebanon...
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The new euro-racists

The Muslim minorities of Europe are a problem. It's a problem of integration, culture shock, social policy and radicalization of small but vocal groups of Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as political mismanagement. This kind of analysis, though, is just pure racism. It posits a world where all Muslims are radical, none want to integrate, and glorifies the agenda of the far-right. In this world, Europeans live in constant fear of Arabs and other Muslims who conspire with multiculturalists to impose totalitarian rule. And this is a popular website! I travel to Europe several times a year, my family lives there, and never have I come across this kind of crap apart from advertisements from the former Vlaamsblok in Belgium. It insults the hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants who have earned an honest living in Europe in often difficult situations simply to make life better to their families. It insults the hundreds of thousands who are just ordinary people by trying to portray unusual incidents as routine. This is Mein Kampf, just more dangerous because it disguises itself as conservative libertarianism. They don't even make sense because they are against making racist public statements an offense on the pretext of freedom of speech but complain of offensive material being distributed in mosques. I know where I stand: neither of these things have a role in any decent society. Close the radical mosques down and send the racists to court. But do show me those banned South Park episodes.
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Leb-Canadian family wiped out

One family's story -- I'm sure there are others:
MONTREAL (AFP) - Ali El-Akhras wanted to introduce his children to his grandparents in Lebanon to show how three generations had thrived in Canada, but the carnage his parents once fled ended the trip and their lives. An Israeli air strike destroyed the family home in Aitaroun in southern Lebanon this past week, killing the Montreal pharmacist, his wife and children, as well as his mother and an uncle, relatives said. "We're all devastated. It's a shock," Walid El-Akhras, 21, a relative who works at the family grocery in Montreal told AFP on Monday. All were Canadians with dual Lebanese citizenship. Three of their Lebanese relatives also died in the blast, he said. Canadian officials have confirmed seven family members died but relatives say eight were killed. Israeli forces have pounded targets in Lebanon since the middle of last week after the Hezbollah militant group captured two Israeli soldiers and began launching its own barrage of rockets into Israel. On Monday, customers offered their condolences to the family. One wholesaler dropping off goods said: "It's senseless." Ali El-Akhras had graduated from Montreal University and worked for the popular pharmacy chain Jean Coutu in the city's Cote-des-Neiges district. He had scrimped and saved to afford to bring his four children, aged one to eight years old, to Lebanon and introduce them to relatives for the first time, his sister Mayssoun El-Akhras told reporters at a press conference in Montreal. "He wanted to return because the country was for a while peaceful ... but they died as they slept, they burned to death in the same room," she said, evoking images and sounds of the bombs their parents "had fled 35 years ago which finally caught up to them."
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Solidarity with Sharqawi from Canada

We received this from Hicham Safieddine, a Lebanese journalist in Canada.
Dear Arabist.Net,
My name is Hicham Safieddine and I am journalist currently in Montreal. I thought you would be interested to know that I read out excerpts from the letter activist Mohamad Sharqawi wrote from prison and that was posted on your website last week, on CKUT, Montreal's community radio station. You can listen to the reading and a discussion about Sharqawi and Egypt in general on the internet at www.ckut.ca. Click on "programming and archives," go to the Wednesday column and click on the "Caravan" show. it is part of the July 12 show. It begins around the 46 minute mark.
My heart and thought go out to Sharqawi and all of those fighting for the dignity and freedom of the Egyptian people.
Sincerely,
Hicham Safieddine
Meanwhile in Cairo, a delegation of university professors will meet with the new General Prosecutor tomorrow Tuesday, to demand Sharqawi's release.
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Palestinian-Americans barred from entering Palestine

The ever-tightening noose:
Israel bars Palestinian Americans for first time since 1967 By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent For the first time since 1967, Israel is preventing the entry of Palestinians with foreign citizenship, most of them Americans. Most of those refused entry are arriving from abroad, but have lived and worked for years in the West Bank. . . . The Interior Ministry and Civil Administration made no formal announcement about a policy change, leaving returnees to discover the situation when they reach the border crossings. By various estimates, the ban has so far affected several thousand American and European nationals, whom Israel has kept from returning to their homes and jobs, or from visiting their families in the West Bank. This could potentially impact many more thousands who live in the territories - including university instructors and researchers, employees working in various vital development programs and business owners - as well as thousands of foreign citizens who pay annual visits to relatives there. The policy also applies to foreigners who are not Palestinian but are married to Palestinians, and to visiting academics.
Read the whole thing, and don't miss the comments for the debate... Update: Five Arab and Jewish members of a Belgian NGO, Artists Against the Wall, were refused entry yesterday.
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Marxism 2006

I received the following message from my friend Ahmad Zahran in London.
Hello All, The Marxism conference will start in London this Thursday the 7th of July and will last till the 10th. There will be two very important workshops in the conference that will tackle Egypt, one of them will about Nasser (by Anne Alexander) and the other one about The Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Ghassan Makarem, Salah Ayyad and Egyptian activist from Centre for Socialist Studies, Cairo). It will be very important for all those in the UK to try and attend those 2 workshops as it will give a very good background about the situation in Egypt for those who do not know about it. Guy Tailor has forwarded below the main workshops that touch upon the Arab World issues so give it a read in case you find something of interest. Tickets for the conference are for 15 pounds sterling (for the 5 days), if you want tickets please email Guy. Please read below for more information and visit http://www.marxism2006.org.uk/ for further information. You can call Guy on +44 79 5668 1328. Have a nice day. Salam, THURSDAY 6 JULY 7-8.30pm Friends House, opposite Euston station Opening Rally Lindsey German, Roland Denis, Hassan Jumaa, Oliur Rahman Hassan Jumaa is an Iraqi Trade Unionist FRIDAY 7 JULY 2 - 3.15pm Birkbeck College, room B35 What a carve up – how the map of the Middle East was drawn speaker: Michael Bradley FRIDAY 7 JULY 7-8.30pm London School of Hygiene - Goldsmiths Lecture Hall 1948, the Nakhbah and the creation of Israel speaker: Ghada Karmi SATURDAY 8 JULY 11.45am - 1pm London School of Hygiene - Goldsmiths Lecture Hall The struggle for democracy in the Middle East speakers: Ghassan Makarem, Salah Ayyad and Egyptian activist (from Centre for Socialist Studies, Cairo) SUNDAY 9 JULY 2 - 3.15pm University of London Union, Room 3CD Nasser, nationalism and the end of empire speaker: Anne Alexander SUNDAY 9 JULY 7 - 8.30PM University of London Union, Room 3CD Can Hamas liberate Palestine? speaker: Simon Assaf MONDAY 10 JULY 2 - 3.15pm University of London Union Upper Hall Islam and Islamic civilisations speaker: Chris Harman That's just the 'middle eastern highlights'! There are over 200 meetings and discussions happening in the five days from Thursday until Monday. The full timetable is at http://www.marxism2006.org.uk/, there are more than 5000 people coming - almost 2000 of them students.
I join Zahran in urging Arabist readers in London to attend this conference, and actively engage in Middle East-related (if not all) workshops.
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Egyptians in California charged with slavery

Unfortunately, this kind of treatment of domestic servants is all-too-common in Egypt and the region, particularly the Gulf. These sadists decided they could do it in California too:
Egyptian couple in California plead guilty to slavery charges Fri Jun 30, 7:45 PM ET LOS ANGELES (AFP) - An Egyptian couple living in southern California have pleaded guilty to slavery charges involving a now-16 year old girl they forcibly kept working in their home for two years, according to US attorneys Friday. ADVERTISEMENT Abdelnasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim, 45 and his ex-wife, Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd Motelib, 43, are accused of harboring an illegal alien, obtaining labor by force, and conspiracy. The girl worked as nanny and housekeeper for a family of seven up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. "She had to work all day long," Assistant US Attorney Robert Keenan said. "They used unlawful forms of coercion such as hitting and slapping, and threats of arrest by the police if she ever went outside on her own." The girl began working for the couple as a domestic servant in Egypt in 1999, and the couple brought her into the United States in 2000 where her forced servitude continued for two years. The couple kept the girl in an unfurnished, unventilated, and unlighted garage that building inspectors deemed "deplorable." The slaveholders, who pleaded guilty Thursday, are expected to be sentenced to three years in prison and required to pay the girl 101,516 dollars in restitution.
Ironically, they could have given her a decent place to live, decent salary and flight back home once a year for much, much less than that. One only wishes these types of people could face jail in Egypt!
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Court forces US to grant visa to Ramadan

A judge has forced the US to grant Tariq Ramadan -- who was barred from entering the US last year -- a visa after the ACLU and others brought a lawsuit. Whether you like Ramadan and his crypto-Islamist beliefs or not, this is a good thing on principle, for as the judge in the case explained:
while the Executive may exclude an alien for almost any reason, it cannot do so solely because the Executive disagrees with the content of the alien’s speech and therefore wants to prevent the alien from sharing this speech with a willing American audience.
Via Moorishgirl.
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Dawa in Amreeka

Interesting NYT article on American converts to Islam who become imams:
Most American mosques import their clerics from overseas — some who preach extremism, some who cannot speak English, and most who cannot begin to speak to young American Muslims growing up on hip-hop and in mixed-sex chat rooms. Mr. Yusuf, 48, and Mr. Shakir, 50, are using their clout to create the first Islamic seminary in the United States, where they hope to train a new generation of imams and scholars who can reconcile Islam and American culture. The seminary is still in its fledgling stages, but Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir have gained a large following by being equally at home in Islamic tradition and modern American culture. Mr. Yusuf dazzles his audiences by weaving into one of his typical half-hour talks quotations from St. Augustine, Patton, Eric Erikson, Jung, Solzhenitsyn, Auden, Robert Bly, Gen. William C. Westmoreland and the Bible. He is the host of a TV reality show that is popular in the Middle East, in which he takes a vanload of Arabs on a road trip across the United States to visit people who might challenge Arab stereotypes about Americans, like the antiwar protesters demonstrating outside the Republican National Convention. Mr. Shakir mixes passages from the Koran with a few lines of rap, and channels accents from ghetto to Valley Girl. Some of his students call him the next Malcolm X — out of his earshot, because he so often preaches the importance of humility. Both men draw overflow crowds in theaters, mosques and university auditoriums that seat thousands. Their books and CD's are pored over by young Muslims in study groups. As scholars and proselytizers of the faith, they have a much higher profile than most imams, as Muslim clerics who are usually in charge of mosques are known. Their message is that both Islam and America have gone seriously astray, and that American Muslims have a responsibility to harness their growing numbers and economic power to help set them straight.
They sound like American Amr Khaleds.
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CRAP lives!

Thanks Brian! For all the indignant defenders of CRAPs (Courageous Reformist Arab Personalities, of course!) who regularly leave messages here accusing me of being an appeaser of Islamofascists of whatever-- I just want you to ask yourself: does it make sense that most prominent CRAPs are completely uncritical of US policy in the Arab world when most Arabs tend to be? And that a good number of them seem to work for Benador Associates? And don't fall back on the "most Arabs are brainwashed" theory...
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