My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Fuck You" gets you marks in English class

Yes, this is from the UK...wonder when we'll start giving out marks for obscenities...
Pupils are being rewarded for writing obscenities in their GCSE English examinations even when it has nothing to do with the question.

One pupil who wrote “f*** off” was given marks for accurate spelling and conveying a meaning successfully.

His paper was marked by Peter Buckroyd, a chief examiner who has instructed fellow examiners to mark in the same way. He told trainee examiners recently to adhere strictly to the mark scheme, to the extent that pupils who wrote only expletives on their papers should be awarded points.

Mr Buckroyd, chief examiner of English for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), an examination board, said that he had given the pupil two marks, out of a possible 27, for the expletive.

To gain minimum marks in English, students must demonstrate “some simple sequencing of ideas” and “some words in appropriate order”. The phrase had achieved this, according to Mr Buckroyd.

The chief examiner, who is responsible for standards in exams taken by 780,000 candidates and for training for 3,000 examiners, told The Times: “It would be wicked to give it zero, because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for – like conveying some meaning and some spelling.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A short video on global warming...

Thanks to Lubos Motl for posting this on his blog...a very fine video.

Dutch firms cave in to Islamists...

Gee...they give in so easily...
Dutch companies Friesland Foods (dairy produce) and Zwanenberg (sausages) have taken out adverts in the Jordanian press distancing themselves from Geert Wilder’s anti-Islam film Fitna, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

The adverts follow calls by a group calling itself The Message of Allah Unites Us, for a boycott of KLM, Philips, Friso and Milupa (baby foods). Until now, the organisation had only urged a boycott of Danish products in connection with the publication of anti-Islamic cartoons.

The organisation has printed millions of copies of a new poster calling on Jordanians not to buy Dutch and Danish goods.

KLM and Philips are actively being boycotted, the Volkskrant says. Last week, all travel organisations in the country were asked to refrain from doing business with KLM, the committee’s chairman Zakaria Sheikh tells the paper.

The Zwanenberg Food Group says in its advert that it ‘rejects the opinions and statements’ made in Wilders’ film, in which he ‘likens Islam to violence’. ‘We strongly condemn these statements about Islam which we think have no other purpose other than to hurt [Muslims].’

Friesland Foods issued a similar statement, the papers say.

Friday, June 27, 2008

They even regulate birthday card distribution in Sweden...

Geez, do schools really have to regulate birthday card distribution???
A second grader in Lund in southern Sweden was forced to take back his birthday party invitations because he hadn’t invited all the students in his class.

Two students were left off the invitation list, prompting the boy’s teacher to confiscate all the invitations, reports the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

The boy’s father has filed a complaint with Sweden’s Ombudsman of Justice (JO), which is now looking into the matter.

“We think it’s an interesting case,” said JO’s Carl-Gustaf Tyrblom to Sydsvenskan.

According to school rules, if a student plans to distribute invitations on school grounds, he or she must invite the entire class, or none at all.

Alternatively, invitations can be sent to all the boys, or all the girls, but simply leaving two students out is not acceptable.

Cap & Trade; carbon taxes just won't work...

Bjorn Lomborg says we should just focus on the real problem - using R&D to come up with low-carbon energy...
Politicians favor the cap-and-trade system because it is an indirect tax that disguises the true costs of reducing carbon emissions. It also gives lawmakers an opportunity to control the number and distribution of emissions allowances, and the flow of billions of dollars of subsidies and sweeteners.

Many people believe that everyone has a moral obligation to ask how we can best combat climate change. Attempts to curb carbon emissions along the lines of the bill now pending are a poor answer compared with other options.

Consider that today, solar panels are one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Only the very wealthy can afford them. Many "green" approaches do little more than make rich people feel they are helping the planet. We can't avoid climate change by forcing a few more inefficient solar panels onto rooftops.

The answer is to dramatically increase research and development so that solar panels become cheaper than fossil fuels sooner rather than later. Imagine if solar panels became cheaper than fossil fuels by 2050: We would have solved the problem of global warming, because switching to the environmentally friendly option wouldn't be the preserve of rich Westerners.

This message was recently backed up by the findings of the Copenhagen Consensus project, which gathered eight of the world's top economists -- including five Nobel laureates -- to examine research on the best ways to tackle 10 global challenges: air pollution, conflict, disease, global warming, hunger and malnutrition, lack of education, gender inequity, lack of water and sanitation, terrorism, and trade barriers.

These experts looked at the costs and benefits of different responses to each challenge. Their goal was to create a prioritized list showing how money could best be spent combating these problems.

The panel concluded that the least effective use of resources in slowing global warming would come from simply cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

CO2 output to increase by 50%....

All attempts to reduce CO2 output are doomed to's the bitter truth...
The world's emissions of the main planet-warming gas carbon dioxide will rise over 50 percent to more than 42 billion tonnes per year from 2005 to 2030 as China leads a rise in burning coal, the U.S. government forecast on Wednesday.

China's coal demand will rise 3.2 percent annually from 2005 to 2030, the Energy Information Administration said in its International Energy Outlook 2008.

U.S. coal use will rise 1.1 percent during the same period, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy projected.

EIA economist Nasir Khilji said China's coal demand will likely rise steeply because it is the cheapest fuel to feed its surging manufacturing industry and demand for electricity as much of the population moves to urban areas.

In the United States a move to more nuclear power should help slow emissions growth, he said.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Could you imagine if a man had done this???

This is from the Toronto Star...
After Trish Ally booked the hotel suite and invited the guests, she wanted to order a cake for a friend who was going through a divorce.

"He turned out to be a big jerk," she told Toronto baker Karen Wielonda. "Do you have any ideas?"

That's when Wielonda, a specialist in off-the-wall shaped cakes, came up with the idea of a voodoo-doll confection, complete with marzipan pins and needles.

"I think I had tweezers, too," Wielonda says with a laugh.

Ally decided to throw the divorce party "as a new way to express being single." The cake was just "a cute idea, something different" to do.

"They didn't want to see his face, but they wanted to see this hideous gold grill he used to wear," the baker says of the former husband. Wielonda set to work, and the result was a two-dimensional cake in the shape of a man, with a paper bag covering his head save for a small cutout showing a gold tooth decoration. All around were the marzipan weapons.
Thanks to Jeremy for sending me this article.

Biofuels increase poverty...

The rush to use biofuels was a huge mistake...
The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says.

Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change.

Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020.

Only Synagogue in Tajikistan razed....

Gee, did they really have to tear down this building?
Tajikistan has knocked down its only synagogue to make way for a new presidential palace, casting the Jewish community into despair, community members said on Wednesday.

The 19th century building is due to be replaced by a park adjoining the new palace for President Imomali Rakhmon, who has ruled the impoverished, mainly Muslim nation since 1992.

Community leaders said the weekend demolition of their synagogue - a wooden, one-story house adorned with stars of David - put their 350-strong community under threat. "It's painful to lose something very dear, something that cannot be valued in money terms," Rabbi Mikhail Abdurakhmanov said after the building was bulldozed.

"At the moment the existence of Tajikistan's only Jewish community is under threat. It's also a threat to elderly people who came here for help," he told Reuters.

The Jewish community in Tajikistan - descendants of Persian-speaking Bukhara Jews who have lived in Central Asia for centuries - has dwindled since the country's independence from Soviet rule with many leaving for Israel.

Gay Pride Cancelled in Cuba....

The first gay pride march for Cuba was cancelled - it was not sanctioned by Cuba's National Center for Sex Education.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's wrong with the New York Times???

A new Bruce Bawer article looks at how the New York Times is avoiding the threat of Islam...
Just imagine the world picture of somebody whose primary — or even (God forbid!) sole — source of news is the New York Times.

In particular, imagine that person’s image of Islam — and of the problems and issues surrounding the growing presence of Islam in the West today. At the Times — as at other important news organizations — the slant on Islam has been shaped almost exclusively by apologists like Karen Armstrong (author of Muhammed: A Prophet for Our Time) and John Esposito (director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University). In March, the New York Times Magazine published a long essay by another major apologist, Harvard law professor and Times Magazine contributing writer Noah Feldman, who took (shall we say) an exceedingly generous view of sharia law and its proponents. Last Sunday, the magazine ran a new piece by Feldman, arguing that Muslims are Europe’s “new pariahs” and that the only real problem related the rise of Islam in Europe today is — guess what? — European racism.

It’s a familiar claim, to put it mildly, and Feldman served up the usual rhetoric, conflating the nationalist bigots of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party with people like the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, whose views on the Islamization of Europe are rooted in liberal values. Feldman dismissed as “prejudice” concern about first-cousin marriages among Muslims — never mind that almost all such marriages are forced, that the overwhelming majority involve rape and abuse, and that those who have campaigned hardest against them are not “racists” but women’s rights advocates. Feldman deep-sixed the catastrophic rise in rape, gay-bashing, and other crimes by young European Muslim males, the extensive abuse of European welfare systems that is helping to destroy them, and the broad-based cultural jihad which ultimately seeks nothing less than the replacement of democracy with sharia. Feldman insisted that “a hallmark of liberal, secular societies is supposed to be respect for different cultures, including traditional, religious cultures — even intolerant ones.” That’s easy to say about things happening on the other side of an ocean from your Ivy League office. I’d like to see Feldman tell this to gay people in Amsterdam, where ten years ago they felt safer than anyplace else on earth and where Muslim youths now beat them up in broad daylight in the middle of town. Or why doesn’t he try this line on Jewish children in France, who according to a French government report can no longer get an education in that country because of severe harassment (and worse) by Muslim classmates? Feldman further equated Islamic and Roman Catholic views of gays and women — as if the Church’s “rejection of homosexuality and women priests” could be compared to the execution of gays and the wholesale subordination of women to the will of men. Feldman scored Europeans for failing to treat immigrants “as full members of their society” — yet while such prejudice does indeed exist, somehow immigrants from places like Vietnam and Chile nonetheless persevere and thrive (in the U.K., Hindus are more economically successful than the average Brit), while Muslims don’t. The difference has to do not with European prejudice but with Islam.

Since 9/11, the kind of brazen sugarcoating of Islam that Feldman served up last Sunday has become a convention in the Times and other mainstream media. Routinely, news organizations suppress, downplay, or misrepresent developments that reflect badly on Islam; they go out of their way to find stories that reflect (or that can be spun in such a way as to reflect) positively on it; and they publish professors and intellectuals and “experts” like Feldman, who share the media’s determination to obscure the central role of jihadist ideology in the current clash between Islam and Western democracy and to point the finger instead (as Feldman does) at European racism.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A brutal gay-bashing in Oslo...

Here's what Bruce Bawer had to say about it:
Last night saw yet another brutal gay-bashing in Oslo by "two people of foreign origin," which doesn't mean Swedes. Before the assault, the two victims - one of whom, Knut Øyvind Hagen, has participated three times, as singer and songwriter, in the Norwegian finals of the Eurovision Song Contest - met the "two people of foreign origin" in a kebab joint in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Grønland. The TPOFO represented themselves as being gay and asked Hagen and his friend about being gay. They had what Hagen describes as a "nice conversation." Then Hagen and his friend left. The TPOFO followed them out and beat the hell out of them. "There was blood everywhere," said Hagen, "and at first I thought my friend was dead."

Is global warming denial a crime???

This is right out of the David Suzuki playbook.....
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
They never really tell you when it has become 'irreversible'...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How's this for political correctness???

Gee, you can't make this stuff up....
A local council in Britain has barred the use of the term brainstorming and replaced it with Thought Showers- after fearing that the phrase may offend epileptics or the mentally ill.

Following the move, staffs have been sent memos about the change and even sent on training courses.

But charities representing epileptics have branded the move political correctness gone mad.

Canadian MP Libby Davies reads 9/11 petition in Parliament

Why isn't this huge news????

Can sharia law be criticized???

Not at the UN Human Rights Commission...
The United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has no problem with its members suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" perpetrated by the United States on itself. The human rights of America's 9/11 victims are not a priority for UNHRC's Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who engages in 9/11 conspiracy propaganda, while working for an organization headquartered in New York City funded by U.S. tax dollars. This is Richard Falk's protected freedom of speech.

Denying the role of Jihadists in the 9/11 attacks is apparently perfectly acceptable freedom of speech for the UNHRC, but criticizing Sharia law is another story.

On June 16, 2008, UNHRC president Doru Romulus Costea announced that criticism of Sharia law will not be tolerated by the UNHRC, based on the complaints and pressure by Islamist delegates to the UNHRC. In effect, the Islamist nations represented at the UNHRC have effected a Jihad against freedom of speech at the United Nations when it comes to criticizing Sharia or Islamic supremacist (aka Islamist) theocratic ideologies that threaten the freedom and lives of innocents around the world. This again demonstrates the key imperative of control for Islamists - in this case in terms of controlling ideas, thoughts, and words of an international organization intended to promote human rights. Outgoing UNHRC Commissioner Louise Arbour subsequently raised concerns about debates on Sharia becoming "taboo" within the United Nations group, stating that it "should be, among other things, the guardian of freedom of expression."

The UNHRC ban on debate regarding Sharia came as a result of a three minute joint statement by the Association for World Education with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to the Human Rights Council on women's rights and the impact of Sharia law. These NGOs sought to address international issues of violence against women, specifically, the stoning of women, "honor killings" of women, and female genital mutilation, as a result of Sharia law.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Arab Republic of Egypt vehemently criticized this attempted NGO message, interrupting it via "16 points of order", for an hour and twenty-five minutes per the IEHU. Jihad Watch provides a full transcript of the debate. The Egyptian UNHRC delegate claimed that silencing these NGOs was necessary to ensure "that Islam will not be crucified in this Council," but the fact is that Islamist forces seek to silence any debate on Sharia at all - anywhere, any time.

Jewish Centre in Kelowna vandalized.....

This is just awful...
Residents of Kelowna, B.C. are outraged about the anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on the walls of a local Jewish centre.

"It seems like an ignorant, mindless thing to do," resident Eddie Sanchez told CTV British Columbia on Saturday.

"It's sad, it's very sad that it happens in our community," added Connie Sprague.

Police in Kelowna say the vandals struck the Okanagan Jewish Community Centre sometime between Friday night and early Saturday morning.

The vandals sprayed Nazi swastikas and hateful slogans on the walls.

They also struck a local elementary school and some vehicles in the area.

Bush's legacy....

In twenty years, he will look a lot better than now...
George W Bush will be remembered for his responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, but since neither of those conflicts has yet ended in victory or defeat, it is far too early categorically to assume - as left-wingers, anti-war campaigners and almost all media commentators already do - that his historical reputation will be permanently down in the doldrums next to poor old Warren Harding's.

I suspect that historians of the future will instead see Bush's decision to insist upon a "surge" of reinforcements being sent into Iraq, combined with a complete change of anti-insurgency tactics as configured by General Petraeus, as the moment when the conflict was turned around there, in the West's favour.

No one - least of all Bush himself - denies that mistakes were made in the early days after the (unexpectedly early) fall of Baghdad, and historians will quite rightly examine them. But once the decades have put the stirring events of those years into their proper historical context, four great facts will emerge that will place Bush in a far better light than he currently enjoys.

The overthrow and execution of a foul tyrant, Saddam Hussein; the liberation of the Afghan people from the Taliban; the smashing of the terrorist networks of al-Qa'eda in that country and elsewhere and, finally, the protection of the American people from any further atrocities on US soil since 9/11, is a legacy of which to be proud.

While of course every individual death is a tragedy to the bereaved families, these great achievements have been won at a cost in human life a fraction the size of any past world-historical struggle of this magnitude.

The number of American troops killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is equivalent to the losses they endured - for a nation only a little over half the size in the mid-Forties - capturing a single island from the Japanese in the Pacific War.

British losses of 103 killed over seven years in Afghanistan bears comparison to a quiet weekend on the Western Front in the Great War, or the numbers the Army loses in traffic accidents in peacetime. History can lend a wider overall perspective to what are nonetheless, of course, immeasurably sad events.

History will also shine an unforgiving light on those ludicrous conspiracy theories that claim that the Iraq War was fought for any other reason than to implement the 14 UN resolutions that Saddam that had been flouting for 13 years.

The CIA and MI6 believed, like almost every other intelligence agency in the world, that Saddam had WMD, and the "Harmony" documents seized and translated since the fall of his regime make it abundantly clear that he was also supporting almost every anti-Western terrorist organisation imaginable.

Historians will appreciate how any War Against Terror that allowed Saddam to remain in place would have been an absurd travesty.

When the rise of al-Qa'eda is considered by historians like Philip Bobbitt and William Shawcross, it will be President Clinton's repeated refusal to act effectively in the 1990s, rather than President Bush's tough response after 9/11, that will be held up as culpable.

Jewish Teen Beaten in Paris..

He was beaten by a gang of youths with metal bars and is now in a coma...
A 17 year old young man was attacked Saturday evening near the Buttes-Chaumont, in Paris, in what has been denounced as an anti-Semitic attack.

According to Raphael Haddad, President of the Union des Etudiants Juifs de France (National Union of Jewish Students), "there is no doubt that the nature of this attack was anti-Semitic". The group said that the 17-year-old was wearing a kippa, and walking through a neighborhood where many Jewish families live, when he was beaten Saturday night in eastern Paris.

Police said they detained five people for questioning, but were still investigating the reasons for the assault.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Will the feminists protest?

A leading women's rights activist is sentenced in Iran...
The lawyer of an Iranian women's rights activist says his client was convicted on security-related charges and sentenced to five years in prison.

Mohammad Sharif described the verdict for his client, 22-year-old women's rights activist Hana Abdi, as harsh. He told The Associated Press Saturday that her prison was also very remote.

Abdi has been in detention since November for advocating for greater freedoms for Iran's women. In Iran women need a male guardian's permission to work or travel. However they can drive, vote and run for office.

Radicalization of muslims in the UK....

It appears that it is more widespread than previously thought...
Extremists are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Britain's young Muslims, a disturbing police report warns.

Increasing numbers have become so alienated from mainstream society that they could even lend their support to jihadi terrorism, the study claims.

While most reject violence, many distrust police and are reluctant to inform on extremists.

The report was commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) after last year's failed bomb attacks in London's West End and at Glasgow Airport. It is to be discussed at Acpo's annual conference this week.

In the most comprehensive research of its kind to date, Prof Martin Innes, of the Universities' Police Science Institute in Cardiff, led a team of researchers which carried out face-to-face and telephone interviews with more than 600 Muslims in London, Birmingham and Oldham.

They found that the radicalisation of young British Muslims was more widespread than previously feared, with "a disturbing proportion" expressing support for extremist elements.

The report, which is being distributed among senior officers, Whitehall officials and ministers, finds that:

• Anger and disaffection are "widespread in sections of Muslim youth".

• There is tacit support for extremist violence within sections of the Muslim community.

• Police need to do more to win the trust of Muslim communities if they are to tackle radicalisation.

• Many Muslims distrust police and are reluctant to inform on extremists, preferring to deal with problems inside their communities.

Gays arrested in Saudi Arabia...

If they were arrested for being Christians there would be a huge outcry...but nobody is going to say a word about this...
A Saudi newspaper says religious police have arrested 21 men on grounds they are homosexual and have confiscated large amounts of alcohol.

The al-Medina daily says Saudi Arabia's Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was told yesterday of a large gathering of young men at a rest house in a city in eastern Saudi Arabia. The paper says police initially arrested scores of men but only 21 remain in detention.

Homosexuality is regarded as a sin in Islam and prohibited by law in Saudi Arabia and most other Muslim nations. In the conservative kingdom, the offense can be punished by flogging or prison.

More on that nuclear facility in Syria...

Were they helping Iran???
Experts believe North Korea provided assistance to Iran at the Syrian facility believed bombed by Israel Air Force in September 2007, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

The weekly said the Syrian site at al-Kibar was used to produce nuclear material the Iranian regime needed to make a bomb.

North Korean scientists worked alongside Syrians and Iranians at the site, where a reactor was being built to produce weapons-grade plutonium, Der Spiegel quoted the intelligence reports as saying.

Will Wilders be arrested???

The maker of the film Fitna possibly faces arrest....
The maker of the controversial anti-Muslim film Fitna, MP Geert Wilders, is afraid that he might be arrested while travelling abroad following a ruling by a court in Jordan earlier this week, reports Friday’s Volkskrant.

A group calling itself The Messenger of Allah Unites Us has called for an international arrest warrant against Wilders accusing him of racism, inciting hatred and insulting Islam and Muslims, reports the paper.

The group was also behind a call for a boycott of Dutch products in Jordan earlier this year. A spokesman for the foreign affairs ministry told the Telegraaf that the court had not yet issued a warrant for the arrest of Wilders, founder of the anti-immigration party PVV.

However, foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen is aware of the possibility that Wilders may be arrested and has ordered an analysis of the risks the MP faces.

One option would be for Amman to ask Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant, the paper says. But more likely would be for Jordan to ask foreign countries which Wilders may visit to arrest and deport the MP.

Iran continues to say "Fuck You"...

When will the west learn that Iran will NOT stop its drive to get nuclear weapons???
Iran is pressing on with uranium enrichment "non-stop," its envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency was quoted as saying on Saturday, despite a world powers' offer of economic incentives to coax Tehran into halting such activities.

The Islamic Republic also appeared to dismiss any suggestion of freezing nuclear work it says is for generating electricity but which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

America needs gay marriage...

Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for printing this opinion piece in support of gay marriage...
Marriage, remember, is not just a contract between two people. It is a contract that two people make, as a couple, with their community – which is why there is always a witness. Two people can't go into a room by themselves and come out legally married. The partners agree to take care of each other so the community doesn't have to. In exchange, the community deems them a family, binding them to each other and to society with a host of legal and social ties.

This is a fantastically fruitful bargain. Marriage makes you, on average, healthier, happier and wealthier. If you are a couple raising kids, marrying is likely to make them healthier, happier and wealthier, too. Marriage is our first and best line of defense against financial, medical and emotional meltdown. It provides domesticity and a safe harbor for sex. It stabilizes communities by formalizing responsibilities and creating kin networks. And its absence can be calamitous, whether in inner cities or gay ghettos.

In 2008, denying gay Americans the opportunity to marry is not only inhumane, it is unsustainable. History has turned a corner: Gay couples – including gay parents – live openly and for the most part comfortably in mainstream life. This will not change, ever.

Because parents want happy children, communities want responsible neighbors, employers want productive workers, and governments want smaller welfare caseloads, society has a powerful interest in recognizing and supporting same-sex couples. It will either fold them into marriage or create alternatives to marriage, such as publicly recognized and subsidized cohabitation. Conservatives often say same-sex marriage should be prohibited because it does not exemplify the ideal form of family. They should consider how much less ideal an example gay couples will set by building families and raising children out of wedlock.

Nowadays, even opponents of same-sex marriage generally concede it would be good for gay people. What they worry about are the possible secondary effects it could have as it ramifies through law and society. What if gay marriage becomes a vehicle for polygamists who want to marry multiple partners, egalitarians who want to radically rewrite family law, or secularists who want to suppress religious objections to homosexuality?

Space doesn't permit me to treat those and other objections in detail, beyond noting that same-sex marriage no more leads logically to polygamy than giving women one vote leads to giving men two; that gay marriage requires only few and modest changes to existing family law; and that the Constitution provides robust protections for religious freedom.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Global cooling....

Are we about to enter a period of global cooling???
A growing number of influential people in the developing world (this includes China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, as well as Russia) are openly rejecting the idea that human activity has any measurable influence on the planetary climate or even that there is anything unusual or abnormal about the climate at present. Some of these people, joined by hundreds of scientists in the U.S. and Western Europe advance the idea that sunspot activity (which is cyclical) and the recently discovered (as recent as 1996) PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation: 20 to 30 year warming and cooling of the north-central Pacific Ocean) explain the cyclicality of global temperatures. According to those who hold this view, the planet has entered into a 30 year or so cooling period and carbon dioxide emissions even if they keep growing, cannot prevent this cooling.

In support they cite NASA’s recent study that the global oceans are cooling and expected to cool for several years. NASA is the leading proponent of man-made global warming. They also quote data from the new Jason oceanographic satellite that the PDO is entering a multi-year cooling period. Jason is run jointly by NASA and a French team. Other support for this idea that global cooling not warming, is the planetary future within anyone’s strategic planning horizon comes from experiments conducted by the Danish Space Research Institute, which links global climate behavior to variations in the magnetic wind of the sun, which is changeable, driven by sunspot cycles. Contrary to expectations, the current cycle (Cycle 24) is turning out to be very weak with negligible sunspot activity.

Two scientists at the National Solar Laboratory in Arizona project that sunspots will vanish by 2015, leading to a multi-decade down cycle in solar activity. The last time this happened was in 1645-1715 leading to bitterly cold winters and repeated crop failures (and to Napoleon’s defeat in Russia during the summer never came). Between January 2007 and May 2008 the earth cooled by as much as it had warmed in the past 100 years, according to a meteorologist at the University of Alabama. On May 19, 2008, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released a petition signed by over 30,000 U.S. scientists rejecting claims that global warming is caused by human activity and condemning the Kyoto Protocol for its damage to humanity. This was well received the proponents of the cooling view and condemned by adherents of the warming view.


Another good article by Bruce Bawer, the author of "While Europe Slept"...which is a must-read...
Every May 17, when they commemorate the signing of their 1814 Constitution, Oslo's streets are a blizzard of red, white, and blue. In a ritual dating back to 1870, tens of thousands of schoolchildren, many in traditional garb, march to the royal palace, each waving a flag and lowering it respectfully as they pass the king on his balcony.

Years ago, when I first came here, I was appalled by this spectacle of subservience: why should free people bring up their brats to be deferential to royalty? (I'm American.) Yet I've since come to see the Children's Parade as a welcome sign that in at least one corner of Western Europe, kids are being raised to love their country and appreciate their freedom. Recalling FDR's 1942 "Look to Norway" speech ("if there is anyone who doubts the democratic will to win…let him look to Norway"), I reflect that maybe, when push comes to shove, Norwegians won't give in.

This year, the May 17 traditions faced a challenge. In March, the Norwegian Immigrant Forum proposed that kids with foreign backgrounds be allowed to carry their ancestral homelands' flags in the Children's Parade. "We want to signal that Norway has become a multicultural society," explained the group's head, Athar Ali; other countries' flags, he said, would render the day "inclusive". In response, the official May 17 committee ruled that only Norwegian, Sami, and UN flags would be allowed – only to be overruled by Oslo mayor Fabian Stang, who declared all flags welcome.

A fierce debate ensued. Most Norwegians opposed Mayor Stang; elite types supported him – many arguing, perversely, that permitting other flags would aid integration. Noting that 35 percent of Oslo schoolchildren belong to ethnic minorities (the figure is actually higher), journalist Guri Hjeltnes said it would be a shame if they "couldn't leave their mark" on May 17 by waving foreign flags. She compared the committee's ruling to the ban on Norwegian flags during the Nazi occupation: "If you see or hear anyone on May 17 who hurls abuse at a child with another flag, another costume," she urged (as if the problems besetting Norway these days involved Norwegians attacking foreigners), "form a circle around the child and shout: 'hip hurrah!'"

Yes, bring on the Pakistani, Moroccan, and Turkish flags – to name some of the nations most heavily represented in Oslo's immigrant ranks. Why not? After all, many immigrant families in Oslo already send money to these lands, fetch spouses from them, build second homes in them. Many ship their kids to madrassas there so they can ‘learn Islamic values’ (and unlearn Norwegian ones). And Norway's government and media give every bit of it a big thumbs-up. So why not foreign flags, too? And so what if the flags most likely to pop up in an "inclusive" parade are those of countries where mobs torched Norwegian flags during the cartoon crisis – in some cases with the tacit approval of those countries' governments?

For all the rage over the Immigrant Forum's proposal, the main fact went virtually unspoken – namely, that this was all just one more encounter with soft jihad. Simply by making its proposal, the Immigrant Forum had moved the bar, shifted the terms of debate, nudged Norway a step closer to the day when the whole May 17 display will be ruled insensitive, racist, fascistic, destructive of multicultural values.

More on Durban II

Coming in April in Geneva...
During the most recent Durban II preparatory meetings in April and May, OIC members from Iran to Indonesia all insisted that freedom of expression is what causes Islamophobia. "The most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia," noted the Pakistani representative to the U.N., Marghoob Saleem Butt, on behalf of the OIC. "While it is expressed in the form of defamation of religion, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and opinion." Voicing the demands of the Muslim bloc and its many authoritarian leaders, Mr. Butt requested that the Durban process "devise normative standards that provide adequate guarantees" against the intolerance of Muslims promoted by these freedoms.

Human rights advocates worried about this threat to civil liberties have been voicing their concerns with little success. Juliette De Rivero, for example, the Human Rights Watch advocacy director in Geneva, raised the alarm in late April: "Justified concerns about the complex relationship of racial and religious intolerance and hatred should not be the pretext to undermine key freedoms, including freedom of speech," she told the conference organizers in Geneva.

The danger of the Durban process is that it seeks to shape international and national laws. If the OIC succeeds, a broad definition of "Islamophobia" will be incorporated into Durban II's final outcome document. Thereafter, expect U.N. bodies, such as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to call countries to task if they fail to implement these recommendations. Other organs of the international system will adopt and cite the Islamophobia definition as well, until it and its ill effects have migrated throughout the international system.

The Durban II recommendations, however, will not stop only at warping international standards on what constitutes Islamophobia -- the OIC aims to export its language into individual countries' domestic laws. The first point in a draft of the conference's final outcome document compels countries to pursue the "enactment of adequate legislation in line with [those] international standards." The same diplomatic draft paper identifies freedom of expression as a "main challenge and obstacle" to addressing contemporary forms of racism.

Hamilton Gay Pride is Shameful...

Shame on the Hamilton Gay Pride Festival - they have banned the Canadian military from participating...
Hamilton's gay pride festival says it banned the Canadian military this year over alleged human rights violations around the world.

The decision has ignited a controversy within the gay community.

Some gays claim the military has changed since it overturned it discriminatory policies against homosexuality in 1992.

The Canadian military has participated in the Hamilton festival for several years, with members marching in the parade and setting up recruiting booths.

Festival organizers say they banned the military this year because they received a complaint from a new Canadian who feared the military because of previous persecution by soldiers.
This is so ridiculous...shame on these organizers...they know not what they do.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Italian Foreign MInister admits EU anti-Israel....

Some interesting admissions from the new Italian Foreign Minister...
Italy's newly appointed foreign minister said Tuesday that the European Union has in the past taken an unbalanced stance on Israel, at times blurring the line between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitic sentiments.

Speaking before a forum on Israel-European relations in Berlin, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said: "I have to admit, if I look at the past, EU has taken on some occasions an unbalanced stance visa vis Israel, even by making an unacceptable confusion between the legitimate political criticism of the Israeli gut and the sentiment of intolerance against Jewish people that can become anti-Semitism."

Frattini, who was appointed by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is considered a supporter of Israel. His predecessor, Massimo D'Alema, often took a harsh line against Israel, particularly with regard to the Second Lebanon War and the situation in the Gaza Strip.

In his speech to the Israel-European forum, Frattini criticized the EU for delivering aid to Palestinian organizations which have incited against Israel.

"We ever found money given to NGOs close to Hamas using it to indoctrinates children against Israelis," he said, but added:

"Now things are changing completely. More awareness of the risk of growing anti-Semitism. Firmness vis a vis with Hamas. Support for the legitimate request of security of Israeli vis a vis the increasingly dangerous activities of Iran in the nuclear field."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Are we creating a white underclass????

This is from the UK - wouldn't it be great if Stats Canada could report on stuff like this -- oops, I forget, they would love to see a white underclass...
White teenagers are less likely to go to university than school-leavers from other ethnic groups - even with the same A-level results, according to official figures.

The gap is widest among male teenagers from poor backgrounds, raising fresh fears that working class boys are becoming the education "underclass" in England.

According to a Government report, just over one-in-20 white boys from poor homes goes on to university.

This compares to 66 per cent of Indian girls and 65 per cent of young women from Chinese families.

An analysis published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said the rise in the number of women going to university over the last 10 or 20 years "had made the performance of males look relatively dismal".

The report said many working class white boys dropped out of education at the earliest opportunity, aged 16.

Hypocrisy on energy....

The US needs to drill for oil off-shore and in Alaska...
Oil makes hypocrites of us all. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general who last year took office declaring that his main goal was to fight "man-made climate change", has spent most of his weekend in Jeddah attempting to persuade King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to ramp up the kingdom's oil production.

This is just the global edition of Gordon Brown's earlier plea to the Saudis to "do something" about the high price of oil; a remarkable display of diplomatic chutzpah from a man who, as Chancellor, spent a decade telling us that increasing the price of petrol on British forecourts through fiscal means was very much in the best interests of the whole planet.

Meanwhile the US Senate has threatened to launch a prosecution of OPEC for its alleged fixing of the world oil market, to the detriment of the American consumer. The American legislature's hypocrisy in this matter takes a different form to ours: the politicians who are now howling with rage about the shortage of oil supply are in essence the same people who have long blocked the oil industry from developing vast deposits both in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off their own coastline – about 80 per cent of the US continental shelf is out of bounds, on environmental grounds.

Where the hell is common sense???

The Children's Aid Society can look like fools sometimes...
A mother from Barrie, Ont., is demanding an apology after the Children's Aid Society launched an investigation into sexual abuse allegations that came from a psychic.

Colleen Leduc says her daughter Victoria's teaching assistant visited a psychic who asked if she taught a girl whose name started with the letter "V."

The psychic then went on to tell her that the 11-year-old, who is autistic and non-verbal, was being abused by a young man.

The assistant told school officials who in turn called in the Children's Aid Society.

Leduc says a Children's Aid official visited her home but closed the file and called the report "ridiculous."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did Bush make the world a safer place....

Oliver Kamm argues in the Guardian that he did....
When Bush ran for president in 2000 he was an isolationist advocate of scaling back America's overseas commitments. But after 9/11, he was right in not interpreting the attack as confirmation that America was stirring up trouble for itself. The theocratic barbarism responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers was driven not by what America and its allies had done, but by what we represented. In the words of Osama bin Laden, illegitimately appropriating for himself the mantel of Islam, "every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hate toward Americans, Jew, and Christians".

The most fundamental decision in western security policy in the past seven years has not been the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It has been the recognition that the most voluble adversaries of western society are not merely a criminal subculture, and still less an incipient liberation movement. Rather, they are a reactionary, millenarian and atavistic force with whom accommodation is impossible as well as intensely undesirable.

The grand strategy pursued by the US under Bush has overestimated the plasticity of the international order, but it has got one big thing right. There is an integral connection between the terrorism that targets western societies and the autocratic states in which Islamist fanaticism is incubated. Bush is culpable for much that went wrong after the overthrow of Saddam, but the outlook for Iraq has changed fundamentally owing to his decision to appoint General David Petraeus and pursue a confrontational strategy with al-Qaida in Iraq.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Islam is a moderate, soft religion.."

That's what they's how they would be soft in Malaysia...
A leader of Malaysia's Islamist party, which made surprising gains in March elections, wants its secular allies to apply strict sharia law, which include amputations and stonings for Muslims.

The hardline Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) has enacted such laws in its Kelantan stronghold to punish rapists and adulterers with stoning to death, while thieves would lose their limbs.

However, the country's Federal government has barred PAS from enforcing the laws.

PAS and other opposition parties wrested control of five of Malaysia's 13 states in the March election as voters punished the ruling coalition for concerns ranging from rising crime to racial tensions.

But analysts have said it would be tough for PAS to broaden its appeal due to its advocacy of the punishments called for by strict Muslim religious law, known as sharia or hudud, which scare off non-Muslims who see the party as a fundamentalist clique.

"Islam is a moderate, soft religion," PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat told Reuters late last week in the northeastern state of Kelantan, the party's stronghold for the past 18 years.

Shame on Janice Kennedy

Janice Kennedy is a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. Here is her Father's Day column.

Here's what she had to say about her father:
Since I cannot mark Father's Day (my father having died 23 years ago this weekend), I haul out fond memories of him instead. I also consider what a fine dad my husband has been to our three grown kids -- including two feminist daughters of a feminist mother. They will be celebrating him today.
That's it. The rest of her column is a raging screed about how fair feminists are and how unfair we are to criticize them. Geez...on the one day of the her to honour fathers, Janice Kennedy can only think of feminists.

Towards the end of the article she claims the following:
Despite truckloads of welcome progress, women today are still behind the eight-ball in a world where men call most of the shots. Check the male-to-female ratio in government and the corporate world. Look at the poverty and wage gap statistics. Take an honest look at domestic homicides and violence against women (without -- oh, please -- trying to skew the issue with the obscene claim that women are as bad as men). Listen to the gender-specific hatred (Hillary Clinton could give you a few examples) that still rises to the surface in gender-neutral situations. Consider the lives of women in distant repressive societies where to be female is to be in danger.
Ony the last sentence is true. The male-to-female ratio in government has nothing to do with discrmination - it has more to do with career choices. The wage gap goes away when you factor in part-time work, experience, education, etc. The poverty gap - gee, has she ever noticed that 90% of the homeless are men? Or, noticed that there are over 500 shelters for women in Canada and not one for me? And, Hillary Clinton trotted out the race card when it suited her fancy!

Shame on you Janice! You could have written a fine article about the men in your life. But no, on Father's Day, you chose to talk feminism. Shame.

A Chinese Restaurant opens in Baghdad...

Surely, this is the biggest sign of progress, no?
Despite a bomb blast that rattled windows and sent a panicked co-worker scurrying back to China, Baghdad's sole Chinese restaurant has defied the odds to keep its doors open.

Cao Lu and his partner Yang Chunxia, operators of the "China Restaurant", have brushed off the violence that continues to rock the Iraqi capital daily with a dash of Zen-like stoicism.

"Every place in the world is the same, people need to live and make a living. Baghdad is no different," Cao, 46, told AFP inside his two-table restaurant that he began operating about six months ago.

"My objective is the same, just to make enough money to get by," said the laid-off steel factory worker from northern China who until two years ago had never left his country.

"My path was this one -- to come to Baghdad, this is the road that opened to me."

Short of staff, lunch time is busy as the eatery the size of a bathroom with red Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling and posters of kung fu film stars Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee on the walls, fills with Iraqi patrons.

Cao and Lu, shorthanded since another colleague left following a nearby bomb attack last month, sweat profusely as they take orders, shake large woks on the fiery stove and then clean up.

Business is not hugely profitable but is a steady 40 to 50 US dollars a day, or four times what Cao made at his factory and enough to consider expanding operations -- perhaps with an Iraqi partner.

How carbon credits work....

A nice example from India...
It is not often that this column praises the BBC, but hats off to Mark Gregory, a World Service business correspondent, who recently reported (in the middle of the night) on how a UN scheme to save the planet is working in India.

Under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism, a small chemical firm in rural Rajasthan received 3.8 million "carbon credits" to burn off greenhouse gases that are a by-product of those used in fridges. Over the next decade the company will be able to sell these for a staggering $500 million to firms in the developed world, so they can continue "polluting".

Yet, as the company cheerfully explained, it would have bought the incinerator used to burn off those gases anyway. In other words, the $500 million is a free gift, handed over to achieve precisely nothing. Hardly surprisingly, 3,000 more firms are queuing up to join a bonanza already worth $10 billion a year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The BBC get it backwards...

But, then what else could you expect from the BBC?
BBC bosses have defended the grisly beheading of a Muslim by a Christian zealot in new drama Bonekickers.

In the bloody scene, ex-EastEnder Paul Nicholls plays a fundamentalist who decapitates a Muslim with a sword.

Producer Rhonda Smith said: "It's not meant to be shocking or to cause offence and it comes very much from the storyline."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hurrah for Norway!!!!

Same-sex marriage is now legal!
Same sex partners will now be able marry as the Norwegian parliament passed a new marriage law on Wednesday. Adoption will be easier and lesbian couples will qualify for state funded fertility treatment.

Conservative religious groups have tried to mobilize opposition against the new law. They worry about the status of marriage in Norway. Progress Party members are concerned about how children will cope with same sex marriages.

Despite efforts from these opponents, the law passed by a two thirds majority.

Text books that are 'troubling'....

The headline uses the word, 'troubling'. Could a milder word be used? These text books are fucking scary...
Textbooks at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation released Wednesday.

Other passages in the school's textbooks state that "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people" and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed "polytheists."

The passages were found in selected textbooks used during the 2007-08 school year by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax and receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.

Insulting gays SHOULD NOT BE a crime...

I hate what this pastor Stephen Boisson says, but so what? Why on earth can't he say these things???? Once again, Ezra Levant is right...
Rev. Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate, in which he denounced homosexuality in no uncertain terms. A local teacher — who wasn’t gay — filed a complaint with Alberta’s human rights commission, claiming that Rev. Boissoin and the newspaper were “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” The newspaper accepted a plea bargain, but Rev. Boissoin didn’t. So, like everyone else charged with that vague offence, he was found guilty. His punishment was announced two weeks ago.

It’s right out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Lori Andreachuk, the human rights commissioner who issued the order, started off by acknowledging that “there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward.”

The complainant was the town scold, an anti-Christian activist named Darren Lund with an axe to grind. Andreachuk’s first order was that “Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.”

So a busybody with no standing spends his time filing complaints — and gets a tax-free reward for doing so. For his “suffering” — not at the hands of Rev. Boission, but “as a result of his complaint.” People in Red Deer ridiculed Lund for being a tattle-tale and a censor — as they should. But Rev. Boissoin must pay for that.

Her order continued: “Mr. Boissoin … shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.”

Boissoin can never communicate anything “disparaging” about gays again. It’s a lifetime ban — and it applies to every conceivable medium, including his private e-mails and public sermons.
Ezra Levant deserves an order of Canada for his work against the Human Rights Kangaroo Courts. Thank you Ezra!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

10 Green Heresies...

A good article in Wired about 10 Green Heresies...

The authors support the idea of human-induced global warming....but offer some hard truths for environmentalists..

1. Live in Cities. Urban living is kinder to the planet than the suburban lifestyle.

2. A/C is OK. Air-conditining actually emits less CO2 than heating.

3. Organics are not the answer. Surprise! Conventional agriculture can be easier on the plant.

4. Farm the Forests. Old-growth forests can actually contribute to global warming.

5. China is the solution. The people's republic leads the way in alternative-energy hardware.

6. Accept genetic engineering. Superefficient Frankencrops could put a real dent in Greenhouse gas emissions.

7. Carbon trading doesn't work. Carbon credits were a great idea, but the benefits are illusory.

8. Embrace nuclear power. Face it, Nukes are the most climate-friendly industrial-scale form of energy.

9. Use cars - not hybrids. Don't buy the new Prius! Test-drive a used car instead.

10. Prepare for the worst: Climate change in inevitable. Get used to it.

Britain's huge electrical problem....

Governments have to think 20+ years into the future...does Ontario face the same problem???
Every day we hear that Britain is facing a 'fuel crisis'. The world oil price breaks records every week. The cost of petrol and gas soars. Foreign suppliers of gas and oil are holding Britain to ransom and charging exorbitant prices. The average family, we are told, faces fuel bills of £1,500 a year.

Yet all this pales into insignificance compared with the real energy crisis roaring down on Britain with the speed of a bullet train as, within six or seven years, we stand to lose 40 per cent of all our existing electricity-generating capacity.

Thanks to decades of neglect and wishful thinking by successive governments - and now the devastating impact of a directive from Brussels - we are about to see 17 of our major power stations forced to close, leaving us with a massive shortfall.

Even after 2010, the experts say our power stations cannot be guaranteed to provide us with a continuous supply, meaning that we face the possibility of power cuts far worse than those which recently - largely unreported - blacked out half-a-million homes.

By 2015, when the power stations which meet two-fifths of our current electricity needs have gone out of business, we could be facing the most serious disruption to our power supplies since the 'three-day week' of the 1970s.

But the impact of such power cuts on the Britain of today would be far more damaging than they were in the time of Edward Heath 35 years ago.

Compared with then, our dependence on continuous electricity supplies is infinitely greater - thanks, above all, to our reliance on computers.

We are no longer talking just about factories shutting down or lighting our homes with candles. Without computers, our entire economy would grind to a halt.

Scarcely an office, shop, bank or hospital in the land would be able to function. Our railway system would be immobilised. Road traffic would be in chaos as traffic lights ceased to operate and petrol stations closed down.

Yet this is the scale of the catastrophe which may be facing us, thanks to the failure of government to give Britain a proper energy policy.

Scaremongering? Just look at the hard facts. At the moment, to meet Britain's peak electricity demand, our power stations need to provide a minimum 56 gigawatts (GW) of capacity.

Ten gigawatts, nearly a fifth, comes from our ageing nuclear power stations, all but one of which are so old that over the next few years they will have reached the end of their useful working life.

On top of that, however, we shall also have to shut down nine more major power stations - six coal-fired, three oil-fired - forced to close by the crippling cost of complying with an EU anti-pollution law, the so- called Large Combustion Plants directive.

This will take out another 13GW of capacity, bringing the total shortfall to 22GW - a staggering 40 per cent of the 56GW we have today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wilders speech to Danish Parliament

An important speech from the 6th of June. There is a link on the web page to view the video.
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very honoured indeed to have been invited by the Danish Free Press Society to speak in the Danish Parliament, the heart of Danish democracy.

As you may know, the title of my short film about the Koran and Islam is Fitna. Fitna is an Arabic word with many meanings. The most common translation is ‘ordeal’ or ‘trial’. The name Fitna symbolises my view that Islam is the ordeal with which the free West is currently confronted. Are we prepared to defend our achievements, such as the equality of men and women, of heterosexuals and homosexuals as well as the separation of Church and State? I would like to throw some light today on the question of whether the Netherlands and Europe will be able to face that ordeal and stand the test. I will also address the question of why I made Fitna, and relate to you some of the reactions to my film as well as some of my personal circumstances. Lastly, I will offer you some thoughts on the future for freedom and democracy in Europe.

Let me first explain to you why I made Fitna.

It is an indisputable fact that the Netherlands and Europe are in the process of being Islamised. For those who still doubt whether this is actually so, let me give you a few figures. In 1909, a century ago now, there were fifty-four Muslims living in the Netherlands, in 1960 there were thirteen hundred and ninety-nine, in 1990 four hundred and fifty eight thousand, and currently about one million. In France approximately ten percent of the population are Muslims. A total of fifty-four million Muslims live in Europe. In less than half a century the number of Muslims has increased considerably in practically all of Europe. Within a few decades the street scenes in Europe, particularly in the densely populated parts, have drastically changed. In countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark headscarves and burkahs have now become integrated and are part of our daily experience.

However, the Islamisation of Europe encompasses much more than that. It also affects the European achievements of the last century. It is sad to see that the equality of men and women in the Europe of 2008 is under pressure. Take for example the rise in the number of honour killings, or attempts to introduce sharia wills and testaments – which award women with half of what men receive – or the refusal by radical Muslims to shake hands with women. The same applies to the equality of heterosexuals and homosexuals. In Amsterdam, once the gay capital of the world, gay men are regularly beaten up, not infrequently by Moroccans.

In trying to find an explanation for the Islamic intolerance and hatred against our whole way of life and the West as such, some take the view that it must be the result of the prior European colonisation of the Arabic-Muslim world. Others name the American-British attack on the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a possible cause. Poverty in the Muslim world is also frequently mentioned. However, in my opinion, none of these factors really explains the issue.

I am convinced that the explanation is Islam as such. The core of Islam is the seventh-century Koran, as well as the life of the prophet Mohammed. The Koran is very different from the Bible, in that it contains commands and injunctions that are neither place- nor time-bound. This means that the calls to Muslims to kill non-Muslims (to be found, for example, in sura 4 verse 89 and sura 47 verse 4), or to terrorise non-Muslims (sura 8 verse 60), as well as the duty to wage war (for example, sura 8 verse 39) – in other words, the jihad – apply directly to the Muslims of today. The judgment on the Jews which the Koran delivers up to three times (sura 2 verse 65, sura 5 verse 60 and sura 7 verse 166), namely that they are monkeys and pigs, is not time-bound either, so it applies equally in 2008.

I have read the Koran several times now and every time I come to the conclusion that the Koran calls for hatred, violence, submission, murder and terrorism, and, moreover, that this is not confined to the seventh century either. Again and again I come to the conclusion that the Koran is not only a book of war, but that there is an inseparable connection between the Koran and Islam as such, and the atrocities committed by Muslims.

Apart from the Koran, the life of the Prophet Mohammed plays a crucial part as well. Mohammed was involved in a large number of bloody wars, anywhere between twenty-five and thirty of them. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, especially in his Medina-time, how he had enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed ruled over Mecca and Medina and subsequently the entire Arabic peninsula. The brave apostate Wafa Sultan said: “The problem is that de Koran clearly says that Mohammed should be a role model for every Muslim. You are not allowed to criticise him, but you should follow in his footsteps. As a Muslim it is your mission to spread Islam by the sword”.

In fact Islam is an ideology rather than a religion. It is a system that lays down rules and regulations for socio-political life. Islamic law, the sharia, not only legislates in criminal matters but also, for example, in the areas of personal and family law. The Belgian Professor of Islamic Studies, Urbain Vermeulen, once said that Islam is ten percent religion and ninety percent ideology. Of course, there is nothing wrong with ideologies as such, take liberalism for example. But an ideology is wrong if it is totalitarian. As a matter of fact, Islamic ideology shows striking similarities with communism and fascism. One could mention its anti-democratic character, the will to exercise total control over social life and the use of violence to subject dissenters. In fact, the Islamic ideology is totalitarian in character. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy. I want to emphasize that I am not talking about the people, the Muslims, but about the Islamic ideology.

I have warned against the dangers of the Koran and Islam in numerous interviews, opinion articles, speeches and, of course parliamentary debates, but a single picture often says more than a thousand words. That is why I decided last year to put my views on Islam and the Koran into a short film. This resulted in the Fitna premiere at the end of March. Without putting all Muslims into the same category, I hope I have succeeded in showing that the Koran is not some dusty old book, but that it is used today as a source of inspiration for, and justification of, hatred, violence and terrorism in the world; in Europe, in the Netherlands and in Denmark.

That brings me to responses to Fitna in the Netherlands and other countries. It became known in November of last year that I was working on a film about the Koran and Islam. From that day onwards the Netherlands – its politicians in particular – was in uproar. A prominent member of the Dutch Christian Democratic Party, the largest government party, said I was an evil that should be stopped. An extremely left-wing group tried to stage a mass demonstration against me in Amsterdam. A spokesperson for the Dutch branch of the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir cried out that the Netherlands was due for an attack. A Dutch Islamic organisation went to court, trying to prevent Fitna from being shown, but fortunately did not get its way. Significantly, not a single Dutch broadcasting organisation had the courage to broadcast Fitna in its entirety.

The reactions were not confined to the Netherlands. Outside the Netherlands there was uproar as well. The Taliban threatened to organise additional attacks against Dutch troops in Afghanistan, a website linked to Al Qaeda contained the message that I ought to be killed, while various muftis in Syria and Jerusalem stated that I would be responsible for all the bloodshed after the screening of the film. Even NATO’s Secretary General was critical about Fitna, without even having seen one single second of it.

If any criticism is uttered about Islam it immediately meets with the most intolerant responses from the Islamic world; whether it is Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, or the film Submission by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh, or the Pope who quotes a Byzantine emperor about Islam, or Kurt Westergaard’s cartoons, or indeed Fitna. Many Muslims appear to be far more concerned about criticism to their ideology than about the heinous crimes committed in the name of Islam.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs called on me to abandon the film project, as did the chairman of the same parliamentary party. The Minister of Justice let it be known that post hoc criminal proceedings could be initiated if the film was shown, which was also the opinion of the leader of the Dutch Labour Party, who is also a member of the cabinet. The Government even investigated the possibility of having Fitna banned in advance.

The Dutch Prime Minister called on the French President Sarkozy, the Danish Prime Minister and many others for assistance, while letters were sent to all Dutch municipalities stating that riots might occur after the screening of Fitna. Police commanders received a letter stating that the police, after Fitna had been screened, should register all reports against me, regardless of whether an offence had been committed or not. Everywhere in the country mayors of towns and cities held emergency meetings on the impending screening of my film. Dutch embassies in Islamic countries were requested to take far-reaching precautionary measures and draw up evacuation plans. The Prime Minister talked about a serious crisis and potential attacks.

The Dutch Government’s reaction prior to the showing of the film undoubtedly created fear in the Dutch population; all because of a fifteen-minute film that had not even been shown up to then. But even after the release of Fitna the Dutch Government continued this behaviour. On the evening when Fitna was screened the Prime Minister muttered something in a brief statement about freedom of expression, followed by a long and serious statement about offending and insulting citizens and a statement to the effect that the Dutch Government regretted the showing of Fitna.

Unfortunately, reactions in certain parts of the Islamic world were different. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the Dutch flag was burnt on repeated occasions, as well as your beautiful flag because of the newly flared up commotion about the Danish cartoons. In addition, dolls depicting me were burnt. The Indonesian President Yudhoyono announced that I will never be admitted into Indonesia again, while the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, and the European Union issued cowardly statements in the same vein as those made by the Dutch Government. I could go on and on. It was an absolute disgrace.

Prime Minister Balkenende should, of course, unconditionally have defended freedom of speech. Instead, he chose to give in to Islamic and politically correct pressure. Fortunately, the reaction of the Muslim community in the Netherlands was in general a lot more mature than the Government’s, which led me to issue a sincerely meant compliment to that community.

Fitna was a success nevertheless. Tens of millions op people from all over the world watched it. However, in making Fitna I also tried to initiate an in-depth debate about the inherent dangers of Islam. Unfortunately such a debate has mostly failed to materialise so far, the more so because all invitations on my part to a debate with representatives from Muslim organisations, as well as imams and ‘ordinary’ Muslims were rejected. I invited six imams, three moderate and three radical, for a public debate with me, all of them rejected the offer. I can only conclude that they do not want a debate.

Prior to the showing of Fitna, in an article on the opinion pages of a Dutch newspaper I posed the question how the Dutch government would have react if I had not announced a film about the Koran and Islam, but instead a film about the Bible and Christianity. The answer is obvious; nothing would have happened at all. The government would not have taken such precautionary measures, there would have not been fears of widespread riots.

In the Netherlands, it is not Prime Minister Balkenende’s government that is ruling the country, but the fear of Islam. And that is still the case after Fitna was shown. For example, the Minister of Justice announced more stringent measures against blasphemy. And recently a Dutch cartoonist was arrested in a raid by no fewer than ten policemen; an ominous precedent as well as a boundary crossed. That, in short, is the Netherlands in 2008. It seems as if the German Democratic Republic is being resurrected in the Low Countries. In fact, it is not only Islam that will be our undoing, but also culture relativism and self-censorship on the part of a politically correct elite. Let me give you one other telling example of culture relativism in the Netherlands: there is no Dutch flag present in the Dutch parliament, but we do have the Koran. It is right there on the desk of our Madam Speaker! It is a topsy-turvy world. Let us get rid of the Koran and bring in our national flag!
Differently from what some of you might expect, my views on the Koran and Islam are not particularly original from a historical perspective. None other than Winston Churchill wrote the following in 1898: “Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step…the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome”. Later he wrote about Hitler’s Mein Kampf, “It is the new Koran of faith and war: Bombastic, tedious, formless, but full of its own message”. Not only Churchill but also social democrats used to have a more honest image of Islam. For example, the Dutch social democrat and intellectual Jacques de Kadt wrote in 1939 that national socialism is the new Islam. And my great hero, the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci said: “A moderate Islam does not exist. It does not exist because there is no difference between Good Islam and Bad Islam. There is Islam and that it the end of it. Islam is the Koran, and nothing other than the Koran. And the Koran is the Mein Kampf of a religion that desires to eliminate others- non –Muslims-who are called infidel dogs, and inferior creatures. Read the Koran, that Mein Kampf, yet again. In whatever version and you will see that the evil which the sons of Allah against us and themselves has perpetrated comes from that book". Wise and true words…
I am often asked how I deal with all the criticisms and threats. Criticisms about my views on Islam do not bother me much, because such criticisms are practically always uttered by those who have never read a page of the Koran or the Iranian Islamic Penal Code. Criticisms like that are water off a duck’s back to me. What does penetrate my soul is when I am called a racist, a fascist, a xenophobe, an extreme right-winger, or when I am likened to Adolf Hitler, or comparisons are made with the Second World War. Whereas Nazism and fascism destroyed freedom and democracy, I am trying to strengthen freedom and democracy, to defend and protect these fundamental aspects of our lives with all the power that is in me against all the things that threaten them. And the personal threats affect me every time, one never gets used to them. In my fight for freedom, I have sacrificed my own freedom, but I’m not complaining about that because I have a mission. I do complain about the fact that our government squanders our freedom by not standing up to Islam.

Allow me now to present some thoughts about the future of freedom and democracy in Europe. It is my opinion that wherever Islam arrives decline sets in and elementary rights are threatened. Freedom and democracy lose ground as Islam advances. Hammond explains which rights and freedoms get lost as Islam gains in influence in a society. Hammond describes and predicts the following process. When the Muslim population is about five percent, as is the case in some West European countries, Muslims will exercise a disproportionate influence on society. With the percentage of Muslims rising slightly, they will demand that they do not have to comply as such with all the legislation of the country involved, and will demand that in certain areas sharia must be implemented. When the number of Muslims reaches ten percent of the population, massive lawlessness will develop amongst them, with discrimination by the original population as an excuse, witness the riots in the Paris banlieu. Non-Muslims who utter criticisms of Islam will be threatened at this stage. From forty percent upwards – such as is the case in Bosnia and Lebanon – there will be terror. From eighty percent upwards, the state itself will take care of cleansing, according to Hammond.

Hammond’s analysis does not bode well for the future. Whether Hammond is right in every detail I do not know, but it is a fact that there is no Islamic country in the world where freedom prevails, with a genuine democracy and a constitutional state, where there is freedom of speech, where human rights are respected, or where Church and State are separate. It is a matter of fact that the Islamic world trails behind the free West on all fronts – socio-economically, politically, scientifically, militarily and so on. It must surely be the case that Islam plays at least a role in all this. Also, it must be for a good reason that people from Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq and Afghanistan massively emigrate to the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Denmark, and not the other way round.

It is regularly held against me by my political opponents that, although I identify the problems connected with the Islamisation of the Netherlands and Europe, I fail to advance solutions to these problems. However, that is a false impression of the true state of affairs. I do advance solutions, but these are not solutions that match those favoured by the political elite; they are not solutions the political elite wants to hear. My political opponents believe that the problems associated with Islamisation and mass immigration can be solved by entering into dialogue with the self-appointed elite of the Islamic community – which does not tend to be in touch with conditions of the Islamic underclass – and by demanding minimal entry requirements for immigrants. By giving room to Islam, they seek to solve the existing problems in our society. In fact, giving room to Islam is the worst thing they could have done.

My solution for the problems is twofold: first, immigration from Islamic countries must be stopped, whereby I note that, for example, a gay Muslim from Iran who is persecuted in that country must, of course, be granted political asylum. Secondly, I advocate support for all forms of voluntary repatriation to the countries of origin. I am convinced that only these two clear and honest measures will counteract the Islamisation of the Netherlands and Europe. Besides that we should not allow more mosques to be built, close down Islamic schools and outlaw the Koran.

Some may ask, Is the Netherlands still a free country? It is not free when the Minister of Foreign Affairs calls on its maker not to show a film. It is not free when a democratically chosen people’s representative runs the risk of being politically persecuted. It is not free when the Minister of Justice announces more stringent measures against blasphemy. It is not free when an opinion poll reveals that many citizens do not dare to speak out in public about Islam, immigration and similar issues. It is not free when a cartoonist is arrested by ten policemen for producing drawings. It is not free when an art photographer has to go into hiding in London for producing art photographs. It is not free when Muslims complain about construction workers because they wear short trousers in the blistering sun. It is not free when paintings depicting partially nude women are removed from a Dutch town hall because of Muslim complaints. The Dutch government did not only capitulate for Islam, but her behaviour could even be seen as betrayal to our culture.

I am afraid that the Netherlands is becoming less and less a country of freedom and increasingly more of a country of fear under the guise of tolerance. And I am convinced that this problem arises not only in the Netherlands, but in the whole of Europe, and indeed in the whole Western world.

I come to the conclusion that there is a lack of leadership in the free West. Leadership to defend our freedom on behalf of us and our children. The political elites governing Western countries are themselves governed by fear. Fear of facing the truth. Fear of letting go the still prevalent ideology of cultural relativism. Fear of fighting for freedom of speech, particularly when the message expresses an inconvenient truth or is delivered by somebody with a critical or satirical view of Islam. Our freedom is being bargained away.

The ruling elite is afraid of losing the growing support of Islamic voters, afraid of the economic consequences of an anti-Islamisation policy, afraid of being less popular with the other dhimmi government leaders in the European Council. But we all know that fear is a bad counsellor. Rather than preserving our freedom, fear and political correctness will in the long term cost us our hard-won freedom.

Respectable democratic parties which aim to fight Islamisation and which aim to defend our freedoms will have to join forces to provide a counterweight. They will have to collaborate more intensively. Only then will the European wall be able to stem the Islamic tide of war. I would like to take the initiative to bring those parties together.

If we are not prepared to defend our way of life, Europe will in the long term be transformed into Eurabia. We owe it to our children to defend our freedom. As I said we have to defend our way of life, civilization and culture. Part of our way of life is the separation of Church and State. Nearly a year ago, our minister of integration said that she could envision a future Dutch society being based on a Christian-Judaic-Islamic tradition. I told her, in parliament, that in my opinion she was insane. I followed the recent Danish discussion about judges wearing headscarves. And I want to say this: If a Dutch minister would say that politicians should not interfere in the discussion about judges wearing headscarves, by which the minister in fact pleads in favour of judges wearing headscarves, I would call him or her insane as well.

But fortunately, there is some hope because a growing number of Dutch citizens are getting annoyed with their government because it refuses to put a stop to the ever advancing Islamisation of the Dutch society. There is a tremendous gap between the attitude of the political elite vis-à-vis the Islamisation of our societies on the one hand and the attitude of ‘ordinary citizens’ on the other. A recent representative poll showed that no fewer than six out of ten Dutch citizens view Islam as a threat to our culture, while another six out of ten Dutch citizens see mass immigration as the greatest political mistake since the Second World War. No less than forty-four percent of Dutch citizens are of the opinion that Islam seeks to destroy our Western civilisation. The fears of these people deserve to be taken seriously by our government.

I plead with my heart and soul for the defence and protection of our Western civilisation. We will have to go all out to defend our freedom. In saying this I do not only advocate measures to stop immigration and to promote voluntary repatriation. It would also be worth a lot to me if more honest methods of history teaching could be applied in the education of our children. We will have to warn coming generations and convince them of the dangers that are posed by Islam. Let us face the truth that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Indeed, Wafa Sultan speeks the truth; the Islamic culture and ideology is backward, primitive and full of barbarism.

Let us put the current mass immigration from the Islamic world into Europe in a historical perspective and assess the words of Mr Erdogan, the current Prime Minister of Turkey at their true value. He cited a poem with the following text, “The minarets of mosques are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our soldiers”. Please let these words sink in for a moment. We must give our children an honest picture of the clash between the West and Islam, in the words of Wafa Sultan: “It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.”

Let me wind up by repeating what I said at the beginning of my talk. Fitna, the title of my film, means ordeal or trial. Islam is the ordeal with which the West is faced, and Fitna is a trial that will test the extent to which we value our freedom of expression. I truly hope that the Netherlands and Europe will be able to stand that test. In that spirit, let me end by giving you my favourite quote from George Orwell, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

Thank you

Monday, June 09, 2008

Honor-related violence in Sweden.....

It's widespread....shouldn't Stats Canada be reporting on this???
Honour-related violence is rampant across the country, according to a new study by Sveriges Radio.

Nearly 60 percent of the country’s social services have helped victims of honour violence or those threatened with honour violence to hide themselves.

75 percent of the country’s social services answered a survey from Sveriges Radio. Seven of ten responded that they had dealt with cases involving honour-related violence.

Oil shortage a myth.....

A contrarian view to the current orthodoxy...
There is more than twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say, according to a former industry adviser who claims there is widespread misunderstanding of the way proven reserves are calculated.

Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked and proven reserves have sunk to roughly half of original amounts, this idea is based on flawed thinking, said Richard Pike, a former oil industry man who is now chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Current estimates suggest there are 1,200 billion barrels of proven global reserves, but the industry's internal figures suggest this amounts to less than half of what actually exists.

The misconception has helped boost oil prices to an all-time high, sending jitters through the market and prompting calls for oil-producing nations to increase supply to push down costs.

Flying into Japan for a summit two days after prices reached a record $139 a barrel, energy ministers from the G8 countries yesterday discussed an action plan to ease the crisis.

Explaining why the published estimates of proven global reserves are less than half the true amount, Dr Pike said there was anecdotal evidence that big oil producers were glad to go along with under-reporting of proven reserves to help maintain oil's high price. "Part of the oil industry is perfectly familiar with the way oil reserves are underestimated, but the decision makers in both the companies and the countries are not exposed to the reasons why proven oil reserves are bigger than they are said to be," he said.

Iraq seems to be on track.....

I think history will be a lot kinder on George Bush...
America has won, or is about to win, the Iraq war.

The latest proof came last month, as the Iraqi army - just a few months ago the target of scorn and abuse from Democratic politicians and journalists - forcefully reoccupied three cities that had served as key insurgency bases (Basra, Sadr City and Mosul).

Sunnis and Shias alike applauded as their nation's army compelled insurgent militias to lay down their arms. The country's leading opposition newspaper, Azzaman, led the applause for the move into Mosul - a sign that national reconciliation in Iraq is under way and probably irreversible.

US combat deaths in May also were down to 20, the lowest monthly total since February 2004. The toll for May 2007 was 121.

In a Washington Post interview, CIA Director Michael Hayden said we're witnessing the "near strategic defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq."

The Bush administration has taken heaps of abuse for its Iraq policy, including its decision to launch the "surge" last December. Now the strategy, which our nation's "best and brightest" regularly dismissed as a failure, has cleared the way for the establishment of a secure democracy in Iraq and a lasting peace.

It would be foolish to pop open the victory champagne yet. The truce between the Shia and Sunni in Iraq remains fragile; al Qaeda may well launch one more last-ditch offensive there (a la Tet 1968), in order to discourage the US and/or Iraq publics on the eve of the elections.

Meanwhile, we're still fighting a vicious insurgency in Afghanistan, and have yet to root out the al Qaeda remnants of along the Afghan-Pakistan border. And the continued threat of home-grown terror cells keeps European governments nervous.

In wars, however, trends have their own momentum. And the trend is running away from al Qaeda and its jihadist allies - not only in Iraq but also across the Middle East.

According to Hayden, al Qaeda faces a similar strategic debacle in Saudi Arabia.

And al Qaeda's fugitive leadership is learning that its former safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border is no longer so safe. Thanks to cooperation with Pakistan's new government, unmanned US Predator drones recently killed two top al Qaeda leaders there.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Al Gore set to poison opera too...

Opera lovers are now going to get a huge dose of Al Gore....lucky them...
THE home of grand opera will soon be staging a different kind of tragedy. La Scala in Milan has commissioned a musical version of An Inconvenient Truth, the apocalyptic eco-documentary presented by Al Gore, the former American vice-president.

Gore will be replaced on stage by a cast of tenors and at least one soprano as the story of man-made climate change is told. The makers believe this format will be more suited to the 230-year-old opera house than the graph-heavy lectures given by Gore in his Oscar-winning 2006 film.

Gore, 60, will pick up a writing credit for his part in the work when it is performed in the opera house that hosted the premieres of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Verdi’s Nabucco. He and his wife, Tipper, will also be at the premiere.

The music is being written by Giorgio Battistelli, whose past operas include works based on the Frankenstein story and on the writings of Jules Verne. The composer believes an operatic treament of Gore’s film will allow people to see the dangers facing the world in a new light.

“Opera makes you reflect. Artists make you see things differently,” he said. “When we see a painting by Francis Bacon or a film by Sydney Pollack, we get a very precise idea of the problems of our century.”

The work is scheduled to be performed in 2011 as part of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. “I thought it could be a good idea to deal on this important occasion with a subject that involves not only Italy but the world,” Battistelli, 55, added. “It will be about the tragedy of our present situation. It is a great challenge to write an opera on such an unusual subject. It is certainly not the story of Romeo and Juliet.”

Ahmadinejad's fun trip to Rome....

Good - it was a total disaster for him....
Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the food crisis summit in Rome on June 3 ended in failure as the Iranian president united the entire Italian political class against himself. His inflammatory rhetoric found no audience as even the left was appalled by his hysterical anti-Israel outbursts.

Ahmadinejad had to take the first blow before his ill-fated journey had even begun. A week ahead of the summit the Iranian leader had asked for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican kept him waiting for some time and then announced on Saturday that no such meeting would take place. Prior to that, Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and foreign minister Franco Frattini had already declared that they would have no time for a meeting with Ahmadinejad.

Unable to arrange a high-profile encounter in Rome, the Iranian president managed to make headlines by yet again asserting his desire to destroy Israel. This turned out to be a strategic mistake. It forced all parts of the political spectrum to express their dismay at Ahmadinejad’s visit. The Iranian president’s message was so blunt and uncompromising that even critics of Israel felt the need to come to its defense.

Before taking off to Rome Ahmadinajed affirmed that “Israel is now at its end and will soon be wiped out from the maps of the earth.” As if that were not enough he also predicted that “the time for the fall and the annihilation of the satanic power of the United States has begun.” His vitriol mobilized anti-Mullah activists in Italy. On the day of the summit two main protests were organized; one taking place in the afternoon on the Spanish Steps and the other on the Capitol Hill in front of the mayor’s office in the evening.

The mayor, Gianni Alemanno, himself, spoke against Ahmadinejad’s presence in the eternal city and he was followed by many prominent exponents of both the center-right and center-left. It was not only the Jewish community in Rome and supporters of the state of Israel who joined the protests. Also present were Iranian dissidents, trade unionists, gay associations, human rights groups as well as many other people who demonstrated against the autocratic nature and nuclear ambitions of the regime.