Labour MP Dan Jarvis, a former soldier, said in a statement: “This report from the Henry Jackson Society sheds light on what are extremely worrying links between Saudi Arabia and the funding of extremism here in the UK.

In the wake of the terrible and tragic terrorist attacks we’ve seen this year, it is vital that we use every tool at our disposal to protect our communities.
This includes identifying the networks that promote and support extremism and shutting down the financial networks that fund it.
I’m calling on the Government to release its foreign funding report, and guarantee that the new counter-extremism commission will make tackling the funding of extremism a priority.

The report explains that Saudi Arabia has been using its wealth to export its ideology since the 1960s, and “this funding has primarily taken the form of endowments to mosques and Islamic educational institutions…”

Adding: “A number of Britain’s most serious Islamist hate preachers sit within the Salafi-Wahhabi ideology and are apparently linked to Islamist extremism sponsored from overseas, either by having studied in Saudi Arabia as part of scholarship programmes, or by having been provided with extreme literature and material within the UK itself.”
"},{"views_count":237,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T06:34:24.084549Z","type":"post","title":"Chuck Baldwin, Netanyahu, Jews And The Christians","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"chuck-baldwin-netanyahu-jews-christians","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-07-18T11:39:01.607043Z","poster_width":2500,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,452]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2500,1667]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1620,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1152,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[945,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,339]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,169]}},"poster_height":1667,"inserted_at":"2017-07-05T10:47:48.199013Z","id":3014,"description":"I have had the good fortune to see my articles in over the years. I say this because being one of the “deplorables” in America today limits","comments_count":0,"body":"

I have had the good fortune to see my articles in over the years. I say this because being one of the “deplorables” in America today limits our access to many journalistic opportunities, and yet like many of the faithful of publisher Paul Walter, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

As such, many of you who’ve been following Pastor Chuck Baldwin’s philosophical meanderings through the years might have caught a slight dissonance in his recent column, “Is Netanyahu Finished”, as if something was out of sync.

I am using this opportunity to rebut his points, one by one. I look forward to your heartfelt responses to my article. Let me say from the outset: this is a no-holds-barred rebuttal to his opining of Netanyahu, Israel, Jews, and Christians. We all know that if you want to get people riled up, just talk about Israel, Jews, and Christian attitudes to the above and you’ll open the Pandora’s Box.

PB (Pastor Baldwin): “Bibi is one of the most corrupt political leaders on the planet”

RS (Rabbi Shifren): Perhaps it is so, but being in the middle east, surrounded by those who want your demise, is not an easy situation for any leader. Here is a country where literally nothing is normal (I may seem to be leaning here toward Pastor Baldwin, but for different reasons). Fully 50% doesn’t want to, or rebels at, anything resembling traditional Judaism. You have an active, aggressive Gay/Lesbian population eating away at the thousands of years of Biblical prophecy and Divine intervention. And you also have open communists with an axe to grind in the spirit of Marx, Trotsky, and Alinsky.

Then there are Hellenists, who if they had no Israeli passport, would resemble anybody windsurfing at Waikiki or eating sushi in Beverly Hills, and Yeshiva students who never see the light of the sun, squinting at obtuse tractates of Talmudic law under the cover of dimly lit florescent bulbs. Last but not least, there is an active, healthy underground fueled by pimps, prostitutes, and a mafia which would make Meir Lansky blush. So yes, Pastor Baldwin is right about the insanity of Israel….but to be its LEADER, well now, that takes an acute level of ability that the Democratic Party of Waters, Ellison, and Pelosi could hardly dream of.

And he’s right: Bibi is the darling of many Christian groups who want their own fantasy relationship with the people of the Book, the progeny of the Holocaust. What many don’t realize is that Bibi was for many years ensconced in Manhattan during his position in the UN, gleaning from the rich and powerful, all eager to get in his good graces, being close to a real Israeli war hero, regardless of issues of character or philosophy.

Bibi cleverly marshalled his well-honed English fluency, good looks and Machiavellian political moxie to ingratiate himself into the “salon” milieu, managing to be everything to everybody seeking to find an excuse for being pro-Jew/Israeli. Bibi is so well spoken that when you hear him, you believe every word he says.

Pastor Baldwin doesn’t illuminate why Bibi is going down, and I tend to think that even hardened Israelis have occasionally had it with his hegemony. But the good pastor doesn’t get: many Israeli politicos are corrupt. It is endemic, just as the 25% of the underground economy who is fleeing the tax man.

How legitimate could one be to sit in a coalition with Palestinian Arabs enumerating their hatred for the Jewish state from the dais of the Knesset (parliament), encouraging and abetting intifadas and blood-letting. Really, this is one aspect that the media has left unturned: the special ability to reconcile with a perpetual terrorist sword drawn against its very survival, giving the pretense that this is true “democracy.” So yes, nobody normal, least of all the coalition factions of orthodox rabbis whiling away the tedious speeches of the Arabs, the Israeli Left, and otherwise crass corrupt philistines, could imagine the horror of governing such a witch’s brew. Truly, Bibi has his hands full just keeping Israel alive and safe.

PB: “He is pressuring Donald Trump to ratchet up a war against Iran” to give cover and deflect from his misdeeds…

RS: Here the good pastor shows a complete lack of understanding of the Israeli mind-set. Note well: Israel doesn’t need America, and is fully capable of neutralizing the Iranian threat. Nonetheless, a joint coalition would certainly be favorable and elevate the raison de guerre of Israel in her continuous war to find favor in the eyes of the Gentiles. Yet when the boom is ultimately lowered, Israel will stand alone, just as it did at Entebbe and the Iraqi nuclear facility. They know it, American insiders know it–everyone but Pastor Baldwin knows it.

PB: “There is one common denominator that links the mainstream media with the so-called conservative media: infatuation with the modern state of Israel” (wonder what he means here by “modern”…would these pundits have preferred the Israel of King David? I rather doubt it…)

RS: I detest knee-jerk thinkers and groups, Jewish or Gentile. I abhor “Black Lives Matter” because I know who these punks are. In the same way, I detest playing the Holocaust card. It’s so easy to do, and who wants to be labeled in the same Jew-baiting ranks with Goebbels, Streicher, Eichmann….the entire Jewish leadership plays this card to a tee. Pathetic and stifling of any discussion. Pat Buchanan and Mel Gibson will tell you volumes about going against the Israeli/Jewish bulwark.

PB: “He is mobilizing accelerated (illegal) settlements on private land owned by Palestinians”

RS: Is this man a pastor, a man of god? What religion is he representing? This is perhaps his most puzzling statement to date. Does Pastor Baldwin believe in God? Which God? Because if it’s the God of the Old Testament, and the God of Heaven and Earth, then there is only ONE God…and that same God stated: “The Land of Israel will be an eternal inheritance to your seed”. “Those that bless you will be blessed, those that curse you will be cursed.” Genesis 12:1-3.

The problem the pastor has is that his rhetoric and ideology have trumped his divine calling. I know of not ONE Christian (who truly is a Christian, devoid of anti-Semitic leanings), who does not stand behind this doctrine and other pronouncements in Exodus, giving the Land of Kanaan (Israel) exclusively to the seed of Abraham (see appropriate passages regarding the banishing of Ishmael and his claims).

Therefore, his mention of Palestinian “rights” is curious, suspiciously incongruent with the foundation of Christian theology. Yet, it is difficult to stand up to the nay-sayers in today’s Christian church. Many a man of integrity and knowledge of scripture has given in to the leftists and Palestinian inciters’ relentless assault against traditional belief (It was none other than Arafat that confided that the “Palestinian” cause was bogus, used only as a means to weaken and destroy Israel).

Of course, there have always been malevolent purveyors of Jew-baiting in the history of Christianity. Yet, when candid, these erudite haters will quote you chapter and verse about the exclusivity of the Abrahamic covenant with God, having zero mention of “Palestinian rights.” So, what then must we conclude from Pastor Baldwin’s strange rhetoric? It doesn’t have to be complicated: somewhere, somehow, a Jew stood before him and obstructed his pathway. This is not unique.

PB: “Neither does it hurt that Trump’s son-in-law is a MAJOR financial backer of the (illegal) settlements”

RS: As Reagan would say, “There you go again!” But hey, somebody needs to come up with the green to finance that which the Israeli government has been doing: putting facts on the ground that will never be erased. If God is real (is he, really good Pastor?), and the scriptures are not fake, then this land is part of the biblical Land of Israel, whether we (our congregations/clerics) approve of it, or not. God gave it to Israel, and a lot more than they have today belonged only to them.

PB: “Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is starting to back away from Bibi”

RS: Here’s a man who understands when he’s throwing good money after bad….

PB: “Many Christians have accused me of heresy” for what I said about Bibi

RS: I won’t. You have accurately described Bibi…it’s just that you haven’t seen the big picture. Or that you just have lost your ability to withstand pressure from apostates within your church, or otherwise leftist/anti-Semitic agitators who you might have been courting or perhaps you are the leader in this courting since in one article you stated that the Jews of Israel are not the Jews of the Bible. Well then, PB, who are they? Because many can trace their ancestry back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

PB: “For many professing Christians, the modern state of Israel is every bit as important as Jesus Christ himself and their own personal salvation.

RS: This is probably your only righteous statement. The State of Israel is every bit as important as Jesus Christ because Israel is the Wife of God, and the Church states they are the Bride of Christ. The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional and includes the land, and God does not lie, and neither does he go back on his promises.


PB: “Netanyahu is not only a crook, a globalist, and murderer, he is also a Talmudist”

RS: A murderer, really? I wasn’t aware, whom did he murder? Your argument has no feet. Not once in your invective have you called to task the unrelenting war of Arab terror against Jews. You’ve saved your arrows for those evil “Talmudists” like Bibi, who actually teaches a Bible class every week.

But how hysterical are you? Bibi a Talmudist? Even Woody Allen would laugh you off your lectern… Bibi is a politician and puts on a yarmulke when he goes to a Concentration Camp, or a funeral. Do you know his heart? You cannot claim you do.

PB: “If you think the Koran is bad, try reading the Talmud.”

RS: Yes, you’ve finally come to your senses: the Koran is definitely bad! Regarding the Talmud, what about that ever-problematic passage about “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?” Do you know what that means? Of course not, you know nothing of the Talmud except to cherry-pick problematic statements of which you have no clue. Actually, the passage in question refers to monetary damages due to the aggrieved, and not in removing the plaintiff’s eye. So, there you have it, now you can certainly rest. The remainder is a life’s work and toil about what was given over on Sinai, and what was transmitted orally, known as the Oral Law (as opposed to the Bible, or Written Law). Few have the time, patience, and determination to dive into the minutia and profound manner of the arguments given forth…you least of all.

PB: “Iran is being painted as the next big, bad wolf”

RS: For such a smart guy, how could you be so wrong?! The problem you’re facing? You’ve never lived in Iran as a Christian, or anywhere else as a Christian in the Middle East….good luck. Yes, not one American boy should be sacrificed to shut these maniacs down. So, when Israeli jets take off one night during Ramadan, remember I told you so….

PB: “Sanctions against Iran are a violation of the 2015 treaty”

RS: Are you kidding me?! A treaty with Iran, you say? Pastor, this is delusional. Find someone in your congregation that can teach you about Iran….let me elucidate for you a cardinal principle: the Saudis hate Iran, so they’re going to be good news for us. Period. The way of the world.

"},{"views_count":364,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T04:55:15.720274Z","type":"post","title":"Palestinians Praise Terror Attack","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.465370Z","slug":"migration","name":"Migration","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:34:38.000000Z","id":36},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.471701Z","slug":"degradation","name":"Degradation","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:50:57.000000Z","id":24},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"palestinians-praise-terror-attack","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-06-21T00:33:02.632518Z","poster_width":4096,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,452]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[4096,2731]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1620,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1152,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[945,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,339]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,169]}},"poster_height":2731,"inserted_at":"2017-06-20T07:19:54.397581Z","id":2816,"description":"For many Palestinians, the stabbing murder of a 23-year-old Israeli Border Police officer in Jerusalem on June 16 is an act of \"heroism\" that proves that the","comments_count":0,"body":"

For many Palestinians, the stabbing murder of a 23-year-old Israeli Border Police officer in Jerusalem on June 16 is an act of \"heroism\" that proves that the \"revolution against the Zionist entity will continue until the liberation of Palestine, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river.\"

For many Palestinians, the three terrorists who murdered the young woman, Hadas Malka, are \"heroes\" and \"martyrs\" who will be rewarded by Allah in Paradise.

President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA), which is funded by Americans and Europeans, has once again chosen to maintain silence following a terror attack perpetrated by Palestinians. This silence of Abbas and his PA leadership, specifically their refusal to condemn the terror attack, can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the killing of Jews.

The silence of Mahmoud Abbas following the Jerusalem terror attack, specifically his refusal to condemn the attack, can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the killing of Jews.

Moreover, in a move reminiscent of a demented Alice in Wonderland, Abbas's ruling Fatah faction, which is often described by Westerners as \"moderate\" and \"pragmatic,\" publicly blasted Israel for killing the three terrorists who murdered the policewoman and wounded several others.

In a statement published in Ramallah shortly after the terror attack, Fatah \"condemned the Israeli occupation forces for killing three young Palestinian men in East Jerusalem.\" It said that the killing of the three terrorists \"proves that the Israeli government is pursuing its policy of escalation.\" Fatah called on the international community to \"seriously look into providing protection for the defenseless Palestinian people.\"

The Fatah statement failed to mention that the three Palestinian \"young men\" were armed with knives and a homemade submachine gun. Nor did Fatah mention a word about the Border Police officer who was stabbed to death in the terror attack.

Such a statement could never have been published without the approval of Abbas and his top cronies in Ramallah. They even seem to have endorsed the Fatah communiqué by publishing it on the website of the PA's official news agency, Wafa. This agency is managed and funded by the PA, which also appoints the editors and journalists working there.

This is the twisted logic of Abbas and his people: How dare Israeli police officers shoot terrorists armed with knives and a machinegun and prevent them from killing more Jews?

Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawassmeh went as far as accusing Israel of committing a \"war crime\" by killing the terrorists and thwarting a bigger attack. He called on the international community to condemn Israel for the \"cold-blooded\" killing of the three terrorists in Jerusalem, dubbing it a \"cruel crime.\" Qawassmeh, who is considered a trusted advisor and confidant of Abbas, seized the opportunity to heap praise on the terrorists, describing them as \"martyrs.\" Palestinians, he added, should remain faithful to the \"blood of the martyrs\" by \"holding on to their lands and holy sites and defending them.\"

One wonders: how does this public endorsement of the Jerusalem terror attack and the terrorists stand up to Abbas's promise to US President Donald Trump to stop anti-Israel incitement and \"promote a culture of peace\" among Palestinians?

This is but further proof in an endless string of damning evidence concerning the 'peace lies' spouted by Abbas and his PA. The PA president is always among the first to denounce terror attacks around the world, including Britain, France and Germany. Yet when Palestinians murder Israelis, they suddenly become \"heroes\" and \"martyrs.\"

How would the British government and public have reacted had someone condemned the British police for killing the three terrorists who carried out the recent London Bridge attack?

How would the British government and public have reacted had the international media run headlines such as, \"British policemen kill three Muslim men in London attack?\" This is precisely how Abbas's media outlets - and the BBC - reported on the Jerusalem terror attack: \"Israeli policemen shoot dead three Palestinians in Jerusalem\" and \"Three Palestinian youth martyred at the hands of Israeli occupation policemen.\"

It is no wonder, then, that many Palestinians have been celebrating the terror attack in Jerusalem. If these are the messages Abbas and his PA and Fatah cronies are sending to their people, why should it come as a surprise that many Palestinians have been glorifying the terrorists and calling for more attacks against Jews?

Hamas, notably, was the first party to applaud the Jerusalem terror attack, saying it proves that the Palestinian intifada was continuing and would escalate.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist Palestinian terror group, also joined the chorus of those heaping praise on the terrorists for murdering the Israeli policewoman. Hamas and the PFLP have claimed responsibility for the \"heroic operation\" and dismissed as \"false\" a statement by ISIS taking credit for the attack.

To be clear: the two terror groups are furious with ISIS for attempting to rob them of the \"honor\" of murdering a young policewoman on the streets of Jerusalem. This is the surreal reality in the Middle East today.

Not to be left behind in the promotion of Jew-killing, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to social media to applaud the latest terror attack and express their jubilation over the murder of the policewoman.

In innumerable postings on Facebook and Twitter, dozens, if not hundreds, of Palestinians praised the terrorists, describing them as \"heroes\" and \"martyrs.\" They particularly expressed excitement over the use of a homemade submachine gun (often referred to as a \"Carl Gustav\"). This type of weapon is often produced in workshops in various parts of the PA-controlled territories in the West Bank.

The Palestinians also expressed deep satisfaction that the terrorists chose to carry out their attack during the holy month of Ramadan. They pointed out that the three terrorists, who were fasting, had chosen to carry out their attack during Ramadan because this was the surest and fastest path to Paradise. \"There is nothing more pure and sacred than killing the infidels and Jews than when one is fasting during Ramadan,\" remarked some of the Palestinians.

There is documented, widespread jubilation in the Muslim world about this and other terror attacks perpetrated not only by Palestinians against Israelis, but - contrary to the statements of many in the West - by many Muslims against all \"unbelievers\": if \"infidels\" are murdered during Ramadan, their killers expect to be \"doubly rewarded in Paradise.\"

In Israel, this joy over Jew-killing does not emerge from nothing. It can be traced directly to the Palestinian leadership, beginning with President Abbas and his Palestinian Authority friends. When he and the PA leadership next mouth their lies about a \"culture of peace,\" perhaps the world will pause for a moment, not just to think of a murdered young woman, Hadas Malka, but also of what the Palestinian leadership really wants.

"},{"views_count":405,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T06:07:54.611280Z","type":"post","title":"Saudi Arabia's Connection to Radicalizing British Jihadis","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.471701Z","slug":"degradation","name":"Degradation","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:50:57.000000Z","id":24},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.465370Z","slug":"migration","name":"Migration","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:34:38.000000Z","id":36},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"saudi-arabias-connection-to-radicalizing-british-jihadis","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-06-13T21:44:00.899126Z","poster_width":2048,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,509]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2048,1536]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1440,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1024,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[840,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,381]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,191]}},"poster_height":1536,"inserted_at":"2017-06-13T08:55:17.589276Z","id":2746,"description":"In the wake of the London Bridge attack on June 3, which came on the heels of the Manchester Arena bombing, Britain's approach to combating terrorism has come","comments_count":0,"body":"

In the wake of the London Bridge attack on June 3, which came on the heels of the Manchester Arena bombing, Britain's approach to combating terrorism has come under scrutiny at home and abroad. Judging by man-in-the-street interviews, it played a significant role in the June 8 general election, the outcome of which - a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, yet a hung parliament - reflected a split in voter perception over whom was to blame for the country's precarious security situation and which party is better suited to rectify it.

Although Corbyn has called terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, his \"friends,\" May not only has been holding the reins since the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron in September 2016 -after the Brexit referendum - but she had also served as Home Secretary for six years before that.

A few months earlier, in January, Cameron authorized an investigation into the foreign funding of radical Islamist groups inside Britain. According to a recent report in The Guardian, Cameron agreed to the inquiry, requested by the Liberal Democrat party in exchange for its support for British airstrikes against ISIS to Syria. The probe was to be conducted by the newly established \"extremism analysis unit\" of the Home Office, then headed by May, and its findings were due to be published in the spring of 2016.

However, more than a year later, the investigation has yet to be completed.

Moreover, its contents might not be released to the public, due their \"sensitive\" nature, rumored to center on Saudi Arabia, Britain's key ally in the Gulf. Since the U.K. recently approved £3.5 billion-worth of arms export licenses to Riyadh, it is possible - even likely - that any revelations about Saudi promotion of terrorism in the country could be problematic.

During his election campaign, Corbyn attacked May for \"suppressing\" the report, and called for \"some difficult conversations\" with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which have \"funded and fueled extremist ideology.\"

In a letter to Prime Minister May just over a week ahead of her re-election, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake urged that the inquiry be finished and its findings released:

It is no secret that Saudi Arabia in particular provides funding to hundreds of mosques in the U.K., espousing a very hardline Wahhabist interpretation of Islam. It is often in these institutions that British extremism takes root.

Brake was correct. Mounting evidence suggests that British jihadis are not only groomed in Wahhabi mosques in the U.K., but many visit Saudi Arabia, where they work or study.

One example is Khalid Masood, the British convert to Islam killed while perpetrating the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge in March, and which left five innocent people dead. Masood, it emerged, had taken three trips to Saudi Arabia - two of them year-long stints to teach English and a third short visit to the country's Islamic holy sites. Each time, he was given a visa by the Saudi authorities in Britain, despite having been convicted at least twice for violent crimes and lacking the required academic qualifications and experience for the job he was doing.

Although Saudi consulates require background checks of all visa applicants, Masood was ushered through the process, which is known to be strict. By way of explanation, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London claimed that the reason Masood passed its vetting was that he did not have a criminal record in Saudi Arabia. This is, of course, a complete lie, which raises the question of whether Masood fell through the cracks through incompetence or collusion. Either way, the broader issue of Britons being radicalized both at home and abroad by Saudi Arabia urgently needs to be thoroughly examined and exposed.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London (pictured) claimed that the reason Westminster Bridge terrorist Khalid Masood passed its visa vetting was that he did not have a criminal record in Saudi Arabia. This is, of course, a complete lie, which raises the question of whether Masood fell through the cracks through incompetence or collusion.

"},{"views_count":299,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T06:35:50.590986Z","type":"post","title":"Saudi Soccer Team Refuses Minute’s Silence For London Jihad Victims: “Attackers Are Martyrs Going To Paradise”","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.435107Z","slug":"racial-problem","name":"Racial problem","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:28:02.000000Z","id":35},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"saudi-soccer-team-refuses-minute-s-silence-for-london-jihad-victims","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-06-12T12:02:00.834142Z","poster_width":3500,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,473]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[3500,2440]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1549,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1102,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[904,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,354]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,177]}},"poster_height":2440,"inserted_at":"2017-06-09T10:29:05.365946Z","id":2730,"description":"In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought","comments_count":0,"body":"
In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the ‘infidels.’

Pope Francis and H. R. McMaster are doubtless on their way to Saudi Arabia now to explain to the Saudi soccer team that true Islam and the proper understanding of the Qur’an reject every form of violence.

“‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs’: Islamic sheikh claims Saudi Arabian team refused minute’s silence for London terror victims because under Sharia law ‘it’s not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer,'” by April Glover and Hannah Moore, Daily Mail Australia, June 8, 2017 (thanks to Ken):

An Islamic imam has suggested the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute’s silence for the London terror victims because they believe ‘it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer’.

Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a ‘lie’ to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argues the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men.

‘They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam – which governs Saudi Arabia – it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Their response suggests that within Muslim culture they don’t remember the dead with a moment of silence. This is a lie.’

Sheikh Tawhidi says under Islam Sharia law it is not ‘wrong’ or a ‘sin’ for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim.

‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the “infidels”,’ he said.

Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been ‘ridiculed’ back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack.

But this may not be the view of every player within the Saudi team, he pointed out….

"},{"views_count":354,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T05:37:45.447637Z","type":"post","title":"The Muslim Brotherhood Connection: ISIS, \"Lady al Qaeda,\" and the Muslim Students Association","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.471701Z","slug":"degradation","name":"Degradation","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:50:57.000000Z","id":24},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.456910Z","slug":"crime-report","name":"Crime Report","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:03.000000Z","id":52},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"muslim-brotherhood-connection-isis-lady-al-qaeda-muslim-students","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-06-03T17:33:00.956796Z","poster_width":3298,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,438]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[3298,2130]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1672,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1189,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[975,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,328]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,164]}},"poster_height":2130,"inserted_at":"2017-06-01T09:34:19.358033Z","id":2615,"description":"In August 2014, ISIS tried to secure the release from a U.S. federal prison of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - a Pakistani neuroscientist educated in the United States -","comments_count":0,"body":"

In August 2014, ISIS tried to secure the release from a U.S. federal prison of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - a Pakistani neuroscientist educated in the United States - formerly known as the \"most wanted woman alive,\" but now referred to as \"Lady al Qaeda\", by exchanging her for American war correspondent James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 in Syria. When the proposed swap failed, Foley was beheaded in a gruesome propaganda video produced and released by his captors, while Siddiqui remained in jail serving an 86-year sentence.

ISIS also offered to exchange Siddiqui for a 26-year-old American woman kidnapped in Syria while working with humanitarian aid groups. Two years earlier, the Taliban had tried to make a similar deal, offering to release U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for Siddiqui. These efforts speak volumes about Siddiqui's profile and importance in Islamist circles.

Her affiliation with Islamist ideology began when she was a student, first at M.I.T. and then at Brandeis University, where she obtained her doctorate in 2001. Her second marriage happened to be to Ammar al-Baluchi (Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali), nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.

During the 1995-6 academic year, Siddiqui wrote three sections of the Muslim Students Association \"Starter's Guide\" - \"Starting and Continuing a Regular Dawah [Islamic proselytizing] Table\", \"10 Characteristics of an MSA Table\" and \"Planning A Lecture\" - providing ideas on how successfully to infiltrate North American campuses.

The MSA of the United States and Canada was established in January 1963 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. Since its inception, the MSA has emerged as the leading and most influential Islamist student organization in North America - with nearly 600 MSA chapters in the United States and Canada today.

The first edition of the MSA Starter's Guide: A Guide on How to Run a Successful MSA was released in 1996. A subsection on \"Islamization of Campus Politics and the Politicization of The MSA,\" written by Hussein Hamdani, a lawyer who served as an adviser on Muslim issues and security for the Canadian government, states:

\"It should be the long-term goal of every MSA to Islamicize the politics of their respective university ... the politicization of the MSA means to make the MSA more of a force on internal campus politics. The MSA needs to be a more 'in-your-face' association.\"

In early 2015, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney suspended Hamdani from the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on National Security. No reason was given for the suspension, but Hamdani claimed it had been politically motivated - related to his support for Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party. The French-language Canadian network TVA suggested, however, that the suspension was actually due to activities in which Hamdani had engaged as a university student, and radical organizations with which he was associated. During the 1998-9 academic year, Hamdani was president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of Western Ontario; in 1995, he was treasurer of the McMaster University branch of the MSA.

Several alumni of the MSA have gone on to become leading figures in Islamist groups. These include infamous al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al Alawki, Osama bin Laden funder Ahmed Sayed Khadr, ISIS propagandist John \"Yahya\" Maguire and Canada's first suicide bomber, \"Smiling Jihadi\" Salma Ashrafi.

What they have in common (whether members of ISIS, al Qaeda, Jamaat e Isami, Boko Haram, Abu Sayaf or others) is ideology often rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood - as findings of a 2015 U.K. government review on the organization revealed.

Siddiqui's involvement in the MSA, her subsequent literal and figurative marriage to al Qaeda and her attempted release by ISIS, perfectly illustrate this ideological connection and path.

"},{"views_count":327,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T05:36:51.359377Z","type":"post","title":"Bin Laden’s Son Makes Play To Replace ISIS As Global Terrorist Leader","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.456910Z","slug":"crime-report","name":"Crime Report","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:03.000000Z","id":52},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"bin-laden-s-son-makes-play-to-replace-isis-as-global-terrorist-leader","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-05-31T01:33:00.247076Z","poster_width":1920,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,381]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[1920,1080]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1920,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1365,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[1120,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,286]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,143]}},"poster_height":1080,"inserted_at":"2017-05-30T11:21:45.128228Z","id":2584,"description":"The Al-Qaida terror network may be attempting to usurp the Islamic State as the face of radical Islamic terrorism by promoting deceased al-Qaida leader Osama","comments_count":0,"body":"

The Al-Qaida terror network may be attempting to usurp the Islamic State as the face of radical Islamic terrorism by promoting deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, The Washington Post reports.

The younger bin Laden has increasingly appeared in propaganda materials for the terrorist group with a starkly different message than its older leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

“Al-Qaida is trying to use the moment — [with ISIS] being under attack — to offer jihadists a new alternative,” a Middle Eastern security official told The Washington Post. “What could be more effective than a bin Laden?”

The younger bin Laden refrains from explicitly criticizing ISIS in his propaganda messages, unlike Zawahiri. His apparent unwillingness to attack the rival terrorist group may be a long term ploy to get allegiance from ISIS members after the caliphate in Iraq and Syria collapses. “The calculation is that it will be very difficult for the Daesh leadership to denounce Hamza, given who he is,” a bin Laden family friend told The Washington Post, using another name from ISIS.

Bin Laden has also borrowed from the ISIS playbook by increasingly encouraging low cost lone wolf attacks in the west. A recent propaganda message of his urged followers to “accomplish your goals with secrecy. Attain the highest level of perfection in your actions, exercise utmost care and caution, and prepare diligently to inflict crippling losses on those who have disbelieved.”

“If you are unable to go for American Crusaders, target the interests of the Crusader member states of NATO,” he continued.

The Department of State labeled the younger bin Laden a specially designated global terrorist in January 2017. The designation declared that “Hamza bin Laden is actively engaged in terrorism,” noting his official inclusion into the group in August 2015.

Former FBI Agent Ali Soufan emphasized in a recent CBSNews interview that Hamza “was educated by some of the founding members of al Qaeda. He was educated by people who masterminded the East African Embassy bombing, the U.S.S Cole. By people who basically secured al Qaeda from the day it started until 9/11. And they were preparing him to be the leader.”

“I think we’re not done with the bin Ladens yet,” he declared.
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Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz drew a lot of attention as he shook hands with US President Donald Trump's wife Melania during the couple's controversial visit to the Middle East. Afterwards, he was given a lecture on Islamic ethics by Swedish Muslims.

Sweden's growing Muslim diaspora seemed to be mortified by the fact that the Saudi King shook hands with a woman during US President Donald Trump's state visit the past weekend. In most versions of Islam, shaking hands with (or even touching) a member of the opposite sex is prohibited when not related.

The fiercest criticism was expressed by the freshly-launched Instagram account Islamiskt (\"Islamic\"). The account was started at the end of April, followed by a Facebook page by the same name, Swedish news portal Fria Tider reported.

\"In God's name, you shake hands like this? I hope not,\" Islamiskt wrote and went on to enlighten fellow Muslims about the peculiarities of Islam. \"Shaking hands with the opposite sex is strictly haram [forbidden] and is something the holy prophet not only never did, but also forbade the believers to do,\" Islamic wrote.

The text continued with an explanation why it was of paramount importance for Muslims not to shake hands with any member of the opposite sex.

\"Keep it in mind that by not shaking hands you show it to the others and even to yourself who you are. This is part of your identity, do not forget it,\" the text said.

The controversial Instagram post received more than a hundred \"likes.\"

At present, it remains unclear who runs the account, but suspicions were voiced that it could be possibly linked to an activist group that previously protested the fact that a hijab-wearing Muslim woman was denied employment by the Nordic airline SAS. Earlier this year, Aye Alhassani's failed, yet much-debated attempt to get a job with SAS wearing an Islamic veil was claimed to be a publicity stunt with Islamic undertones by blogger Rebecca Weidmo Uvell, which was vehemently denied by Aye Alhassani.

In Sweden, Muslim ethics often clash with its perennial drive for multiculturalism, yielding unexpected results. In 2016, a Muslim woman stepped down from her job as a teacher after being told that shaking hands with her male colleagues was expected. The same year, similar cases involved a Muslim member of Helsingborg City Council and a Muslim border inspector. The most high-profile case, however, involved former senior Green Party member Yasri Khan, who resigned in acrimony after refusing to shake a female reporter's hand during an interview.

Incidentally, the First Lady also stirred debate by refraining from wearing a veil, which is an expected thing for women to do in Saudi Arabia. Remarkably, Donald Trump himself previously slammed former First Lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a veil during her visit to Saudi Arabia in 2015 together with Barack Obama.

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During last year’s intensive media coverage of the war in Syria, a humanitarian group known as the White Helmets was featured prominently in reports. Based in Aleppo, they became famous for rescuing people and providing medical aid for victims of attacks by the Russians or the Assad regime.

The White Helmets were the subject of a documentary, and merited a lengthy report in Time Magazine:

The White Helmets work across the shattered interior of Syria, wherever Assad’s aircraft roll out barrel bombs or Russian fighters direct their missiles. But more and more, that work is in Aleppo. The country’s largest city, it is where the forces of Assad and his allies are ramping up for a possibly titanic assault. As many as 300,000 people are living under siege in the city’s eastern section, which the rebels have held since the early days of the war, but are now cut off from the countryside beyond.

Given the notorious actions of the Red Crescent and other Islamic charities in the Gaza Strip in recent decades, one would expect a modicum of skepticism on the part of the news media. But no; all the reportage was packed with glowing accolades, as if it were lifted verbatim from the organization’s own press releases. And according to the venerable hoaxbusting site Snopes — which would have pounced aggressively on the White Helmets had they been known to have connections with the Assad regime — there’s nothing to see here folks, time to move along:

Whatever their motives may be, we found no credible evidence that the White Helmets are linked to terrorist organizations. The accusations seem to be levied at the group based on political motivations, not evidence.

But now that the “rebels” have been pushed out of Aleppo, actual evidence has emerged concerning the affiliations of the White Helmets.

Pierre Le Corf is the founder of the charity We Are Superheroes, which is helping to rebuild Syria. He investigated the abandoned wreckage of the White Helmets’ headquarters and discovered that it was all but coterminous with the headquarters of the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra. Jihad flags for al-Nusra and the Islamic State featured prominently in its offices and workrooms. Both facilities were directly adjacent to a badly damaged hospital — which had been used as a gun emplacement by the jihad groups when they fought against the advance of Assad’s forces.

The two videos below were recorded by Pierre Le Corf. In them he gives the viewer a brief guided tour of the ruins and takes note of what he found there.

Pierre Le Corf’s Facebook page

From the notes accompanying the second video :

Some photos I took yesterday [March 10, 2017] that will give you another perspective on white helmets and different lies from the media and governments. Truths about the war in Syria, in Aleppo. Hospitals totally destroyed and neutral helmets, heroes in Aleppo? An Oscar? A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize? At what price will we continue to LIE and kill, to justify this war, to support terrorist groups, to keep a country on the brink of suffocation like the others before? I’ve quickly compiled some pictures that I took yesterday that will give you another perspective.

As a French citizen, I refuse to support a criminal policy. In order to illustrate a little better what I talk about in my letter to the President of the Republic, while clouds of the dust of war arriving from Iraq make the air almost unbreathable, in less than two hours I return — via images — to two hospitals in decent condition; I have to walk on tons of medicines reserved for terrorist groups and forbidden to civilians. I cross the remains of the buildings enslaved by Al-Jaish al-Hur (Free Syrian Army), Jabhat al-Nusra (or Fatah al-Sham, al-Qaeda) … buildings of the White Helmets who, as the inhabitants reminded me, mainly helped terrorists. Concerning civilians… when the camera was turned on, and sometimes only then, they sometimes carried arms, executed Syrian soldiers, participated in executions ordered by the Islamic courts, robbed the victims, etc. But a crucial point: almost all the members were affiliated with the terrorist groups mentioned above.

Watch the testimony in the video on the White Helmets by my friend Vanessa Beeley — we were together during some of these accounts when she accompanied me to distribute toys at the liberation. Another interesting video compiling many images that were never shown to you. My testimony is sad; there are probably some exceptions, probably some of the White Helmets were civilians with good intentions, who were under the bombs dropped from the planes (not free, it’s a war, but in response to jihadist gunfire from civilian areas fired on the only civilian areas of the west and massacring a population that accounted for 90% of Aleppo while the media were silent), helped real people who were dying because of their proximity to armed groups, who used them as human shields (even shooting from hospitals …) is a reality, but the real majority were jihadists (proved by the documents found at the site); they were those who brought death on those who ended up under the rubble, and finally in their trucks, and in their videos; we must not forget the situations of cause and effect; it is nevertheless ironic and rather vicious.

The reality goes beyond fiction here, in this neighborhood, (all in schools that they have transformed, as you can see from the beginning) the headquarters of Al Nora, the Qatar Red Crescent, the M10 hospital and above all the headquarters of the helmets are rubbing shoulders here. The video is not well-mounted etc. but a picture is worth a thousand words and it is essential for you to understand the extent of the lies … how much we must ask to stop support for this war as well as sanctions against the Syrian people, as a stakeholder in terrorism. Again, although I share what can be called evidence, I still do not pretend to tell you what to think; form your own opinion.

"},{"views_count":355,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T06:43:30.934697Z","type":"post","title":"ISIS Commanders Join \"Moderate\" Syrian Rebels","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"isis-commanders-join-moderate-syrian-rebels","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-05-15T18:25:00.821065Z","poster_width":2543,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.gif","dimensions":[678,372]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.gif","dimensions":[2543,1396]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.gif","dimensions":[1920,1054]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.gif","dimensions":[1366,750]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.gif","dimensions":[1148,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.gif","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.gif","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.gif","dimensions":[508,279]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.gif","dimensions":[254,139]}},"poster_height":1396,"inserted_at":"2017-05-15T08:12:04.092050Z","id":2451,"description":"Once again confirming that there is no such thing as a \"moderate\" Syrian rebel (although there certainly is for State Department funding and arming purposes),","comments_count":0,"body":"

Once again confirming that there is no such thing as a \"moderate\" Syrian rebel (although there certainly is for State Department funding and arming purposes), on Friday, two prominent ISIS commanders have left the ranks of the calliphate to join forces with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, i.e., \"moderate rebels\" on the provincial border between Homs and Deir Ezzor, al Masdar news reported.

After communicating with FSA contigents, Ghassan Al-Sankeh and Mahmoud Al-Faraj arrived in Badia in central Syria and defected quietly, leaving behind ISIS fighters under their command in rural Deir Ezzor.

The ISIS commander Mahmoud Al-Faraj was said to be one of the highest-ranking commanders in Al-Mayadin, a city on the Euphrates River which reports indicate the Islamic State has transformed into its new capital.

ISIS controls the vast majority of the eastern province of Deir Ezzor although the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has maintained a presence in the provincial capital throughout the conflict while the FSA emerged in its southwestern desert last week.

Meanwhile, with ISIS' oil funding almost entirely gone, and its fighters on the defensive in both Syria and Iraq, it is now quietly melding back into other opposition groups that have been cheered, supported and armed by the west. In other words, ISIS is returning back to where it started.

"},{"views_count":454,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T05:27:13.318581Z","type":"post","title":"More Lies from the UN","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.465370Z","slug":"migration","name":"Migration","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:34:38.000000Z","id":36},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"more-lies-from-un","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-05-13T18:43:00.286670Z","poster_width":1960,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.png","dimensions":[678,443]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.png","dimensions":[1960,1280]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.png","dimensions":[1654,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.png","dimensions":[1176,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.png","dimensions":[965,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.png","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.png","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.png","dimensions":[508,332]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.png","dimensions":[254,166]}},"poster_height":1280,"inserted_at":"2017-05-11T10:26:47.216373Z","id":2425,"description":"You can run away from history, but you cannot hide from it. History does not care about your religious beliefs, your political beliefs or your political","comments_count":0,"body":"

You can run away from history, but you cannot hide from it. History does not care about your religious beliefs, your political beliefs or your political correctness. History records facts, regardless of how you feel about them.

UNESCO's latest resolution about Jerusalem, which denies the Jews' and Israel's legacy over its historical capital, Jerusalem, is yet another proof of the UN's corrupt decline. It not only offends the historical truth and archeology of the Jewish people. It also offends the Greek people, and all Christians, who for thousands of years have also had ties with the area and the nation of Jews. As it also offends the foundations of Greek Orthodox Christianity, the Greek government -- to is honor -- voted against this hallucinatory UNESCO resolution.

Here are more facts: The King of Sparta, Arius I, who lived between 309-267 B.C., sent a letter to Onias the First, the High Priest of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem:

The King of Sparta, Arius, sends greetings to the High Priest, Onias. It is written about the relations between the Jews and the Spartans that they are brotherly nations and that they originate from Abraham. Now that we have discovered this, tell us how your prosperity is. We write to you that your possessions and your animals are ours and our own possessions and animals are yours.

The king of Sparta, Arius, not only accepted that the relationship between Spartans and Jews are much older than his reign, but also that there was (as we would call it today) a federation.

King Arius further established the cultural privilege and right between Greeks and Jews to be called brothers.

What the King Arius was really saying here is that two states with different religions -- without common economic interests, without a common border and without even the same geographical area -- can interact in a political and cultural way. It is an important lesson for modern politicians. It also shows that for millennia, the cultural and historical depth of the Jewish people is undeniable, as well as the foundation for friendship among the Middle East nations. The problem of interacting with other people, as we can even see throughout Europe today, is on the Muslim side, not on the other side.

During the Hellenic years of Alexander the Great's descendants, many events were documented, in addition to recognition from the Greek overlords of that era, to prove the Jews' sovereignty in the city of Jerusalem. The priests of the Jewish Second Temple were treated as the political authority of the Jewish people. Jewish soldiers were treated as equals of the Greeks on the battlefields in the civil wars between the Hellenistic kingdoms of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.

An aerial view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and much of Jerusalem's Old City

Judaism was also a living religion for the Greek Queen, Helen of Adiavinis who embraced it in the middle of the First Century, after Jesus tried to save Jerusalem from famine.

In historical terms, the modern Jewish state has greater historical legitimacy than most modern European states -- and far more than at least the five Middle Eastern states artificially created out of the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement: the newborn countries of Greater Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. In Europe, what we now call Germany and France only appeared in the historical space of the Western world in the 3rd Century AD.

The oldest Jewish community in Europe is registered in Greece. The first Greek Jew known by name was \"Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew\", a slave identified in an inscription dated approximately 300-250 B.C. and found in Oropos, a small coastal town 40 km from Athens.

The apostle Paul could not have spread Christianity to Europe if there were no Jewish synagogues in Greece. His letters to the Greek Christian communities are considered by the church to be the foundations of the Christian doctrine.

For the ancient Greeks of that time, and also for us now, the city of Jerusalem is totally identified with Jewish sovereignty and its world heritage. In Jerusalem, we saw the Greek philosophy and the Greek world of our ancestors being supplemented by the monotheism and the wisdom of the Jewish prophets. In Jerusalem, we saw what the ancient king of Sparta, Arius, saw in the High Priest, Onias: a profound relationship between these two worlds that permeates centuries.

Does the United Nations truly believe that peace can be made in the Middle East by ignoring historical facts, historical identity and the continuity of Jewishness in the region? If the UN believes that, it is making a big mistake.

If the UN honestly wants peace, it must accept that the modern Jewish state is the tugboat that will pull the whole Middle East into the 21st century. Rejecting the historic Jewish legitimacy in Jerusalem, is rejecting the quintessence of peace, which is friendly coexistence and interaction between different people. With insults and fake history, you cannot build peace, only the next conflict.

Or could it be that secretly the United Nations does not want \"peace\" but instead the obliteration of Israel and its replacement by another Islamist state?

"},{"views_count":217,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T04:55:26.480250Z","type":"post","title":"Palestinians: Abbas's \"Culture of Peace\"","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"palestinians-abbass-culture-of-peace","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-05-13T17:04:00.359615Z","poster_width":2000,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,446]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2000,1316]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1641,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1167,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[957,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,334]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,167]}},"poster_height":1316,"inserted_at":"2017-05-11T09:58:57.208356Z","id":2424,"description":"Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas may soon be known for his sense of humor. Like many Palestinians, Abbas believes that Westerners will","comments_count":0,"body":"

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas may soon be known for his sense of humor. Like many Palestinians, Abbas believes that Westerners will swallow his lies wholesale. Abbas, for instance, ended his May 3 meeting with US President Donald Trump with the following whopper: \"We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.\"

Abbas did not provide further details about the \"culture of peace\" upon which Palestinian children are being raised. Nor did anyone bother to ask Abbas or any member of his entourage to provide examples of the \"culture of peace\" in Palestinian society. Yet major Western media outlets were quick to publish Abbas's unmistakable lie.

US President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the White House, on May 3, 2017.

Apparently, like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas is convinced that Palestinians can fool \"all of the people, all of the time\" about their true goals and intentions. Arafat lied to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when he told them that he and the Palestinian Authority were promoting peace and coexistence with Israel. Under Arafat, anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, schools and mosques intensified until Palestinians waged the Second Intifada in September 2000. This intifada was the result of seven years of vicious incitement and indoctrination that came after the inception of the PA. In a truly ironic turn of events, the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993, gave the Palestinians media outlets, including television and radio stations, which were then used to amplify hatred against Israel and Jews on a daily basis.

Arafat used these media outlets to tell his people -- when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000 -- that Israel was planning to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. It was precisely this incitement that triggered the Second Intifada, in which Palestinians wage a massive and ruthless campaign of suicide bombings and drive-by shootings that caused the death of hundreds of Israelis.

Under Arafat, it was anything but a \"culture of peace.\" His message to the Palestinians was: \"We will march towards Jerusalem and we will sacrifice millions of martyrs on the way!\"

Unlike many Israelis who were murdered by Palestinians at Arafat's incitement, Arafat's famous battle cry is still alive and well. Currently, it is being echoed by many Palestinians, including children, during rallies and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This call-to-arms openly encourages Palestinian youths to \"march towards Jerusalem\" and become \"martyrs.\"

Only one week before the Abbas's meeting with Trump, the PA president's Fatah faction called on Palestinians to take to the streets and clash with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The call was made in \"solidarity\" with Palestinian prisoners who went on a \"hunger strike\" in Israeli prisons. The hunger strike was not about Israel's prisons, well-known for being among the most comfortable in the world; the hunger strike was actually a political move to compete for which terrorist would be Abbas's successor. The prisoners are terrorists, most of them with blood on their hands; the more blood, the higher the promotion.

In the fight for Palestinian leadership, being a \"graduate\" of an Israeli prison is far more important than being a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The Palestinians' former prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, an economist and reformer adored in the West, received only 2% of the Palestinian vote.

By calling for clashes with Israelis, Fatah is inciting Palestinian youths to carry out violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers. This is the same Fatah led by Abbas -- the same Abbas mouthing lies about a \"culture of peace.\" By voicing solidarity with convicted murderers and praising them as role models and heroes of Palestinians, Abbas's Fatah pushes Palestinian youths to follow in their footsteps and engage in violence.

One day after the Abbas-Trump meeting, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, participated in a rally in Ramallah, in solidarity with the hunger-striking terrorists. At the rally, Hamdallah affirmed the PA's full support for the terrorists, by saying he was working to bring their case to the attention of the international community.

Like Arafat, Abbas continues to use alleged but non-existent threats the al-Aqsa Mosque to incite Palestinian youths against Israel. For the past 50 years, non-Muslims, including Jews, have been permitted to visit the Temple Mount as tourists. The visits were suspended when the Second Intifada began in 2000. But since the tourist visits resumed a few years ago, the Muslims have been trying to keep Jews away from the holy site. The Muslims claim that Jews are seeking to \"destroy\" and \"desecrate\" the al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Temple Mount) -- a false claim that is added to the long list of lies and blood libels spread by Abbas and many Muslims. Abbas's statement came in response not to any incidents at al-Aqsa Mosque, as Abbas and other Palestinians claimed: Tours of Jews to the Temple Mount are routine and peaceful.

In September 2015, Abbas stated that he \"welcomed every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem.\"

Shortly after this statement, Palestinians began waging a campaign of knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis, in a violent insurgency known as the \"Knife Intifada\". \"We will protect Jerusalem and we will not allow them [Jews] to defile al-Aqsa (Mosque) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with their filthy feet,\" Abbas deceitfully announced.

It is still unclear why he decided to bring the church into the controversy surrounding Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. What is clear is that Abbas was lying: Jews had not entered either the church or al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ever since Abbas's inciting statement, however, dozens of Palestinian youths have heeded his call by going out to stab or run over the first Jew they see. Their blood is on Abbas's hands. He is the one who sent out the youths to \"protect\" al-Aqsa Mosque against the fictitious Jewish \"invaders.\" He is the one who continues falsely to talk about \"herds of settlers storming al-Aqsa Mosque\" -- in reality, peaceful routine visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Thanks, however, to Abbas's falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about \"Jewish invaders and settlers storming\" Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

This, evidently, is the \"culture of peace\" to which Abbas is referring. How can he utter such a staggering lie when his media and top officials continue to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews on a daily basis? How precisely is Abbas promoting peace when his Palestinian Authority names schools and public squares after Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands? Earlier this year, for example, Abbas's Fatah named a youth camp in Jericho after Dalal al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded more than 70, in 1978.

By honoring the murderers of Jews, Abbas is, instead, solely promoting a culture of hate and violence. His message to Palestinian youths is, straightforwardly: the more Jews you kill, the more honor and respect you will receive from your people.

Abbas talks about a \"culture of peace\" at a time when he and his Palestinian Authority are even combating all forms of \"normalization\" with Israel. The anti-normalization campaign, in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, targets any Palestinian who dares to meet with Jews (even \"pro-Palestinian\" Jews). It operates solely under the auspices of the PA government. This campaign also promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Its goal is to intimidate Palestinians who work towards peace and coexistence with Israel and to ban any business with Jews. Can any Palestinian invite Jews to a meeting in Ramallah without being targeted by the \"anti-normalization\" thugs, many of whom are affiliated with Abbas's Fatah?

Perhaps by a \"culture of peace,\" Abbas means calling -- as he and his top officials regularly do -- Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe \"culture of peace\" means calling all Jews \"occupiers\" and \"colonists\" -- or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers? Those seem like debatable ways to advance his \"culture of peace.\"

Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists, a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas's \"culture of peace,\" what, one wonders, would he consider a culture of war?

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The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a body dominated by loyalists to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, has resumed its incitement against Israeli media outlets and journalists.

On May 7, Israeli authorities released a video showing imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is leading a \"hunger strike\" of more than 1,000 inmates held in Israeli prisons, secretly eating a candy bar in the bathroom of his prison cell. Israeli media outlets and journalists, like many of their Western colleagues, reported on the video, which has seriously embarrassed Barghouti and many other Palestinians.

A screenshot from a video showing imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is leading a \"hunger strike,\" secretly eating a candy bar in the bathroom of his prison cell. 

The prisoners' \"hunger strike\" is not about torture or denial of medical treatment. The prisoners seek expanded visitation rights, better access to public phones and more access to higher education.

But Barghouti, who began leading the \"hunger strike\" on April 17, has more on his mind than incarceration privileges.

The \"hunger strike\" is actually a strike against Mahmoud Abbas, who Barghouti believes has marginalized him, denying him an official senior position in Fatah.

It is worth noting that no one in the Israeli media was involved in the secret filming of Barghouti. Nor did any Israeli journalist know in advance about the authorities' decision to film Barghouti. All the Israeli media did was report on the release of the scandalous video, together with analysis about the implications of the video on the Palestinian prisoners' \"hunger strike.\"

Yet the moment the video appeared in the Israeli media, Palestinian Authority officials and several Palestinian institutions and groups rushed to make serious and unfounded charges against the Israeli media for reporting on the video.

The charges, needless to say, are so grave that they endanger the lives of Israeli journalists covering Palestinian affairs.

Strikingly, the worst threats against Israeli media came from none other than the body representing hundreds of Palestinian journalists -- the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. Equally disturbing, the PJS is headed by Nasser Abu Bakr, a highly partisan political activist -- and veteran journalist with the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).

A statement issued by Abu Bakr's PJS, shortly after the Barghouti video was broadcast on Israeli television and radio stations, accused Israeli journalists of \"collusion with the Israeli occupation authorities.\"

The statement warned Palestinian, Arab and Western media outlets against dealing with Israeli journalists, whom it accused of \"broadcasting poison\" by exposing that Barghouti was eating while claiming to be on hunger strike.

The PJS falsely accused Israeli media outlets of committing a \"crime by seeking to break the will of the hunger-striking prisoners by publishing false claims\" about Barghouti's eating.

The PJS said that its chairman, AFP's Abu Bakr, has filed a complaint with the International Federation of Journalists against Israeli reporters. According to Abu Bakr, the Israeli media is \"involved in the crime of starving and terrorizing our prisoners and are major accomplices of the actions of the occupation.\"

This is far from the first time that Abu Bakr, who, unethically for AFP, holds a senior job with the international news agency, has been involved in incitement against Israeli journalists and media outlets. Moreover, in addition to his job as chairman of the PJS and reporter with AFP, Abu Bakr recently ran in internal elections for Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction. Tellingly, although Nasser Abu Bakr's conflict of interest has been reported several times, his spectacular breach of journalistic ethics does not seem to bother his employers at Agence France-Presse. Worse, it calls AFP's professional ethics into serious question.

Would AFP ever hire a journalist to report about the French presidential elections while this journalist was running in the election or holding a senior job with the French government?

Since his appointment as PJS chairman, Abu Bakr has spearheaded a campaign to boycott Israeli journalists and media organizations. He has repeatedly accused Israeli journalists of serving as an \"arm\" of the Israeli military authorities and government. Ironically, it is Abu Bakr and his PJS who serve as part of the Palestinian Authority leadership establishment and do not conceal their role as official organs.

Instead of reporting objectively about the controversy surrounding Barghouti's \"hunger strike\" and the fact that the jailed Fatah leader was caught cheating, Abu Bakr and his PJS chose to wage a vicious campaign of incitement against Israeli media organizations and journalists for simply reporting the truth.

One can understand why Abu Bakr is so furious about the scandal surrounding Barghouti's \"hunger strike\": he belongs to the same Fatah faction whose members are purportedly fasting in Israeli prisons.

This conflict of interest explains why the PJS and the PA leadership have instructed Palestinian journalists and media organizations to refrain from reporting about the video showing Barghouti enjoying a snack in his prison cell.

Threats against Israeli journalists are intended to deter them from reporting about any topic that could shed a negative light on the Palestinians.

This is, in fact, the preferred method of intimidation among Palestinians. It was first used against Palestinian and Western journalists who dared to criticize Palestinian leaders or report about corruption and terror-advocacy by Palestinian officials. In recent years, the campaign of intimidation has expanded to include Israeli journalists covering Palestinian affairs.

No wonder, then, that many Israeli journalists have stopped reporting about anything that could anger PA officials in Ramallah. These Israeli journalists claim that they deliberately avoid any criticism of the PA because they do not want to \"lose access to sources\" among the Palestinians.

This campaign against Israeli journalists is far from an isolated move. It ought to be seen in the context of the overall Palestinian incitement against Israel.

While Abbas is busy lying to Trump and the rest of the Western world that his society is raising Palestinian youth on a \"culture of peace,\" the latest threats against Israeli journalists prove once again the depth of his deception.

These threats should be taken seriously for two reasons: they pose a direct threat to the safety of Israeli reporters working in PA-controlled territories and, second, they constitute a flagrant assault on freedom of expression and the media.

Let us be clear on this: Abu Bakr and his PA friends are demanding that the Israeli and international media refrain from reporting anything offensive about the Palestinians. That is censorship -- not to mention shock-troop thuggery.

Will international human rights groups and the International Federation of Journalists call out the Palestinians for inciting against Israeli journalists and demanding censorship of unpleasant facts? Or will they take their habitual tack, holding off on their denunciations until they have something negative to say about Israel?

Western journalists would do well to hold the Palestinians accountable for these threats. If they choose not to, their next visit to Ramallah will involve significant appeasement of demanding PA personnel.

"},{"views_count":296,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T05:45:33.672729Z","type":"post","title":"Saudi Arabia's 'Lavish' Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.449344Z","slug":"geopolitics","name":"Geopolitics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:10:39.000000Z","id":16},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"saudi-arabias-lavish-gift-to-indonesia-radical-islam","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-05-02T16:23:00.353506Z","poster_width":2048,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,435]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2048,1315]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1682,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1196,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[981,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,326]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,163]}},"poster_height":1315,"inserted_at":"2017-05-02T07:56:52.852955Z","id":2340,"description":"Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not","comments_count":0,"body":"

Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not only as the monarch of one of the world's richest countries, but as the custodian of Islam's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

While appearing to be taking a holiday rather than embarking on an official state visit -- the 81-year-old sovereign spent six days at a resort in Bali -- the king had some serious business to attend to. In what was advertised as an effort to promote \"social interaction\" between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia -- with His Majesty announcing a billion-dollar aid package, unlimited flights between the two countries and the allotment of 50,000 extra spots per year for Indonesian pilgrims to make the hajj to Mecca and Medina – it seems as if the real purpose of the trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world's largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.

Jakarta-based journalist Krithika Varagur, writing in The Atlantic on the second day of the king's visit, describes Saudi efforts in Indonesia:

Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia. It has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about 800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia.

This Saudi influence has taken a serious toll on Indonesia, 90% of whose 250 million people are Sunnis. Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, \"The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief,\" Indonesia -- which declared independence in 1945 -- has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

Prior to Saudi Arabia's attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few.

Today, it is rife with these groups, which adhere strictly to Islamic sharia law, Saudi Arabia's binding legal system, and which promote it in educational institutions. Like al-Qaeda and ISIS, they deny women equal rights, believe in death by stoning for adulterers and hand amputation for thieves, and in executing homosexuals and \"apostate\" Muslims.

The most recent example of the way in which this extremism has swept Indonesia took place a mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip. On March 31, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city's Christian governor, who is on trial for \"blaspheming the Quran.\"

This paled in comparison to the crowds -- numbering about 200,000 at each violent rally -- which flooded the city last November, December and February. The crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir, an infidel, he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Sadly, such a jail term is nothing, when one considers the Islamist prison that the country as a whole has become -- courtesy of King Salman and his lavish \"gifts.\"

"},{"views_count":341,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-11-05T13:56:57.355449Z","type":"post","title":"ISIS Savages Killed By Pigs!","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.389753Z","slug":"various","name":"Various","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:53:00.000000Z","id":42},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.487828Z","slug":"humor","name":"Humor","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:59:02.000000Z","id":43},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"isis-savages-killed-by-pigs","rate_count":1,"published_at":"2017-05-01T16:10:00.685463Z","poster_width":1800,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,452]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[1800,1200]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1620,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1152,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[945,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,339]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,169]}},"poster_height":1200,"inserted_at":"2017-04-27T13:38:20.542642Z","id":2316,"description":"This is the best news you’ve heard in a while. AWD craps you negative on this one. In Iraq, three ISIS terrorists were killed by….wait for it…wild pigs! Pigs!","comments_count":0,"body":"

This is the best news you’ve heard in a while. AWD craps you negative on this one. In Iraq, three ISIS terrorists were killed by….wait for it…wild pigs! Pigs! So the answer has been here the whole time! Don’t send soldiers to fight those savage tards over there. Send wild hogs!

Hell, pigs are taking over Texas faster than Muslims (but it’s a close race) so we could spare a few billion piggies to do the work of Jesus and shove ISIS out of the Seventh Century and back to the Sixth Century. As a bonus, any terrorist killed by a porker over there now is ineligible to go to his imaginary 72 virgins (Allah only knows what’s hiding under those burkas!) and cannot enter his imaginary Paradise. Lights out on ISIS and Al Qaeda. Score one for Jesus and America!

Word probably spread around the wild pig campfire in Iraq what those ISIS savages do to goats and donkeys and the hogs were having no part of being porked by Muslim terrorists!

Now AWD will be the first to acknowledge that wild pigs are dangerous. Just the sound of their tusks rubbing together can send chills up your spine in the woods after dark. But to be eaten alive by a hog while armed with military weapons signifies that one is a stupid idiot. ISIS. But I repeat myself.

I’ve heard wild pigs in the woods many times in close proximity to my big sexy ass while hunting but I never sweated it too much as I was armed with my AR-10 and my trusty Fenix flashlight brightening up my night with 330 lumens. On my hip is either a .45 or Gunter the Glock 23 in .40 cal should I get into a pack of piggies that expends my 20 round mag of .308 in the AR. And AWD is more than prepared to hong kong on some sorry pig’s ass if I expend all ammunition down range. Plus, I could always shimmy up a tree if I had to. I think.

Anyway, this Ji-Hawg anti-ISIS pig strategy should be introduced in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi….hell, all over the whole damn Middle East wherever those little Muslim bastids reside! We could strap bombs onto the piggies and send them charging into the ranks of the ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists. Imagine the terror when thousands of wild pigs charge in come prayer time! Might make those terrorists a little more concerned about shoving their asses up in the air five times a day if some big, ugly, hairy porker comes sneaking up from the rear like an Injun. I’m not talking about their women in burkas.

But this is certainly good news to know that at least 3 terrorists are now deprived of virgins and will assume the position of pig shit. I hope word spreads around the terrorist community.

I once had a neighbor who hunted pigs not to kill them but to capture them. His name is Jack Daniels. I crap you negative. I haven’t seen Jack in about 10 years. They should do a show on Jack. It would beat the hell out of those Duck Dynasty cats.

Jack was the reddest of rednecks and all he drank was Keystone beer. He’d throw the empty cans in the back of his truck, turn away and piss on his tire in my driveway while he caught up on all things pig hunting. I never saw him in a shirt where the sleeves were not cut off. I lived out in the country.

Jack raised pit bulls for pig hunting. These dogs are not pets. They will flat eat your ass up. He’d train one dog to one ear of the hog, one to grab the other and the third pit bull to grab the pig’s snout. Once they had that pig all tied up in the mouths of mean-ass pit bulls, Jack would run and tackle the pig and hog-tie him up. Keep in mind, some of these sumbitches weighed 300 and 400 pounds. Jack would tie the pig up and God only knows what he’d do with them. I think he sold them to pig hunting ranches. He never said and I never asked. I think Jack fed a few people to pigs in his youth.

We need to make Jack Daniels a General in charge of killing ISIS with pigs in the Middle East. Then it’s all she wrote! Call in the battle ships and piss on the Admiral. War’s over, boys!

Poet, musician, lover, military genius. How does AWD do it? It’s a gift is all I can say.

"},{"views_count":367,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T06:22:48.747514Z","type":"post","title":"From Aspiring Stylist to Jihadist Widow: One Woman’s Syria Story","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"from-aspiring-stylist-to-jihadist-widow-one-woman-s-syria-story","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-04-27T23:23:01.187431Z","poster_width":2487,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,407]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2487,1492]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1800,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1280,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[1050,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,305]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,152]}},"poster_height":1492,"inserted_at":"2017-04-27T08:05:29.210629Z","id":2295,"description":"Islam Maytat thought marrying an Afghan-British businessman was her ticket to a new life as a fashionista in London. Instead she became a widow living under","comments_count":0,"body":"

Islam Maytat thought marrying an Afghan-British businessman was her ticket to a new life as a fashionista in London. Instead she became a widow living under jihadist rule in Syria.

At just 23, the young Moroccan spent three traumatic years in northern Syria under the Islamic State group's so-called \"caliphate\".

Tens of thousands of foreigners have joined jihadist groups in Syria, including women who are encouraged to marry and raise the children of IS fighters.

Some, like Maytat, have been lured unknowingly into marriages with would-be jihadists.

Maytat spoke to AFP after fleeing IS's northern stronghold of Raqa to territory controlled by a US-backed alliance fighting the extremist group.

Now safe in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli, Maytat holds her gurgling 10-month-old daughter Maria in her lap as she tells her story.

\"Meeting my husband was one of the things that motivated me to study fashion design in Europe, but I had no luck. Everything went wrong,\" she said.

She first met Khalil Ahmed - an Afghan-British trader who worked in Dubai - online in early 2014, and they married two months later.

He flew to Morocco to marry her and they then went to Dubai, stepping into a complex web of lies and journeys across the Middle East that would eventually take her to Syria.

Going to the caliphate

Ahmed proved to be a strict, controlling husband who did not allow her to wear makeup or bright clothes.

After a brief trip to Afghanistan to meet his family, Maytat was eager to get to London and start working as a stylist.

Ahmed proposed travelling to Istanbul, convincing a reluctant Maytat that it would be easier to move to London from there.

But as soon as they landed in Turkey, Ahmed immediately drove her to the southeastern city of Gaziantep near the border with Syria.

Ankara has long been accused of turning a blind eye to IS fighters using the porous Syrian-Turkish border to transport people, goods, and funds - allegations it vehemently denies.

In Gaziantep, Maytat and Ahmed moved into a large house full of ecstatic couples from countries including Saudi Arabia, Algeria and France.

\"I asked them 'Why are you here?' And they told me they were there to migrate to the caliphate in Syria,\" Maytat recalls.

In June 2014, IS declared a self-styled \"caliphate\" across Syria and Iraq, where it implemented its literal interpretation of Islamic law.

\"I began to cry. It was two weeks after the caliphate was declared and the women kept saying 'We're going to the land of the caliphate, the land of the Muslims', and they were all happy,\" Maytat says.

In August, Ahmed and Maytat made their own journey across the border into war-ravaged northern Syria.

I had no choice

They settled in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, where Ahmed's brother was already living with his family.

\"I said to my husband 'Why did you destroy my life like this? You should have told me from the beginning that this is what we were going to do',\" Maytat recalls.
And he said 'You're my wife - you have to listen to what I say'.

Tears welling, Maytat says she had felt powerless to resist Ahmed, her only link to her previous life.

By September, she was pregnant with her first child - Abdullah - and Ahmed was sent to a month-long military training before deploying to IS's front in Kobane.

On October 8, 2014, Ahmed's brother told Maytat her husband had been killed in combat.

\"I became more depressed. I said to myself, this is the only person I knew in this foreign land, and now I'm alone here,\" she tells AFP.

Pregnant and alone, Maytat moved into a shared \"guest house\" for widows of jihadists, mostly Uzbeks and Russians.

This is when the military training started.

\"When they forced us to do weapons training I was pregnant, but I had no choice,\" she says.

Unable to communicate with many other widows, Maytat was allowed to move into a building housing other Arabic-speakers.

There were French, Tunisians, Moroccans and Algerians. I stayed there until I gave birth to Abdullah.

Secret route' to safety

Less than a year after her first husband died, Maytat remarried in order to escape the shelter.

Her second husband, an Afghan known as Abu Abdullah, took her to Raqa, the de facto capital of IS's caliphate.

\"I couldn't deal with life there - he wouldn't let me leave the house - so I asked him for a divorce two months later,\" she says.

She then married for the third time in three years, this time to an Indian fighter in Raqa known as Abu Talha al-Hindi.

That 18-month marriage produced her daughter, Maria.

When Maytat learned Abu Talha had been killed battling the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, she joined up with another jihadist widow, a Yazidi woman.

They escaped IS territory via \"a secret route\" that she refused to divulge.

Traumatised by her past, Maytat is now also worried about her future and that of her two young children.

I still don't know what to do with my life.
I hope to return to Morocco with both of my children, but I don't know if I'll have a future or not there.
"},{"views_count":327,"user":{"username":"ottobattista","updated_at":"2018-02-18T00:36:24.163476Z","profile_picture_versions_map":{"small_2x":{"url":"","path":"small_2x.png","dimensions":[56,56]},"small":{"url":"","path":"small.png","dimensions":[28,28]},"detailed_2x":{"url":"","path":"detailed_2x.png","dimensions":[320,320]},"detailed":{"url":"","path":"detailed.png","dimensions":[160,160]}},"last_name":"Battista","inserted_at":"2016-09-23T17:55:22.000000Z","id":11,"first_name":"Otto"},"upvote":null,"updated_at":"2017-10-22T04:47:58.546784Z","type":"post","title":"‘Majority Muslim’ Versus Islamic Nations","tags":[{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.469115Z","slug":"islamization","name":"Islamization","inserted_at":"2016-12-28T13:08:47.000000Z","id":53},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.471701Z","slug":"degradation","name":"Degradation","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:50:57.000000Z","id":24},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.507260Z","slug":"religion","name":"Religion","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:40:44.000000Z","id":38},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.527360Z","slug":"society","name":"Society","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T14:10:38.000000Z","id":29},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T16:50:17.523560Z","slug":"politics","name":"Politics","inserted_at":"2016-10-10T13:09:15.000000Z","id":15},{"updated_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516108Z","slug":"middle-east","name":"Middle East","inserted_at":"2017-09-23T18:26:21.516102Z","id":220}],"state":"published","slug":"majority-muslim-versus-islamic-nations","rate_count":0,"published_at":"2017-04-24T13:21:01.132798Z","poster_width":2048,"poster_versions_map":{"width_678":{"url":"","path":"width_678.jpg","dimensions":[678,452]},"width_4096":{"url":"","path":"width_4096.jpg","dimensions":[2048,1365]},"width_1920":{"url":"","path":"width_1920.jpg","dimensions":[1620,1080]},"width_1366":{"url":"","path":"width_1366.jpg","dimensions":[1152,768]},"social_share":{"url":"","path":"social_share.jpg","dimensions":[945,630]},"mobile_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[160,160]},"mobile_preview":{"url":"","path":"mobile_preview.jpg","dimensions":[80,80]},"masonry_preview_2x":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview_2x.jpg","dimensions":[508,339]},"masonry_preview":{"url":"","path":"masonry_preview.jpg","dimensions":[254,169]}},"poster_height":1365,"inserted_at":"2017-04-24T07:57:42.482879Z","id":2252,"description":"The mainstream media likes to claim President Trump’s executive order on immigration suspends visas from six or seven “Muslim-majority” countries, but as I","comments_count":0,"body":"

The mainstream media likes to claim President Trump’s executive order on immigration suspends visas from six or seven “Muslim-majority” countries, but as I pointed out in a previous column, all of them are Muslim countries, period.

All seven nations name Islam as their official state religion and base their legal code to some degree on Islamic sharia law. That includes Iraq, dropped from the second version of Trump’s order, whose post-Saddam Hussein government was nursed into existence with extensive financial and political assistance from the United States.

How many true “Muslim-majority” nations in the world? In other words, how many countries have a majority of Muslim citizens but do not designate Islam as the official state religion, and keep their legal systems completely free of sharia influence?

This exploration should begin with acknowledging that precise demographic data is hard to come by for nations where Muslims comprise roughly half the population. Most efforts to list the world’s Muslim-majority nations point to a 2010 Pew Research study called “The Future of the Global Muslim Population,” whose data is now seven years old.

Demographic shifts and the shortage of reliable data can make it difficult to say whether some countries hovering around the 50-percent mark currently have Muslim majorities., for example, cites Nigeria as a borderline case because Pew’s 2010 data had the population at 47.9 percent Muslim, but many sources list it as a Muslim-majority nation.

Three of the toughest borderline cases are Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey.

Indonesia: Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia has about 207 million Muslim inhabitants, with a total population of 250 million, making it over 80 percent Muslim.

Indonesia is routinely cited as an example of harmonious secular government, the textbook example of a Muslim-majority nation that is not officially Muslim by law. Indonesia’s constitution, which dates back to 1945, does not specify a state religion or make special provisions for sharia law. Indonesia does require a certain faith for its president, but it is not Islam – it is a unique school of philosophy called Pancasila. As Australia recently learned, Indonesia is very serious about the importance of Pancasila.

And yet, the UK Daily Mail reported on Indonesia’s “masked sharia law enforcers” on Monday, including photographs of a man and woman receiving 25 lashes in public for violating Islamic law by “spending time with somebody who is not their husband or wife.” A woman took 100 lashes with a cane recently for sex outside of marriage, according to the report.

Gambling, drinking alcohol, women failing to wear headscarves, and homosexuality are also punished with beatings in Aceh province, which the Daily Mail explains is “the only province in the country which implements sharia law in full,” following a 2001 grant of autonomy from the central government in Jakarta.

“Over the past decade, the central government has devolved more power to regional authorities to increase autonomy and speed up development,” the Daily Mail adds. “Engaging in homosexual acts is not a crime under Indonesia’s national criminal code but remains taboo in many conservative parts of the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.”

In April 2016, the first non-Muslim was beaten in public for violating sharia law in Aceh, by selling alcohol. The victim was a 60-year-old Christian woman.

Aceh is not the lone island of sharia law in Indonesia. In a January article, the New York Times cited a recent study that found “more than 442 Shariah-based ordinances have been passed throughout the nation since 1999, when Jakarta gave provinces and districts substantial powers to make their own laws.” The regulations cover matters such as “female attire, the mixing of the sexes, and alcohol.”

According to the NYT, local officials view the spread of sharia law across Indonesia as a “point of pride,” and see Aceh as a model to be emulated. The head of Aceh’s Department of Sharia is described as a “moderate” who thinks Aceh’s version of Islamic law is “softer” than Saudi Arabia’s because it welcomes “alternative schools of Islamic thought” and accepts “the role of female leaders.” Women’s rights activists supported the female mayor of Aceh as a progressive reformer, but she promptly slapped a curfew on women once she got in office and went about “personally dispersing events deemed to contradict sharia,” such as a beauty contest.

The Times article closes with an Islamist preacher declaring that Aceh is a “model for the entire Indonesian nation” and must “become the locomotive for the movement to apply Shariah law throughout Indonesia.”

The Christian governor of Jakarta – the first non-Muslim to hold that position in the last half-century – is currently on trial for blasphemy because he supposedly criticized the Koran, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. The governor was in tears when he appeared before a court, not to challenge the blasphemy law, but to deny he intended to insult the Koran. A crowd outside the building screamed “Allahu akbar!” while he testified.

Indonesia is not a completely secular Muslim-majority nation. The best that can be said of its current situation is that moderates, including Muslim supporters of the Jakarta governor, are trying to push back against the rising tide of Islamization.

Nigeria: Nigeria’s 1999 constitution explicitly grants legal authority to sharia courts. Sharia is mentioned dozens of times in the section of the constitution that defines Nigeria’s judicial system, including specific procedures for replacing the judges of state and local courts (candidates must hold a “recognized qualification in Islamic law from an institution approved by the National Judicial Council” for at least ten years.)

Critics of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have accused him of transforming Nigeria into a Muslim nation. Saudi Arabia nonchalantly refers to Nigeria as such. It is a member state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Recent efforts have been made to expand the power of sharia courts; advocates argue that officially granting criminal jurisdiction to sharia courts, rather than only permitting them to rule in civil complaints, will protect Christians in northern Nigeria because Muslims will be less likely to kill them over minor provocations.

“Many non-Muslims are being unjustly killed. People are doing injustice to non-Muslims by attacking non-Muslims just because they’re not Muslims,” explained lawmaker Abdullahi Salame in May 2016. “With the passage of this bill, no Muslim will ever attempt even to harm, much less, kill non-Muslims, because you know Sharia can attend to criminal cases and you will be dealt with. And, in Islam, when you kill a non-Muslim, you will be killed. These Boko Haram and other groups that hide behind any little crisis to attack Christians and other non-Muslims would be easily punished.”

Turkey: Turkey is officially secular, according to its Constitution – which begins with a salute to the “immortal leader and unrivaled hero” who founded the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Unfortunately, there are grave concerns about Turkey’s future as a secular state, and the current health of religious freedom is far from robust. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom lists Turkey as a “Tier 2” country, in which the government commits or tolerates serious violations of religious freedom.

Turkey’s population is heavily Sunni Muslim – 75 to 85 percent, according to government estimates. Less than half of one percent of the population is non-Muslim. USCIRF criticizes Turkey’s government for exercising excessive control over all religion in a variety of ways, perhaps most significantly by denying religious minorities the right to train clergy. Islamic religious instruction for all children is mandatory unless parents request a waiver. Some parents hesitate to request such a waiver because it would mean revealing their religious affiliation to the government.

Much of the energy for reform in Turkey comes from the Alevi Muslim minority, a sizable minority that may comprise up to 25 percent of the Turkish population. The Alevis are a mystical offshoot of Shia Islam – a branch so distant that some of them don’t even identify as Muslim anymore. They have frequently complained of government discrimination against them.

As it stands, Turkey is a “Muslim-plus” country where religions other than Sunni Islam face special forms of official discrimination, even though there is no official state religion. The U.S. government has been working to encourage religious freedom reforms and praises the positive developments it sees, but there are fears about the increasingly authoritarian rule of Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Religious freedom advocates have criticized (and his followers heartily praised) Erdogan for seeking to establish Turkey as a leading force in Islam, occasionally even styled as a “caliph” or “sultan.” There is little question that Erdogan has turned the country away from strict secularism and toward Islamic nationalism.

In Part 2, we’ll review the nations where Islam is the official state religion.

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