Archive for Italy

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by loonwatch

Is it a happy coincidence that both Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer are out hawking their books for sale?

(h/t: Haywood)

Sean Hannity Interview Geert Wilders About Radical Islam (FOX NEWS)

Zahra Lari, the ‘Ice Princess’ in the hijab

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Zahra Lari

Whether it’s sporting a burqini or fashioning a stylish costume for figure skating, Muslim women are finding creative ways to compete in sports without compromising observance of their faith.

Zahra Lari, the ‘Ice Princess’ in the hijab

By Emmanuel Barranguet (AFP)

CANAZEI, Italy — From the sand dunes of the Rub al Khali desert to the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites in northern Italy, Emirati teen Zahra Lari made figure skating history this week.

The 17-year-old not only became the first figure skater from the Gulf to compete in an international competition but the first to do so wearing the hijab, an Islamic headscarf.

“In my country women don’t do much sport and even less figure skating,” the quietly-spoken teenager told AFP after competing alongside skaters from 50 countries in the European Cup.

A practising Muslim, her black headscarf and sober costume, stood out among the flashy orange tutus and fluorescent pink tights.

“I skate with the hijab, my costume is in line with Islamic tradition,” she explained.

“The other girls are very nice to me. I think they accept me very well. I haven’t had any problems, people are open. It’s not a question of an exhibition, but of sport and my father is in agreement.”

Lari’s American-born mother Roquiya Cochran admitted that it had taken some time to convince her husband to let their daughter compete.

“I had to convince him. In the beginning he saw it as his daughter dancing in front of a male audience

“But he came along to watch, he saw how beautiful she was on the ice, and he loves her, he wants her to be happy. She’s covered, she hasn’t done anything anti-Islamic.”

Lari explains that her love of the ice began when she watched a Disney movie at the age of 11.

“I watched The Ice Princess over a 100 times, I loved it! I said to myself ‘That’s what I want to do’.”

Three years later she realised her dream when she pulled on her first pair of skates at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi where she met her coach Noemi Bedo.

“Promising skaters usually start aged 3 or 4 years,” explains Romanian Bedo.

“But she’s very talented, she’s very powerful and jumps higher than the others. I also believe in the Olympic Games,” added Bedo, of Lari’s dream of competing at the Winter Olympics.

The European Cup in Canazei does not have the stature of the ISU Grand Prix events and Lari did not compete at the world junior championships last February, but she nevertheless finished in the top 15.

“This has been an incredible learning experience and I am happy to have been able to show what I have learnt in the last few years,” she said.

“I may not have the competition experience that the other skaters have but I feel that I held my own and look forward to participating in future competitions.”

“For Sochi (2014 Winter Games) I’m giving 100 percent, I can do it. Otherwise I’ll try for the 2018 Games,” she said.

She certainly has the determination, getting up six days a week at 4:30 to practice before her day begins at the American International School.

“I’m on the ice until 7:30 and at 16:00 I’m back skating for an hour and a half. It’s not difficult, I love that, and I want to succeed.”

Apart from wanting her own success, Lari added: “I want to encourage girls from the Emirates and the Gulf to achieve their dream too and not to let anyone tell them not to do sport, not only figure skating but all sports.”

It’s Only Terrorism When Muslims Do It

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by loonwatch

After an extensive search, I could not locate the names or faces of the victims of the recent American terrorist attack.

On Sunday, a decorated U.S. military officer systematically (and intentionally) slaughtered sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians.   Nine children and three women were among the dead.  It was “a three-hour rampage [that] was allowed to happen”: the perpetrator “walk[ed] from house to house in the quiet of night opening fire on residents…In one house, he piled eleven bodies together and set them on fire…”

Imagine for a moment if the roles had been reversed, if it had been an Afghan Muslim man who set a house of eleven American civilians on fire, killing them inside.  Would there be any doubt that the U.S. media would be labeling this an act of terrorism and the suspect a terrorist?  Would we not be subjected to panel discussions by “terrorism experts” who would remind us of the dangers of Islamic radicalism and of “homegrown extremism”?

Yet, nary a soul in the establishment (the media or the government) has called the slaughter of sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians–of which nine were children and three were women–an act of “terrorism”.  Nobody has called the perpetrator a “terrorist”.  That label is strictly reserved for Muslims, and is completely off-limits to U.S. soldiers and Americans (unless they happen to be American Muslims, in which case they are “homegrown terrorists”).

What is the name of the American perpetrator and what is his religion?  Does anybody know?  In fact, the media has protected his name from disclosure and there is absolutely no mention of his faith whatsoever.  Could he be one of the many Christian extremist nuts in the U.S. military?  Where is the wild speculation by the American media about the looming threat of Christian radicalism and the danger it poses?

Had this been a Muslim, the headlines would blare “TERRORIST”.  Not only is this not the case with our American soldier, but amazingly, there are articles seeking to justify and mitigate his heinous act of terrorism.  The NY Daily News published this article:

Soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre, his lawyer says

Suspect is highly decorated combat veteran who lost part of his foot in Iraq last year

The American staff sergeant suspected of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre, his lawyer said Thursday.

“We have been informed that at this small base that he was at, somebody was gravely injured . . . and that affected all the soldiers,” lawyer John Henry Browne said.

The New York Times reported–and other media outlets repeated this claim–that the soldier was “suffering from the stress of a fourth combat tour”.  Another explanation given was that the soldier was simply drunk.

If that were not enough, the soldier must have had a “brain injury” and “marital problems”; ABC News reported:

Soldier Held in Afghan Massacre Had Brain Injury, Marital Problems

The Army staff sergeant who allegedly went on a rampage and killed 16 Afghans as they slept in their homes had a traumatic brain injury at one point and had problems at home after his last deployment, officials told ABC News.

The perpetrator’s “buddy”, a military man and member of an occupying force, had his leg injured (how dare the Afghans fight back!), and somehow this explains why the perpetrator killed sixteen Afghan civilians?  Is it even conceivable that such justifications would have been raised had it been an Afghan Muslim who had killed sixteen Americans on the streets of New York?

Afghan Muslims see their children maimed, their entire families exterminated, and whole villages obliterated.  Yet, the U.S. media wouldn’t let any of this mitigate an act of terrorism committed by an Afghan Muslim against Americans.  On the other hand, “marital problems” explains why the American soldier did what he did.

Remember the Fort Hood Shooting?  A Muslim had killed thirteen U.S. soldiers, who were being deployed to join an occupying force in the Muslim world.  That was labeled an act of Terrorism (with a capital ‘T’), unanimously condemned as such in the mainstream media.  Yet, here we have an American soldier targeting and killing sixteen Afghan Muslim civilians, but I have yet to see the U.S. media labeling this an act of terrorism.

The rule is clear: it’s only terrorism when Muslims do it.  It’s certainly never terrorism when America does it.   As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

When it’s a Muslim perpetrator, the media will interview the victims’ families and eulogize the dead, personalizing them by giving detailed accounts of their life stories, their dreams and aspirations.  Meanwhile, the Afghan dead are nameless and faceless.  The only images available of the attack are of angry Afghans burning U.S. flags in response–look how violent they are! 

If it’s a Muslim crime, the media will quickly link it to other Muslim individuals and organizations using six degrees of associations.  But when an American soldier does it, then the media reassures us, using official government responses as a cue, that this was a lone wolf or rogue soldier.  This, despite the fact that eyewitnesses say that it was a group of U.S. soldiers who did the deed, not just one man.  This, despite the fact that a nearby U.S. military base allowed the rampage to continue for three hours.

If it’s a Muslim crime, we are told that it fits a sustained pattern of Islamic terrorism.  But when the U.S. soldier killed sixteen, we’re told that it’s a one-off rogue attack.  This, even though “[t]he latest killing of civilians by an American soldier isn’t an outlier” at all.  Political commentator Nima Shirazi writes:

Such “isolated incidents” have been obliterating the lives of Afghan civilians for over a decade.  Between January and May 2010, members of a U.S. Army Stryker brigade, who called themselves the “Kill Team,” executed three Afghans — a 15-year-old boy, a mentally retarded man and a religious leader — and then staged combat situations to cover up the killings, snapped commemorative and ghastly celebratory photographs with the murdered corpses, and took fingers and teeth as trophies. Peggy Noonan might say that they thought barbarity was their right.

To date, 11 soldiers have been convicted in connection to the murders. Last year, one of the soldiers, Spc. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the killings.  One of the leaked Kill Team photos shows “Morlock smiling as he holds a dead man up by the hair on his head.” At the beginning of his court-martial, Morlock bluntly told the judge, “The plan was to kill people, sir.”  He may be eligible for parole in less than seven years.

Then there was the online video showing four giddy U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three slain Afghan men while saying things like “Have a good day, buddy” and “Golden like a shower.”  One of the soldiers was the platoon’s commanding officer.  Just a few weeks later, American troops at Bagram Air Base deliberately incinerated numerous copies of the Quran and other religious texts, sparking mass riots across Afghanistan and leading to a rash of killings of U.S. and NATO soldiers by Afghans armed and trained by NATO.  Just two days ago, in the eastern Afghan province of Kapisa, “NATO helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents instead fired on civilians, killing four and wounding three others.”

Shirazi pointed out elsewhere:

Just last month, on Feb. 8, 2012, a NATO airstrike killed several children in the eastern Kapinsa province of Afghanistan, with “young Afghans of varying ages” identified among the casualties.  Similar strikes were responsible for the deaths — no, murder — of nearly 200 civilians last year alone.  In less than 10 months from 2010 to early 2011, well over 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. and NATO forces in night raids, a brutal occupation tactic that has been embraced — along with drone attacks — by President Barack Obama.  According to a September 2011 study by the Open Society Foundation, “An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night, resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” These raids produce heavy civilian casualties and often target the wrong people.

The stories of American atrocities are numerous.  Furthermore, the death count from them is astronomically high: “a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities [caused by the United States]…is well over one million.”  Meanwhile, Muslim terrorists have killed zero civilians in the United States in the entire last decade.  Far more Americans die of lightning and peanuts than Islamic terrorism.

The United States has killed “over one million” Muslims, but when an American soldier kills Muslim civilians, it’s a “one-off event” and does not at all reflect the outstanding work of the U.S. military.  Muslims “have killed zero civilians in the United States” but when a Muslim terrorist does something, then the crime fits a well-established pattern of Islamic radicalism.

This is War Propaganda 101.  The threat posed by one’s “enemy” is exaggerated to no end (even though you have a higher chance of dying from lightning or peanuts), whereas the atrocities committed by one’s own country are glossed over or denied altogether (you can’t possibly compare American military intervention to Islamic terrorism!).  (When it comes to the United States, “intervention” is the proper term, not “terrorism.”)

This double standard comes to mind with the recent reporting of a Moroccan man being arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb a synagogue in Italy.  The media used such titles: “Italian police arrest terrorism suspect.”  Compare that title to this one: “After U.S. soldier allegedly kills 16 civilians, Afghans voice rage and Taliban vows revenge.”  Could we ever expect to read a major news outlet using the title “After U.S. terrorist kills…”  It’s simply unthinkable.

Notice too how the latter title makes it sound as if it is the Afghans who are the violent ones: they are in a “rage” and “vow revenge”.  Americans respond with “steadfast resolve” and “demand justice”, but Afghan Muslims respond with “rage” and “vow revenge”.

American coverage of this most recent U.S. atrocity focused on: (a) finding justifications for the attack, and (b) the “violent” reaction of the victim population.  Little attention was given to the act itself, and nowhere was it called terrorism.  The Moroccan suspect killed zero people.  He is from the start a “terrorist”, whereas no body count–no atrocity (other than converting to Islam)–could earn the American soldier that title.

That zero civilians died from this latest (alleged) Islamic terrorist plot is unsurprising: in fact, the vast majority of Islamic terrorist plots are foiled or otherwise unsuccessful.  There have been very few deadly attacks of Islamic terrorism in the West. But, that doesn’t stop the media from talking about them endlessly or hyping their threat.  Meanwhile, American atrocities are very “successful” and result in casualties in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands yet they do not warrant much discussion at all.

We live in a truly Orwellian time: ants are portrayed as menacing beasts, while the elephants that routinely stomp all over them are made to look like their hapless victims.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Gianluca Casseri: The Dracula of Florence? Making Sense of Racism and Muslimphobia that Kills

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2011 by loonwatch

Deep seated racism and anti-Muslim sentiment based on the Islamophobia Industry’s conspiracy theories coupled with a neo-fascist ideology can lead to deadly results.

Gianluca Casseri: the Dracula of Florence? Making sense of racism and Muslim-phobia that kills

by Gabriele Marranci (Islam, Muslims and an Anthropologist)

On the 13th of December, in my birthplace Florence, an Italian gunman killed two street vendors from Senegal, wounded another three, and committed suicide when the police reached him. The killing was racially-motivated and Gianluca Casseri, 50, was a writer for and member of CasaPound, a neo-fascist group. The Senegalese street vendors he killed (Samb Modou, 40yrs old, and Diop Mor, 54yrs old) lived in Italy for a considerable time and leave behind their wives and children in Senegal. The life of migrants in Italy, in particular for Muslims such as the Senegalese, is known. The xenophobic Lega Nord has built its political reputation on the exploitation of Italians’ frustration with a badly managed migration policy and an increase of refugees. Furthermore, Italians often know very little about Islam and Muslim culture, despite the centuries of, for the most part peaceful, cultural and scientific exchanges. The ‘Mamma li Turchi’ attitude, facilitated by local newspapers and Italian neo-fascist websites, has reached its epitome. The former Berlusconi government and its rhetoric has also played a part in cultivating such atmosphere. The difficulties that Muslims in Italy face to build a proper mosque often seem insurmountable.

This killing in Italy did not catch me by surprise. During my visits in Italy I became aware of how a certain anti-Muslim rhetoric, which Fallaci powerfully expressed, has found not only sympathizers and fervent believers, but also the attention of a general public for which anti-Muslim attitudes posses a cathartic function within a country condemned to a populist political and economic decline. Among the millions screaming in forums, in newspapers and on blogs against the immigrants, Muslims and the now fully implemented (it appears) Shari’a in Italy, there will always be some who dream of being a ‘hero’.

Such people, in the name of the Italic supreme race, or in the name of Jesus, or both (as is often the case), will fantasize about taking matters into their own hands and spilling the hated blood of the ‘Saladin’ in order to bring Europe back to Christendom.  Some will depart from fantasy and take a step further and plan actions. On the 13th of December, Gianluca Casseri succeeded in what was planned as a ‘suicide’ terrorist action.

Although many are the differences between Breivik and the more mysterious Casseri, many are also the similarities. The isolated lonely life, the love of fantasy literature (Casseri published some books), the Celtic imaginary tradition (so dear to the Lega Nord), and the reference to heroic resistance to Islam through more or less mythological heroes. In the case of Casseri, this ‘hero’ was the cruel Dracula whom historically in 1461 killed every Turk and Muslim he could find in southern Walachi.

Analyzing some of the messages left by members of radical far-right forums, we encounter again the Nazi imagination which is full of a mix of pagan symbolism and empty Christian rhetoric and the need of an enemy other, in this case the Muslim rather than the Jew. The similarity, in those forums, of the rhetoric praising Breivik and Casseri is impressive. Both them have been mythologized in a similar way to how suicide bombers or jihadi fighters are.  Perhaps most striking is the evident hate of the ‘different’ and an impressive lack of empathy. Empathy is indeed the key to understanding these incompressible acts of hatred.

Racism, or attitudes of hatred towards the so called ‘out-group’, which often is the main cause of radicalism, as I have suggested in my last book, is better explained through processes of identity and emotions. Recent psychological, neurological and even endocrinological behavioral studies (to which anthropologists have paid too little, if any, attention) have shown what I call a ‘natural‘ bias that we have for the ‘other‘, in particular when phenotypical traits are involved (such as skin colour for instance).

Just to mention some of these studies, Matteo Forgiarini et.al (2011) have investigated ‘the existence of a racial bias in the emotional reaction to other people’s pain and its link with implicit racist biases.’  The study confirmed, while testing Caucasian people, ‘a reduced reaction to the pain of African individuals was also correlated with the observers’ individual implicit race bias’.  Alessio Avenanti et all (2010) studied the empathic sensorimotor resonance with other-races as far as pain was concerned, and again this study found that  although ‘human beings react empathically to the pain of stranger individuals […] racial bias and stereotypes may change this reactivity into a group-specific lack of sensorimotor resonance’.

More recent studies, interestingly, have even challenged that the famous Oxytocin is a bit more sinister than the ‘hug hormone’ we knew, and found, as Carsten K. W. De Dreu et al’s study (2011) has shown, that it may have a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence. Yet this seems not enough to explain the actions of Gianluca Casseri. Indeed, there is another element that we have to consider: dehumanization. Now, for a long time social science, and in particular anthropology, has discussed the dehumanization of certain groups as merely a cultural process.

Yet the reality again becomes more dramatic when we combine what we know from interviews with what neuroscience, through fMRI studies, can tell us. Lasana Harris and Susan Fiske (2006) have shown that dehumanization is not just an attitude, but rather something that is clearly identifiable within brain functions – such as the absence of the typical neural signature for social cognition, as well as exaggerated amygdala and insula reactions (consistent with disgust) and the disgust ratings they elicit.

I could provide other evidence of the fact that all of us, as human beings, have these ‘natural’ biases, yet the difference is that the majority of us is able to control them, to see them as stereotypes which we have been educated to reject or at least challenge. Yet the above ‘natural’ characteristics, as they can be controlled, they can also be reinforced and transformed into a cognitive lens through which to make sense of the world. Paranoia is surely the result and it is clear that both Casseri and Breivik were and are paranoid, but not crazy. Indeed, they are the result of certain rhetoric, ideology and culture – what in other words is becoming, to use Dan Sperber’s epidemiological model, a robust replication system.

Casseri needed his victims’ blood to become the mythical hero of those Italians (but also Europeans, Americans and Australians) whom have decided to live in the darkness of their ignorance and believe that they are fighting a civilizational war; a belief marked by an explosive mix of mythology, religion and fantasy. Casseri is at the same time the extreme product of such robust replication system and another ‘infectious’ agent. Like in the case of terrorism perpetrated by Muslim fanatics, Cessari’s fantasy can only be the nightmare of the too often silent moderate majority; the only force that can stop the system from replicating beyond return.

Extreme Right-Winger, Gianluca Casseri Kills Two Senegalese Men

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2011 by loonwatch
Gianluca Casseri
Gianluca Casseri

Over 90% of Senegalese are Muslims, is it shocking that this fanatical right-winger from Florence targeted them? Don’t expect the likes of Robert Spencer to speak about some one such as Casseri who likely shares in his ideology, he’s too busy trying to link crimes committed by random Muslims to Islam.

Florence street vendors shot dead by lone gunman

Police said the gunman, Gianluca Casseri, 50, was known to have sympathies with Italy’s extreme Right.

He first opened fire on a group of Senegalese street traders at a market in Piazza Dalmazia, on the northern outskirts of the Tuscan city, killing two, seriously wounding a third and causing panic among shoppers and pedestrians.

He then jumped into a white car and drove off. Witnesses said the owner of a newspaper stall tried to block him but the gunman told him that unless he got out of the way he would be the next victim.

Casseri appeared a short time later at San Lorenzo market, in the centre of Florence, where he opened fire again with a .357 Magnum hand gun, wounding two more Senegalese hawkers.

He then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the chest.

“I heard the shots but I thought they were fireworks. Then I turned around and I saw three men on the ground surrounded by blood,” a vendor at the scene of the first shooting told the Italian news agency Ansa.

Senegalese traders were quoted as saying that they had worked in the city for years, had never had any trouble, and could not understand the motive for the attacks.

Florence and other large Italian cities host a shifting population of African street vendors who sell traditional handicrafts and fake designer handbags to tourists.

After the shootings, a group of West African traders staged a peaceful demonstration at the scene of the first shooting, shouting “Shame, shame”, before marching on the city centre.

Terrorism in Europe, What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by loonwatch

The anarchists seem to be on a tear across Europe.

Terrorism is a serious issue in Europe, but contrary to popular misperception it isn’t the Mooslimsyou should be worried about:

‘Wave of terrorism’: Blasts hit Rome embassies

ROME — An Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for parcel bombs on Thursday that wounded two people at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, a reminder of home-grown threats at a time of political instability in Europe.

A Swiss man was seriously wounded and was rushed to hospital. The employee at the Chilean embassy was less seriously hurt. A note was found stuck to his clothing, claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of the FAI, or Informal Anarchist Federation.

“We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy,” said the note, written in Italian, which was released in the evening by the police.

 

CNN: Woman fined for face-covering veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by loonwatch
The Italians banned niqab because it scared some children.  Will they ban this guy too?An Italian mayor banned niqab because it frightened some elementary school children. Will they ban this guy too?

My comments appear in brackets:

Woman fined for face-covering veil

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 4, 2010 — Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)

Rome, Italy (CNN) — A woman in Italy has been fined €500 ($653) for wearing a veil that covered a large part of her face, in violation of a local ordinance, an official in Novara, Italy, said Tuesday…

The city has an ordinance preventing people from wearing clothes that cover the face and full body. The fine marked the first time the ordinance was enforced, Frazinelli said…

Under a 1975 national anti-terrorism law [wtf!?], Italy prohibits the covering of one’s face in public places.

In January of this year, Novara Mayor Massimo Giordano and the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the wearing of clothes that fully hide the face of either men or women. The ordinance does not specifically name traditional Muslim garments such as the niqab or the burqa — which completely covers the face and body — nor does it mention Islam.

The ordinance applies only to the city of Novara, which has a population of about 100,000, out of which 8 percent are immigrants. [This is the crux of the issue: them damn immigrants!  Xenophobic inspired legislation, just like in Arizona.] Franzinelli said he estimates that about 4,000 to 5,000 Muslims live in Novara, and that most female Muslims either wear a veil, which covers the hair, or no head covering.

It is rare, he said, to see a woman wearing a niqab or burqa [yet we were still forced to pass this xenophobic legislation].

The mayor was prompted to push the ordinance after he saw children become frightened when a woman wearing a burqa went to their elementary school, Franzinelli said. [This is a great lesson to teach children.]

Giordano said of the ordinance, “It is the only way to favor integration.” [You meanassimilation.]

Belgium’s chamber of deputies last week passed a measure banning face coverings for women, which must still be approved by the senate and king before becoming law.

France is also mulling legislation that would ban face and head coverings for women.