Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of vandalizing 7,000 year-old pyramid out of fears of devil worship

Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of vandalizing 7,000 year-old pyramid out of fears of devil worship

by Tom Boggioni

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Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church have been accused to vandalizing a 7,000 year old religious site in Mexico as part of a religious campaign against devil worship, reports Telesur.

According to local media sources, recent damage at the base of a pyramid at the San Bartolo Tutotepec archeological site falls in line the destruction of altars in the area that church members have taken responsibility for.

Members of the Christian sect state that they are following the word of God and believe that the sites are still used for traditional rituals that are “not Christian” and may involve devil worship.

In fact, according to anthropologists, the sites are used by the Otomi people who hold sacred various deities including earth, water, and fire and worship by giving offerings.

The 7,000 year-old Makonikha sanctuary in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo is comparable to Mecca for Muslims or the Vatican for Catholics, the researchers explained.

Unlike the previous acts of destruction, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have not taken credit for the damage at San Bartolo Tutotepec and locals who protect the site are unsure who or how anyone accessed the holy site normally restricted to worshipers.


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Worried about Privatisation of Medicare? The Lib-Labs have been Privatising Public Education by stealth for 50 Years

DOGS not impressed by either major political Party on lack of support for public schools and education funding – religion playing a significant role in demise of public school funding.

The interference and erosion of public school funding, began by governments giving into the blackmail and threats of the Catholic Church mafia.

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Worried about Privatisation of Medicare? The Lib-Labs have been Privatising Public Education by stealth for 50 Years

                                              AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT




The Lib-Labs have been privatising Public Education

By stealth for fifty years

 Privatisation of Medicare by the Liberal Government has become part of the Labor Party campaign. But nobody dares to talk about the ongoing privatisation of public education, particularly in Victoria.

 For this might open up the REAL funding problem, namely,

 State Aid pouring with no strings attached into private schools that  duplicate and undermine our cash-strapped public school  facilities.

Only countries that no longer value their sovereignty, citizenry, and independence from marauding multinational companies, financial pirates that plunder resources and avoid tax – fall into the privatisation trap.

Our State Aid to private school problems commenced in the 1960s when the Labor Party gave in to the threats of the Catholic sector. These problems have been exacerbated by the shift to globalisation that took off in the 1980s. Our leaders led us into a novel process, the consequences of which were unknown or highly questionable. DOGS predicted an outmoded misunderstanding of C18 ideology would lead us back into C18 inequalities, booms and busts. And so it has. We are now in a globalisation trap, with governments seeking to privatise what little in public facilities remain after the big sell-off.

And, in spite of the realisation that public education is the only way forward for our next generation of Australian citizens, our public schools in Victoria are being forced into a privatisation business model and starved of funds. The Department has long been taken over by private school and political interest groups. In recent times, there has been evidence of corruption, fraud and mismanagement of public moneys. The schools have been cut off from the centre, support resources have been cut, and principals are given inadequate ‘budgets’ and told to go and survive the way their private school counterparts have learnt to do.

And so, they have done. Victorian public school supporters were horrified – and angered – in the last week to discover that Cash-strapped state schools are hiring out their teachers to private schools to raise desperately-needed funds.

Schools are finding increasingly creative ways of making extra money, with new figures revealing almost one in four state schools are in deficit.

Instead of the Department providing sufficient funds for a public school’s expenses, we have principals contracting out their budget problems to private enterprise.

The only reason the current outrageous situation has surfaced into public notice is because Philip Rainford – the director of the Harlequin Group of Companies which helps 100 Victorian state schools manage their budgets – said schools were leasing out under-utilised teachers to make ends meet.

The Age revealed last week that at the end of last year, 361 of Victoria’s 1528 government schools were in deficit. A growing number of principals said they had been forced to cut programs, hire cheaper teachers and limit the VCE subjects they offer due to inadequate funding.

A review into school funding by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, which was commissioned by the state government and released in April, recommended a revamp of funding to ensure it covers school costs. Each Victorian public school student received $2253 less state and federal government funding than the national average in 2013-14, making them the lowest funded in the country. Yet the first thing the Andrews-Merlino government did on election was to guarantee private schools 25% of public school costs.

Many Victorian state schools have also turned to crowdfunding  to make ends meet.V Others supplement their government funding with income from international students. Schools are also striking up relationships with sponsors, who might display banners at fetes or pay for sports uniforms.Many schools have arrangements with sponsors, where they will thank them at every school assembly.

According to the AEU’ State of our Schools survey last year, an average 12.3% of state schools’ budgets came from parent fundraising.

Some, Thornbury High being an example, have resorted to crowd-funding to provide for the basics of supporting children in need. As the Principal, Mr Edgeberg says:

“I just think it’s a bit sad that’s what we’ve had to resort to,”
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DOGS think that this situation is a bit more than sad. The dangers to Medicare of GP co-payments and outsourcing to private contractors of so many health services have long since taken place in Australian education. Governments have long since outsourced the education of one third of Australian children to private, religious institutions, which, like the Catholic church are multinational organisations which are a law unto themselves. And now our public schools themselves are being forced to outsource their very financial survival to private contractors.

This situation is both outrageous and dangerous. Starving public schools of funds, testing, testing and testing , again through outsourced contractors or even robots, using results to accuse  them of ‘failure’  and then handing them over, holus bolus, to private multinational contractors, representatives of hedge funds in profits at public expense is a pattern already evident into the United States.

Australian parents and public school supporters should think of the world to be inherited by our children. We should not follow our Lib-Lab leaders down the privatisation road to perdition.




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We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis?

jews _ homophobes torah
We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis?

Murdoch based outlets have been chasing down Muslim clerics for their views, but leaders from other faiths with a poor history on LGBTI rights don’t draw the same attention.

In the week since the Iftar hosted by the Prime Minister, the Murdoch press has scoured the records of Muslim clerics in attendance. They have documented repulsive comments towards homosexuality, with Murdoch bloggers (and Media Watch) pursuing with great interest the question of Islam’s relation to homosexuality. The ABC’s Paul Barry says that this is “a subject our political leaders and the media will be forced to confront.”

Religion is never an excuse for homophobia. There is a need to challenge reactionary religious leaders with appalling views on homosexuality and LGBTQI communities. I’m sure that the Murdoch press has been challenging Muslim leaders because of its heartfelt concern for gay people in Australia.

Due to this touching concern, I thought I’d bring to their attention a few cases of homophobic rabbis, who have somehow escaped their exhaustive quest against prejudice.

Pictured below is a meeting of various leading rabbis associated with the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year. Rabbis present include Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Paul Lewin, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Rabbi Meir Klugwant, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, and Rabbi Chaim Ingram.

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Second from the right in that picture, face partially obscured by Abbott, is Rabbi Ingram.

Rabbi Ingram has repeatedly argued that gay Jewish people should commit suicide, rather than engage in homosexuality.

In the 20 July 2012 edition of the Australian Jewish News – two and a half years before meeting the Prime Minister – Rabbi Ingram argued in an article that Orthodox Judaism sees homosexuality “as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life as necessary”.

The following week, the AJN ran what it called an apology. It said “Rabbi Chaim Ingram expressed an opinion on homosexuality held by certain sections of the Jewish community. The AJN apologises for any offence caused.”

Not a minority opinion. Not an unpopular opinion, let alone a reprehensible one. Just an opinion held by “certain sections” of the Jewish community. Rabbi Ingram himself did not apologise. He continued to advocate his position. On October 19 that year, he wrote in one of his many letters to the AJN that “homosexuality is one of a handful of offences (and prawn-eating is not one of them), which one is bidden to resist even on pain of death.”

jews homo phobes letters-to-ajn

No “apology” was issued for that letter. Some letter writers harshly criticised Rabbi Ingram, and he responded by criticising one person’s “intolerant desire to silence me”.

Rabbi Ingram is among the more prominent rabbis in Australia, as shown by his inclusion in the ORA delegation. In March 2012, he was among the signatories of the Rabbinical Council of NSW’s submission to the Senate inquiry on marriage equality. Rabbis Ulman and Lewin also signed the submission, though inquiries were to be directed to Honorary Secretary, Rabbi Ingram. The submission argues that “all humankind remains bound by” the “universal moral code” of the Torah. “Central” to its “key universal values… are norms relating to human sexuality which endorse the stable sexual union of a man and a woman in a socially recognised relationship of mutual commitment whilst rejecting other sexual unions notably adultery, incest, bestiality and homosexuality.” (emphasis added)

That is, the submission of the RCNSW explicitly classed homosexual unions in the same category of rejected sexual unions as bestiality. Three of the four signatories to that submission met with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott within a few years. In December 2013 – over a year after Rabbi Ingram had repeatedly expressed his view about what weak-willed gay people should do – he launched a book. Warm speeches were given by other influential rabbis, like Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, the leader of Chabad in NSW.

During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Rabbi Feldman allegedly told a perpetrator of child sexual abuse that he should take steps to avoid it, but otherwise took no action. He also didn’t tell police of an alleged perpetrator leaving Australia because he “did not know there was any such obligation”. And before the Royal Commission, his son Rabbi Eli Feldman called a perpetrator, later convicted, to ask if he had had a conversation with Rabbi Feldman in the 1980s.

Rabbi Klugwant resigned as President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, and as executive member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, in the wake of damaging revelations. Specifically, in response to one victim of child sexual abuse urging victims in an email to come forward, Rabbi Klugwant told the victim he shouldn’t have sent the email. When the father of another victim gave evidence, Rabbi Klugwant called the father a “maniac” who was “attacking Chabad”. Again, Rabbi Klugwant met with the Prime Minister.

As for the Rabbinical Council of NSW, its President, Rabbi Yossi Feldman, remained President in 2011 after emails leaked, in which he urged rabbis to tell victims of child sexual abuse not to go to the police, but to only report the crimes to rabbis. He stepped aside for several weeks, but was then reinstated until the 2012 AGM. He also argued that complaining to the police would hurt his “friend”, later convicted as a child sexual abuser, and that victims don’t know if the perpetrator will re-offend anyway. Other highlights include his position that media attention merely encourages “fake victims”, apparently including “phony attention seeker” Manny Waks.

Or take another luminary of the religious Jewish establishment. Rabbi Shimon Cowen doesn’t give popular lectures on YouTube, but writes complex essays in sophisticated language. In July 2011, he argued that it was “Stalinist” how “opposition to homosexual behaviour” was treated as an illness, instead of homosexuality itself. In an article devoted to criticising the Safe Schools Coalition program in Victoria, he argued against teaching children that homosexuality was normal or acceptable, but was merely an abnormal urge which could be overcome with therapy:

“From a religious standpoint, if a person felt an overwhelming homosexual impulse of the deepest nature, that would be viewed with compassion but it would not constitute permission to indulge homosexual activity in practice. It is an abnormality, which as far as possible should be treated. However, there is a wide spectrum of children and persons who experience sexual identity confusion and can yet prevail upon themselves to accept what for the world religious cultures is the normative model of heterosexual behaviour. The homosexual lobby has a stake in rejecting therapy and the idea that humans can change and take control of their impulses. Paradoxically, it can be argued, their attempt to block this change and drive children deeper into malaise is the potential cause of great suffering. Those who insist that a child is homosexual and should embrace a homosexual lifestyle can compound the psychological malaise. They compound an illness.”

Rabbi Cowen is the Founding Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilisation, an Associate at Monash University when he published his essay. In June 2012, a year after the above essay was published, his Institute received a $20,000 grant from the government. It was part of the Federal Government’s Building Community Resilience, to resist “intolerant ideologies”. Other contributors to his forums include Coalition MP Cory Bernardi and Labor MP Michael Danby.

In May 2012 – not long before Rabbi Cowen received his generous government grant – he once again advocated at length for his position, which he also attributed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that gay people, “with the exercise of free will and the help of educators, therapists and counsellors, individuals can overcome these drives”. Sadly, the current day American Psychiatric Association “rejects freedom, choice and cure in homosexuality.”

The peak body for Jews in Australia responded to Rabbi Cowen’s 2011 essay in February 2012. It supported anti-bullying programs in schools. As for the Rabbi, they wrote: “Rabbi Dr Cowen is highly respected in our community but that does not mean that his views on any subject are representative. We note also that in his recent article, Rabbi Cowen fully condemns bullying of any child inter alia on the grounds of homosexual behaviour.”

It’s a miracle the Rabbi survived such a vicious rebuke. Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, at the time President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, defended Rabbi Cowen’s essay on the Safe Schools program.

Back in 2011, the Jewish News criticised an “alarmist” report which Rabbi Cowen said “misquoted” him, to the effect that Jewish schools and hospitals wouldn’t hire gay people. Rabbi Cowen clarified: “I did not say that a Jewish school must necessarily make a close examination of the background and private lives of its teachers… But where it is evident that a teacher models, in a known and outward manner, sexual practices which run contrary to Judaism, a school has every right not to hire that teacher.”

So there you have it, our community’s “highly respected” rabbi doesn’t think all gay people should be barred from employment at Jewish schools. Just the ones who are noticeably gay. His view was naturally supported by the then President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Rabbi Yaakov Glasman. He thought religious institutions should be able to hire people who adhere to religious values.

About four years later, he also met with the Prime Minister. He’s also in the picture at the top of this article.

So there you have it. Rabbis who oppose hiring gay teachers, who think gay people should be treated so that they can overcome their illness, who compare homosexuality to bestiality, a rabbi who thinks weak-willed gay people should commit suicide, and a sample of the sorry record of leading rabbis on the sexual abuse of children.

It’s all public record, and it’s all pretty awful. What will this achieve? Maybe nothing. I’m not sure that a Jewish atheist associated with harsh criticisms of Israel calling out this or that Rabbi will have much constructive effect.

Yet the last week has shown us that the media believes deeply in the value of calling out reactionary religious clerics. Surely, I have now done my bit, and lent a helping hand. Consider the above my contribution to the stories that I am sure are on the way.

I contacted a journalist at the Australian, asking if they would report on homophobic rabbis. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m sure it’s coming. They’re opposed to all homophobia, right?

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Catholic Fascist Homophobe, Bernard Gaynor Exploits Orlando Killing To Push Anti-Muslim Hate

Anti-Gay Senate Candidate Uses Orlando Killing To Push Anti-Muslim Agenda


Homophobe, Bernard Gaynor, Senate candiadte for the Christian fascist front, ‘Australian Liberty Alliance.’


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It’s not just Donald Trump.

Prominent Australian conservative groups – including those who actively campaign against LGBTI rights – have quickly latched on to the murder of 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, with some using the massacre to help promote their anti-Muslim messages.

In perhaps the most egregious example, former Bob Katter staffer turned Australian Liberty Alliance Senate candidate Bernard Gaynor released a statement this morning, linking the mass murder to immigration policies and “political correctness”. In 2013, Gaynor was sacked from the army reserve and stood down as a Katter’s Australia Party candidate after tweeting that he wouldn’t “let a gay person teach [his] children”.

In his statement today, Gaynor failed to mention the fact Pulse was an LGBTI club, and did not pass on any condolences to the LGBTI community, locally or abroad.

After stirring controversy in 2013, Gaynor doubled-down on his comments and argued the Catholic Church must purge gay teachers from its schools. He reflected on the reaction by writing:

“Looking back in hindsight, I guess it’s all clear now. I had poo-poohed the right of sodomites to educate my children.”

In the same piece, Gaynor said that “the homosexual community views children as commodities to be traded around the planet. More recently, he argued that “laws allowing discrimination against homosexuals are good”.

“Right now, today, Christian organisations can lawfully discriminate against homosexuals. This is a good thing,” he wrote.

Gaynor is appealing his army suspension and is at the top of the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) Senate ticket – an anti-Muslim party – in Queensland.

The far-right United Patriots Front group also shared a cartoon from its Facebook page which appeared to blame LGBTI people for terrorism. The cartoon shows a caricatured group of terrorists facing off with a caricatured group of apparently LGBTI people, who are waving rainbow flags and holding a sign that says “refugees welcome!”. An ominous caption reads: “They deserve what is coming…”

new matilda, upf
(IMAGE: Facebook).

A moderator of the page responded to criticism of the image by saying, “The meme is not an attack on homosexuals, its [sic]an attack on hypocrites.” Elsewhere, leader of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Lyle Shelton provoked anger after he took to social media with a somewhat more benign post that nonetheless outraged members of the LGBTI community. Shelton does not share the same fiercely anti-immigration views held by the ALA and the UPF, and has previously tweeted his support for increasing the number of refugees accepted by Australia.

lyle sheltonBut he has led the fight against the anti-bullying LGBTI school program Safe Schools, and his organisation lobbies hard against marriage equality. The ACL’s conference this year hosted a number of anti-LGBTI rights speakers, including one who compared the LGBTI rights movement to the growth of Nazism in the 1930s, and another from a group that lobbies for homosexuality to be criminalised. Hours after the first Tweet normal service resumed, with Shelton posting a link to a group of conservatives criticising Safe Schools on Sky News.

shane bazzi

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Orlando shooting: It’s different now, but Muslims have a long history of accepting homosexuality

Orlando shooting: It’s different now, but Muslims have a long history of accepting homosexuality
Muslim societies have ignored their own history of accepting homosexuality, latching on to a twisted colonial legacy instead.
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Mateen had boasted of links to the Islamic State, Islamic State as well as Hezbollah. While all three groups are well-known West Asian insurgents, they are also at war with one another and represent widely differing theological views. US investigators said that Mateen did not seem to understand the distinction between the groups – a point that makes it difficult to square with the charge of Islamist terror that was considered in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Mateen was killed by the police on Sunday after he opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, in a tragedy that was among the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

The 29-year-old was reportedly a regular at Pulse and even used a gay dating app. Reports of him having asked men out have surfaced over the last few days, with his ex-wife claiming she believed he was gay. She also said that Mateen’s father, an immigrant from Afghanistan, had mocked him for his sexual orientation. One of the first statements made by Mateen’s father after the shooting was, in fact, that homosexuals can be punished by God.

Stigmatising homosexuality

Could the attack, then, have been driven by Mateen’s sexual orientation and the shame associated with homosexuality amongst Muslims today – rather than Islamist terror? “Transgressive sexuality and conservative religion can be a toxic mix,” writes David Shariatmadari in the Guardian. “If Mateen felt conflicted about his interest in gay men, it could have been because he believed his faith would condemn him for it”.

While a clear motive is yet to be established, it is a fact that modern Muslim societies condemn and shame homosexuality. In most Islamic countries, Muslims cannot come out as gay without risking stigma and bodily harm.

It is, however, important to point out how recent this homophobia is. For much of history, Muslim societies have been incredibly permissive of same-sex love.

Golden Age

At the height of the Islamic Golden Age – a period from the mid-8th century to the mid-13th century when Islamic civilisation is believed to have reached its intellectual and cultural zenith – homosexuality was openly spoken and written about. Abu Nuwas (756-814), one of the great Arab classical poets during the time of the Abbasid Caliphate, wrote publicly about his homosexual desires and relations. His homoerotic poetry was openly circulated right up until the 20th century.

Nuwas was an important historical figure – he even made a couple of appearances in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (known in Urdu as Alif Laila). It was only as late as 2001 that Arabs started to blush at Nuwas’ homoerotism. In 2001, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, under pressure from Islamic fundamentalists, burnt 6,000 volumes of his poetry.

Most modern Muslims, therefore, have little knowledge of what the Islamic Golden Age was really about, even though they keep on wanting to go back to it.

“ISIS have no idea what restoring the Caliphate actually means,” a tweet by Belgian-Egyptian journalist Khaled Diab said. “In Baghdad, it’d involve booze, odes to wine, science… and a gay court poet.”

Baghdad was, till the time the Mongols invaded and destroyed it, the cultural capital of much of the world – the New York City of its time. If Nuwas and his homoerotic poetry could represent the height of Baghdadi culture, it is natural that other Muslim societies would also be quite open to homosexuality. As historian Saleem Kidwai puts in the fabulous book Same-Sex Love in India, “Homoerotically inclined men are continuously visible in Muslim medieval histories and are generally described without pejorative comment.”

Writing on same-sex love

In fact, far from being pejorative, Muslim societies once openly spoke of same-sex love, even celebrating it at times. Mahmud of Ghazni, a towering sultan of his time (971-1030), was actually held up as an ideal for, among other things, deeply loving another man, Malik Ayaz.

Mughal Emperor Babur wrote of his attraction to a boy in the camp bazaar in his 16th-century autobiography – a celebrated work of literature in the medieval Muslim world.

In the 18th century, Dargah Quli Khan, a nobleman from the Deccan travelling to Delhi, wrote a fascinating account of the city called the Muraqqa-e-Dehli (The Delhi Album), which described just how mundane homosexuality was in Indo-Islamic society. At the public bazaars, male prostitutes solicited openly and Khan spoke admiringly of how “young good-looking men danced everywhere and created great excitement”.

Till the 19th century, Muslims treated homosexuality as a part and parcel of life, so much so that students were exposed to romantic stories of homosexual love – a position untenable even today across parts of the Western word. Kidwai writes:

Sadi’s classic Gulistan, containing stories of attraction between men, was considered essential reading for Persian students. Ghanimat’s Nau rang-i ishq, a seventeenth century masnavi describing the love affair between the poet’s patron’s son and his beloved Shahid, was a prescribed text in schools.

Islamic law

Of course, theologically, Islam did consider homosexuality to be sinful, based on the Quranic story of the people of Lut (Lot in the Bible). Interestingly, though, the Shariat, the umbrella term for the various legal codes and schools governing Muslim societies, have no punishment for homosexualty per se – sexual relations between men are outlawed under the larger rubric of adultery. Even then, convictions for homosexuality could only be carried out if the sexual act was testified to by four eye witnesses. This was such a high bar that commentators on Islam such as Hamza Yusuf have characterised the outlawing of homosexuality in the Shariat as a sort of “legal fiction”. Indeed, unlike medieval Europe, instances of homosexuals being punished are rare in medieval Muslim societies.

So what caused Muslim societies to go from coolly reading homoerotic poetry to outlawing and stigmatising same-sex love? It’s tough to nail down an exact reason but here’s an interesting coincidence: there are five Muslims countries where being gay isn’t a crime. All that the five – Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania – share in common is that they were never colonised by the British.

Colonial influence

In 1858, in fact, the Ottoman Empire decriminalised homosexuality (a status inherited by Turkey). This was two years before the British Raj created the Indian Penal Code, Section 377 of which proceeded to outlaw homosexuality in modern-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

So deep was the influence of the 1860 penal code in India that conservative Hindus continue to hold homosexuality to be immoral and in the nearly 70 years since Independence, Parliament has not been able to overturn the law. Subramanian Swamy, Member of Parliament from the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party even went so far as to claim: “Our party position has been that homosexuality is a genetic disorder.” This is near-bizarre given that Hinduism, unlike Islam or Christianity, does not even have any textual condemnation of same-sex love.

It appears as though Muslim (and Hindu) conservatives, without knowing it, are actually copying the Victorian mores of 19th century colonialism, while ignoring their own history. This at a time when even Western European cultures have pulled up their socks and gone on to ensure that human rights are available to their people irrespective of random externalities such as the gender they happen to be attracted to.


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Catholic Leaguer gloats over killing anti-child abuse bill: It was an attempted ‘rape’ of the church

Catholic Leaguer gloats over killing anti-child abuse bill: It was an attempted ‘rape’ of the church
Via Brad Reed

Catholic League president Bill Donohue (Screenshot)

Fanatical Catholic League President Bill Donohue on Monday gloated after he successfully helped kill a bill in the New York legislature that would have made it easier for sex abuse victims to bring cases against their accusers.

As The New York Daily News reports, Donohue sent out an email to supporters after the defeat of the Child Victims Act, an act that he said was designed “to rape the Catholic Church.” The bill would have extended the timeframe that victims can bring forward cases by five years and would have opened up a six-month period for victims to revive older cases.

“The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote in an email obtained by The New York Daily News. “[It was] a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”

Donohue’s accusation that the bill would have “raped” the church certainly seems in poor taste given that the bill was meant to help people who had been raped by Catholic priests.

Then again, Donohue is used to being intentionally provocative, such as when he suggested both Islamist radicals and murdered cartoonists both bore equal blame for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, or when he ripped Pope Francis for the grave sin of accepting the science behind climate change.

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Catholic Fascist Tony Abbott, Christian “God Speaks Through Me” Warmonger George Bush, and Why a Dissenter “Won’t Walk to Protest Against Islamic State”

george bush godspeaksbush
Why I Won’t Walk to Protest Against Islamic State

John Salisbury recently walked more than 300km to protest the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. His view about the West more broadly won’t surprise you.

In October this year I walked from The Sydney Opera House to Parliament House, Canberra in support of Palestinian human rights. It wasn’t easy but I felt compelled to do so. I would not, however, undertake a similar walk protesting against ISIS. Though Tony Abbott might encourage and support me on such a walk, my moral compass will not send me in that direction.

In November, Tony Abbott suggested that the Anglo Saxon, Christian group to which we both belong is a superior culture. He said:

“All cultures are not equal, and frankly, a culture that behaves in decency and tolerance is much to be preferred to one that thinks you can kill in the name of God, and we have got to be prepared to say that.”

Apart from Abbott’s assertion being a repugnant, racist and morally reprehensible suggestion, a closer look at history suggests he is deeply misguided and ill-informed on the history of Christianity.

The Christian religion has been the justification and basis for numerous vastly, violent conflicts. Many men have lost their lives killing in the name of the Christian God, or, by the hands of deeply religious Christian men.

Abbott would do well to read up on some of these before making such ill-informed and bigoted statements.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

There was the American Civil War in the 1860s; a Protestant versus Protestant battle with a death toll of 600,000.

And then of course there was the Franco-Prussian War, the Boer War and World War I. All these conflicts were Christian fighting Christian.

There was also the Spanish Civil War where Catholics murdered each other and then there was one of West’s greatest bloodsheds to date, World War II.

A war led by the infamous Adolf Hitler, a man born Catholic who had a deep-seated hatred for anyone from the Jewish religion. This war unleashed a violence the world had never seen before.

When spouting the superiority of Christianity, Abbott justified his assertion by saying there were some events that “Islam never had – a Reformation, an Enlightenment, a well-developed concept of the separation of church and state.”

What Abbott must also not realise, is that one of the most depressing aspects of Hitler’s Holocaust was that it happened despite The Reformation and The Enlightenment in Europe.

The Reformation actually started in Germany with Martin Luther. Realising that the Catholic church of the time was corrupt and in need of theological reform, some men decided to break away and begin their own more moral strand of Christianity. And yet still, despite this reformation many years earlier, Hitler was still able to send thousands of innocent men, women and children to their death in ovens while the good, Christian citizens of Germany fanned the flames and waved at the trains heading to Auschwitz.

All of Hitler’s willing executioners were also Christians. Perhaps Abbott believes that the Muslim religion would be able to benefit from a Reformation or Enlightenment where the Christian religion could not?

And yet, despite all this loss of life and the creation of the United Nations after World War II, still more Christian violence continued. More blood was spilt in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The only reason the Cold War did not become “hot” was because of mutually assured destruction. The acronym for this (MAD) sums up the situation so chillingly.

And then of course we come to the West’s more recent wars in the Middle East. It is well known that Saddam Hussein was a dreadful character. No-one would refute that. But it is now equally well known that he had nothing to do with 9/11. He was instead just the man who had to bear the responsibility and George W. Bush chose him as the fall guy.

(IMAGE: STML, Flickr)

We made an unforgivable mistake invading Iraq and we should admit it. The chaos in Iraq today is largely a result of Western, and therefore Christian, interference.

We should remember also that George W. Bush specifically mentioned his prayers to God and, he claims, God influenced his decision to invade.

Our invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus our blind and unprincipled support of Israel’s brutal 48-year occupation of Palestine, has led some Muslims to think they are under attack.

Thankfully, the number of Muslims who have succumbed to the entreaties of violent jihad and carried out revenge attacks on innocent civilians in Australia is tiny.

Everything we know from history, anthropology, archaeology, biology, physics and geology tells us that we inhabit this planet with everyone else as equals. Nobody is better than anyone else. Nobody is special.

And yet still our leaders instil fear in us and paint our fellow humans from a different religion as evil. Still our media presents us with one-sided, stereotypical views on our brothers and sisters living on other continents.

We created the United Nations after the horrors of World War II, but we are as far from united as we have ever been.

When Abbott suggests that the problem is the Muslim religion itself we should know better. Our Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg, recently espoused a similar sentiment when he said, “We have to acknowledge that religion is part of this problem. I would say it is a problem with Islam.”

But, just as the Sunnis and Shias claim that “God is great” before they detonate bombs or kill opponents, so too did the Confederate Generals in the American Civil War kneel and pray before battling for the right to keep African-Americans as slaves.

And so too did the Christian Rwandans believe God was on their side when they massacred each other in 1994.

The common thread here is men using religion as a disguise for a more inherent, human flaw. It is not religion that is the problem, but the human desire for power and unbridled greed.

Perhaps we will see more progress, and get further, when men like Abbott start realising that our problems stem from human flaws, rather than a specific religion.

When we stop blaming one group, and start working together, then we really will become united, and work towards preventing horrendous acts of violence and bloodshed like the United Nations was initially invented to thwart.

When I walked those 330 kilometres to Canberra in October, I did so because I sought to protest a global injustice.

Regretfully, the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel is not an issue taken seriously by most of our political leaders. This occupation does not make the world a safer place.

Indeed, it only strengthens the bully mentality and sense of superiority that the West and Christians have held for so long.


John Salisbury is a 61-year-old self-funded retiree with a life long interest in issues of global injustice. John was born in New Zealand but is a 40-year resident of Melbourne.

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Christianity Today, ‘They accused me of killing and eating my grandmother’: Agony of Congo’s 50,000 ‘child witches’ who are brutally exorcised to ‘beat the devil out of them’

‘They accused me of killing and eating my grandmother’: Agony of Congo’s 50,000 ‘child witches’ who are brutally exorcised to ‘beat the devil out of them’
  • There are around 50,000 children living on the streets of Kinshasa, all abandoned after being accused of witchcraft
  • The communities say they are capable of horrific crimes, drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their relatives 
  • But a lot of the time the children are rejected simply because their parents cannot afford the extra mouth to feed 
  • It means the children – some newborn – are left to fend for themselves, turning to crime and prostitution to survive
  • But there are people working to help these desperate children, and the UN’s new ‘global goals’ hope that the drivers of this horrific tradition, poverty and a lack of education, will be completely eradicated in the next 15 years
  • find out more about this horrific belief, and the impact it has on the children 

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 Squeezing a toddler’s eyeballs and shoving his thumb into her tiny nose a Catholic priest purges a child of the devil, one of many exorcisms he carries out every day.

Flicked with holy water, her face smeared with olive oil and poked violently in the stomach, two-and-a-half-year old Angel bursts into tears as she is rid of the evil spirits that lurk within her.

The child wriggles to free herself but her mother holds on firmly, insistent that she endures the exorcism to protect her from the sorcery that many in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) believe controls their lives.

Distraught: Angel, two, cries with fear as she undergoes an exorcism to purge her from the evil that a Catholic priest believes lurks within

Distraught: Angel, two, cries with fear as she undergoes an exorcism to purge her from the evil that a Catholic priest believes lurks within

Evil spirits: A woman takes part in an exorcism ceremony in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where many have embraced Catholicism while holding on to traditional beliefs surrounding evil spirits - with some truly horrifying consequences

Confused: Eleven-month-old baby Grace endures an exorcism at a Catholic church in Kinshasa, DRC

Cleansed: Anyone can be possessed by evil, people believe, including children - even newborns. These children are being blessed and purged of the spirits, but if it isn't successful, they will be thrown out of their homes, and exiled from their communities

Possesed: It is thought there are 50,000 child 'witches' living on the streets of the capital Kinshasa as a result of these beliefs; children like Dorcas, eight, and Therese, 18. These youngsters are accused of horrific 'crimes', including eating the flesh of their own relatives

But tens of thousands of other children in this troubled central African country have been branded ‘child’ witches and flung out onto the streets by their families into a life of destitution, violence and abuse.

MailOnline ventured into the frightening world of the occult in this African heartland, famously described as the ‘heart of darkness’, as part of series examining the challenges facing the United Nations trying to help these children.

In the capital Kinshasa, at the Gallicane Catholic Church, Father Alexis Katziota Mungala talks almost matter of factly of his work releasing thousands of children from the devil.

Exorcism is a daily ritual he performs in his church.

‘These witches they eat human flesh, they drink human blood,’ Father Alexis told MailOnline.

‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child. It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother.

‘Witchcraft is part of our tradition; it is part of Congolese culture.

‘Children can become infected with sorcery but we carry out exorcisms to help children find their families again.’

Accepted: Exorcisms are a normal part of life in the DRC, explains Father Alexis Katziota Mungala of the Gallicane Catholic Church, Kinshasa, which invited MailOnline to witness just such a ceremony (pictured)

Medieval: 'These witches they eat human flesh, they drink human blood,’ Father Alexis claimed, as he argued he provided a service

Corrupted: 'Children can become infected with sorcery but we carry out exorcisms to help children find their families again,' he said

Danger: But if the children aren't cured by priests, or traditional healers, the community will shun them - and they will end up on the streets

Those who cannot be ‘saved’ scavenge an existence in the violent, filth-ridden city abandoned by their families and feared by their fellow outcasts.

It is estimated that up to 50,000 children have been accused of witchcraft and left to fend for themselves in the sprawling slums where 20 million live.

Some are newly born or bewildered toddlers thrown into a nightmare world where survival is by crime, prostitution and violence.

Dorcas, aged eight, is typical of the ‘child witches’. Traumatised, she was found five days ago, her puny body riddled with lice, fleas and ticks.

Found by workers dedicated to helping the street children, she was taken to a care centre where half-starved she wolfed down a bowl of stale bread and a beaker of sweet tea in silence.

Although she has barely spoken since, she has said enough for the volunteers here to know her story is heart-wrenchingly common.

‘She was accused of being a witch,’ care centre director Claudine Nlandu told MailOnline.

‘I don’t know how long she had been living on the streets. She came here five days ago. She was covered in fleas, lice and ticks when we found her.

‘She did not tell us her name so the other girls called her Dorcas.’

Another is six-year-old Malengeli – stick-thin with sores all over his malnourished body – he has not been as ‘lucky’ as Dorcas and still roams the streets begging for handouts.

The litany of ‘crimes’ attributed to such children is beyond medieval in scale and almost impossible to comprehend in our society.

Alone: It is a fate children like Malengeli , who is just six, knows too well – he has made the streets his home since being named a ‘witch’

Vulnerable: These boys are among thousands who have made their way to the capital, seeking safety – but Kinshasa is anything but safe

Prejudice: Some of the children are accused of being witches because of a physical disability, like Bienvenue. The nine-year-old has paralysis in his arms and legs following ceberal malaria, which led his aunt to throw him out. His mother is dead

Starving: It’s not known why Malengeli – who is stick-thin with sores all over his malnourished body – was thrown out, but these days he roams the streets, and is forced to beg for scraps to keep himself alive. Others turn to crime or prostitution in desperation

These youngsters are accused of killing relatives by eating their flesh and drinking their blood in the dead of night.

They are accused of casting spells – delivering death, illness, unemployment, pregnancy, debt, or simply bad luck – to any or all around. But possibly worst of all they are accused of being evil – having the devil living within them.

“There are conscious witches who know they are evil and unconscious witches who do not know but get up in the middle of the night and eat human flesh.” Pastor Jean-Pierre Kwete

These cruel and unfounded accusations cause misery for tens of thousands of children not only across the Democratic Republic of Congo but also in other parts of central and west Africa.

‘Children accused of witchcraft are subject to psychological violence, first by family members and their circle of friends, then by church pastors or traditional healers,‘ a UNICEF study by Aleksander Cimpric, entitled Children Accused of Witchcraft, found.

‘Once accused of witchcraft, children are stigmatized and discriminated against for life. Children accused of witchcraft may be killed, although more often they are abandoned by their parents and live on the streets.’

Deeply suspicious and steeped in mysticism the existence of child-witchcraft is deep-rooted in Congolese culture.

‘Child witchcraft is part of our tradition,’ Etienne Maleke, who has worked with Kinshasa’s street children for over 20 years, told MailOnline.

‘All of the boys here at the shelter have been accused of being witches.’

But the collapse of the economy in the 1990s following mass lootings by the unpaid army and the following chaos of two devastating wars turned this phenomenon into an epidemic.

Witchcraft was often used to simply rid a household of an unwanted mouth to feed.

Refuge: There are shelters for the children to use, affording them a little more protection. But those who run them find many come and go, unused to being cared for after spending so much time in such a hostile environment

Poverty: But while belief in witchcraft is widespread, there are other, underlying reasons why these children are kicked out onto the street. Poverty is a major driving force behind the trend, as many are thrown out because their carers can no longer afford to feed them

Aim: Ending poverty is the number one goal of the UN’s new sustainable development goals. Doing this one thing would go a huge way to ending the culture of ‘witchcraft’ in the DRC, and across central Africa. Pictured: A street in Kinshasa, where one of the shelters is located

Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, said: ‘Here in Central Africa every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation.

In Central Africa every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation. If there is no explanation then it is considered witchcraft.
Remy Mafu, children charity REEJER

‘If there is no explanation then it is considered witchcraft.

‘Poverty is a real driver. People don’t want to take care of children so they accuse them of being witches.

‘When there’s a breakdown in the family unwanted children – often step-children, nieces and nephews – are accusations of child witchcraft.

‘Children who do not bring anything into the household are accused of being witches.’

One of the last parts of Africa to experience European ideas, the tribes of Congo embraced Catholic missionaries who brought modern medicine, education and their religion to the far reaches of this vast nation.

But just over a hundred years after Belgium claimed Congo as a colony the traditional ideas of sorcery remain.

However the rise of child-witchcraft is a recent phenomenon linked to the breakdown of the traditional extended family, according to the leading authority on ‘child witches’, Professor Filip de Boeck, of Belgium’s University of Leuven.

In his book, ‘The Devil’s Children’, he wrote: ‘The phenomenon of ‘child witches’ is a thoroughly modern phenomenon that is shaped by global capitalism.

‘Contrary to older forms, the witchcraft ‘new style’ is experienced as being wild, random and unpredictable.’

And it is through this mixture of religious beliefs that families try to ‘cure’ the children in their care of witchcraft.

Mystery: It is not just poverty which means children are rejected. Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, explains that   'every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation'

Mystery: It is not just poverty which means children are rejected. Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, explains that ‘every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation’

Solution: But, of course, some things cannot be explained - and that leads families to turn away from reason, and look to the spirits

Solution: But, of course, some things cannot be explained – and that leads families to turn away from reason, and look to the spirits

Guardian: It means Father Alexis is kept busy. 'I have saved thousands of children,' he told MailOnline. 'Today I saved three.' Whether he has saved them from a spirit is debatable, but he has certainly saved them from a life alone, rejected and shunned by their community

Guardian: It means Father Alexis is kept busy. ‘I have saved thousands of children,’ he told MailOnline. ‘Today I saved three.’ Whether he has saved them from a spirit is debatable, but he has certainly saved them from a life alone, rejected and shunned by their community

Catholic and Evangelical churches and animist religious centres confirm accusations of sorcery as well as providing remedies for youngsters who may otherwise be thrown into the gutter.

Catholic priest Father Alexis said: ‘I have saved thousands of children. Today I saved three children from sorcery. Every day I must save a child.

‘I hold exorcisms twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

He added: ‘We are Catholic missionaries so it is our duty to carry out exorcisms.

“When my grandmother died they said it was my fault. They stuck their fingers in my mouth, down my throat. They wanted to take out pieces of my grandmother that they thought I had eaten.” Therese, 18

‘We have a way to shoo away the sorcery, to chase away the demons.

‘We tell the family not to throw their children out onto the street. We tell them to pray for the child.’

Along with hours of prayer the ‘child witch’ must endure being purged with salt-water and oil.

Evangelical preachers promise their congregation immediate relief from the ‘child witches’ within their community.

Pastor Jean-Pierre Kwete, of the Laodice Church, Kinshasa, told MailOnline: ‘There are conscious witches who know they are evil and unconscious witches who do not know but get up in the middle of the night and eat human flesh.

‘I can tell if a child is a witch just by looking at them. I can see it in their eyes.’

And if parents are reluctant to call in Catholic or Evangelical ‘saviours’ then they can turn to more ancient rites.

Animist preachers offer a different way to rid children of the devil.

Inside a corrugated iron structure, deep inside a Kinshasa slum, children knee in front of a small charcoal fire.

The smoke from specially chosen herbs is wafted into their faces as a high priestess sprinkles them with holy water as part of rituals designed to rid the youngsters of evil and protect them from the devil.

All around the congregation chant and dance as African drums beat out a hypnotic rhythm.

Silent pain: No one knows why Dorcas was accused of being a witch – those who found her roaming the streets of Kinshasa, starving, five days before MailOnline arrived could not even find out her name. The other children gave the little girl her name, Dorcas

Accused: Unlike Dorcas, Therese – who suffers from epilepsy and has a cyst on her forehead – knows exactly why she ended up on the street, and living in the same shelter as Dorcas. After her grandmother died, her family decided she had killed her

Assaulted: Therese, pictured with other girls from the shelter where she lives, was taken to church where priests shoved their fingers into her mouth, checking for pieces of her grandmother’s flesh. They didn’t find any, but said the cyst on her head was filled with evil

Preacher Bangadi-Kikongo Nkakama, of the traditional Kaba Dia Bana Ba Mpeve spiritual centre, claims to have saved over 800 children this year from sorcery.

He told MailOnline: ‘Ours is the religion of the Congo before colonisation. We worship nature and the spirits around us. We understand about mysticism.

‘The spirit has given us the strength to treat case of witchcraft, the spirits inspire us to cure the ill.’

Other priests are more brutal – shoving their fingers into a ‘child witch’s’ mouth in search of the flesh of recently deceased relatives.

One victim told MailOnline how she was beaten and starved after she was accused of being a witch, aged just eight.

Therese, now 18, who is epileptic and has a large cyst on her forehead, said: ‘I was quietly living with my parents but a relative said I was a witch.

‘When my grandmother died they said it was my fault.

‘They took me to a church where they pray for children. I was made to drink salt-water, lots of it. They stuck their fingers in my mouth, down my throat.

‘They wanted to take out pieces of my grandmother that they thought I had eaten. They couldn’t find anything so they kept me and beat me.

‘This bump on my head is a cyst but in the church they told me it was where the witchcraft lived.

‘There was nothing to eat. I escaped and went out onto the street and begged. I picked up anything from the ground I could find – old food, anything.

‘I have been in five different orphanages. I came here and told the mother I had nowhere else to go.

‘I still suffer epileptic fits.’

The old religion: It isn't just the Catholic priests who carry out exorcisms. Traditional healers also rid children like these of evil spirts

Blessing: The ceremony is slightly different, with the smoke from specially chosen herbs - which can be seen burning on the ground here - wafted into the children's faces as a high priestess sprinkles them with holy water as part of rituals

Epidemic: There is one area where they are the same as their Catholic colleagues - in the vast numbers of children they claim to have healed. Preacher Bangadi-Kikongo Nkakama claims to have saved more than 800 children this year alone from sorcery

Therese’ heart-breaking story is one of many to be heard at the centre for girls living on the streets where Dorcas has found sanctuary.

Others tell how they were thrown out of their home by relatives – uncles, aunts, step-mothers, remarried fathers – who accused them of witchcraft.

Most say they begged to be allowed back but were beaten so badly they could not return.

When they come here the boys are feral. We have to teach them how to eat an egg, how to eat a fish. They only want the clothes on their backs. If you give them two shirts it becomes a burden.
‘Papa Etienne’ Maleke, director of a shelter for the boys on the street

Many have been raped. Some work as prostitutes to survive. Few remain children.

Care Centre director Claudine Nlandu told MailOnline: ‘Some of the children accept life here others refuse. Some prefer to stay on the streets. They can come and go as they please. We are just a point of help, a sanctuary.

‘Some of the girls prostitute themselves. We try to help them protect themselves from disease. We urge them to use condoms.

‘Two or three times a week we go out on to the streets seeking young girls in difficulty.

‘Market traders and hawkers tell us about new girls who have come on to the street.

‘The girls hang around the big markets, the stadiums, the major junctions of the city. Often they have been raped.

‘They tell me they have been accused of being witches.

‘We hope to give them a good life. We teach them to read and write. We teach them trades – hair dressing, restaurant skills and dressmaking.

‘Often when we get in touch with their family they say they don’t want the child anymore and that we can have them as a ‘gift’.’

Tragically newborn babies are also condemned as witches – if they are born to so-called child-witches.

Remy Mafu said: ‘Two babies are born on the streets of Kinshasa every day to girls who have been condemned as child witches. Their children are considered witches by inheritance.

‘We know girls aged 12 who become pregnant. Once they are on the street they are no longer children.’

Devil: Back at Gallicane, Father Alexis - performing during the ceremony - explains what happens a little more. ‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child,' he says. 'It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother'

Devil: Back at Gallicane, Father Alexis – performing during the ceremony – explains what happens a little more. ‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child,’ he says. ‘It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother’

Learning: But it's not enough says Etienne Maleke, director of a street children shelter for boys, who argues 'the government needs to educate people that there are no such thing as child witches'. Education for everyone is another of the 17 sustainable development goals

Others are considered in league with the devil due to the disabilities they suffer – like Jeremy, 10, who is deaf and Bienvenue, 9, who has paralysis in his arms and legs following an attack of cerebral malaria.

Etienne Maleke, director of a street children shelter for boys, told MailOnline: ‘Jeremy is deaf. He was chased out of his home by his family. We don’t know how badly he was mistreated.

‘Bienvenue suffered paralysis as a complication from meningitis and malaria. His mother died when he was still a baby.

‘His aunt was looking after him but she threw him out.

‘We tracked down his father and we took him back to his family.

‘But within a month he was back on the streets.’

Papa Etienne, as he is known by the thousands of children he has helped added: ‘When they come here the boys are feral. We have to teach them how to eat an egg, how to eat a fish.

‘They only want the clothes on their backs. If you give them two shirts it becomes a burden.

‘We help them in every way we can. We feed them, teach them, help them sort out pay disputes with people they work for.

‘I know many boys who have become successful.

‘There was one boy who was very bright. We encouraged him to stay at school, to go to university, he wasn’t convinced to start with.

‘Now he is a doctor. I asked him to come to talk to the boys. He still calls me “papa”.

‘The government needs to educate the people that there are no such things as child witches.’

Changing the culture: Ettienne - known as 'Papa' to the boys he helps - hopes in the future he will no longer need to run his shelter, but for now he is focused on making them successful members of society. One, he tells MailOnline proudly, has even gone to university

Ensuring these children lead healthy lives; are able to go to school; are allowed to participate fully in society and can be treated fairly, are among the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations last month.

The ambitious new set of aims hopes to end poverty, hunger, advance equality and protect the environment over the next 15 years.

UNICEF works with local charities that support street children and other vulnerable youngsters accused of witchcraft.

‘UNICEF is particularly concerned about the issues of the most vulnerable children including children who suffer violence, abuse and exploitation,’ spokesman Yves Willemot told MailOnline.

‘A change in attitudes about sorcery should be promoted by educating families, community leaders and working with accusers, church leaders and traditional religious practitioners.

‘The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child apply to all children without exception.’

Tragically such laudable aims will come too late to save the likes of Dorcas, Malangeli, Jeremy, and Bienvenue.

But it is at least a recognition of an evil being visited on DRC’s children which has nothing in truth to do with witchcraft.

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Why Islam Doesn’t Explain The Orlando Mass Shooting

Why Islam Doesn’t Explain The Orlando Mass Shooting



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Looking at the history of Omar Mateen, as well as the religion itself, throws into doubt the gunman’s understanding of the faith he claimed to represent. The same goes for larger terror cells, writes Michael Brull.

In the aftermath of the massacre in a gay nightclub in Orlando, many LGBTQI people and groups expressed solidarity with Muslims, urging that this attack not be used to demonise Muslims or Islam. Muslim intellectuals and groups have reciprocated the sentiment, expressing solidarity with the victims and LGBTQI people generally. Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, responded to the massacre immediately with condemnation on moral and religious grounds. On Wednesday, a similar statement was released by Muslim organisations and prominent figures.

Brull1 Statment

Regardless, right-wing politicians and commentators have hurried to link the attack to Islam and Muslims generally, using the massacre to promote goals like banning Muslim immigration.

While others have responded with critiques of the overt racism of some of these voices, in this article, I want to explain why these claims about the responsibility of Islam for this massacre are substantively wrong.

Early Muslim Culture Was Often Warm To Homosexuality

The University of Chicago Press published John Boswell’s National Book Award winning study, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality 16 years ago. In his landmark book, Boswell discusses early Muslim attitudes to homosexuality. In this passage, he discusses the aftermath of the Muslim invasion of Spain in the eighth century (I omit the footnotes). He explores at length the extent to which homosexuality was regarded “with indifference, if not admiration”, and widely featured in contemporary poetry:



Boswell then gives various examples of cultural expressions of homosexual relationships:


Boswell concludes that acceptance of homosexuality was pervasive, even as it was ruled by rigid Muslim jurists who were regarded as “fanatics in the rest of the Islamic world”:


In a 1997 essay in Feminist Issues, As’ad AbuKhalil argues that current Islamic opposition to homosexuality is a result of Western influence. AbuKhalil wrote that the “regularity and apparent legitimacy of homosexual relations” in the Muslim world “were seen by Medieval Christians as evidence of the moral decadence of Muslims”:

What passes as Islamic mores and conduct in much of the Islamic countries is in fact the impact of Westernization. ‘Puritanical Islam,’ which people from the past like medieval Christian polemicists or even Max Weber would never associate with the religion of Muhammad, owes much to European Protestantism. This change in Islamic treatment of the sexual question came about after centuries of Christian criticisms of Islamic moral permissiveness.

Whereas Christianity “stood for a puritanical morality and strict ethical code, Islam was ridiculed as the religion of sexual permissiveness and ethical laxity. Short of polytheism, all is forgiven in Islam. Medieval Christians found the God that Muslims worshipped too forgiving for their taste.”

AbuKhalil concludes that homophobia, “an ideology of hostility against men who are homosexuals, came out of the Christian tradition and has no counterpart in the Islamic tradition despite the homophobic inclination of individual Muslims, like ‘Ali or Abu Bakr in early Islam.” Furthermore, “violence against homosexuals, which is still common in Western societies, is quite rare among the Arabs”.

The point of revisiting this history is to illustrate a simple but important point. Religion, like culture, is not static. It develops over time, and is influenced by a variety of factors, just as religion can influence individuals and societies in complex ways. Blaming “Islam” for anything is simplistic, because it is not monolithic, it does not have one essence, and it is not consistent.

Today, there are many Muslims who regard homosexuality as sinful. There are also many people of other faiths who are opposed to homosexuality, including Jews and Christians. As noted by Glenn Greenwald, a US poll found American Muslims have comparable levels of approval (45 per cent) of societal acceptance of homosexuality as American Protestants (48 per cent). Among ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel (Charedim), only 8 per cent expressed support for gay people having full equality, as opposed to 89 per cent of secular Israelis.

The overwhelming majority of people of all faiths who object to homosexuality do so without that hatred manifesting in murder. There is a passage in the Torah that calls homosexuality an abomination, explicitly urging the execution of a man who lies with another man as with a woman. This is ignored, just as Jews ignore the passage ordering the execution of disobedient sons.

This is because the way people interpret their religious texts is complex. While fundamentalists and Islamophobes may insist that Islam is one thing, now and forever, that is not really how religions work.

The Complex Motives Of Omar Mateen

While the usual suspects were eager to blame Islam (or “radical Islam”) for the Orlando shooting, it is hard to take this too seriously. The murderer was apparently a regular at the gay nightclub he attacked, and was also a long time user of an app for gay dating called Jack’d. Much has been made of his statement of support for ISIS. Yet he has also declared support for Hezbollah and the Al Nusra Front. All three groups have killed each other’s members in Syria. It seems his understanding of these groups was about as sophisticated as that of Australian Islamophobes.

The murderer used to talk “about killing people all the time”, according to a former co-worker. He used to beat his ex-wife, who said he wasn’t very religious. She also claimed that he was “mentally unstable and mentally ill”. She said he had bipolar, and used steroids. His father, an admirer of the Taliban, commented that the murderer “doesn’t have a beard even”.

At this point, we just don’t know why he murdered so many people. Several factors may have contributed. It may have been some form of twisted revenge. As many have argued, it may have been a homophobic attack. If he was gay, it may have been the act of a man experiencing a great deal of inner turmoil. Without wishing to diminish the horrors of the massacre, he too may have been a victim of homophobia, who acted out the hatred he learned and internalised on others.

Calling This Islam Validates Terrorists

A delegate reads the Koran at an anti-extremism conference. (IMAGE: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr)
A delegate reads the Koran at an anti-extremism conference. (IMAGE: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr)

When someone commits an atrocity, and claims that they do it in the name of a religion followed by a great number of people, that claim is made to legitimise their act.

Trying to legitimise an immoral action with reference to ideals is not something unique to Muslims. When no WMDs were found in Iraq, suddenly Western politicians and intellectuals claimed the war on Iraq was a war for democracy and freedom. This doesn’t delegitimise democracy or freedom, because that’s not what the war was about. The point of using that rhetoric was to transfer the social currency of those concepts to an unjust war waged on fraudulent pretexts.

Likewise, the shooter in Orlando claimed he was part of a greater cause. Being an angry and hateful bigot is less glamorous, and would not garner the same public attention.

When hateful murderers claim Islam legitimises their actions, we should remember that they are trying to bring themselves under the legitimating umbrella of a faith practiced by about 1.7 billion people. No one has ever appointed any of these people as their spokesperson. While Westerners often call for Muslims to condemn these actions, they never pause to ask who has praised them. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS have never received the blessing of any prominent Muslim theologians, and have often been condemned even by other salafi-jihadists.

Though people in the West continue to take seriously the credentials of these groups, many Muslims regard them as theologically dubious or theologically illiterate. Take this interview with Osama Bin Laden, from October 2001. The interviewer from Al Jazeera pointed out that the “killing of innocent civilians” is banned under Islam. Bin Laden responded by agreeing that “the Prophet Mohammed forbade the killing of babies and women. That is true, but this is not absolute.” He then argued inconsistently that the Twin Towers wasn’t really a civilian target, and that anyway, “If they kill our women and our innocent people, we will kill their women and their innocent people until they stop.” He called this “the good terrorism which stops them from killing our children in Palestine and elsewhere”.

Note: this is not a religious argument. And as Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University Akbar Ahmed argued in The Thistle and the Drone, revenge is hardly an Islamic response.



One of the world’s leading scholars on jihadis and Islamists is Professor Fawaz Gerges, from the London School of Economics. In his book on ISIS, he argues that ISIS has even less theological credibility than Al Qaeda. Gerges argues that Abu Musab al “Zarqawi and [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al] Baghdadi are theologically illiterate… What distinguishes the post-al Qaeda wave from its predecessors is its poverty of ideas.” In one telling instance, Islamists in Syria challenged ISIS to submit to a sharia court to resolve a dispute between them. ISIS responded by saying that “The only law I subscribe to is the law of the jungle”. On another occasion, when criticised theologically, ISIS replied that those scholars should spend less time on “writing and authorship”, when they “have never fired a single bullet”.


In the West, ISIS is treated as though they are sophisticated and authoritative Islamic theologians, rather than hyper-violent thugs with a thin veneer of legitimising rhetoric. Gerges observes that ISIS could not have made the strides it has made without “the breakdown of state institutions in Syria and Iraq and rising sectarianism. It is a result of decades of dictatorship, failed governance and development, and abject poverty, made worse by ongoing foreign intervention and the Palestinian tragedy.”

The ‘Radical Islam’ The West Doesn’t Talk About

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.26.08 pmAustralian right-wingers lament the fall of Tony Abbott, and the rise of Malcolm Turnbull, fearing the latter is too soft on “radical Islam”. Yet their beloved Tony grieved the loss of the dead tyrant of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. He offered his “deepest condolences” for this tragic loss, praising the King’s “many achievements”, and flying the flags at half-mast.

Saudi Arabia beheads dozens of people each year, and practices many of the same punishments as ISIS for “crimes” like blasphemy and adultery. As observed by Gerges, ISIS school education guidelines “seem to borrow heavily from Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative Salafi curriculum”.

The extreme sect of Islam that is closely allied to the ruling house of Saud is a strain of Salafism called Wahhabism. The outstanding Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn observed that “Wahhabi beliefs are close to the Salafi-jihadi ideology and over the last fifty years Wahhabism has become an increasing influence over mainstream Sunni Islam… Supported by the vast oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf those trained to preach and oversee mosques have become increasingly extreme and, while they may not support terrorist attacks, their beliefs provides fertile soil for those who do.” He concludes that until Western states are willing to “confront their Sunni allies in the Middle East… Orlando will only be the latest in a string of atrocities.”

Yet it is not just the governments that refuse to do so. While anti-Muslim ideologues often attack Islam, urge bans on Muslims, or otherwise decry the failure of Western liberals to oppose “radical Islam”, they rarely seem to have any interest in Wahhabism. Whether it’s right-wing politicians, right-wing anti-Muslim movements, or Murdoch columnists, this form of “militant” and “extreme” Islam always gets off the hook.

Because their concern isn’t “radical” Islam at all. Their concern is Muslims. And that tells you all you need to know.

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With New Defence Minister, Israel Pivots Further Towards Open Racism

With New Defence Minister, Israel Pivots Further Towards Open Racism


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By the time you read this, Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the right-wing Israeli party Yisrael Beiteinu, may be Israel’s new Defence Minister. In this article, I want to set out who he is, who he will replace, the context, and the significance of Lieberman’s rise.

They Can Take Their Bundles And Get Lost: Liebermanism

Lieberman led an election campaign in 2009 with the slogan “no loyalty no citizenship”. He frankly advocated revoking citizenship for the “disloyal”, and even a “right of expulsion”. It was understood that this referred to Israeli Arabs. Lieberman is frankly opposed to liberal values. He has explained that when Zionism and democracy clash, “the Jewish and Zionist values are more important”. He has also advocated, in the context of a two-state agreement, transferring parts of Israel with large Palestinian populations out of Israel, and into the Palestinian state. This would strip those people of Israeli citizenship, effectively disfranchising them and transferring them into another country.

Veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar reported that Lieberman offers even more extremism to his supporters when speaking in Russian. In 2004, Lieberman said to the local weekly Tel Aviv – “essentially, that it is necessary to transfer 90 per cent of Israel’s Arabs to the territories, including residents of Acre, Jaffa and Sakhnin.” The less extreme version of Lieberman said, “They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost.”

Lieberman thought the way to achieve a “real victory” in the attack on Gaza in 2008-2009 was by treating the Palestinians like the Japanese were treated “in the last days of World War II”. He also threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam in Egypt in 2001. This would have killed millions.

Reports in Ha’aretz suggest that he used to belong to Kach. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it was a theocratic terrorist organisation, led by the eventually assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane. Scholar of Israeli extremists Ehud Sprinzak wrote that a “typical speech” by Kahane included warnings that the “Arabs are cancer, cancer, cancer in the midst of us”. If Kahane were allowed two months as defence minister, “you will not have a single cockroach around here! I promise you a clean Eretz Yisrael”.

In more recent years, Lieberman and his party have pushed a raft of anti-democratic legislation within Israel. Last year, he said that Arabs “who are against us, there’s nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off his head”. During the war on Gaza in 2014, he urged a boycott on Arab businesses striking against the war. More recently, he has supported the Israeli soldier who murdered an unarmed Palestinian lying on the ground.

How Lieberman Got The Gig
new matilda, lieberman
Lieberman delivers a speech. (IMAGE: Wikipedia).

Moshe Ya’alon is the Defence Minister who resigned, paving the way for Lieberman. After the Israeli soldier murdered an unarmed and injured Palestinian, it was clear that the public was on the murderer’s side. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu briefly condemned the murder, before changing his position to suit public opinion. Ya’alon did not, which Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer described as political suicide.

On May 4, another controversy arose on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the deputy chief of the Israeli army, Major General Yair Golan, compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying there were “signs of them here among us today”. Netanyahu rebuked Golan, as did most of Israel’s right-wingers. Then Ya’alon, speaking to Israeli army officers, urged them to speak their minds, and to be “brave not just in the battle field, but also at the discussion table.” Even if they weren’t part of the mainstream, even if it differed from “political leadership”. Shortly afterwards, Netanyahu summoned Ya’alon to a meeting. It was claimed that the purpose was to clear the air, and he certainly had no intention to relieve Ya’alon of his position as Defence Minister. Naturally, it was only a few days before Netanyahu dumped Ya’alon and offered the position to Lieberman.

Ya’alon: The Moderate Who Called Palestinians A Cancer

Since being dumped as Defence Minister, Ya’alon has sought to reinvent himself as a principled opponent of extremism and racism, who has struggled to defend decency. He wrote on Facebook that “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and also trickling into the IDF, hurting it already”. He said “to my great sorrow, extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud Party and are shaking the foundations and threatening to hurt its residents. Sadly, senior politicians in the country have chosen the way of incitement and segregation of parts of Israeli society instead of unifying it and bringing it together.”

As the great Israeli journalist Gideon Levy observed, Ya’alon “was IDF chief of staff during the Defensive Shield offensive in the West Bank in 2002 and for Operation Days of Penitence in Gaza in 2004, operations that sowed horrifying death and destruction. Perhaps it was then that the bestialization of the IDF began.” Ya’alon was also the Defence Minister during the last war on Gaza, killing over 2000 Palestinians, including over 500 children. Even the pathetic whitewash of a UN report noticed the tactics may not have been totally moral, commenting on “the razing of entire areas of these localities by artillery fire, air strikes and bulldozers”.

Ya’alon has also lashed out against human rights organisations and progressive NGOs. Breaking the Silence is a courageous organisation that publishes collections of testimonies from Israeli soldiers about what they do in the occupied territories. Ya’alon said they have “malicious motives” and banned them from events with the Israeli army. A few months ago, Ya’alon accused them of treason. Later he slightly qualified this claim, saying “We are looking into the matter.” This wasn’t glib rhetoric – he actually did order an investigation.

In 2002, Ya’alon compared the Palestinians in the occupied territories to cancer, and claimed he was merely “applying chemotherapy”. In the years leading up to 2008, Ya’alon worked at right wing think tanks, “emerging as one of the most forceful critics of two-state-solution orthodoxy,” according to Ha’aretz.

Back in 2009, Ya’alon called Peace Now a “virus”. This caused some controversy, but the context makes it worse. He said to “save the country… we must deal with the issue of the virus that is Peace Now and, if you will, the elites, their damage is very great. From my point of view Jews should live in every part of the Land of Israel forever.” That is, continue colonising the West Bank, and oppress the Palestinians forever. His comments were made at a meeting of the Jewish Leadership Movement, the Feiglin movement within Likud.

While Ya’alon now weeps crocodile tears over extremists taking over Likud, Moshe Feiglin is no less extreme than Lieberman. Feiglin referred to the Palestinians as “inferior” and “parasites”, positively agreed that Zionism is racist, and even found much to admire in Hitler and Nazism. In 2014, he called for concentration camps in Gaza, after using “maximum firepower”, cutting off their water and electricity, and giving a “generous economic support package” to Gazans to leave to other countries.

new matilda, lieberman
A poster in Tel Aviv (IMAGE: Yaffa Phillips, Flickr)
Lieberman In Context

Much of the political outcry in Israel about Lieberman’s rise by mainstream political figures is about as credible, with war criminals like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak rushing to call Lieberman’s appointment a sign of fascism. Most of the Israeli political mainstream is infected with racism and war crimes. Lieberman is only unusual for being more overtly racist, and having less blood on his hands due to having less power.

For example, Ehud Barak was Defence Minister of Israel during the first massive attack on Gaza in 2008-2009. He was the Prime Minister who destroyed the viability of the Israeli Zionist left by saying there was no partner for peace after the Camp David debacle in 2000. He followed this up with his response to the Second Intifada – firing a million bullets within a month. In an interview with historian Benny Morris, he explained frankly that Palestinians can’t be trusted because “They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category.” Sophisticated racism like that is even fit for American liberals in the New York Review of Books.

Tzipi Livni, regarded as a dovish centrist, stated plainly in negotiations with the Palestinians that “I am against law – international law in particular.” Livni also repeatedly suggested in negotiations that Palestinian villages within Israel be transferred to a Palestinian state, thus embracing the Lieberman plan. She bragged that Israel “displayed real hooliganism” during the attack on Gaza in 2008-9: “which I demanded”. The point of the attack was that it “restored Israel’s deterrence … Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”

Overt racism among Israeli political officials is by now almost standard. Israel’s Minister for Culture referred to Sudanese people in Israel as a “cancer”. Israel’s Justice Minister posted an article referring to Palestinian children as “little snakes”, advising that their mothers be killed to prevent the raising of more “little snakes”. Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister, in charge of the Civil Administration of the occupied territories, said that the Palestinians “are beasts… not human”, and that Jews have “a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” The Education Minister said to a Palestinian MK “When you were still climbing trees, we had a Jewish state here”. And “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

The Significance Of Lieberman’s Rise

In a military-obsessed country, Lieberman’s lack of military experience has often been counted against him. As Defence Minister, Lieberman will probably get the chance to put his own stamp on the next Gaza massacre. While he has often attacked the government from the right for being too soft on Palestinians, in power he will have to trade demagogy for policy. If he believes his own rhetoric and tries to implement it, disaster looms for the Palestinians, and even for Israel. However, if Lieberman serves as Defence Minister with some prudence, and doesn’t show any obvious signs of incompetence, he could put himself in a strong position to become Prime Minister.

Seven years ago, I observed that the political mainstream could have marginalised Lieberman into irrelevance in the 2009 election. It didn’t happen. On the left, Barak criticised him for lack of military experience – he was only “big on words, not on action”. The lack of meaningful opposition to Lieberman’s authoritarianism and racism helped legitimise him. Liebermanism has meant the dismantling of vestiges of liberalism for Jews in Israel, and the use of overtly racist rhetoric. Since then, both have become standard. Every election has included political competitions to appear tough on Arabs and Israeli leftists, and most major parties have supported his legislative agenda, and even embraced it as their own. Lieberman as Defence Minister isn’t a shocking development, but a logical culmination of where Israel has been heading for years.


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Fuelling Hate: The Structural And Cultural Violence Behind The Orlando Massacre

Fuelling Hate: The Structural And Cultural Violence Behind The Orlando Massacre


Though it’s easy to focus on a specific calamity, the violence faced by LGBTQI people goes far beyond the direct and disturbing manifestation witnessed in Orlando, writes Liam McLoughlin.

In 2008, a poor African-American transgender woman named Duanna Johnson was arrested by police in Memphis, Tennessee. In a city with a history of black protest against racially motivated police abuse, Johnson was baselessly charged with prostitution. When she refused to answer to homophobic and transphobic slurs in custody, she was severely beaten and pepper-sprayed. Although the incident was captured by surveillance cameras, local authorities refused to charge the officers involved.

Johnson spoke out about the brutality and according to the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, she became the “public face of our community’s campaign against racism, homophobia and transphobia”. Nine months later she was murdered in downtown Memphis with a single bullet to the head. The police found no suspects and no motive for the murder.

Between 2007 and 2008, the incidences of reported American police violence against LGBT people increased by 150 per cent. The Southern Poverty Law Center found LBGT people in the US suffer twice the rate of violent hate crime compared to Jews or African-Americans, four times that of Muslims and 14 times that of Latinos. In 2014, a majority of Americans thought gay sex was morally unacceptable and 14 per cent believed AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual activity. More than half of LGBT-identified people reported concern about falling victim of a hate crime. Between 2004 and 2014 the share of hate crimes based on sexual orientation grew.

In the first 10 weeks of 2016 the Human Rights Campaign fought nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills across 34 US states, including Florida.

And in the early hours of June 12 at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando called Pulse, 29 year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 more in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

According to establishment media and politicians, Mateen was inspired by ISIS to engage in a gruesome act of Islamic terrorism which was an attack on freedom and “an assault on every one of us”. This narrative has taken hold, despite his father’s comments that “this had nothing to do with religion” and everything to do with homophobia.

Opportunistic politicians and media outlets across the West have descended like vultures to frame this as yet more damning evidence against Islam and further justification for intensified militarism, police powers, and surveillance.

Malcolm Turnbull’s response was typical: “We stand in solidarity with the people of the United States as they stand up to this terrorist, violent, hate-filled attack, whether it is in the skies above Syria and Iraq, in Afghanistan or on our borders”.

Refugee survivor and ex-detainee organisation RISE articulated the crass and cynical inaccuracy of this typical establishment line.

“Similar to his response after the Brussels attack, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has used the tragic events of Orlando to make a ridiculous link between refugees and terrorism. To use the murder of innocent people as an opportunity to demonise innocent refugees and justify bombings and militarised border control is pathetic, desperate and utterly racist.”

Yet again the government/media nexus is using the murder of innocent people to justify yet more violence against other innocent people.

Understanding the distinction between the highly visible direct violence of Orlando and the less visible cultural and structural violence at the root of such attacks is vital if we are ever going to escape this cycle of horror.

The Violence Triangle: Direct, Structural And Cultural Violence

Norwegian sociologist and peace researcher Johan Galtung’s “Violence Triangle” is a useful tool to help us understand Orlando and its aftermath. Galtung distinguishes three kinds of violence and they are causally linked.

The first is direct violence. This includes mass shootings, murder, rape, and assault – highly visible forms of violence in which the perpetrators are clearly identifiable individuals. The Orlando shooting is the latest and worst example of the prevalent direct violence which is directed at LGBTQI communities.

This form of violence dominates media coverage for several reasons. It accords with the doctrine of individual responsibility which prevails under neoliberalism and deflects responsibility from structures of power. It’s also a simple and compelling story which is big business for the media.

This is where mainstream coverage of Orlando begins and ends. At worst the homophobic nature of the attacks is erased and drowned out by the drum beat of Islamophobic rhetoric. At best the violence is described as a homophobic “act of hate” by a deeply disturbed individual.

The media wilfully ignores the structural and cultural violence upon which direct violence depends. These are more complex and less visible types of violence.

Structural violence is the exploitation and injustice built into our society. Galtung writes that structural violence “shows up as unequal power and consequently as unequal life chances”. It’s the violence which generates extreme wealth for the 1 per cent, poverty for the many and privileges some classes, genders, nationalities, religions and ethnicities over others. It’s about institutionalised forms of discrimination and exclusion and ingrained inequalities in access to education, resources and respect. The 200 anti-LGBT bills proposed in states across America this year would entrench structural violence against queer communities.

In responding to the Orlando massacre, the establishment avoids linking direct LGBTQI violence to structural violence at all costs. Blame Mateen, blame ISIS, blame Islam, blame anything but the homophobia, discrimination, and disrespect towards LGBTQI people actively fostered by institutions of power right across the United States.

new matilda, lgbti
A vigil for those killed in Orlando. (IMAGE: Fibonacci Blue, flickr).

The ruling classes just as steadfastly ignore the role of cultural violence in contributing to Mateen’s heinous actions. Galtung defines cultural violence as the attitudes and beliefs which “can be used to justify or legitimise direct or structural violence”. Religion, ideology, art, science, education and the media can all be responsible for cultural violence. It’s not hard to see connections between the homophobic rhetoric of the Christian right, the structural violence of anti-LGBTQI laws, and the direct homophobic violence of Omar Mateen.

Normalising Violence

If we want to understand how structural and cultural violence impact LGBTQI communities, it’s worth reading activist and writer Kay Whitlock.

The book she wrote in 2011 with Andrea Ritchie and Joey Mogul called Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalisation of LGBT People in the United States showed a feedback loop between the criminalisation of queer people and societal homophobia and transphobia. It shows in detail how media archetypes of the “queer killer”, the “sexually degraded predator”, the “disease spreader” and the “queer security threat” inform the ways sexuality is policed, prosecuted and punished. Its study of police harassment and brutality towards queers, especially transgender women of colour like Duanna Johnson, highlights the intersection of structural, cultural and direct violence.

Whitlock’s comments in subsequent papers and interviews are especially enlightening when thinking about how structural and cultural factors may have influenced Mateen. In a 2012 discussion paper called Reconsidering Hate: Policy and Politics at the Intersection, Whitlock writes:

“Hate violence is portrayed as individualised, ignorant, and aberrant, a criminal departure by individuals and extremist groups from the norms of society, necessitating intensified policing to produce safety. The fact is many of the individuals who engage in such violence are encouraged to do so by mainstream society through promotion of laws, practices, generally accepted prejudices, and religious views. In other words, behaviour that is racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant…does not occur in a political vacuum.”

Her explanation for this focus on direct violence is succinct.

“It’s so much easier to place the blame for violence directed against entire groups on criminal misfits, loners, and crackpots than to challenge the unspoken public consensus that permits broader cultures and structures of violence to exist.”

In a 2015 interview for The Public Eye, Whitlock shows us how these cultures and structures normalise violence.

“What is called “hate violence”—violence directed at vulnerable and marginalised groups—is not abhorrent to respectable society. On the contrary, respectable society has provided the models, policies, and practices that marginalise people of colour, queers, disabled people, and in many respects, women.

We fixate on spree killings and assassinations because they’re so visibly terrifying…but regardless of who’s in power, we also have these structural forms of violence that continue year after year in the most respectable civic and private arenas. The violence is steadfast, consistent, and it’s absolutely massive. I’m talking about the violence of prisons, detention centres, psychiatric hospitals, and public schools with school officers who are armed to the teeth and who have absolute discretionary power to send kids into the criminal/legal system for minor infractions. We have lots of violence against people with disabilities who are penned up in institutions where someone has absolute power over them.”

Tackling these ingrained cultures and structures of violence is the only chance we have of escaping the recurring nightmare of direct violence.

From Islamophobia To Queer Justice

Barring Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Turnbull gave the worst possible response to the Orlando shooting. He mobilised the Islamophobic frame when he linked refugees to terrorism in showing “solidarity with the people of the United States”.

No Malcolm. Solidarity is not ramping up the “War on Terror” with more militarism and greater police powers. Solidarity is not dog-whistling to bolster your poll numbers in the marginals. Solidarity is not using the deaths of people from a persecuted minority to justify your persecution of another minority on Nauru and Manus.

Solidarity means resisting the erasure of LGBTI communities. It means accurately describing the causes of violence and offering historical, economic and social context for such events. It means highlighting structural and cultural violence and debating ways to dismantle violent policies and attitudes to LGBTI communities. It means confronting the gun lobby and opposing the corruption of our political systems. It means investigating community-based approaches to reducing violence. It means exploring ways to create more just, compassionate, equitable, kind, and loving societies.

It also means really listening to LGBTQI voices, like that of Duanna Johnson, whose courageous resistance to racism, homophobia and transphobia came at the cost of her life.

Or that of Steven W Thrasher, who wrote this in The Guardian.

“In this moment, let us not become nationalistic, or prejudiced, or vengeful. Let us not perpetuate the American cycle of violence. Let us interrupt this nightmare as the creative, loving, justice-seeking American queers that we are, who know well how to look death in the eye and still imagine a new, better living world.”
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The Continuum Of Violence: Homophobia Didn’t Start With A Mass Shooting In Orlando

(Image: gaelx, Flickr)
The Continuum Of Violence: Homophobia Didn’t Start With A Mass Shooting In Orlando

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The mass shooting Florida is at the extreme end of the scale of violence against the Queer community. But the source is bigotry, something that is actively promoted in Australia, writes Nick Pendergrast.

It is horrible to hear what has happened in Orlando. More information on this terrorist attack is becoming available as time passes, however, it seems clear that the attack was inspired by homophobic outrage at seeing two men kissing.

In order to address extreme acts of violent homophobia such as this, we have to tackle homophobia all of the way along the spectrum of the ‘continuum of violence’.

Image from the chapter ‘Disability and the Continuum of Violence’ by Dr Andrea Hollomotz – from the book Disability, Hate Crime and Violence.
Image from the chapter ‘Disability and the Continuum of Violence’ by Dr Andrea Hollomotz – from the book Disability, Hate Crime and Violence.

This continuum of violence, outlined in the image above, is one that is explained by Dr Andrea Hollomotz, a lecturer in Disability and Crime, in the book Disability, Hate Crime and Violence (from pages 53-55).

She explains that this notion of a continuum demonstrates a broader understanding of the term “violence” to not only include physical harm but also discriminatory language and other forms of bigotry, such as segregation.

She notes that such actions also have profound effects on the targeted group.

Hollomotz is focusing predominantly on violence against people with disabilities, but notes that this notion of a continuum was first suggested in relation to gendered violence. It is very useful in understanding hate crime generally, including homophobic hate crimes like the attack in Orlando.

While such attacks are certainly at the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of homophobic violence, they should not be viewed as totally separate to other forms of discrimination against queer people, such as homophobic language or stigma around certain sexualities.

All of these actions are based on the same homophobic thinking, and all have the same effect in terms of maintaining existing power imbalances and keeping queer people marginalised.

(IMAGE: Guillame Paumier, Flickr)
(IMAGE: Guillame Paumier, Flickr)

Those individuals who become victims of hate crime are also likely to have been victims of other forms of discrimination along the spectrum, such as discriminatory language, stigma and exclusion.

Likewise, those carrying out hate crimes often start with “lower levels” of bigotry, which are still very harmful, before escalating further down the spectrum of discriminatory violence.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Response and Safe Schools

I have been following Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the attack. He has condemned the attack and while arguing that this is “an attack on all of us” he has acknowledged that this is “a murderous attack on gay people” specifically.

It is not enough for Turnbull to only condemn the violence at the extreme end of the continuum, especially while his government has attacked the Safe Schools Coalition.

This program aims to support queer youth and overcome issues such as stigma and social inclusion in schools. If we are genuinely concerned about stopping attacks like the one in Orlando, it is vitally important to address homophobia all of the way along this spectrum.

Turnbull’s comments that the attack “certainly appears to be motivated by a hatred of the freedoms, the free society which all of enjoy” do nothing to address the root cause of such homophobic hate crimes.

Instead of this empty George W. Bush-type rhetoric about terrorists hating our freedoms, we need to oppose not just this attack but the marginalisation of queer people in all forms.

This means not only supporting programs like Safe Schools, but also opposing homophobic comments from some right-wing politicians and groups in Australia following the Orlando attack.


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Alleged killer of British MP was a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance

Alleged killer of British MP was a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance


Jo Cox, a member of the Labour Party in the British Parliament, died Thursday after an attack by a lone man who shot and stabbed her in West Yorkshire following a regular public meeting she held with constituents.

Jo Cox (AP Images/Yui Mok/PA)

Her alleged killer is Thomas Mair, 52. According to eyewitness accounts, which are still under investigation, Mair was armed with a knife and a gun, either antique or homemade, and may have shouted “Britain First” when he attacked Cox, a possible reference to the far right Britain First party, whose leader, Paul Golding, is a former member of the white nationalist British National Party. The Daily Telegraph reported that Mair’s brother claimed Mair has a “history of mental illness,” and neighbors called him a “loner,” but he also has a long history with white nationalism.

According to records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center Mair was a dedicated supporter of the National Alliance (NA), the once premier neo-Nazi organization in the United States, for decades. Mair purchased a manual from the NA in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol.

Mair, who resides in what is described as a semi-detached house on the Fieldhead Estate in Birstall, sent just over $620 to the NA, according to invoices for goods purchased from National Vanguard Books, the NA’s printing imprint. Mair purchased subscriptions for periodicals published by the imprint and he bought works that instruct readers on the “Chemistry of Powder & Explosives,” “Incendiaries,” and a work called “Improvised Munitions Handbook.” Under “Section III, No. 9” (page 125) of that handbook, there are detailed instructions for constructing a “Pipe Pistol For .38 Caliber Ammunition” from components that can be purchased from nearly any hardware store.

The NA may be best-known for the work of its now-deceased founder, William Pierce, a former physics professor who also wrote racist novels. One, The Turner Diaries, tells the post-apocalyptic fictional story of a white man fighting in a race war that may have provided inspiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Mair was a subscriber to S. A. Patriot, a South African magazine published by White Rhino Club, a pro-apartheid group. The club describes that magazine’s editorial stance as opposed to “multi-cultural societies” and “expansionist Islam.” According to the Daily Telegraph, a January 2006 blog post attributed to the group described Mair as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of S. A. Patriot.”

Thomas Mair

Cox, 41, known as a rising star in the Labour Party, was an advocate for Syrian refugees. She had worked as an aid worker in developing countries and went on to become head of policy at Oxfam. She had also worked as an advisor to Sarah Brown, wife of the former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in women’s and children’s health campaigns. Cox was elected to Parliament in 2015 and quickly gained a reputation for taking on her own party’s leadership. She supported staying in the European Union in the face of the upcoming so-called “Brexit” referendum, which will determine whether the UK leaves the European Union.

The “Improvised Munitions Handbook” is among the books purchased by Mair from the National Alliance, which includes these instructions for building a homemade gun.

Order Mair made in May of 1999 from National Vanguard Books. Includes handbooks titled “Chemistry of Powder & Explosives” and “Improvised Munitions Handbook.”


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Calif. schools busted for ignoring atheist scholarships because of ‘anti-religious expression’

Calif. schools busted for ignoring atheist scholarships because of ‘anti-religious expression’


via Bethania Palma Markus

Schools in Los Angeles County’s northernmost communities known as the Antelope Valley will have to dole out $10,000 in legal fees for refusing to list atheist groups’ scholarships on student publications, according to the Friendly Atheist.

The Antelope Valley Freethinkers and Freedom From Religion Foundation wanted the Antelope Valley Union High School District to list their scholarships — but the district refused to do so.

“The district said it was rejecting the scholarships because the essay announcements would upset parents, claiming that they that they appeared to ‘promote anti-religious expression’ and had ‘aggressive’ and ‘argumentative undertones towards religion.’ Offers to modify the wording were rejected,” the blog reported.

The Friendly Atheist reports the prompts are not aggressive at all.

“A freethinker is someone who develops opinions based on science and reason in contrast to faith and dogma,” the Freethinker prompt reads. “Write from a personal perspective encounters you’ve had when you object to or raise logical- or evidence-based challenges to statements of faith or dogma within your family, your school, or the Antelope Valley at large. Perhaps you’ve been ridiculed, harassed, or punished for speaking up against religion in the classroom, at school events, in government, or within your family. Perhaps you’ve been successful in convincing others of your position. Discuss the effects on you and those around you as you’ve dealt with these encounters.”

As a result, both sides agreed to a settlement in which the district will advertise the secular scholarships alongside the others.

“We’re sorry it took a lawsuit to get the school district to agree to equal treatment of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Antelope Valley Freethinkers,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Friendly Atheist. “But we were confident we would prevail. It’s also heartening to get a victorious settlement so quickly.”



Latest Christian Fascist Propaganda Mimics Nazi Racist Propaganda

UKIP Leave poster accidentally mimics Nazi propaganda
NIGEL Farage today launched UKIP’s new EU poster advocating a leave vote in the upcoming EU referendum. Twitter users were quick to point out, however, that it looked rather…familiar.The poster, which was branded as disgusting by Nicola Sturgeon, features a line of Syrian refugees fleeing from a war-zone, with the call to “take back controls of our borders”.After images were posted online it wasn’t long until twitter user Brendan Harkin noticed that the image used happened to look an awful lot like something that had recently featured in “Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution”, a six-part BBC documentary currently available on Netflix.

The screenshots are from a piece of Nazi propaganda highlighted in the documentary.

Uncanny?  Well, not really.

History repeats; remember this famous Christian?


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The Frankfurt School, aka ‘Cultural Marxism,’ Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories, and American Conservatism

The Frankfurt School, Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories, and American Conservatism
Max Horkheimer (left) and Theodor Adorno

The Frankfurt School is probably familiar to most readers of this blog.  Those of us who went to graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s almost certainly encountered the ideas of Walter Benjamin, Max Horheimer, and Theodor Adorno.  And as early as 1941, when Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom became a surprise best-seller, the ideas of the Frankfurt School have had broad and deep influence in the United States.  It’s hard to imagine the American New Left without Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man.  And Horkheimer and Adorno’s ideas about the culture industry have long been a kind of commonplace in educated discourse, even as the more reception-oriented understandings of popular culture came to challenge them over the last quarter century.

But while I think I have a fairly good grasp of the Frankfurt School and its legacy, in reading coverage of this weekend’s terrorist attack in Norway, I discovered that there was one aspect of that legacy of which I was utterly unaware: the role that the Frankfurt School plays in right-wing conspiracy theories about a Jewish, Marxist attempt to destroy Western civilization.

In a story on the website Crooks & Liars, David Neiwert, an award-winning independent journalist and blogger who tracks the far right and its connections to mainstream conservatism, writes that the 1,500 page manifesto of Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who perpetrated the Norwegian attacks, largely focuses on the threat of “Cultural Marxism.”  Neiwert quotes Chip Berlet, another investigative journalist who tracks right-wing networks:

Breivik championed opposition to “Cultural Marxism,” a right-wing antisemitic concept developed primarily by William Lind of the US-based Free Congress Foundation, but also the Lyndon LaRouche network.
… The idea is that a small group of Marxist Jews who formed the Frankfurt School set out to destroy Western Culture through a conspiracy to promote multiculturalism and collectivist economic theories.

Neiwert goes on to note that the idea of “Cultural Marxism” has already filtered into much more mainstream conservative circles in this country.  In particular, Republican dirty trickster Andrew Breitbart has become a major vector for the idea of “Cultural Marxism” and the supposed iniquity of the Frankfurt School.

Breitbart’s recent book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! goes into some detail about the Frankfurt School, and has received much notice in the conservative media for doing so.

For example, in a favorable review of Breitbart’s book that appeared in the Washington Times, Wes Vernon notes that:

Mr. Breitbart fingers the people who later would aid and abet the importation of cultural and political poison to our shores. He “names names” of those in this drama who arguably were serious threats to the nation’s security.

The chapter’s 21 pages track an in-depth research on the influence of such intellectual rogues as Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, Wilhelm Reich and their ilk.

The “Breakthrough” chapter is at its best when it traces the transfer to the United States of the German-hatched Frankfurt School, or the Institute for Social Research (ISR) funded by Felix Weil, a young radical from Frankfurt, Germany, who used money from his rich grandfather while preaching the downfall of the capitalist system.

The Frankfurt School “was really a precursor to John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, funded by the Hungarian-born George Soros.”

The Frankfurt School, from its new American home at Columbia University, soon repaid America’s hospitality by unleashing “critical theory” among the populace. That term was coined by Frankfurt School philosopher Max Horkheimer. Mr. Breitbart describes it as encompassing the idea of “criticizing everyone and everything everywhere,” or making “society totally unworkable by making everything basically meaningless.”

This book further informs us that the late, famous broadcaster Edward R. Murrow “helped ship in many of the Frankfurt School’s greatest minds.”

“They walked right into our cultural institutions,” according to Mr. Breitbart, “and [when they] advanced their leadership, their language, their lexicon,” too many ignored them. That is the most dangerous thing you can do with “a driven leftist intellectual clique.”

Vernon’s review gives you a sense of the extraordinary scope of this particular conspiracy theory.

A glance at the terrorist Anders Breivik’s 1,500-page, English-language manifesto reveals other links to mainstream American conservative rhetoric, as well.  “Political correctness” is an important Breivik theme. He associates this idea, too, with the Frankfurt School:

Just what is “Political Correctness?” Political Correctness is in fact cultural Marxism (Cultural Communism) – Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. The effort to translate Marxism from economics into culture did not begin with the student rebellion of the 1960s. It goes back at least to the 1920s and the writings of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci. In 1923, in Germany, a group of Marxists founded an institute devoted to making the transition, the Institute of Social Research (later known as the Frankfurt School). One of its founders, George Lukacs, stated its purpose as answering the question, “Who shall save us from Western Civilisation?” The Frankfurt School gained profound influence in European and American universities after many of its leading lights fled and spread all over Europe and even to the United States in the 1930s to escape National Socialism in Germany. In Western Europe it gained influence in universities from 1945.

There are obviously a lot of threads that one might pull in this story, regarding, among other things, the relationship between mainstream conservatism and the violent radical right, the strong base of antisemitism that (often silently) underwrites a lot right-wing rhetoric, the deep anti-intellectual and anti-academic tendencies in these modes of thought, and the peculiar role that Lyndon LaRouche and his minions have played in encouraging conspiracy theories of all sorts (they are also an important source for left-wing conspiracy theories about Leo Strauss and the Straussians).

But rather than elaborate on any of these thoughts, I’ll stop at this point, having noted this peculiar, poisonous meme which shows no sign of dying off, even after it has been connected to this weekend’s deadly attacks.


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Synthetic drugs posing increased risk to Australians, Global Drug Survey reveals

Synthetic drugs posing increased risk to Australians, Global Drug Survey reveals

Experts urge public education campaign to get out message that ‘traditional’ illicit drugs are safer than new substances

A joint is rolled using a synthetic cannabinoid.
A joint is rolled using a synthetic cannabinoid. The Global Drug Survey has revealed that people choose synthetic drugs over ‘traditional’ illicit substances because they are cheaper, or because they want to avoid being caught by workplace drug detection tests.  Photograph: Alamy

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Australians appear to be at increased health risk from taking synthetic drugs, this year’s Global Drug Survey has revealed, with no decline in emergency department admissions despite fewer people buying the substances.

Experts say Australians should be better informed that they are safer taking “traditional” illicit drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy than they are using synthetic cannabis and other newer, novel psychoactive substances.

The Global Drug Survey is in its fourth year in Australia, with 4,931 Australians answering questions about their drug use. Guardian Australia has partnered with the GDS to release the results in Australia.

In this year’s GDS, less Australians reported using and buying novel psychoactive substances. But the number of respondents who said they ended up in an emergency department after taking them remained constant, highlighting the dangers of the drugs.

Of the respondents, 4% said they had used novel psychoactive substances in the past 12 months, compared with 4.5% in the 2015 survey. Of those who used the substances, 3.2% sought emergency medical treatment in 2016 compared with 3% of respondents the previous year.

While the GDS is not nationally representative, it echoes evidence from other Australian studies that the number of emergency department presentations linked to synthetic cannabinoids and novel psychoactive substances are increasing.

Novel psychoactive substances are designed to mimic the effects of traditional drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine and ice, with new human-made chemicals being designed all the time. Major complications from the substances include cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke, seizures, psychiatric illness including psychosis, paranoia and self-harm, as well as severe, prolonged vomiting.

The substances in synthetic products differ greatly, making it hard to treat those who have severe reactions to them. Hundreds of distinct potential synthetic cannabinoids had now been identified, for example, and more are released frequently. As a result, doctors have no idea what patients are reacting to, what to test for or how to treat them.

According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, 1.3% of Australians aged 14 and over have used synthetic cannabis at some stage in their lives, while 0.4% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used other new psychoactive substances. But numerous Australian have died after taking the substances, despite the low number using them.

John Ryan is the chief executive officer of the Penington Institute in Melbourne, a drug research institute which identifies and responds to specific substance use problems. He said illicit drugs were safer than novel psychoactive substances because doctors knew what was in them and were experienced in treating them.

“New psychoactive substances have higher risks associated with them,” he told Guardian Australia. “Therefore, we should be telling the community that the old-fashioned drugs are safer. That is delivering honesty in education.

“Even though it’s likely to be a difficult job, it’s worth trying to move people from more to less dangerous drugs. Government could help with this by not categorising cannabis in the same way as ice or new synthetics. That is, we need to give incentives for a shift away from more dangerous use patterns including especially away from new psychoactive substances.”

Ryan said synthetic cannabis and novel psychoactive substances have been illegal in Australia since the commonwealth modified legislation to make illegal anything mimicking the effect of cannabis and other illegal drugs.

But manufacturers and retailers still attempt to bypass the law. Synthetic cannabis is sold in sex shops, online and by tobacconists as everything from incense to bath salts, potpourri and herbal tea.

But people were not using the drugs because they mistakenly thought they were legal, findings from the GDS suggest. Rather, people took them for other reasons, including because they were cheaper than other drugs, or because they wanted to avoid being caught by workplace drug detection tests.

“The increase in mean ratings for the avoidance of drug tests and sniffer dogs raises the concern that people may be using more dangerous drugs as the result of law enforcement in the community and the workplace,” the study found.

The founder of the GDS, Dr Adam Winstock, said there were few examples of novel psychoactive substances “turning out to be better, safer or more fun” than illicit drugs. Legalising “normal” cannabis would likely see people turning away from synthetic cannabis and fewer people being harmed, he added.

“I don’t know what governments can’t be honest and say, ‘Drug policy is really difficult,’” Winstock said. “But government should also say, ‘We think these novel drugs are really dangerous, and while we will continue to arrest people and stop imports of drugs, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe while using.’

“I am not saying that traditional drugs like MDMA and cocaine are safe. But for most people their moderate use is less risky than than that associated with their new psychoactive equivalents. I think governments should educate people about how to use traditional drugs more safely (and moderation is always a good start) and help them make informed drug taking choices.”

Winstock and his colleagues created the first guidelines for safe illicit drug use.

“Young people are so terrified by the scare campaigning about traditional illicit drugs that maybe they are turning to drugs like synthetic cannabis thinking that those drugs are somehow different,” Winstock said. “That is bad government policy.”

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Muslim Man Who Killed all Those People was Simply Following the Bible; “Christian Pastor Calls Orlando Massacre ‘Good News’ Because 50 ‘Faggots’ Died (VIDEO)”

Christian Pastor Calls Orlando Massacre ‘Good News’ Because 50 ‘Faggots’ Died (VIDEO)


Pastor Stephen L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, is a terrible human being. In 2014, he made the case that AIDS can be eliminated if we just wiped all the “f*ggots” off the face of the planet. Naturally, given his many unhinged ravings about the LGBT community, a group he calls (without cause) “pedophiles,” and a wide array of other offensive language, Anderson was quite pleased after learning that “50 sodomites” died, and another 50 were injured, in a targeted terrorist attack against the gay community in Orlando.

Anderson says that this is “good news” because “there’s 50 less pedophiles in the world.” The “Christian” pastor praised the shooter for eliminating his victims because they we “just disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar.” While he says he would never advocate violence (except for the time he prayed that President Obama would “die and go to hell” and his statement that all gay people should be murdered, of course), Anderson is clear that the Muslim man who killed all those people was simply following the Bible (what?):

Now let me just be real clear: I’ve never advocated for violence. I don’t believe in, you know, taking the law into our own hands. I would never go in and shoot up a gay bar — so-called. I don’t believe it’s right for us to just be a vigilante… But I will say this: The Bible says that homosexuals should be put to death, in Leviticus 20:13. Obviously, it’s not right for somebody to just, you know, shoot up the place, because that’s not going through the proper channels. But these people all should have been killed, anyway, but they should have been killed through the proper channels, as in they should have been executed by a righteous government that would have tried them, convicted them, and saw them executed. Because, in Leviticus 20:13, God’s perfect law, he put the death penalty on murder, and he also put the death penalty on homosexuality. That’s what the Bible says, plain and simple.

While he is happy that fifty people were murdered in the name of his god (though many Christians would dispute that they share a god with Muslims) after an extremist saw two men kissing and flew off the rails, Anderson says that there are some drawbacks — like those awful liberals who think that this attack is one of the many examples that we need reasonable firearm regulations, and those who will denounce hate speech:

But the bad news is that this is now gonna be used, I’m sure, to push for gun control, where, you know, law-abiding normal Americans are not gonna be allowed to have guns for self-defense. And then I’m sure it’s also gonna be used to push an agenda against so-called “hate speech.” So Bible-believing Christian preachers who preach what the Bible actually says about homosexuality — that it’s vile, that it’s disgusting, that they’re reprobates — you know, we’re gonna be blamed.Like, “It’s all extremism! It’s not just the Muslims, it’s the Christians!” I’m sure that that’s coming. I’m sure that people are gonna start attacking, you know, Bible-believing Christians now, because of what this guy did.

“I’m not sad about it, I’m not gonna cry about it. Because these 50 people in a gay bar that got shot up, they were gonna die of AIDS, and syphilis, and whatever else. They were all gonna die early, anyway, because homosexuals have a 20-year shorter life-span than normal people, anyway,” Anderson says. “At least these dangerous predators, these dangerous filthy pedophiles at this gay bar, at least they’re off the streets.”

“I’m just trying to look at the bright side,” he concluded before wishing God’s blessings on viewers.

If there was any justice in this world, God would have spared the victims and taken Anderson instead. F*ck him.

[Update: Anderson’s video has been removed from YouTube for violating the platform’s hate speech policy. A copy is below]

Watch Anderson’s disgusting rant below:



Pitifully, death dealing, extremist, Christian fascist homophobia is not isolated but prevalent among Christian fundamentalists, as we have repeatedly reported, example here:-

American Pastor Who Helped Uganda Create ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Will Be Tried For Crimes Against Humanity


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Fascists, Cowards, and Morons: Combating Anti-Muslim Bigotry While Maintaining Free Speech

Fascists, Cowards, and Morons: Combating Anti-Muslim Bigotry While Maintaining Free Speech

by Matt Cerami 

Andrew Cummins once said, in a quote often misattributed to Christopher Hitchens, that Islamophobia is “a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”

It can be that word—we’ve certainly seen the word used as a conversation-stopper in any and all discussions about Islamic theology, and we’ve seen it used as a protective linguistic shield wielded by those who view honest criticism as inflammatory and religion as something untouchable or by various leftist intelligentsia in defense of a community who they implicitly believe are unable to defend themselves. We’ve also seen it used by Muslim communities who desperately want to protect their faith from the piercing gaze of rationalism. The fascists are those religious and political leaders who wish to impose a kind of intellectual tyranny where certain ideas are immune from criticism; those cowards are the privileged few who would restrain free speech and withhold inquiry for fear of backlash or causing offense; and those morons—well, I’ll leave that one alone, for now.

But there is something to be said about punching down. Anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes against Muslims are now, in the US, at the highest they’ve ever been, surging past even their immediate post-9/11 numbers—no doubt the result of a decade’s worth of wartime propaganda and the demonizing, xenophobic sentiments espoused by right-wing pundits daily.

And as I’ve contended before, language is not innocuous. Rhetoric can, and often does, manifest itself as action—this is particularly true when it comes to marginalized groups and the hegemonic discourse that can come to define them. The language of hate has once again morphed into the action of hate, and structurally oppressed minority communities are again suffering as a result. Examples of this have been cropping up in the news with frequency. It’s not by accident that Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, the man behind the recent shooting in Chattanooga, was almost immediately considered a possible terrorist—meanwhile, the word terrorist has not been once used, in any official context, to describe Dylann Roof, the ideologically motived shooter of nine African-American churchgoers. White-conservative-as-terrorist does not fit into our currently thriving political narrative—an unfortunate fact, considering that right-wing groups and individuals are responsible, by a wide-margin, for most of the terrorist attacks that occur in the United States.

We have a responsibility to combat this bigotry wherever we may find it, recognizing that even diplomatic and academic criticisms of Islam have been perverted—adopted by the ignorant and employed to more malicious ends. But we also have a responsibility to protect and promote freedom of speech absolute. At a recent briefing on anti-Muslim bigotry I posed the question (though without receiving a sufficient answer): how do we maintain the right to criticize ideas openly and freely without also perpetuating bigotry against people? Is there a divide between the two?

There is a divide, but I also believe there needs to be. Ideas are not people—criticizing the former does not by default imply a criticism of the latter. That Charles Darwin discovered biological evolution does not mean he’s accountable for the social Darwinists who later looked to his ideas for inspiration. Likewise, critical, respectful, and academic critiques of Islamic ideologies shouldn’t be censored just because others pervert that criticism for a more insidious purpose.

But we can also be honest about Islamophobia. I don’t think religion has much to do with the prejudice. The kinds of Americans who’ve been pushing for discrimination against Muslims aren’t necessarily known for their nuanced worldviews. Islamophobia is just racism. It’s bigotry against Arabs and Indians. It’s unlikely that someone who thinks “all Muslims should be deported” could tell you the difference between Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism, let alone their adherents; they just know that some people are brown, and brown people are bad. When US General Wesley Clark recently suggested that we throw all “radicalized” Muslims into internment camps, I don’t think he meant White Muslims, or Black Muslims, or Asian Muslims—he meant Arabs. When we see “No Muslims Allowed” signs pop up in storefronts and gun ranges across the South, I doubt that the proprietors mean to interrogate each customer on their religious beliefs—what they mean is no people who look like Muslims allowed; in other words, the imagined Arab-Muslim caricature that they warn their children about. I dare say that an Arab-Christian with a Middle-Eastern name would face as much discrimination in America as any Muslim would. Is it Islamophobia if the anti-Muslim bigot can’t tell you—or doesn’t care to know—the first thing about Islam? Or is it just good, old-fashioned, American racism?

The phenomena transcends political divisions—it’s a racism that the left has, in their insistence on tying ideology to race in this one instance, also been complicit in perpetuating. When Sam Harris calls Islam the “mother lode of bad ideas,” is he being Islamophobic? Perhaps—but it’s a curious thing that I’ve yet to see that damning suffix attached to any other faith name: that critics of Christianity (of which there are many on the left) are not ever called Christophobic, that Jewish critics are not called Judaiphobes, that Karl Marx, hero of the left, has never been called a capitalistophobe. Submit your ideology of choice and we could play this game forever.

So how do we navigate this? How do we maintain the right to criticize ideas while avoiding the negative affects of doing so? We’ve got to first separate ideas from people—ideologies do not constitute race. This must be done by people across the political spectrum. A liberal who suggests that criticism of Islam is racist does much to solidify the bond between Islam and people who look like Muslims in the mind of a conservative. We also have to identify American Islamophobia for what it is—racism—and use the appropriate rhetorical tools to fight it. Religious and racial discourses are not the same.

But above all, we must continue to forcefully condemn and excoriate bigotry in all of its forms. We can critique religion while also acknowledging that other critiques are ignorant, harmful, or unfounded. We can acknowledge that the Texans of Collins County, who recently expressed their fears at the prospect of having a Muslim cemetary in their town, are maybe not the morons of Cummins’ statement, but are morons nonetheless.

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In Christian America, “The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America”

The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America


Firemen give first aid to survivors of the UpStairs Lounge arson attack that left 32 dead and dozens injured on June 24, 1973, in New Orleans.  AP Photo/G.E. Arnold


The mass shooting at Orlando’s LGBT nightclub Pulse, which left at least 50 dead, is only the latest chapter in a long history of violence at LGBTQ bars and clubs in America. In fact, for as long as LGBTQ people have been congregating in their own social spaces, these spaces have been the target of vicious homophobic and transphobic violence.

Until the Pulse massacre, the most notorious act of violence against a gay bar was the burning of the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar, in 1973. An arsonist set fire to the bar, killing 32 people in less than 20 minutes. The vast majority of politicians declined to comment on the arson, and the Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans did not offer support to the victims. (The Archdiocese apologized for its silence in 2013.) Many news outlets ignored the story; some of those that did cover it mocked the victims for being gay. No one has ever been prosecuted for the crime. When asked about identifying the victims, the chief detective of the New Orleans Police Department responded, “We don’t even know these papers belonged to the people we found them on. Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”

In 1997, “Olympic Park Bomber” Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, later explaining that he believed “the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality” was an “assault upon the integrity of American society.” He described homosexuality as “an aberrant sexual behavior,” and wrote that “when the attempt is made” to “recognize this behavior as being just as legitimate and normal as the natural man/woman relationship, every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.” In his confession, Rudolph railed against the “homosexual agenda,” including “gay marriage, homosexual adoption, hate-crime laws including gays, or the attempt to introduce a homosexual normalizing curriculum into our schools.”

Three years later, Ronald Gay opened fire on Backstreet Cafe, a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, killing Danny Overstreet, 43, and severely injuring six others. Gay was angry that his last name could mean “homosexual” and said God had told him to kill gay people. He called himself a “Christian Soldier working for my Lord” and testified in court that he wished he could have “killed more fags.” More recently, in 2013, Musab Mohammed Masmari set fire to Neighbours, a gay nightclub in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, on New Year’s Eve.* Masmari had explained that he believed gay people “should be exterminated.”

Of course, these attacks only punctuate the thousands of anti–LGBTQ hate crimes that occur in public—in schools and bathrooms and parks, on sidewalks and often in broad daylight—every year. Federal law did not explicitly criminalize anti–LGBTQ hate crimes until quite recently, as President George W. Bush had threatened to veto any legislation that outlawed hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With President Barack Obama’s support, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act finally passed in 2009. It drew just five Republican votes in the Senate, and its fiercest opponent, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, criticized his colleagues for merely caving to “the political cause of the moment.”


Mark Joseph Stern
Mark Joseph Stern

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

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The Australian Liberty Alliance, Australian Christo-Fascism with a Smile

What’s behind the Australian Liberty Alliance?


L to R – Christian activist Kirralie Smith, Dutch fascist Geert Wilders, far Right Q Society-linked Debbie Robinson, Roman Catholic homophobe Bernard Gaynor; Smith, Robinson and Gaynor are candidates in the ALA clown car.


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Roman Catholic fascist theocrat and arch-homophobe Bernard Gaynor [pictured far Right], hopes that a divine intervention might plant the seed that will produce an Australian messiah to save us from “the empty, atheistic and crumbling secularist society that is killing Western civilisation.”

Writing on his blog, Gaynor moans:

“I …pray that God raise[s] up a national hero who can save Australia in the same mould as Garcia Moreno, who dedicated his country to Christ the King and achieved great things for Ecuador, before being assassinated for his Catholic faith.”

You may not have heard of Garcia Moreno. I hadn’t. Fortuitously, Encyclopaedia Britannica comes to our aid:

“Gabriel García Moreno, (born December 24, 1821, Guayaquil, Ecuador—died August 6, 1875, Quito), initiator of a church-oriented dictatorship in Ecuador (1861–75). His rule, oppressive but often effective in its reformist aims, eventually cost him his life.”

So what’s behind the Australian Liberty Alliance?

by Patrick J. Byrne

With Dutch politician Geert Wilders planning to help launch the Australian Liberty Alliance, where will this new party sit in the Australian political scene?

Australian Liberty Alliance Q Society links

Serge Trifkovic

In March 2014, Geert Wilders, member of the Dutch parliament and leader of the country’s Party for Freedom (PVV), delivered a message from the Netherlands (via YouTube) to a Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION) conference held in Melbourne, pledging that he would return to Australia in early 2015 to help launch the Australian Liberty Alliance.[1]

The 2014 conference was organised by the Q Society of Australia,[2] which is also behind the formation of this new political party.

The Q Society itself was founded in 2010. It has hosted tours around Australia of a number of overseas anti-Islamic activists and organised campaigns to stop the building of new mosques.

While the Australian Liberty Alliance is yet to be launched and fly its political colours, the Q Society has been closely linked to anti-Muslim activists in the United States and Europe.

Ideological roots

The resources page on its website illustrates the ideological roots of the Q Society of Australia.[3]

First, the Q Society recommends Serbian-American author Serge (or Srjda) Trifkovic’s book, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam — History, Theology, Impact on the World (2002),[4] describing it as “the Swiss Army knife of books on Islam”.

Trifkovic was a high-level spokesman for the Serbian nationalist forces during the Serbian ethnic-cleansing of both Muslim and Catholic Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia in the Balkans from 1992 to 1995. About 100,000 died in the conflict.

Former Harvard professor Samantha Power — currently U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations — chronicled in her 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, how during the war Serbian forces systematically destroyed villages and towns, and herded local populations into concentration camps not seen since the Nazi camps of World War II.[5]

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic

Enraged Jewish-Americans, at demonstrations in the early 1990s calling for U.S. intervention to stop the killings, shouted, “Never again!”, the cry of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.

On August 5, 1992, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress placed an advertisement in the New York Times headlined, “Stop the Death Camps: an open letter to world leaders”, in which they declared: “To the blood-chilling names of Auschwitz, Treblinka and other Nazi death camps there seem now to have been added the names of Omarska and Brcko.…

“Is it possible that, fifty years after the Holocaust, the nations of the world, including our own, will stand by and do nothing, pretending we are helpless?… We must make it clear that we take every necessary step, including the use of force, to put a stop to this madness and bloodshed.”[6]

Some Serbian concentration camps were designated rape camps, where Yugoslav troops brutalised and impregnated Bosnian Muslim women, as well as girls as young as 12, in a bid to destroy their dignity,[7] while in the Bosnian town of Brcko (pronounced Bairch-ko) they brutally slaughtered and disposed of the remains of an estimated 3,000 people.[8]

Finally, in 1995, an international outcry over the week-long massacre of around 8,000 civilians in Srebrenica, allegedly on the orders of Serbian general Ratko Mladic, saw NATO forces launch an intensive bombing campaign against Serbian forces and strategic facilities that eventually ended the war.

Gravestones at the Potocari genocide memorial near Srebrenica

Serge Trifkovic has described himself as an “unofficial spokesman” in Europe for Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, president from 1992 to 1995 of the autonomous Republika Srpska (a self-proclaimed Serb republic within Bosnia), and as an adviser to his successor, Biljana Plavsic, known as “the Iron Lady”, who served as president from 1996 to 1998.[9]

In 2001, Plavsic was indicted by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) — otherwise known as the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague — for crimes against humanity and in 2003 was sentenced to prison.[10]

Radovan Karadzic is currently awaiting the judges’ verdict on charges of crimes against humanity before the same court,[11] alongside General Ratko Mladic.

When Mladic was arrested in 2011, Trifkovic defended him and dismissed accounts of the Srebrenica massacre, saying, “The heart of the indictment against him [Mladic], ‘Srebrenica’, is a myth — a genocide-that-never was, a postmodernist exercise in pseudoreality.”[12]

After the Balkans war, Trifkovic migrated to the United States, and transformed himself into an “expert” on Islam, working since 1998 as the foreign editor of the conservative Rockford Institute’s Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.[13]

Samantha Power

Secondly, the Q Society of Australia has Robert Spencer as its international patron and board member.[14] The Society highly recommends his books and blog page, Jihad Watch. Spencer is regarded as the global leader of the anti-Islamic blogger network and is co-founder of the Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION), a global alliance of anti-Islamic organisations.[15]

Spencer has paid lavish tributes to Serge Trifkovic[16] and published Trifkovic on Jihad Watch.[17] Trifkovic, for his part, has responded with glowing endorsements for two of Spencer’s books.[18]

Despite his tributes, Spencer has also declared that Trifkovic is anti-Semitic.[19]

Spencer is on the advisory board of the American Council for Kosovo,[20] which is closely linked to an organisation run by Serge Trifkovic, the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies. The American Council for Kosovo heavily promotes Trifkovic.[21] The director of the Council, James Jatras, is also on the board of Spencer’s principal organisation, Jihad Watch.[22]

Kejda Gjermani is a Jewish commentator who has worked for the leading U.S. Jewish magazine, Commentary, and written extensive exposés of Spencer and Trifkovic.[23] She accuses Spencer of openly associating “with violent genocide proponents/deniers …” through his position on the advisory board of the American Council for Kosovo and his endorsement of Serge Trifkovic.[24]

Kejda Gjermani

Articles on Spencer’s Jihad Watch blog page dispute the massacre of 8,000 at Srebrenica by Serbian forces in 1995. One of the headlines suggests that the UN and Muslims were somehow responsible for perpetrating the massacre, saying, “UN officials and the Muslim regime in Sarajevo orchestrated the Srebrenica massacre.”[25]

Spencer disputes the idea that there are moderate forms of Islam or moderate Muslims. For example, his Jihad Watch blog’s news editor, Marisol Seibold — presumably reflecting the blog’s official editorial line — declares: “‘Moderate’ is a uselessly relative term, ultimately only defining someone who is somehow less ‘extreme’ than the next guy.”[26]

Spencer is an adherent of the Byzantine-Rite Melkite Greek Catholic Church, making his association with Trifkovic and the Council of Kosovo somewhat curious. During the Balkans war, Serbians not only ethnically-cleansed Muslims, but also Catholic Croatians.

One of the first recorded ethnic-cleansing attacks by Serbian forces was in December 1991 just as U.S. Congressman, Frank McCloskey, was travelling through the Balkans to the Croatian town of Vocin, 70 miles south west of Zagreb. He arrived immediately after the murder of about 40 Catholic Croatians, most of them over the age of 60. Many had been tortured and their bodies horrifically mutilated.[27]

Thirdly, the Q Society of Australia also promotes the anti-Islamic conspiracy theorist, Bat Ye’or[28] (Hebrew for “daughter of the Nile”), the pen-name for Gisèle Littman (née Orebi), an Egyptian-born British writer and political commentator, who currently lives in Switzerland.

Australian Liberty Alliance Q Society links

Five of the six members of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION)’s ‘president’s council’ at SION’s launch at a conference in Stockholm, August 4, 2012. L to R: Anders Gravers, Pamela Geller, ‘Tommy Robinson’, Robert Spencer and Kevin Carroll (Debbie Robinson is not pictured)

British-Canadian author and journalist Doug Saunders, in his book The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West? (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2012),[29] has exposed the conspiracy theories that Bat Ye’or expressed in her 2005 book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.[30]

Bat Ye’or claimed that the purpose of the early 1970s Euro-Arab Dialogue was to enable the Muslim takeover of Europe, creating a situation whereby Christians and Jews would be reduced to the protected but subordinate minority communities of classical Islam. They would be made second-class citizens forced to “walk in the gutter”.

In an American radio interview on his book, Saunders said the Euro-Arab Dialogue was nothing more than “a talking shop, a committee or a subcommittee created by the precursors to the European Union … to deal with some of the political and economic tensions around the OPEC oil crisis. And it met a handful of times in the ’70s, … failed and died out by the end of the ’70s.

“It was eclipsed in the ’80s and ’90s and 2000s by other bodies that united Israel and the Arab states and the European Union and so on. It was a bureaucratic nonentity that somehow got inflated in this literature into being this grand conspiracy.…”[31]

Matt Carr, a journalist and author of Unknown Soldiers: How Terrorism Transformed the Modern World (2006),[32] has criticised Eurabia, saying: “In order to accept Ye’or’s ridiculous thesis, it is necessary to believe not only in the existence of a concerted Islamic plot to subjugate Europe, all Arab governments, whether ‘Islamic’ or not, but also to credit a secret and unelected parliamentary body [the Euro-Arab Dialogue] with the astounding ability to transform all Europe’s major political, economic and cultural institutions into subservient instruments of ‘jihad’ without any of the continent’s press or elected institutions being aware of it.…”[33]

Adam Keller, an Israeli peace activist, wrote an open letter to the publishers of the Hebrew translation of Eurabia, comparing it “to Édouard Drumont’s La France Juive (1886), the anti-Semitic tract that provided the ideological underpinnings for the deportation of France’s Jews under the [WWII] Vichy government half a century later”.

Keller says that the informed reading public needs to read “the classical work of a master racist demagogue [Édouard Drumont]” in order to understand “his loyal present-day disciple and successor [Bat Ye’or]”.[34]

Simon Kuper, a Paris-based correspondent for the UK Financial Times, says that Bat Ye’or’s book Eurabia “has been described as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse”.[35]

‘Tommy Robinson’ (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) in a scuffle with British police

On August 31, 1995, Bat Ye’or delivered a lecture, entitled “Myths and politics: origin of the myth of a tolerant pluralistic Islamic society”,[36] to a Chicago symposium on the Balkans war. The symposium was organised by Serge Trifkovic’s Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies and the Washington-based think tank, the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA).

Bat Ye’or has been criticised over the fact that her lecture didn’t even mention the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim civilians by Serb forces the previous month.

Bat Ye’or is regarded as one of the leading ideologues of the anti-Islamic movement. Robert Spencer describes her as “a hero of our age”.[37]

Particularly for those global anti-Islamic agitators who have chosen to involve themselves in Serbian-Muslim affairs, such as Serge Trifkovic and Robert Spencer, it is a moral contradiction to oppose jihadist terrorism but to remain silent on, or be apologists for, or be deniers of, Serbian terrorism against civilian Muslims and Catholics in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Ethnic-cleansing is one form of terrorism. For Trifkovic, it becomes easy to deny Serbian terrorism when he denies that ethnic-cleansing ever happened, labelling such claims merely as an “exercise in pseudoreality”.

Terrorism is terrorism. It should be loudly condemned and strongly resisted, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by the Islamic State on Shia Muslims, Christians and other minorities, or by Serbian nationalists on civilians.

The duplicitous stand by these writers on terrorism helps radical jihadists discredit the genuine opponents of all radical ideologies and terrorism.

Fourthly, the Q Society of Australia is one of the founding bodies of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION) — that is, Robert Spencer’s international anti-Islamic umbrella organisation, which was formed at a conference held in Stockholm, August 4, 2012. Spencer listed the names of the six inaugural members of the SION “president’s council” on his Jihad Watch blog.[38]

News Weekly reproduces below the names of these individuals, together with their backgrounds:

1)        Robert Spencer, president of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION);

2)        Pamela Geller, president of Stop Islamisation of America (SIOA), and founder, editor and publisher of the blog, Atlas Shrugs[39] (named in honour of the Russian-American right-wing atheist philosopher and amphetamine addict, Ayn Rand[40]);

3)        Debbie Robinson, 2013/2014 president of the Q Society of Australia, Inc.;[41]

4)        Anders Gravers, Danish anti-Islam activist and leader of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE);

5)        “Tommy Robinson” (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), co-founder and former spokesman and leader of the extreme right-wing English Defence League (EDL); and

6)        Kevin Carroll, co-founder and former deputy leader of the EDL (and a cousin of Yaxley-Lennon).

Both former EDL leaders have had court convictions, Yaxley-Lennon for violent assault, and Carroll for hurling abuse at Muslims.[42]

On April 18, 2005, “Tommy Robinson” (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was sentenced to 12 months’ prison for kicking in the head of an off-duty police officer who had intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner, Jenna Vowles.[43]

On November 3, 2011, Yaxley-Lennon was given a suspended prison sentence for headbutting one of his own supporters at an EDL rally in Blackburn.[44]

The EDL has been notorious for its violent demonstrations and has encompassed a number of organisations, including some whose members have been photographed at EDL rallies giving the Nazi raised-arm salute.[45]

In October 2013, Yaxley-Lennon and his cousin Kevin Carroll — only a year after joining SION at its 2012 conference in Stockholm — both quit the EDL.[46] Then, last year, Yaxley-Lennon landed in prison for fraud.[47]

The Q Society of Australia, by aligning itself with SION, has identified itself with the controversial views of Spencer, Trifkovic and Bat Ye’or, among others.

False demonisation of all Muslims

Spencer, SION and the global anti-Islamic network have a propensity to reduce all the diverse streams of Islam into one monolithic hostile political force. They demonise all the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims as being part of an ideology committed to the subjugation of non-Muslims. At worst, many anti-Islamic agitators treat all Muslims as apologists for, or supporters of, violent jihadists.

Just as early 20th-century anti-Semitic ideologues portrayed Judaism as a “cosmic evil”, many anti-Islamists portray the whole of 21st-century Islam as a “cosmic evil”,[48] an inveterately hostile political ideology, the “new communism”.

On the contrary, Paul Gray, former editor of News Weekly, explained in his book, Nightmare of the Prophet: Why the Next Century Could Be Our Most Violent Yet (2004) that such a portrayal of the whole Islamic world is as false as claiming that the Klu Klux Klan is representative of the whole Christian world.[49]

The U.S. Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has warned about the views of Spencer in language similar to that of the critics of Bat Ye’or.

Writing in The Washington Post (July 29, 2011), the then ADL national director, Abraham H. Foxman, condemned the vitriolic Robert Spencer and other anti-Islamic agitators over their “intellectual influences” on the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who massacred 77 people in 2011.

Foxman warned that the writings of these authors “promote a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the pretext of fighting radical Islam. Because of the reach of the Internet, these ideas float freely across borders and are reinforced by like-minded bigots”.

He continued: “This belief system goes far beyond anti-Islamic prejudice based on simple religious or racial grounds. In a sense, it parallels the creation of an ideological — and far more deadly — form of anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on the backs of the previously dominant cultural and religious forms of anti-Semitism.…

“In America, the polarisation, vitriol and fear engendered by anti-Islamic activists must be replaced by reasoned and civil debate. We must rally the voices of reason to overcome the voices of intolerance before it is too late.”[50]

Timely warning

The Anti-Defamation League and other critics of extremist anti-Islamic agitators offer a timely warning for Australia.

It is necessary to expose extremist forces threatening politically-vulnerable emerging states in the Arc of Instability stretching from China, across Asia to Africa. In this unstable region, many countries are going through the tumultuous process of overthrowing their anciens régimes on the long and often dangerous road toward democracy, human rights and free enterprise economies.

However, the demonisation of all Muslims in language that Jewish writers liken to vitriolic, early 20th-century anti-Semitism is divisive, dangerous and counter-productive.

For example, it is sensible to call for radical clerics who incite terrorism to be expelled from Australia; but it’s dangerous and counter-productive to prevent moderate Muslims from building mosques. First, it is a violation of a person’s right to freedom of association and freedom of worship. Secondly, selective denial of religious freedom is the guaranteed way of driving some young Muslims into the arms of extremists.

If the aim of such a policy is to stop the radicalisation of young Muslims, it’s a mistaken policy.

David Irvine, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) from March 2009 to September 2014, told an audience in Perth (March 4, 2014) that most of those being radicalised are being radicalised not in mosques, but via the internet and on social media.[51]

Demonising the whole of Islam as an inveterately hostile political ideology is de facto a declaration that all Muslim countries are hostile states. Pursuing a foreign policy based on such a premise would have far-reaching consequences.

Indonesia is the world’s largest Islamic nation, and Australia’s near neighbour. Imagine if the Commonwealth government were to treat Indonesia as a hostile state. It would put Australia on a collision course with its largest neighbour, damage bilateral trade and risk the denial of access to Australia’s most important trade routes through the Indonesian archipelago.

Jewish commentator Kejda Gjermani concludes her 2009 detailed critique of Trifkovic and Spencer, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, warning that such anti-Islamic agitators make it easy for radical Islamists and their apologists to discredit and attack genuine critics of militant Islam.[52]

The Q Society of Australia endorses and promotes extremist anti-Islamic agitators with “compromised backgrounds”. The Q Society is behind the formation of a new political party, the Australian Liberty Alliance, with consequences yet to be worked out in Australian politics.

Australians should consider the people and causes involved with the Q Society of Australia and its political progeny before lending them support.



[1] Peter Law, “Perth surgeon Anthony Robinson a director of new political party Australian Liberty Alliance”, Perth Now, October 5, 2014.

[2] 1st International Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Australia, Melbourne, March 7-10, 2014, Q Society of Australia Inc in association with SION and SkipnGirl Productions P/L.

[3] Q Society of Australia, Inc: resources page (accessed February 1, 2015).

[4] Serge Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam — History, Theology, Impact on the World (Boston: Regina Orthodox Press, 2002).

[5] Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002), Chapter 9.

[6] Ibid., p.278.

[7] Ian Black, “Serbs ‘enslaved Muslim women at rape camps’”, The Guardian (UK), March 21, 2000.

See also the Wikipedia entry, “Rape during the Bosnian war”.

[8] Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. says up to 3,000 Muslims died in Serbian-run detention camps”, New York Times, September 26, 1992.

[9] Kejda Gjermani, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings (New York), February 23, 2009.

See also: Trifkovic’s testimony before the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICCY), in Part 1, Breivik, Trifkovic and Radical Serb Ideology, a 12-page monograph published on July 25, 2011, by Michael A. Sells, the John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

See also the exchange between Serge Trifkovic and Stephen Schwartz, “Apology and correction”, FrontPage Magazine, January 15, 2003.

[10] “Biljana Plavsic”, International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICCY).

[11] Julian Borger, “Radovan Karadzic tells war crimes trial there was no ethnic cleansing in Bosnia”, The Guardian (UK), October 1, 2014.

[12] Serge Trifkovic, “The Mladic puzzle”, The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, June 10, 2011.

[13] Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic: author, editor, professor.

[14] Q Society of Australia, Inc: resources page (accessed February 1, 2015).

[15] “International ‘counter-jihadist’ organisations”, Hope Not Hate: For a modern, inclusive Britain (London), 2012.

[16] Brian Lamb, “Q&A with Robert Spencer”, video and transcript, Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network [C-SPAN], (Washington, DC), August 20, 2006.

[17] For example, Srdja Trifkovic, “PC self-censorship at the American Foreign Policy Council”, Jihad Watch, April 15, 2011.

Also see the number of results you get from entering the name “Trifkovic” in Jihad Watch’s search engine.

[18] “Testimonials: What they’re saying about Robert Spencer”, Jihad Watch.

[19] Robert Spencer, “Robert Spencer responds to Aymenn Jawad”, The American Thinker, March 6, 2011.

[20] List of members of the Advisory Board, American Council for Kosovo (Washington, DC).

[21] For example, James Jatras and Serge Trifkovic, “U.S. Kosovo policy is bad for Israel”, November 7, 2007.

James Jatras (Trifkovic’s co-author) is director of the American Council for Kosovo.

[22] Robert Spencer, “Kosovo’s top Islamic leader asks Detroit Muslims for support”, Jihad Watch, April 29, 2007.

[23] Kejda Gjermani, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, February 23, 2009.

Kejda Gjemani: “Robert Spencer’s connections: The James Jatras files”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, August 8, 2008.

Kejda Gjemani: “JihadwatchWatch: Robert Spencer’s amorous flit with European Fascism”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, November 7, 2008.

See also: Michael Sells, Part 1, Breivik, Trifkovic and Radical Serb Ideology, a 12-page monograph published on July 25, 2011.

[24] Kejda Gjemani: “Robert Spencer’s connections: The James Jatras files”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, August 8, 2008.

[25] Robert Spencer, “UN officials and the Muslim regime in Sarajevo orchestrated the Srebrenica massacre”, Jihad Watch, June 30, 2011.

[26] Marisol Seibold, “Maldives: Thousands demonstrate against ‘un-Islamic’ activities like allowing direct flights to Israel”, Jihad Watch, December 24, 2011.

[27] Samantha Power, op. cit., p.254.

[28] Q Society of Australia, Inc: resources page (accessed February 1, 2015).

[29] Doug Saunders, The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West? (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2012).

[30] Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005).

[31] “Debunking the ‘myth of the Muslim tide’”, interview with author Doug Saunders, WMRA Public Radio (Harrisonburg, Virginia), September 22, 2012.

[32] Matt Carr, Unknown Soldiers: How Terrorism Transformed the Modern world (London: Profile, 2006)

[33] Matt Carr, “You are now entering Eurabia”, Race & Class (Institute of Race Relations, London, UK)), Vol. 48, No. 1, July 2006.

[34] Adam Keller and Gush Shalom, “Drumont’s Jewish disciple”: an open letter to the Shocken Publishing House (Jerusalem), published in Kibush: Occupation Magazine (Israel), June 2, 2008.

[35] Simon Kuper, “The crescent and the cross”, Financial Times (UK), November 10, 2007.

[36] Bat Ye’or, “Myths and politics: Bosnia-Herzegovina and the origin of the myth of a tolerant, pluralistic Islamic society”: an address delivered on August 31, 1995, at a Symposium on the Balkan War (Ramada Congress Hotel, Chicago), hosted by the Washington-based think tank, the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA).

[37] Robert Spencer, “Bat Ye’or on Geert Wilders: Does defending Western values constitute ‘inciting hatred’?”, Jihad Watch, February 16, 2009.

[38] Robert Spencer, “Announcing the SION President’s Council: the fruit of Stockholm”, Jihad Watch, August 5, 2013.

[39] Pamela Geller’s background.

[40] Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 144, 274.

[41] “Revealed: The secretive Q Society’s battle against Islam”,, June 26, 2014.

[42] Martin Beckford, “English Defence League leader to stand as police commissioner”, The Telegraph (UK), July 31, 2012.

[43] Nick Lowles and Simon Cressy, “The BNP past of the EDL leader”, Searchlight Magazine (UK), June 25, 2010.

[44] “EDL leader facing jail after assault in Blackburn”, Lancashire Telegraph (UK), September 29, 2011.

“EDL leader Stephen Lennon convicted of assault”, BBC News, September 29, 2011.

“EDL leader sentenced for headbutting fellow protester”, The Guardian (UK), November 4, 2011.

[45] For example, see: “The EDL and Nazi salutes”, EDL Review: Reviewing and Exposing the EDL (UK), May 6, 2012.

[46] “EDL leader Tommy Robinson quits group”, BBC News, October 8, 2013.

[47] “Tommy Robinson, former EDL leader, jailed for fraud”, BBC News, January 23, 2014.

[48] Bernard Lewis, “The new anti-Semitism: First religion, then race, then what?”, The American Scholar, December 1, 2005.

[49] Paul Gray, Nightmare of the Prophet: Why the Next Century Could Be Our Most Violent Yet (Melbourne: Freedom Publishing Company, 2004), pg. 169.

[50] Abraham H. Foxman, “Norwegian attacks stem from a new ideological hate”, Washington Post, July 29, 2011.

[51] Personal report from John Barich of Western Australia, who attended David Irvine’s talk.

[52] Kejda Gjermani, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, February 23, 2009.


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The Truth Behind Those “Free Energy” YouTube Videos

The Truth Behind Those “Free Energy” YouTube Videos

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Comedian Doug Stanhope on atheism in Oklahoma and the NSA’s surveillance program

Doug Stanhope on atheismstanhope_pr

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Christian Loon Who Fed HIMSELF Naked to Lions Claimed to be God’s Prophet

Franco Ferrada who fed HIMSELF naked to the lions claimed to be God’s prophet


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The former soldier who stripped naked and fed himself to the lions at a Chile zoo never got over his mother dying from breast cancer when he was 11, it has been reveal.

Franco Ferrada, 20, launched himself into the lion pit at Santiago Zoo in front of horrified onlookers on Saturday while claiming to be a prophet sent from God.

He left a note in the pocket of his abandoned clothes to be a prophet and declaring the end of the world was nigh.

Delusions: Franco Ferrada - identified in these pictures by the Chilean media - threw himself into the lion pit in front of horrified onlookers at Santiago zoo, taking all his clothes off before he was mauled

Delusions: Franco Ferrada – identified in these pictures by the Chilean media – threw himself into the lion pit in front of horrified onlookers at Santiago zoo, taking all his clothes off before he was mauled

Problems: Locals say he had never gotten over being abandoned in a orphanage at the age of 11, when his mother died unexpectedly of breast cancer and his alcoholic father refused to care for him or his siblings  

Problems: Locals say he had never gotten over being abandoned in a orphanage at the age of 11, when his mother died unexpectedly of breast cancer and his alcoholic father refused to care for him or his siblings

Injured: The only way to save his life was to put down the two lions which were attacking Mr Ferrada, who is now recovering in hospital with serious wounds to his face, skull, neck, shoulders and groin

Injured: The only way to save his life was to put down the two lions which were attacking Mr Ferrada, who is now recovering in hospital with serious wounds to his face, skull, neck, shoulders and groin

‘The apocalypse has arrived, and I will know when it shall come,’ he wrote. ‘I am the prophet and I have returned for my people.’

It is unclear whether he was trying to end his life, although witnesses at the zoo spoke of how he recounted to them the biblical hero, Daniel, who was thrown to the lions but saved by an angel sent by God.

Surprised: Mr Ferrada had been described as 'happy' by those who know him. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Surprised: Mr Ferrada had been described as ‘happy’ by those who know him. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Along with his scribbled prayer, two strange drawings of lions were found in Mr Ferrada’s wallet by paramedics as he was rescued from the cage and transferred to his Santiago emergency room.

It is thought the episode may be in some way related to the death of his mother from breast cancer almost 10 years ago.

Mr Ferrada was put into care – and ‘never forgave his alcoholic father for abandoning him’, according to friends. It is said his father was driven to drink by the loss of his wife.

‘Franco appeared to be a very happy young man on the outside,’ said a shopkeeper in the Puente Alto district of Santiago, where the Ferrada Roman family live. ‘His actions at the zoo surprised us all, but his family is very troublesome.’

‘They are notorious in Puente Alto for being very raucous and often drunk,’ said Mr Castellano, who comes into contact often with the Ferrada family.

Today, Mr Ferrada, who is listed on Facebook as having worked at Burger Kind in Santiago, Chile, has no relationship with his father, and joined the army following his discharge from the state orphanage system in order to escape his mental demons, according to many who knew him in his home town of Puente Alto.

Currently recovering in the Santiago hospital Clinica Indisa, with wounds to his face, skull, neck, shoulders and groin, Mr Ferrada is one of nine children.

In 2006, following the death of their mother, Ruth Aurora del Carmen Roman Villegas, all nine children were taken into Chile’s SENAME state care system when their father refused to care for them.

Belief: It is unclear whether he was trying to hurt himself. He told witnesses about the story of Biblical hero Daniel who was thrown to the lions - shortly before he threw himself into the pit. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Belief: It is unclear whether he was trying to hurt himself. He told witnesses about the story of Biblical hero Daniel who was thrown to the lions – shortly before he threw himself into the pit. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Unable to help: The attack occurred in full view of visitors, who could only watch in horror

Unable to help: The attack occurred in full view of visitors, who could only watch in horror

Safety: The entrances to the lion enclosures were closed off after the attack. Zoo director Alejandra Montalva said she was 'deeply affected' by the deaths of the two animals

Safety: The entrances to the lion enclosures were closed off after the attack. Zoo director Alejandra Montalva said she was ‘deeply affected’ by the deaths of the two animals

Mr Ferrada’s older brother Jose Luis Ferrada is serving a jail sentence for alcohol-related crimes, while his other siblings live in the impoverished Puente Alto district, an area known for its high crime rates.

He left the state care system at 18 to join the army, where he served in the base at Coyhaique for 18 months, in the Chilean state of Aysen.

‘He was a very happy boy,’ said his military colleague Gonzalo Molina, ‘It’s so strange for me to find out he had psychological problems.’

Following his discharge from the army in 2014, Mr Ferrada was living in the centre of Santiago with other young friends, and working in a warehouse for a Chinese business.

His grandmother Nolbertina Muñoz told the Chilean media. ‘The death of his mother was very difficult for Franco. After that he was always very concerned with taking care of his brothers and sisters.’

But she added: ‘He visited me last weekend. He seemed happy and told me he was very content.’

Despite his friends and family being unaware of his mental suffering, the cracks in Franco’s psyche began to show. On Mother’s Day he wrote an emotive message on Facebook lamenting his loss.

‘Mummy, it’s been nine years since you left for the arms of the Lord,’ he wrote.

‘I always remember the sacrifice you made for my siblings and me. How I would love to have you here, to hug you and kiss you and feel your protecting warmth, just as when I was born.’

Anger: Neighbours speak of Ferrada being put into care after his mother's sudden death from breast cancer when he was 11 - saying he ‘never forgave his alcoholic father for abandoning him’. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Anger: Neighbours speak of Ferrada being put into care after his mother’s sudden death from breast cancer when he was 11 – saying he ‘never forgave his alcoholic father for abandoning him’. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Change: He joined the army once he left care, with colleagues remembering him as a 'very happy boy'. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

Change: He joined the army once he left care, with colleagues remembering him as a ‘very happy boy’. Pictured: Mr Ferrada, as claimed by the Chilean media

In the following days he wrote a shorter, cryptic message – saying: ‘Only I can write my life.’

And three days before throwing himself naked to the lions in which two of the beasts mauling him were shot dead, he wrote: ‘I’m here to give you love.’

Santiago Zoo is now considering legal action again against Mr Ferrada, accusing him of trespass for climbing into the lions’ enclosure.

Zoo director Alejandra Montalva said: ‘He trespassed into an area where the public are not normally allowed and we understand that he forced the roof of the lion’s enclosure.

‘It was from there that he jumped, took off his clothes and started to attract the lions.’

She said she was ‘deeply affected’ by the deaths of the two lions, a male and a female.

‘The zoo has an established protocol because people’s lives are very important to us,’ said Montalba.

She added that there were no fast-acting tranquilizers available to stop the lions from mauling the man.

One witness, Cynthia Vasquez, said zoo security guards were slow to react and that the animals did not attack the man as soon as he entered the enclosure.

‘He entered the enclosure from above and the lions started to play with him, and then after they attacked him,’ she said.

She added security ‘first they threw water, evacuated the people and only later fired shots’.

She also said the man was ‘shouting things about Jesus’.

A father who was at the park with his young son, told news channel Chilevision: ‘Everyone started screaming when they saw him.’

Another witness added: ‘There were a lot of children there, and parents covered their eyes while it was going on. He was screaming religious things.’

The news channel said a suicide note that was found inside his clothes made allusions to the apocalypse as being a reason for his attempt to take his life.

By Saturday evening, Mr Ferrada was said to no longer be in a life-threatening condition.

Dr Sebastian Ugarde of Indisa Clinic said his heart almost stopped.

He added: ‘He suffered several injuries and trauma to the head and the pelvic area. We have high hopes that will recover and that will be fine.’


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Far Right Jews Seed Sectarian Hatred as Toxic as Trumps

‘Jewish Communal Fund’ seeds Islamophobia as toxic as Trump’s

Donald Trump’s disturbing comments about registering Muslims have put Islamophobia on the front pages. Even Jeb Bush has condemned them. And Jews have been outspoken. Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times and the Anti-Defamation League have likened the racism to that faced by Jews in an era gone by, and J Street has called out the “bigoted” rhetoric.

Now we learn that one of the main sowers of Islamophobia in the United States, Pamela Geller, has had the support of the Jewish community. “Why is a mainstream Jewish charity funding Pamela Geller?” Eli Clifton asks, and reports in the Forward that Geller has gotten contributions through the Jewish Communal Fund.

Jewish Communal Fund, a mainstream philanthropic fund that describes itself as “dedicated to the welfare and security of the Jewish community at home and abroad,” has funded Geller’s work. JCF’s annual tax filings show contributions of $30,000 in the 2012 tax year and $70,000 in the 2013 tax year, the last tax year for which filings are available, directed to Geller’s AFDI [American Freedom Defense Initiative].

JCF functions as a donor-advised fund, meaning donors to the fund deposit money and receive an immediate federal income tax deduction

And JCF has strict rules about who gets money: “[T]he Board of Trustees of the Jewish Communal Fund retains the right to deny any grant request where the purposes and activities of the recommended charitable organization are deemed to be adverse to the interests of the Jewish community.”

No one will answer Clifton’s questions; but it turns out it’s not just Geller:

JCF’s contributions to anti-Muslim groups aren’t limited to the AFDI. In the 2013 tax year, JCF contributed $36,200 to the Clarion Fund, adding to a $27,880 grant made in 2007.

The Clarion Fund, an offshoot of the Jewish Orthodox fundamentalist Aish HaTorah, gained notoriety for its distribution of the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” to 28 million swing state voters before the 2008 presidential election between then-Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, a Republican in Arizona. The film’s central thesis was that fundamentalist Islam is as bad as, if not worse than, Nazism.

As for Geller’s Islamophobia, the Southern Poverty Law Center describes her as the “figurehead” of Islamophobia; and of course it comes out of support for Israel:

Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

Geller is pro-Israel. The JCF is also pro-Israel. That’s why Clifton’s report is so meaningful to me. Defining the Jewish community as pro-Israel was the great project of Zionists in the years following the Biltmore program of 1942 and leading up to the Yom Kippur War in 1973, by which time the American Jewish community was wholly identified with support for Israel. Israel needed us; and we became one! as propagandists exclaimed. In fact, the Jewish community lost other broad bases of Jewish identification outside of Israel; it became completely Zionist– which is why members of that community assert with sincerity that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites.

Plainly Jews have a strong need for community, as so many other American minority groups do. But that community definition has been so circumscribed along Israel lines that virulent pro-Israel groups like Pam Geller’s or the neoconservatives have been included as brothers and sisters. The inclusion of militants led to fatal mistakes in the community, as when the Reform Jews endorsed the Iraq war; because they’d heard from friends and relatives that it would be good for Israel.

That is what is so stirring and important about Jewish Voice for Peace. It understands the importance of community but is offering a very different definition of Jewish community, one that condemns Islamophobia, opposes Israel’s crimes and has a welcome mat out for non-Jewish progressives.


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Pastor caught having gay sex in van spent stolen church money on farmer dating website: police

Pastor caught having gay sex in van spent stolen church money on farmer dating website: police

by Tom Boggioni

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Boyd Watson Holder Jr. - Kingsport Police Department
Boyd Watson Holder Jr. – Kingsport Police Department

A Tennessee pastor who was recently admonished by police for having sex with another man in a church van parked in a parking lot, was arrested this week for embezzling an estimated $60,000 from his church’s coffers.

Boyd Watson Holder Jr. 44, was taken into custody after church officials reported that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the Victory Apostolic Church bank account in Kingsport, reports the TimesNews.

It has been a rough six months for Holder, who was discovered by police last December having sex with another man in a church van in an empty parking lot. Holder reportedly apologized to the officers and was told to not “have relations in public” again before being ordered off the property.

In February church officials alerted police that money was missing from a church bank account that only Holder had access to.

When asked about the missing money, Holder told church members, “It’s none of your business.”

An analysis of bank financial records was submitted to a grand jury which handed down an indictment of theft and money laundering, both Class B felonies.

According to witnesses who appeared before the grand jury, money appears to have been spent on dating sites Online Buddies and Farmers Only, as well as for auto repairs.

Holder was taken into custody by Kingsport detectives, with bail set at $35,000.


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Australian Taliban Inc vs. The Progressive Greens : Federal Election 2016: Greens Under Pressure on Religion Reforms

Ultraconservative Islamists, Jews, Catholics and Protestants united in discrimination against minorities and forward-thinking, progressive ideals.

Federal election 2016: Greens under pressure on religion reforms

by David Crowe

Keysar Trad e066e3b5569ffd58f7e0f419b2eb4b99

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils treasurer Keysar Trad says ‘the Greens are pandering to niche politics’.

Church leaders have put religious freedom on the agenda, speaking out against a Greens plan to scrap longstanding safeguards in the ­nation’s anti-­discrimination laws, while Labor hedges on the issue.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders are objecting to the Greens plan to remove the religious ­exemptions, saying it could force people to act against their faith.

The dispute is being shaped by debate over same-sex marriage as church groups seek assurances they will not be forced to conduct ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs. The government has promised a plebiscite and Labor has promised a conscience vote on marriage equality.

The Greens risk losing support among religious and community groups worried the legislation will erode their ­religious rights, amid mixed signals from Labor as to whether it might back the changes.

“The Greens are pandering to niche politics,’’ said Keysar Trad, the treasurer of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

“This is no different to the submission to powerful lobbies that they criticise other parties of doing. In the interest of basic human rights, the Greens need to respect the majority as well as the minorities.”

Greens senator Nick McKim stepped up the case to overhaul the Anti-Discrimination Act yesterday, saying churches should lose their exemption from key parts of the law. “The fundamental principle here is that Australians should be treated the same, whether or not they’re of one particular religion or another or whether in fact they’re not ­religious at all,” he told Sky News.

“And if the rest of the country is going to be required by legislation to behave in a particular way and not behave in other particular ways, we think that’s reasonable for the churches as well.”

Labor’s policy calls for a review of the exemption. Asked where he stands on the issue, Bill Shorten has left his options open.

Sydney Anglican bishop ­Michael Stead said Australia’s commitment to Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights included the provision that everyone had the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“This proposal from the Greens would renege on that commitment and undercut the sensible provisions of existing legislation by taking away the freedom of Australians to live according to their beliefs and to practise their faith in public,” Bishop Stead said.

“This would become increasingly fraught with difficulties if Australia were to legislate for same-sex marriage in the future. The removal of so-called ­religious exemptions could lead to ministers being forced to conduct such ceremonies or face prosecution.”

Church leaders said a ­belief in religious freedom did not mean support for discrimination, and ­rejected suggestions people in need would be turned away from services on the basis of their race or sexual orientation.

“Catholic agencies would never refuse to employ someone on the basis of their sexuality,” said Aoife Connors, from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Uniting Church opposed all discrimination beyond that necessary to practise religious faith. “There are no defensible grounds” for discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer people in services such as aged care, according to Uniting Justice Australia director Elenie Poulos.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry director Peter Wertheim said: “It would be wrong and unworkable for the law to compel people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs or conscience.’’

Presbyterian Church spokesman John McClean said the Anti-Discrimination Act should not be used to silence legitimate debate or to stop organisations following their moral convictions.

“Do we want a society of bland uniformity? Or do we want people to be able to express their views and live according to their convictions?” Dr McClean asked.

“I’m sure Senator McKim would not expect an environmental organisation to be forced to employ someone who promoted coal mining and whale hunting! That would compromise the purpose of the organisation.

“Churches and Christian organisations should be able to employ people with Christian convictions. It should be possible for parents to enrol their children in a school where teachers share their religious views, if that is what they want. And that means those schools have to be able to employ those teachers.”

Dr McClean, who is vice principal of Christ College in Sydney, said concerns about limits on religious groups were fuelled last year by the attempt to take the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, to court for his role in promoting traditional marriage.

“The incident naturally made people wonder how similar legislation might be used in the future to silence debate or force churches to comply with a social agenda,” Dr McClean said.

The Islamic community said the Greens should not be “selective” about the freedoms the party would fight for.

“Marriage is a religious institution and must be allowed to continue to be conducted in accordance with the preset teachings of the religion in question,” Mr Trad said.

“The Greens have always maintained that they are pro-choice in a variety of matters including marriage, abortion, etc. It would seem that they have become very selective about this choice

“Why is the choice of some more important than the choice of others that the Greens would seek to penalize by law someone who does not wish to directly contribute, for reasons of personal or religious conviction, to a same gender union?

“Refusing to conduct a particular marriage ceremony because of a set of convictions should be a right that is respected just as much as they respect the right of some to want to enter into a union with the same gender.”

Labor has kept its options open on the religious exemption in the Anti-Discrimination Act, in a stance that could leave Mr Shorten subject to criticism from church and community leaders ahead of the election.

The Labor policy platform calls for a review of the religious exemption and generally argues against the need for special rules for any groups such as churches, making it difficult for Mr Shorten to back the existing safeguards.

When asked about the issue by The Australian last week, Mr Shorten avoided any commitment for or against the religious exemption.

“We do believe that people shouldn’t be discriminated against in their employment on the basis of the criteria which currently exist so we are not as keen to simply start changing everything and denying people their employment rights,” Mr Shorten said.



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