A German job centre has apologised for an ‘oversight’ after ordering a young woman to work in a brothel.

According to a report in the local Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, Christine Hirmer, 19, received a letter from the German Labour Office in Augsburg suggesting she apply for a position at an establishment called the ‘Colosseum.’

That’s the opening of this Independent piece. What do you think she was being asked to do? Become a prostitute?

Nope. To be a barmaid. Brothels are legal in Germany, as are their bars.

It’s a grossly misleading headline start to the story. Brothels are legal. Brothels should be legal. At stake are the lives of the women who would otherwise be haunting street corners. This story is motivated by puritanism.


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Although the day in question was back in April:

The decision by the French government to outlaw all forms of public face-masking, including the burka and niqab, is welcomed by all thinking Muslims around the world.

Forward-looking and progressive British Muslims who resist the Talibanisation of Islam in the UK should lead a coordinated campaign to rid this country of this alien cultural monstrosity.

Two days before the French law became operative, a group of integrated Muslims in Oxford burned the burka as a mark of our collective disgust and disdain.

What needs to be done now is to introduce a twin track strategy of LMR (lampooning, mocking and ridiculing face-masking) which will be combined with a systematic programme of re-education and information that will empower Muslim women and make them realise that this tribal rag and cultural cloth is not intrinsic but incidental to Islam. It is purely the product of male chauvinism and not religious necessity.

Dr Taj Hargey is Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and Chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford.

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This chap seems to be a bit of a beaut. I quote in full:

A dentist who lost 10,000 confidential patient files has been told he can work freely.

Omer Butt, 33, moved out his filing cabinets and computer during refurbishment work at the Unsworth Smile Clinic in Prestwich.

But a hire van containing the records was stolen from Cheetham Hill, in July 2008.

Last December, a medical watchdog ruled he had shown a ‘complete disregard for patient confidentiality’.

The General Dental Council placed conditions on his practice and ordered him to complete a personal development plan to address information security.

But the watchdog has now ruled he is now fit to practise freely again – even though he has not completed the plan.

Mr Butt was given a warning in 2007 for refusing to treat Muslim women patients who refused to wear a headscarf.

Responding to the recent case, committee chairman Julie Macfarlane told him: “The committee considered that you have learnt a salutary lesson and have shown insight into the seriousness of your impairment.”

Ms Macfarlane noted there had been ‘significant difficulties’ in the completion of the personal development plan, which went ‘above and beyond’ the conditions imposed by the GDC.

Effective action

She said: “Despite these difficulties, this committee has seen evidence of prompt and effective action to address the crucial aspects that gave rise to the conditions being imposed at the original hearing.”

The panel heard that Mr Butt had worked with a security consultancy on risk management and data protection, and was persuaded that ‘there are now sound procedures embedded in the whole practice’.

Ms Macfarlane told the dentist: “Your fitness to practise is no longer impaired and there is no danger to the public in revoking the conditions previously imposed on your registration and concluding the case.”

Mr Butt has previously appeared before the dental watchdog for refusing to treat women unless they wore traditional Islamic dress.

He even turned a whole family away without treatment after a man refused to ask his wife to conform to his demands.

In September 2007 Mr Butt was formally reprimanded by the GDC for similar behaviour and found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

He then appeared before the council in January last year for failing to declare driving convictions to his employer.

Mr Butt, of Sheepfoot Lane, Prestwich, has not worked since February 2008.

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Monday night, I went to a panel discussion held by the Henry Jackson Society on the topic: Squaring the circle: Britain and the de-legitimisation of Israel. Marvin the paranoid android has posted an account with photos here.

I won’t say anything about the speakers in this post, except that Ron Prosser, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, is a deeply impressive man. Something else is nagging at me.

To get in, everyone had to wait to be quizzed by security staff. The people in front were Jewish and being asked about their Synagogue and Rabbi. When my turn came, the young woman asked why I wanted to attend the meeting. I was a bit stumped. Was a correct set of opinions a prerequisite? I mumbled about the recrudescence of anti-Semitism in Europe, feeling rather awkward before her calm, watchful eyes. Only later did it dawn on me what had been happening.

It was the El Al security technique of concentrating on the person. She didn’t care at all what my opinions about Israel were. What she did want to evaluate, though, was my body language.

I assume she was from the CST. That such an organisation is needed at all is a very great scandal. That is, it should be. Of course, it’s barely known outside Jewish circles. There’s a pattern here. The Telegraph today reports that the family of the failed Swedish bomber fear they might have to leave the country to avoid reprisals. That’s terrible. But this has gone generally unreported*:

A US-based Jewish group has issued a travel warning urging Jews to exercise “extreme caution” when traveling in southern Sweden.

“We reluctantly are issuing this advisory because religious Jews and other members of the Jewish community there have been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment,” said Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations with the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, in a statement.

“There have been dozens of incidents reported to the authorities but have not resulted in arrests or convictions for hate crimes.”

Attacks on Jews in Malmö doubled between 2008 and 2009 but the town’s mayor is unconcerned at best:

“There haven’t been any attacks on Jewish people and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel, that is not a matter for Malmö,” he told the newspaper

Several months ago in central London I wandered past a picket outside a shop I’d never heard of, called Avaha. It was a shocking experience, like fading through a time warp into the 1930s, just before the persecution of Jews in Europe geared up fully. This is happening now? Again? Again?

At dinner with a group of people on Tuesday, I happened to mention I’d been to a talk the night before. Someone asked what it was about. My answer met with puzzled glances. Someone asked, “Are you Jewish?”

There’s a saying that Jews are the canary in the coal mine: when attacks on Jews start building up, we know there’s a resurgence of fascist-style politics, however it might be being reincarnated this time. That’s a bit tough on the canary. If attacks against any other part of the community were increasing as they have been against Jews, there’d be outrage, million-man marches and Parliamentary debates. If it’s Jews, nada. Hardly anyone cares. That’s why I was asked whether I was Jewish at that supper. Why else would I be interested?

It feels absurdly melodramatic to say this, but it is happening again. We are seeing a repeat of the 1930s, different in many details but similar in broad strokes. Extreme political ideologies are flourishing, religious and secular utopianism, and these always seem to include attacks against the Jews. I have no idea why this is so, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is taking a stand against it.

Oh, and on the subject of the legitimacy of Israel, Hamas have a view.

* via J W Beck

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Snoopy pointed to  a piece of nuttery from Hamas:

A video on official Hamas TV calls for Allah to kill Jews, Christians, Communists and their supporters. The video asks Allah to “count them and kill them to the last one, and don’t leave even one.”

When, in the 1980s, Saudi-funded madrassas started appearing in Pakistan, the first thing the “students” did was attack the then flourishing left wing groups in the area, driving them out (or killing the left-wingers) in just a few years. Attacking socialists and communists is nothing new for Islamists.

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Williams is among a small cadre of scholars from across the world pushing the rather contentious idea that some suicide bombers may in fact be suicidal. At the forefront is the University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford, who recently published an analysis of suicide terrorism in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. Lankford cites Israeli scholars who interviewed would-be Palestinian suicide bombers. These scholars found that 40 percent of the terrorists showed suicidal tendencies; 13 percent had made previous suicide attempts, unrelated to terrorism. Lankford finds Palestinian and Chechen terrorists who are financially insolvent, recently divorced, or in debilitating health in the months prior to their attacks. A 9/11 hijacker, in his final note to his wife, describing how ashamed he is to have never lived up to her expectations. Terrorist recruiters admitting they look for the “sad guys” for martyrdom.

Interesting. Via.

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Mick Hartley has done his bit for Inter Faith Week by celebrating a faith community near him in north London. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God is helping its impoverished, mainly African, congregation become rich by giving everything they own:

At one of these sessions, witnessed by myself, the pastor encouraged his congregation to give cash in exchange for strips of his tie, which he said were invested with God’s power and could make financial miracles happen.

A few weeks ago I wondered what had become of Peter Popoff, who in 1983 was exposed as a fraud by James Randi. Popoff was operating a faith healing scam in which the audience filled in cards with details of their illnesses and address as they entered the venue. Popoff’s wife then read details from the cards to Popoff over a radio link. Listening through a hidden earpiece, Popoff was able to say things like “Elizabeth! There’s an Elizabeth here from Atlanta… where is she? Elizabeth! I sense you have stomach cancer! Am I right? I’m right! Praise the Lord!”. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Popoff went bankrupt after the exposure but, remarkably, seems to have avoided prison; religiously camouflaged fraud does seem a fairly consequence-free way to steal. With a dull inevitability, Popoff is now back with the relaunched Peter Popoff Ministries but his scam has changed. Guess what it is?

A simple phone call to a toll-free number gets you a FREE plastic sachet of miracle spring water, which looks rather like one of the little sachets of vinegar you get in cafés, and a debt-cancellation kit. Testimonials are available on Popoff’s website:

I must tell you… out of the blue, must unexpectedly came a letter from the Canada Teachers Pension Plan for $5,924.00. Wow! I was so suprised. It was as you said – from an “unexpected source”. This will just take the “Crunch” off some these bills, and I can breathe for a while. – Sister C. Tunkin, Queensville, ON

My daughter … is in her 4th year of Nursing. I put the red string abouve her front door. She told me her husband’s uncle sent them a cheque for $48,000.00 to pay off all of her college debts! Praise God!
– Sister B. Roberts, Richmond, BC.

You said that I would receive a new job and get a $250.00 to $500.00 increase per month and already I got that job with the increase of pay over $250.00.
– Sister Renwick, Mississauga, ON.

Thank you for your prayers. Last week I found out that I had an account with enough money in it to pay almost all of my credit cards. This was a total suprise to me. Thank you again for praying with me.
– Sister C. Bercier, Vanier, ON Canada.

It seems there are fashions in everything, even religious scams.

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