German authorities are growing increasingly concerned that newly arrived refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East are being recruited by radical Islamists once they arrive in the country.
The Wall Street Journal, citing interviews with security officials from across Germany, reports that an increasing number of refugees are attending services at mosques that investigators believe attract extremists.
The report brings into focus a different dimension to the possible security risk posed by asylum-seekers who have flooded into Western Europe for months. Some of the ISIS terrorists who killed 130 people in Paris earlier this month posed as refugees from Syria's civil war to slip into Europe and meet their co-conspirators.
However, security officials tell the Journal that they have already reported over 100 cases in which known Islamists have tried to contact refugees. Aid agencies report that the suspects have reached out to the new arrivals with offers of food, shelter, and German interpretation, as well as copies of the Koran and traditional Muslim clothing.
"They start by saying, ‘We will help you live your faith,'" Torsten Voss of Germany's domestic intelligence agency told the Journal. "The Islamist area comes later—that is, of course, their goal." The Journal reported that German intelligence agencies have seen no evidence that the recruiting has been effective, but believe such methods will present a long-term risk.
Germany is expected to take in between one million and 1.5 million refugees from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia this year, far more than in years past. Several organizations have warned that even if most or all of the new arrivals have no interest in terrorism, they may pose a threat to public order due to their views on Israel and the West, as well as other ethnic and religious tensions.
"You can’t put Afghans, Syrians, and Eritreans in the same place because they hate each other," Malte Lehming, editor-in-chief of the opinion page of Der Tagesspiegel newspaper told FoxNews.com in October, later adding, "I’m afraid that anti-Americanism, anti-Israel sentiment, and anti-Semitism will be on the rise. We have very limited educational tools to change that. Syria is one of the most anti-Israel countries, influenced by Iran and helped by Hezbollah." ...
A few days ago I saw a little item in the Guardian newspaper whose size belied its significance. It said that Indian students were increasingly abandoning Britain as a place to study for America: and no one could blame them for doing so.
Indeed, in one case I was responsible for this. An Indian friend of mine, and anglophile, asked me whether I thought his son should go to America or come to England to study, and I advised him to choose America. It hurt me to have to say so, but I thought that an English university would in all probability offer very poor value, in more senses than one.
I think I was right, and my opinion was only confirmed when I happened upon an English university's website designed to answer potential postgraduate students' questions. A professor, who shall be nameless (for it is my intention to lay bare a tendency, not abuse an individual), answered the question of what made for successful students. He answered:
My sense is that that they get to grips really quickly with what the course requirements are. In other words, they are the students in the group other students go to, to ask them about the programme. They've read the stuff, internalised it, they've looked at the exam criteria, the essay criteria, they understand what modules you do when. They are successful because they really understand what's required.
Neither the form nor the content of this answer gives much assurance that the professor could be anything but useless. The language is abominable and the sentiment is, if anything, worse. It is as if the whole purpose of a university - and the professor's was no minor seat of learning - was to turn out yes-men and apparatchiks.
The professor went on to give his five 'top tips' for study (which made me think of racing tipsters in newspapers directed at the less cerebral citizens of our country). Here they are:
1. When planning ahead, think in terms of long-term goals.
2. Get a clear understanding of what the exam criteria are.
3. Look at journal articles for the most up-to-date evidence.
4. Keep family and friends informed about your study commitments.
5. Have a set of questions in mind when reading your study materials.
Here are my five 'top tips':
1. When thinking ahead, think ahead.
2. When concentrating, don't get distracted.
3. Agree with everything any superior says.
4. Keep a supply of sick notes in case of exam anxiety.
5. Always write sentences whose negation conveys no different meaning.
The better known of the Islamic State’s revenue sources — smuggling oil, plundering bank vaults, looting antiquities, ransoming kidnapped foreigners and drumming up donations from wealthy supporters in the Persian Gulf — have all helped make the group arguably the world’s richest militant organization. But as Western and Middle Eastern officials have gained a better understanding of the Islamic State’s finances over the past year, a broad consensus has emerged that its biggest source of cash appears to be the people it rules, and the businesses it controls.
It pains Betty Dan to contemplate leaving Brussels, not least because she owes her life to a Belgian Catholic family who heroically sheltered her parents during the Nazi occupation.
But a fortnight after a Brussels-based jihadist cell committed the Paris atrocities, and 18 months after four people were murdered by a terrorist in the city’s Jewish museum, she doubts whether the self-styled capital of Europe is safe for Jews.
A former president of the country’s Zionist association, Mrs Dan helps organise property fairs, catering for some of the 200 Belgians a year who move to Israel. Reluctantly, she is thinking of following them – as are many others.
Since Paris, she has received telephone calls from people seeking information on moving at a rate of five a day, compared to one a week previously. “A few years ago it was the pensioners going, who wanted the Israeli sun,” said Mrs Dan, the manager of a Jewish radio station for 25 years. "Now it is young people with children who sell their houses and leave everything. They are scared.”
Other friends are planning to head to the United States, Canada or London.
“It is a painful thing. I am a real Belgian – my country, my culture and my friends are here,” said Mrs Dan. She plans to take her daughter, Brigitte, and grandson, Daniel, to join her son in Tel Aviv. “My daughter never, never, never thought to leave. Now, she says of her little boy, what is his future here? We don’t feel safe.”
Community leaders now speak with alarm of a rising tide of anti-Semitism in a country that has been home to Jews since Roman times, and who number just 45,000 out of a population of 11 million. Some claim the hostility emantes almost exclusively from young men of Arabic descent.
Last weekend, as troops in armoured vans patrolled the streets in anticipation of an “imminent” terrorist attack, Brussels’ Grand Synagogue closed its doors for Shabbat for the first time since the Second World War.
Mrs Dan, in common with others who spoke to the Telegraph, describes her now reflexive habits to avoid attention on the streets, including reluctantly covering her Star of David necklace.
Rabbi Avi Tawil, the director of the European Jewish Community Centre, recalls how, shortly after moving to Brussels 10 years ago, an admiring stranger asked the age of his baby son in his pram. “Allah willing, he will be dead soon,” the man remarked.
He reveals he is regularly sworn at and threatened when walking with his four children, and he has withdrawn his daughters from a swimming club following a threat to kidnap them.
“If I count my own experience, the insults and violent actions seem to come from people who curse me with Allahu Akhbar, or some Arabic insult.”
Many families, he says, are finding an instinct for "survival" trumps their idealistic hope that community relations will improve. “We see people are targeted for being Jewish in the streets all the time," he said. "It is a war of ideas. I do hear around me this idea coming over and over: that we should not think of Brussels or Europe as a long-term strategy for our children.”
Last week Karl Vanlouwe, a leading Flemish politician, blamed socialist MPs for indulging radical networks with “extreme tolerance” and turning the Brussels into a “base for Islamic barbarism”.
Mrs Dan, recalling her parents’ saviours, agrees. “They are afraid of this community. The Belgians are a very nice people,” she said. “That’s the problem.”
“Defense of Freedom is a Defense of White Privilege”
by Lorna Salzman (December 2015)
Welcome to today’s hearing sponsored by the House Subcommittee on Safe Spaces and Offensive Speech. My name is Joseefa McCarthy, chair of this subcommittee of the House UnAmerican Committee on Identity Politics and Hurt Feelings. In order to prevent any misunderstanding or misreporting that could reflect badly on witnesses, we have excluded the media from this hearing, with the certainty that the public will be spared some unpleasant truths and facts that could impair the credibility or status of the witnesses or the plausibility of the issues raised herein. All electronic devices that have been sequestered during the pat-down will be returned at the termination of the hearing. more>>>
She awoke on a bed of sand in the hot desert – a fourteen-year-old dropped in the middle of nowhere, alone, shaded from the harsh sun by a small tree. There was a glazed look of emptiness in her eyes. It was the unnatural stare of a child, numbed by grim reality, who had seen more than she could comprehend. more>>>
January 1, 2014, New Years Day: Mogadishu, Somalia Umayr, named after the famous butcher of Asma bint Marwan, raised his arms without a twitch as his handler put the vest on him. It was real and going to happen. He thought of the enemy, those in the cowardly federal government who turned their backs on sharia law. He was really going to do it. His brothers were reading to him from the Quran, “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are harsh to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another.” more>>>
We were all going slightly crazy trying to be honest and trying to see straight and trying to be safe. Sometimes there are conflicts in these three urges.
—Arthur Miller on the 1950s
Every time I hear his single most famous play, Death of a Salesman, characterized as a critique of American capitalism or even of traveling salesmen, I cringe, because I know that isn’t finally true. More pointedly, can we agree that the play exposes a business in which workers are fired easily, often for trivial hurtful reasons. The contrast is meant to be socialism, if not communism, where citizens have “job security.” more>>>
A Pragmatic Approach to the Conceptual Tangle of Caste
by Ankur Betageri and Ateeth Betageri (December 2015)
What Population Genetics Tells us about Caste
Though caste is defined as an endogamous social unit its historical existence as an endogamous unit in the subcontinent has been challenged by modern population genetics research which shows that caste endogamy became strict only about 1900 years ago before which intermarriage between different populations was widespread. more>>>
At any given moment during the year an estimated minimum of 2,000 foreign visitors, having entered the country as tourists, travel throughout Israel and the Palestinian Authority as participants in educational programs and tours whose goal is to export the Palestinian narrative (an account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as told from the Palestinian perspective), to others in communities throughout the world. more>>>
Culturist Debating Techniques Concerning the Refugee Crisis
by John K. Press (December 2015)
My friend, Chuck, recently enthused, "Utlitarianism is popular in the Silicon Valley and Washington DC," (the center for his tech industry and where he lives). As one of the group, Chuck loves utilitarianism too. As a culturist, I hate this destructive vapid philosophy. more>>>
Congratulations on choosing philosophy as your major. I hope you will find it a rewarding and life changing field of study. It has certainly been so for me and many of the people with whom I was privileged to go through undergraduate and graduate school. more>>>
When the media began recently to belch forth accounts of Shakespeare's use of drugs, many aging Hippies sat up and took notice. It seems that The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust decided to allow a collection of clay artifacts found in excavations at New Place, Stratford Village, to be handed over to Professor J.F. Thackeray and his team of palaeoanthropologists at the University of the Witwatersand in South Africa. more>>>
The Boys Air Choir, a chamber ensemble of young choristers drawn from such cathedrals as St Paul's, Salisbury, Winchester, and Westminster Abbey, perform a simple arrangement of the traditional Advent hymn 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.'
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear Son.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, thou Branch of Jesse! draw
The quarry from the lion's claw;
From the dread caverns of the grave,
From nether hell, thy people save.
O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!
Pour on our souls thy healing light;
Dispel the long night's lingering gloom,
And pierce the shadows of the tomb.
O Come, thou Lord of David's Key!
The royal door fling wide and free;
Safeguard for us the heavenward road,
And bar the way to death's abode.
O come, O come, Adonai,
Who in thy glorious majesty
From that high mountain clothed in awe,
Gavest thy folk the elder Law.
I believe that some of the young people singing here in 2002 have gone on to study music at a high level and are adult members of cathedral choirs.
Some months ago I attended a dinner party that included a man who had worked for Zbigniev Brzezinski when he was Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor. As the subject of commie-hunting in the fifties arose he, typically of his type, became mocking (and smug, assuming that all gathered were of his ilk). “Did they ever find even one?” he asked. more>>>
“Yes, Mr Dennett, qualia are unscientific... and real”
by Paul Austin Murphy (December 2015)
[Others] note that my "avoidance of the standard philosophical terminology for discussing such matters" often creates problems for me; philosophers have a hard time figuring out what I am saying and what I am denying. My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as worse than useless—a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors. - Daniel Dennett (in 'The Message is: There is No Medium', 1993).
I'm going to start with an ad hominem and say that the real reason why Daniel Dennett is against qualia (or believes that the word 'qualia' is 'a philosopher's invention') is because they're unscientific; not because he thinks that they don't exist (or aren't real). more>>>
by Jerry Gordon with Amb. R. James Woolsey and Lisa Benson (December 2015)
Saturday morning, October 31st, 2015 Flight 9268 a Metrojet Airbus A321 with 224 largely Russian tourists, and crew aboard was on a course for St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai Red Sea. more>>>
“… every man must be supposed a knave.” – David Hume
Adam Smith (1723-90) is memorable for things he was not. He wasn’t an economist; he was a moral philosopher. He wasn’t a decadent capitalist; he was primarily an underpaid pedagogue. He was not a bon vivant either, as if such things were possible in Protestant Scotland. more>>>
Jacob Riis – The Story of America’s Most Famous Immigrant of the 19th Century
Stranger than a Hans Christian Andersen Fairytale
by Norman Berdichevsky (December 2015)
Jacob A. Riis became the most celebrated European immigrant to the United States in the period of mass immigration 1870-1914 and the national spokesman for social reform. He starred in the popular media as the most famous of all the muckraking writers, journalists and photographers at the beginning of the twentieth century. more>>>