Who will kill the pope in Istanbul?”

Who will kill the pope in Istanbul?”Why, conservative Roman Catholics, Freemasons and U.S. intelligence services, of course. Who else? “Turkey prepares clampdown ahead of pope,” by Selcan Hacaoglu for Associated Press, with thanks to Doc Washburn:

ISTANBUL, Turkey – If Turkish security authorities needed a reminder of the challenge posed by Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Turkey this week, Ibrahim Ak delivered it when he fired a pistol outside the Italian consulate in Istanbul and shouted that he wanted to strangle the pope with his bare hands.”God willing, this will be a spark, a starter for Muslims … God willing, he will not come. If he comes, he will see what will happen to him,” the 26-year-old Turk told the TV cameras as he was led away in handcuffs.

The Nov. 2 incident ended without injuries, and nothing like it has happened since, but authorities are braced for trouble and have mobilized an army of snipers, bomb disposal experts and riot police, as well as navy commandos to patrol the Bosporus Straits flowing through Istanbul.

Benedict’s four-day visit to this overwhelmingly Muslim nation begins Tuesday under the shadow of his September speech in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as “evil and inhuman,” particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith.”

Like the rest of the Islamic world, many in this 99 percent Muslim nation are angry and want a fuller apology than Benedict’s statement of regret for having caused offense.

Predicting big street protests, authorities plan to close several areas of Istanbul to traffic and are preparing lists of residents living in those neighborhoods.

Felicity, a pro-Islamic opposition party, is calling for a massive protest in Istanbul Sunday, before the pope arrives.

“If this trip would have occurred under normal conditions, then these lands, the center of tolerance and love, would show the necessary hospitality to him,” it said in a statement. “But we don’t want to see him on our soil because of the remarks he made about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad on Sept. 12 and for not apologizing afterward.”

“The center of tolerance and love.” Yeah, I’m feeling it now.

Benedict will visit Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara, the capital. Istanbul, when it was named Constantinople, was the capital of Byzantine-era Christianity, but Christians are a tiny minority in modern Turkey, feel deprived of their rights and are expected to urge the pope to come to their defense….

They “feel” deprived of their rights. See, it’s just a bad feeling on their part. Nothing to be concerned about, right, AP?

A recent Turkish thriller, “Plot Against the Pope” by Yucel Kaya carries the subtitle “Who will kill the pope in Istanbul?” Its conspiracy theory ties the assassination into a plot by conservative Roman Catholics, Freemasons and U.S. intelligence services to attack Iran, Turkey’s eastern neighbor.

How Illegal Immigration Harms Arizona

How Illegal Immigration Harms Arizona

 1. Arizona’s 5.7 million population includes an estimated 500,000 illegal aliens. That means that nearly 1 in 10
     people are in Arizona illegally.

 2. Much of the violent crime in the Phoenix area involves illegal aliens.

 3. Illegal immigration costs Arizona taxpayers about $1.3 billion per year in education, health care and
     incarceration costs alone.

 4. Many illegal aliens work in skilled jobs at below market wages. This not only takes jobs away from citizens
     and legal immigrants but also lowers wages and benefits for all.

 5. Mexican immigrants alone will send as much as $20 billion in cash this year to relatives in Mexico, according to
     projections by Mexico’s Central Bank. That figure is three times what total remittances were five years ago,
     when the amount was $6.6 billion. If the 2005 estimates hold true, remittances probably would become the
     largest source of foreign exchange in Mexico, bank officials said, surpassing even oil. This outflow of cash
     hurts the Arizona and U.S. economies.

 6. Illegal aliens evade the medical exams that legal immigrants must take when entering the U.S. Consequently,
     illegal immigrants are bringing in communicable diseases that had previously disappeared in the U.S., such as
     multi-drug resistant TB, chagas disease, leprosy, dengue fever, polio and malaria.

 7. In recent congressional testimony, Adm. James Loy, deputy Homeland Security secretary, said al-Qaida
     operatives believe they can pay to get into the country through Mexico and that entering illegally is “more
     advantageous than legal entry.”

 8. Of the aliens caught sneaking over the border in the Tucson sector during the past 12 months, 31,000 had
     U.S. criminal records, Border Patrol figures show. The immigration trade is now dominated by professional smugglers
     who move humans and drugs north using vehicles stolen by organized gangs. The Phoenix area has the highest
     rate of auto theft in the nation, according to police and auto insurers. Smugglers resist arrest, sometimes with
     rocks or even gunfire…  (BusinessWeek Online 10/10/05)

9. Nearly one in five babies in Arizona is born to a mother living in the country illegally, according to a study of 2002
    birth records and other government data by the Center for Immigration Studies. Children born to undocumented
    immigrants “anchor” babies because when they turn 21, they can sponsor their parents for legal permanent residency.
    (Center for Immigration Studies reported in The Arizona Republic Online 11/25/05)

10. Arizona consistently has one of the nation’s highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes. And some statistical evidence
     suggests the state’s large number of illegal immigrants is one reason. (“The Hit-Kill-and-Run State: Arizona nears grim
     title” by Mitch Tobin and Tim Ellis, Arizona Daily Star,Tucson, Arizona, 12.18.2005 – Internet)

Can America Catch its Second Wind?

Can America Catch its Second Wind?

By James Lewis

There comes a time in all marathons when the temptation to give in becomes overwhelming. We are facing such a moment in our national response to 9/11. The enticing voices of ease and retreat are sounding louder and more confident, and our will to persist is suffering the death of a thousand cuts. Yet if we fail to persist in our response to the terror attacks we will fail, period. Mentally, we have almost fallen back to 9/10 – out of breath, unsure of ourselves, and a big, fat target for those who want to kill us.

9/11 is the first great challenge to America that we have failed to respond to as a nation. Pearl Harbor is a close comparison: more than 2,000 dead, a surprise attack by an enemy inspired to suicidal martyrdom in war. The World War Two generation would not recognize our flabby and self-indulgent reaction today. They would have won in Iraq and Iran by this time, increased the size of the military to be adequate to all challenges, and reasserted the values of liberty around the world. The Middle East has seen democratic government only in small fits and starts; but European democracy was not exactly healthy when we intervened in World War Two. We can make democracy happen in the Middle East if we use our power. The defeatist media are hoping that the 9/11 phenomenon will just go away; but it’s a fool’s hope.

We can blame the appeasers, the Left’s constant picking at our sense of self-confidence, our downsized Clintonized armed forces. There will be a thousand excuses. But if we fail to save a whole and prosperous Iraq for the future, when we could do so with a moderate increment in military strength, the grim echoes of our defeat with resound throughout the world.

Vladimir Putin is reasserting Russian imperialism with a vengeance, the Islamofascists want to cut our throats, and the Chinese are staging open provocations against the US Navy in the Pacific. Even Venezuela’s chief clown Hugo Chavez shows us his naked backside. These are only signs, but they have meaning: They proclaim that the American moment in history is on a knife’s edge. The alternatives to American assertiveness in the world are not fun to contemplate. Any other power arrangement would be far, far worse than the United States.

Al Qaeda and Ahmadinejad could not destroy US armed forces in Iraq, so they did the next best thing: They stirred up civil war between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. That strategy seems to be working, to the benefit of the mullahs and Bin Laden, our own sworn enemies. We have to understand the extraordinary forbearance shown by Shi’a leaders like Ayatollah Sistani during this period. Sistani kept on telling his following to control the temptation to take revenge, until the Sunni terror groups exploded one too many car bombs at Shi’a mosques. Iran undoubtedly meddled in Iraq, by arming and stoking the fires of Shi’a militias, until the voices of sanity were drowned out.

What Iraq needs now is an assertion of strength and will by the United States. Any other “solution” would strengthen those who hate us as the Great Satan, or those who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. We can impose peace in Baghdad. We can protect the borders.

It can be done. SecDef Rumsfeld and General Abizaid may have had a case for a “light US footprint” at the beginning of the war. Today things have changed. Iraqis who hope to save their country now are looking for more American troops, not fewer. Every serious war is a marathon race. Victory goes to those who can tolerate the wall of pain and still keep running. Our deadly enemies are strong in will, but weak in power – so far. If they persist and we give up, they will become invulnerable as soon as Iran explodes its first bomb. Now is the time to pour on American strength. We can win in the Middle East, or allow the civilized world to be put in far, far greater danger. This is a watershed moment in history.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/11/can_america_catch_its_second_w.html at November 25, 2006 – 04:10:07 PM EST

Terrorist-tipping NYTimes wants Ruth Ginsburg’s help

Berlin Paranoid of Terroism: 32,000 Muslims Monitored

Berlin Paranoid of Terroism: 32,000 Muslims Monitored

Friday, November 24, 2006

 Fear of terrorism, which has seized Europe after the Sept. 11, Madrid and London attacks, has put more pressure on Muslims, who are now being treated as “potential terrorists.”

Following statements in Britain that more than 600 Muslims were being monitored, Germany announced that 32,000 German Muslims were under surveillance.

Chair of the Bavaria Office for Protection of the Constitution, Wolfgang Weber stated that 32,000 out of 2,300,000 German Muslims were being monitored. Speaking at a panel in Munich, Weber, claiming that they were watching everybody who endangered the German democratic order, classified those who were monitored into three groups: 1) Those who wanted to establish an Islamic state based on Shariah law without resorting to violence, such as National Vision; 2) Those who collected donations for the violent groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah; 3) Jihadist groups, such as al-Qaeda, and Ansar al-Islam. Weber asserted that Germany has become a venue where terrorists finalize their preparations.

Weber, who also responded with hesitancy to the proposal to establish dialogue with Muslim associations, noted that dialogue attempts should be conducted with the utmost care. Hep Monatzeder, Deputy Chair of Munich Municipality on Relations with Muslim, criticized Weber’s isolationist approach. Noting that the intelligence reports were based on assumptions, not on evidence and facts, Monatzeder stated: “The inclusion of the name of an association in those reports does not mean all of its members pose danger. Muslim associations carry out a wide range of activities; we are unable to isolate those who benefit from those. We should continue dialogue.”

Speaking at the panel, Chair of Muslim Council Memduh Kapicibasi, who stressed that they felt offended by the connection made between Islam and terrorism, proposed the use of the notion “religion-motivated violence.”

Media exaggerates the danger

Speaking to Zaman, Wolfgang Weber, Chair of the Bavaria Office for Protection of the Constitution, said that the terrorism threat had been exaggerated by the media. Noting that the point of view and the degree of exaggeration varied according to the channel and newspaper, Weber said they mostly focused on Islamic radicalism and extreme right wing groups, and further confessed that they had intelligence agents inside the Muslim associations.

Number of Mosques Rising, Churches Declining

A recently conducted research in Germany revealed that the number of mosques was increasing, while the number of churches was declining. According to the study by Central Islamic Archive Institute, the number of mosques has risen from 141 to 159 since 2004, while 128 were under construction. Likewise, the number of Muslims has increased from 56,000 to nearly one million since the early 1980s.

Ellison seeks meeting over cleric controversy

Ellison seeks meeting over cleric controversy


U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison wants to meet with U.S. Airways executives and the Metropolitan Airports Commission to talk about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a flight.

The pilot of the Phoenix-bound flight ordered the imams off before the plane left Minneapolis-St. Paul on Monday. Their praying, conversation and behavior reportedly alarmed several passengers and flight attendants.

Ellison was recently elected to Congress representing the Minneapolis-centered Fifth District, which includes the airport. He is the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress.

Ellison sent letters requesting the meeting on Wednesday but as of yesterday nothing was scheduled. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights also has plans to review the incident.

A tense time for a papal visit

A tense time for a papal visit

And you may ask yourself
This is a secular state?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large Catholic Church?
And you may tell yourself
This is not equality of rights!
And you may tell yourself
This is not a European state!

Letting the days go by/let the Sharia hold me down
Letting the days go by/Christians meeting underground
Into the Blue Mosque again/after the Pope is gone
Once in a lifetime/Christians meeting underground.

Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…

(Thanks to David Byrne and Co.)

“A tense time for a papal visit: Turkey, which doesn’t recognize the Roman Catholic Church, is still rankled by Benedict’s comments on Islam,” by Tracy Wilkinson for the Los Angeles Times, with thanks to Morgaan Sinclair:

ISTANBUL, TURKEY — To reach Turkey’s most important Roman Catholic church, a visitor must scour a traffic-choked street to find the metal doors, walk down a flight of stairs, cross a courtyard and finally step into the consecrated basilica.Inside the Holy Spirit Cathedral here, the lights remain low until a minute before evening Mass, and then reveal frescoed ceilings with gold-trimmed arches, 22 crystal chandeliers and blond-marble columns. On this night, 14 worshipers dot the pews.

In the Turkish capital, Ankara, the only Catholic church is even more discreet: It is marked simply by a French flag.

Why do they have to cower and hide in modern, forward-looking, European, secular Turkey?

When Pope Benedict XVI travels to Turkey next week, he will be making his first trip to a predominantly Muslim country at a moment of diplomatic fragility.He also will be traversing some of the most ancient and revered milestones of Christianity, in a land where Christianity is disappearing and where non-Muslim minorities complain of systemic discrimination, harassment and violence against them.

Why are they disappearing? Why are they systematically harassed?

It is a complex agenda. The pope’s main purpose is to meet with the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Eastern Orthodox Christians in a show of ecumenical solidarity. But he must also use the visit to attempt to repair the damage from comments he has made that cast Islam in a negative light.Among Turkey’s nearly 70 million Muslims, reaction to Benedict’s visit ranges from disinterest to intense anger. A man opened fire early this month on the Italian Consulate in Istanbul, telling police later that he wanted to “strangle” the pope. A nationalist gang called the Gray Wolves is staging regular demonstrations protesting the pontiff’s arrival.

Among the estimated 100,000 Christians who live in Turkey, there is hope that Benedict’s presence will cast light on their difficulties.

The Roman Catholic Church is not legally recognized in Turkey. It functions largely attached to foreign embassies; its priests do not wear their collars in public.

Why isn’t it legally recognized?

Most Christians in Turkey are of the Armenian, Greek and other Orthodox denominations, and although most of these are recognized in the Turkish Constitution as minority communities, they face severe restrictions on property ownership and cannot build places of worship or run seminaries to train their clerics.

Why do they face severe restrictions on property ownership? Why can’t they build places of worship or run seminaries to train their clerics?

Such hardships make it almost impossible for Christians to sustain and expand their communities, advocates say. The Greek Orthodox, for example, have dwindled to no more than 3,000, just 2% of the community’s size in the 1960s.

Why aren’t they staying in this modern, forward-looking, democratic nation?

Fueled by a vitriolic, and growing, potion of nationalism and Islamic radicalism, spasms of violence have led to the killing of one priest this year, the beatings of two others and the burning of a Christian prayer center. Christian tombstones are often vandalized and property frequently confiscated by authorities.Turkey has come under repeated criticism from Western human rights organizations and the Vatican for its failure to promote religious freedom. Turkey is an Islamic but secular country; in reality, this means that all religious activity, including mosques and imams, is controlled by the government.

So then all this must be laid at the feet of the government.

“Obviously, more needs to be done to promote religious freedom for all denominations,” Ali Bardakoglu, president of Turkey’s powerful Religious Affairs Directorate, said in an interview. But he defended the government’s treatment of minorities, contending that Christians and other non-Muslims do not face serious problems.

He knows better.

Bardakoglu was one of the most emphatic critics of Benedict after the pope delivered a speech in Regensburg, Germany, in September that denounced Islamic violence and quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor who disdained Islam and its prophet, Muhammad. Adding insult to injury, as far as many Turks were concerned, the emperor was defending Constantinople, cradle of Orthodox Christianity, against the Muslim conquest that gave the city its name today: Istanbul.

Why is the conquest just fine, but the defense of the city by Christians not fine? Because from the point of view of Islamic supremacism, Muslims own the city by right. Their conquest was not aggression; the valiant Byzantine defense of the city was aggression.

Remember that the next time an Islamic apologist tells you that Muslims may only fight in defense against aggression.

Bardakoglu said the pope was welcome in Turkey despite the speech, which touched off outrage throughout the Muslim world. And although he said he accepted Benedict’s subsequent explanations, Bardakoglu did not appear completely appeased.”It is unfortunate that there are circles within Western society that attempt to blacken the name of our religion and are infected with Islamophobia,” he said. “The role of the Vatican and the pope should be to help fight stereotypes. Rather than open debate, they should be seeking to heal wounds.”

Bardakoglu could do a great deal to combat “Islamophobia” by granting Christians full equality of rights in Turkey, and moving energetically against persecution and harassment of Christians.

In a remarkable gesture, the pope will meet with Bardakoglu, the country’s top religious figure, at his ministry, a modern, imposing building on Ankara’s outskirts, on the first day of his Turkey visit. Bardakoglu’s directorate commands a huge budget and oversees all of Turkey’s imams.Originally, the Vatican expected Bardakoglu to call on the pope at the Vatican Embassy, as protocol would have dictated. But the Turks refused. After a series of negotiations, the pope agreed to go to Bardakoglu. “It is a gesture of goodwill,” a senior Vatican official said.

After all, humility is a virtue in the Pope’s religion, not Bardakoglu’s. But this will be understood, of course, as a sign of submission.

The pope’s controversial presence in Turkey represents a balancing act for the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which regards itself a vital bridge between the West and East, a way for Westerners to deal with a modern and democratic Islam. But it also cannot appear too cozy with a pontiff who, in the view of many, is not fond of Muslims or Turks.Erdogan is not scheduled to receive Benedict, citing a previous commitment to attend a NATO summit in Latvia on Tuesday and Wednesday. And there is no plan for the prime minister to see him off when the pope departs Dec. 1.

Both the Vatican and Turkish officials said this was not a snub, but Erdogan told visiting reporters in Istanbul last month, “You can’t expect me to arrange my timetable according to the pope.”

Of course. After all, how many divisions has the Pope?

In case anyone doesn’t realize it, of course this is a snub — and an acknowledgment of the power of the jihadists in Turkey: Erdogan dares not meet with the Pope. But the idea that he can’t rearrange his busy schedule to fit in a meeting with someone as umimportant as the Pope is laughable.

The frictions are rooted in history. The Ottoman Empire, which ruled the region for more than six centuries, was relatively tolerant of Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. But before and during World War I, Western powers collaborated with Christian and other minorities to bring down the Ottomans. In the carnage that followed, as many as 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered, a similar number of ethnic Greeks expelled and 1 million Turks deported from Greece.

It’s all the fault of the Western powers, you see. In real life, however, the Ottomans only began to grant equality of rights to non-Muslims with the Tanzimat reforms of the mid-19th century, which they adopted under Western pressure.

The 1923 Lausanne Treaty founded the Republic of Turkey and recognized minorities. But deep mistrust persists, and even today among ardent nationalists, Christians are seen as a potential fifth column.”It’s a kind of preemptive intolerance: Don’t let it flourish because it might take over,” said Mustafa Akyol, a writer and expert on interfaith relations. “Everyone is afraid of something.”

Akyol, a Muslim, said he once wrote a column advocating that the museum of St. Sophia, or Aya Sofya, in Istanbul be returned to its original use, that of a church. The response was harsh: He was threatened and castigated as a “secret Greek.” The pope is scheduled to visit St. Sophia, built in the 6th century as a Byzantine church and converted to a mosque in the 15th century by the Ottomans.

Akyol is right, and courageous to call for this. Why shouldn’t the Hagia Sophia be restored as a cathedral, if the Turks really believe that all religions should be given equal rights? In its present desacralized and appropriated state, the Hagia Sophia is an international symbol of jihadist aggression and Islamic supremacism. What better way for the Turks to show that they really don’t endorse these things than to allow the great cathedral to become again just that — the great cathedral it was meant to be?

The mere rumor that the pope might say a prayer at the site has led to a bit of hysteria. Islamic newspaper Milli Gazete, in a front-page commentary last week, lashed out at the government for permitting the “Crusaders” to plan to bless the former church in a brazen attempt to “revive Byzantium.”

Would that it were so!

For their part, Turkish officials have sought to minimize the pontiff’s main mission on this trip: to worship alongside Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, head of the world’s Orthodox Christians. The coming together of the two religious leaders is meant as a bridging of the 1,000-year-old rift between the two ancient branches of Christianity.

It is fantasy, but it would be a consummation devoutly to be wished if they gave each other Holy Communion and announced the end of the schism. The theological issues between them are minor but intractable; perhaps only a bold move by two courageous men could make this happen. In this day of crisis Christian unity is needed more than ever, as well as cooperation between Christians and all others who are threatened by the global jihad.

Such frictions notwithstanding, Turkey, compared with many Muslim countries, is relatively hospitable to non-Muslims.

Oh, I feel so much better.

But its failure to make more progress on freedom-of-religion issues has been an important stumbling block in its years-long campaign to join the European Union.

As it should be.

It is EU pressure that has nudged Ankara along in easing some of the restrictions on minorities; for example, a Protestant group in Istanbul has for the first time been allowed to open a church.”The EU reforms give people a sense of hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Greek Orthodox Father Alexander Karloutsos. “It’s been very dark here.”

May the Pope’s visit not create a new Christian martyr, but instead bring a little light into that great darkness.

And you may let Turkey into the EU
And you may tell yourself
My god!…what have I done?