Friday, October 28, 2005

Is Toronto growing more divided by race and economics?

Andrew Chung:

On the heels of a summer of gun violence, a pioneering American expert on segregation and its social ills warns that Toronto is heading the way of U.S. cities, where segregation still approaches that of South Africa during apartheid.

Douglas Massey told a University of Toronto audience of 200 last night that Toronto is becoming increasingly segregated along racial and economic lines, at levels social scientists would consider more than worrying.

"They're not yet the conditions in American inner cities," Massey, a sociologist at Princeton University, said in an interview. "But there are troubling indicators Toronto is moving in the direction of segregation and a concentration of poverty.

"Some alarm bells probably should be going off," he added.

For more than 20 years, Massey has studied and helped define segregation, and he is the renowned authority on measuring it. He has testified before Congress on the subject.

Segregation leads to all sorts of social problems, especially a deepening poverty that perpetuates violence, stress and health issues.

Looking at Toronto data since 1981, mostly census figures, Massey found that segregation of visible minorities — especially blacks — is rising, as are poverty and class segregation. Blacks are more and more prone to live in neighbourhoods with other blacks, and increasingly with other minorities.

"When you put these things together, a geographic concentration of poverty is a likely outcome. That leads to a self-perpetuating cycle that we see in the United States," Massey said.

Segregation in Canada does not approach the extreme divisions seen in the U.S., where 70 per cent of urban blacks remain "hypersegregated" — isolated in all-black neighbourhoods in the most disadvantaged parts of a city — or highly segregated in conditions that mimic those produced by apartheid in South Africa.

Some segregation may be voluntary. But black segregation in Toronto, Massey argues, is now at levels where such explanations are inadequate.

In the U.S., even affluent blacks such as lawyers and doctors remain segregated, suggesting that class and poverty are not solely the issue. Studies have shown that racism and discrimination in the housing market were major factors in where people ended up living.

Eric Fong, a professor of sociology at U of T, agrees segregation is increasing in Canadian cities. His research has shown that visible minorities have a decreased chance of finding a place in desirable neighbourhoods, but he doesn't go so far as to blame racism.

Segregation is more hidden in Toronto than in the U.S., he hinted. We don't see "miles-long" segregated urban blocks as in the U.S., but smaller segregated "pockets."

However, "the general statistics tell us that poor blacks, in particular, experience higher segregation compared to other poor members of other groups," Fong said. While segregation remains a lesser problem in Canada, it may not always be.

"Now is the time to act," Massey offered, "to make sure that conditions we observe in a place like Detroit or Newark don't happen in Toronto and other Canadian cities."

Massey also said black-focused schools debated in Toronto should be avoided. "The public sphere should not be in the business of enforcing or promoting segregation because it invariably works out to the disadvantage of segregated people," he said.

He added if blacks in Toronto wanted a segregated school they should be able to have it.

Hat tip, Hyphenated Canadian!

A former producer of the rap group So Solid Crew has been jailed for at least 30 years for murdering a love rival

BBC News:

Carl Morgan must serve at least 30 years

Earlier this month a jury found Carl Morgan, 24, of Battersea, south London, guilty of shooting Colin Scarlett in Tooting, south London, last year.

They failed to reach a verdict on the same charge faced by rapper Megaman, real name Dwayne Vincent, who will face a retrial next March.

The judge said the life sentence showed gun crime would not be tolerated.

"The message must be all one way - that it will not be tolerated.

Passing sentence, the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker, told Morgan: "Gun use is the scourge of our streets and causes misery and distress.

"You expected eye witnesses would be cowed into silence and that ploy very nearly succeeded."

Mr Scarlett was described as the partner of Morgan's ex-girlfriend.

He had beaten up the killer earlier that day and the court was told Morgan had gone after Mr Scarlett with a gun to get revenge.

Mr Scarlett's partner is the mother of two of Morgan's children.

It was alleged that Mr Vincent, of Barons Court, west London, encouraged his friend to pull the trigger, which he denied.

Morgan appeared in the band's video for the track 21 Seconds.

So Solid member guilty of 'Wild West' murder

A new study of wild chimpanzees shows that the biggest predictor of territorial boundary patrols is the number of males in the group

Laura Bailey:

The more males in the group, the more often they will patrol their territory.

Chimpanzees will sometimes attack and kill their neighbors during the rarely observed boundary patrols, said John Mitani, professor of anthropology at University of Michigan and co-author of the paper "Correlates of Territorial Boundary Patrol Behavior in Wild Chimpanzees," with David Watts of Yale University.

Scientists have known for about 25 years that the patrols and fatal attacks occur, the question has been what accounts for the varying number and frequency of these patrols and attacks.

Researchers hypothesized that five variables might impact the number of patrols: food availability, hunting activity, the presence of estrous females, intruder pressure, and male party size.

During boundary patrols, a group of males will rise without warning, form a single file line and silently depart the group, Mitani said. The behavior is markedly different from normal feeding parties, which are loud and scattered.

"What they are doing is actually seeking signs if not contact with members of other groups," Mitani said. "If the patrollers outnumber them, then they will launch an attack." During the attacks, the chimps beat and often kill their neighbors.

The groups are generally all male, but on rare occasions females—typically infertile—will join the patrol, Mitani said. The patrols and attacks are an important part of the chimp society, he said.

"They take up about two hours out of a 12-hour work day," Mitani said. "That is not trivial exercise in terms of energy expended."

Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion societies. This means that like humans living in a town, chimps form cliques and aren't all together in one place at the same time. But on patrol days, researchers found that a larger number of males gathered together than on non-patrol days. The addition of one male to the group increased the odds of a patrol by 17 percent.

Mitani and Watts observed a community of about 150 chimps in Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda and collected 24 month of data compiled over five years. The Ngogo community is significantly larger than two other well-studied chimpanzee communities in Gombe and Taï, but the males in all three communities patrolled with equal frequency on a per capita basis. However, the chimps in Ngogo patrolled about twice as often as the other communities, due solely to the large number of males.

"The take home of all of this is that male numbers seem to matter, they find strength in numbers in doing this behavior, and they find strength in making these attacks," Mitani said.

This may explain why cities are often more violent than small towns since in a city you have larger numbers of males living in close proximity to each other.

Chimps don't help non-relatives

BBC News:

Captive chimpanzees fail to help others in their social group, even when it causes no inconvenience, a behavioural study in Nature journal has found.

Helpfulness is prevalent in humans, even when it may harm the helper's own interests to aid another.

Humanlike attributes shown by chimps include tool use and maybe rudimentary language skills, but this study suggests altruism is not among them.

But other researchers said that captive chimps may be less socially inclined.

A team led by Joan Silk of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), set captive chimpanzees tests in which they obtained a food reward.

The chimps were presented with two reward options. One option allowed a chimp only to serve itself with food. The other secured the same reward, but also delivered food to another chimpanzee in an enclosure next door.

Dr Silk's team found the 29 chimps tested in the study were no more likely to pick the second option than the first, even though it allowed them to do a "good deed" at no cost to themselves.

The result was surprising because the chimps had been living together in the same group for 15 years. They were not related, but might have been expected to be very close.

Food sharing has been demonstrated in groups of wild chimpanzees. So the Nature study raises questions about how this behaviour arises.

Other researchers suggest that the result could be down to the unnatural situation or to differences in behaviour brought on by captivity.

I think this research shows that kinship is an important factor in whether or not an animal will help others.

Uncaring Chimps May Shed Light on Humans, Study Says

Study: Chimps don't care about friends

Hasidic village keeps women out of the driver's seat

Steven I. Weiss:

Even as the White House presses Saudi Arabia to permit women to drive, an ultra-Orthodox community in New York has launched a campaign to reassert its ban on female motorists.

During her trip last month to Saudi Arabia, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes delivered a speech in which she stressed the Bush administration's determination to see Saudi women obtain more rights — including the right to drive.

Meanwhile, in the Hasidic village of New Square, N.Y., religious leaders recently issued a document reminding residents that "women should not sit in the front of a car." Released in July by the community's top rabbinical court, the document was aimed at shoring up several communal standards — especially those regarding women's conduct.

"It's considered not tzniusdik [modest] for a woman to be a driver, not in keeping with the out-of-public-view [attitude]," village spokesman Rabbi Mayer Schiller said. "If you can imagine in Europe, would a woman have been a coach driver, a wagon driver? It would've been completely inappropriate."

The village's religious leaders have made an exemption for an 80-year-old woman who was one of the community's original residents and hadn't known about the driving prohibition before she moved there.

New Square, a 7,000-person enclave located 40 miles north of New York City, was founded by the late Skverer rebbe Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, a Holocaust survivor, and his followers. The village was established in 1954 and officially incorporated seven years later. It relies heavily on private charitable donations and on government-assistance programs.

In the recent document, New Square religious leaders reiterated the prohibition against girls riding bicycles; also, women are forbidden from going outside in their long housecoats ?? a common fashion staple in many Orthodox communities.

The rules "are nothing new," Schiller said, but "there's just a sense that for some of the young people they need to reinforce them." He added that in the village's entire history, similar comprehensive lists of communal standards have been posted "maybe five or 10 times, but probably no more than that."

"If you would poll the community... 97.5% would say, 'Yes, this is what we want,'" Schiller said.

While the rules are meant to apply to residents, clearly they're not part of the criteria for endorsing candidates for elective office. New Square's top rabbis endorsed Hillary Clinton in her successful run for the senate in 2000, and delivered all but a few votes for the former first lady. Clinton spokeswoman Nina Blackwell did not return repeated requests for comment.

The recent document in New Square addressed a wide range of prohibitions. One rule requires that a fence be constructed around houses that have a trampoline. Another states that exercise groups can be formed only with the permission of a rabbinical court and that they require a mashgiach (religious inspector) to oversee them.

Some of the regulations are targeted at men, including a clause instructing male worshippers to keep their cell phones off and to refrain from talking during prayer times. But it is the rules pertaining to women — in particular, those related to driving — that bear a striking resemblance to the Saudi practices criticized by the Bush administration.

In some ways, Saudi Arabia's laws regarding women are more permissive than the religious edicts in New Square. For example, a Saudi woman is allowed to ride in the front seat of a car if the driver is her husband. While husbands and wives in Saudi Arabia are allowed to walk with each other, New Square men and women always must walk on different sides of the street. In strong contrast to Saudi Arabia, the government does not enforce the religious rules in New Square; violations do not result in any form of corporal punishment. But those who frequently violate the rules in New Square are blackballed from the community.

"I can think of just a handful of cases over the years" in which someone was expelled from New Square's religious community, Schiller said.

"I don't think any of these transgressions would get you to be expelled from the community," Schiller said. But, he added, "If a young woman was driving, that would be fairly serious."

Schiller warned against drawing any negative conclusions about New Square based on the Saudi situation. "It is a mistake to view a religious practice negatively just because another culture, aspects of which we may find troubling, also practices it," he said. At the same time, the New Square spokesman was critical of the Bush administration's efforts in the Middle East.

"American foreign policy has moved towards a messianic, crusading secularism which judges all other peoples by the standards of our own 'fashionable' elites," he said. "This monolithic utopianism inevitably yields spiritual, moral and practical disasters."

No Time to “Move On”

Scandal Handling 101

Park Slope Scramble

Pardons may tarnish Clinton legacy

Hasidic holy war in a Brooklyn synagogue

Patrick Gallahue:

A brawl broke out in a Brooklyn synagogue yesterday morning, forcing dozens of cops in riot gear to pull worshippers from their house of prayer, in the latest eruption of a Hasidic holy war.

Yesterday's melee, which included punches, slaps and beard-pulling, broke out between clashing factions of the Satmar Hasidic sect in Williamsburg and ended with cops in helmets closing down streets to restore order on a Jewish holiday, Shmini Atzeret.

"There was chaos," said worshipper Joel Klein, 29, who said he was pulled from the Yetev Lev Bikur Cholim synagogue on Rodney Street by cops. "It was like a war zone."

Cops and witnesses said thousands were involved in the fight.

The bitter feud dates back to a longstanding dispute between two brothers who both claim to lead the Williamsburg Satmar congregation and its system of rabbinical yeshivas, religious schools and social services.

The grand rebbe of the ultra-conservative Satmars, Moshe Teitelbaum, picked Zalman in 1999 to lead the Brooklyn congregation, over his elder son, Aaron, who continues to lead another congregation in upstate Kiryas Joel.

The congregation fractured into rival boards that held separate elections and each side claimed victory. A law suit was filed for control of the congregation's board, but a Brooklyn judge ruled last year that it was not the court's job to interfere in the grand rebbe's decision.

But an upstate judge's decision last week — which some interpreted as leaving Aaron's ally, Berl Friedman, to be the corporate leader of the Brooklyn congregation — sparked yesterday's religious rumble.

When Friedman entered the synagogue at about 8:30 a.m., people began shouting and shoving matches ensued between the hundreds of worshippers, witnesses said. As the scrimmage elevated, fights spilled out into the streets.

By the time cops arrived, "there were a couple thousand people in the streets — just tons of people in the streets," a police source said.

Cops were forced to shut down several blocks in the neighborhood.

Klein and other supporters of Aaron Teitelbaum claim police only pulled their supporters out of the synagogue. Moshe Koaen, who was thrown out, said police ripped his Tallit shawl, which is worn during prayer, off his shoulders.

"They [the police] said, 'Are you with the Friedman group? Get out of here,' " Koaen recounted.

But a police spokesman denied it: "We removed some unruly people who arrived at the synagogue after the service had started."

A source said that Aaron's side bused as many as 800 people in from Kiryas Joel and tried to force their way into the synagogue.

No arrests were made, but seven of Aaron's supporters were issued summonses for illegally acting as security guards.

Only one person was treated for injuries. Cops said that person suffered contusions when he was slapped by one of the congregants during the scuffle.


Hasidic Hellraisers!

Hasidic feud swirls

Muslims sending mixed messages on bigotry

Ray Hanania:

It’s hard to imagine but according to many American Muslims, Halloween is a demonic American and Christian practice where children dress up in horrific costumes and worship Satan.

Muslims around the country are preparing for Oct. 31 like it is a new Sept. 11, warning their own to secure their homes, round up their children, and await the demonic onslaught.

They have urged Muslim families to firmly “educate” American school teachers and insist that the Halloween practices of allowing children to dress up during school hours be forbidden.

They have cautioned Muslim families to lock the doors, close the windows and turn out the lights in the hopes that the “little devil worshippers” will skip their homes and not cause an anti-Muslim mob-like riot.

Apparently, while American Muslims are among the first to complain when they are victims of discrimination, many have no qualms about discriminating against non-Muslims.

Because that is exactly what the American Muslims are doing when they criticize Halloween and urge their children not to participate. It is anti-American and anti-Christian discrimination that is far too common in the Muslim World and often ignored, for the sake of better international relations.

But that doesn’t mean Americans should tolerate this kind of disrespect from some of the more extremist elements of the Muslim American community.

Today’s Halloween has nothing to do with the pagan ritual once called “The Celtic Day of the Dead” and practiced by Druids that many Muslims wrongly insist is the basis for Halloween today.

Of course, many Muslim Americans also denounce Valentine’s Day and other traditional Christian and American events as “demonic” too, even though they are not.

Now, I looked for a few Druids to see if I could get the straight story, but apparently, there haven’t been any around for more than one thousand years.

Never mind, though, to American Muslims who arrogantly believe their religion is far superior to all others. And they look for every opportunity to prove it to people.

But Halloween? The criticism is shameful.

The American Muslim Association of North American is only one of dozens of Muslim organizations and mosques that have issued “warnings” to Muslims to “protect their children from this evil.”

AMANA claimed, “Samhain was the name of the Druid god of the dead. The Druids were a religious order amongst the Celts. On this day, they would try to appease their Lord of Death. These Druids also believed that witches rode on broom sticks and that ghosts were the cause of supernatural occurrences.” The belief was that on the eve of the Celtic New Year (which for them was October 31), the souls of the dead people roamed the land of the living. The Devil, spirits and witches were also believed to be moving about and at the height of their power.”

They based their criticism on information distributed by a Chicago-based radio show called “Radio Islam” which has been accused often of not only discriminating against Christians and Jews who disagree with their sometimes extremist policies, but also against Christian Arabs who challenge their rationalizing of terrorist organizations.

Sometime in the 8th Century, the Pope tried to de-Satanize the practice and turn Christians away from the Pagan ritual which had eventually become a superstition and not a widely practiced “holiday” in Europe.

So he declared that the following day, November 1, would be recognized by Christians as “All Saints Day” to refocus the world (1200 years ago mind you) away from the idolatry and demonic rituals and practices of the dark ages.

Many centuries later, Christian communities around the world including in the United States christened October 31 as “Halloween.”

It is a day of childish fun, meant if anything to mock the ridiculous practices of the Dark Ages. Children and adults dress up in costumes of all sorts, frightening and not.

Children go around knocking on doors of their neighbors and friends and scream out the demonic vitriole:

“Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to.”

In fact, costumes span the political and social barometer including past and current American presidents, and even derogatory racial depictions of Arabs, which I find offensive, but not for religious reasons.

Rather than encouraging their followers to isolate themselves from a harmless American tradition that has nothing to do with any religion or pagan practices at all, Muslims should drop the “I am better than you” attitude and start at least to pretend they are real Americans.

Most are. But the few who do spread these lies are doing a disservice to the Muslim community and expose claims of anti-Muslim bigotry as the cries of hypocrites.

American Muslims wrongly denounce Halloween as a Pagan, Satanic holiday

Danish police say that the arrests of four young Muslims stemmed from a terror investigation in Bosnia

Jan M. Olson:

The arrest of four young Muslims suspected of belonging to a network planning an imminent suicide attack in Europe stemmed from a terror investigation in Bosnia, Danish police said Friday.

In the Bosnian case, a Turk living in Denmark and a Swede originally from Serbia-Montenegro are under arrest in Sarajevo, and Bosnian police said they found explosives, firearms and other military equipment in connection with those arrests.

The Bosnian paper Slobodna Bosna said police also found a video cassette showing three masked men praying and asking God to forgive them for their self-sacrifice.

"We had a very short period to investigate but our information indicated that their action was imminent," said Danish police spokesman Joern Bro said, adding that investigators have asked Bosnian police about the alleged video recording.

"We don't know exactly what kind of terror (attack) they were planning but our information indicates that it could have been a suicide bomb," Bro said of the arrests in Bosnia, adding that the weapons found could also be used in a "sniper murder."

The four arrested Thursday at their homes in and around Copenhagen are aged 16 to 20. The suspects in Bosnia also are teenagers, the Swede, 19, and the Turk, 18. The four were in "close contact" with the two arrested in Bosnia; the Turk lived in Denmark, Bro said.

According to Sarajevo's Dnevni Avaz daily newspaper, one of the suspects detained in Bosnia was an 18-year-old preparing a suicide attack on the Sarajevo embassy of a European Union country.

Bro said one of the four men arrested in Denmark was a Danish citizen and the others were of Middle Eastern origin but police did not know their exact nationalities.

The three older suspects appealed the detention order Friday. Their lawyers did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

In raiding the suspects' homes, Danish police seized computers, computer discs, books with radical Muslim literature and cellular phones. Police also found $32,400 in cash.

Something Rotten in Denmark?

Danish queen raps radical Islam

Graven images spark uproar from Danish Muslims

Muslims attack taxi drivers in Denmark

Australian police are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits

Liam Houlihan:

Officers are also being urged to work with Muslim leaders, who will try to keep the families together.

Women's groups are concerned the politically correct policing could give comfort to wife bashers and keep their victims in a cycle of violence.

The instructions come in a religious diversity handbook given to Victorian police officers that also recommends special treatment for suspects of Aboriginal, Hindu and Buddhist background.

Some police officers have claimed the directives hinder enforcing the law equally.

Police are told: "In incidents such as domestic violence, police need to have an understanding of the traditions, ways of life and habits of Muslims."

They are told it would be appreciated in cases of domestic violence if police consult the local Muslim religious leader who will work against "fragmenting the family unit".

Islamic Women's Welfare Council head Joumanah El Matrah called the guidelines appalling and dangerous.

"The implication is one needs to be more tolerant of violence against Muslim women but they should be entitled to the same protection," Ms El Matrah said.

"Police should not be advising other officers to follow those sorts of protocols.

"It can only lead to harm."

Ms El Matrah said Muslim leaders should be brought into domestic violence investigations only if requested by the abused woman.

The guide also advises officers not to hold interviews with Aboriginal suspects or set court hearings during Aboriginal ceremonies involving "initiation, birth, death, burials, mourning periods, women's meetings and cultural ceremonies in general".

They are told to interview Baha'i suspects only after sunset in the fasting month.

And they are cautioned that when a Sikh is reading the Sikh Holy Script -- a process that normally takes 50 hours -- "he should not be disturbed".

The 50,000 handbooks instruct police to take shoes off before entering Buddhist and Hindu houses and mosques, and remove hats before entering or searching churches.

They are warned that taking photos or samples from Aboriginal suspects could raise fears they could be used for sorcery and spiritual mischief.

Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau head Gerard Daniells, who created the 82-page full-colour handbook, said common sense would prevail over the guide in an emergency.

Mr Daniells said the next edition would include Maori spiritual beliefs and practices.

The glossy guides would have cost at least $300,000 to produce, a printing industry expert said.

Police Association secretary Paul Mullet said members had an appreciation of different cultures but their overriding concern was for safety of the community.

Brash appoints political correctness eradicator

A Pakistani family in Denmark has been arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old woman for marrying without her family's consent

Copenhagen Post:

Police have arrested six members of a Pakistani family for hunting down and killing a 19-year-old girl, who had married against the family's wishes.

Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that with two further arrests in the case, five men and one woman were now in remand for the suspected honour killing of Ghazala Abbas, who was shot to death in front of the central station in the western Zealand town of Slagelse on 23 September.

The day before, Abbas had married a 27-year-old Afghan-born man.

'We arrested two men from the deceased's family on Wednesday morning. The arrests were made in Copenhagen, and we can't rule out the possibility that there will be more arrests. We continue a massive investigation on the family, amongst others,' said Crime Inspector Flemming Madsen of the Slagelse Police.

Police said the investigation was hampered by the implicated persons' reluctance to talk, but that the last four arrests had led to a breakthrough in the investigation.

Five of the people arrested are Ghazala's close relatives, including her father and her older brother, who was the one that shot her to death and severely injured her husband in front of a large group of witnesses in broad daylight in Slagelse.

The couple was married the day before they were attacked, supposedly without the bride's family's consent.

Daily newspaper BT reported that a network of Pakistani taxi drivers and the woman arrested had helped the brother track his sister down.

The couple had fled from the family's home in Copenhagen's Amager district and gone into hiding in Jutland, there, they were married in secret at a city hall.

Ghazala, however, decided to trust the female relative with her secret, and called her to tell her the news. The woman betrayed her, BT reported, and told the family what she had done.

Pakistani taxi drivers told BT that Ghazala's brother had asked them to keep an eye out for his sister, and ordered everyone in the family and its circle of friends to tell him if they heard from her.

The network tracked the newlyweds down a few hours after their wedding.

A source said to BT's reporter that Ghazala had told her female relative that she had left her hiding place in Jutland and sought refuge with her friends in Slagelse.

'The friend must have known that if she passed the information on to Ghazala's family, she would help the honour killing being planned to take place,' the source said, adding that she must also have feared retribution if the word ever got out that she had known of the couple's whereabouts without telling the family.

Ghazala's brother was so intent on finding and killing his sister in order to save the family's honour that he left his wife and family only a few days after the birth of his second child to carry out the death sentence, BT reported.

Armed with the female relative's information, a confirmation from Pakistani taxi drivers, and a gun, he arrived at the central station to find his sister standing right outside, waiting for a taxi. He shot her three times, then attacked her husband, beat him, and forced him down on the ground, where he shot him.

The husband survived by a hair's breadth.

The newspaper said the liquidation of Ghazala Abbas demonstrated the enormous conspiracy and pressure immigrant women were faced with if they broke away from their families and tried to make independent choices in their lives.

Anne Mau, secretary of the National Association of Women's Crisis Centres, which accept many immigrant women on the run from their families, said the Pakistani taxi network worked systematically to find women who had fled their families, and alerted their whereabouts to their relatives.

'Taxi drivers are mobile, they know one another and the community, and they work systematically. The family uses a mobile telephone to send a picture around of the wanted woman. Then the hunting begins,' Mau said. 'This way many women have been discovered on the street, caught, and delivered back to their families.'

This is the kind of "values" that multiculturalism is bringing to 21st century Europe.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Truth and the Lozells riots

Theodore Dalrymple:

Lozells is a very run-down district, full of sleazy cafés, inhabited by many people of Jamaican origin and notorious for the drug dealing that goes on there. I do not think that anyone would call it an outpost of sexual or bourgeois propriety, though there is still, particularly among the women, a strong church-going, hat-and-glove-wearing element. It is not a place for a quiet evening stroll. The surgeons of the hospital that serves it have, in late years, become much more experienced at dealing with bullet wounds.

Adjacent is the much more ethnically mixed Handsworth, famous for its riots, especially in good weather, but once a leafy suburb. Here are to be found sari shops, purveyors of Indian sweets, greengrocers selling 10kg sacks of onions for £1.49, and butchers who, by means of prominent signs in their windows, advise their customers to read the Koran.

It is one of the complaints of the people of Lozells that Pakistani shopkeepers have taken over the small businesses of Lozells that sell items of special interest to people of Caribbean origin. These small businesses used to belong to blacks, but do so no longer. This is deemed to be humiliating, and somehow a manifestation of a wider injustice.

Relations between the two "communities" (which themselves are hardly monolithic in their composition, attitudes or conduct) are far from warm. It is the complaint of some blacks that the Pakistanis do not treat them with the respect that it is every man's due, a respect that, in the minds of at least some young men, is indistinguishable from fear. And it is certainly true that people from the Indian subcontinent are hardly free from racial prejudice, and that for many of them a black man is several rungs below the top of the human ladder - at the very bottom, in fact.

On the other hand, you don't have to speak to many shopkeepers in Lozells, or areas like it, to hear of experiences that disincline them to a favourable impression of black youth; and, like most people, they generalise from one or several bad experiences, and make assumptions about everyone who physically and culturally resembles those of whom they have had those bad experiences. The Pakistanis may not believe that the 14- year-old girl was serially raped, but they will have no difficulty at all in believing that she shoplifted.

Such are the joys of multi-culturalism. The situation has, in my view, been inflamed by years of reflex political correctness on the part of the authorities and the authors of official reports that coin phrases such as "institutionalised racism" - a blood libel, in the sense of being impossible to disprove, if ever there was one.

Poverty, race, murder, politics, Lozells. We know the words, not the meaning

'If it's the law of the jungle we will defend ourselves'

Perils of multiculturalism


Is Birmingham on the brink of a race war?

Britain's unseen race riots

More on Human Nature

Race riots store owner tells of death threats

Four Arab men accused of planning attacks on Jewish targets in Germany have been sentenced to jail terms of between five and eight years

BBC News:

Three members of the group were convicted of supporting a terrorist organisation, al-Tawhid - which is said to have links to al-Qaeda.

Al-Tawhid is led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is wanted for leading insurgent attacks in Iraq.

The three Jordanians and an Algerian denied the charges against them.

The Jordanians - Mohammed Abu Dhees, Ismail Shalabi, and Ashraf al-Dagma - were convicted of plotting attacks and belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The Algerian, Djamel Moustfa, was found guilty of plotting attacks and supporting a terrorist group.

Much of the case against the four was based on evidence from Shadi Abdellah, who was arrested at the same time, in 2002, and confessed to plotting to attack Jewish targets.

Abdellah, who was jailed for four years on similar charges in 2003, said the group discussed targeting Berlin's Jewish Museum and a Jewish-owned discotheque or bar in Dusseldorf.

The prosecution described the defendants as the "most important members" of the German cell of the Islamic group al-Tawhid.

Judge Ottmar Breidling, giving the verdict said: "In this case, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi should also be sitting on the defendants' bench."

More than 53 million Muslims in Europe

Minister of Knowledge Øystein Djupedal will support a ban against facial veils in Oslo schools


City of Oslo school councilor Torger Ødegaard plans to ban the use of the niqab, a Muslim veil that conceals all of the face but the eyes, newspaper Dagsavisen reports.

"Using a veil over the face during classes makes education more difficult. I respect religious garments, but in an educational situation teaching is most important," Djupedal, a Socialist Left Party politician, told Dagsavisen.

Djupedal would not create national legislation forbidding the veils, saying he felt the problem had to be solved at the local level by the counties and municipalities concerned.

Suspect's wife stares down local burqa ban

US Muslim ordered to lift veil

Dutch unveil the toughest face in Europe with a ban on the burka

Britain's War on Pigs

City to pay woman's fine for breach of burka ban

Did the Iraq war help Iran?

Pat Buchanan:

A preliminary list of winners and losers from our invasion seems to show that it is our enemies who have prospered and our friends who have suffered. As of today, the principal winner of the Iraq war is Iran.

While our invasion of Afghanistan smashed a Taliban regime hostile to Iran, our invasion of Iraq was even more beneficial. It brought down a Baathist regime that had inflicted hundreds of thousands of casualties on Iran in their 8-year war in the 1980s. In power in Baghdad today, in place of Saddam, is a Shia regime that looks to Iran as patron and ally.

In 2001, Iranians had demonstrated in support of the United States after 9-11, and in successive elections, a moderate presidential candidate had carried 70 percent of the vote. The Tehran mullahs were on the ropes.

But with Bush declaring Iran an "axis-of-evil" nation, which was to be denied, even if it meant preventive war, any nuclear program or weapon of mass destruction, Iranians responded as nationalists. A hard-liner won the presidency, and Tehran's defiance is now a popular policy. Meanwhile, the U.S. threat of military strikes to effect the nuclear castration of Iran becomes less and less credible the longer the war next door goes on.

With Iraq smashed and perhaps splintering after we depart, Tehran is set to fill the power vacuum. History may yet record that the U.S. Army did all the heavy lifting in the Persian Gulf to make Iran its pre-eminent power.

Bush: U.S. Must Brace for More Casualties

If We Want To Replace A President, Why Syria’s?

Israel should be 'wiped off the map': Iran president

We have civil war, says ex-PM

A new study shows that companies hire foreign workers for cheap labor, not skill

Ephraim Schwartz:

It appears there is hard evidence to prove that employers are using the H-1B visa program to hire cheap labor; that is, to pay lower wages than the national average for programming jobs.

According to “The Bottom of the Pay Scale: Wages for H-1B Computer Programmers — F.Y. 2004,” a report by Programmers Guild board member John Miano, non-U.S. citizens working in the United States on an H-1B visa are paid “significantly less than their American counterparts.” How much less? “On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13,000 less than Americans in the same occupation and state.”

Miano based his report on OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which estimates wages for the entire country by state and metropolitan area. The report’s H-1B wage data came from the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-1B disclosure Web site.

Miano went out of his way to be balanced, and whenever possible he gave the benefit of the doubt to the employer. For example, he used OES data from 2003 because this is the wage information that would have been available to the employers when filing an LCA (labor condition application).

Miano had some difficulty matching OES job codes with LCA job titles, which employers typically create. Where both the OES and the LCA listed a job as “programmer/analyst,” Miano took the conservative approach of assuming that the LCA was describing a programmer, a job title that typically earns a lower wage than a systems analyst.

Nonetheless, Miano’s report shows that wages paid to H-1B workers in computer programming occupations had a mean salary of $52,312, while the OES mean was $67,700; a difference of $15,388. The report also lists the OES median salary as $65,003, or $12,691 higher than the H-1B median.

When you look at computer job titles by state, California has one of the biggest differentials between OES salaries and H-1B salaries. The average salary for a programmer in California is $73,960, according to the OES. The average salary paid to an H-1B visa worker for the same job is $53,387; a difference of $20,573.

Here are some other interesting national wage comparisons: The mean salary of an H-1B computer scientist is $78,169, versus $90,146 according to the OES. For an H-1B network analyst, the mean salary is $55,358, versus the OES mean salary of $64,799. And for the title “system administrator,” there was a $17,478 difference in salary between the H-1B mean and the OES mean.

H-1B visa workers were also concentrated at the bottom end of the wage scale, with the majority of H-1B visa workers in the 10-24 percentile range. “That means the largest concentration of H-1B workers make less than [the] highest 75 percent of the U.S. wage earners,” the report notes.

While it would be difficult to prove that any one particular employer is hiring foreign workers to pay less, the statistics show us that, for whatever reason, this is exactly what is happening on a nationwide basis. Miano says lobbyists will admit that a small number of companies are abusing the H-1B program, but what he has found in this research is that almost everyone is abusing it.

“Abuse is by far more common than legitimate use,” he says.


US Senators push for 50% hike in H-1B visas

The H-1B visa issue revisited

Many Muslim women in Germany are brutally subjugated in the name of tradition

Jeffrey Fleishman:

The stolen bride in the photograph has aged, her face thicker around the jaw, the lines that arch from her eyes thin but prevalent. Her war has ended. The one between her and her family, written in the book lying next to her restless hands.

She calls herself only Ayse, an alias to protect her from family retribution. A Turkish woman forced into an arranged marriage and shuttled to Germany, she says she was beaten by her husband, robbed of her children and relegated to a slave's life in a nation with a constitution eloquent on human rights. It is a common story, she says. But Ayse's anger, unlike most, found its way onto the page.

Ayse's tale, "Nobody Asked Me," is one of at least eight memoirs recently published in German about Muslim women trapped by arranged marriages, religious fundamentalism, tribal chauvinism and violence. Most authors in this increasingly popular coming-of-age genre are immigrants or the daughters of immigrants squeezed anonymously between a liberal Europe they were forbidden to savor and the clan customs of a native land they couldn't escape.

"Not every woman like me can write a book," Ayse said recently while sitting amid coffee and chocolates at a Munich literary agency. "They don't have confidence in themselves. They're scared. This is something for my children and me. There are many, many women in Europe with lives like mine."

Writers such as Ayse are producing a literature of awareness that reflects Germany's awakened desire to understand its 3 million Muslims, mostly Turks who began arriving as "guest workers" in the 1960s. These best-selling stories are resonating on a continent shaken by terrorist attacks in London and Madrid, and bewildered over how to better integrate immigrant and Islamic cultures.

"Europe is discovering very late, especially in Germany, that these [Muslim] societies exist in a separate universe," said Bernhard Suchy, an editor at Ullstein publishing house. "For a long time there had been no discussion in Germany about cultural relations. It was obviously ignored, but with these books and magazine articles, everybody's finally catching up."

The eastward expansion of the European Union also has provoked an examination of what is European, especially since the head scarf has become an emblem of debate between East and West.

"Turkey is the next country that wants to join the European Union," said Linda Walz, an editor for Ayse's publisher, Blanvalet. "We hope the book will be something to open the eyes of German women about the living conditions of many Turkish women in Europe."

Like a peek over a reclusive neighbor's fence, the books offer a glimpse of sequestered lives. The stories are simply sketched, elucidating hardships, beatings, rapes and young women's attempts to flee oppressive clans, parents and rigid Islamic mentalities transported here from Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

Their titles are provocative: "I Accuse," "Kidnapped in Yemen," "Choke on Your Lies."

One of the more compelling memoirs is "I Only Wanted to Be Free," by Hulya Kalkan, an adventure story of forged passports and family battles as the German-born author and her sister escape the rigid Koranic schools and forced marriages arranged for them in Turkey's Anatolia mountains. Kalkan is pictured on the book's cover, a striking young woman with uncovered long, black hair and dark eyes, who seems at once to embody European cosmopolitanism and Muslim tradition.

Trapped in the apartment of relatives in Turkey, Kalkan writes: "I cannot stand on the balcony and cry for help. People would consider me crazy. The police? They are all men. And on whose side would they be? It's useless…. It's like I'm locked in a prison. My crime? I am 17 and I am unmarried."

Accounts such as Kalkan's have led to calls for stricter laws to protect women from exploitation and even death. They also have complicated cultural arguments over religion and immigration. For example, although arranged marriages are sanctioned by Islam, the unions are often exploited by village clans for secular and financial reasons: to keep relatives working in Europe so money can flow back to their native countries.

Written with German author Renate Eder, Ayse's book recounts her plight as a 14-year-old in rural northeastern Turkey near the Black Sea. Her parents arranged her marriage to a man from their village who had moved to Germany years earlier.

Ayse arrived in Munich in 1978. She enrolled in school, but her new husband had other intentions. He put her to work in a plastics factory. When her shift was over, she returned home and spent 10 more hours at a black-market job assembling electrical receptacles.

Ayse estimated that she earned about $1,500 a month, money her mother-in-law confiscated and wired to Turkey. She never learned to read or write German. Her first son, born when she was 15, was eventually sent to her village in Turkey so Ayse could spend more time working. Her husband beat and raped her often. Life, she wrote, had become a whirl of brutality and endless work.

"My husband did not kiss me and he did not caress me," she wrote. During her second pregnancy, "it became more and more clear to me that it couldn't go on like this. Always work, eat, sleep and work again. And then I carried my children to full term, giving birth to them, only to have them sent to relatives in Turkey. No, I didn't want to live like this. Something had to happen."

Ayse rarely experienced European life; she pressed against it like one presses upon a window. Her existence was marked by contradiction. Shortly after she moved to Germany, her husband told her to remove her head scarf. "You are in Europe now," he said.

But once indoors, he applied the ancient clan codes that kept her destitute and subjugated.

The Turks who immigrated to Berlin and Frankfurt are in many ways more bound to tribal traditions and religion than their counterparts who migrated to Istanbul and Ankara. Immigrant families who arrived here decades ago looking for work felt adrift, and few thought they would stay for good. With Germans seldom welcoming them, Turks built insular communities fortified by patriarchal customs from the Old World.

Some of the women writing these memoirs risk the most violent of these customs: honor killing, the slaying of a woman accused of bringing shame to her family. Berlin has had at least seven honor killings since October 2004.

One of the victims was Hatun Surucu, a single mother shot in the head after escaping an arranged marriage and living a Western lifestyle. Her brother, Ayhan, 19, is on trial for the slaying. A young Muslim woman testifying against him attends court in a bulletproof vest, accompanied by three bodyguards.

'How many more women have to die before this society wakes up?'

In Turkey, 'Honor Killing' Follows Families to Cities

Murdering Women For “Honor”

Play shakes audiences where women fall victim to gruesome honour killings

Signs in Berlin: "No to honor killings"


Resettlement groups in Minnesota said the state will likely see more refugees from Somalia, Burma and Nepal

Associated Press:

The groups made their projections after President Bush announced this week that the United States would accept up to 70,000 refugees between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2006.

The number of refugees that will end up in Minnesota depends on whether other family members are here to sponsor them and have applied to do so, whether conditions here are considered good for refugees and whether there are processing delays.

The number of Somalis is expected to remain strong, if not grow, said John Borden, executive director of the International Institute of Minnesota, which helped resettle almost 40 percent of Minnesota's refugees in 2004.

Borden said the large Ethiopian exodus has nearly ended, Borden said.

"Ethiopia is largely resettled," Borden said. "There is potential for a higher percentage of the Somalis and West Africans. So among Somalis, you will see smiles."

Barlin Adan, 33, said she's happy about the prospect of more Somali refugees here.

"I'm very happy to welcome them," says Adan, who's from Somalia. "We're going to be a larger community to vote."

Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, said many Somalis in Minnesota have waited years to be reunited with family members.

Adar Kahin, 53, came to St. Paul 10 years ago and married her Somali husband in 2001 during a visit to Africa. He is in Nairobi, Kenya, and is waiting to come here, Kahin said.

"It's a long time," she said. "I'm tired."

The number of refugees coming to the United States declined after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the number has rebounded. Minnesota ranked No. 3 in 2004, due in part to a large number of Hmong coming from Laos via the Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Thailand.

"The group in the Wat is the last group that will be processed as a group," said Peter Eisenhauer of the Population, Refugees and Migration bureau of U.S. State Department.

Hmong refugees already "in the pipeline" for admission will continue arriving, but no new groups of Hmong refugees will be accepted.

Instead, the state might see more Burmese and Tibetans, who fled to Nepal because of oppression in Chinese-occupied Tibet. The Tibetans are not classified as refugees, but that group is "under serious consideration" for refugee status, Eisenhauer said.

States of Disunion

African HIV Subtypes Identified in Minnesota Population

South Africans vs. Somalis: Some Immigrants Are More Welcome Than Others

Hmore Hmong? Polygamous Hmong?

The Bush Bust: We (Ahem!) Told You So!

The obesity epidemic in black America

Dionne Walker:

Nationwide, health experts agree the obesity epidemic is striking hardest among Hispanics and blacks, with waistlines -- and rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke -- expanding at alarming rates.

Predominantly black colleges like Norfolk State University are stepping in, rolling out veggie-heavy menus, building walking trails and even launching campuswide weight loss contests. Their aim: to curb the ballooning of black America by targeting the next generation.

"Our students are at a prime time in their lives where they can make choices that can prevent them from having these problems," said Cynthia Burwell, head of Norfolk State's internship programs and an organizer of the health effort.

Similar weight-loss initiatives have been started at five other historically black colleges: Talladega College in Alabama, Alcorn State University in Mississippi, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, South Carolina State University and Wiley College in Texas.

Their programs are supported through federal grants distributed by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. Later, the umbrella group will turn over data on student weight trends to the Health and Human Services Department minority health office for review.

The association became concerned last year after noticing national obesity trends having an especially striking effect at the 120 schools it represents.

"Obesity, as we all know, is an epidemic across the country, particularly affecting minorities," said the group's senior health adviser Julia Anderson. "It's no secret."

Estimates are that nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

Blacks, especially women, are carrying many of the pounds: A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found as many as 70.6 percent of black women across various age groups qualified as overweight or obese between 1999 and 2002.

Although few of the participating black colleges keep hard data, Alcorn State human sciences chairman Ross Santell said it's easy to see the weight problem on black campuses. "Many, many, many students are obese," he said.

Obesity in Minority Populations

Obesity, Black Women and Breast Cancer

Whites move away from cities to live in "Mayberry"

Stephanie McCrummen:

Jamie and Stephan Lechner liked their house in Germantown well enough, but in recent years, they said, the neighborhood began to change in ways that made them feel less comfortable. There were some discipline problems in the school where Jamie taught. There was a shooting in a low-income area not too far from where they lived and other, smaller signs that made them think things were headed downward.

And so, with their twin boys near school age, the Lechners did what they figured anyone of means would: They packed up and moved to a place billed as a retreat from all that: Dominion Valley, a new, gated, golf course community of $700,000 homes on the rural edges of Northern Virginia, a place where the singular issue of traffic dominates and where the last memorable conflict was whether jeans would be allowed in the country club.

"We had conflict," said Jamie Lechner, referring to her old Germantown neighborhood. "And we wanted to move away from that. . . . That's why we're here -- to be sheltered."

Apparently people want to live in a less multicultural environment:

Perilla, who does vote, moved to Dominion Valley from a house in Manassas, which is in the older, more developed part of the region, a diverse area where Mexican and Central American immigrants have settled and where neighborhoods of single-family homes might be adjacent to townhouses and apartments. Like the Lechners, she and her family moved in part because the old neighborhood was changing.

"It sounds awful," Perilla said, "but it was turning into a more working-class neighborhood. More pickups -- not that there's anything wrong with that. . . . There were problems we didn't want to deal with -- at least on a personal level."

The Lechners were of a similar mind. They liked the diversity of their Germantown neighborhood, they said, but they did not want to subject their children to what they perceived as racial conflicts and other problems they associated with nearby government-subsidized housing.

In moving, they traded an area that was about half-Democrat, half-Republican for one that is mostly Republican, as they are. They left an area that was about 59 percent white for one where at least 83 percent of their neighbors look like them. And they left an area where residents are dealing with issues of cultural and economic diversity for one where such problems, for now at least, are abstractions.

"At a certain point, you want your kids to grow up in Mayberry," Jamie Lechner said. "And this is as close to Mayberry as we can get."

Unfortunately, many of these "Mayberry"-seekers tend to be in favor of illegal immigration, just so long as it is other people who have to live in the same neighborhoods as the immigrants.

Hispanic gangs in New Hampshire

Stephanie Hooper:

“Gang activity in New Hampshire appears to have picked up in the last couple of years,” said Wes Daily Jr., a retired Suffolk County, N.Y., police detective and president of the East Coast Gang Investigators Association.

Along with extensive work investigating gangs during his time as a Long Island police detective, Daily has studied gang activity in the Northeast for a number of years, authoring two assessments of gang activity in the region in the last five years.

In his most recent report, published this year for the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations, Daily states a majority of the national gangs in the Northeast appear to be “neighborhood-based” chapters without affiliations to national gang leaderships. He notes two national gangs, the Bloods and Latin Kings, appear to have a “strong presence” in the Northeast.

Northeast law-enforcement agencies reported nearly a 40 percent increase in gang activity in the last five years, according to Daily’s assessment. Several state agencies are among the 51 in the Northeast to contribute information for the assessment.

Both of Daily’s assessments reported gang members were moving to the region from other states.

In his first assessment, published in 2000 for the association, Daily listed a variety of Mexico-, Dominican Republic-, Chicago- and California-based gangs, among those that appeared to be relocating to the state from other parts of the country.

In his 2005 report, Daily credits the Northeastern states’ increasing population of undocumented immigrants with an increase in gangs from Mexico and Central America.

All of the New England states were experiencing an influx of Hispanic gang members from the New York City area, according to the 2000 report.

That assessment certainly appeared to be the case in Nashua in 2003 and 2004, when Hispanic gang members with roots in the Big Apple caused serious trouble. But not all of the state’s gang activity is imported or has traveled far to get here.

An examination of major gang investigations in northern Massachusetts during the last five years revealed a number of New Hampshire connections – Massachusetts residents conducting drug and weapons sales in New Hampshire, and New Hampshire residents engaging in criminal gang-related activity south of the border.

Massachusetts members from organized national gangs such as MS-13, Bloods, Crips and Asian gangs such as the Tiny Rascals and Sworn Brothers were also involved with a few publicized incidents in the state in the last two years.

Two of those incidents – one in Wilton and one in Nashua – were violent and involved numerous members from two sets of rival gangs, or four gangs in all. Someone was stabbed in each incident.

Illegal Immigration: Terrorist Gangs From Across the Border

Rogers Police Forming Anti-Gang Unit

Specialized unit helps Lowell deal with gangs

'Source' magazine editor Dasun Allah vandalizes church

UPI News Service:

The editor of The Source magazine admitted to vandalizing a Jehovah's Witness assembly hall in New York's Harlem neighborhood.

Dasun Allah, editor of the hip-hop magazine, told the New York Post he "tagged" the building to expose the religion's "hypocrisy."

Police were called to the scene where Allah had painted a number of cryptic symbols, but the graffifi had been painted over by then, the Post said Friday.

Allah, 32, said he was kicked out of his Jehovah's Witnesses church more than 13 years ago and now belongs to the Islam-based Nation of Gods and Earths.

"They said I didn't fit the criteria, because, to put it lightly, I wasn't a choirboy," Allah said.

Search for the snipers was too PC

The Snipers: Crazy or Jihadis?

Jamaican-linked gang crime in Toronto

Bob MacDonald:

When is Canada finally going to mean business in cracking down on violent crime?

Last Thursday, after Toronto-area police led raids on the Bloods street crime gang, Deputy Police Chief Tony Warr declared it "another day for the good guys."

No less than 47 of the Jamaican-linked gang were arrested and more than 1,325 charges were laid.

The gang was the longtime rival of the Crips, another organized-crime street gang with Jamaican background.

So, what happens the day after the police and local politicians congratulate themselves for a successful investigation and massive raids?

Why, on Friday -- the very next day -- there were five shootings, with three of them fatal. Two men were killed and a third wounded in one shoot-up in the northwest section of the city. Earlier in the day, a man in his 20s was murdered in a school playground, just hours before young students arrived.

These latest murders put Toronto's total for the year at 58, with 40 of them involving guns. And only a handful of people have been charged in the murders. Witnesses, many from the same Jamaican background, apparently are terrified to testify, fearing revenge.

So, the world of police and political self-congratulations was swept away in blazes of gunfire and pools of blood. And it's still likely that some of the gang arrested will be on the loose again soon -- released on bail by our soft justice system.

So, what do we do in such a discouraging situation?

Well, you just can't keep sitting back and coming up with excuses. Such as Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty's chant about "American guns on Canadian streets," with the full backing of NDP socialist David Miller -- known to many as Mayor Useless. And there's Toronto rookie police Chief Bill Blair claiming that half the weapons used here by criminals are smuggled from the U.S.

However, on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins knocked those claims by noting that most of the guns coming from the U.S. are actually bought there by Canadians and smuggled back here. In other words, where are Canadian customs and other border-watching authorities?

The truth is that Canada continues to suffer from a longstanding policy of federal Liberal governments going back to 1965. That's when the Pearson-Trudeau government loosened the Immigration Act to make it much easier for previously unqualified foreigners to enter the country and stay on as new citizens. The criminal elements came right along with them. And the Liberals got most of their votes.

The Liberals also weakened the criminal justice system. They got rid of capital punishment, provided early parole, built prisons that are more like country homes and introduced a Young Offenders Act that made youth crime a sick joke.

Former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino pushed for a mandatory 10-year sentence for anyone using a gun to commit a crime. But he ended up being pushed out by Mayor Miller, who prefers the soft, social-worker approach in handling criminals.

Personally, I believe there should be a mandatory 10-year sentence, with no parole, for using a deadly weapon in committing a crime.

And we should have those convicted of violent crimes living in prison work camps in our vast far north country. They can help build their own barracks, cut timber, make their own meals, etc.

There would be no TV, videos, recreation lounges, weight rooms -- nor any access to drugs such as happens in today's Canadian prisons.

And you wouldn't even need walls because no one would want to try escaping across thousands of miles of frozen tundra and muskeg.

Canada would soon be known as a country with a tough justice system, no longer a comfortable home for killers and other thugs.

Too Many Guns? Or Not Enough Americans?

High Level Diplomacy That We'll Never See

Jamaica's crime wave

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The myth of black-Asian solidarity in the face of white majority has an ignoble burial in the streets of Birmingham

Shyam Bhatia:

One of the UK’s best kept urban myths has exploded following a second night of riots in the city of Birmingham. Police and community leaders have appealed for calm following the shooting of an 18-year-old teenager, a short distance away from the city suburb where blacks and Asians clashed repeatedly on Saturday.

The myth was that the oppressed groups of blacks and Asians inevitably bond together to fight for their rights against an exploiting white majority.

In fact, as Birmingham has demonstrated, differences between the minority communities, whether it is Asians against Asians or Asians against blacks, are at least as great as those that divide them from the whites.

Some of the underlying differences between blacks and Asians were evident more than 40 years ago in African countries like Kenya and Uganda where the local African population resented the wealthy Asians. African complaints that the Asians were insular and looked down on them because of their skin colour, culminated in a political and social crisis that triggered a massive exodus of Asians.

Economic resentments also seem to have played a role in Birmingham where Pakistani and Indian shop keepers have long been known to complain of how they are targeted by black criminals. Drug wars between gangs from both communities have further inflamed the situation.

Saturday’s rioting started after local pirate radio stations broadcast rumours that a 14-year-old Jamaican girl had been gang raped in a Pakistani managed shop. Police later said there was no evidence of the rape and added it was possible that the so-called rape victim did not even exist. That did not stop demonstrations outside the shop concerned.

The shop owner then went voluntarily to the police, later telling the media: “I have done nothing wrong. Yet me and my staff are the targets of this unbelievable campaign. It started with accusations that we had been making lewd suggestions to women, then it was claimed I had fondled a young black customer. Before I knew it, the allegation was that I assaulted two girls”.

“By last week I had become a monster who instigated the rape of a 14-year-old. I truly do not know where this has come from. I can only assume that it was initiated by people who cannot stand that an Asian man is selling African products,” he said.

The shopkeeper was alluding to the lucrative Afro-Caribbean hair care market that attracts black women prepared to spend large sums of money on products like shampoos. Black shopkeepers resent Asian businessmen cashing in on this market.

'Rivals started riot rape rumour'

A bitter cocktail of racial tension and gang culture

UK race hate fuelled by hearsay and envy

Britain's 'orphans of Islam' turn to terror

Navid Akhtar:

Just after the 7 July attacks on London I felt a second wave of intense horror as it emerged that three of the four suicide bombers hailed from my community. Like me they were British, Pakistani-Kashmiri and Muslim.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised: they were not the first British Pakistani terrorists, but the successors of young men such as Omar Khan Sharif, who attempted to blow up a bar in Tel Aviv in 2003.

But for many in our community the London bombings were a watershed and left us feeling the time had come to face up to some harsh realities. The community has failed to address a growing crisis of identity.

Since the bombings I have been making a film for Channel 4's Dispatches series, Young, Angry and Muslim, in an attempt to understand and explain what it is about my community that has put us at the centre of terrorism. I've had to examine painful truths about our failure to combat the alienation of the younger generations and the rise of extremism.

We now have three generations of Pakistani Muslims in the UK, but we are not part of the 'Asian Cool' success story, like other South Asian groups from India and East Africa. Our community is fracturing - we live in the most deprived areas of Britain, family ties are breaking down, personal conflicts and 'honour' killings are on the increase.We have low educational achievement, high unemployment and one of the largest prison populations for any ethnic group. A once law-abiding community is now plagued by drugs, crime and violence.

Part of the problem is the disenchantment with the government's foreign policy. But the community's failure to integrate is also based on daily experiences. Akram Sharif, a taxi driver in Leeds, sees the seedier side of British culture. 'They swear, they are abusive because they are intoxicated. People try to smash your car window in, just for a taxi.' Akram told me he felt as if he were caught in the middle. I understood; to be both British and Muslim now is to be torn in two very different directions.

Close to one million strong, 45 per cent of all Muslims in Britain are of Pakistani origin and 80 per cent come from villages in Kashmir and Punjab. They brought with them a rural tribal mentality, where everything remains in the family group. Marriage, business, religion - who your friends are, who you vote for, everything from the cradle to the grave - it's all designed to keep power with the elders, who are in turn answerable to clan elders, who may be answerable to senior members in Pakistan. This clan system is called the Biraderi.

In a community with two thirds aged under 35, the closed doors of clan power mean frustration. Clan elders have for years provided huge vote banks for mainstream parties, in return for positions and influence in local politics. Uneducated, even illiterate, Biraderi elders can get elected as councillors. Younger members of the community talk about a closed hierarchy, which does not recognise talent or ability. I am No 53, in a huge extended Biraderi, and no amount of personal achievement will change that.

Things are changing, however, and young people are standing up for the kind of life they want, no longer giving blind support to old clan loyalties. I met Fatema Patwa, a lawyer who prosecuted an electoral fraud case in Birmingham. She told me people were bribing postmen to get postal ballots and altering the votes of family and friends. People who had trusted these individuals felt abused and disgusted. This wasn't British democracy, it was Biraderi.

Young Pakistanis are losing faith in mainstream politics. Tribal people are reluctant to break old relationships, so despite anger over foreign policy clan elders continue their relationship with Labour. The effect is rising support for radical parties, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir which campaigns for restoration of the caliphate and sharia law, basically a return to Islamic rule in the Muslim world.

State to pay for Muslim schools

The Fraud of 'Islamophobia'

Egyptian authorities have arrested about 100 people suspected of inciting a riot outside a Coptic church in which three protestors were killed

BBC News:

The men, who will be held for 15 days for questioning, face charges of incitement and damaging property.

Thousands of Muslims demonstrated outside St George's church in Cairo on Friday and clashed with police.

They were protesting about a DVD of a play put on by the church, which they said was offensive to Islam.

Dozens of people were injured in the crush. Police said one man who died was trampled and had inhaled tear gas.

The demonstration was the latest in a series of incidents at the church related to the performance of the play, staged at the church in 2003.

The drama, entitled I Once Was Blind But Now I See, tells the story of a poor young Copt who is drawn to Islamist militants who then try to kill him.

Coptic Christian leaders have said the play depicts the dangers of extremism, not of Islam.

Copts, who account for about 10% of the population, generally live in harmony with the Muslim majority although tensions sometimes erupt.

Complaints have included allegations of discrimination in the workplace, restrictions on church construction and fears that Christians are being forced to convert by Islamic extremists.

Egyptian Police Guard Coptic Church Attacked by Muslims

Insulting Islam in Egypt

Muslims face most racism in Sweden

The Local:

Muslims are exposed to the most racial harassment in Sweden, according to a new report from the Board of Integration.

Seven out of ten reports of ethnic discrimination came from people with a Muslim background, and almost 40% of those questioned in the survey said they had witnessed verbal abuse directed at Muslims.

The report, Racism and Xenophobia in Sweden, also showed an increasing intolerance of immigration.

"If you look at the whole period from 1999 to 2004 there has been a significant increase in the number of people who want to close Sweden's borders to immigration, from 35% to 45.5%," said the report's author, José Alberto Diaz.

But the picture painted by the report is complex. While one in five respondents said that they were "negatively inclined towards people who they did not consider belonged in Sweden", the support for anti-immigration political parties, such as the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) and the National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna) is declining.

One in four said they could consider voting for such a party, down from almost one in three in 1999.

Two thirds of those questioned rejected the notion that Sweden is a racist country, and fewer people then five years ago believe that racism is increasing. In 1999, 56% said they believed racism was rising, but by 2004 this had decreased to 46%.

Muslims rule major Swedish city

Anti-Semitism in Sweden

Muslims protest against celebrity preacher

Sweden holds suspected Islamic militants

"Double messages at the mosque"

Muslim schools seek funding from Saudi "fundamentalists"

Silence surrounds Muslim Jew-hatred

Sweden threatened with jihad


'Europe Will Be Islamic by the End of the Century'

20 people fined in Turkey for using letters not found in the Turkish alphabet


A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration, under a law that bans use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners said.

The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira ($75.53) for holding up the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.

Under pressure from the European Union, Turkey has improved language and human rights for its Kurdish minority, but the EU says implementation has been patchy and loopholes remain.

The 1928 Law on the Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters changed the Turkish alphabet from the Arabic script to a modified Latin script and required all signs, advertising, newspapers and official documents to only use Turkish letters.

More than 30,000 people have been killed, most of them Kurds, since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels began an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

Once again, the Turks show the world what an asset they would be as future members of the European Union.

The prime minister will not meet with Muslim ambassadors in Denmark

Eleven Muslim ambassadors in Denmark looking to meet with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss what they call a 'smear campaign' in the media against Islam and Muslims have had their request denied.

The prime minister had otherwise been encouraged by the opposition to meet with the group as a way to increase understanding in an increasingly controversial public debate.

In recent weeks, both the minister of culture and a Copenhagen mayoral candidate have retracted statements they made about Muslims and Islamic culture.

Most recently, national daily Jyllands-Posten has invoked international ire by publishing twelve caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, some of which characterised him as a terrorist.

Pictorial depictions of Mohammed are frowned upon by Islam.

'This is a matter of principle. I won't meet with them because it is so crystal clear what principles Danish democracy is built upon that there is no reason to do so,' said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen reiterated his message that individuals who felt offended by the tone of the public debate should bring their grievances to the courts.

'As prime minister, I have no power whatsoever to limit the press - nor do I want such a power,' he said. 'It is a basic principle of our democracy that a prime minister cannot control the press.'

Rasmussen said that though he preferred a positive debate in the press, as long as people kept their comments with in the boundaries of the law, the motives behind the comments were not an issue.

'Some people say that the press needs to be constructive, and sometimes I also think that'd be nice. But who's to say what's constructive? That's an unfair demand to make. The press needs to be critical - I need to bear that as prime minister and religions must do so as well,' he said.

Cut & Paste: Draw a cartoon about Mohammed and you must die

This type of democracy is worthless…


Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

"Whites Only" barber shop


A "whites only" sign at a barber shop on Moss Street in Lafayette might grab your attention and take you back to the Civil Rights era.

This afternoon, a viewer called our newsroom appalled. We checked it out and found that barber Herbert Leger put the sign up Saturday morning after having to over and over again turn down customers he says he's not qualified to help.

Herbert Leger: The difference is the technique that you use and they have special technique for cutting black people's hair. Just like there's a special technique for cutting white people's hair. I don't have the training, I don't have the experience, I don't have the knowledge and the technique used in cutting black people's hair.

Leger says he did not intend for the sign to offend anyone. He also says when a customer walks in he can't help, he sends him to his barber friend across the street.

Hair Cuttery Accused of Racial Discrimination

Why African Americans Are Splitting Hairs Over Hair

The number of prisoners in the United States rose 1.9 percent during 2004

Bureau of Justice Statistics:

As of December 31, 2004, there were 2,267,787 people behind bars in the United States, of which 1,421,911 were held in federal and state prisons (not including the 74,378 state and federal inmates incarcerated in local jails), 713,990 in local jails, 102,338 in juvenile facilities, 15,757 in U.S. Territory prisons, 9,788 in Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, 2,177 in military prisons and 1,826 in Indian country jails (as of June 30, 2003).

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operated the largest prison system at year-end 2004 (180,328 inmates), followed by Texas (168,105), California (166,556), Florida (85,533), and New York (63,751).

Ten states reported population increases of at least 5 percent during 2004. Minnesota led the nation with 11.4 percent growth, followed by Idaho (up 11.1 percent) and Georgia (up 8.3 percent). Eleven states experienced declines, led by Alabama (down 7.3 percent), followed by Rhode Island (down 2.8 percent) and New York (down 2.2 percent).

The nation's incarceration rate rose from 411 sentenced inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1995 to 486 inmates per 100,000 at the end of last year - an 18 percent increase. (A "sentenced" prisoner is an inmate serving a sentence of more than a year.)

The states with the highest incarceration rates in 2004 were Louisiana (816 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 state residents), Texas (694), Mississippi (669), Oklahoma (649) and Georgia (574). The states with the lowest incarceration rates were Maine (148 sentenced inmates per 100,000 state residents), Minnesota (171), Rhode Island (175), New Hampshire (187) and North Dakota (195).

On December 31, 2004, 24 state prison systems were operating at or above their highest capacity. The federal system was 40 percent over capacity.

At the end of last year 98,901 prisoners were held in privately operated facilities (6.6 percent of all inmates). New Mexico had the highest percentage, 42 percent, followed by Alaska, 31 percent and Montana, 30 percent.

Half of state prison inmates were serving time for violent crimes, 20 percent for property crimes and 21 percent for drug crimes. Females were more likely to be in prison for a drug offense (32 percent) than were males (21 percent). Males were more likely to be in prison for a violent offense (52 percent) than were females (33 percent).

As of December 31, 2004, 104,848 women were held in state and federal prisons - up from 68,468 in 1995. Women constituted 7.0 percent of all inmates - up from 6.1 percent in 1995.

About 8.4 percent of all black male U.S. residents between 25 and 29 years old were in a state or federal prison in 2004, compared to 2.5 percent of Hispanic males in the same age group and 1.2 percent of white males. Among male and female prisoners combined, 41 percent were black, 34 percent were white, 19 percent Hispanic and the rest were other races or two or more races.

Prison Statistics

Criminal Offenders Statistics

Black America's real troubles overlooked

Racial differences exist, with blacks disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders

Urban rap music, drug sales and fatal shootings in Toronto

Nicholas Kohler:

Three shooting deaths this weekend added to a months-long spate of gunplay that a new Ipsos Reid poll says has left residents of Toronto feeling "under siege" by gangs that draw their nourishment from drug sales and their inspiration from urban rap music.

Gun crime and violence has become the most important issue facing the City of Toronto, according to 55 per cent of the residents who participated in the poll up 40 percentage points from a similar survey conducted two years ago.

The degree of concern more than doubles the number of Torontonians who cite gun violence as their primary concern over those who list "garbage" as the most pressing issue facing the city.

The findings of the survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the National Post and Global News, arrived after a number of shootings ended weeks of relative calm.

A gun slaying on Saturday and two Sunday brought to three the number of firearms-related homicides over the weekend.

On Monday, more shots were fired during a drug-related incident.

Such apparently random acts of violence have left 87 per cent of city residents believing that "Toronto is becoming more violent compared to five years ago" up 21 percentage points from a survey conducted in 2000, when 66 per cent of respondents agreed with the same statement.

And while 74 per cent of Torontonians said they felt safe in 2003 walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, only 64 per cent feel the same way now, the poll says.

"... I do have concerns about the increasing number of gun incidents in which people are being killed," said Paul Godfrey, a former member of the Toronto police commission who is now president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club.

"I think you'd have to be living in a vacuum if you didn't realize that what we have here is a spike in the use of guns and young people shooting other young people."

The recent violence, the vast majority of respondents said, is driven by gangs and the drugs the traffic in, a belief the Toronto police force largely endorses.

"The overwhelming majority of this gun violence that our city has experienced is being perpetuated by people who are involved in gangs," police Chief Bill Blair said Monday after hearing the poll results.

But more than gangs, 63 per cent of the poll's respondents pointed to the "glamourization of gang culture" found, some say, in movies and rap music videos that tend to glorify gangsters and the guns they wield as a factor in the increase in Toronto's gun violence.

Recent moves by the city to move more patrol officers into Toronto's gritty northwest corner, where much of the violence has occurred, reflects the belief of 64 per cent of residents, who favour an increase in police presence and stricter penalties rather than more money spent on social programs aimed at fostering alternatives to gang culture among youths.

Toronto's battle against gun violence and gangs

Six shootings in 24 hours, two dead

T.O. bus driver target of random gun violence

Violent ethnic war looms between Filipino and Vietnamese gangs

Ethan Baron:

A violent ethnic war between Filipino and Vietnamese youths in the Lower Mainland will likely escalate, Vancouver police said yesterday.

"What's even more alarming is that sometimes the intended victims don't even belong to the disputing groups, but just happen to be a member of that community," said police Insp. Kash Heed.

Investigators believe the conflict that has led to a series of bloody incidents started in July, when two Vietnamese youths were attacked, one suffering a broken arm, the other serious leg injuries.

In late July, a non-involved 14-year-old Asian boy was attacked by five Filipino youths because they thought he was Vietnamese, Heed said.

On Aug. 30, young Vietnamese were involved in a drive-by shooting.

On Sept. 8, a staffer at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School in Vancouver intervened in a knife assault involving members of the two groups.

On Oct. 1, in the 3300-block of Vanness Avenue in Vancouver, six to seven Filipino males attacked a Vietnamese youth, puncturing his liver. About 20 minutes earlier, young Vietnamese had stabbed a Filipino youth.

The violence "boiled to a crescendo" Oct. 8 when members of both gangs went to a dance at the Polish Community Hall on Fraser Street at about 10:30 p.m., said Vancouver youth-services unit Det. Doug Spencer.

"They all knew each of their communities were going to be there," Spencer said.

Six people were stabbed in the ensuing brawl outside the hall, two seriously. One remains in hospital.

"We're fortunate that no one was killed that night," Heed said.

Much of the fighting has taken place near the Joyce SkyTrain station, but other incidents have occurred around the Lower Mainland.

Those involved are aged between 13 and their early 20s. Many are students at Lower Mainland high schools, police said.

"In a lot of cases the older brothers will get involved," Spencer said, adding that females sometimes carry weapons to the fights because male police officers are less likely to search them.

The fights have involved a variety of bladed weapons. The groups commonly favour machetes, swords and illegal switchblades and butterfly knives, police said.

"They have easy access to these weapons," Heed said.

The war is fuelled by "bravado" and is not over drugs or turf, Heed said, adding: "All indications are that it is going to escalate."

The Filipino members have been wearing red bandanas as gang "colours," Spencer said.

"They've learned this from watching videos and movies," he said.

Vancouver police on Wednesday met with regional law-enforcement officials to implement an "integrated approach" to the violence.

Investigators expect criminal charges will be laid in connection with the attacks.

Police are speaking with those involved, and with ethnic community leaders and parents of assailants and victims.

"We're going to tell them right up front that your son or daughter [is] doing this when they're outside of the home. We're expecting you to take some action to deal with this," Heed said.

"You can't come back and say, 'You never told us that they were involved in this.' You can't come back and say you didn't know."

VPD Plead for Calm After Inter-Racial Rumble

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