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Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover shouts: "God exists! He drowned …

Charlie Hebdos latest cover embraces the French satirical weeklys reputation as a provocative, controversial voice. Its August 30 issue shouts, God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas, referencing the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

The cartoon cover art was posted on Charlie Hebdos Facebook page on Tuesday, ahead of the magazines Wednesday publication. It depicts several Nazi flags, emblazoned with swastikas, half-submerged in floodwaters, as well as a number of arms jutting out of the water and positioned, not coincidentally, in Nazi salutes. Both the flags and hands are being bombarded with heavy rain, the kind that characterized Harveys landfall and broke records in Texas.

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Charlie Hebdo has a long history of controversial cartoons that have riled up people all over the world. It has featured the Prophet Muhammad, who many Muslims believe should not be depicted at all, including on a 2006 cover with the headline Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalism. The magazine was denounced by the French president at the time, Jacques Chirac, and was sued over that issue.

It has alsopublished covers that shout, The Koran is worthlessit doesnt even stop bullets! andI slept with my dad to get ahead, mocking the son of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. It has portrayed the pope holding a condom aloft, Michael Jackson as a skeleton with hair and the wordsMichael Jackson, white at last, and a naked woman with a piece of fabric sticking out of her backside and the wordsYes to wearing the burqaon the inside!

In January 2015, gunmen attacked the magazines headquarters in Paris, killing a dozen people, including journalists and police. The motive seemed immediately clearretribution for depictions of Muhammad. Agence France-Presse reported at the time that the gunmen shouted, We have avenged the prophet.”

The tragic events have not caused Charlie Hebdo to retreat. It has continued to publish powerful, controversial covers in recent years and months. Just last week, its cover about the car-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain,drew criticism for depicting two people lying in the street in pools of blood with the words”Islam: religion of peace…eternal.”

This week, its cover rejoices in the supposed death of neo-Nazis during a catastrophic natural disaster. The cartoon looks like a mishmash of American news, pairing the recent white nationalist and neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the hurricane.

However, there is no evidence thus far that any of the storms victims were neo-Nazis. Houston, which has a large Jewish community, is the fourth-largest city in the country and tends to lean towardthe liberal side of the political spectrum. Though Texas went to Donald Trump during the 2016 election, Harris County voted for Hillary Clinton54 percent to 41.6 percent.

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Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover shouts: "God exists! He drowned …

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November 25, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Charlie Hebdo cover portraying Harvey victims as neo-Nazis …

Brian Flood

Aug 31st 2017 12:46PM

The most recent cover of French magazine Charlie Hebdo mocks victims of Hurricane Harvey with art of neo-Nazis drowning and text that translates to, God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas.

The cover features an image of swastika flags and arms in the Nazi salute being submerged in rainwater. The hurricane and massive flooding in the Houston area has killed at least 31 people and left thousands stranded.

RELATED: Devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey

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Hurricane Harvey

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HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 27: Andrew White (L) helps a neighbor down a street after rescuing her from her home in his boat in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A graveyard is seen as it floods during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Pearland, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

A family is rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey on a boat in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Local resident Kathy Neihaet walks through her damaged neighborhood after Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas on August 27, 2017. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying its possible for up to three feet of rain and 125 mpg wind. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A flipped over truck and flooding are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Flooding and a damaged home are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

TOPSHOT – Hurricane Harvey damage is seen in Bayside, TX August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel KRAMER (Photo credit should read DANIEL KRAMER/AFP/Getty Images)

CITY-BY-The Sea, TX – AUGUST 26: Cows make their way through fallen power lines along the road near City-By-The Sea, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

People push a disabled car during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

ROCKPORT, TX – AUGUST 26: Firefighters search for survivors at an apartment complex in Rockport, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Sterling Broughton is moved from a rescue boat onto a kayak in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

People are rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in an armored police mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Texas National Guard soldiers aid stranded residents in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 27, 2017. Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD/Texas Military Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

A condominium complex is reduced to rubble after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Tim Freiberg moves through what was his garage after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Housing surrounded by flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey is seen from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter during an overflight from Port Aransas to Port O’Connor, Texas, August 26, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY.

A woman uses a coat hanger to try and retrieve an item from a destroyed house after Hurricane Harvey struck Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A man walks past a business which was left damaged after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A ranch house is surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey near Port Lavaca, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Dead cows killed in Hurricane Harvey lie on highway 35 near Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A storage facility that took damage from a tornado that spun off of Hurricane Harvey after the storm made landfall on the Texas Gulf coast, in Katy, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Damage to the First Baptist Church of Rockport after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

People make their way down partially flooded roads following the passage of Hurricane Harvey on August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

A tree sits uprooted after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People walk through flooded streets as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Vehicles drive through a flooded street as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Palm trees sit collapsed after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Badly damaged light planes in their hanger at Rockport Airport after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Damage is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 26, 2017 in Katy, Texas.Hurricane Harvey stalled over central Texas on Saturday, August 26, 2017, raising fears of ‘catastrophic’ flooding after the megastorm — the most powerful to hit the United States since 2005 — left a deadly trail of devastation along the Gulf Coast. The latest forecasts show that Harvey, now downgraded to tropical storm status, will hover along the shore for the next four or five days, dumping massive amounts of rain. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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The typically controversial satire magazine was the victim of a terror attack in 2015 when a gunman opened fire on the staff for mocking Prophet Mohammed. The terrorists with Al-Qaeda tied killed 12 of the magazines staffers.

Also Read:28 Stars Who Have Donated to Hurricane Harvey Relief, From Beyonce to Kevin Hart

The cover is presumably poking fun at the tragic events in Charlottesville earlier this month when violence erupted at a White Supremacy rally, killing three people.Users quickly rushed to Twitter to criticize the cover, with many people noting that the magazine has the right to print whatever it wants.

Free speech is wonderful isnt it, Charlie Hebdo? You have every right to publish this, and I have every right to call you a piece of st, one user wrote.

Another person tweeted, You know why I love this picture of Charlie Hebdo? Because nobody will murder them over it. That is why western culture is superior to Islam

Check out some of the reactions:

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Reactions to Charlie Hebdo’s Harvey cover

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French rag Charlie Hebdo mocks Harvey victims as Neo NazisCharlie Hebdo makes fun of everyone but Muslims. Cowards https://t.co/VUnXuN1ARy

Remember when terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo, and the Right grieved?This is their thanks.God Exists (referri https://t.co/320dOfV1nI

France’s Charlie Hebdo mocking Houston flood victims as Nazis. Remember when we mocked their dead? Me neither. https://t.co/0Sn7J73FiD

@YNaija #CharlieHebdo makes fun of everything. What a shame. It’s disheartening

This is such a trash response to everything going on in the USA. Je ne suis pas #charliehebdo . https://t.co/Pk27wsj7vD

@DeepSouthProud Of course this is safe for them. Charlie Hebdo knows a team of evangelical Texans will never storm https://t.co/c0MCz2ju89

@dagenmcdowell Charlie Hebdo should recall how many Texans died kicking Nazis out of France

Clearly, the editors of #CharlieHebdo watch #CNN and this is what they think of #America https://t.co/tTbA28T3R6

@Charlie_Hebdo_ Is it too late to give France back to Germany? Wonder how many have Nazi blood because their grandma’s laid with Nazis?

Can anyone explain to me by the way why the latest Charlie Hebdo cover is DEFINITELY mocking Harvey victims?

@Charlie_Hebdo_ From America to you we wish you nothing but the worst after we sympathized with you after the attack you stab us in the back

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More from AOL.com: Joe Walsh Ridiculed for Falsely Claiming Charlie Hebdo Never Mocks Muslims FBI Slow to Move on Photos Identifying Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Filmmaker Says Scott Baio Tweets Meme That Claims Charlottesville, Sandy Hook Are Connected Conspiracies

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November 25, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

TMID Editorial: Last Supper controversy – Since when is eating a burger offensive? – Malta Independent Online

Many interesting news stories appeared in the local media over the weekend, but surely one of the most entertaining, yet saddening news pieces was an online report about the latest controversy – a clever marketing campaign by a popular local burger joint.

The mural, found in Msida, depicted an upgraded version of Leonardo da Vincis Last Supper, but instead of breaking bread and wine, Jesus and the apostles were shown sharing pizzas, burgers, hot dogs fries and even some milkshakes. These are, of course, the staples offered by this particular restaurant.

The news website that carried the report visited the site, together with the president of one of the police unions, Police Inspector Sandro Camilleri, who proclaimed that his phone had not stopped ringing and that he had received multiple complaints from people who feel that something like this is offensive to their religion.

The intrepid journalist then adds: We also call on the Church to investigate something like this, just like it goes into other things.

Shortly after the report went up, members of the so-called Patriots vandalized the poster, peeling off Jesus face. (These are the same people who distributed pork sandwiches near Muslim prayers in Msida)

The reaction since the incident has been incredible. Many have taken to the social media and the comments boards calling for the restaurant to be boycotted. The owner told this newspaper he had even received threats of violence, which is the real criminal act here.

Many said the advert was an affront to Christian Malta and another person claimed that it took the mickey out of the important Catholic commemoration of the establishment of the Eucharist.

Unsurprisingly, many brought up the Islam card, challenging the restaurant owner to put up an advert showing Muhammad, if he has the guts.

There is a big chance that some of these people had changed their Facebook profile pictures to Je Suis Charlie after the Charlie Hebdo attack, which was spurred by a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. But not when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church no, we cannot have that.

It is simply unbelievable that Malta still has these controversies in this day and age and that we must make an issue out of everything. While its marketing effectiveness remains to be seen, the mural does not depict Jesus performing some devious or criminal act. It does not show the apostles naked. It is simply an innocent play on a world famous painting. Since when is eating a hamburger considered offensive anyway?

It is exactly debates like this one that show that the country is, in many respects, not willing to move forward. Some would say that the recent law that decriminalises the vilification of religion was a step in the wrong direction, and we agree that no one should be allowed to insult religions because, lets face it, some people do take these things very seriously. But this particular example cannot be regarded as vilifying or insulting religion.

With this typical kind of narrow mindedness, it is no wonder that many people are opposing the introduction of gay marriage. Once again, the country is drawing battle lines, with those in favour on one side and those against in the opposing trenches, and we are forgetting, in all the arguments that are being made, that this law is above everything else about equality, about giving equal rights. Once again we are showing how we will fight anything that does not fit into our way of doing things, even if it denies our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters their right to love and be equal. Is this what these so-called Christian values are about?

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TMID Editorial: Last Supper controversy – Since when is eating a burger offensive? – Malta Independent Online

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Czech Parliament Aims to Shoot Down European Gun Control – Cato Institute (blog)

As a wave of Islamist terror attacks sweep across Europe, London police urge people to run, hide, tell. The Czech Republics response? Fight back.

The Czech parliament is working to liberalize the countrys gun laws, allowing people to better defend themselves. The reason for this new policy is safety, as well as practicality; in light of recent attacks in neighboring countries, the Czech government recognizes that disarming people puts them in danger, and that broad European gun control policies are ineffective. The Interior Minister said it best when he asked parliament to show [him] a single terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated using a legally-owned weapon.

In contrast, the European Unions answer to terror is as counterintuitive as it is feckless. France has spearheaded efforts to ban all military-style rifles AR and AK-style rifles, not to be confused with those capable of automatic fire, commonly referred to as machine guns from Europe. As my colleagueDan Mitchellhas noted, the EU is violating its own commitment to state sovereignty in favor of radical, unsuccessful gun prohibition.

Despite strict gun control in France, Islamic radicals were still able to obtain rifles and kill 17 people in the Charlie Hebdo attack of 2015. More recently, in places like Nice and London, terrorists have worked around gun restrictions by using trucks and other vehicles to kill civilians.

The Czech Republic, which already boasts 800,000 registered firearms and 300,000 licensed gun owners, is taking proactive steps to avoid their citizens becoming victims without a means of defending themselves. The new measure is a protest against the self-destructive dogma of European gun control and in favor of civil liberties and self-empowerment.

If the rest of Europe followed the Czech Republics example, civilians wouldbe able to defend themselves whether against terrorism or normal crime instead of depending on police and other government agents, which typically arrive far too late if at all.

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Religious Liberty Advocates Urge Trump To Keep Envoy Combatting Anti-Semitism – The Daily Caller

The position of special envoy to combat anti-semitism has been left empty, prompting religious liberty advocates to urgethe Trump administration to fill it before it becomes inactive.

The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will be officially unstaffed as of July 1, with the administration yet to name an envoy to the office and the two remaining staffers slated for reassignment. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified before Congress about the administrations hesitancy to fill the posting, citing concerns that a special envoy as the focal point would weaken the focus on anti-semitism throughout the administration. Dr. Katrina Swett, daughter of the late California Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, who created the position in 2004 and was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, disagrees.

I think failure to fill that post sends a troubling message to friends and foes alike that this administration is downgrading its focus on fighting anti-semitism, Swett told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Anti-semitism is more virulent than it has been in quite some time, and its growing. Its not decreasing, and so, to send a message like that, even if that was not your intention, and even if you felt that, well, were going to try to do other things to show that thats not our intention, it would still be enormously damaging.

A special envoy would help better organize and mobilize efforts as the tip of the sword to focus on and combat anti-semitism on a global scale, according to Swett.

Groups like the Anti-Defamation League havefiled petitions lobbying for the envoy position to be filled. Sens. Marco Rubio and Kirsten Gillibrand also filed a bill to raise the status of the envoy position to that of an ambassador. Swett sent a letters to Tillerson and to Trump, which urgedthe administration to move swiftly to nominate individuals to fill these important posts, referencing not only the special envoy position but also the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, which the administration has also left empty.

Past envoys in this office have made enormous strides in helping the U.S. government, and governments around the world, combat new forms of anti-semitism, according to Swett. She mentioned the works of past envoys Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman as examples of the offices recent important achievements.

Rosenthal officially defined new anti-Semitism, as an effort to demonize, delegitimize, and apply a double standard to Israel, but which poses as legitimate criticism of the country. Formantraveled around the world to help governments cooperate with the U.S. to combat anti-semitic attacks and in one instance traveled to France for this purpose, in the wake of the Islamic attack on a kosher grocery store following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Swett told TheDCNF she feels strongly about the need to fill this position as a daughter of the only survivor of the Holocaust ever to serve in Congress.

And it feels very disrespectful to his memory that this post, which has been established by Congress and which has done very important work, would just be sort of left vacant and left to atrophy, Swett said. And Its not only disrespectful, I think, to my late fathers memory, but frankly to all of those who have fought very hard against antisemitism on so many fronts for so long.

If the position is unstaffed by July 1, the Officeto Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will remain, as the office was legislatively created, but will be officially inactive.

Neither Trump nor Tillerson have responded to Swetts letters at this time.

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Alex Morton: We cannot be neutral in Islam’s internal struggle. Here are three ways in which the Prime Minister … – Conservative Home

Published: June 28, 2017

We cannot be neutral in Islams internal struggle

Islamism is a threat both inside and outside the Islamic world on a scale comparable with fascism and communism in the 20th century. It needs a comparable response. Trying to pretend that a few far-right extremists are comparable with the rise of Islamic State, an ongoing global terror campaign, or the contining failures of human rights in much of the Muslim majority world is simply wrong. There is an ongoing conflict within Islam, and we are not neutral in this struggle.

We are involved in a struggle with Islamism whether we like it or not

Not all versions of Islam are compatible with our society. There is no other way of saying this. Islamism believes that government must enforce (almost always a strict version of) Islam, and crucially rejects freedom of religion, thought, and secularism based on its readings of the Quran and the hadiths. It is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy, and is by nature extremist on the Government definition of vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

This is not to say that Islam, the religion, is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy. There are various more tolerant versions of Islam and some Muslims focus on other parts of the Quran, such as those stating there is no compulsion in religion or action (e.g. verses 2:256 and 18:29). There are good and bad versions of Islam and most Muslims believe in a mixture of the good and bad elements. But Islamism believes in use of government power and brute force in enforcing its version of Islam on others, and attacks the moderate or tolerant strains.

Islamists try to demand special treatment for Islam and, once they have it, use it to force their more aggressive version of Islam forward, arguing those who disagree are blasphemous or not respecting Islam. Countries which have tried to placate Islamist extremists became trapped in a cycle in which Islamists are given freedom to bully others, and have used this freedom to drive their version of Islam forward. This is why for Islamists and quasi-Islamist states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan there is no crime worse than blasphemy because enforcing their version of Islam is the foundation of their power.

When I worked in Number Ten, the people who grasped most clearly Islamisms threat were my Muslim co-workers, because they knew Islamists were determined to destroy more tolerant and decent versions of Islam and replace it with their own cancerous version using a mixture of theology, guilt and brute force to theorise and terrorise those who oppose them, both non-Muslims and Muslims. The ambivalence (not shared by David Cameron) in government came from guilt ridden non-Muslims and those Muslims who buy into one of the main Islamist narratives that no version of Islam is a problem, and only Islamophobia is the problem. This ignores the widespread abuse of human rights by Islamist states or states that want to placate Islamism.

The Left has largely capitulated to Islamism

With honourable and principled exceptions such as Nick Cohen, much of the Left has long since abandoned those who are women, LGBT, minority faiths or nonreligious, and others unfortunate enough to be born where Islamism is strongest. They will speak out against Saudi Arabia, but only in the same breath as condemning the USAs support for it because for them this is all about the West. They see themselves as educated multiculturalists but they are, ironically, deeply ignorant about what Islamism is and how it works. Their use of the weasel word Islamophobia and attempt to blame every failure in the Middle East on western intervention is deeply harmful.

Western intervention has made things worse, but Islamism and the Middle Easts difficulties are part of an internal struggle with modernity that the Muslim world is going through. Islamophobia as opposed to discrimination against Muslims as individuals, and which should never be tolerated is a word that Islamists love because they can twist it. Cartoons of Mohammed Islamophobia. Stopping Islamist indoctrination in state schools Islamophobia. Concerns about basic human rights in Islamic countries Islamophobia.

The Government needs a strong anti-Islamist approach

Yet if the Left has capitulated, the Centre and Right have failed to understand what is necessary. In fighting Islamism, there are various key policies fortunately few of which require legislation:

Number 1 sounds easy. But consider a few cases recently where May and DCLG/the Home Office were found wanting. Luis Smith was temporarily banned by a Government backed quango for mocking Islam in a way mocking Christianity would never have been acted on. A girl who twerked in public in a hijab was sent death threats, and had to publicly repent after a religious interviewer talked to her, rather than being protected by the law. There have been occasions in which gender segregation has been used in meetings at universities. This is how Islamism works: bully and purify the believers, shut down any external criticism of Islam, obtain special treatment for Islam and then move even further. We have failed to live up to our standards.

For number 2, Islamist groups and individuals should be ostracised and not a platform, penny or anything else that legitimises them should come to them from government. They should be publicly criticised. This includes in political parties. The Labour Party should be deeply ashamed it selected someone who has publicly celebrated the Iranian regime in Manchester Gorton. This is a regime that executes gay people and arrests people on blasphemy charges. The selection was a disgrace and we should have urged our voters to vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate to defeat him.

Point 3 means working with and support anti-Islamist Muslims of all types. Zac Goldsmiths campaign for the London mayoralty was appalling because it came close to equating Muslims with Islamists by smearing Sadiq Khan. You can criticise Khan on many fronts but he is clearly no Islamist extremist. After the Charlie Hebdo shootings, the Muslim Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Abouteleb, told Islamists who dont like the Wests freedoms to pack their bags and f*** off a more courageous response that put him in physical danger but shows some Muslims get what is at stake. We cannot simply have non-Muslims criticising Islamists this is an internal conflict and we need to give all the support we can to non-Islamist Muslims who are prepared to stand up to Islamists whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, or apolitical. Sajid Javid has a key role here in co-ordinating integration policy at DCLG.

We must realise that stopping Islamism is a fight for the very basis of our society and its freedoms. May needs to give it according priority.

Ahmed Abouteleb David Cameron DCLG democracy freedom Holland Home Office Homeland security Iran Islam Islamism Islamist extremism Islamophobia Liberty Luis Smith Manchester Gorton Nick Cohen Pakistan Sajid Javid MP Saudi Arabia Terrorism The Left The Right Theresa May MP War on terror Zac Goldsmith MP

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Alex Morton: We cannot be neutral in Islam’s internal struggle. Here are three ways in which the Prime Minister … – Conservative Home

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Jamaican ex-pat: X-associate in Paris, France – Caribbean Life

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Jamaica-born Lebert Sandy Bethune always knew he was privileged to be among a distinguished few.

From the 1950s when he attended the all-boys, elite Kingston College high school where its Latin motto Fortis Cadere cedere non potest translates The Brave May Fall but Never Yield as a teenager he broached excellence among his peers, manifested through sports, literature and virtually every form of competition.

And while that vantage enabled access, privilege and an advantage, Bethune never imagined he would be an associate of El Hajj Malik Shabazz, Americas iconic advocate for civil and human rights who is world renowned as Malcolm X.

Bethune lived his schools mantra and when his parents summoned him to migrate to join them here his grandmother added a Jamaican proverb to his glossary you are going to America to drink milk not to count cows.

Jamaicans have a unique way of communicating and that bovine parable translates to meaning we should conduct business in a straightforward manner. It also means that one should capitalize on the opportunities presented not waste time talking about them.

The young Bethune heeded both admonitions and after arriving here to join his parents asked them for a cash advance to travel to Paris, France where he could interact with like-minded would be scholars, authors, poets and literary adventurous Blacks who made an impression on his ambitions.

Richard Wright had already paved the way.

Acclaimed for the 1940 bestseller Native Son and his 1945 autobiography Black Boy Wrights migratory path from the south, mid-west, New York and ultimately Paris, France resonated as one Bethune was intent on following.

His generous and trusting parents obliged and enabled the European adventure.

Soon after his arrival there he enrolled at the University of Paris where he quickly secured membership into a fraternity that included some of the most conscientious Black students.

Unfortunately, Bethune missed an opportunity to meet the main scholar he emulated. Wright died of a heart attack on Nov. 28, 1960 in Paris.

However, Bethune was able to establish a significant presence in the younger Black expatriate intellectual circle. His friendships included James Baldwin, William Gardner- Smith, drummer Art Taylor, Dexter Gordon, Richard Wrights widow, Helen and their daughter, Julia.

He interacted with Francophone writers such as Aimee Cesaire, Leon Damas, Alioune Diop — all seminal advocates of Negritude — a Pan Africanist stance for anti-colonial, anti-racist literature.

His poetry and fiction were first published by Presence Africaine, a respected magazine among intellectuals throughout Europe.

One of his most treasured memories is Bethunes friendship and mentorship with Langston Hughes, which spanned Paris, New York and Africas Tanzania.

Hughes even penned a poem in dedication to Bethune.

Recently, during a rare screening at Lincoln Centers 24th NY African Film Festival, Bethune reflected on the period he lived in Paris and showed his 1964 documentary Malcolm X:Struggle For Freedom.

Filmed during Malcolms Xs trip to Europe it features interviews filmed during the Pan-African proponents trip to Europe and Africa.

Interspersed with scenes of African rebellion, the black and white, grainy document shows Bethune sitting next to the FBIs most feared American Black men.

The film first started as an informal interview at the Paris home of the late French cartoonist, Bob Sine, an original founder of Charlie Hebdo magazine, Bethune recalled.

Bethune said he was invited to the home of his friend and was shocked when he arrived there to see the Muslim advocate sitting casually as if he was just another guest or friend.

Although he had requested an interview with the prominent American he never imagined the possibility of a one-on-one question and answer moment.

Malcolm provided Carlos Moore, John Taylor, two other African-American students and I with the sit-down private interview we requested. The uniqueness of the film is that it took place in an informal, relaxed setting – with a comfortable Malcolm, attended by a small group of five young African Americans, and the security and hospitality of Sine, a former French Resistance Partisan, Bethune said.

The interview was recorded with a hand held 16mm camera. Malcolms only request in return for the interview was for us to take him around to some of the cafes and places in Paris where he might meet with African-American, artists, students and musicians. We thus became his guide, his de facto security team and informally the earliest unit of the Organization of Afro American Unity in Europe.

Malcolm X is seen at a time when his views were evolving following worldwide travel.

Weeks later, Bethune attended Malcolm Xs historic Union Debate on Human Rights at Oxford University in England.

A few months after, Malcolm X was assassinated in Harlem.

That Brother Malcolm was assassinated only months later, rendered our interview with him, a unique retrospective in a modern pictorial medium, which now comprises the heart of Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, Bethune explained.

The film covers a wide array of topics including the role of women in the struggle for Civil Rights; the significance of Chinas newly acquired nuclear bomb and the importance of the unity of Africa for the Black human rights struggle in the diaspora.

After the screening, the noted filmmaker, poet, author and scholar candidly presented a snippet of his experiences as a Black expatriate in Europe during the turbulent1960s.

Aside from his milestone documentary, he also introduced Jojolo: a Profile of a Glamorous Haitian Model-Actress Living in Paris.

In the film Jojolo I wanted to portray a facet of Black female identity, seen through the eyes of a young Haitian woman working in Paris in 1966, as a Dior fashion model and actress, Bethune said.

For both his films Bethune attracted moral and material assistance from the legendary Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens and encouragement from Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousman.

Bethunes literary work as a writer has been featured in groundbreaking Black Arts Movement literature.

He has written short stories that were included in Langston Hughes anthology The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, poetry in Black Fire, edited by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka; and an essay on Malcolm X in Europe in John Henry Clarkes Malcolm X:The Man and His Times.

Bethune has taught at SUNY and at the University of The West Indies.

He holds a Bachelor of Science from New York University and post graduate degrees in anthropology and education from Columbia University.

He resides in New York City with his wife April, and their daughter Simone.

He is currently preparing a new collection of his poetry for publication later this year.

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Posted 12:00 am, June 27, 2017

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Phoenix On World Cafe – NPR

Phoenix’s latest album, Ti Amo, is out now. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

Phoenix’s latest album, Ti Amo, is out now.

Phoenix’s sixth and latest album is called Ti Amo; in case you’re rusty on your Italian, that means “I love you.” And the record is filled with love. It also evokes Italian discos in the summertime a surprisingly fun and lighthearted tone, given the tense times in which it emerged.

The band started working on Ti Amo in 2014, and since then, its French homeland has seen a string of devastating acts of terror, including the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the Bastille Day attack in Nice. The 2016 attack at Paris’ Bataclan nightclub happened just a short walk from where Phoenix was recording. During these dark times, the studio served as a bright spot for the band an oasis for its musical expressions of brotherly love.

In fact, Phoenix is made up of two brothers, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz, plus Deck d’Arcy and lead singer Thomas Mars. Mars is married to filmmaker Sofia Coppola, whose latest film, The Beguiled, won her Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and was scored by Phoenix. (The band has also provided music for some of Coppola’s other movies, including Lost In Translation and Somewhere.)

Hear Phoenix perform songs from Ti Amo and translate the lyrics in this session.

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Phoenix On World Cafe – NPR

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US Supreme Court may open the floodgates for the trademarking of racist slurs – City, University of London (press release)

News from City, University of London

By Enrico Bonadio, Senior Lecturer, City Law School.

You may not have heard of Asian-American dance-rock band, The Slants, but you may soon be very aware of a troubling precedent set after they won a contentious legal victory in the US Supreme Court.

Founder and bass player, Simon Tam, first tried to register the bands name as a trademark in 2011. It was refused because the brand was considered disparaging to people of Asian descent. Tam reckoned the derisive terms of slants or slant eyes were becoming anachronisms, ripe for re-purposing and a chance for Asian-Americans to have the power over how they were defined.

His success means that the bands brand is confirmed as registrable because it is protected by the first amendment to the US constitution. The Supreme Court opinion, in effect, says that the registration of a trademark cannot be banned on the grounds it conveys ideas that offend.

(Pictured: The Slants in concert/Tommy Byrd/Flickr, CC BY-NC)

Good for Simon Tam, you might think. But the concern must be that this decision clears the way for the registration of many other names which are scandalous, immoral or disparaging as the language of the law in question would have it. Registration of trademarks not only gives exclusive rights over brands, it encourages their owners to make investments around them and profit from the rights they have gained.

The case which most immediately springs to mind is that of the Washington Redskins. The American football team has been embroiled in a similar legal fight after the trademark office cancelled six registrations in 2014 under pressure from Native American groups, nearly 50 US senators, and the then-president Barack Obama.

The clubs owner Dan Snyder was quick to realise the implications of the Slants ruling. I am THRILLED, he said in a statement. Hail to the Redskins!”

Those who praise this ruling may argue that trademark offices and judges should not be concerned with assessing whether a brand name is immoral, scandalous or offensive. Market forces alone the argument goes will be able to address such issues. If a brand is genuinely upsetting or scandalous, consumers will vote with their wallets and push the brand out of the market.

That argument is flawed. I believe the Supreme Court decision is an encouragement to corporations and business people to register and use controversial and scandalous brands in the US in order to acquire market share. Clearly, there are sections of the public who will be attracted to a product or service precisely because of a controversial, unpleasant or even offensive message conveyed by the brand. That will apply particularly in industries such as fashion, where to be rude or edgy may pay off.

In a world where sections of the public complain loudly about the tyranny of political correctness, this ruling gives businesses leeway to loudly champion offensive or derogatory trademarks which mark that business out as a defender of those values and ideas. In other words, we will likely discover that offence sells and may even become a driver of purchasing behaviour.

This shouldnt be a surprise. Brand identities are often chosen for their ability to shock customers, especially in the youth market, or at least to send ambiguous messages. The FCUK trademark adopted by the fashion company French Connection is a notable example. Beer company Brewdog has sought to emphasise its edgy credentials with brands such as Trashy Blonde.

Some of these attempts are clearly distasteful, especially when the aim is to capitalise on tragedies. One Malaysian company filed an application with the Australian trademark office to register the name MH17, just hours after the Malaysian Airlines flight had crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board. And dozens of people rushed to file trademark applications for exclusive rights over the brand Je suis Charlie, just days after the terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

These examples highlight why it is important for governments to maintain the ability to police the registration of these types of trademarks. There needs to be a mechanism to stop registrations which go beyond what is broadly accepted as decent and which seek to win consumers attention with brands which reinforce offensive views, or which cause needless distress to groups of people.

Countries other than US are quite strict when it comes to denying registration, and discouraging the use of offensive brands. In Europe for example trademark offices and judges have refused to protect racist terms, words with sexually explicit or vulgar content.

Some of these decisions were based on the assumption that the refusal to register these words does not infringe free speech rights, a position diametrically opposed to the one taken by the US Supreme Court in The Slants case. The ability to prohibit the registration of controversial brands is perceived in Europe as necessary to safeguard decency and morality in the course of trade and more importantly, protect ethnic and religious minorities as well as vulnerable people, including children.

Perhaps, if the US market eventually becomes flooded with openly racist and deliberately offensive brands, the Supreme Court will understand its mistake.

Enrico Bonadio is a Senior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

City academics are available to provide expertise analysis and commentary on a wide variety of news and research topics. Contact the Press Office to find out more.

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US Supreme Court may open the floodgates for the trademarking of racist slurs – City, University of London (press release)

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Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover shouts: "God exists! He drowned …

Charlie Hebdos latest cover embraces the French satirical weeklys reputation as a provocative, controversial voice. Its August 30 issue shouts, God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas, referencing the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. The cartoon cover art was posted on Charlie Hebdos Facebook page on Tuesday, ahead of the magazines Wednesday publication. It depicts several Nazi flags, emblazoned with swastikas, half-submerged in floodwaters, as well as a number of arms jutting out of the water and positioned, not coincidentally, in Nazi salutes. Both the flags and hands are being bombarded with heavy rain, the kind that characterized Harveys landfall and broke records in Texas. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Charlie Hebdo has a long history of controversial cartoons that have riled up people all over the world. It has featured the Prophet Muhammad, who many Muslims believe should not be depicted at all, including on a 2006 cover with the headline Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalism. The magazine was denounced by the French president at the time, Jacques Chirac, and was sued over that issue. It has alsopublished covers that shout, The Koran is worthlessit doesnt even stop bullets! andI slept with my dad to get ahead, mocking the son of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. It has portrayed the pope holding a condom aloft, Michael Jackson as a skeleton with hair and the wordsMichael Jackson, white at last, and a naked woman with a piece of fabric sticking out of her backside and the wordsYes to wearing the burqaon the inside! In January 2015, gunmen attacked the magazines headquarters in Paris, killing a dozen people, including journalists and police. The motive seemed immediately clearretribution for depictions of Muhammad. Agence France-Presse reported at the time that the gunmen shouted, We have avenged the prophet.” The tragic events have not caused Charlie Hebdo to retreat. It has continued to publish powerful, controversial covers in recent years and months. Just last week, its cover about the car-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain,drew criticism for depicting two people lying in the street in pools of blood with the words”Islam: religion of peace…eternal.” This week, its cover rejoices in the supposed death of neo-Nazis during a catastrophic natural disaster. The cartoon looks like a mishmash of American news, pairing the recent white nationalist and neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the hurricane. However, there is no evidence thus far that any of the storms victims were neo-Nazis. Houston, which has a large Jewish community, is the fourth-largest city in the country and tends to lean towardthe liberal side of the political spectrum. Though Texas went to Donald Trump during the 2016 election, Harris County voted for Hillary Clinton54 percent to 41.6 percent.

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Charlie Hebdo cover portraying Harvey victims as neo-Nazis …

Brian Flood Aug 31st 2017 12:46PM The most recent cover of French magazine Charlie Hebdo mocks victims of Hurricane Harvey with art of neo-Nazis drowning and text that translates to, God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas. The cover features an image of swastika flags and arms in the Nazi salute being submerged in rainwater. The hurricane and massive flooding in the Houston area has killed at least 31 people and left thousands stranded. RELATED: Devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey 30 PHOTOS Hurricane Harvey See Gallery HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 27: Andrew White (L) helps a neighbor down a street after rescuing her from her home in his boat in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) A graveyard is seen as it floods during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Pearland, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) A family is rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey on a boat in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Local resident Kathy Neihaet walks through her damaged neighborhood after Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas on August 27, 2017. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast with forecasters saying its possible for up to three feet of rain and 125 mpg wind. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) A flipped over truck and flooding are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images Flooding and a damaged home are seen after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images TOPSHOT – Hurricane Harvey damage is seen in Bayside, TX August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel KRAMER (Photo credit should read DANIEL KRAMER/AFP/Getty Images) CITY-BY-The Sea, TX – AUGUST 26: Cows make their way through fallen power lines along the road near City-By-The Sea, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) People push a disabled car during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) ROCKPORT, TX – AUGUST 26: Firefighters search for survivors at an apartment complex in Rockport, TX as Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast on Saturday, Aug 26, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Sterling Broughton is moved from a rescue boat onto a kayak in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking People are rescued from flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in an armored police mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in Dickinson, Texas August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Texas National Guard soldiers aid stranded residents in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 27, 2017. Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD/Texas Military Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY A condominium complex is reduced to rubble after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Tim Freiberg moves through what was his garage after Hurricane Harvey struck Rockport, Texas August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Housing surrounded by flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey is seen from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter during an overflight from Port Aransas to Port O’Connor, Texas, August 26, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY. A woman uses a coat hanger to try and retrieve an item from a destroyed house after Hurricane Harvey struck Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking A man walks past a business which was left damaged after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif A ranch house is surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey near Port Lavaca, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Dead cows killed in Hurricane Harvey lie on highway 35 near Fulton, Texas, August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking A storage facility that took damage from a tornado that spun off of Hurricane Harvey after the storm made landfall on the Texas Gulf coast, in Katy, Texas, U.S. August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Oxford Damage to the First Baptist Church of Rockport after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) People make their way down partially flooded roads following the passage of Hurricane Harvey on August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) A tree sits uprooted after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images People walk through flooded streets as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) Vehicles drive through a flooded street as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) Palm trees sit collapsed after Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas has just begun as days of flooding rains across the heart of U.S. energy production threaten the country’s fourth-largest city and leave farmers struggling to save horses, cows and crops. Photographer: Alex Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images Badly damaged light planes in their hanger at Rockport Airport after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) Damage is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 26, 2017 in Katy, Texas.Hurricane Harvey stalled over central Texas on Saturday, August 26, 2017, raising fears of ‘catastrophic’ flooding after the megastorm — the most powerful to hit the United States since 2005 — left a deadly trail of devastation along the Gulf Coast. The latest forecasts show that Harvey, now downgraded to tropical storm status, will hover along the shore for the next four or five days, dumping massive amounts of rain. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) HIDE CAPTION SHOW CAPTION The typically controversial satire magazine was the victim of a terror attack in 2015 when a gunman opened fire on the staff for mocking Prophet Mohammed. The terrorists with Al-Qaeda tied killed 12 of the magazines staffers. Also Read:28 Stars Who Have Donated to Hurricane Harvey Relief, From Beyonce to Kevin Hart The cover is presumably poking fun at the tragic events in Charlottesville earlier this month when violence erupted at a White Supremacy rally, killing three people.Users quickly rushed to Twitter to criticize the cover, with many people noting that the magazine has the right to print whatever it wants. Free speech is wonderful isnt it, Charlie Hebdo? You have every right to publish this, and I have every right to call you a piece of st, one user wrote. Another person tweeted, You know why I love this picture of Charlie Hebdo? Because nobody will murder them over it. That is why western culture is superior to Islam Check out some of the reactions: 12 PHOTOS Reactions to Charlie Hebdo’s Harvey cover See Gallery French rag Charlie Hebdo mocks Harvey victims as Neo NazisCharlie Hebdo makes fun of everyone but Muslims. Cowards https://t.co/VUnXuN1ARy Remember when terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo, and the Right grieved?This is their thanks.God Exists (referri https://t.co/320dOfV1nI France’s Charlie Hebdo mocking Houston flood victims as Nazis. Remember when we mocked their dead? Me neither. https://t.co/0Sn7J73FiD @YNaija #CharlieHebdo makes fun of everything. What a shame. It’s disheartening This is such a trash response to everything going on in the USA. Je ne suis pas #charliehebdo . https://t.co/Pk27wsj7vD @DeepSouthProud Of course this is safe for them. Charlie Hebdo knows a team of evangelical Texans will never storm https://t.co/c0MCz2ju89 @dagenmcdowell Charlie Hebdo should recall how many Texans died kicking Nazis out of France Clearly, the editors of #CharlieHebdo watch #CNN and this is what they think of #America https://t.co/tTbA28T3R6 @Charlie_Hebdo_ Is it too late to give France back to Germany? Wonder how many have Nazi blood because their grandma’s laid with Nazis? Can anyone explain to me by the way why the latest Charlie Hebdo cover is DEFINITELY mocking Harvey victims? @Charlie_Hebdo_ From America to you we wish you nothing but the worst after we sympathized with you after the attack you stab us in the back HIDE CAPTION SHOW CAPTION More from AOL.com: Joe Walsh Ridiculed for Falsely Claiming Charlie Hebdo Never Mocks Muslims FBI Slow to Move on Photos Identifying Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Filmmaker Says Scott Baio Tweets Meme That Claims Charlottesville, Sandy Hook Are Connected Conspiracies

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November 25, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

TMID Editorial: Last Supper controversy – Since when is eating a burger offensive? – Malta Independent Online

Many interesting news stories appeared in the local media over the weekend, but surely one of the most entertaining, yet saddening news pieces was an online report about the latest controversy – a clever marketing campaign by a popular local burger joint. The mural, found in Msida, depicted an upgraded version of Leonardo da Vincis Last Supper, but instead of breaking bread and wine, Jesus and the apostles were shown sharing pizzas, burgers, hot dogs fries and even some milkshakes. These are, of course, the staples offered by this particular restaurant. The news website that carried the report visited the site, together with the president of one of the police unions, Police Inspector Sandro Camilleri, who proclaimed that his phone had not stopped ringing and that he had received multiple complaints from people who feel that something like this is offensive to their religion. The intrepid journalist then adds: We also call on the Church to investigate something like this, just like it goes into other things. Shortly after the report went up, members of the so-called Patriots vandalized the poster, peeling off Jesus face. (These are the same people who distributed pork sandwiches near Muslim prayers in Msida) The reaction since the incident has been incredible. Many have taken to the social media and the comments boards calling for the restaurant to be boycotted. The owner told this newspaper he had even received threats of violence, which is the real criminal act here. Many said the advert was an affront to Christian Malta and another person claimed that it took the mickey out of the important Catholic commemoration of the establishment of the Eucharist. Unsurprisingly, many brought up the Islam card, challenging the restaurant owner to put up an advert showing Muhammad, if he has the guts. There is a big chance that some of these people had changed their Facebook profile pictures to Je Suis Charlie after the Charlie Hebdo attack, which was spurred by a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. But not when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church no, we cannot have that. It is simply unbelievable that Malta still has these controversies in this day and age and that we must make an issue out of everything. While its marketing effectiveness remains to be seen, the mural does not depict Jesus performing some devious or criminal act. It does not show the apostles naked. It is simply an innocent play on a world famous painting. Since when is eating a hamburger considered offensive anyway? It is exactly debates like this one that show that the country is, in many respects, not willing to move forward. Some would say that the recent law that decriminalises the vilification of religion was a step in the wrong direction, and we agree that no one should be allowed to insult religions because, lets face it, some people do take these things very seriously. But this particular example cannot be regarded as vilifying or insulting religion. With this typical kind of narrow mindedness, it is no wonder that many people are opposing the introduction of gay marriage. Once again, the country is drawing battle lines, with those in favour on one side and those against in the opposing trenches, and we are forgetting, in all the arguments that are being made, that this law is above everything else about equality, about giving equal rights. Once again we are showing how we will fight anything that does not fit into our way of doing things, even if it denies our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters their right to love and be equal. Is this what these so-called Christian values are about?

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Czech Parliament Aims to Shoot Down European Gun Control – Cato Institute (blog)

As a wave of Islamist terror attacks sweep across Europe, London police urge people to run, hide, tell. The Czech Republics response? Fight back. The Czech parliament is working to liberalize the countrys gun laws, allowing people to better defend themselves. The reason for this new policy is safety, as well as practicality; in light of recent attacks in neighboring countries, the Czech government recognizes that disarming people puts them in danger, and that broad European gun control policies are ineffective. The Interior Minister said it best when he asked parliament to show [him] a single terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated using a legally-owned weapon. In contrast, the European Unions answer to terror is as counterintuitive as it is feckless. France has spearheaded efforts to ban all military-style rifles AR and AK-style rifles, not to be confused with those capable of automatic fire, commonly referred to as machine guns from Europe. As my colleagueDan Mitchellhas noted, the EU is violating its own commitment to state sovereignty in favor of radical, unsuccessful gun prohibition. Despite strict gun control in France, Islamic radicals were still able to obtain rifles and kill 17 people in the Charlie Hebdo attack of 2015. More recently, in places like Nice and London, terrorists have worked around gun restrictions by using trucks and other vehicles to kill civilians. The Czech Republic, which already boasts 800,000 registered firearms and 300,000 licensed gun owners, is taking proactive steps to avoid their citizens becoming victims without a means of defending themselves. The new measure is a protest against the self-destructive dogma of European gun control and in favor of civil liberties and self-empowerment. If the rest of Europe followed the Czech Republics example, civilians wouldbe able to defend themselves whether against terrorism or normal crime instead of depending on police and other government agents, which typically arrive far too late if at all.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Religious Liberty Advocates Urge Trump To Keep Envoy Combatting Anti-Semitism – The Daily Caller

The position of special envoy to combat anti-semitism has been left empty, prompting religious liberty advocates to urgethe Trump administration to fill it before it becomes inactive. The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will be officially unstaffed as of July 1, with the administration yet to name an envoy to the office and the two remaining staffers slated for reassignment. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified before Congress about the administrations hesitancy to fill the posting, citing concerns that a special envoy as the focal point would weaken the focus on anti-semitism throughout the administration. Dr. Katrina Swett, daughter of the late California Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, who created the position in 2004 and was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, disagrees. I think failure to fill that post sends a troubling message to friends and foes alike that this administration is downgrading its focus on fighting anti-semitism, Swett told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Anti-semitism is more virulent than it has been in quite some time, and its growing. Its not decreasing, and so, to send a message like that, even if that was not your intention, and even if you felt that, well, were going to try to do other things to show that thats not our intention, it would still be enormously damaging. A special envoy would help better organize and mobilize efforts as the tip of the sword to focus on and combat anti-semitism on a global scale, according to Swett. Groups like the Anti-Defamation League havefiled petitions lobbying for the envoy position to be filled. Sens. Marco Rubio and Kirsten Gillibrand also filed a bill to raise the status of the envoy position to that of an ambassador. Swett sent a letters to Tillerson and to Trump, which urgedthe administration to move swiftly to nominate individuals to fill these important posts, referencing not only the special envoy position but also the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, which the administration has also left empty. Past envoys in this office have made enormous strides in helping the U.S. government, and governments around the world, combat new forms of anti-semitism, according to Swett. She mentioned the works of past envoys Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman as examples of the offices recent important achievements. Rosenthal officially defined new anti-Semitism, as an effort to demonize, delegitimize, and apply a double standard to Israel, but which poses as legitimate criticism of the country. Formantraveled around the world to help governments cooperate with the U.S. to combat anti-semitic attacks and in one instance traveled to France for this purpose, in the wake of the Islamic attack on a kosher grocery store following the Charlie Hebdo attack. Swett told TheDCNF she feels strongly about the need to fill this position as a daughter of the only survivor of the Holocaust ever to serve in Congress. And it feels very disrespectful to his memory that this post, which has been established by Congress and which has done very important work, would just be sort of left vacant and left to atrophy, Swett said. And Its not only disrespectful, I think, to my late fathers memory, but frankly to all of those who have fought very hard against antisemitism on so many fronts for so long. If the position is unstaffed by July 1, the Officeto Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will remain, as the office was legislatively created, but will be officially inactive. Neither Trump nor Tillerson have responded to Swetts letters at this time. Follow Joshua on Twitter Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [emailprotected].

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Alex Morton: We cannot be neutral in Islam’s internal struggle. Here are three ways in which the Prime Minister … – Conservative Home

Published: June 28, 2017 We cannot be neutral in Islams internal struggle Islamism is a threat both inside and outside the Islamic world on a scale comparable with fascism and communism in the 20th century. It needs a comparable response. Trying to pretend that a few far-right extremists are comparable with the rise of Islamic State, an ongoing global terror campaign, or the contining failures of human rights in much of the Muslim majority world is simply wrong. There is an ongoing conflict within Islam, and we are not neutral in this struggle. We are involved in a struggle with Islamism whether we like it or not Not all versions of Islam are compatible with our society. There is no other way of saying this. Islamism believes that government must enforce (almost always a strict version of) Islam, and crucially rejects freedom of religion, thought, and secularism based on its readings of the Quran and the hadiths. It is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy, and is by nature extremist on the Government definition of vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This is not to say that Islam, the religion, is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy. There are various more tolerant versions of Islam and some Muslims focus on other parts of the Quran, such as those stating there is no compulsion in religion or action (e.g. verses 2:256 and 18:29). There are good and bad versions of Islam and most Muslims believe in a mixture of the good and bad elements. But Islamism believes in use of government power and brute force in enforcing its version of Islam on others, and attacks the moderate or tolerant strains. Islamists try to demand special treatment for Islam and, once they have it, use it to force their more aggressive version of Islam forward, arguing those who disagree are blasphemous or not respecting Islam. Countries which have tried to placate Islamist extremists became trapped in a cycle in which Islamists are given freedom to bully others, and have used this freedom to drive their version of Islam forward. This is why for Islamists and quasi-Islamist states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan there is no crime worse than blasphemy because enforcing their version of Islam is the foundation of their power. When I worked in Number Ten, the people who grasped most clearly Islamisms threat were my Muslim co-workers, because they knew Islamists were determined to destroy more tolerant and decent versions of Islam and replace it with their own cancerous version using a mixture of theology, guilt and brute force to theorise and terrorise those who oppose them, both non-Muslims and Muslims. The ambivalence (not shared by David Cameron) in government came from guilt ridden non-Muslims and those Muslims who buy into one of the main Islamist narratives that no version of Islam is a problem, and only Islamophobia is the problem. This ignores the widespread abuse of human rights by Islamist states or states that want to placate Islamism. The Left has largely capitulated to Islamism With honourable and principled exceptions such as Nick Cohen, much of the Left has long since abandoned those who are women, LGBT, minority faiths or nonreligious, and others unfortunate enough to be born where Islamism is strongest. They will speak out against Saudi Arabia, but only in the same breath as condemning the USAs support for it because for them this is all about the West. They see themselves as educated multiculturalists but they are, ironically, deeply ignorant about what Islamism is and how it works. Their use of the weasel word Islamophobia and attempt to blame every failure in the Middle East on western intervention is deeply harmful. Western intervention has made things worse, but Islamism and the Middle Easts difficulties are part of an internal struggle with modernity that the Muslim world is going through. Islamophobia as opposed to discrimination against Muslims as individuals, and which should never be tolerated is a word that Islamists love because they can twist it. Cartoons of Mohammed Islamophobia. Stopping Islamist indoctrination in state schools Islamophobia. Concerns about basic human rights in Islamic countries Islamophobia. The Government needs a strong anti-Islamist approach Yet if the Left has capitulated, the Centre and Right have failed to understand what is necessary. In fighting Islamism, there are various key policies fortunately few of which require legislation: Number 1 sounds easy. But consider a few cases recently where May and DCLG/the Home Office were found wanting. Luis Smith was temporarily banned by a Government backed quango for mocking Islam in a way mocking Christianity would never have been acted on. A girl who twerked in public in a hijab was sent death threats, and had to publicly repent after a religious interviewer talked to her, rather than being protected by the law. There have been occasions in which gender segregation has been used in meetings at universities. This is how Islamism works: bully and purify the believers, shut down any external criticism of Islam, obtain special treatment for Islam and then move even further. We have failed to live up to our standards. For number 2, Islamist groups and individuals should be ostracised and not a platform, penny or anything else that legitimises them should come to them from government. They should be publicly criticised. This includes in political parties. The Labour Party should be deeply ashamed it selected someone who has publicly celebrated the Iranian regime in Manchester Gorton. This is a regime that executes gay people and arrests people on blasphemy charges. The selection was a disgrace and we should have urged our voters to vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate to defeat him. Point 3 means working with and support anti-Islamist Muslims of all types. Zac Goldsmiths campaign for the London mayoralty was appalling because it came close to equating Muslims with Islamists by smearing Sadiq Khan. You can criticise Khan on many fronts but he is clearly no Islamist extremist. After the Charlie Hebdo shootings, the Muslim Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Abouteleb, told Islamists who dont like the Wests freedoms to pack their bags and f*** off a more courageous response that put him in physical danger but shows some Muslims get what is at stake. We cannot simply have non-Muslims criticising Islamists this is an internal conflict and we need to give all the support we can to non-Islamist Muslims who are prepared to stand up to Islamists whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, or apolitical. Sajid Javid has a key role here in co-ordinating integration policy at DCLG. We must realise that stopping Islamism is a fight for the very basis of our society and its freedoms. May needs to give it according priority. Ahmed Abouteleb David Cameron DCLG democracy freedom Holland Home Office Homeland security Iran Islam Islamism Islamist extremism Islamophobia Liberty Luis Smith Manchester Gorton Nick Cohen Pakistan Sajid Javid MP Saudi Arabia Terrorism The Left The Right Theresa May MP War on terror Zac Goldsmith MP 51 comments for: Alex Morton: We cannot be neutral in Islams internal struggle. Here are three ways in which the Prime Minister should act.

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Jamaican ex-pat: X-associate in Paris, France – Caribbean Life

Subscribe Get our stories in your inbox, free. Like Caribbean Life on Facebook. Jamaica-born Lebert Sandy Bethune always knew he was privileged to be among a distinguished few. From the 1950s when he attended the all-boys, elite Kingston College high school where its Latin motto Fortis Cadere cedere non potest translates The Brave May Fall but Never Yield as a teenager he broached excellence among his peers, manifested through sports, literature and virtually every form of competition. And while that vantage enabled access, privilege and an advantage, Bethune never imagined he would be an associate of El Hajj Malik Shabazz, Americas iconic advocate for civil and human rights who is world renowned as Malcolm X. Bethune lived his schools mantra and when his parents summoned him to migrate to join them here his grandmother added a Jamaican proverb to his glossary you are going to America to drink milk not to count cows. Jamaicans have a unique way of communicating and that bovine parable translates to meaning we should conduct business in a straightforward manner. It also means that one should capitalize on the opportunities presented not waste time talking about them. The young Bethune heeded both admonitions and after arriving here to join his parents asked them for a cash advance to travel to Paris, France where he could interact with like-minded would be scholars, authors, poets and literary adventurous Blacks who made an impression on his ambitions. Richard Wright had already paved the way. Acclaimed for the 1940 bestseller Native Son and his 1945 autobiography Black Boy Wrights migratory path from the south, mid-west, New York and ultimately Paris, France resonated as one Bethune was intent on following. His generous and trusting parents obliged and enabled the European adventure. Soon after his arrival there he enrolled at the University of Paris where he quickly secured membership into a fraternity that included some of the most conscientious Black students. Unfortunately, Bethune missed an opportunity to meet the main scholar he emulated. Wright died of a heart attack on Nov. 28, 1960 in Paris. However, Bethune was able to establish a significant presence in the younger Black expatriate intellectual circle. His friendships included James Baldwin, William Gardner- Smith, drummer Art Taylor, Dexter Gordon, Richard Wrights widow, Helen and their daughter, Julia. He interacted with Francophone writers such as Aimee Cesaire, Leon Damas, Alioune Diop — all seminal advocates of Negritude — a Pan Africanist stance for anti-colonial, anti-racist literature. His poetry and fiction were first published by Presence Africaine, a respected magazine among intellectuals throughout Europe. One of his most treasured memories is Bethunes friendship and mentorship with Langston Hughes, which spanned Paris, New York and Africas Tanzania. Hughes even penned a poem in dedication to Bethune. Recently, during a rare screening at Lincoln Centers 24th NY African Film Festival, Bethune reflected on the period he lived in Paris and showed his 1964 documentary Malcolm X:Struggle For Freedom. Filmed during Malcolms Xs trip to Europe it features interviews filmed during the Pan-African proponents trip to Europe and Africa. Interspersed with scenes of African rebellion, the black and white, grainy document shows Bethune sitting next to the FBIs most feared American Black men. The film first started as an informal interview at the Paris home of the late French cartoonist, Bob Sine, an original founder of Charlie Hebdo magazine, Bethune recalled. Bethune said he was invited to the home of his friend and was shocked when he arrived there to see the Muslim advocate sitting casually as if he was just another guest or friend. Although he had requested an interview with the prominent American he never imagined the possibility of a one-on-one question and answer moment. Malcolm provided Carlos Moore, John Taylor, two other African-American students and I with the sit-down private interview we requested. The uniqueness of the film is that it took place in an informal, relaxed setting – with a comfortable Malcolm, attended by a small group of five young African Americans, and the security and hospitality of Sine, a former French Resistance Partisan, Bethune said. The interview was recorded with a hand held 16mm camera. Malcolms only request in return for the interview was for us to take him around to some of the cafes and places in Paris where he might meet with African-American, artists, students and musicians. We thus became his guide, his de facto security team and informally the earliest unit of the Organization of Afro American Unity in Europe. Malcolm X is seen at a time when his views were evolving following worldwide travel. Weeks later, Bethune attended Malcolm Xs historic Union Debate on Human Rights at Oxford University in England. A few months after, Malcolm X was assassinated in Harlem. That Brother Malcolm was assassinated only months later, rendered our interview with him, a unique retrospective in a modern pictorial medium, which now comprises the heart of Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, Bethune explained. The film covers a wide array of topics including the role of women in the struggle for Civil Rights; the significance of Chinas newly acquired nuclear bomb and the importance of the unity of Africa for the Black human rights struggle in the diaspora. After the screening, the noted filmmaker, poet, author and scholar candidly presented a snippet of his experiences as a Black expatriate in Europe during the turbulent1960s. Aside from his milestone documentary, he also introduced Jojolo: a Profile of a Glamorous Haitian Model-Actress Living in Paris. In the film Jojolo I wanted to portray a facet of Black female identity, seen through the eyes of a young Haitian woman working in Paris in 1966, as a Dior fashion model and actress, Bethune said. For both his films Bethune attracted moral and material assistance from the legendary Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens and encouragement from Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousman. Bethunes literary work as a writer has been featured in groundbreaking Black Arts Movement literature. He has written short stories that were included in Langston Hughes anthology The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, poetry in Black Fire, edited by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka; and an essay on Malcolm X in Europe in John Henry Clarkes Malcolm X:The Man and His Times. Bethune has taught at SUNY and at the University of The West Indies. He holds a Bachelor of Science from New York University and post graduate degrees in anthropology and education from Columbia University. He resides in New York City with his wife April, and their daughter Simone. He is currently preparing a new collection of his poetry for publication later this year. Catch You On The Inside! Posted 12:00 am, June 27, 2017 2017 Community News Group Subscribe Get our stories in your inbox, free. Like Caribbean Life on Facebook.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

Phoenix On World Cafe – NPR

Phoenix’s latest album, Ti Amo, is out now. Courtesy of the artist hide caption Phoenix’s latest album, Ti Amo, is out now. Phoenix’s sixth and latest album is called Ti Amo; in case you’re rusty on your Italian, that means “I love you.” And the record is filled with love. It also evokes Italian discos in the summertime a surprisingly fun and lighthearted tone, given the tense times in which it emerged. The band started working on Ti Amo in 2014, and since then, its French homeland has seen a string of devastating acts of terror, including the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the Bastille Day attack in Nice. The 2016 attack at Paris’ Bataclan nightclub happened just a short walk from where Phoenix was recording. During these dark times, the studio served as a bright spot for the band an oasis for its musical expressions of brotherly love. In fact, Phoenix is made up of two brothers, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz, plus Deck d’Arcy and lead singer Thomas Mars. Mars is married to filmmaker Sofia Coppola, whose latest film, The Beguiled, won her Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and was scored by Phoenix. (The band has also provided music for some of Coppola’s other movies, including Lost In Translation and Somewhere.) Hear Phoenix perform songs from Ti Amo and translate the lyrics in this session.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed

US Supreme Court may open the floodgates for the trademarking of racist slurs – City, University of London (press release)

News from City, University of London By Enrico Bonadio, Senior Lecturer, City Law School. You may not have heard of Asian-American dance-rock band, The Slants, but you may soon be very aware of a troubling precedent set after they won a contentious legal victory in the US Supreme Court. Founder and bass player, Simon Tam, first tried to register the bands name as a trademark in 2011. It was refused because the brand was considered disparaging to people of Asian descent. Tam reckoned the derisive terms of slants or slant eyes were becoming anachronisms, ripe for re-purposing and a chance for Asian-Americans to have the power over how they were defined. His success means that the bands brand is confirmed as registrable because it is protected by the first amendment to the US constitution. The Supreme Court opinion, in effect, says that the registration of a trademark cannot be banned on the grounds it conveys ideas that offend. (Pictured: The Slants in concert/Tommy Byrd/Flickr, CC BY-NC) Good for Simon Tam, you might think. But the concern must be that this decision clears the way for the registration of many other names which are scandalous, immoral or disparaging as the language of the law in question would have it. Registration of trademarks not only gives exclusive rights over brands, it encourages their owners to make investments around them and profit from the rights they have gained. The case which most immediately springs to mind is that of the Washington Redskins. The American football team has been embroiled in a similar legal fight after the trademark office cancelled six registrations in 2014 under pressure from Native American groups, nearly 50 US senators, and the then-president Barack Obama. The clubs owner Dan Snyder was quick to realise the implications of the Slants ruling. I am THRILLED, he said in a statement. Hail to the Redskins!” Those who praise this ruling may argue that trademark offices and judges should not be concerned with assessing whether a brand name is immoral, scandalous or offensive. Market forces alone the argument goes will be able to address such issues. If a brand is genuinely upsetting or scandalous, consumers will vote with their wallets and push the brand out of the market. That argument is flawed. I believe the Supreme Court decision is an encouragement to corporations and business people to register and use controversial and scandalous brands in the US in order to acquire market share. Clearly, there are sections of the public who will be attracted to a product or service precisely because of a controversial, unpleasant or even offensive message conveyed by the brand. That will apply particularly in industries such as fashion, where to be rude or edgy may pay off. In a world where sections of the public complain loudly about the tyranny of political correctness, this ruling gives businesses leeway to loudly champion offensive or derogatory trademarks which mark that business out as a defender of those values and ideas. In other words, we will likely discover that offence sells and may even become a driver of purchasing behaviour. This shouldnt be a surprise. Brand identities are often chosen for their ability to shock customers, especially in the youth market, or at least to send ambiguous messages. The FCUK trademark adopted by the fashion company French Connection is a notable example. Beer company Brewdog has sought to emphasise its edgy credentials with brands such as Trashy Blonde. Some of these attempts are clearly distasteful, especially when the aim is to capitalise on tragedies. One Malaysian company filed an application with the Australian trademark office to register the name MH17, just hours after the Malaysian Airlines flight had crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board. And dozens of people rushed to file trademark applications for exclusive rights over the brand Je suis Charlie, just days after the terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. These examples highlight why it is important for governments to maintain the ability to police the registration of these types of trademarks. There needs to be a mechanism to stop registrations which go beyond what is broadly accepted as decent and which seek to win consumers attention with brands which reinforce offensive views, or which cause needless distress to groups of people. Countries other than US are quite strict when it comes to denying registration, and discouraging the use of offensive brands. In Europe for example trademark offices and judges have refused to protect racist terms, words with sexually explicit or vulgar content. Some of these decisions were based on the assumption that the refusal to register these words does not infringe free speech rights, a position diametrically opposed to the one taken by the US Supreme Court in The Slants case. The ability to prohibit the registration of controversial brands is perceived in Europe as necessary to safeguard decency and morality in the course of trade and more importantly, protect ethnic and religious minorities as well as vulnerable people, including children. Perhaps, if the US market eventually becomes flooded with openly racist and deliberately offensive brands, the Supreme Court will understand its mistake. Enrico Bonadio is a Senior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. City academics are available to provide expertise analysis and commentary on a wide variety of news and research topics. Contact the Press Office to find out more.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Charlie Hebdo  Comments Closed


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