Archive for December 14th, 2006

“The Real Purpose Behind the Imam Publicity Blitz” by Katherine Kersten

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

On Dec. 1, a curious report on the grounded-imams incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport appeared on the website of the Iranian Quran News Agency. The report quoted extensively from Madhi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation. The foundation is the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, “the world’s most influential Islamic fundamentalist group,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Bray’s initial statement about the incident had an all-American, see-you-in-court ring. He demanded “large financial compensation for the imams,” adding, “We want US Airways and any other airline displaying this type of behavior against Muslims to be hit where it hurts, the pocketbook.”

The report echoed statements made by the imams themselves. Omar Shahin, their spokesman, has portrayed the incident in a way that’s consistent with a lawsuit and a public relations offensive. He’s called for a Jesse Jackson-style boycott of US Airways, and applied classic civil-rights rhetoric to the incident: “This is prejudice; this is obvious discrimination,” the Star Tribune quoted him as saying. “I cannot change the color of my skin,” he told Newsweek.

But the report on the Iranian website, which has appeared on a variety of Muslim websites worldwide, had a larger primary focus. After the imams incident, it quoted Bray as saying Muslims want “new, broad-sweeping legislation that will extract even larger financial and civil penalties for any airline that participates in racial and religious profiling.”

The report is optimistic that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will lend his support to new legislation. Ellison, it says, has expressed his opposition to “such racial and religious profiling.” Ellison, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

One piece of legislation in the works is the End Racial Profiling Act. It is an important priority of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, whose district includes one of the largest Muslim populations in the country. Conyers introduced the bill in 2004 and 2005, but it went nowhere. Now the alignment of forces may be changing. Conyers will probably be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the new Democratic-controlled Congress convenes next month.

Nancy Pelosi, who called herself a “proud” cosponsor of the Profiling Act in 2004, is the incoming House speaker. And in January, Ellison, who represents the district where the imams incident occurred, will take his seat in Congress.

The act, although it doesn’t as yet impose large penalties, would bar any federal, state or local law enforcement agency from “relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion in selecting which individuals to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities.” That would include questioning, searches and seizures.

One of the act’s central features is its definition of illegal profiling. Under it, if airport security personnel question passengers who are disproportionately Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent, this alone would constitute a presumptive violation of the law. Law enforcement agencies would bear the burden of proving that discrimination was not the cause.

What would the effect of such a law be?

“A law that would compel security professionals to focus on keeping their statistics within certain norms rather than on their mission keeping airline travel safe would have a devastating effect on our ability to ensure airline safety,” said Daniel Horan of the Los Angeles Police Department in an interview. He worked at the Los Angeles airport on profiling-related issues for 6 years.

In the past few weeks the public relations campaign for the Profiling Act has moved into high gear. On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advised American Muslims to beware of the dangers of “flying while Muslim.” In light of recent allegations of “airport profiling,” it said, the council has set up a toll-free hotline for pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the hajj, or annual pilgrimage, who believe that their rights have been violated.

The End of Racial Profiling Act has languished until now. What did it need to reinvigorate it? New congressional leadership, and that’s coming in January. But it needed something else in this media age: a high-profile incident to jump-start it.

What better than the media circus at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Nov. 20?

Original Link.

Gulf Group Calls for Nuclear Sanctions on Israel

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Of course. What else would we expect from the Arab and Muslim nations? Carte blanche for Iran, sanctions against Israel.
The last time I checked, Israel has never threatened anyone with their nukes. The same is far from true for Iran.

The chief of the organization grouping Arab Gulf countries urged the United States and the international community on Tuesday to press for sanctions on Israel for its nuclear program.

Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said, “The United States should not apply double standards since it calls for sanctions on countries that have nuclear programs that we have not ruled out are framework of nuclear weapons.”

Al-Attiyah’s comments followed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments on Monday night during an interview with a German television station during which he argued that a nuclear Israel did not pose the same threat as a nuclear Iran.

The US should “seek the implementation of international resolutions, international laws and Chapter 7,” Al-Attiyah added, referring to the section of the United Nation’s charter that provides for imposing sanctions.

Al-Attiyah, a Qatari diplomat, spoke to journalists along the sidelines of the conference in Kuwait to enhance cooperation between the oil-rich Gulf states and NATO.

Al-Attiyah said, “I believe it is time now for the international community to see that peace and security are now threatened by this announcement.”

The NATO meeting follows a summit by the GCC, which groups Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman, that ended Sunday.

Gulf countries have expressed safety concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. They are also said to be worried that as host to US military bases they would be on the front line of any Iranian reprisals if the US attacked Iran over its nuclear program.

Most other Arab countries have maintained a diplomatic silence over Iran’s program, calling instead for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction – pointed reference to Israel’s presumed nuclear weapons’ capabilities.

Original Link.

Medical Expert Debunks JAMA Article Claiming Fetuses Feel No Pain

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Yet another reason to oppose abortion and the Democrats who would continue to allow it to be performed in all instances.

(AgapePress) – A doctor and pain specialist is debunking an article being used by pro-abortion members of Congress to oppose legislation that would that a mother considering an abortion be informed of the pain the procedure would cause her child.

Last week, a discredited 2005 article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, was cited by House Democrats who voted against the passage of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act. The JAMA article claimed that, since an unborn baby’s brain is not fully developed until 29 weeks, the child will not feel pain during an abortion.

But Dr. Sanjay Gupta, director of the Atlantic Pain and Wellness Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says evidence from neonatal studies shows brain circuits start developing before 29 weeks of age. “It is possible that they are not complete before 29 weeks of age,” he explains, “but an incomplete circuit may cause more pain than a complete circuit.”

Based on the evidence, Gupta says, “I think it is a wrong presumption that the fetus does not feel pain.” And since it is possible that the pain inflicted on an unborn baby during an abortion could actually be worse before the child’s brain circuits have completely developed, he contends, “If we have to make an error, we should make an error on the more safe side.”

And to err on the safe side, the doctor insists, “would be to try to control the pain — to presume that they feel pain rather than presuming they don’t feel pain — and try to take precautions. It’s as simple as that.” There is no reason simply to presume that fetuses don’t feel pain before 29 weeks of gestation and therefore “to let them suffer,” he says.

Gupta points out that the JAMA article in question was not based on research but was simply an opinion from pro-abortion activists, including one involved with an abortion clinic. His own opinion about the pain early-stage fetuses experience during abortion diverges sharply from that in the JAMA piece.

The pain and wellness expert’s opinion differs not only because of the neonatal evidence he has reviewed, he suggests, but because “it is easy to presume that [these fetuses] feel pain and then take precautions.” Since “it is not hard to take those precautions,” Gupta says, it makes sense to err on the safer, more humane side of the debate.

Original Link.

New York Amish Face Pressure Over State Child Labor Laws

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

More invasions, by government, into religion, in direct violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(AgapePress) – The executive director of a New York-based constitutional rights advocacy group says he will be talking with the senator who chairs the state’s Labor Committee today during a special session of the State Legislature. At issue is the attempt to resolve a growing problem for some western New York Amish families whom state labor officials say are violating labor laws.

Amish families in Lyndonville have been told the businesses they run in which their minor children, ages 14 to 17, work — including sawmilling, metalwork, and construction — have to cease using the children. The Amherst Record newspaper reports labor officials began placing the businesses on notice earlier this summer.

Christian activist and lobbyist Duane Motley of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom (NYCF) says it is vital to stop the erosion of the Amish families’ constitutional rights before it goes any further. The violation of these families’ freedoms by New York State labor officials must be checked, he contends, “because, if they can limit the Amish in just this one area, what’s going to prohibit them from expanding it into other areas affecting the Amish?

“And, of course,” Motley adds, “if you limit the Amish, you’ve got to limit everybody else.” That includes New York’s home schooling families, he notes, as home school students often intern with someone in the world of work instead of going to trade school.

The Christian lobbyist says any proposals to help the Amish families through labor law changes have to come through the Labor Committee, which is why he is looking to speak with State Senator George Maziarz. Unfortunately, the NYCF spokesman points out, that committee is also lobbied strongly and regularly by labor unions in the state.

Motley believes the New York unions lobbying the Labor Committee may fear unregulated competition from Amish businesses and therefore may have an interest in blocking any changes to state law that would provide an exception for Amish families or others using minor children as apprentices or workers in particular occupations.

Challenges to the old order cultural tradition of the Amish, which starts young people working with their parents after eighth grade, are causing some families to consider moves as drastic as leaving the state if area lawmakers cannot help them work out a legislative solution. State lawmakers have been quoted as saying they will investigate the issue of whether state labor laws can be modified to accommodate the Amish community’s traditional religious practices with regard to their family businesses.

Steve Crampton, chief counsel with the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, believes constitutional law is on the Amish families’ side. He notes that a 1972 Supreme Court ruling in Wisconsin v. Yoder, which provided a precedent establishing Amish families right to keep their children out of public schools, would be in the New York families’ favor if they end up having to take the labor matter to court.

Also, the pro-family attorney observes, “The fact that they have so faithfully adhered to their principles and their deeply-held beliefs over a period of centuries really puts them in an unusual … and a strong factual sort of position to challenge the likes of the New York labor laws.”

In other words, the Amish community tradition of introducing its young people early to the world of work has a lengthy history, Crampton explains. So, he says, decades of practice on record that this tradition has not proven hazardous to the children should help the families if the matter has to be resolved in court.

Original Link.

Messianic Jewish Author Blasts Holocaust Denial Conference in Iran

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

In addition to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, who’s writings are often featured on our blog, now Jan Markell, a Messianic Jewish author and head of Olive Tree Ministries, is adding her voice to the condemnation of Iranian president Ahmadinejad for his conference on holocaust denial.
It would be nice if the highly unbiased (sarcasm) organization, the United Nations, would pass a resolution condemning Iran for this act, but of course, they are too busy condemning Israel for defending itself to notice what is going on in Iran.

(AgapePress) – The headof a pro-Israel ministry says she is extremely angry that Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could host in Iran’s capital city a two-day conference aimed at convincing the world that the Holocaust never happened.

Jan Markell, a Messianic Jewish author and head of Olive Tree Ministries, finds it scandalous that Ahmadinejad actually invited 70 activists from 30 countries to spend two days trading allegations that the death of six million Jews at the hands of Adolf Hitler never really happened. Also, on the second day of the event, the Iranian president met with conference participants and, during the meeting, predicted the fall of Israel.

The dictator was quoted by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, as saying the “Zionist regime” of Israel “will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.” The two-day conference wrapped up yesterday in Tehran.

Markell calls the entire event an outrage. And most “outrageous” of all, she observes, is the fact “that 30 nations would consider this something that they should send representatives for, because Mahmoud Amadinejad has said that the Holocaust is a myth.”

Obviously, the Olive Tree Ministries spokeswoman contends, the “ultimate, bottom line goal here is to demonize the Jewish people, her history, values, faith, and the fact that she became a nation, really, as a result of the Holocaust, because of a sympathy vote in the U.N.”

And as for the United Nations’ response to the Iranian strongman’s conference, Markell feels an unaccustomed word of commendation is due the U.N. delegates. That is because, “as corrupt as they are,” she remarks, even that international body “has made a statement that Holocaust denial is [a product of] the worst of bigots, and we must reject their false claims whenever, wherever, and by whomever they are made.”

Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial conference was so outrageous that even the United Nations condemned it and would have no part of it, Markell says. However, the ministry leader notes, she was pleased to see that the Simon Wiesenthal Center held its own event in Los Angeles, California, to counter the false claims of the Iranian leader and his Holocaust revisionists.

Original Link.