Pope Francis I meets refugees on Lesvos

This video says about itself:

Greek minister slams conditions at Idomeni refugee camp

18 March 2016

Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis compared the Idomeni refugee site on the border between Greece and Macedonia to the infamous Dachau concentration camp while on a visit.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this is a modern Dachau,” Kouroumplis said during his visit to the camp where thousands of people live in improvised tents, deprived of basic necessities, on Friday.

Idomeni “is a logical result of closed borders,” he said, adding that Greece “believes in Europe without borders.” Two improvised camps, hosting over 15,000 migrants, sprung up near the Idomeni crossing in late February after the Macedonian authorities closed its borders amid a massive refugee crisis in the EU.

Kouroumplis expressed regret over “the awakening of a kind of nationalism against the persecuted people” in Europe. He acknowledged that accepting 1.5 million migrants in no easy task, but said that the people stuck at Idomeni “didn’t leave their countries by choice, but were forced to flee by wars, in which Europe also participated.”

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Tears and drawings as pope meets refugees on Lesvos

Today, 10:07

Edited today, 11:57

Hundreds of selected migrants could greet Pope Francis this morning. He had traveled to Lesvos to see with his own eyes the consequences of the refugee crisis.

Some migrants were in tears when Francis passed. Others called out their countries of origin: Afghanistan, Syria. The pope took drawings received from children and praised a girl for her work. His entourage received the drawing and were told not to fold it because he wanted to have it on his desk.

Dozens of migrants who were not invited tried to to get a glimpse of the visit from behind the fences. This afternoon there will be a lunch with eight migrants who will tell their stories. Then they will lay a wreath into the sea in memory of migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in their attempts to reach Lesvos.

Talking to Tsipras

Francis was accompanied by the leader of the Orthodox Church and the archbishop of Athens. Together they will discuss the situation with the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras. Tsipras said upon receiving the Pope that it is a historic visit, and that he is proud to offer the migrants shelter. “Especially at a time when some of our partners, even dropping the name of a Christian Europe, build walls and fences to prevent defenseless people from finding a better life.”

Greece currently offers more than 50,000 refugees shelter. Most arrive on Lesvos, on boats from Turkey. For two weeks now the people who are coming are returned to Turkey as part of the agreement that the EU concluded with Turkey.

Humanitarian, not political

The Vatican stressed that the visit is of a humanitarian and religious nature and not a criticism of the EU agreement. But at the same time the cardinal who on behalf of the Vatican deals with migration indeed criticized the agreement. According to him, the agreement deals with migrants as goods that can be traded back and forth.

According to Greek media Francis will take ten refugees back with him, eight Syrians and two Afghans. The details thereof are not yet known. Especially the two Afghans are symbolic, because migrants from Afghanistan are no longer automatically recognized as refugees.

‘Atheism is terrorism’, Saudi government says

This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Ambassador Defends Law Declaring All Atheists Terrorists

14 April 2016

Read more here.

After Nelson Mandela was for decades on the United States government list of ‘terrorists’; after the British government, and the Bahraini government, treated journalism as ‘terrorism‘ … and after the Saudi government beheaded peaceful (mainly Muslim) demonstrators against absolute monarchy for ‘terrorism’.

Houdini and Conan Doyle, stage magic and spiritualism

This video from Britain says about itself:

17 December 2015

Trailer for a new 10-part series “Houdini & Doyle” to air on ITV Encore, Global TV, and Fox in 2016.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Houdini and Doyle: The real story

Wednesday 6th April 2016

A new TV whodunnit features the magician and author battling over spiritualism. It is a true story and PETER FROST tells it here

AFTER any war there are always a number of those who have lost loved ones and are in deep mourning. That is the time that charlatan spiritualists, profit-driven supernaturalists and all sorts of dodgy preachers come out of the woodwork to take advantage of these people’s grief.

Of course there were genuine believers and perhaps the best known of them in the years after the immense slaughter of WWI was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Doyle was a huge supporter of spiritualism; his wife was a practicing medium. Lady Doyle often conducted seances appearing to be in communication with the dead, and Doyle was absolutely convinced of her ability.

Doyle had been for many years a leading member of the Society for Psychical Research, an organisation composed mainly of enthusiastic believers in the paranormal rather than being genuinely interested in objective research.

Yet in the 1920s even that unthinking support was not enough for Doyle. He led a resignation of 84 members of the society, on the grounds that it was too sceptical. Most of those who left the society joined the Ghost Club, of which Doyle was a long-time member. The Ghost Club was fully convinced that the supernatural was an absolute fact.

At about the same time Harry Houdini was best known as the world’s most famous magician and escapologist. He was a huge star. Houdini was a great friend of Doyle but he was also a committed debunker of false mediums and dishonest spiritualism.

This difference of opinion would challenge a friendship between two deep thinkers in the field of the public understanding of science.

Despite this radical difference of opinion, Houdini and Doyle managed to keep their friendship alive for some years.

Then in the spring of 1922, Houdini invited Doyle to the home of his friend New York Lawyer Bernard Ernst.

Houdini wanted to prove to Doyle that anything a medium could do he could reproduce using the tricks of stage magic.

Houdini had Doyle go outside in private and write a simple note that Houdini could not have seen. When Doyle re-entered Houdini had a cork ball soaked in white ink magically roll around on a slate and spell out the exact message Sir Arthur had written.

Houdini wrote to Doyle telling “I have devoted a lot of time and thought to this illusion; I have been working at it, on and off, all winter. I won’t tell you how it was done, but I can assure you it was pure trickery.

“I did it by perfectly normal means. I devised it to show you what can be done along these lines. Now, I beg of you, Sir Arthur, do not jump to the conclusion that certain things you see are necessarily supernatural, or the work of spirits, just because you cannot explain them.

“Do, therefore, be careful in future, in endorsing phenomena just because you cannot explain them. I have given you this test to impress upon you the necessity of caution, and I sincerely hope that you will profit by it.”

Doyle responded by inviting Houdini to his own home on June 17 1922 so that his wife could convince Houdini of the reality of the supernatural by putting Houdini in touch with his deceased mother.

In the ensuing seance, Lady Doyle, produced a letter she claimed had been written by Houdini’s dead mother.

Doyle believed this proved the existence of communication beyond the grave. He believed he had won the argument.

Houdini pointed out that the letter was written entirely in English and his [Hungarian] mother could not read, write or speak the English language.

The chasm between the two men became even bigger. In 1923, Houdini agreed to join a committee formed by Scientific American magazine to offer 5,000 dollars to any medium that could pass the committee’s tests. None was able to do so, and the prize was never collected.

Houdini took to attending seances in disguise, accompanied by a reporter and police officers. These activities really upset Doyle who refused to believe any of Houdini’s exposés.

Amazingly Doyle actually believed that Houdini was himself a powerful spiritualist medium, and had performed many of his demonstrations only by means of his own paranormal abilities.

The friendship broke down completely with public threats of lawsuits. Houdini continued challenging and exposing fake mediums for the rest of his life. His fame grew for his amazing escapes and stage acts, but he was increasingly attacked by spiritualists.

Houdini died in 1926. Sir Arthur published The Edge of the Unknown about his life experiences with spiritualism, and he dedicated an entire chapter to his remarkable thesis that Houdini actually had supernatural powers, but knowingly lied about them.

Houdini’s battle against spiritualism continued beyond his own death.

His wife, Bess Houdini, held annual seances, as the couple had planned, to reach Harry in the hereafter. None of the attempts were successful.

The couple had agreed upon a code word to be included in any message Houdini managed to get through from the grave. The word, “Rosabelle-believe,” never emerged in any of the seances.

The tradition of holding a seance for Houdini continues, held by magicians throughout the world. No messages have ever come through.

Doyle never lost his faith in life after death but so far he too has never been able to confirm that belief from beyond the grave.

Sadly even today there are still many charlatan mediums taking money from grieving people desperate to reach lost relatives.

Houdini and Doyle is shown at 9pm on Thursdays on ITV Encore.

God ordered me to murder liberal minister, fundamentalist Christian says

Bart van U. on trial, ANP drawing

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Man who killed [liberal Dutch government minister] Els Borst reiterates murder was ‘commanded by God’

Today, 10:46

Bart van U., the man who killed former minister Els Borst and his own sister, reiterated to the court in Rotterdam that he was on a “divine mission”. He pointed out at the beginning of the trial that Ms Borst was responsible for the [liberalisation of the] euthanasia policy in the Netherlands. …

About the knife that he used van U. said he always had a knife with him. He does not want to answer the question where he left it. …

Van U. is on trial in two murder cases. He has admitted that he killed Borst and his sister.

Van U. murdered his sister Loïs because she had more liberal views than him on euthanasia and abortion.

Another, surviving, sister of Bart van U. was a witness today at the trial of her brother, whom she called ‘the murderer’. She said that because of Bart’s murders, her children are still afraid to go out shopping.

Let us suppose that this ‘pro-life’ murderer would not have been fundamentalist Christian Bart van U., but ultra-orthodox Muslim Mohamed U; committing the same crimes for the same reason.

Then, western corporate media and United States Republican politicians Donald Trump and Ted Cruz would not have stopped talking about what U.’s crimes supposedly say about Islam in general. Now, however, that Bart van U. is not a Muslim, (correctly) you don’t hear that all Christians are supposedly like him.

British bishop against Donald Trump

Bishop Dr Jo Bailey Wells

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

New bishop ‘will try to stamp out Trump culture’

Saturday 26th March 2016

THE Church of England’s newest Bishop said yesterday she will try to keep “Trump culture” away from Britain.

Reverend Dr Jo Bailey Wells, 50, who was named as the new Bishop of Dorking on Thursday, said she also wanted to “stand against” a culture where people tweeted or blogged without thinking.

Asked about Muslims being made scapegoats by internet trolls, Dr Wells told the Daily Telegraph: “There is a sort of — you might call it a Trump culture.

“I’ve certainly experienced that in America. I would be keen to keep it from our shores.

“But part of the culture is that we now tweet and blog before we speak and think.

“Cyberspace, the blogosphere, has encouraged that kind of behaviour and I think I want to stand against that.”

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has controversially called for a block on Muslims entering the US, mimicked disabled people and claimed parts of London were “so radicalised” that police were “afraid for their own lives.”

Dutch Muslims condemn Brussels atrocities

This video says about itself:

Ireland: Irish Muslims protest against ISIS in Dublin

26 July 2015

The Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council organised a protest to condemn the atrocities committed in the name of the Islamic State (… ISIS/ISIL), on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, Sunday. The “Not in our name” protesters specifically condemned the killing of three Irish citizens in Tunisia last month. Irish Muslims from Cork, Limerick, Drogheda, Dundalk and Dublin, as well as members of the Council of Nigerian Mosques, attended the peaceful demonstration.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Muslim organizations reacted with horror to attacks

Today, 18:55

Several Islamic organizations and mosques have reacted with horror to the attacks in Brussels. The imam of the Es Salam mosque in Rotterdam calls for unity and reconciliation.

“When we combine our strengths and realize solidarity, we can win this fight,” said Azzedine Karrat. “When we give terrorists space, they will commit these kinds of attacks.” …

The Council of Moroccan Mosques speaks of a “horrible and disgusting attack”.

The Union of Moroccan Muslim Organisations sympathizes with the victims and survivors. “Our thoughts go out to family and friends. We also mourn with our neighboring country Belgium. …

“A fist must be made against jihadism,” the Alliance of Moroccan Dutch writes in a statement. “ISIS, as the monstrous face of this ideology, is aiming to sow terror and to destroy the lives and freedom of citizens, regardless of their background and faith.”

Conservatives Spout Hateful Rhetoric In Wake Of Brussels Attacks. Donald Trump led the charge calling for closing borders, waterboarding suspects and blaming refugees: here.