British Muslim women against ISIS


This music video is about a song by a young Syrian Kurdish singer.

By Louise Raw in Britain:

The British Muslim women making a stand against Isis

Tuesday 30th September 2014

As the US-led coalition launches air strikes, LOUISE RAW talks to Muslim women who reject ‘Islamist’ extremism and misogyny

LOOKING at a huge, rather beautiful poster of a young Muslim woman wearing a vivid Union Jack hijab, I know I’m not in standard leftie territory — and that’s before Theresa May pops in to press the flesh.

Not many media launches are both timed to coincide with the school run and surrounded by heavy security either. But Sara Khan is used to doing things differently.

Khan is the driving force behind new anti-extremism group Making a Stand, launched last week in Whitehall.

She is also the Director of Inspire, a group which I note is described by the Guardian as a “women’s human rights organisation.”

I don’t particularly want to give Alan Rusbridger a heart attack, but women technically are human beings. There, I’ve said it.

And while an increasing number of men accept that “women’s issues” are everyone’s issues, there’s still a tendency to see anything particularly affecting the female population as niche.

If it affects Muslim women, it’s usually even more a case of Nothing to Do With Us.

Khan is not letting Britain off the hook that easily, however, and is trenchant on the wrong-headedness of using supposed “cultural sensitivities” as an excuse not to oppose extremism and gender inequality wherever they’re found.

On this basis I’d asked her to speak at this July’s Matchwomen’s Festival, and she did so passionately, happily answering some “Everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-Islam-but-were-afraid-to-ask” questions from guests afterwards.

However, she was criticised for Islamophobia by two delegates over her condemnation of the murder of Lee Rigby.

The line on such atrocities from some on the British left is that the West has only itself to blame for “retaliations” to its foreign policy.

She replied that she was a practising Muslim who rejected such violence as outside her faith. The same went for the radical preachers who encouraged it.

As for the Islamic “women question,” Khan says that those in favour of gender inequality “don’t know [their] own faith. The prophet’s wives weren’t submissive women.”

She is adamant that we will see more and more young British women joining Isis, and about where part of the blame lies.

“We need to educate women better to improve this marginalisation problem in Muslim communities. For far too long mosques have marginalised Muslim women and their participation.”

However she’s also keenly aware that the perception of Islam as the ultimate oppressor of women is manipulated by the far-right, which publicly condemns the religion on this pretext even as supporters attack Muslim women on the street.

Some women won’t speak out against gender-based discrimination even though they loathe it, precisely because to do so may fuel anti-Muslim attacks, of which they could end up the victims.

So they can be caught between a rock and a hard place, suffering both fascist violence and gender discrimination from within their own communities. The resultant trauma and alienation is a risk in itself.

Khan says: “We know Muslim women who wear the headscarf are more likely to experience attacks. Will that make them feel they don’t belong? Are they [joining Isis] because all they’ve come across in this country in Muslim communities is a narrow view of women?”

This is the sort of difficult, and potentially dangerous, political terrain Khan has to constantly navigate.

It goes without saying then that “making a stand” will have required considerable courage for at least some of the women present at the launch last Wednesday. This was underlined by a total advance publicity embargo launch for security reasons.

But Khan made it clear on the day that silence was no longer an option when young British Muslims were being drawn to Isis — and there have been reports of British female recruits joining the al-Khanssaa brigade, an all-women militia set up by Isis which punishes women for “unislamic” behaviour.

“They have bought into a pack of lies,” says Khan.

“They think they’re following Islam, but actually it’s a patriarchal ideology that seeks to treat women as second-class citizens.”

Making A Stand has practical proposals for British Muslim communities — they ask mosques to start treating women more equally, communities to take more responsibility for women and women and young people to speak out on social media using the hashtag #MakingAStand, to directly challenge Isis sympathisers.

Later, over lunch, I spoke to some of the women present about the causes of radicalisation.

Sufiya Ahmed, Tamina Mir and immigration lawyer Piya Mayenim identified multiple factors that they saw as contributing.

High unemployment and institutionalised racism which limited Muslim young people’s futures made them feel they didn’t belong in Britain.

The three women saw Isis as something of a trend, though no less dangerous for that.

A generation with generally more liberal parents could only rebel by becoming more extreme, and Mayenim was aware of instances of teenagers criticising their parents for being “too Western.”

The black-clad, macabre chic of Isis could seem an appealing alternative to Western decadence and consumerism.

We talked about the government’s response to date. The Prevent initiative was launched in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11 2001 to counter radicalisation at community level, and continues to do so, but with significantly less funding under the coalition.

It hit another major roadblock in 2010 when it emerged that CCTV cameras placed in Muslim areas of Birmingham, 72 of them covertly, were partly funded by Prevent cash.

The resultant loss of confidence and trust was enormously damaging.

The women had also seen secular youth clubs close due to cutbacks, to be replaced with self-organised single-race or religious groups, decreasing cultural cross-pollenation.

Although May had come to praise the launch, there were no new commitments that day either — while promising the government would support Making A Stand “if you can do this” (ie counter and monitor extremism) we were left not knowing if this would mean an occasional fist-bump or anything more concrete.

I spoke also to Mehmoo Dah, an older Muslim woman living in sheltered accommodation who had travelled from Leicester for the launch.

She was visibly distressed as she spoke about the racism she says she personally experiences after every Isis incident, with locals saying: “You’re all terrorists.”

Khan has her work cut out for her, but is deeply committed to her mission.

“Extremist views from both sides blight the lives of British women and weaken our country,” she says.

“As a country that stands for equality, justice and women’s rights, we cannot allow extremists of any kind to deny British women their rights.”

Louise Raw is author of Striking A Light: The History of the Bryant and May Matchwomen’s Strike (Continuum). She will be chairing and speaking at the Freedom For Sussex 2014 Conference: Children and Young People on Thursday October 16 at the Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3PX, 10.15am-4.30pm (registration opens at 9.45am). For more information visit http://www.safeinsussex.org.

As US and allied warplanes continued to strike targets inside Syria, the Obama administration is marshalling support for a war that is more and more explicitly aimed against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rather than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): here.

This week, to bestow legitimacy on the US war on Syria, the US media suddenly discovered the coalition “leader”, Hadi Al-Bahrah, and highlighted his calls for US bombing of his country. But none of the US media mentioned the revolt against him and the call by his own Military Council to oust him: here.

Le Monde is serving as a mouthpiece of the French state’s war propaganda, trying to browbeat the public into accepting a massive, long-term escalation of war in the Middle East and Africa with mendacious claims that Paris and its imperialist allies are waging a “war on terror”: here.

Archbishop’s secret child porn archive discovered


Archbishop Wesolowski

From the Corriere della Sera in Italy:

Child Porn Found [on] Former Nuncio’s Computer

Józef Wesołowski knew how to use technology to make illicit internet connections. Grave violation of duties

by Fiorenza Sarzanini

ROME – Monsignor Józef Wesołowski kept a secret archive on a computer at the Santo Domingo nunciature. The 66-year-old Polish former archbishop, arrested three days ago for paedophilia by Vatican gendarmes at the order of Pope Francis, had more than 100,000 files containing pornographic photos and videos. Some were downloaded from internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. Inquiries to discover others involved continue as investigators seek anyone who may have aided Wesołowski to procure minors or taken part in sex acts. The charge sheet explicitly mentions “offences committed in complicity with persons unknown” and case documents make it clear that Vatican investigators have already found evidence that will help them to identify the offenders. The case file pieces together the picture of an affair that looks anything but over and could still produce more spectacular revelations. Wesołowski is suspected of belonging to an international network that extends well beyond what has emerged so far.

Four volumes and deleted photos

The extent of the network emerges clearly from an expert IT report that reconstructs the activities of the Santo Domingo nuncio, who was recalled by the Holy See a year ago and then defrocked. In the report, experts underline “the particular ability of the defendant to use electronic instrumentation that can be procured for illicit connections. The defendant pursued these actions in a manner that was strongly compulsive”.

Józef Wesołowski had “more than 100,000 files of a sexual nature, to which must be added more than 45,000 deleted images”. Investigators were alerted by the discovery of an archive on a Vatican-owned computer “divided into four volumes and containing about 130 videos and more than 86,000 photographs”. The former archbishop had saved the rest on the laptop he used mainly when he was travelling. The material, which is classified by type, shows dozens of young girls engaged in sexual activities but the preference is for males.

Network of accomplices and email traffic

The report reconstructs all the relevant data traffic, including visits to gay sites and Wesołowski’s correspondence. Analysis of his network connections, email and other writings stored on the hard disk could reveal the identity of those with whom he exchanged images and provide leads to his accomplices. Investigators are confident that Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, the deacon arrested by Dominican police in June 2013 who subsequently blew the whistle on Wesołowski in a letter to the Vatican hierarchy, is only a pawn in a much bigger game. Now they have extended their inquiries to all the countries where Józef Wesołowski was based before he went to Santo Domingo. Above all, they want to investigate people with whom he was in frequent contact.

Testimony of three children

Wesołowski is believed to have solicited dozens of children but the case file names only three minors and their mothers as prosecution witnesses who have elected to denounce the horror and violence to which the prelate subjected them. They have confirmed what the Dominican police had partially reconstructed with the help of a local TV journalist who had conducted an investigation into Józef Wesołowski’s double life. One of the charges faced by the former priest is that he “acted, as a high-ranking member of the church hierarchy, in grave violation of his institutional duties in such a way as to cause damage to the public image of the state and the Holy See”. This is understood to be what convinced the Pope to approve the exceptional measure of house arrest.

Nuncio claims “I can explain”

When he was brought before prosecutors to be served with a detention order last Tuesday, Wesołowski said he wanted to make a statement: “I can clear my position and explain the mistake”. He was informed that he could do so with a lawyer, even though the evidence against him is overwhelming. It was this that led to action being taken against him so quickly. There was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited. In that case, he would have had to be imprisoned until proceedings with the Holy See were completed. Prosecutors, acting in full collaboration with the Santo Domingo judicial authorities, preferred to avoid this situation. Józef Wesołowski will be questioned in the next few days and could face a fast-track trial, in compliance with international treaties on violence against minors.

English translation by Giles Watson

Article in Italian here

26 September 2014

British Islamophobe’s hatred of lesbian rabbi


This video, with Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah from England, is called Women in Judaism seminar – Part 1/2.

This video is the sequel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

What did this lesbian rabbi do to make Julie Burchill mad?

A lesbian Jewish leader says she has endured years of vitriol from the writer renowned for her strident style

Emily Dugan

Friday 26 September 2014

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah had been warned that welcoming one of Britain’s most controversial writers into her synagogue might have its pitfalls.

But when Julie Burchill, who lists “spite” among her hobbies, showed an interest in the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue in spring 2009, the rabbi was keen to give her a chance. “I thought she was a very good writer and I knew she was interested in Jews,” Rabbi Sarah recalls. “I also knew that she was a bit of a loose cannon but… we don’t try to label people.”

Things began well. Burchill attended the Saturday shul regularly and was talking about converting. After a few weeks Rabbi Sarah and her civil partner, Jess Woods, even had the journalist and a friend over for a Shabbat dinner at their home.

But a couple of months later the rabbi got a sharp insight into her new congregant’s views. An email had gone round asking whether people would help with the synagogue’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Burchill replied: “No, because your rabbi respects PIG ISLAM”.

“I could have done a big public exposure,” Rabbi Sarah told The Independent this week. “But what I did was email her and said: ‘Julie, firstly this is deeply, deeply offensive. Both Jews and Muslims don’t eat pig. I don’t know what you’re doing but this is really unacceptable and offensive. I was incredibly polite.”

When this newspaper asked Burchill about the email, she replied: “PIGS AND APES are what some Muslims call Christians and Jews, by the way. Even in school textbooks! Google it.”

Burchill is not Jewish but describes herself as a Philo-Semite,

‘Philo-Semites’ of the Burchill type are basically anti-Semites turned inside out. They want to use Jews as battering ram cannon fodder in their Islamophobic violent crusade fantasies. If Jews don’t want to play along with these delusions, then these Jews become objects of hatred by these ‘Philo-Semites’.

Let us imagine that Islamophobic racists like Burchill succeed in their aim of cleansing all Muslims, supposedly the cause of all problems in Britain, ethnically from the United Kingdom. Then, people would find out there would still be problems. And who would people like Burchill blame for that, now that the Muslims were gone? Wouldn’t they blame ‘the Jews?’

and has become a vociferous defender of Israel. In a book out next month, The Unchosen, she charts her love affair with Judaism – but ends with an acerbic 23-page rant against Rabbi Sarah, whom she dubs “Call-Me-Elli” for her informal style.

In one of many withering put-downs, Burchill writes: “When not boasting about being gay and cool, she was – via the scenic route – boasting about how tolerant she was by ceaselessly ramming the merits of Islam down the collective throats of her captive audience.”

Looking at a copy of the book for the first time, in the home she shares with her partner overlooking the South Downs, Rabbi Sarah is appalled by Burchill’s words. “What do you do about somebody who has such vile attitudes which really stoke Islamophobia?” she asks.

She reads aloud a phrase about her partner Ms Wood, where she is described as “the partner-in-petting during that fateful Shabbat dinner” – and yelps. Burchill makes many more overblown references to the couple’s “canoodling” at the Shabbat dinner and whether it would “turn into a full-on Sapphic free-for-all”.

Rabbi Sarah is mortified. “It’s outrageous. In good faith I invited her into my home. My partner and I – anybody will tell you we’re not like that at all. On Shabbat what you do is greet everyone. Everybody is kissed and she will have been too. If you met my partner – I mean, how were we in our home? We are so not outrageous. We’re so ordinary and boring and middle aged. Do me a favour.”

Burchill’s deconstruction of the meal extends to the drinks the hosts did (and did not) serve, after Burchill brought bottles of champagne. “Surely I started to dislike Call-Me-Elli at the moment she substituted her homebrew for my Veuve Clicquot,” she writes.

For Rabbi Sarah, the critique epitomises the writer’s betrayal of their hospitality. “It’s such an invasion… We served the elderflower [wine] that my partner had actually made,” she says. Burchill is unrepentant, telling The Independent: “I don’t call giving someone home-brewed elderflower filth when they’ve brought two bottles of Bolly ‘hospitality’.”

Rabbi Sarah had tasted public criticism from Burchill before the book came out. In a Jewish Chronicle column in December 2009 the polemicist complained about the rabbi’s sermons, but did not name her. Ms Wood, Rabbi Sarah’s partner, who has an MBE for her charitable work with young LGBT people in Brighton, even took Burchill to the Press Complaints Commission over claims that Christians are persecuted all across the Muslim world. She lost the case because the article was judged to be fair comment.

As one of the first two lesbians to become Rabbis in Britain, 25 years ago, and as a Jewish supporter of a two state solution, Rabbi Sarah is used to being pilloried. But few have made their attacks so personal – or so concerted. Her chief crime, in Burchill’s eyes, was “nagging about the Palestinians” and using “her pulpit to hammer home the joys of Islam”.

The rabbi believes Burchill’s religious views are dangerously simplistic. “The problem is she doesn’t have any in-depth knowledge. I can imagine her endlessly watching the film Exodus with Paul Newman. She’s got a kind of Hollywood view of Jews. You know, ‘Jews are so clever, we’ve survived…’,” she says.

After five years of abuse in print from Burchill, Rabbi Sarah has come to the conclusion that the author is fixated on her. “One has to question Julie Burchill’s psychological motivation,” she says. “Here’s someone who claims she loves Jews who’s actually persecuting an individual Jew. She’s being a persecutor.”

Archbishop accused of child abuse under house arrest


This video says about itself:

27 June 2014

A tribunal in the Vatican has convicted the former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic of sex abuse and stripped him of the priesthood.

Jozef Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled by the Church last year amid claims that he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been investigated for sex abuse.

Pope Francis has urged the Church to root out and punish abuse by priests.

Wesolowski had served as envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years. He was ordained as a priest and bishop by his compatriot, Pope John Paul II.

He has two months to appeal against the sentence. As a citizen of the Vatican, he also faces criminal charges in the city state, which could lead to a prison sentence.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have also opened an investigation into Wesolowski, but have not charged him.

From Reuters news agency:

Jozef Wesolowski, Former Dominican Republic Archbishop Accused Of Sex Abuses, Put Under House Arrest

09/23/2014 3:39 pm EDT

The Vatican said on Tuesday it had arrested a former archbishop who is accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic.

Jozef Wesolowski, a Pole, is under house arrest inside the city state, the Vatican said in a statement.

Wesolowski was defrocked by a Vatican tribunal earlier this year and is awaiting trial on criminal charges.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Korean religious cults’ pseudo-peace movements


This video from Britain says about itself:

15 February 2003: The day the world said no to war

15 February 2012

15 February 2003 was the biggest protest in human history. In Britain there were two million on London’s streets. In Rome there were even more. Tens of millions of people in over 800 cities across the world said Not in My Name. We didn’t stop the war in Iraq but the protest that day has shaped the politics of a whole generation. Now a feature length film titled We Are Many is being made by Amir Amirani which will document a momentous day. This is the inspiring trailer for the film, which captures the spirit of that day – a spirit which has been shown time and again since, not least by the Arab Spring uprisings.

The world more than ever needs a strong, massive pro-peace movement. A worldwide grassroots movement of people with diverse views on religion and politics. Like the movement against the Iraq war with its many millions of demonstrators in February 2013. Against the warmongering of Rupert Murdoch and his ilk. Against wars for the profits of arms dealers or of Big Oil. Against the bloody war in Ukraine. Against re-starting the Iraq war and even more international escalation of the Syria war.

Many people are looking for peace movements to join to promote their desire for peace. Unfortunately, some ‘peace organisations’ are peace organisations more in name than in reality.

An infamous example of this is the ‘Unification Church’, also known as ‘Moonies’, founded by the late self-appointed ‘Messiah’ Sun Myung Moon from South Korea. Well, the official name is neither ‘Unification Church’ nor ‘Moonies’, but Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. This religious cult also has a satellite organisation, the Universal Peace Federation. There, one can hear nice-sounding, but abstract and vague, speeches about how good peace is. However, concrete action against wars and preparations for wars are hardly ever mentioned.

The Moon organisation has this in common with quite some politicians, who in their speeches support peace in the abstract, while supporting one or more concrete wars. Even Adolf Hitler, the worst war criminal in history, professed vague, abstract notions of peace in beautiful sounding speeches sometimes.

The Moonie church does not go beyond praising peace in abstract terms, as they get much of their income in concrete terms from arms deals.

And there is the Unification Church’s support for racist parties in various countries, like Le Pen’s Front National in France; and the Centrumdemocraten in the Netherlands. Racism does not bring peace.

Also, the Moonies’ links to the World Anti-Communist League which included neo-nazis. And which helped to stoke Cold War flames, with more profit opportunities for Unification Church weapons deals.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Moon organisation supported the bloody Vietnam war.

Ever since George W Bush started war on Iraq in 2003, the Unification Church supported that war.

According to a Moonie media mouthpiece, the Iraq war should be the start of a hundred years of war without democratic control.

Moonie cult publication, cartoon

That Moonie media mouthpiece, the Washington Times, publishes propaganda for the torturing dictatorship in Bahrain; a regime which helps to fan the flames of religious fanaticism and war in Syria.

Now, Messiah Sun Myung Moon is dead. However, there is at least one similar ‘god-man’ in South Korea still alive. Using similar vague abstract words about ‘world peace’ as Moon, while doing nothing to stop concrete wars, like Moon.

From the Korea Observer in South Korea yesterday:

Alleged cult leader Lee Man-hee hosts world peace summit in Seoul

By Jon Twich

This week, Korea plays host to a major world peace summit which will be chaired by a “renowned Korean peace activist.” But if you’re in Korea, you won’t be hearing much about it in the news.

Why? Because that big-name activist is none other than Lee Man-hee, leader of Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (SCJ), which is known as one of the country’s most controversial religious groups.

From Sept. 17 to 19, the World Alliance of Religions Peace Summit (or WARP Summit, not to be mistaken for the UN-affiliated NGO Religions for Peace which held an interfaith conference in Songdo, Incheon last month) will bring together world leaders, major religious figures, and political activists, all in the name of peace.

Or at least that’s what they’re told. The event is officially hosted by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), three of which are allegedly controlled by SCJ’s leadership.

And the odd one out, the Berlin-based ICD, pulled their affiliation from HWPL and the WARP Summit on Tuesday, just one day before its opening day (Korea time).

Now, as the countdown to what one SCJ Facebook group called “the biggest peace-event the world has seen” reaches its end, more and more participants are getting cold feet and bailing out on their intercontinental flights.

This 16 September 2014 video is called Korean Cult 신천지 at the Airport.

“We didn’t know the chairman of the peace summit is accused of being a cult leader who claims to be immortal,” a Muslim participant of the event told The Korea Observer upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport Tuesday.

MBC’s PD Notebook, an investigative program, claimed that SCJ makes its followers believe Lee is immortal. Lee, however, didn’t admit it, saying this is a matter that God should decide, not him.

Meanwhile, another Muslim participant claimed that he was disappointed about the organizers because he would no longer be able to give a speech for one of the debate sessions.

“I was initially invited as a panelist, but the organizers later told me that they simply have too many panel members and cannot give me a slot to make a short presentation,” he said. “I will only participate as an observer.”

Yet still more were arriving by the hour, greeted at the by white-shirted SCJ members cheering and waving welcoming signs.

“I took an early leave to come here to greet religious leaders,” one high school volunteer said asking for anonymity. “We are here for world peace.”

They claim to have successfully invited former heads of state of Romania, Croatia, Kosovo, Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, Mongolia, South Africa, Jordan, Argentina, Armenia, and Albania. They also claim to have the Grand Muftis of Egypt, Macedonia, and Kosovo.

They even invited former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin publicly online through Twitter.

Sarah Palin, an even worse warmonger than George W Bush.

And they posted a video congratulatory message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which was quickly taken offline shortly after.

“Without fail, every leader we have spoken with has pledged themselves in support of our cause, demonstrating their desire to be a part of HWPL’s work through a signed agreement of solidarity,” Lee says in his greetings message on the organizers’ official website.

This 14 September 2014 video is called Korean Cults – Shincheonji 신천지 2014.

For many foreign residents who have been in Korea for over two years, this is all too familiar. In 2012, SCJ ran an aggressive recruiting campaign targeting foreigners under the front group Mannam Volunteer Association. Through Mannam, they organised numerous activities, from sports teams and a running club to a photography group and charity events.

They pulled in thousands of foreigners, but once word got out of SCJ’s role, participation was decimated. Still, they managed to bring in thousands of unaware foreigners to a large event filling Jamsil Olympic Stadium past capacity on Sept. 16, 2012.

The event was advertised in English as the World Peace Festival, but to Koreans it was the SCJ 6th National Olympiad, an event held every four years to coincide with Lee Man-hee’s birthday on Sept. 15. The fallout from this “large-scale deception” was fierce, filling the expat blogosphere with condemnations and first-hand accounts.

Following that, Mannam went silent. Burned in Korea, they focused their efforts abroad. Under a bevy of new banners, they went abroad to meet with world leaders and engage in diplomacy. They signed an interfaith peace agreement on the Philippine island of Mindanao. Lee Man-hee was appointed honorary ambassador of the International Romani Union National Assembly. He spread the legend of Lee Man-hee, 83-year-old peace activist, divorced from his infamy as a cult leader at home.

So now, many of the friends that have been made overseas are coming to Korea, where they may be exposed to a very different narrative of Lee and SCJ’s place in Korean society. At this year’s WARP Summit, once again taking place in the same week as Lee Man-hee’s birthday, internal memos went out instructing SCJ participants not to mention SCJ or Mannam.

This 214 September 2014 video from South Korea is called An Interview with the Father of a Shinchonji Member.

Outside of a few organized protests by family members of SCJ followers, most people in Korea are unaware that the WARP Summit is happening. There is a media blackout on all things SCJ, which the church used to its advantage. As well, it blocked out its own websites for HWPL, IPYG, and IWPG in Korea to limit the information available, only lifting the block at the commencement of the summit.

The Korea Observer tried but was unable reach the WARP Summit for official comments over the past two days. If you call the number listed on the official website (warpsummit2014.org), you get the response message that the phone is turned off. Nevertheless, despite obvious connections, several volunteers of the summit denied any involvement with Shincheonji.

One of the foreign organisations at ‘Messiah’ Lee Man-hee’s conference is the pro-Bahraini absolute monarchy organisation, the Bahrain Association for Religious Co-existence and Tolerance. So, Moon’s Unification Church are not alone in their friendship with this regime. The Bahrain Association for Religious Co-existence and Tolerance has a sinister, Orwellian Newspeak name, considering the religious INtolerance practiced by the Bahraini dictatorship.

The BARCT tells about ‘Messiah’ Lee Man-hee’s conference in the Bahraini pro-regime paper Gulf Daily News, which especially sent a reporter to Korea for this ‘peace conference’. They would like to have ‘Messiah’ Lee Man-hee’s next conference in Bahrain.

The Bahrain government’s official news agency sent a reporter to Lee Man-hee’s Korea conference as well. They write that there are foreign guests ‘from about twelve countries’.

Though, as Jon Twich’s report says, many pre-announced foreign guests failed to turn up at the conference, the Gulf Daily News report says at least some of them did come:

Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqi Abdel Karim Allam was among the list of high profile speakers set to deliver an opening address yesterday, but he was replaced at the last minute by Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue chairman Dr Ibrahim Saleh Al Naimi.

The Qatari official stressed the importance of dialogue in his speech, describing it as the only way to address conflict among communities.

This official of the dictatorship in Qatar should say that to his own regime, stoking war in Libya and in Syria.

The Gulf Daily News mentions another speaker at this ‘peace conference': ‘Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic’.

When Mr Mesic was still president, in 2010, he almost managed to re-start the bloody Yugoslavian civil wars by threatening to invade Bosnia.

Wars are madness, Pope Francis says


This video from Redipuglia in Italy on 6 July 2014 is about a concert ‘against all wars’. Music: Dies Irae by Giuseppe Verdi.

From Associated Press:

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

By COLLEEN BARRY and LUCA BRUNO

September 13, 2014

REDIPUGLIA, Italy — Pope Francis urged the world Saturday to shed its apathy in the face of what he characterizes as a third world war, intoning “war is madness” at the foot of a grandiose monument to soldiers killed in World War I.

Francis’ aim in recalling those who died in the Great War that broke out 100 years ago was to honor the victims of all wars, and it came at a time when his calls for peace have grown ever more urgent amid new threats in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Standing at an altar beneath the towering Redipuglia memorial entombing 100,000 Italian soldiers fallen in World War I, the pope said “even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”

The visit was also infused with intensely personal meaning. The pope’s grandfather fought in Italy’s 1915-17 offensive against the Austro-Hungarian empire waged in the nearby battlefields, surviving to impress upon the future pope the horror of war.

The pope in the past has recalled the “many painful stories from the lips of my grandfather.”

Before arriving at the monument, the pope prayed privately among the neat rows of gravestones for fallen soldiers from five nations buried in a tidy Austro-Hungarian cemetery just a couple of hundred of meters (yards) away.

In his homily during an open-air Mass at the Italian monument, the pope remembered the victims of every war – up to today.

“Today, too, the victims are many,” fallen to behind-the-scenes “interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power,” the pope said.

He lamented that the human toll of “senseless massacres” and “mindless wars” has been met with apathy. Francis urged: “Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep.”

The enduring impact of World War I, 100 years on, is evident in the visitors who continue to make pilgrimages to the monument, although in ever decreasing numbers, said Fogliano di Redipuglia Mayor Antonio Calligaris.

According to a Dutch NOS TV report

The pope inter alia condemned arms dealers and terrorists.

Galileo Galilei and the beginning of physics


This video says about itself:

Galileo (1975) – Joseph Losey (1)

This bio-film is based on Bertold Brecht‘s play about Galileo Galilei, the 17th century Italian who laid the foundations of modern science. Galileo made himself one of the world’s first telescopes and discovered the moons of Jupiter.

He supported Copernicus’ theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This brought him in conflict with the Catholic Church. By threatening him with torture, the Church forced him to recant his views in front of a tribunal, and sentenced him to house arrest. However, Galileo’s trials and theories inspired others like Newton and Kepler to prove that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe. Some years ago, the Pope accepted that Earth does revolve around the Sun and issued a rare apology for what the Church had done to Galileo, i.e., the Catholic Church recanted.

By Henry Allan and Bryan Dyne:

The beginning of modern physics

9 September 2014

Renaissance Genius: Galileo Galilei and His Legacy to Modern Science, David Whitehouse, Sterling, 2009 (US $24.95)

This volume is a welcome contribution to the study of the Italian Renaissance, written by the British archeologist David Whitehouse. It gives a comprehensive view of the world of the Italian Renaissance at a time when ideas, discoveries and new inventions accelerated the clash of science with the medieval institution of the Roman Catholic Church. The book’s primary focus is the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), whose persecution by the Church reflects the tribulations of most of the progressive thinkers of the time.

The book was published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the year when Galileo turned his significantly improved version of the telescope to the night skies and began to draw the phases of the moon. It is lavishly illustrated with paintings, photographs, and illustrations that depict the time in which Galileo lived, his life, friends, colleagues, adversaries and persecutors.

As Renaissance Genius shows, this was the time of the Inquisition and its imprisonment, torture, and heinous executions of those deemed “heretics.” This included anyone who challenged existing church doctrine, particularly those developing the new techniques of observation, experimentation and the combination of the two with mathematics. Among those persecuted were Giordano Bruno, Antonio de Dominis and Galileo himself.Galileo Galilei

Vincenzo Galilei, Galileo‘s father, was a mathematician and music theorist who challenged traditional beliefs in the infallibility of Greek philosophic thought backed by both church and state. He found, for example, that the practical application of experimentation disproved long-held beliefs of the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras on musical interval and pitch between two strings. Pythagoras had held that in the tuning of strings, the weights used to stretch the strings, the tension must be doubled. It turned out that in practice, the tension had to be quadrupled, not doubled, to produce a tone an octave higher. As Whitehouse explains:

“It is hard to underestimate the importance of this moment in Galileo’s life. He and his father had found a new harmony; a new set of mathematical laws that correlated the note produced by a string to its tension, and had done so by experiment. They had not looked up the answer in either an ancient Greek treatise nor sought the advice of some musical authority. This was the start of modern science: They had carried out an experiment and asked a question of nature itself. It was revolutionary. Vincenzo’s actions had unfolded the course of his son’s life in experimental physics.”

Later in life, Galileo would use experimental techniques to show that objects fall towards the Earth at the same rate, regardless of mass. That some objects seem to fall slower is because of air resistance, not a property of the objects themselves. This challenged the Aristotelian principle that claimed that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones. The most famous of these experiments was done at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, when he released two identically shaped spheres of different masses from the top of the tower. The spheres, one of 100 pounds and the other only one pound, hit the ground at the same time.

Nearly 400 years later, astronaut David Scott of Apollo 15, carried out a similar experiment on the surface of the moon, releasing a feather and a metal hammer. Both struck the lunar surface at the same time. “Galileo was correct,” exclaimed Scott.

This video is called APOLLO 15 Hammer and Feather.

Galileo’s achievements also involve a number of inventions related to other fields of science. He developed the thermoscope, the predecessor of the thermometer, which was the first attempt to measure heat. The Venetian Senate awarded him a patent for a water-lifting machine used in irrigation that only used one horse. A friend in the tool-making trades helped Galileo develop a simple compass that could be used to gauge the distance and height of a target as well as measure the angle of elevation of a cannon’s barrel. While Galileo did not invent the telescope, which was first built in the Netherlands in 1608, he is credited with increasing the magnification by 20 to 30 times using advanced lens-crafting techniques.

His interest in telescopes was sparked in 1604 when a new “star” appeared in the constellation Ophiuchus. This followed an earlier appearance of a new star in 1572 that was studied by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Such occurrences challenged the long-held notion of both the Aristotelians and the Church that the heavens are perfect and unchanging. Always being one to pursue observations, Galileo sought a way to study the night sky in greater detail.

One of Galileo's early telescopes at the Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy

With his telescope, he began to paint the different phases of the moon and its observable dark and light spots. He showed the moon to his patron, the Duke of Tuscany, who was delighted. Galileo then observed the Pleiades star cluster, as well as the planet Jupiter. Through these observations, he discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter – Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede, and provided the first evidence of objects orbiting a body other than the Earth. This was the proof Galileo needed to become a fervent advocate of the Copernican model of the cosmos.

A similar realization was made during Galileo’s study of the phases of Venus, repeating in much greater detail observations done by Copernicus. After recording the pattern of sunlight reflected from Venus’ atmosphere, he realized that the only way such patterns could occur is if both Venus and Earth revolved around the Sun. Galileo published a book on his observations, which circulated throughout Europe.

Included in his observations were the recording of sunspots. By aiming the telescope at the Sun and letting the light pass through the telescope onto a white background, Galileo was able to sketch out the positions of sunspots and determine that such imperfections on the Sun both existed and changed with time. Both this observation and the experimental evidence that the Earth is not the center of the universe incurred the wrath of the Church.

Galileo before the Holy Office, painted by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury

Both the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Vatican considered the sun a perfect and unblemished sphere. The stars themselves were seen as divinities, contributing to the growth of astrology. It was argued by church supporters that the observed sunspots must be satellites of the sun and not “imperfections” in its surface. Galileo stated that not only were sunspots on the surface of the sun, they changed their shapes, and both originated and dissolved on that sphere. This could only lead to one conclusion: the sun was not a perfect sphere.

Galileo’s popularity and a newly established science academy in Rome ensured the continued publication of his works and a certain defense against the Church and other professional enemies. However, the issue of sunspots became the spark for an open clerical attack upon Galileo.

The story of how this debate unfolded is but one example of how the church and its privileged office-holders used the Bible to defame scientists like Galileo. Galileo himself believed that nothing that was discovered in any way conflicted with Scripture and quoted an ecclesiastical historian, Cardinal Baronius (1538-1607), who had commented: “The Holy Ghost intended to teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” This clever riposte did not save him. As Whitehouse points out:

“In his innate conservatism, Cardinal Bellarmine saw the Copernican universe as threatening to the social order. To him and to much of the Church’s upper echelon, the science of the matter was beyond their understanding — and in many cases their interest. They cared more for the administration and the preservation of Papal power than they did for getting astronomical facts right.”

In the end, Galileo was told by Bellarmine and the head of the Inquisition, Cardinal Agostino Oreggi, that Copernicus’ views were wrong and he was not to support them. Furthermore, he was ordered not to teach or defend Copernican theory in any way, either in his writings or verbally.

After Bellarmine and Pope Paul V died, Galileo still harbored great hopes that the new Pope, Urban VIII, his former friend Maffeo Barberini, would prove when elected to be much better than his predecessors. This was an illusion. He was summoned before an even more hostile Inquisition than the first time.

While Whitehouse speculates that for Barberini, being Pope “had gone to his head,” the more fundamental truth is, as he observed earlier, that the Church hierarchy as a whole viewed “the Copernican universe as threatening to the social order.” The Pope, no matter his individual origins, was bound by his place in medieval society to defend the status quo.

The reproductions in Whitehouse’s book of paintings and illustrations depicting book burnings, the burnings at the stake for heresy, and the humiliations endured by thousands at the hands of the Inquisition reinforce this point.

Renaissance Genius depicts how Galileo’s defense of the Copernican system and the subsequent discoveries by Kepler, Rene Descartes, and Isaac Newton not only established the beginnings of physics, but also led to the advances for science that have resulted in the modern space program, including the space probe named after Galileo and the Hubble space telescope, the most extraordinary advance in the technology which Galileo pioneered.

Whitehouse sums up the Galilean revolution by providing us with a very human portrait of the man, the history of his times and Galileo’s indispensable role in the advancement and popularization of science for humankind.