WASHINGTON: Parents outraged over CAIR request to teach Islam in
Posted: December 16, 2011 | Author: barenakedislam |
HAMAS-linked CAIR-The Council of America Islamic Relations says it presented the Puyallup School District with a request to brainwash young students with propaganda about Islam and the Muslim religion as a way to ease fears and ‘educate’ students.
KOMO NEWS CAIR also made a request to the Puyallup School District for special accommodations for Muslim children during Ramadan and other holidays.
Dozens of parents say if one organization is allowed to come into the classroom and teach their children about the Muslim religion, then all religions should be represented. At a town hall meeting on Tuesday night, the parents’ message was clear: they don’t want religion being taught in public schools. ”Muslims are welcome here, but if you’re going to be here, you get in line and become American first,” said parent Lisa Hedger.
Pierce County ACT! For America, an organization dedicated to concerned citizens and parents who feel CAIR has ulterior motives, says, ”For America’s sake, we don’t think that it’s fair that Islam gets a pass and the other religions don’t, but also because CAIR is a front for the Muslim brotherhood,” said group member Kerry Hooks. “We have a real problem with organizations with ties to terrorism that come into the public schools.”
Ask LOWE’S not to capitulate to a meeting with the shakedown artists of
Posted: December 15, 2011 | Author: barenakedislam |
There are more of us Americans than them. Hamas-linked activists from CAIR have sent Lowe’s corporate officials a letter requesting a meeting regarding their decision to yank its ads from TLC’s ‘All-American (sic) Muslim’ unreality show.
DETROIT NEWS (H/T Rob E) “We sent a letter requesting a meeting between community leaders of various organizations including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to try to come to a resolution regarding the issue,” said Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan Tuesday.
Walid said Tuesday no boycott against Lowe’s has been called. YET! Controversy erupted over the weekend after Lowe’s confirmed it had pulled its ads in response to some protests over the show.
The Florida Family Association, an evangelical Christian group took credit for the chain’s decision to pull its ads. The head of the group says it is responsible for getting 65 other advertisers to pull their support of the show as well but that has not been independently verified. Lowe’s officials have have not said it would reconsider its actions and reinstate its advertising.
BACKGROUND on Dawud Walid, with CAIR since 2005: When a Hezbollah-linked entity, the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization, was raided by federal agents in July of 2007, Walid posted on his website that it was still perfectly fine to donate to it, as well as to another terror-linked charity that had been raided, Life for Relief and Development. In March of 2007, during a lecture he gave at Western Michigan University, Walid “justified suicide bombings.” He also stated, “We should obey the laws of the United States of America, except when those laws bar us from those things that are obligations [of] our religion.”
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the leaders of the social-services organization ACCESS and the National Network for Arab American Communities(NNAAC) Tuesday announced said their groups will no longer accept donations from Lowe’s. (They shouldn’t have been giving you money in the first place)
“While we understand that this was a corporate decision to pull advertising from the show, we feel that the Lowe’s position does not align with our values,” said Tonova in a press release Tuesday.(America will NEVER align with your “values.”)
ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber said Lowe’s’ actions are a contradiction to ACCESS’ local and national efforts to stamp out bigotry and stereotyping. (This is rich, coming from the most evil bigots on earth)
CONTACT LOWE’S at: 1-800-445-6937
BE SURE TO COPY THE CAIR GOONS:email@example.com
CAIR THUG DAWUD WALID
new-list-of-tlcs-all-american-muslim-sponsors-to-contact (Be sure to see a review of the 12/12 episode of All-American Muslim here)
Explaining he reasons behind NDAA 2012
Preparing for martial law
|– Doug Hagmann Friday, December 16, 2011Canada Free Press|
Was the timing merely serendipitous or is something else at play? Yesterday was the “birthday” of the United States Bill of Rights, which our forefathers ratified exactly 220 years ago. The same people who believe the constitution is a living, breathing document just put it on a respirator, metaphorically speaking, by passing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). Obama has declared his intent to sign the legislation, despite initial indications from the White House of a veto (more on that dog-and-pony show later in this writing).
NDAA: The 2012 version
Every year, a new version of the defense authorization bill is crafted and ultimately enacted into law. It is an extensive piece of legislation that appropriates funds to defense projects. The current bill provides for a $662 billion defense budget and places the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the Joint Chiefs of Staff despite strong opposition of some military leaders. The massive budget allocation and the creation of a cabinet position for the chief of the U.S. National Guard is not at issue, however. The somewhat muted public frenzy over this bill stems from controversial and seemingly contradictory language that will have an impact on all United States citizens.
The language of the bill is readily available on numerous open source government sites, so it will not be included here. It was detailed in my previous article titled Connecting the dots of the National Defense Authorization Act, and its implications discussed in Judi McLeod’s article “Disappearing dissenters in Obama’s new Amerika.” Yet, there seems to be a full frontal assault by Democrats and Republicans alike to whitewash the bill’s actual ability and intent.
Clearing the controversy
While one section of the bill seems to exclude U.S. citizens from all aspects of this legislation, the key lies in the placement of discretion of exactly who fits the broad definition of a “terrorist” or broader still, someone who has engaged in a “belligerent act.” The bottom line is that the NDAA bill contains language that will codify, or make into law, the much debated act of defining U.S. citizens as enemy combatants. It will leave that discretionary power to the executive branch.
While many readers have contended that nothing in this bill applies to U.S. citizens, Senator Carl Levin, the bill’s sponsor, explicitly disagrees. Even more alarming, it was Senator Levin who announced in Senate chambers that it was Barack Obama himself who demanded the verbiage that includes U.S. citizens as fair game by our own military on U.S. soil. This followed Senator Lindsey Graham’s gleeful announcement that through the passage of this draconian legislation, the whole of America is now a battlefield and a venue in which the U.S. military may operate against its own.
Even in the face of such official pronouncements, there are many legislators who insist that this bit of lawyer-speak does not apply to citizens, and to think it does is just plain silly. Republican Congressman Tim Griffin, for example, has dedicated a Face Book site to decry the myths of the NDAA, showing readers in that venue where he is correct and others are not. Griffin is just one of many attempting to convince an unsuspecting public to relax, continue shopping and allow the government to handle such matters.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that what is taking place in Washington is without purpose. The contradictory language, the circular arguments, and the much publicized threats of veto by this administration are intended as smokescreens as the collective attention of a nation is diverted as America prepares to “shut down” for the Christmas holiday. The bipartisan support for this bill adds to this confusion by convincing the American people that their Tea Party Republicans or their civil rights watchdogs would never betray the trust of the people. Unfortunately, they have. But few are asking the most important question of them all: why?
Information from intelligence sources: Follow the money
Within the last five weeks, I’ve been in contact with highly placed sources, their staffers and associates who work inside of the beltway. I’ve also engaged in dialogue with top security officials, all who state that this legislation is not about the security of our nation, but the ultimate control of the American people. According to these sources, the administration and congress are anticipating an apocalyptic scenario in the not-too-distant future.
While all eyes are on some type of unspeakable nuclear, biological or chemical event at the hands of “homegrown terrorists,” the real event is already in progress, although America has not yet experienced the full fallout from what is taking place. The terrorists are indeed homegrown actors, and they are engaged in actively destroying the United States, but not with bullets or bombs. Bullets and bombs are effective, but do not have the long-term capacity to effect every citizen from shore to shore. Additionally, such non-state terrorists don’t have the capacity to so effectively infiltrate the administration, the majority of congress, as well as the various regulatory agencies that exist in the U.S.
Driven not by a third world theology, the true terrorists are those whose god is greed, power and control, and who have effectively destroyed our monetary and economic system. For years they have been facilitated by all three branches of the American government, although they have been empowered by this administration in particular. Perhaps that’s why we have a man in the Oval Office who lacks the bona-fides of his predecessors, and why those in power refuse to address the lack of due diligence in that venue.
After all, it is Obama and his closest political supporters who have been the largest financial benefactor of the incestuous Goldman Sachs-Federal Reserve-U.S. Treasury-IMF-World Bank Ponzi scheme, and it is Eric Holder, as attorney general, who has declined to prosecute the criminal behavior of the money changers. One has to look no farther than the MF Global rape of American citizens, where upwards of $1.2 billion turned up “missing” from customer accounts under the leadership of Obama administration confidant and Goldman Sachs alumni Jon Corzine. Testifying before congress, Corzine was stricken with a case of idiocy when questioned about where the money went.
The most telling part of those hearings was not Corzine’s display of hubris through amnesia, but statements made by the panel charged with the inquiry. Instead of ordering Corzine into custody to allow his memory to revive, the congressional panel spoke of “learning from mistakes” and “moving forward.” That’s akin to asking a masked bank robber about the location of stolen money, and when he fails to tell his questioners, they look at the bank to determine what steps could have been taken to prevent the robbery.
The MF Global and the Jon Corzines of the world are the mere tip of the iceberg. Money is being systematically stolen from each and every American at wholesale levels while this administration and this congress sits by, themselves the benefactors of the actions of the global banking takeover of our country and the world.
As the majority of American people are told by the nightly news that things are improving in Camelot and consequently continue their needless shopping at big box stores for items they don’t need and can’t afford, they are oblivious to what is coming. When the inevitable happens, they will be surprised, shocked and outraged.
Of course, that’s all hyperbole, according to the very people who created and perpetuate this madness. And if it were true, wouldn’t the GOP nominees be talking about this in their debates? Oh, wait, considering who’s asking and answering the carefully scripted questions, why would they?
As watchmen begin to expose the people, companies and even lawmakers behind this money and power grab, they could be considered dangers to the “security” of the United States, or engaging in “belligerent acts.” So too could the people who will protest in anger about the bank holidays, the overnight evaporation of their retirement accounts, and even the fire sale of national assets to manage the unmanageable and unsustainable debt. Their anger must be controlled in the name of national security.
To be certain, their warnings will not be heard nor will protests be allowed from a detention facility.
You know, the facilities that don’t exist?
West accuses the Democratic Party of being like Goebbels. Democratic Party responds by falsely accusing West of Anti-Semitism,
A letter from Goebbels
|– Daniel Greenfield Friday, December 16, 2011Canada Free Press
The Republican race is more muddled than ever as Gingrich’s numbers fade a little without anyone to take his place. Either Gingrich recovers, Perry surges or it’s Romney all the way. The establishment backing Romney had to damage Gingrich to limit the fallout from their backing of Romney. This way they chose between two evils, rather than choosing the man that they were always going to choose.
Congressional deadlocks continue as neither side can really move their agenda forward. But Obama can still abuse executive orders and he benefits from the appearance of a do-nothing congress. Meanwhile the NJDC has dumped a sputtering press release condemning Congressman West for his “shocking” Goebbels comment about the Democratic Party, complete with an ADL press release.
The comment may be a bit much, but is the party most associated with breaking Godwin’s Law really pretending to be outraged by a Goebbels analogy? Let’s just have a skip and a hop back to January when a Democratic congressman said that Republican criticism of ObamaCare was “a big lie just like (Nazi propagandist Joseph) Goebbels.”
There’s also a difference between a Nazi analogy and a Holocaust analogy. A Nazi analogy is about how totalitarian populism works. A Holocaust analogy is about the mass murder of millions. In some cases it is valid to make Nazi analogies, but not Holocaust analogies. Goebbels’ Big Lie is an obvious example because it addresses the mechanics of propaganda, which is a valid point even when applied to people who are not mass murderers.
The Democratic Congressmen scurrying to condemn West for it is political opportunism at its most cynical, especially when the NJDC adds quotes from West’s former opponent and future opponent. About the only sensible condemnation of the lot comes from Carl Levin, the rest of the condemnations misrepresent what West said and try to spin it for political gain.
This from Ted Deutsch isn’t even a sentence: “By comparing the way Democrats defend our record to the way the Nazi Minister of Propaganda attempted to defend and even justify the murder of 6 million Jews is utterly outrageous”… and it also misrepresents what West actually said, not to mention that it misrepresents history.
This from Steve Israel is even dumber: “Congressman West needs to immediately apologize for insulting the memories of the millions who lost their lives during the Holocaust.”
Nadler insanely accuses West of “latent anti-Semitism”. West’s future opponent is even more slipshod. “These remarks belittle the Holocaust, insult the Jewish community and the millions of American veterans who fought the Nazis in WWII.” I have no idea how West’s remarks insult millions of American veterans, I doubt Patrick Erin Murphy or whoever wrote this twaddle for him does either.
But to recap, West accuses the Democratic Party of being like Goebbels. Democratic Party responds by falsely accusing West of Anti-Semitism, insulting veterans and a whole raft of other lies that have nothing to do with what he actually said. If their goal was to suggest that West had a point, then mission accomplished.
If the Democratic Party really wants to rebuild some credibility with the Jewish community, they need to stop using Jewish members as “House Jews” for political gain and actually allow them to represent the interests of Jewish communities. The day that Jewish Democrats start coming out in support of school vouchers, ending US pressure on Israel and forming a committee to investigate Muslim Anti-Semitic violence is the day they can be taken seriously as representatives of the Jewish communities. Instead of as the Uncle Howards of the Democratic Party.
When Howard Gutman tried to set up two tiers of Anti-Semitism, one justified and one unjustified, then most of the same people sputtering over West’s Goebbels comments had nothing to say. But Goebbels is dead, Muslim Anti-Semitism is alive and well.
I see nothing from Nadler on Gutman. I see nothing from Deutsch on Gutman. Which means they can shut the hell up about West. If they want to bark when Obama tells them to bark, then they’re poodles and they have nothing to say worth listening to. If they won’t stand up against the actual justification of present day violence about Jews, then no one wants to hear their mewling about a WW2 analogy.
In response to Gutman’s victim blaming, The Forward published a piece in his defense. So did the Jewish Journal of LA. The Forward piece is the dying paper’s usual sneering commentary. The JJ of LA piece by Michael Berenbaum is far more pernicious because it misrepresents Gutman’s remarks and the responses to them.
“A summary of Gutman’s remarks, not a direct quote, appeared in an Israeli newspaper. American bloggers took it as gospel, and Republican political candidates called for Gutman’s ouster.”
Berenbaum is lying. The full speech appeared at the European Jewish Press and was used by myself and many other bloggers.
The Israeli newspaper quoted Gutman… “A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned, and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
What he actually said is quite different and a bit more nuanced:
Actually Berenbaum is lying again. It’s not more nuanced or different. Here is exactly what Gutman said.
This is Gutman’s first tier of Anti-Semitism. A traditional form of bigotry practiced by European natives, but not by Muslims.
There is and has long been some amount of anti-Semitism, of hatred and violence against Jews, from a small sector of the population who hate others who may be different or perceived to be different, largely for the sake of hating. Those anti-Semites are people who hate not only Jews, but Muslims, gays, gypsies, and likely any who can be described as minorities or different…
This is Gutman’s second tier of Anti-Semitism, practiced by Muslims in response to Israel.
Throughout Europe, there is significant anger and resentment and, yes, perhaps sometimes hatred and indeed sometimes and all too growing intimidation and violence directed at Jews generally as a result of the continuing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories and other Arab neighbors in the Middle East.
According to Gutman, this form of bigotry (not really bigotry but “tension”) is more nuanced and will go away when Israel reaches a peace agreement with the terrorists.
“The largest part of the solution for this second type of problem – too often lumped under a general banner of anti-Semitism – is in the hands of Israel, the Palestinians and Arab neighbors in the Middle East. It is fortunate because it means that, unlike traditional hatred of minorities, a path towards improving and resolving it does at least exist.”
Gutman denies that Muslim Anti-Semitism exists. He denies that Muslim violence against Jews is Anti-Semitism and places the blame for it on Israeli policy.
So let’s get back to Goebbels and Michael Berenbaum and the NJDC, Goebbels is dead but Gutman lives and Berenbaum lives. And who is really more dangerous a dead Goebbels or his live Jewish cousins who find ways to excuse and justify violence against Jews in the present day?
I am not very concerned about Goebbels. He had his day. But today Der Sturmer exists at the JTA and at the Forward and at every liberal paper in America that whitewashes violence against Jews.
It is a matter of plain and simple fact that if Hitler were to come back as a Muslim, then he would be cheered by the left. We might even bomb a country or two to help him come to power. Is that hyperbole? Judge for yourself from this CNN piece whitewashing Egyptian Salafis.
“Salafists are normal human beings. If you treat them as terrorists, what do you expect will be their reaction?”
Co-founder of the Salafyo Costa Facebook page Ehab El Kholy, a 33-year-old cartoonist and himself a Salafist, says: “We are trying to hammer home the message that Salafists are normal people.
“We eat the same food, drink the same beverages and frequent the same hangouts. So don’t be surprised when you find Salafists sitting next to you at Costas, sipping lattes.”
But it hasn’t been an easy road, as many Egyptians are skeptical of the strict Muslim practices by Salafists. The founders of the Salafyo Costa page think the Salafi-phobia stems from ignorance.
Is it still hyperbole? Let me leave you then with the following from Egyptian Salafi Imam Muhammad Hussein Ya’qoub.
“Your belief regarding the Jews should be, first, that they are infidels, and second, that they are enemies. They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing… We must believe that our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle – and this is the fourth point. You must believe that we will fight, defeat, and annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth.”
Goebbels is alive and well. Today he goes by Gutman or Berenbaum and Hitler is also alive and well, he goes by Muhammad. Before there was Mein Kampf there was the Koran, and after Mein Kampf the Koran is still here.
In an old article at the Spectator, Melanie Philips has a long list of more of this same genocidal hate. Or what Gutman calls “tension” between Muslims and Jews. Earlier I distinguished between Nazi and Holocaust analogies, but when it comes to Gutman, Goldberg and Berenbaum it is not a Nazi analogy… it is a Holocaust analogy.
The people they are covering up for intend nothing less than another Holocaust. and the House Jews of the Democratic Party are sending out urgent emails about nothing.
Religion of Liberalism, It is a struggle for souls and a battle between religion as faith and religion as politics
Know Your Enemy
|– Daniel Greenfield Thursday, December 15, 2011Canada Free Press|
“The right wing extremist strains of Israeli Judaism are threatening to turn that ignition into a conflagration.” That quote comes from Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, the same Rabbi now being widely quoted for his bizarre Tim Tebow column. Or rather there are numerous articles quoting the column without mentioning his name or who he is.
This is not the article that I had planned to run tonight. That article has already been written and sits waiting. It may be timely, but it will have to wait until next week, because this is timelier and it needs to be said.
In the last hour I read through numerous blog posts treating Hammerman’s column as a Jewish view and turning it into an attack on Jews in general. Some of those attacks are fairly mild mannered, but they come down to the same thing. Those pieces, however, show very little wisdom.
Conservative Christians of all people should know that modern clergy come in two flavors. Religious and liberal. Hammerman does not have an issue with Christianity, he has an issue with religion. If Hammerman were Anti-Christian, then he wouldn’t be heading to the United Methodist Church for an interfaith service for World AIDS Day or hosting a series on Judaism, Christianity and Islam featuring an Imam. He’s not opposed to floppy feel good social justice religion, whether it wears a cross or a star of david. He’s opposed to Religion. Capital R.
Reading Hammerman doing a paranoid piece about American Christianity follows numerous paranoid pieces about Israeli Judaism, all with the same kind of rhetoric. For example…
“American Jews look at Israel and fear that occupation has done the same… and the other sees a fatal chauvinism, a triumph for an extremism fostering nightmares of a Taliban-like takeover of a faith tradition that was built on tolerance.”
I’m not going to blame people for not researching Hammerman, though it might not have been such a bad thing to do, but it’s not really about him, it’s about using common sense to identify people who think the way that he does. The obsession with the threat of a theocracy is the idee fixe of liberal clergy from both religions who will spill barrels of ink about Christian and Jewish extremists who are just plotting to take over, while having nothing but good to say about Mohammed.
The Hammermans are secular, but they are not secularists. They use a theological skeleton to advocate liberalism, while warning everyone about the dangers of right wing extremism and traditional beliefs. Their religion is liberalism, their altar is the Democratic Party and their theology is social justice with everything else stripped away.
The most obvious tell is Hammerman’s scope of concern in his Tebow article. “Burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” All this has little to do with religion and a great deal to do with the obsessions of liberal politics. This isn’t theocracy, illegal immigration has nothing to do with the subject. It’s generic paranoia about “right wing extremism”.
Hammerman, like most left-wing clergy, assumes that conservative religious streams are just another political movement wrapping their agenda in religion. The “religious left” is not afraid of theocracy, they’re afraid that the balance will shift from the left to the right. They can’t conceive of religion except in political terms. To them, Tebow only matters as the incarnation of the right. If he wins, then NPR funding will be cut and the homeless will be left to starve on the street. They can’t divorce religion from politics, because there is no religion there. Just social justice. And they see the right as the anti-social justice force.
It’s important to understand where these people are coming from, and when that is understood they can be identified and dismissed, without responding with essays on Jews “dressing up a tribalistic hatred in socially-acceptable clothing”.
Jews don’t respond to hostile articles from liberal Christian clergy as if they represent all Christians. We don’t treat Reverend Tim Kutzmark as representative of “Christianity”, the way that too many articles have treated Rabbi Joshua Hammerman as if he represented Judaism or Jews.
Culture War: It is a struggle for souls and a battle between religion as faith and religion as politics
There is a culture war going on deep in the heart of the modern world. It is a struggle for souls and a battle between religion as faith and religion as politics. The difference is whether we believe in a God or whether we believe in a political ideology that promises redemption by following the politics of social justice. The Jewish aspect of that struggle rarely makes headlines, at least outside the JTA or the Forward or the other champions of the Jewish social justice left.
One of those champion outlets is the Jewish Week, where the Hammerman-Tebow article ran. The Jewish Week has been partially funded by the UJA Federation, the grandaddy of the funding machine for social justice in the Jewish community. The CEO of the UJA in New York is John Ruskay, formerly of Breira, a left-wing Anti-Israel organization. Again, not something most people would be expected to know, and yet it can be safely assumed that agenda articles run in agenda papers.
The agenda is power. It always comes down to power. The power to set the agenda is power and power is the agenda. To the left, religion is a vehicle for the expression of that power. Nothing more. Nothing less. It wraps that power madness in terms like compassion and justice, but that is empty rhetoric. The purpose of power is ultimately power. Authentic religion cedes that power to a higher power. Political religion cedes it to politicians, NGO’s and OWS.
This isn’t a Jewish issue. And those who have tried to make it a Jewish issue have made the mistake of taking Hammerman at his word. And if they take Hammerman at his word that his social justice agenda is driven by Jewish concerns, why not take Barack Obama’s word that his social justice is driven by Christian concerns?
It’s a shame that some of the people who act as if they know the left for what it is failed to recognize it this time. I will leave you with one more Hammerman quote.
“The recent vandalism against mosques by Israeli Jewish extremists does not point to apartheid, but Israeli officials need to be especially vigilant or such hate crimes could easily lead Jerusalem to a moral place not too distant from Johannesburg and Jackson, where houses of worship were also set aflame.”
Anyone who thinks that Hammerman represents tribalistic hatred dressed up in socially acceptable clothing really doesn’t understand the left. The left is not a tribe, its identity is ideological, it uses ethnic, racial and religious identities as vehicles for that ideology. Nothing more.
Comet Lovejoy Survives Fiery Plunge Through Sun, NASA Says
This story was updated at 8:50 p.m. EST.A newfound comet defied long odds today (Dec. 15), surviving a suicidal dive through the sun’s hellishly hot atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.
Comet Lovejoy plunged through the sun’s corona at about 7 p.m. EST today (midnight GMT on Dec. 16), coming within 87,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) of our star’s surface. Temperatures in the corona can reach 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 million degrees Celsius), so most researchers expected the icy wanderer to be completely destroyed.
But Lovejoy proved to be made of tough stuff. A video taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft showed the icy object emerging from behind the sun and zipping back off into space.
“Breaking News! Lovejoy lives! The comet Lovejoy has survived its journey around the sun to reemerge on the other side,” SDO researchers tweeted today.
SDO is one of many instruments that scientists — eager to record and study the comet’s presumed demise — trained on Lovejoy as it streaked toward the sun.
“We have here an exceptionally rare opportunity to observe the complete vaporization of a relatively large comet, and we have approximately 18 instruments on five different satellites that are trying to do just that,” Karl Battams, a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., wrote on the Sungrazing Comets website today, before Lovejoy’s closest solar approach.
Battams runs the website, which is devoted to comets discovered by two different spacecraft: NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), which is operated jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Battams greeted news of Lovejoy’s improbable escape with surprise and delight. [Photos of Death-Defying Comet Lovejoy]
“I expected a diffuse dust tail to survive (for several hours) before fading away but NOT any kind of nucleus!” he tweeted today. “I’ve worked with sungrazers for 8yrs; today was the most amazing day I’ve ever had with them!”
Preparing for the end
Lovejoy has a core about 660 feet (200 meters) wide. It belongs to a class of comets known as Kreutz sungrazers, whose orbits bring them very close to the sun.
All Kreutz sungrazers are thought to be the remnants of a single giant comet that broke apart several centuries ago. They’re named after the 19th-century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who first showed that such comets are related.
Comets plunge into the sun on a regular basis, but they rarely give much advance notice of their suicidal intentions. That’s why scientists were so excited about Lovejoy. Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy discovered the icy wanderer on Nov. 27, giving researchers plenty of time to map out their observation campaign.
And that campaign has been intense, involving five different spacecraft. In addition to SDO, SOHO and STEREO, scientists planned to use Japan’s Hinode satellite and ESA’s Proba spacecraft to track Lovejoy’s movements, Battams wrote.
NASA also created a website providing updates about the comet’s pass through the corona, as well as images of the event beamed down by SDO. It can be found here: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/lovejoy.php
For his part, Terry Lovejoy said he was happy to have made a contribution, and he marveled a bit at all the attention the comet has been getting.
“It’s been tremendous,” Lovejoy told SPACE.com. “Apparently it’s all over Facebook, and I don’t use Facebook. But there’s a lot of interest. I think a lot of people like the name — the Lovejoy name seems to strike a chord with people.”
A dramatic escape
Lovejoy is quite large for a sungrazing comet, and experts expected it to die an impressive death. The website Spaceweather.com, for example, predicted Lovejoy would blaze as brightly as Jupiter or Venus in the sky as it neared the sun.
Battams also expected a good show, saying the comet might even be visible from the ground around sunset today in the Northern Hemisphere.
“I do think that it will put on a spectacular show for us and will be the brightest Kreutz-group comet that SOHO has ever observed,” Battams wrote last week.
Though the early returns are still coming in, those forecasts appear to be on the money. Observations from various spacecraft do indeed show Lovejoy flaring up significantly as it neared our star.
Researchers will keep analyzing the images to better understand the comet’s daring solar approach. And now skywatchers apparently have another shot to catch a glimpse of the resilient Lovejoy on Friday morning (Dec. 16).
For observers in North America, the comet will rise approximately 5 to 10 minutes before dawn and will be situated to the upper right of the sun. If Lovejoy is still shining at least as brightly as Venus, it may be visible, experts say.
You could also try to spot Lovejoy after the sun comes up, if you’re exceedingly careful. Block the rising sun behind a distant building and focus on the part of the sky 3 to 4 degrees above and to the right of the sun (your clenched fist held at arm’s length is equal to roughly 10 degrees). CAUTION: Never point binoculars or a telescope at or near the sun, and never look directly at our star with the naked eye. Serious eye damage can result.
And don’t get your hopes up, either. The comet may well be too faint to see, experts say.
Note: If you take any good pictures of Comet Lovejoy and would like them to be considered for a future story or image gallery, contact SPACE.com managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPACE.com assistant managing editor Clara Moskowitz (@ClaraMoskowitz) contributed to this story. You can follow SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter: @michaeldwall. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
Ball Aerospace Helping U.S. Military Create ‘Dream’ Spy Telescope
- DARPA’s flexible membrane space telescope. Credit: DARPA artist’s concept Enlarge Image
The U.S. military envisions a day when space telescopes hovering in geosynchronous orbit can take real-time images or live video of any spot on Earth, and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., is working to help make that a reality, according to an Innovation News Daily report on Space.com.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is addressing the difficult problem of how to build and launch a space telescope with the huge optics arrays needed to see ground details from high geosynchronous orbit. Ball Aerospace recently completed an early proof-of-concept review for one possible solution: a lightweight array made of a flexible membrane that could deploy in space.
“The use of membrane optics is an unprecedented approach to building large aperture telescopes,” said David Taylor, president and chief executive of Ball Aerospace, which received a DARPA contract for the project worth almost $37 million.
Algeria Stalls Appeal of Convicted Christian
Court’s indefinite postponement of hearing said to reveal judicial foot-dragging.
A judge’s decision this month to indefinitely postpone the appeal of a Christian sentenced under Algeria’s defamation and anti-proselytizing laws shows how the judicial system keeps Christians locked up without officially punishing or acquitting them, according to sources.
In May a judge in Oran, 470 kilometers (292 miles) west of Algiers, sentenced a convert from Islam, Abdelkrim Siaghi, to a prison term of five years. He had been charged with insulting Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and with “proselytism” for giving a Muslim a CD about Christianity. Siaghi (whose name is also spelled Siaghi Krimo) was also fined 200,000 dinars (US$2,663). The prosecutor had reportedly requested that the judge sentence him to a two-year prison term and a fine of 50,000 dinars (US$665). The judge instead gave him the maximum sentence.
In Siaghi’s appeal, however, the judge has been unable to find any evidence against him and has postponed hearing dates several times. A scheduled Dec. 1 hearing was postponed indefinitely on that day, when judges were expected to pronounce a verdict, according to Siaghi’s lawyer.
“The process of the [appeal] inquiry is strange since the first judge with the same file gave a maximum sentence – five years of prison and a fine of 200,000 dinars,” said Mustapha Krim, president of the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA).
Authorities arrested Siaghi in April after he purportedly gave a CD about Christianity to a Muslim. Siaghi had gone to a phone shop to buy minutes for his mobile phone, and the merchant there initiated a conversation on religion. Unhappy with Siaghi’s non-Muslim answers, the merchant tried to force him to pay homage to the prophet and to recite the Muslim creed, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”
Siaghi refused and said he was a Christian, according to Krim.
“The merchant felt offended in his faith and would hear nothing more,” Krim said. “He filed a complaint that Abdelkrim had belittled the prophet, and in the absence of other witnesses, charges were brought against him.”
The merchant was said to have seen Siaghi give a CD to someone but never appeared in court to testify to that effect, according to Krim. Siaghi’s lawyer said there was no proof of the charges against the Christian.
Experts on Algeria’s treatment of Christians say that Algerian courts customarily have preferred to defer deciding in favor of Christians so as not to aggravate local Muslim sentiments. Judges have also been slow to pronounce final verdicts in order to keep from provoking international criticism over religious freedom.
In the case of Habiba Khouider, who was charged for illegally practicing worship after authorities found her in possession of her personal Christian literature, prosecutors in Tiaret have not called her for a hearing since 2008.
Krim said it is possible the judges are avoiding a concrete decision in the case of Siaghi, though it is not clear if and when the court will progress.
“For the moment, nothing is decided,” he told Compass. “For the judge, this is an honorable way out – he can leave the case on hold for months or even years, as in the case of Habiba Khouider in 2008, claiming that the situation is still pending.”
Algerian courts have also handed Christians suspended sentences for practicing their faith. Last year four Christian leaders in Tizi Ouzou received two and three months of suspended jail time for worshiping without a permit. Thus the Christians were officially punished but served no time.
In 2008 a Christian leader in Tiaret, Rachid Essaghir, received suspended sentences in two separate cases against him for sharing his faith. Though Christians appeal these verdicts, they are rarely conclusive.
A law passed in 2006 known as Ordinance 06-03, which outlaws proselytism of Muslims, as well as the distribution, production and storing of material used for this purpose, is cited in court cases against Christians.
“My view is that once more this 06-03 law of 2006 shows its pernicious character by allowing any Muslim who does not like Christians to claim they are insulted or simply ‘shaken in their faith,’” Krim said. “It is imperative that the law be abolished or changed.”
The restrictive law also prohibits churches from operating without registration.
In May, the governor of Bejaia ordered the closure of seven churches for lack of compliance with registration regulations. The order was never enforced, and the churches continued to meet for worship.
Algerian churches claimed a victory in July when the Ministry of Interior officially recognized the EPA and gave it registration papers to act as the council of the country’s Protestant churches. The EPA was established in 1972.
Algerian church leaders said they hope that the official recognition of the EPA will help lift restrictions on individual churches, which are still required to register individually though they are under the EPA.
Christians in Kashmir, India Increasingly Fearful, Report Says
Muslim leaders setting hostile tone as Christmas nears.
NEW DELHI – A fact-finding mission to India’s Kashmir Valley found that Muslim leaders’ increasingly shrill opposition to conversions has instilled fear among the Christian minority, which has been threatened as Christmas nears.
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Christians in Srinagar, the summer capital of India’s northern-most state of Jammu and Kashmir, are “really scared,” said Dr. John Dayal, a member of the National Integration Council and part of the fact-finding team. “Christian men, women and children are in a state of panic, fearful of their security, uncertain of the future, uncertain of their jobs.”
The Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar, was arrested on Nov. 19 on charges of hurting religious sentiments of Muslims after several youths were baptized; he was released on bail on Dec. 1. But the pastor of the Church of North India denomination, who is due to retire early next year, may never be able to go back to his church due to security concerns, Dayal said.
“There may be no proper celebration of Christmas in the church if the bishop does not send a new priest immediately,” he added. “The church [in Srinagar] needs to get its act together in how it faces such religio-political persecution.”
At the same time, a sharia (Islamic law) court has reportedly summoned the Rev. Jim Borst, a Dutch Catholic missionary, to appear on charges of proselytizing and “forced conversions.” Borst runs two schools in Baramulla and Srinagar that are said to have aroused jealousy in area Muslims.
Sentiment against Christians was evident when a member of the Kashmir Bar Association disrupted court proceedings as a lawyer was seeking bail for Pastor Khanna.
“Their behavior tested the patience of the judge, who remarked, ‘Do you want me to hang him?’” states the fact-finding report, entitled “Dealing with Islamic Groups in Kashmir on Christian Persecution.”
The investigative team was headed by Dr. H.T. Sangliana, vice-chair of the National Commission for Minorities, and included the Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The team noted hostilities toward Christian workers, churches and Christian educational institutions in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir state is 67 percent Muslim, 29.6 percent Hindu and 0.2 percent Christian, but the Kashmir Valley region is 97 percent Muslim, according to Operation World. Christian organizations run schools where many state leaders have studied.
Muslim leaders in the Kashmir Valley began to rally against Christians after a video recording of Muslim youth being baptized at the All Saints Church was posted on YouTube in late October. Kashmir Grand Mufti Bashir-ud-din Ahmad told the fact-finding team he would prove that “we are men, not impotent persons.” The highest authority in Islamic law in Kashmir added that the sharia court he heads will soon come out with its “judgment.”
The sharia court has no legal authority for non-Muslims in India, but the mufti hinted that the “judgment” could include demands such as a halt to further baptisms and morning prayers in schools run by Christians. He accused Christian schools of encouraging drug abuse among children, though the only evidence he offered was the statement that “it is well known.”
Though generally polite, the mufti issued a warning, saying, “We will do what we have to do, and others will have to do what they have to do.” He also said he was keeping an eye on the schools, their principals and staff, and that they would hear from him soon.
The report said it was clear that the mufti was “contemplating a denunciation of the church, if not actually calling for mass action,” though he had asserted there would be no violence.
Sharia courts deal only in local civil matters applicable only to Muslims. But the mufti summoned the pastor to appear for a hearing held on Nov. 17 concerning allegations of fraudulent conversion. Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy of the Church of North India has said the mufti’s allegation that Pastor Khanna had converted Muslims by offering money is “totally baseless and untrue.”
The pastor earlier told Compass that the Muslim youths had been coming to the church on their own initiative and wanted to take part in Holy Communion. Pastor Khanna told them they had to follow a procedure if they wanted to join in the sacrament, and they expressed desire to be baptized in due course.
The fact-finding team, which visited Kashmir from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, criticized the role of local media in helping vested interests to create tensions.
“The reporting and editorializing have been one-sided and without any reference to the truth as seen by the religious minority,” the report states.
The team also concluded that the state administration was making concessions to the Muslim majority for political reasons, and that police had “acted on behalf of the political leadership.”
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution grants considerable autonomy to states, where many Indian institutions and laws have no jurisdiction.
With India and Pakistan frequently fighting over Kashmir, local complexities have given rise to extremism and a rigid politico-religious Islamic clergy that seeks to carve out space to challenge the state government, political groups and the Indian army, according to the report.
“The vast majority of Kashmiris are peaceful and adhere to a soft and melodious Sufi Islam, far removed from the stridency of Wahhabism espoused by the extremist groups,” the report notes.
Local residents told the team that some extremist groups and other vested interests have been seeking to use the issue of conversion in their confrontation with the state government, political parties and moderate Islamic groups. They were “looking to score political points against each other, and any excuse was good enough to foment trouble,” according to the report.
This dynamic was why the state government was quick to arrest Pastor Khanna, and it will go to any extreme to ward off trouble from Islamic groups, the report said.
As Christmas approaches, the government has moved to its winter capital in Jammu, and there is no senior officer in Srinagar to give any assurance of security to the Christian community, the team pointed out. There is also a “total absence” of human rights organizations in the region, the team reported.
Barring a few sporadic incidents of communal violence, Christians and Muslims had had good relations in Kashmir, as elsewhere in India. Tensions in Kashmir began in March 2003, however, after local newspapers alleged that Christian missionaries were converting Muslim youth; the allegations were based on an article on a U.S. evangelical news website that local Christians say was fictitious.
The fact-finding team said Kashmir’s Muslim groups were not concerned that, in the rest of India, Christians and Muslims are both minorities that need each other and civil society at large in order to face the challenge of Hindu nationalists, who see the two communities as “outsiders.”
The report called for the formation of a state minorities commission and assurances of security for Christians from state and federal governments.
There is also a need for introspection within the church, the team reported, regarding the spoken word, the language of evangelization and the translations of various Biblical verses.
“We have seen many verses whose local translation entirely mutilates the real meaning and lends itself to misinterpretation,” the report states. This exercise must be carried out “as early as possible, not just for the sake of the Kashmir Valley, but for the country as a whole.”