Since the 19th century, Germany’s Catholics and Protestants have paid church taxes in order to fund the churches and schools of their faith. Now, politicians in Europe’s largest country are considering extending the scheme to the Muslim population, as a way of reducing the influence of foreign countries and encouraging the growth of a “German Islam.”
A “mosque tax” would be modeled on the Kirchensteuer or “church tax” that is currently paid by more than half of all Germans, collected through the tax system, and distributed to Christian and Jewish organizations. It currently amounts to around 8-9% of a person’s salary. Continue reading
Breaking with advisers and generals, President Trump decides to pull troops out of Syria. Is this the beginning of the end of American power in the Middle East?
United States President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that all American forces will soon be withdrawn from Syria. In a video released on Twitter, Mr. Trump declared victory over the Islamic State and, as a result, has determined to withdraw the 2,000 troops currently inside Syrian territory.
“We have defeated isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency,” Mr. Trump tweeted, which was quickly followed by the video. Continue reading
Ignores fact that murder of these men drowned any desire for ‘dialogue’ in their own blood
“The lives of 19 religious men and women martyred during the Algerian civil war are a testament to God’s plan of love and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims,” Pope Francis said. Continue reading
Days after Iran unveiled its first stealth destroyer in a televised ceremony on Saturday which saw the warship launched into operation in the Persian Gulf, and after the US condemned Iran’s test firing a medium-range nuclear capable ballistic missile on Sunday, Pentagon officials have announced the U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf in a show of force against Iran. Continue reading
- “Turkey has been committing two major international crimes against Cyprus. It has invaded and divided a small, weak but modern and independent European state… Turkey has also changed the demographic character of the island and has devoted itself to the systematic destruction and obliteration of the cultural heritage of the areas under its military control.” — from “The Loss of a Civilization: Destruction of cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus.”
- “More than 550 Greek Orthodox churches, chapels and monasteries located in towns and villages of the occupied areas, have been pillaged, deliberately vandalized and, in some cases, demolished. Many Christian places of worship have been converted into mosques, depots of the Turkish army, stockyards and hay barns.” — Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- “UNESCO considers the intentional destruction of cultural heritage a war crime.” — Artnet News, 2017.
A sixth-century mosaic of Saint Mark, stolen from a church after Turkey’s military invaded Cyprus in 1974, was recently recovered in a Monaco apartment and returned to Cypriot officials. The ancient masterpiece was described by Arthur Brand, the Dutch investigator who located it, as “one of the last and most beautiful examples of art from the early Byzantine era.” Continue reading
Threats issued from Iranian officials against U.S. military operations in the Persian Gulf are nothing new, however, it will be interesting to see the White House response to an elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) commander specifically designating that American bases in Afghanistan, the UAE, Qatar, as well as U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf are within range of Iranian ballistic missiles.
Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC airspace division, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency, via Reuters:
They are within our reach, and we can hit them if they make a move… Our land-to-sea missiles have a range of 700 kilometers [450 miles]… and the US aircraft carriers are our targets. Continue reading
All wars initiated or supported by the US establishment — from the occupation of Iraq in 2003, to the second Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, and to regime-change efforts in Syria in 2011 and the occupation of a third of Iraq in 2014 — have failed in their goal of stoking the fire of sectarian war between Sunni and Shia in the Middle East. The failure of this strategy has pushed the US establishment towards two new options: the first, of using the media to reveal Saudi Arabia’s intention to harm the Iranian economy and assassinate its military commanders. The second is to promote and advertise for an “Arab (Sunni) NATO Army”. The goal is to keep the possibility of sectarian war alive. Continue reading
Military moves more troops to border as policymakers said to give go-ahead for intensified strikes against Hamas, which vows to target a million Israelis
The Israeli military deployed additional troops and tanks to the Gaza Strip border on Monday following the largest barrage of rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel from the coastal enclave in a single day.
The army was reportedly given a green light from policymakers to pummel terror groups in the Strip if they continued with the barrages, as the terror organizations in the Strip vowed to do.
“The resistance factions’ joint command center is holding a serious conversation about expanding its range of fire. Ashkelon is just the beginning. Approximately one million Zionists will be within the range of our missiles if the Zionist enemy’s decision is to continue its aggression,” said Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, over 300 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip as of 10 p.m. Monday — a number that was expected to rise as barrages continued throughout the night. Continue reading
Unfolding Russian, US and Israeli military steps are raising the big power stakes in Syria on the eve of a Trump-Putin summit, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Russian special forces have arrived and been attached to the Syrian military command in the southern Al-Safa region east of the Druze town of Sweida – officially as “advisers” to the Syrian offensive against ISIS, and markers of Islamist targets for Russian air strikes. Russia pulled those units out in June after helping Bashar Assad’s army capture rebel-held territory on Israel’s Golan and Jordan’s borders. Now, the Russians are attached to the Syrian Army’s elite 42nd Brigade-Ghiath Forces of the 4th Division. Continue reading
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke in Tehran Sunday, leading chants of “death to Israel” and “death to America,” according to Iranian news agencies.
Farrakhan is a well-documented bigot, having made deeply misogynistic, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments. The Anti-Defamation League describes the Nation of Islam as having “a consistent record of anti-Semitism” since the 1930s. Farrakhan called Jews “termites” earlier this month, and has called Adolf Hitler a “great man.” Continue reading
To build better “Chinese citizens,” officials at re-education camps which hold Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic minorities (referred to as “vocational schools” by China) are instructed to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins,” according to a Chinese government document.
“Thousands of guards equipped with tear gas, Tasers, stun guns and spiked clubs keep tight control over ‘students’ in facilities ringed with razor wire and infrared cameras,” said AFP, which examined more than 1,500 publicly available government documents. Continue reading
Following the significant expansion of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) forces throughout the African continent over the past half-decade, Russia is playing its own hand at advising indigenous forces while increasing its military footprint in central Africa.
At the end of last week Russia announced it would be significantly expanding its military advisory role in the Central African Republic (CAR) after earlier this year it established 175 trainers to CAR forces and donated hundreds of weapons weapons following an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo that would allow external forces to bolster the CAR government’s fight against militia groups waging an insurgency. Continue reading
In March 2005, Bush adviser Karen Hughes was named to a State Department post, Deputy Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. In late September 2005 she traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to open a dialogue with important Muslim countries. Her task was to persuade them that Bush’s War on Terror was not a War against Islam.
On September 26, 2005, Hughes met with a small group of Egyptians who had studied in the U.S. She told them “it’s sometimes hard to talk about difficult issues,” but that “we’re open to ideas.”
Prominent Egyptians told Hughes that the U.S. can improve its image in the Middle East only by changing its policies, namely, that its policies on Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what the U.S. said was inconsistent with its [favorable] treatment of repressive Arab governments. Continue reading
The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi drives home the consequences of the Trump administration’s refusal to champion democratic values around the globe.
The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has shocked many in the United States, but it should not come as a surprise. Indeed, it is a logical outgrowth of the policies that the Saudi leadership has been pursuing for the past two years, and the support that it has found for its approach in the Trump White House and parts of the American establishment. Continue reading
UPDATE: Pompeo heckled by Iranian protestors: ‘We’re sick of you’
An Iranian military leader on Tuesday threatened to open the “gates of Hell” on the U.S. military if the Trump administration moves to attack Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, according to new threats that come on the heels of the Islamic Republic declaring that it will not engage in direct talks with President Donald Trump.
Iran has amped up its military rhetoric, threatening the United States directly in recent weeks as the Trump administration readies new sanctions expected to cripple the Iranian economy and further fuel ongoing popular protests against the hardline regime. Continue reading