Being a grab bag of things that Panglossians might find interesting.
Aussie Dave kicks it off with The Refugee Issue Examined
Around 820,000-850,000 Jews were either expelled from, or were otherwise forced to leave Arab countries after the 1948 War of Independence, a war started after the 5 Arab armies attacked the newly established State of Israel. Of these Jewish refugees, approximately 590,000-600,000 were absorbed into Israel, leaving behind their homes, businesses and possessions without receiving any compensation.
The War of Independence also produced some Arab refugees, totaling somewhere between 430,000-650,000. The vast majority of these refugees (approximately 68%) left without even seeing an Israeli soldier, but rather at the beckoning of the invading Arab armies, who were certain of a quick victory. [..]
So from my point of view, it is clear that the only just solution is for the Arab refugees to be absorbed into the Arab countries, rather than being kept in refugee camps as a pawn in the war against Israel. As for talk of compensation, Jewish refugees left behind assets in the Arab countries of greater worth than the Arab assets left behind in Israel, so if any side has a claim, it is us [Jews].
Next, Mirsulzhan Namazaliev is concerned about the Islamization of Kyrgyzstan
The citizens of Kyrgyzstan, a nominally Muslim country, have an interesting history with Islam: While the nomadic Kyrgyz haven’t really been introduced to the religion before the 18th century, Kyrgyzstani Uzbeks from the Ferghana Valley practice a more traditional form of Islam. During the Soviet era, religion was pushed to the sidelines of society, but Islam has seen some revival since Kyrgyzstan’s independence in 1991, again mostly in the southern rural parts of the country.
Last week, Kyrgyzstani bloggers were worried about the threat of Islamisation in their country. The debate was the result of an interdepartmental commission’s decision to allow Muslim women to wear hijabs for their passport photographs.
The decision of the commission was based on a claim that Islam prohibits women to uncover their heads and ears in front of unknown males. “We feel discomfort when we go through border control. The airport personnel demands us to take off our hijabs instead of introducing special rooms and having women personnel checking us”, Islamic representatives were quoted as saying.
Mong Palatino rounds up the separatist voices discussing the all-out war of secession in Basilan, Philippines.
War is raging in the island of Basilan, located in the southernmost part of the Philippines. An all-out war was recently declared by the government against the Abu Sayyaf bandit group accused of beheading 14 Marines last month. The military offensives have displaced thousands of families and imperiled the peace negotiations between the government and other Muslim rebel forces..
See what I mean about taking the side of the separatists against the legitimate government of the Philippines? The rest goes on like this, but is still a good overview of the ground.
Samir Khalil Samir writes about the issues raised by the case of Mohammed Ahmad Hegazi, an Egyptian who converted to Christianity and had to flee Egypt.
Islam protects itself against conversions by putting apostates in prison or by killing them. But its obsession with conversion includes a series of privileges it claims for itself. So much so that in many Muslim countries, even those that are supposedly secular, the right to promote the Islamic faith is taken for granted and is not enshrined in law. Conversely, the right to promote any other religion is considered de facto and de jure unacceptable.
Islamic propaganda is part of the state’s mandate. In Egypt for example public institutions disseminate songs, prayers, movies and written material that praise Islam and denigrate Christianity. Inevitably this favours conversions to Islam. By contrast, Christian propaganda (tabshīr) is banned by law.
Recently in Algeria, a new law was approved that condemns anyone promoting the Christian faith and anyone who converts to Christianity. Of course, some might say that this kind of law is directed only at Protestant proselytising. True! But Muslims proselytise as well? Should the law not be the same for everyone?
And finally, Steve Verdon explores the links between Hillary Clinton, Norman Hsu, and Communist Chinese money going to a whole raft of Democrat candidates by way of Hong Kong and Mr. Hsu of the inscrutable business history.
Drudge has three links to the news about Norman Hsu apparently a big time donor to Democratic candidates, and Hillary Clinton in particular. Hsu has donated over $600,000 to various candidates, but what is interesting is that his income appears to be a complete mystery. Further, there is an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest in a fraud case, and that Hsu has now been taken into custody and held on $2 million bond.
Hsu appeared in court accompanied by a lawyer and publicist, both of whom declined to say whether the New York apparel executive would immediately post bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he skipped the sentencing for a 1991 grand theft charge.
Publicist? This is sure looking like it will be interesting to watch. Needless to say all the candidates that Hsu has donated to, either directly, or through what appears to be proxies, have been scrambling to hand the money over to charities.
The Clinton campaign has said it will give to charity $23,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed, and yesterday representatives of Mr. Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who received $50,000 from Mr. Hsu, said they would do the same. A spokesman for Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who is a rival of Mrs. Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination, said Mr. Obama intended to give away $7,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed to his committees.
The Clinton-Gore campaign donation case, wherein Johnny Chung funneled money from Chinese intelligence services to the 1996 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign, suddenly doesn’t look so closed.
I hope you find these to be as fascinating as I do.