Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits


In this mailing:
  • Douglas Murray: Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits
  • Bruce Bawer: Scandinavia: Shift in Immigration Debate

Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits

by Douglas Murray  •  September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am
  • If you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country, then you do not really have a country.
  • While the public wants their representatives to control their borders, politicians seem to see only political capital in running the other way. In part this is because there appears to be some kind of "bonus" to be achieved by looking welcoming and kindly, in contrast to the unwelcoming and mean things that borders now appear to represent.
  • By the end of August, it was estimated that almost 12,000 people had arrived in Canada through this route so far this year. It is a number that constitutes little more than an averagely busy week in Italy at any time over recent years. But even this comparatively tiny movement across an entire year has proven too much for Canada. At the end of last month, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters: "For someone to successfully seek asylum it's not about economic migration. It's about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we'll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker."
Pictured: Two people, who claimed to be from Turkey, illegally cross the U.S.-Canada border into Canada, on February 23, 2017, near Hemmingford, Quebec. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bombings and other terrorist attacks are now a common feature of life in modern Europe. On just one day (September 15, 2017), an improvised explosive device was placed on a London Underground train, a man wielding a knife and shouting "Allah" attacked a soldier in Paris, and a man with a hammer shouting "Allahu Akbar" badly wounded two women in Lyon. As the former Prime Minister of France and the present Mayor of London have put it, perhaps this is all just a price we have to pay for living in big cities in Europe in the 21st century: we have traffic congestion, great restaurants and terrorist attacks.

Scandinavia: Shift in Immigration Debate

by Bruce Bawer  •  September 19, 2017 at 4:00 am
  • Until recently, the very notion that some European neighborhoods were "no-go" zones was vehemently dismissed by politicians and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic as a myth, a lie, a vicious right-wing calumny. But even as Swedish officials were denying the existence of such zones in their own country, they were secretly mapping them out and overseeing a police effort to liberate them.
  • The Sweden Democrats are on the rise because voters finally grasp the extent and significance of the damage their elites have been doing to their country -- and the elites, both in the media and in government, are scrambling to snap into line in order to keep hold on power.
  • In some ways, the winds in Scandinavia may be turning, but it does not seem as if Stanghelle and his ilk are about to speak the whole truth about Islam, or to apologize for their inexcusable abuse of those who have.
Until recently, Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. Pictured: A Danish checkpoint on the border with Germany, near Padborg, on January 6, 2016. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Not long ago, Norwegian journalists were virtually united in representing Sweden, with its exceedingly liberal immigration policy and its strict limits on public discussion of the subject, as a model of enlightened thinking that deserved to be emulated. Meanwhile Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate (remember the Danish cartoons) and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. That appears to be changing. As Hans Rustad of the alternative Norwegian news website Document.no noted recently, the term "Swedish conditions," which some of us have been using for years to refer to the colossal scale of Sweden's Muslim-related problems, is actually turning up these days in the mainstream Norwegian media -- although the relationship of those conditions to Islam is still routinely underplayed, if not entirely avoided.
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Eye on Iran: Trump Will Call for Action on North Korea, Iran in First UN Address


   EYE ON IRAN
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President Donald Trump will call on world leaders to confront North Korea and Iran in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday, seeking a broad alliance against the two countries his administration considers the world's gravest threats. With his remarks, Trump will emphasize that the peril posed by North Korean and Iranian weapons programs is too great for any country to remain on the sidelines, according to two U.S. officials who previewed themes of the address on Monday.


Asked by reporters whether he would withdraw [from the Iran deal], Mr. Trump said, "You'll see very soon. You'll be seeing very soon." He added: "We're talking about it constantly. Constantly. We're talking about plans constantly."


"We will destroy the Zionist entity at lightning speed, and thus shorten the 25 years it still has left," Iranian media quoted [Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi, an Iranian military officer currently acting as the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army] as saying in reference to a recurring threat by Iran and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to take down the State of Israel in the next quarter century. "I warn the [Zionist] entity not to make any stupid move against the Islamic Republic of Iran," he threatened. "Every [such] stupid act will [make us] turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust."

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL


NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR H.R. MCMASTER: Well, we have to see what live with it means, right? Live with can't be giving this regime cover to develop a nuclear capability. And so, a lot of things have to happen immediately, rigorous enforcement of that agreement. It is under-enforced now. We know Iran has already violated parts of the agreement... the IAEA has identified and we've identified some of these breaches that Iran has then corrected. But what does that tell you about Iranian behavior? They're not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They're crossing the line at times... [W]e have to recognize the fundamental flaws in this deal. It is -- as the president said -- it is the worst deal. It gave all these benefits to the Iranian regime upfront and these benefits now they are using to foment this humanitarian catastrophe in the greater Middle East.


Lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee are hinting at still-secret details related to Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal that the president could use to back up a potential October decertification. Trump is required by law to report to Congress every 90 days on Iranian implementation of the nuclear deal. If he decertifies compliance on or before October 15, Congress then has 60 days to debate reimposing sanctions lifted under the agreement-some of which Trump waived this week. 


France on Monday gave a staunch defense of the Iran nuclear deal, suggesting there could be talks to strengthen the pact for the post-2025 period but that allowing it to collapse could lead Iran's neighbors to seek atomic weapons.


The United States and Iran quarreled over how Tehran's nuclear activities should be policed at a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, in a row sparked last month by Washington's call for wider inspections. Key U.S. allies are worried by the possibility of Washington pulling out of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions against it being lifted.


Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday accused the U.S. of violating the spirit and letter of the 2015 nuclear deal, escalating a clash between the two countries at the start of a crucial week of talks on the accord's future. 


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that America will pay a "high cost" if US President Donald Trump makes good on his threats to scrap the Iran nuclear deal... He said any riposte from Iran would come "quite swiftly" and "probably within a week," adding that "if the US wants to increase the tensions it will see the reaction from Iran."


With President Trump's disdain for the 2015 agreement on limiting Iran's nuclear program threatening the pact's survival, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is likely to focus much of his time at the U.N. General Assembly this week with one main goal in mind: defending the controversial agreement. During his highly anticipated speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday--along with several other planned meetings--Rouhani will likely argue that Iran has complied with the terms of the deal.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will suggest "concrete ideas" to US President Donald Trump during their meeting in New York on Monday to either change or scrap the Iranian nuclear deal, sources in the Prime Minister's entourage said on Sunday. The meeting comes amid a debate in Washington over whether the US should walk away from the deal and what ramifications that move would create.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lay out a comprehensive case against Iran in his speech Tuesday at the United Nations, "connecting the dots" between the nuclear deal and Tehran's desire to establish itself militarily on Israel's northern border, Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Sunday. Netanyahu will make plain that in Jerusalem's view the Iran nuclear pact must not be left intact, Danon said.


The French government will use meetings at the UN this week to try to persuade Donald Trump not to abandon the nuclear agreement with Iran, warning that the deal's collapse would trigger a "spiral of proliferation" in the Middle East, the French foreign minister said. Jean-Yves Le Drian said that Iran was abiding by the terms of the 2015 deal, and that verification measures were being "strictly implemented" by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

SANCTIONS RELIEF


As Iran's economy tries to rebound from years of harsh international sanctions, producers of black caviar - that salt-cured delicacy associated with the rich and famous, with a price tag to match - are also eyeing a comeback. Once among Iran's most famous exports, the industry nearly collapsed because of trade restrictions and an international clampdown on the capture of sturgeon from the Caspian Sea.


Less than two years after it returned to the international oil markets, Iran is quick to embrace the alternative of oil: renewable energy sources. The country's Deputy Energy Minister, Houshang Fallahatian, told media that Tehran plans to add 1,000 MW of new renewable power capacity every year over the next five years. Revenues from renewables should reach US$60 billion if the plan succeeds.

EXTREMISM  


Iran's army chief warned Monday that his country would immediately lay waste to Israel's commercial capital of Tel Aviv should Israeli leaders make any mistakes. The threat came just a day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to take the stage to deliver a U.N. General Assembly speech widely believed to center on Iran's growing influence in the Middle East. Israel's traditionally dismal relationships with other countries in the majority-Muslim region have shifted, with some Gulf Arab states reportedly moving away from a decades-long boycott established after Israel's founding in 1948 and the subsequent expulsion and exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS  


Like two catty girls whose favorite thing to do when getting together is talk smack about the weird kid in class, it seems when the US and Israel meet - or rather their leaders do - all they want to dish about is Iran, and not their own fetch bilateral relations or peace efforts. With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, and slated to see US President Donald Trump on Monday, Israeli concerns about Iran are, in the words of Yedioth Ahronoth's headline, "Back on the table."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will pay separate visits to Iran in the coming days amid rising tension over the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) bid to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25 and continued efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. President Erdoğan and Iranian President Hasan Ruhani will preside over the Fifth Turkey-Iran High Level Strategic Council meeting that will be held in Tehran on Oct. 4.

IRAQ CRISIS


Iran warned on Sunday that independence for Iraqi Kurdistan would mean an end to all border and security arrangements with the regional government.

YEMEN CRISIS


The top American admiral in the Middle East said on Monday that Iran continues to smuggle illicit weapons and technology into Yemen, stoking the civil strife there and enabling Iranian-backed rebels to fire missiles into neighboring Saudi Arabia that are more precise and far-reaching.

HUMAN RIGHTS


President Donald Trump will give special attention to the Iranian people during his speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly - signaling that he sees them as not only separate from their Islamist government, but as a threat to its survival, a senior administration official said.


Iran's imprisonment of Xiyue Wang, a naturalized United States citizen from China who is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Princeton University, has left his family, colleagues and supporters despondent and outraged... The Iranian judiciary said this July that he had been sentenced to a 10-year term for espionage. His wife, Hua Qu... [said]... ["]Over all, he's doing poorly there. He has health problems and hopes to get access to medical treatment and to get home as soon as possible. That is probably the only way to solve his health issues, his depression. It's very difficult.["]


Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been ordered to attend a court hearing in Tehran after his passport was confiscated at the border before the weekend. Rasoulof, who won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes this year for his film A Man of Integrity (also known as Lerd), was returning to Iran from Colorado's Telluride Film Festival when he was stopped at Tehran Airport on Friday. No reason was given for the confiscation of his passport, and he was subsequently ordered to appear at a "culture and media" court in the Iranian capital, Kaveh Farman a co-producer on A Man of Integrity told The Hollywood Reporter.


Mahvash Sabet, one of the leaders of Iran's Baha'i community jailed by authorities, has been released after serving her 10-year-prison sentence. Sabet, 64, and six other Baha'i leaders were arrested in 2008 and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment... "Although the news of the release of Sabet after the completion of her sentence is a welcome development, it does not signal the end of the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran," Bani Dugal, the representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations in New York, said.

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Team Trump is facing up to the fact that Iran is regularly cheating on the Obama administration's nuclear deal - even if it's not yet clear what they'll do about it... Why keep the deal when Iran is simply cheating its way into the nuclear club?


As world leaders converge on New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly, a U.N. body is set to publicly call for the release of two Iranian Americans imprisoned unjustly in Tehran. That creates an opportunity for the Trump administration to make good on its promise to ramp up efforts to bring American hostages home. With Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif present with him in New York, President Trump is expected to focus on the future of the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian military expansion in the Middle East and the regime's human rights abuses. But the subject of American hostages is also a stated priority of the Trump White House. The question is whether the president will give it equal billing or put the fate of the U.S. prisoners on a back burner.


[I]f the US president is hell-bent on needling Iran, he should at least needle them on the right topic: human rights... Freedom of speech and the right to protest would energise young Iranians who crave the opportunities their peers have in the West. The problem is the US shows itself barely interested in backing waves of dissent that would help to boot religion out of government in Iran... So what should Trump do as he attends his first UN General Assembly as President? Easy. Approach Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative on foreign affairs - she has the ear of the Iranians like no one. Just like General Zod used Lois Lane to get Superman's attention, Trump should implore Mogherini to pile pressure on Iran's foreign minister Zarif - who denies Iran even has a human rights problem - to push his government about the plight of innocent people in the country's jails and outside, and those in judicial limbo having paid a paralysing amount of money for bail.


As Prime Minister Netanyahu rightly pointed out during our meeting, the greatest threat to Israel is the expansion of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and a regime that openly calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State - Iran. The Iranian threat has increased exponentially due to an influx of billions of dollars to the regime that resulted from the Obama administration's flawed nuclear deal that provided sanctions relief to a tyrannical regime. 


It is hard to tell what [Secetary of State Rex Tillerson] thinks or even if he speaks for the president, who has said he wanted to nix the deal months ago... [A]re these guys recommending Trump find Iran in breach or not? You got me. The haphazard way in which this is playing out - without a single clear message, without consultation with our allies or Congress, and with no plan for what happens if Russia and China (at the very least) don't go along with existing sanctions and nix sanctions on non-nuclear activities - is distressing... Does anyone think this administration is remotely capable of comparable finesse in managing the consequences of a pullout from the JCPOA? Tillerson cannot even get through a polite interview without sowing confusion and consternation.


Israel's formidable military capability-for which the Russians (and Assad) have a healthy dose of respect-can become a major factor driving a wedge between Russian and Iranian designs. Ever since Russia's military intervention in Syria began in September 2015, it has been made repeatedly and abundantly clear to Moscow that Israel will act decisively to prevent Syria from becoming a conduit of strategic supply to Iran's proxy Hizballah or a base of operations for that organization's further expansion. Interestingly, Putin's response has been not summarily to show Netanyahu the door but instead to suggest mechanisms of "deconfliction": another way of saying that Israel's concerns are understood and will be honored. This is hardly to suggest that the Russians will relinquish their cooperation with Iran. But they are quite capable of telling Assad, discreetly but effectively, not to put himself, let alone what Moscow has invested in his survival, at risk. 


Despite President Donald Trump's disapproval of the JCPOA agreement with Iran, which he promised during his election campaign to "rip up," he has been persuaded by his advisers to recertify it. He has also, however, gotten the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran as a penalty for developing nuclear missiles, supporting terror, and undermining international order. The Iranian leadership responded with a threat to quit the JCPOA and renew uranium enrichment at a high level. Though the IAEA has not yet determined that Iran has violated the agreement, Western experts view Iran's behavior as problematic. They fear Iran could break the rules and renew its nuclear weapons program, and that it will be encouraged to do so by North Korea's provocative stance toward the US.






Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email press@uani.com.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

Tunisian Religious Reforms Challenge Egypt's Al Azhar


Steven Emerson, Executive Director
September 19, 2017

Tunisian Religious Reforms Challenge Egypt's Al Azhar

by Hany Ghoraba
Special to IPT News
September 19, 2017
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Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi marched straight into a battle with Egypt's highest Sunni authority, Al-Azhar's mosque and university, when he proposed social and religious reforms giving women more freedom in marriage and guaranteeing them equal inheritance rights.
A substantial part of that agenda became law last Thursday when Tunisia's parliament ended the ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men. It is a direct result of controversial reforms Essebsi proposed, ending a ban imposed in 1973.This was done while proposing new law to secure gender equality in inheritance rights.
Egypt's Al Azhar has ferociously condemned these reforms as un-Islamic, contradicting what it called the "Fundamentals of the Faith." Marriage to non-Muslims may harm Muslim women due to differences in faith and traditions and could lead to women being prohibited from practicing their faith freely, said Al Azhar Deputy Imam Abbas Shoman.
Essebsi's proposals mark the first time the leader of a Muslim-majority nation personally announced critical social reforms, which also include giving women equal inheritance to men despite traditional Shari'a-based laws. These reforms aim for gender equality in Tunisia.
Al-Azhar also opposes the inheritance changes, Shoman said, saying they contradict the Quran's guidance. "Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females," it says.
Though not wielding the same influence as the Vatican Pope's over Catholics, the moral authority wielded over Muslims by Al Azhar's grand imam is recognized in all four corners of the globe. Al Azhar once represented a pillar of modernity and moderation in the Islamic world, but that changed when ultra-conservative Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhood Jihadist doctrine ascended during the 1950s. More radical Salafi doctrines became part of the core curriculum.
Opposing Modernity
Essebsi's call for gender equality is a step toward a secular path, which is a radical departure from most predominantly-Muslim countries. It's not surprising, therefore, that it generated a storm of protest and condemnation from the Al Azhar sheikhdom (administration). To them, Tunisia's reforms counter straight-forward Quranic verses concerning the distribution of the inheritance between women and men and marriage to non-Muslims.
Those verses dictate that a man receives twice as much inheritance as a woman. That's because men traditionally pay for the expenses of the house that includes the family's women until they get married and move into their own homes Thus, a man should acquire twice as much as his sister or women counterpart to carry on with his duties. That mayhave made sense 1,400 years ago, but in the 21stcentury that is hardly the case anymore.
Women have attained huge milestones in the past two centuries and even in the Muslim majority nations. For example, Egypt's feminist movement started in the early 20th century, and by the 1950s, Egyptian women had voting rights even before women in Switzerland. Egypt has a major representation of women in all political, economic and social fields. Countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, and Turkey had a female presidents or prime ministers.Today, more than a third of Egyptian households are financed by women, the Egyptian National Centre for Social and Criminological Research (NCSCR) reports
The issue of Muslim women marrying non-Muslims has been a source of debate and conflict for centuries. Advocates of Tunisia's reforms argue that the Quranic verses governing marriage outside the faith apply to men and women. The only prohibition is marrying an atheist or a follower of polytheistic religions.
Nevertheless, for more than 1,400 years it became the norm that Muslim women are prohibited from marrying non-Muslim men. Scholars argued Muslim women who married outside the faith might not be free to practicing their religion. Reform advocates believe that 21st century women freely choose their own life partners and are aware of any consequences.
Renouncing Al Azhar's criticism, Essebsi condemned "foreign interference" in internal Tunisian affairs. Tunisian religious bodies, including the Diwan of Fatwa, support his reforms.
Counter-Reform Syndicate
Al Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed Al Tayeb was reputed to be a moderate Sufist who many in Egypt hoped would counter the growing influence of the university's radical alumni. Alas, he has faced criticism from liberal Egyptian intellectuals and secularists for blocking any tangible Islamic reforms. During his reign, Al Azhar has waged witch hunts against Egyptian Islamic reformers such as Islam Al-Beheiry. Al-Beheiry spent a year in prison for blasphemy because he dared to condemn some major Islamic traditionalist scholars' works, calling them the source of modern terrorist ideologies. He was later released after being granted a presidential pardon.
More than two years ago, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made a historic call for a religious revolution targeting interpretations and misconceptions of religious scripture that drives jihadist ideologies. Al-Azhar's sheikhdom met the call with defiance, despite displaying fake enthusiasm for the government and the media. As a result, no new laws have been introduced and no curricula have changed with Al Azhar's influence on Egyptian state affairs is growing stronger.
Yet al-Sisi is not challenging the religious institution enough out of fear that the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Salafists might use the pressure to restore their influence in Al-Azhar. However, a confrontation with Al Azhar seems inevitable since it has already been infiltrated by the very Salafists and radicals whose influence al-Sisi wishes to eradicate.
Ironically, Tunisia's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Ennahda Party has been mostly vague about the social reforms. Despite the protest of some of its main leaders, no official statement has been issued Ennahda vice President Abdel Fattah Mourou said that marriage is a matter of personal freedom under Tunisia's constitution.
Ennahda, which rose to power after the 2011 Arab Spring, was voted out just three years later. Now it is trying to appear as moderate as possible to regain its strength and weather the storm of anti-Islamist sentiment prevailing in many Middle Eastern nations.
Essebsi is implementing reforms he deems necessary for his country's social progress. These reforms already are having a ripple effect in the region and might lead to further social progress. Essebsi has done what al-Sisi called for about for more than two years ago, but never took any tangible steps to implement. These reforms may be not exactly what al-Sisi wanted when he called for a complete change of Islamic rhetoric that shuns all forms of extremism and violence. Nevertheless,Essebsi's reforms are a bold step forward for total social and religious reforms that the Middle East desperately needs.
Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt's Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC.
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