You can see Abdelraouf Al-Rawabdeh, not a minor or tangential figure, but a former Prime Minister of Jordan, having a good time, and amusing his appreciative audience of fellow Muslim Arabs (in this case, Jordanians),by explaining why they can't possibly tell the credulous Americans what they really think, and say to their own people, here.
The snippet was recorded and MEMRI managed to obtain a copy, and to translate the text. There are so many telling texts similar to this now available at the MEMRI website. If only those who presume to protect and instruct us, in political life, and in the media, all over the Western world, were to visit and learn from these recordings, and then were intelligent and farseeing enough to fashion policies toward Muslims and Muslim countries and Muslims in non-Muslim lands, that were based on reality, and not the pious unrealities that are so costly, and so dangerous, much future anguish for the world's non-Muslims could be avoided.
Imagine if, fifty years ago, those running things in the U.K., in France, in Germany, in the rest of Western Europe, and known about Islam, know the texts, known the history, grasped the atttitudes to which Islam naturally gives rise, understood the atmospherics of societies suffused with Islam. What a difference that might have made to the immigration policies which have created the nightmarish problems that exist today, and that few wish to discuss, almost no one in a position of power dares to discuss, with full-throated ease.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 4, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON A NEW BEGINNING
1:10 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I'm grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I'm also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)
We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world -- tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.
So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there's been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." (Applause.) That is what I will try to do today -- to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
Now part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I'm a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith
As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam -- at places like Al-Azhar -- that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities -- (applause) -- it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause.)
I also know that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they've excelled in our sports arenas, they've won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers -- Thomas Jefferson -- kept in his personal library. (Applause.)
So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. (Applause.)
But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. (Applause.) Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words -- within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum -- "Out of many, one."
Now, much has been made of the fact that an African American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. (Applause.) But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores -- and that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average. (Applause.)
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause.)
So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.
Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.
For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. (Applause.) That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.
And this is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes -- and, yes, religions -- subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; our progress must be shared. (Applause.)
Now, that does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: We must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.
The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam. (Applause.) We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security -- because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.
The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice; we went because of necessity. I'm aware that there's still some who would question or even justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.
Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military -- we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
And that's why we're partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths -- but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as -- it is as if he has killed all mankind. (Applause.) And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. (Applause.) The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting peace.
Now, we also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who've been displaced. That's why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on. [part of the one trillion dollar wasted in Afghanistan, which is dwarfed by the two trillion dollars wasted in Iraq to win Muslim favor, and despite Islam, try to create semi-decent societies, a dream that ignores the naturee and effect of Islam on the societies suffused with that faith]
Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. (Applause.) Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future -- and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. And I have made it clear to the Iraqi people -- (applause) -- I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. And that's why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012. (Applause.) We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year. [apparently he discovered that would not be so simple -- has he similarly discovered what was naive or wrong about the rest of what he said?] (Applause.)
So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction -- or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews -- is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations -- large and small -- that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. (Applause.) -- [too much nonsense here to bother to rebut]
For decades then, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It's easy to point fingers -- for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. (Applause.)
That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires. (Applause.) The obligations -- the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them -- and all of us -- to live up to our responsibilities.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That's not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is surrendered.
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements,[the model of Muslim treaty-making with Infidels -- the treaty of Hudaibiyya -- does not admit of any permanent peace between Muslims and non-Muslims. A temporary truce, or hudna, lasting 10 lunar years and, in the right circumstances, renewable, is however possible] recognize Israel's right to exist. [this reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of the war -- a classic Jihad without end, and certainly without any possiblity of a permanent willingness to accept Israel's existence, by Muslims and Arabs]
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)
And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people [a fiction created, out of felt necessity, after the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War, so that the gangup, the Jihad against Israel, could be presented to the world as merely a case of a tiny people, the "Palestinians," who merely wanted their rights in the same-named "Palestine" -- which must mean, of course, that those just renamed "Palestinians" had a special claim to this "Palestine"] must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
And finally, the Arab states must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state, to recognize Israel's legitimacy, and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. (Applause.) We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths [Israel, Eretz Israel, Terra Promissis, the Holy Land -- whatever you call it, it is not now, and never was, the "Holy Land" of Islam -- so why does Obama lie about this?]is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, [it is as close to that, under Israeli rule, as it ever will be -- and if there is any violence today, it comes from Muslim Arabs who have a long history, apparently overlooked by Obama, of placing bombs in restaurants and busses and massacre schoolchildren] and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra -- (applause) -- as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer. (Applause.)
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I've made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It's about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. (Applause.) And any nation -- including Iran -- should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I'm hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
The fourth issue that I will address is democracy. (Applause.)
I know -- I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere. (Applause.)
Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments -- provided they govern with respect for all their people.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they're out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. (Applause.) So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Barack Obama, we love you!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it's being challenged in many different ways.
Among some Muslims, there's a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of somebody else's faith. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld -- whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. [how has that worked out, under the Ikhwan rule of Mohamed Morsi, which American abandonment of the previous regime, and failure to help those opposed to the Ikhwan, made possible.]And if we are being honest, fault lines must be closed among Muslims, as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.[no, those fault lines should be allowed to widen and the abyss to deepen]
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat. [the little difficulty he refers to so obliquely is the problem of Muslims contributing their zakat to terrorist front groups] as
Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit -- for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We can't disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.
In fact, faith should bring us together. And that's why we're forging service projects in America to bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That's why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action -- whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.
The sixth issue -- the sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights. (Applause.) I know –- I know -- and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. (Applause.) And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now, let me be clear: Issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we've seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.
I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons. (Applause.) Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity -- men and women -- to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. And that is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams. (Applause.)
Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.
I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and change in communities. In all nations -- including America -- this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we lose control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities -- those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.
But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradictions between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies enormously while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.
And this is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf states have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century -- (applause) -- and in too many Muslim communities, there remains underinvestment in these areas. I'm emphasizing such investment within my own country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas when it comes to this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America. (Applause.) At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs. We'll open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new science envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, grow new crops. Today I'm announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world that we seek -- a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know there are many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort -- that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There's so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country -- you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort -- a sustained effort -- to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
It's easier to start wars than to end them. It's easier to blame others than to look inward. It's easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There's one rule that lies at the heart of every religion -- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Applause.) This truth transcends nations and peoples -- a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.
The Holy Koran tells us: "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."
The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."
The Holy Bible tells us: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Applause.)
The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.
Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
The worst presidential speech in American history is the speech that Barack Obama delivered in Cairo five years ago. It was all about how much the American government, and Americans, respected Islam, and how important Islam had been in American history. It was all nonsense, and lies, and if the rationale was that only nonsense and lies would satisfy an audience of Egyptian audience, why was it necessary to win over that audience in the first place? And if that wasn't the reason for the nonsense and lies, if Obama and Benjamin Rhodes believed what they concocted and he delivered, that's much more dangerous, much worse.
Here's the latest on Ben Rhodes, who turns out to be the brother of the President of CBS News. Would that explain his otherwise inexplicable and most resistible rise in the ranks?
Under the black flag of al-Qaeda, the Syrian city ruled by gangs of extremists
The black flag of al-Qaeda flies high over Raqqa’s main square in front of the smart new governor’s palace, its former occupant last seen in their prison. Their fighters, clad also in black, patrol the streets, or set up positions behind sandbags.
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Fighters from Jabhat al-Nusrah, the al-Qaeda affiliated group, are said to control Raqqa's streetsPhoto: David Rose
The Islamists smashed up one of the two shops that sold alcohol. That much was pretty inevitable, the locals agreed. The other off-licence had already closed, as had the casino on the outskirts of town.
They brought in a radical cleric from Egypt to preach Friday prayers, and set up a sharia court in the city’s new sports centre with the support of other brigades. They had their fiefdom — an entire city to run only 60 miles from Nato’S border.
Then, one night, 10 men came for Nagham and Nour al-Rifaie, two teenage sisters from a well-known liberal family. They were at home with a family friend, Yusra Omran, 30, and their male cousin, 32.
Nagham, centre, with her father Hassan al-Rifaie and family friend Yusra Omran (David Rose for the Telegraph)
“All these guys came in with guns and wearing masks and with handcuffs,” said Nagham, 19, a civil engineering student. “They started searching everything, and shouting.
“They were saying, 'Put on more clothes than you are wearing, put on a headscarf.’ I just said I’m wearing clothes and I’m not putting on a headscarf’.”
The men took them to the sports centre. There the girls were charged with being alone with a man and interrogated.
“The guy with us was so mean,” Miss Rifaie said. “He was speaking in a horrible way, as if he was disgusted to be with us.”
In Raqqa, a once conservative but by all accounts not religious city, the triumph of al-Qaeda’s Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, would seem to be complete.
The town is largely under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated to al-Qaeda (David Rose for the Telegraph)
Little known a year ago but suspected of having being founded by al-Qaeda in Iraq, they have grown in stature, leading many of the rebels’ most successful recent battles. Last month they publicly declared their loyalty to al-Qaeda’s supreme leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Their new-found power is such that it is changing international calculations over the conflict. After first being discouraged from action by their presence in rebel ranks, Britain now has a revised diplomatic strategy.
David Cameron put it to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Friday and will discuss it this week with a nervous President Obama in Washington.
Mr Cameron’s officials now feel Jabhat al-Nusra has to be defeated by actively supporting the less militant rebels, including with arms. Many of Jabhat’s rival militias are being marginalised in cities like Raqqa across the north. On Tuesday, Britain will seek to have Jabhat al-Nusra added to an official list of sanctions at the United Nations.
Destroyed buildings near the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade Headquarters in the centre of Al Raqqa. The base was targeted by a regime airstrike last week (David Rose for the Telegraph)
In taking Raqqa two months ago al-Qaeda achieved its greatest coup in the war to date: it was the first provincial capital to fall outright to the rebels, and allowed Jabhat to assume a leadership role over a large swathe of north-eastern Syria, to the Iraqi border.
To many in it is a welcome development. “Jabhat are excellent for us,” said Abdullah Mohammed, a man from the nearby village of Mansoura. “They deal with us according to Islamic rules, so there are no problems. They are honest and they run everything pretty well.”
As a police officer, Mr Mohammed said he was in a position to know the difference between life under al-Qaeda and the Assad regime. He was in prison when the revolution broke out – he had stopped a car for jumping a red light and found to his cost it was being driven by a regime official.
He said he was in a cell with four members of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority sect, and when the protests started the guards were taken away to fight and the Alawite prisoners turned into guards.
Other locals too, particularly shopkeepers, say the all-pervasive corruption of the Assad era has vanished with the regime’s men. “I like Jabhat,” said Ahmed al-Hindy, who runs an optician’s shop. “They are better than the regime, at any rate.”
An Islamic militant in the centre of Al Raqqa (David Rose for the Telegraph)
Part of it is money. Jabhat al-Nusra has always been well-funded compared to other militias – most people assume due to wealthy backers in the Gulf, though few have been able to track down the lines of the money supply.
Now they have control of good sources of income and can pay salaries. From the city’s main flour mill, they supply the all-important bakeries, and they have seized some of them too. At night, long queues of women form to buy their daily ration under the watchful eyes of Jabhat guards.
They have also taken the oilfields in neighbouring Deir al-Zour province. Production is hardly booming, but they are able to sell enough on the local market to keep cash rolling in.
It is not all plain sailing, though. Even in Raqqa, no single militia is all-powerful, even Jabhat, and they depend on an alliance with Ahrar al-Sham, another radical Islamist group.
They also have to deal with a slew of other brigades with a variety of ideologies.
The dynamic of Jabhat’s rise is being challenged out of both envy and fear, leading to clashes.
Two senior rival militiamen have been assassinated in the last 10 days: Abu Awad of the Farouq Brigade, and, on Thursday, the head of the Ahfad al-Rasool, Abu al-Zein. In both cases the method was the same – three men in black and masks drove up to the victims’ cars, shot them, then sped off.
Some say it could be a leftover squad of Assad’s Shabiha, but members of their militias point out both were known for support for a civil state, not an Islamic one.
Another militia leader, Abu Deeb of the Lions of Islam, was arrested after a fight on Tuesday with Jabhat al-Nusra that brought the city to a brief standstill. Different explanations have been given, but Abdullah al-Khalil, the civilian who heads the town’s interim administration, said it was over control of the town’s largest bakery.
“After Assad falls, there will be a second revolution, against Jabhat al-Nusra,” said Amar Abu Yasser, a battalion leader with the Farouq Brigade. The Farouq was once the most famous brigade in the Syrian revolution, spreading its power from its base in Homs across the north of the country, where it still operates several of the border crossings to Turkey, including Tal Abyad, the nearest to Raqqa.
But its power and influence has been severely curbed by Jabhat al-Nusra. Abu Azzam, the Farouq head at Tal Abyad, survived an assassination attempt when a bomb was placed under his car.
The flag of Jabhat al-Nusra flying over the Governer's Palace (David Rose for the Telegraph)
“The problem is due to ideology,” said Mr Abu Yasser, until two years ago a student of Arabic literature, now a tough, bearded warrior in fatigues and a black turban. “There is a conflict between the black flag and the revolutionary flag.” The green, white and black banner with three red stars made famous by the revolution still flies in Raqqa, but in a secondary place.
“It is not wise to try to make an Islamic state here,” he went on. “There are Christians, Alawites, Druze living here. It will just be a big problem.”
He also said Jabhat al-Nusra was not as honest and Muslim as it seemed. He claimed it had stripped the town’s factories and smuggled their goods, including nearly 200 tons of sugar, to Turkey for profit.
Jabhat has withdrawn into itself as tensions rise, and particularly since the declaration of obedience to al-Qaeda was issued, which confirmed its status as an internationally proscribed terrorist group.
It no longer gives interviews or defends itself from such allegations, and has banned its men from talking to foreign journalists.
Those its men stop at checkpoints in the city are accused of being “foreign spies”.
Graffiti is painted on a wall by members of Civic Society, one of the more liberal youth organizations in Al Raqqa (David Rose for the Telegraph)
Some locals regarded as fanciful the idea that Farouq and other group would ever again have the strength to rise up and throw out Jabhat. But most proclaimed defiantly that Syria would not become a radical Islamic state.
“This is all just for the war,” said Mr al-Khalil, the town leader, who is happy to cooperate with Jabhat as he tries to re-establish schools and keep the water running.
A former human rights lawyer once jailed by the regime, he said he could tolerate the black flags for now. “But I think the modern Islamic project will win in the end,” he added, using a phrase commonly used to refer to a civil state with a Muslim ethos, like booming Turkey next door. He added a refrain repeated now across rebel Syria: it will be harder to keep the Islamists out if the West does not come to the aid of this “modern” project.
As a follower of Abu Deeb, the arrested militia leader put it: “This is a pact with the devil. We would rather ally with Obama than Jabhat.”
At first glance, Jabhat have tried to play safe. A small but visible minority of women go without the hijab, or headscarf. The town’s handful of Christian families have stayed put, for now: the churches are closed, but untouched.
But it may have made a major strategic error with its announcement of loyalty to al-Qaeda. It did not cause a big stir in the West, where the link had been assumed, but it shocked many who had begun to tolerate Jabhat’s presence.
Their main Islamist allies, Ahrar al-Sham, immediately denounced it. “It was like a thunderbolt,” said Abu Abdullah, 40, an Ahrar al-Sham fighter outside their main base, largely abandoned after being hit by Assad missiles. “It really surprised me and is unacceptable. Our goal is just to liberate Syria. We don’t care about other countries – we don’t want to go and fight in Iraq or anywhere.”
Then there was the arrest of Nagham al-Rifaie, Nour, 18, and their cousin and friend. That was a “what the hell?” moment, said Mohammed Shuaib, a student who has helped found a human rights discussion group, Haquna. It led a 500-strong protest to the sharia court the morning after the arrest.
But by then the girls were already free. What happened is a glimmer of hope to men like Mr Shuaib.
On arrival at the court, the girls were told they would immediately face two judges, local worthies brought in by the ruling Islamist alliance. It was one o’clock in the morning. Nagham was told to put a headscarf on. Again she refused.
“They said to me, 'It’s a sharia court, you can’t go in without a headscarf’. I said, 'That’s fine by me!’
“So we stood before the court with no headscarves on.”
One of the judges, a teacher called Mohammed al-Omar, referred them to the charge sheet. “He said, 'It says you were alone with a man, what do you say.’ I said, 'It is none of their business.’
“And he said, 'I agree’.”
The girls were freed immediately. They asked who the men who arrested them were, but no one was able to provide an answer. Whether the rest of Raqqa will escape so lightly, the girls could not say. “Things will become difficult, that’s sure,” said Miss Rifaie, sitting in a coffee shop last week with her father, himself a human rights activist, the two girls the only women present. “The problem is with the people. Because of the regime, if someone speaks to them who has power, they just sit there. But my father has taught me to have opinions. So I cannot stop.”
A tragic phenomenon which is taking a terrible toll on everyone involved.
There is a dire phenomenon rising in Europe that is crippling entire societies and yet the continent sleeps, refusing not only to confront the destructive elephant in the room, but also to admit its very existence.
The troubling reality being referred to is the widespread practice of Muslim inbreeding and the birth defects and social ills that it spawns.
The tragic effect of the Left’s control of the boundaries of debate is that any discussion about vital issues such as these marks an individual as an “Islamophobe” and a “racist."
A person who dares to point at the pathology of inbreeding in the Muslim community is accused of whipping up hatred against Muslim people.
But all of this could not be further from the truth. To fight against inbreeding anywhere is to defend humanity and to defend innocent babies from birth defects.
Fighting against this Islamic practice stems from a pro-Muslim calling, since identifying destructive ideologies and practices in Islam enables the protection of the Muslim people from harm.
Massive inbreeding among Muslims has been going on since their prophet allowed first-cousin marriages more than 50 generations (1,400 years) ago. For many Muslims, therefore, intermarriage is regarded as being part of their religion.
In many Muslim communities, it is a source of social status to marry one’s daughter or son to his or her cousin. Intermarriage also ensures that wealth is kept within the family.
Islam’s strict authoritarianism plays a large role as well: keeping daughters and sons close gives families more power to control and decide their choices and lifestyles.
Westerners have a historical tradition of being ready to fight and die for their country.
Muslims, on the other hand, are bound together less by patriotism, but mainly by family relations and religion.
Intermarrying to protect the family and community from outside non-Islamic influence is much more important to Muslims living in a Western nation than integrating into that nation and supporting it.
Today, 70% of all Pakistanis are inbred and in Turkey the amount is between 25-30% (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 “More stillbirths among immigrants“).
A rough estimate reveals that close to half of everybody living in the Arab world is inbred.
A large percentage of the parents that are blood related come from families where intermarriage has been a tradition for generations.
A BBC investigation in Britain several years ago revealed that at least 55% of the Pakistani community in Britain was married to a first cousin.
The Times of India affirmed that “this is thought to be linked to the probability that a British Pakistani family is at least 13 times more likely than the general population to have children with recessive genetic disorders.”
The BBC’s research also discovered that while British Pakistanis accounted for just 3.4% of all births in Britain, they accounted for 30% of all British children with recessive disorders and a higher rate of infant mortality.
It is not a surprise, therefore, that, in response to this evidence, a Labour Party MP has called for a ban on first-cousin marriage.
Medical evidence shows that one of the negative consequences of inbreeding is a 100% increase in the risk of stillbirths.
One study comparing Norwegians and Pakistanis shows the risk that the child dies during labour increases by 50%. The risk of death due to autosomal recessive disorders — e.g., cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy — is 18 times higher.
Risk of death due to malformations is 10 times higher. Mental health is also at risk: the probability of depression is higher in communities where consanguine marriages are also high.
The closer the blood relative, the higher the risk of mental and physical retardation and schizophrenic illness.
And then there are the findings on intelligence. Research shows that if one’s parents are cousins, intelligence goes down 10-16 IQ points. The risk of having an IQ lower than 70 (criterion for being “retarded”) increases 400% among children from cousin marriages.
An academic paper published in the Indian National Science Academy found that “the onset of various social profiles like visual fixation, social smile, sound seizures, oral expression and hand-grasping are significantly delayed among the new-born inbred babies.”
Another study found that Indian Muslim schoolboys whose parents were first cousins tested significantly lower than boys whose parents were unrelated in a non-verbal test on intelligence.
It is estimated that one third of all handicapped people in Copenhagen have a foreign background and 64% of school children in Denmark with Arabic parents are illiterate after 10 years in the Danish school system.
The same study concludes that in reading ability, mathematics, and science, the pattern is the same: “The bilingual (largely Muslim) immigrants’ skills are exceedingly poor compared to their Danish classmates.”
These problems within Islam bring many detriments to Western countries. Expenses related to mentally and physically handicapped Muslim immigrants, for instance, severely drain the budgets and resources of our societies.
Denmark, for example: One third of the budget for the country’s schools is spent on children with special needs. Muslim children are grossly over-represented among these children.
More than half of all children in schools for children with mental and physical handicaps in Copenhagen are foreigners — of whom Muslims are by far the largest group. One study concludes that “foreigners inbreeding costs our municipalities millions” because of the many handicapped children and adults.
What must our role be as a humanitarian society to this rising crisis?
We know that the greatest concern among pregnant women and their husbands is for their child to be healthy.
It is not difficult to imagine the sorrow and stress among interrelated couples who are forced to marry and pressured to have children.
Is it not our duty to fight for the rights of these human beings subjected to such Barbaric and inhuman predicaments?
What is it we can do?
Denmark is a pioneering example of where to begin: In order to counter forced marriages, the country does not allow Danish citizens to marry foreigners younger than 24 years old.
It also offers non-Western immigrants up to 15,000 Euros or 20,000 Dollars to emigrate back to their countries of origin.
Immigrants who are not Danish citizens are banished from Denmark if they commit violent crimes. The state does not support families economically for having more than the country’s average amount of children.
This prevents foreigners from coming to Denmark who have plans to have a lot of children and live off the State’s child support system.
The country also denies resident permits to foreigners who are marrying their cousin in Denmark.
Right now, the country is working on a complete halt to immigration from countries that are not oriented towards Western values (mainly Muslim countries).
No more intermarriage
We must simply forbid intermarriage among first cousins. Doing so will not only help slow down all the terrible consequences of inbreeding, but also prevent Muslims who insist on practising this damaging practice from moving to our countries.
Let us keep in mind that Muslims are the first — though maybe not the biggest — victims of Islam.
As long as we know that our motivation is to help them, then our conscience is clear in the face of the Left’s accusations that we are somehow “anti-Muslim” when we show our concern about Muslim babies who are born with mental and physical defects — and about their parents who endure endless suffering and worry.
In fact, it is the Left’s callous silence on this issue (and on so many others) that exposes who is truly “anti-Muslim.”
As long as we stick to facts, have a compassionate motivation, and are still able to be brave, we can be certain that not only are we right to reach out to protect Muslim people, but that in doing so we are also protecting ourselves from destroying our own basic humanistic and Western values while struggling against anti-human and aggressive practices and ideologies.
Does practice really make perfect? Does it even lead to improvement? One feels instinctively that it should, that the more experience a physician has, the better for the patient. Much of the skill of diagnosis is pattern-recognition rather than complex intellectual detection, and it follows that the longer a physician has been at it, the quicker he will recognize what is wrong with his patients. He has experience of more cases than younger doctors to guide him.
But the practice of medicine is more than mere diagnosis. It often requires manual dexterity as well, and the ability to assimilate new information as advances are made. These may decline rather than improve with age. Too young a doctor is inexperienced; too old a doctor is past it.
A recent paper, whose first author comes from the Orwellianly named Department of Veterans’ Affairs Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, examined the relationship between the years of an obstetrician’s experience and the rate of complications the women under his care experienced during childbirth. The authors examined the records of 6,705,311 deliveries by 5,175 obstetricians in Florida and New York. No one, I think, would criticize the authors for the smallness of their sample.
They examined the rate of serious complications such as infection, haemorrhage, thrombosis, and tear during or after delivery, divided by obstetrician according to his number of years of post-training experience. Reassuringly, and perhaps not surprisingly, experience reduced the number of such complications decade after decade. The rate of complications was 15 percent in the first ten years after residency; it declined by about 2 percent to 13 percent in the first decade thereafter, by about 1 percent in the subsequent decade to 12 percent, and by half a percent in the next. In other words, improvement continued, but less quickly as the obstetricians became more experienced; the authors appear not to have continued their study to the age at which the rate of complications started to rise again (if indeed there is such an age).
The authors drew attention to some limitations of their study. It might apply only to Florida and New York and not to other states, let alone to other countries. The complications were measured very crudely, with no way of estimating their severity. It is possible that maternal outcomes and neonatal ones were different and indeed opposite: that what was good for the mother was bad for the baby and vice versa. Personally I rather doubt it, but it cannot be excluded by these data.
Again, what might be true of obstetricians might not be true of histopathologists, colorectal surgeons, or all the host of other specialities (an ever-increasing number) that modern medicine has spawned.
There is an important problem that the paper does not mention but which it could give rise to — if similar research is done elsewhere across different fields, and turns up similar results.
Suppose it proved to be a general rule that every doctor is at his peak performance in his sixth decade, Will not every patient then want his or her doctor to be of that decade? It is obvious that such a desire could not possibly be complied with; and even if it could be, how would younger doctors get the experience to reach their peak in their sixth decade?
Of course, difference in age and experience is not the only cause of variation in doctors’ performance. Some are brilliant by natural ability, others less so. But the public does not necessarily react rationally when it learns of a statistical association. If research were published today that suggested that eating cilantro reduced the rate of cancer, it would be cleared out of the supermarkets first thing tomorrow.
A word jumped off the page when I was reading Haroon Siddiqui’s column in the Toronto Star the other day: “rabid.” Describing Qatar’s attempt to steal the International Civil Aviation Organization headquarters from Montreal, Siddiqui wrote: “There’s speculation that the bid is also politically motivated, in retaliation for Stephen Harper’s rabid pro-Israeli stance.”
Siddiqui is an important Star personage, routinely billed as the paper’s “editorial page editor emeritus,” a title claimed by no other Canadian journalist. He ran the editorial page in the 1990s, and the Star apparently wants to recall those glory years every time he appears in print. What in the world makes him call the prime minister rabid?
Oxford defines that word as “Furious, raging; wildly aggressive.” Doesn’t sound like Stephen Harper. He’s cool and careful. He speaks quietly of Israel, noting that Canada doesn’t endorse all of Israel’s policies. He finds it unfair that so much criticism is directed by others against “the one country of the global community whose very existence is threatened.” He also draws a lesson from history: Those who choose the Jewish people “as a target of racial and religious bigotry will inevitably be a threat to all of us.” He believes those who target Israel also threaten “all free and democratic societies.”
Perhaps Siddiqui, in using that strange word, “rabid,” unconsciously projects his own feelings of rage and frustration onto his subject. For the left and the leftish, such as Siddiqui, a furious opposition to Israel has become a sacred duty. When the anti-Israel forces assemble, usually in a university, they have wonderfully peaceful meetings. Everyone agrees on all major points. Everything said against Israel is greeted with cheers. (One meeting I recently attended as a journalist was close to a pep rally.) Opposing Israel has become the favourite struggle of the left. Nothing else in world affairs is considered so important. In Canada, it’s the left’s only foreign policy (well, name another one). It is also a major source of their intellectual comfort and self-satisfaction.
Leftists are natural conformists who like to travel in packs and love political abstractions. In the UN, the most persistent gang is the anti-Israel cabal, which pours out millions of words about Israeli imperialists oppressing the Palestinians. Students, listening to Arab politicians tossing around terms such as colonialism and racism, feel a warm sense of recognition: Why, that’s just what our professor is always talking about.
In North America or Europe, holding this position demonstrates an absurd thoughtlessness. It implies that we should punish Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, while ignoring Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, and many other despotic states. This a remarkable but widespread form of blindness. I have acquaintances, including feminists, who never utter a word against Saudi Arabia or Pakistan but nevertheless wish everyone to know that they disagree strongly with Israel’s policies.
CJPME urges the public to stay away from Indigo stores because the principal owners started a foundation that offers scholarships for veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces
The boycott movement, a favourite technique of the anti-Israel movement, can create a sensation when Stephen Hawking decides he won’t attend a conference in Israel, out of sympathy for the Palestinians. On the other hand, consistency is not among his qualities: He’s visited Iran and China. It is an ominously meaningful fact that no other country, whatever its sins, is given this pariah treatment. Do the celebrity boycotters understand the company they keep? William Jacobson, a Cornell law professor who blogs on this subject, remarked this week that “The boycott, which singles out only Israel, attracts open and de facto anti-Semites and those in the leftist-Islamist coalition who seek Israel’s destruction.”
But the larger and more ambitious boycott, of Israeli products and services, has struggled along for years, and accomplished approximately nothing. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges its followers to boycott Sears, Home Depot, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Pizza Hut and several other companies; they all sell goods from Israel or have interests in Israel. The CJPME urges the public to stay away from Indigo stores because the principal owners, Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, started a foundation that offers scholarships for veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces.
CJPME can provide many details about the source of the products it wants to boycott, like Dead Sea beauty products. But their publicity says nothing about the futile effect of their campaign, apparently because the truth would be too painful.
Think how hard this must be for Siddiqui and people like him. Not only do the masses ignore their duty to boycott Israel, but their own country defends the state they want to see defeated and isolated. It would make anybody rabid.
"Abuse of Science"
Hawking’s boycott of Israel is intellectually and morally disreputable
London Times, May 10, 2013
Stephen Hawking ranks among the most famous scientists of the past century for his personal as well as intellectual achievements. A mind that has expanded knowledge of the origins of the Universe has also imbued its possessor with a mental resilience capable of surviving a debilitating disease. But brilliance in one sphere does not guarantee sense in another.
So it is with Professor Hawking, who revealed this week that he had withdrawn from a conference in Israel after being lobbied by Palestinian groups. His conduct is obtuse, mean-spirited and ungracious. Above all, it is alien to the spirit of critical thinking on which science and academic inquiry depend.
It is notable that Professor Hawking’s computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. Whereas Israeli technology literally provides him with a voice, Professor Hawking supports a boycott campaign that seeks to penalise and isolate Israeli academics. But that modest irony should not be maligned as hypocrisy: Professor Hawking is entitled to express political views. Unfortunately his views on this subject are drearily simplistic and the inferences he draws from them are pernicious.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict understandably provokes strong passions. The Times is a longstanding supporter of Israel but this has never stopped us from criticising successive Israeli governments’ policies on settlements or dimmed our belief in a two-state solution with a sovereign Palestine. The campaign for an academic boycott of Israel is not only about the condition of Palestinians in the West Bank or Israel’s security policies in Gaza. The boycotters are hostile to the Jewish State, which they compare to the system of institutionalised racial discrimination practised in apartheid South Africa.
Israel has many flaws but a central and vital characteristic. It is a democracy in a part of the world where liberal political rights and free inquiry are scarce. An academic boycott is itself made possible by the critical ethos of Israeli culture. A closed society such as Iran, whose President denies the Holocaust, is hardly likely to be an international centre for scholarship in modern European history.
But even if Israel were a society as deformed as its opponents claim, an academic boycott would still be iniquitous. Conor Cruise O’Brien, the historian and polymath, criticised the academic boycott even of South Africa in the era of apartheid, as “an intellectually disreputable attempt to isolate what I know to be an honest, open and creative intellectual community”. He was right on this. Economic sanctions against a racist regime were right; penalising scholars for the deplorable policies of their government, over which they had no control, was not.
Though there is no serious analogy between Israel and apartheid, the scholars and venues whom the anti-Israel campaigners target are in a similar position to their South African counterparts a generation ago. Israeli academics may disagree strongly with the policies of their own Government, yet are being maligned and slandered on extraneous political grounds.
Professor Hawking should never have put his name to this campaign. It is an example of intellectual obscurantism masquerading as humanitarian concern. And that is stupid.
Integration of foreigners is more important than their religious beliefs, Switzerland’s highest court ruled on Friday. The court denied a 14-year-old girl from a strict Muslim family in Aargau the right to dispensation from school swim class.
The family argued that their strict religion prevented the girl from taking part in swimming lessons, where she would be seen by her male teacher and possibly other men. The girl already knew how to swim, having attended a private class strictly for Muslim girls, they added.
However, the court ruled that the girl must attend the swimming lessons offered at the high school: lessons were offered separately for girls and boys; wearing of a burkini – a full-body swmisuit – was allowed; and the girl would not have bodily contact with her male swimming teacher, since she already knew how to swim.
The court also stated that attendance at a Muslim-only swim course did not further integration, one of the goals of school swimming.
Allowing the dispensation would have contributed to “parallel societies”, the court found. Instead, the girl and her parents could reasonably be expected to take steps toward acceptance of local social and societal norms.
Early this afternoon, I placed a call to the press office of the Middlesex County Massachusetts District Attorney. I inquired about whether they had made a match between the forensic DNA samples found at the murder of three Jewish men that occurred on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and the Tsarnaev brothers. I was told that the matter under a yet to be concluded investigation. Then later this afternoon, an intrepid ABC free lancer, Michele McPhee, posted the stunning news that indeed possible matches of DNA samples had been indicated between the forensic evidence from the crime scenes and those of both Boston Jihadi Bombers. The deceased older brother Tamerlan was interred in a Virginia Muslim cemetery today. His younger brother Dzhokhar is incarcerated in a federal prison infirmary located at Fort Devens in Central Massachusetts.
Massachusetts investigators have developed what they call "mounting evidence," bolstered by "forensic hits," that point to the possible involvement of both Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar in a gruesome, unsolved triple homicide in 2011, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
The officials cautioned that until more definitive DNA testing is complete, it is still too early to consider bringing an indictment against the younger of the two brothers, who officials said has admitted his role in the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured 260 more on April 15. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the Marathon bombing attack, but Dzhokhar survived and was captured.
In the wake of the Marathon bombings, Middlesex County began to probe a link between the elder Tsarnaev and Brendan Mess, one of the three men killed in the gruesome slaying on Sept. 11, 2011. Officials said Mess and two men were found in a Waltham residence with their throats slit and their bodies covered with marijuana. Tamerlan and Mess were once roommates and did boxing and martial arts training together.
Now law enforcement officials tell ABC News that some crime scene forensic evidence provided a match to the two Tsarnaev brothers. The officials also said records of cell phones used by the Tsarnaevs appear to put them in the area of the murders on that date. Several officials confirmed the new findings but declined to be identified because they are not authorized to comment on the ongoing investigation.
Prior to this late breaking news I had exchanged emails with Kyle Schideler of the Endowment for Middle East Truth in Washington, who had authored a Front Page Magazine article in late April, Did Tamerlan Tsarnaev Murder Jews on 10th Anniversary of 9/11? Earlier reports appeared in BuzzFeed Politics within days of the shootout death of Tamerlan and capture of Dzhokhar over the weekend of April 19th. Schideler had written:
The three young men, Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken, were found murdered in an apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 12, 2011. They had been killed the night before. All three victims had their throats slashed, and their bodies were covered in marijuana. The crime scene was described as particularly brutal, with an investigator saying, “their throats were slashed right out of an al Qaeda training video." But Weissman had been arrested previously on charges of possession with intent to distribute, and neighbors also suspected Teken of being involved in the drug trade. For these reasons, police initially suspected a drug connection. At the time of the killing, investigators were looking for two suspects, who were believed to be known to the victims.
I asked Schideler who might have assisted Tamerlan in this ritualistic Islamic slaughter reminiscent of the fate of Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Danny Pearl. That was allegedly perpetrated by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002. But this was Waltham, home of Brandeis University, attended by one of the three murdered Jews.
They spoke with a friend of both Tamerlan and one of the victims, Brendan Mees who said:
“At the time none of us would have thought it was Tam. It was just so emotional, and we thought we had someone else who had done it. Tam’s name wasn’t coming up at all,” said one of their mutual friends, who asked to be identified by his first name, Ray.
Now “a few of my friends, without even speaking about it beforehand, have all been thinking” that Tsarnaev could have been connected to the 2011 murder of Mess and two others at Mess’ apartment, he said. Ray and Tsarnaev were both part of a social circle centered on the gym at which Tsarnaev trained and on a Boston hip-hop group called FlyRidaz, whose members this week expressed shock at having known the suspected killer.
[. . .]
The owner of the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts in Allston, John Allan, told reporters that Tsarnaev described Mess to him as his “best friend.”
So the Cambridge crew was surprised in the fall of 2011 that Tsarnaev didn’t show up at his best friend’s funeral. Now they see it as a clue.
“Tam wasn’t there at the memorial service, he wasn’t at the funeral, he wasn’t around at all,” Ray said. “And he was really close with Brendan. That’s why it’s so weird when he said, ‘I don’t have any American friends.’”
“He was somebody who was in contact with Brendan on a daily basis. Anybody like that, you would think they would have been around,” Ray said.
BuzzFeed noted early Waltham police suspicions that two suspects who were known to the three murdered Jews might have known the perpetrators including Tamerlan:
Police have said they believe there were two other men in Mess’ apartment — the scene of the crime — sometime before the murder, but those two men have never been identified. Ray said following the murder, he was questioned by detectives who told him Tsarnaev may have been with Mess either the day of or the night before; although the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office said they could not confirm any relationship between Mess and Tsarnaev. The Waltham police department declined to comment on the murder or on the alleged relationship between Tsarnaev and Mess.
Then there is curious observation about Tamerlan after his return from Dagestan in July 2012:
When Tsarnaev returned to the United States, Ray said a friend saw him out in public once and described him as “hollow.” But Mess’ younger brother continued to see Tsarnaev at the gym where they both trained. “Tam was with Brendan’s little brother a month ago,” he said.
Ray said none of his friends saw any “red flags” while they were friends with Tsarnaev, although he said some of them remember Tsarnaev making comments about the afterlife being glorified and disparaging remarks about Americans once or twice.
The ABC Investigative Unit Blotter report builds on the mounting forensic evidence that the victims in the grisly Waltham murders knew the perpetrators. The marijuana connections abound given evidence that the younger Tsarneav brother was perhaps involved in dealing marijuana at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus. Further, there were indications that older brother Tamerlan was a heavy user until he allegedly quit in 2008 and became increasingly religious and began attending the Cambridge Mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston.
This ABC news report also raises questions about the lack of follow up by Waltham Police, the FBI and Middlesex D.A. investigators about this case that had lain dormant until it synched up with the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon Massacre, the Tsarnaev brothers. Clearly they had been radicalized well before the alleged murder of their Jews friends on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Did their radicalization occur, at the Cambridge Mosque notorious for being led by a Salafist Imam? Further members of the Cambridge Mosque had been convicted of being al Qaida terrorists and supporters. Or was it something that lay dormant in the Tsarnaev brothers' Chechen Islamic upbringing that festered while they were generously granted political asylum in the US and given welfare, medical support, education at an elite high school and at both a community college and state university?
Tamerlan was quoted as saying he had no American friends. Perhaps we are seeing the emerging truth. He killed them because they were Jews vilified in the Qur’an and he was simply following the way of Allah, Jihad. It also raises a question of why the Boston Jewish community and defense groups didn’t demand a thoroughgoing investigation of this unsolved hideous crime perpetrated against their coreligionists. In retrospect, perhaps they didn’t want to become involved in a messy affair. The local Jewish community, Boston Mayor Menino, and Governor Patrick lavished praise for the Muslim Brotherhood led Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) at its opening in June 200. See our NER article, “Chelm on the Charles River”. A mosque that engaged in lawfare against Dr. Charles Jacobs, of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project, Fox News Channel WFXT and the Boston Herald American because they had unearthed terrorist financiers and virulent anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood preachers as ISBCC trustees. One local Boston Jewish communal leader said at the time of that intense litigation brought by the ISBCC, “we don’t wish to take sides”.
The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported on Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.
Scientific monitors reported that the gas had reached an average daily level that surpassed 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.
The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.
“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.
Ralph Keeling, who runs another monitoring program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said a continuing rise could be catastrophic. “It means we are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds,” he said.
The new measurement came from analyzers high atop Mauna Loa, the volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has long been ground zero for monitoring the worldwide carbon dioxide trend.
Devices there sample clean, crisp air that has blown thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, producing a record of rising carbon dioxide levels that has been closely tracked for half a century.
Carbon dioxide above 400 parts per million was first seen in the Arctic last year, and had also spiked above that level in hourly readings at Mauna Loa. But the average reading for an entire day surpassed that level at Mauna Loa for the first time in the 24 hours that ended at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, according to data from both NOAA and Scripps.
Carbon dioxide rises and falls on a seasonal cycle and the level will dip below 400 this summer, as leaf growth in the Northern Hemisphere pulls about 10 billion tons of carbon out of the air. But experts say that will be a brief reprieve — the moment is approaching when no measurement of the ambient air anywhere on earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400.
“It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,” said Maureen E. Raymo, a Columbia University earth scientist.
From studying air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice, scientists know that going back 800,000 years, the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages, to about 280 during the warm periods between. The evidence shows that global temperatures and CO2 levels are tightly linked.
For the entire period of human civilization, roughly 8,000 years, the carbon dioxide level was relatively stable near that upper bound. But the burning of fossil fuels has caused a 41 percent increase in the heat-trapping gas since the Industrial Revolution, a mere geological instant, and scientists say the climate is beginning to react, though they expect far larger changes in the future.
Governments have been trying since 1992 to rein in emissions, but far from slowing, emissions are rising at an accelerating pace, thanks partly to rapid economic growth in developing countries. Scientists fear the level of the gas could triple or even quadruple before being brought under control.
Indirect measurements suggest that the last time the carbon dioxide level was this high was at least three million years ago, during an epoch called the Pliocene. Geological research shows that the climate then was far warmer than today, the world’s ice caps were smaller, and the sea level might have been as much as 60 or 80 feet higher.
Experts fear that humanity may be precipitating a return to such conditions — except this time, billions of people are in harm’s way.
“It takes a long time to melt ice, but we’re doing it,” Dr. Keeling said. “It’s scary.”
Dr. Keeling’s father, Charles David Keeling, began carbon dioxide measurements on Mauna Loa and at other locations in the late 1950s. The elder Dr. Keeling found a level in the air then of about 315 parts per million — meaning that if a person had filled a million quart jars with air, about 315 quart jars of carbon dioxide would have been mixed in.
His analysis revealed a relentless, long-term increase superimposed on the seasonal cycle, a trend that was dubbed the Keeling Curve. Subsequent research proved it was coming from the combustion of fossil fuels. Charles David Keeling died in 2005.
Countries have adopted an official target to limit the damage from global warming, which by most estimates requires that emissions stop by the time the level reaches about 450. “Unless things slow down, we’ll probably get there in well under 25 years,” Ralph Keeling said.
Yet many countries, including China and the United States, have refused to adopt binding national targets. Scientists say that unless far greater efforts are made soon, the goal of limiting the warming will become impossible without severe economic disruption.
“If you start turning the Titanic long before you hit the iceberg, you can go clear without even spilling a drink of a passenger on deck,” said Richard B. Alley, a climate scientist at the Pennsylvania State University. “If you wait until you’re really close, spilling a lot of drinks is the best you can hope for.”
Climate-change contrarians, who have little scientific credibility but are politically influential in Washington, point out that carbon dioxide represents only a tiny fraction of the air — as of Thursday’s reading, exactly .04 percent. “The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rather undramatic,” a Republican congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher, said in a Congressional hearing several years ago.
But climate scientists reject that argument, saying it is like claiming that a tiny bit of arsenic or cobra venom cannot have much effect. Research shows that even at such low levels, carbon dioxide is potent at trapping heat near the surface of the earth.
“If you’re looking to stave off climate perturbations that I don’t believe our culture is ready to adapt to, then significant reductions in CO2 emissions have to occur right away,” said Mark Pagani, a Yale geochemist who studies climates of the past. “I feel like the time to do something was yesterday.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 10, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of carbon dioxide in the air as of Thursday’s reading from monitors. It is .04 percent, not .0004 percent.
From ITV. The Telford Muslim Forum has issued a statement after seven men were jailed for sex offences on children in Shropshire.
"Crimes committed in any shape or form and by any part or the individuals of the community are highly condemnable. The Muslim community in Telford lives in peace and harmony with all other communities and the individuals who have been committing these crimes do not portray the whole Muslim Community.
We fully support the local authorities in the investigation process and believe that that process should be thorough and fair and criminals who commit these crimes should be brought to justice.
We want our youngsters to perform well in School/Colleges, achieve more and become the role models for the community and we would need help and support from organisations to make this happen."
– Telford Muslim Forum
Today the Shropshire Star can finally tell the horrific story of sexual abuse and exploitation of schoolgirls by a group of men in Telford. Seven men were jailed after a series of complex court cases, the reporting of which has been banned until now while legal battles raged on.
We can reveal details of those court cases following a hearing in the High Court today in which a judge upheld a decision that another man accused of child sex abuse offences was not mentally fit to be retried.
The man, Noshad Hussain, 23, was cleared of trafficking a girl, 14, at a trial last year, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four charges of engaging in sexual activity with her.
Youth workers first raised the alarm when teenage girls in Wellington, some as young as 13, started telling them the same stories about men they were seeing. The subsequent police investigation, dubbed Operation Chalice, revealed details of a network of men from the Muslim community who targeted young and vulnerable teenage girls.
After West Mercia Police’s investigation into suspected under-age sex and child prostitution, seven men were finally convicted in cases stretching over two years.
The leading players in the abuse were brothers, Ahdel and Mubarek Ali, of Regent Street, Wellington, who received long jail sentences after an eight-week trial. Ahdel Ali, 25, known as Eddie, was given a 26-year extended sentence – 18 years’ immediate custody with an additional eight-year period on licence after release.
His 29-year-old brother, Mubarek Ali, known as Max, was given 22 years, 14 years’ immediate custody and eight years on licence, for seven offences – four of controlling child prostitution, causing child prostitution and two offences of trafficking in the UK for the purpose of prostitution, involving two of the victims. The Daily Mail reports that they ‘pimped them out to workers at a curry house for £150 sex sessions’. Both men were made the subject of lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.
Also convicted were Mohammed Ali Sultan, 26, of Victoria Avenue, Wellington; Tanveer Ahmed, 40, of Urban Gardens, Wellington; Mohammed Islam Choudhrey, 53, of Solway Drive, Sutton Hill; Mahroof Khan, 35, of Caradoc Flats, Kingshaye Road, Wellington, and Mohammed Younis, 60, of Kingsland, Arleston.
Ahdel Ali, 25, Mubarek Ali, 29, Mohammed Ali Sultan, 26, Tanveer Ahmed, 40, Mohammed Younis, 60, and Mohammed Islam Choudhrey, 53
While the jury deliberate after the trial of the gang of nine the Oxford Mail continues to report.
AN 11th man has been charged with sexually abusing teenage girls by police working on the Operation Bullfinch child exploitation investigation.
Shah-Nawaz Khan, of Botley Road in Oxford, has been charged with sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15 and two counts of sexual assault. The charges relate to two girls, said police.
The 22-year-old is next due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on July 19 for a plea and case management hearing.
Police charged Khan in March but did not release this information to the public. A spokeswoman said this was an unintentional error
Massachusetts investigators have developed what they call "mounting evidence," bolstered by "forensic hits," that point to the possible involvement of both Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar in a gruesome, unsolved triple homicide in ...
Tamerlan Tsarnaev's ex-girlfriend said he used to beat her if she wore Western clothing and tried hard to turn her against the United States.
Nadine Ascencao, 24, said that in her three years of dating Tsarnaev, he tried to change her into an Islamic extremist, The Daily Mail reported. She said in the report that she was originally obsessed with him but that she had a "lucky escape."
Ms. Ascencao said in an interview with The Sun: "One minute he's this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense. He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. Tamerlan said I couldn't be with him unless I because a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did."
Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police stemming from the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. His brother, Dzhokhar, 19, who is the second suspect in the terrorist attacks, is receiving long-term medical care under law enforcement watch at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.
Watch and listen to him here. "Rome" refers not just to the city, but to a wider, though indeterminate, part of Western Europe. Muhammad is said in the Traditions (Hadith) to have predicted that "after Constantinople" was conquered by the Muslims, "Rome" would be next. In this case "Constantinople" and "Rome" likely stand for the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western.