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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘London’

In First, London(istan) to Host World Islamic Economic Forum (Video)

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Melanie Phillips, the brilliantly acerbic British commentator, published a book a few years ago titled, “Londonistan.”  Phillips was aghast at what she saw as the increasing Islamization of her home city, as well as its warm embrace by the British elites, and the short shrift given to the connection between Islamization and terrorism.  Her book was an effort to warn those who were not paying attention that the British character of London was changing.  It was not becoming more international, but instead simply more Islamist.  It was not a change she saw as positive.

Some critics claimed Phillips was being an alarmist, others tarred her with the very worst thing anyone can be called these days: a racist.

But it does appear that what would have been derided as racist parody had Phillips written it, the schoolgirl excitement exuded by London’s political leadership in expressing London’s global role as an Islamic finance hub prove Phillips’ warnings in spades.

On Wednesday, July 3, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson announced at a press conference in London’s City Hall that his city will be the first non-Muslim city to host the annual World Islamic Economic Forum.  It will be held in October, at London’s Excel Centre. Johnson was joined at the press conference by the prime minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak (yes, all that is his name), WIEF Chairman Tun Musa Hitam, and England’s Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green.

The WIEF has been previously held in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Pakistan.

“It is an immense honor that the World Islamic Economic Forum has chosen London for its first gathering outside of Asia, said London’s Mayor Johnson.  Hosting this conference will highlight London’s “status as a major center of Islamic finance and as a compelling destination for foreign investors.”

London and Partners, the British capital’s official promotional agency, worked hard to convince the WIEF to bring the 2013 event to London. Gordon Innes, the company’s chief executive officer, said that London “has a huge Muslim population” and emphasized that “London hosts the most significant Islamic finance cluster outside of Muslim countries.  London is really the only center in the west that has such depth and expertise  in this field.”

Innes said that Islamic finance is growing at “about the rate of 25 percent per year,” which makes it “the fasting growing part of London’s local finance.”

There are 22 Shariah compliant banks in London and Saudi Arabia is the second largest foreign investor in the UK after the US.

“Islamic finance” and “Shariah compliant banking” means that financial institutions are run in compliance with Islamic law.  Some aspects of Islamic finance do not seem threatening.  For example, in Shariah-compliant banking, lenders may not charge interest and investors cannot make money from forbidden industries like gambling, alcohol, pork and pornography.

But Islamic financing also  requires a form of “tithing” for charity, known as “zakat,” and only Muslim clerics are permitted to rule on where that money goes.  Some claim it may be used to finance terrorism (jihad) or to forcibly promote conversion to Islam.

London and Company’s Innes also cited the example of the Shard, London’s 72-story skyscraper and the tallest building in the European Union, which is largely financed and run by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

“Kuwait is allocating 5 billion dollars to investments in the UK,” Innes said, “and a number of Islamic countries from the Gulf to East Asia to Turkey, etc. find tremendous opportunities in London in terms of growth and exports.”

The World Islamic Economic Forum will be held from October 29 – 31.

Here is Phillips, talking about England’s refusal to recognize that London has, in fact, become Londonistan.

AG Blocks Draft Bill as Haredim Rally Outside EU Headquarters

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

It was the first day of summer vacation, and representatives from the Haredi communities of Austria, Belgium, Britain, France and other European countries were bused in to rally outside the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, in protest of the new Israeli draft legislation that will require Haredi men to enlist.

The protesters appealed to the EU to put pressure on Israel to change the legislation.

Rabbi Betzalel Weisz, a rosh yeshiva from Stamford Hill, London, said Haredi Jews were obligated to offer their vocal support to the Haredim in Israel, and to urge them not to give up their staunch position that Haredim don’t serve in the army.

“The aim of the army and the Zionists is not defense but to undermine religion and remove Haredim from the religion,” Weisz said.

The rally was very well organized, in almost military style. The IDF would do well to recruit all these folks, if only as consultants on putting together projects involving large groups of people without accidents. Remember, these are the people that packed thousands into a stadium in Queens to protest the Internet.

Hraedi Rally EU 2

Meanwhile, the path of the new draft bill has been blocked, at least temporarily, by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who ruled that in order to achieve complete equality, the draft law must be clipped of two major benefits for young Haredi recruits: deferment until age 21 and the choice between the civil and military service.

AG Weinstein wrote, regarding the age differential, that “this is a rule that carries with it a violation of the equality principle for recruits who are not yeshiva students, and who are generally drafted by the army at the age of 18.”

When’s the next bus to Brussels?

British ‘Jewish Police’ Force to Protect Mosques

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The “Shomrim” Haredi police uniformed police force in London has offered to protect mosques in the Hackney district following violent attacks on local mosques, the British edition of Huffington Post reported.

The Shomrim regularly patrol the heavily Jewish populated area of Stamford Hills and often detain suspects until police arrive. The group’s origins are in New York, where the Shomrim organized after being tired of long response times of the local men in blue.

Muslim leaders met with Shomrim officials in a London area mosque  to discuss mutual cooperation, promoted by Hackney councilor Ian Sharer, an orthodox Jew who helped found the Muslim-Jewish forum.

“In our ward, the three councilors are two Haredi Jews, and one religious Muslim. We have been friends for many years, and we get on every well,” he told Huffington. “This is a very serious situation, and so I thought, why not call my friends from Shomrim?”

The Muslims welcomed the  offer and now have the Shomrim phone number to call if there is trouble.

Recent Muslim attacks have included arson on a community center and a homemade explosive device that was found at a mosque.

How Old is Your City?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

I haven’t gotten to Rome yet – sitting for 3 hours in Terminal G of the Rome airport officially doesn’t count. I haven’t taken the tour of London yet – but I drove through some beautiful neighborhoods and took the train to Manchester and drove through parts of Manchester. Both London and Manchester are stunning. The architecture of so many of the building is just amazing. There will always be bigger, better, older – the key is to marvel at what you see and enjoy it, and I’m doing that.

I asked the really nice Pakistani taxi driver how old London was – I should just do the research. He said – “very old. More than 300 years old.”

Pretty much everything in America (at least in terms of architecture) is, at most, 200 years old so at 300 and more, that becomes impressive. The problem, I realize, is that after living in Israel so long, pretty much nothing tops it. There are parts of Jerusalem that are 2,000 years and more. Rome will likely have similarly aged buildings but I’ve clearly decided my question was wrong. Old, for someone who is in Jerusalem daily, is not a good measuring factor.

On the flip side, I’m now in the tallest building in Manchester. I made the mistake of asking someone how to find the hotel and he said – find the tallest building…and he’s right. It’s a really nice hotel…and the view is stunning. I’m having a quiet evening finishing my presentation for tomorrow.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

London Family Robbed of $30,000 in Judaica While Sleeping

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Burglars stole Judaica artifacts worth approximately $30,000 from a Jewish family in northern London while they were sleeping, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

The thieves took menorahs, a Seder plate and silver cups, among other items, from the Palmer family home in Edgeware. Howard Palmer said the items were “totally irreplaceable.” Two of his five children were at home during the robbery.

An iPod and computer also were stolen.

Hackney police said the robbers gained entry through a patio door, which had been locked but was taken off its runner.

Palmer said the burglary has caused great distress for himself, his wife and the two children at home.

“We are finding it difficult to sleep,” he said. “It has got to the point where it’s hard to leave the house.”

Muslim Acts of Beheading in the West

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The gruesome murder of a soldier outside London by a Muslim convert, Michael Adebolajo, brings to mind that throat slitting and beheading are Islamically sanctioned forms of execution. Although these occur particularly often in the course of family-related crimes – think, for example, of the case of Aasiya Hassan in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., killed by her husband in 2009, stabbed with two hunting knives more than forty times in the face, back and chest, then beheaded – this monstrous form of violence is also used in non-family instances. Some of those that took place over the past decade in the West in chronological order include:

In addition, Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed yesterday while being interviewed about the Waltham murders, reportedly grabbed a knife and stabbed an officer several times, including in the head, possibly an attempt on his neck. In any case, it was so threatening that the officers used deadly force and on the spot killed Todashev.

This list (to be updated as needed) is only part of the story: other characteristically Muslim crimes taking place in Western countries include honor killingsfemale genital mutilation, and slave holding. These, sadly, are among Islam’s contributions to the lands of immigration.

Postscript: What this analysis does not cover: (1) Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, and other Westerners murdered in Pakistan, Iraq, and other non-Western places. (2) Meir Kahane, Hitoshi Igarashi, and other prominent individuals assassinated in the West but not beheaded; Theo van Gogh is the only person listed both here and at “Islamist Assassinations in the West.” (May 23, 2013)

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and The National Review Online, The Corner.

London’s New Modesty Hotlines

Monday, May 6th, 2013

There will be no modesty patrols. This is the assurance that some rabbis in England have given the public about their new initiative.

At the request of ‘the public’ the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) has set up a hotline for tznius (modesty) infractions.

From the Jewish Chronicle:

Strictly Orthodox rabbis in London have set up a hotline to report any breaches of decency among the ranks of the community.

Notices have gone up in synagogues in Yiddish and English advertising a mobile number on behalf of the new Va’ad L’Toihar Hamachneh, Committee for the Purity of the Camp.

Locals can report any “suspicious” person or place which they believe has “breached the walls” of modesty and holiness.

A spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations said that the committee was not a UOHC initiative as such, but had been launched by a number of its rabbis in response to “public demand.”

For those not familiar with the organization, the UOHC is the religious body that is the Haredi alternative in England to the more mainstream United Synagogue headed by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

I believe that the ideology of the UOHC is similar to that of the Eida HaCharedis in Israel. The UOHC is also the same body that is headed by a man who was filmed advising a victim of sex abuse to not report it to the authorities because of the issue of Mesirah – and the same body that another one of its leaders was accused of sexual misconduct with as many as 30 woman who came to him for counseling.

It’s nice to know that this body is so concerned with tznius. I’m sure that the Jews of England are quite happy with this upgrade in kedusha (holiness) for their community in what has become an increasing 21st century obsession by the right.

(Which is kind of odd considering the fact that the above mentioned leaders are no doubt in the forefront of these matters. I’m sure, for example, that they insist that their wives and daughters abide by the highest standards of tznius in the way they dress. I am equally sure that they teach their sons about shmiras eynaim (guarding the eyes) – meaning that they go out of their way to avoid even the slightest glance at even a fully clothed woman – dressed in accordance with the highest standards of modesty. A hotline like this will surely enhance their ability to avoid such things.)

I have no problem with a community living by any standards they choose. If this is what the community really wants, God bless them. As long as they do not infringe upon the rights of those who do not agree with them.

Ahhh… but there’s the rub. If there just happens to be a woman walking through their neighborhood that does not meet their dress code, what happens to her? What sanctions will they employ once they have been contacted on their hotline? What will be their enforcement mechanism? But I digress.

I point out this latest “upgrade” in religious observance to ask the question, where are the hotlines for violations of hilul HaShem (desecration of God’s name)? Where are the hotlines for violations of mitzvos bain adam l’havero – the laws of interpersonal relationships? Where is the hotline for victims of sex abuse? Or victims of financial fraud? What are the remedies for the victims? Or the sanctions for the perpetrators?

My uneducated and uninformed guess is that there are no such hotlines. The only hotline aside from this tznius hotline that I can imagine might be for people accused of sex abuse – so as to protect the reputations of the accused and to prevent the negative repercussions for their families and their community.

They seem only to be interested in matters pertaining to ritual law and have very little concern about serious matters like sex abuse or financial fraud. Nor do they seem to care about how their behavior appears to the rest of the world.

I’m not saying that tznius in dress is not an important issue. But to increasingly and obsessively focus on only that – while one of the most prominent leaders is strongly believed to be guilty of the very kind of violations that tznius in dress is supposed to prevent seems contradictory. A leader who I am sure is one of the biggest proponents of such hotlines.

They are not only missing the point by over-focusing on this issue, but they subject their community to the very ridicule and disdain they hope to avoid. Their goal in sweeping things under the rug is doing the very opposite of what they intend. Instead of protecting their reputations by cover-ups – when their behavior is discovered –as it almost always will be– the widespread and immediate dispersal of their behavior on the internet does the exact opposite. Their intended projection of an image of living a pure and holy life is hardly the way the world really views them.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect things to change there. They will probably continue to circle their wagons proclaiming loudly that they live their lives according to the dictates of the Torah al taharas hakodesh (Torah in spiritual purity) and do not care what the world thinks of them.

The problem is that one of the dictates of the Torah is promoting a positive image of God’s chosen people to the world. Those that lay claim to be the most observant among us are supposed to be the brightest of our lights unto the nations. The Torah talks specifically about how the nations of the world will look up to us as paragons of virtue – a virtue earned by adherence to Torah law. A virtue where chilul HaShem has no place.

I am not saying that a modesty hotline is a hilul HaShem. But – yatzah scharo b’hefsaida – whatever gain that they think might be made in matters of tznius will be lost in the ridicule of such extremism from the rest of the civilized world. Not to mention the fact that ignoring matters of financial fraud – and ignoring or mistreating victims of sex abuse are intrinsically evil things to do.

Until such time that the extremists among us are cured of their obsessions and turn their heads to matters that in my view are much more serious, I’m afraid that the ridicule will continue… as will the very real above-mentioned problems.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/londons-new-modesty-hotlines/2013/05/06/

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