Baptists arrested in Missouri, USA


Members of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America delegation that traveled to Ferguson, Mo. Four were arrested in a civil disobedience demonstration. (Photo: Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Facebook page)

After a sheriff in Texas, USA referred to a Methodist preacher as ‘Satanic’ for caring about the death of Sandra Bland, now Baptists arrested for caring about the death of Michael Brown. Maybe ‘Satanists’ to law enforcement as well? [sarcasm off]

From the Baptist Standard in the USA:

August 17, 2015

By Staff / Baptist Standard

Four of the 57 people arrested Aug. 10 in a peaceful protest outside a federal courthouse in St. Louis were part of an eight-member Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America delegation in Ferguson, Mo., there to observe the one-year anniversary of the Aug. 9, 2014, police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan issued a statement saying the arrests were for “obstructing the normal use” of entrances to the Thomas Eagleton Federal Courthouse. They occurred during an “otherwise peaceful and nonviolent” march by about 200 protestors through downtown St. Louis in a day of civil disobedience dubbed “Moral Monday.” BPFNA Executive Director LeDayne McLeese Polaski identified the four arrested delegation members as Martha Kearse, associate minister at St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.; Tremaine Sails-Dunbar, a senior at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn.; Barbara Smalley-McMahan, a pastoral counselor and American Baptist minister active in previous Moral Monday protests in North Carolina; and Alexis Tardy, a recent graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and former intern in the office of Congressman André Carson, D-Ind.

Pro-Sandra Bland clergywoman called ‘Satanic’ by Texas sheriff


Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith (screen grab)

By David Edwards in the USA:

Sheriff taunts clergy keeping vigil at jail where Sandra Bland died: ‘Go back to the church of Satan

10 Aug 2015 at 16:12 ET

A United Methodist Church pastor in Texas said on Monday that the Waller County sheriff told her to “go back to the church of Satan” while she was keeping vigil outside the jail where Sandra Bland died.

Hannah Adair Bonner explained on her Twitter feed that she went to the Waller County Jail on Monday just like she had for 27 days since Bland’s death. While she was sitting outside the jail, Sheriff R. Glenn Smith decided to confront her.

Cell phone video uploaded by Bonner shows Smith walking by and asking if she needs his business card, presumably so he can be correctly identified.

“Why don’t you go back to the church of Satan that you run?” Smith asks as he walks into the jail.

Bonner later called on activists to contact Smith’s office for an apology.

“Sheriff then went to my car, took pics of license plate and my face and threatened he is going to do something with them,” she noted.

See also here. And here.

Smith’s behaviour, associating a Christian pastor with Satanism, reminds me of how southern racists in the USA used to call, and still call, another Christian minister: Dr Martin Luther King Junior they call ‘Marxist Lucifer Coon Jewnior’, mixing religious fear mongering about Satan with red-baiting, racist stereotypes and anti-Semitism.

From The Atlantic in the USA about Texas:

In 2007, the chief of police in Hempstead, Glenn Smith, was accused of racism and police brutality during an arrest. Council members opted to suspend Smith for two weeks, a sanction that disappointed civil-rights leaders in town. The following year, amid more allegations of police misconduct, Smith was fired. He promptly ran for county sheriff and won, and is now charged with investigating Bland’s death in the jail he oversees.

16-year-old Israeli girl murdered by ultra-religious homophobe


Shira Banki, 16-year-old Israeli girl before she was murdered by an ultra-religious homophobe

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

16 Year Old Stabbed in Jerusalem Pride Parade Succumbs to Wounds

Shira Banki was critically wounded in an attack by an ultra-Orthodox man on Thursday; Netanyahu: She died for bravely supporting everyone’s right to live in dignity.

Also from Haaretz: Why the Israeli government’s condemnation of Jerusalem Gay Pride attack is hollow

See also here.

Yaniv Kubovich Aug 02, 2015 6:16 PM

Three days after being critically wounded by an ultra-Orthodox man that went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade, Shira Banki, a 16-year-old Israeli teen succumbed to her wounds Sunday afternoon. Five other people were wounded in the attack.

Police confirmed that the suspected stabber is Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi man from Modiin Ilit who stabbed three participants in the 2005 Gay Pride march. He was recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence.

Banki was a high-school student from Jerusalem, studying at the Hebrew University High School. She took part in Thursday’s parade to show solidarity with her LGBT friends. She is survived by her parents and three siblings; her family decided to donate her organs.

In a statement issued Sunday, her family said: “Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose. For no good reason and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for a less hatred and more tolerance.” The family requests the public respect their privacy as they grieve.

As of Sunday afternoon two of those wounded in the attack alongside Banki were still in serious condition and remained hospitalized, though medical officials said their condition was improving. Three of the other people wounded in the attack were released home after suffering lighter injuries.

Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) also issued a statement, saying Banki was a victim of “Jewish terror”. “I cry for Shira… she is the age of my children. We will not tolerate violence, racism or LGBT-phobia of any kind,” he said, reiterating his demand that the prime minister outlaw extreme right-wing groups which he said “incite hatred” in Israel.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said in a statement: “It’s a dark day for Israel… in which a high school girl is murdered for her opinions and positions.” “There is no principle in the world worth the life of a young girl,” said Bennett, who was supposed to address an LGBT rally Saturday evening, but canceled after refusing to sign a commitment to act on behalf of the gay community. This is “a day in which we became darkness unto the nations instead of a being light unto the nations,” he added.

On Saturday, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the stabbing as well as a deadly arson attack in the West Bank that saw a Palestinian infant killed.  “Flames have engulfed our country,” President Reuven Rivlin said at the rally in Jerusalem’s Zion Square. “Flames of violence, flames of hatred, flames of false, distorted and twisted beliefs.”

An estimated 10,000 people turned up for a rally in Tel Aviv’s Gan Meir, which was already planned to mark six years since two people were killed in a shooting at Barnoar, a Tel Aviv gay youth center. …

The attacker, Schlissel, was sentenced for 12 years in prison for the 2005 attack after his conviction on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault. However, in 2007, following an appeal, the Supreme Court mitigated his sentence to 10 years. He was deemed sane and fit to face trial on Friday.

After his release, Schlissel returned to his hometown, where residents said that he distributed hand-written pamphlets in which he called on “all Jews faithful to God” to risk “beatings and imprisonment” for the sake of preventing the parade.

Right-wing MK: Jerusalem pride parade is an ‘abomination’. Habayit Hayehudi lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich calls anti-violence protest held in wake of stabbing a ‘witch hunt’ against those opposing LGBT rights: here.

Israel Police to probe failure to monitor Jerusalem gay pride parade assailant. Yishai Schlissel, who served 10 years for 2005 parade stabbing attack, urged self-sacrifice against ‘abomination parade’ following his recent release: here.

Homophobic knife attack on Jerusalem Pride marchers


This video from Israel says about itself:

30 July 2015

Six people stabbed at Jerusalem gay pride march ‘by ultra-Orthodox Jew released from jail three weeks ago for identical attack in 2005′.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Participants at Gay Pride Jerusalem stabbed

Today, 18:38

At the Gay Pride march in Jerusalem six participants have been stabbed. Two of them are seriously injured, Israeli emergency services say.

On pictures one can see that the alleged offender, an ultra-orthodox Jew, is arrested. He is the man who ten years ago at the Gay Pride in the Israeli capital conducted a similar attack. Then, four people were injured. The man was convicted to twelve years in prison and was released three weeks ago.

Struggle

“We heard people screaming, everyone tried to get themselves to safety. Bloodied people lying on the ground,” says a witness.

Despite the stabbing, the march continued. “Our struggle for equality will only get stronger because of this,” said the organization.

Ultra-Orthodox man stabs six people at gay pride march in Jerusalem. Yishai Schlissel had recently been released from prison after serving 10 years for stabbing three people at a gay pride parade in 2005, police said: here.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat acknowledged Thursday that “something went wrong” in the failure of police to monitor Schlissel, who while in prison had repeatedly used ultra-Orthodox social media to promote attacks on gays and describe his knifing spree as a “mission from God”. … “The writing was on the wall,” commented Israel’s Channel 2 reporter Moshe Nussbaum. “Everybody knew, except the police…about Schlissel’s intentions”: here.

British Islamophobes’ ‘racial holy war’ plans


This video from North America says about an extreme right ‘racial holy war‘ propagandist:

14 July 2015

Paul Craig Cobb better known as Craig Cobb, is an American Canadian White Nationalist, White Separatist, Neo-Nazi, antisemite and Holocaust denier who operates the video sharing website Podblanc.

By Luke James in Britain:

Operation Race Riot

Tuesday 28th July 2015

Campaigners expose far-right bid to launch a race war off the back of insulting cartoon exhibition of the Muslim prophet Mohammed

A RACIST plot to spark a “civil war” in Britain by staging a provocative exhibition of prophet Mohammed cartoons was blown open by campaigners yesterday.

Anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate published a 32-page dossier alleging that a September 18 exhibition will be at the centre of a plan to spark confrontations in multicultural communities.

Chief executive Nick Lowles called on the authorities to stop the event, saying it is “simply seeking to incite division, hatred and violence.”

Mr Lowles warned: “Some simply want to provoke a violent reaction from Muslims in order to present them in a negative and intolerant light.

“Others hope the cartoons will spark a series of tit-for-tat violence that will ultimately lead to civil war.”

The Sharia Watch group — run by Ukip general election candidate Anne Marie Waters — announced plans for the exhibition earlier this month.

The event at an undisclosed central London venue is to feature cartoons from “satirical” magazine Vive Charlie, which counts Sun columnist Katie Hopkins among its supporters.

Infamous far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders, previously banned from Britain as an “undesirable” for his virulent Islamophobia, is to be the main speaker at the event.

A similar exhibition attended by Mr Wilders in Texas this year was attacked by two armed men, who were shot dead by police.

The Home Office appeared to suggest yesterday that Mr Wilders could be barred entry to Britain to attend the event.

A spokeswoman said the government doesn’t comment on individual cases before adding: “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude non-British nationals from the UK.

“The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they present a threat to our society.”

Organisers claimed the event was part of a campaign to defend free speech in the wake of the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in January by Islamic extremists.

But Hope Not Hate’s year-long investigation has revealed the real and “sinister” motives behind the event.

The group has insider evidence that Ms Marie Waters and other white extremists discussed using the exhibition to ignite race riots.

She met last month with English Defence League founders Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and Alan Ayling, as well as Britain First founder Jim Dowson, according to information passed to Hope Not Hate.

One idea allegedly discussed by the group was to hold a number of demonstrations in areas with large Muslim populations at the same time.

Racist activists would wave placards showing images of the prophet Mohammed in the hope of inciting a violent backlash from local Muslims.

“They believed that police would be too stretched to cope and at least one of the demos would lead to a riot,” the report states.

A source closer to Mr Lennon reported that “Isis sleeper sells within the UK would be activated to commit terrorist attacks” in response to the exhibition.

Mr Lennon was said to believe that ex-soldiers would then “take the law into their own hands.”

The report also highlights how British fanatics openly discuss plans for civil war scenarios online, including suggestions about urban warfare.

One recent fictional account of a civil war posted anonymously began with the publication of Mohammed cartoons.

Hope Not Hate says it is “highly disturbing” that people can openly talk about murdering Muslims in a civil war and face no police action.

Mr Lowles added: “This report is more than just an exposé of attempts to use the cartoons to incite a violent reaction.

“It is about a group of political extremists, as dangerous as the Islamists they claim to dislike, who are seeking to bring society to its knees and drive Muslims out of Europe through fear, violence and murder.”

Ms Marie Waters, who stood for Ukip in Lewisham East in May, denied the allegations and the party said it was standing behind her.

See also here.

White religious fundamentalist’s massacre in Louisiana, USA, cinema


This 24 July 2015 video from the USA is called John Russell Houser Is Louisiana Theater Shooter #Lafayette.

By Tom Hall in the USA:

Theater shooting leaves 3 dead, 9 wounded in Louisiana

25 July 2015

A gunman opened fire in a movie theater near downtown Lafayette on Thursday, killing two and wounding eight before turning the gun on himself.

This was at least the third mass shooting in the United States in little more than a month. It follows the massacre by Dylann Roof, a teenager influenced by white supremacism, at a black church in South Carolina in mid-June, and the shooting last Thursday by Mohammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized US citizen from Kuwait, at a Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene as moviegoers, some still bleeding from gunshot wounds, fled in a panic through the theater’s hallways and into the parking lot. “I saw a woman lying on the ground outside [the theater] with blood everywhere. She was shot in the leg,” one witness told the Daily Advertiser.

The gunman, identified as 59 year-old John Russell Houser, initially attracted no suspicion from fellow moviegoers as he sat and watched the beginning of the comedy film Trainwreck. …

Houser’s possible motivations for the attack are not yet known. Sparse Internet postings indicate a deep demoralization and anger infused with right-wing evangelical views. One post from his Facebook page in 2013 reads: “The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it. Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.” The post then links to a 2011 post from a Nigerian message board which reads “A Woman’s Place In The Church And The Weak Church Elder.”

Another post from Christmas of 2013 reads: “I believe you should be much stronger. The end to the modern day Rome comes soon.” It links to an article from another religious website which reads, “7 signs of a weak leader.”

Houser’s rambling Linkedin page describes him as an entrepreneur with a law degree from Faulkner University and an accounting degree from Columbus State University. His work history indicates a handful of brief business ventures, including two bars that closed within three years of opening. The most recent listing shows that he was a “real estate developer” for eight months in 2006.

Friends and acquaintances described Houser as being “a little unbalanced” and struggling with depression and alcoholism. “He seemed to be more and more unstable,” an acquaintance told the Advocate. He was also apparently known to Phenix City police for his “strange behavior.” Houser’s prior criminal record is thin, however, including arson, selling alcohol to a minor, and speeding, all of which date from more than 10 years ago.

A report by USA Today from July 17, six days before the Lafayette shooting, found that since the massacre in Aurora in 2012 nearly 400 people have been killed in 72 separate mass shootings in the United States. However, because this list includes only incidents where 4 or more people were killed, killings such as those in Lafayette would not have been included in these already staggering figures.

The source of this epidemic of mass shootings is the deepening social crisis in the United States, to which a small number of people have responded with homicidal violence born of deep social alienation. Added to this is the unending violence promoted and perpetrated by the state, at home and abroad.

However, the political establishment, predictably, has avoided any mention of these broader social conditions in its reaction to the shooting.

Louisiana governor and long-shot Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal made an appearance in Lafayette Thursday evening in which he promoted religious obscurantism. “The best thing we can do across Lafayette, across Louisiana, across our country is come together in thoughts, in love, in prayer,” Jindal told a local TV station in remarks which were televised nationally.

The actions of Houser were “evil,” Jindal declared.

One week before calling for “love and prayer” in response to the mass shooting in Lafayette, Jindal penned an editorial on the Chattanooga shooting calculated to whip up anti-Muslim bigotry, attacking president Obama for neglecting to call the shooting of four Naval reservists by a Muslim man “terrorism.” “The truth is that Radical Islam is at war with us,” Jindal declared. “This is grotesque. You cannot defeat evil until you admit that it exists.”

THE gunman who killed two people and wounded nine more in a Louisiana cinema last Thursday was able to buy a gun despite a history of mental illness, police acknowledged at the weekend: here.

THE LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWED THE LAFAYETTE SHOOTER TO BUY A GUN How John Russell Houser was able to buy the gun that he used to kill two women in a movie theater last week, and the problem that gun rights and gun control activists agree on. [WaPo]

AMY SCHUMER ENLISTS SOME FAMILY HELP IN CALL FOR GUN CONTROL She and her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), made an emotional plea yesterday for gun control. Their joint press conference comes two weeks after two people died after John Houser opened fire at a screening of Schumer’s new movie, “Trainwreck.” [HuffPost]