Telegraph: A Christian couple who run a hotel have been charged with a criminal offence for allegedly insulting a female Muslim guest about her beliefs.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang are charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act – causing harassment, alarm or distress. If convicted, they face fines of £2,500 each and a criminal record.
The Muslim woman was staying at the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool, which is run by the Vogelenzangs, when a conversation arose between the hoteliers and their guest about her faith.
It is understood that among the topics debated was whether Jesus was a minor prophet, as Islam teaches, or whether he was the Son of God, as Christianity teaches.
Among the things Mr Vogelenzang, 53, is alleged to have said is that Mohammad was a warlord. His wife, 54, is said to have stated that Muslim dress is a form of bondage for women.
The conversation, on March 20, was reported by the woman to Merseyside Police. Officers told the couple that they wanted to interview them over the incident.
After being questioned on April 20, they were interrogated again three months later before being charged on July 29 with a religiously-aggravated public order offence. They appeared in court on August 14 and are now awaiting trial.
Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang do not accept that they were threatening or abusive in any way. David White, who is representing them, said that they believe they have the right to defend their religious beliefs.
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Telegraph: Home Office staff have been warned not to eat in front of their Muslim colleagues during the month of Ramadan.
A five-page advice booklet tells civil servants that eating lunch near a colleague who is fasting can make them feel hungry.
The Home Office Islamic Network produced the advice which said: “In practical terms, please be sensitive when eating lunch near a Muslim colleague who is fasting.
“This can make an individual feel hungrier and make it more challenging to observe the fast.”
It also urged Home Office managers to be flexible over working hours because Muslims may be following a different routine during Ramadan, which finished this weekend.
“The most likely need Muslim staff may present to managers during this period is for flexibility around working hours and break times as those fasting will have a slightly different routine from usual. Managers and Muslim staff should discuss what their needs are and be responsive and sensitive,” the document said.
Managers were also told: “Muslim staff who are fasting and whose environment allows it may wish to set out for work earlier than usual and finish their working day correspondingly early…in line with flexi-time arrangements.”
During the holy month devout Muslims do not drink or eat from dawn until sunset and, according to the document, must avoid ‘all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds’.
The Islamic Network is one of a number of staff faith and equality groups within the Home Office and paid for by the taxpayer.
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Telegraph: A Christian nurse will meet hospital bosses tomorrow to find out whether she will be forced out of her job for insisting on wearing a cross while on duty.
Shirley Chaplin has been taken off the wards at The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital after refusing to remove her necklace.
As first disclosed in The Sunday Telegraph, the 54-year-old grandmother has been told she cannot wear the one inch silver symbol openly because it breaches uniform policy and could prove a risk to patients.
She has been warned she could be suspended if she does not co-operate or accept accept an administrative role at the hospital, prompting fears that she could be dismissed after nearly 30 years.
The trust insisted its policy was not about the symbol of the crucifix, but motivated by health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces.
But Mrs Chaplin, who is eight months from retirement, is taking them to an employment tribunal claiming she has been targeted because of her faith.
“Everyone I have ever worked with has clearly known I am a Christian: it is what motivates me to care for others,” she said.
“For about 30 years I have worked in the NHS and nursed patients day and night and on no occasion has my cross caused me or anyone else, any injury – and to my knowledge, no patient has ever complained about me wearing it.
“I feel that I’m being bullied and victimised because of my faith.”
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Information Clearing House: September 20, 2009 “ABC News” — The national security adviser for former President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, gave an interview to The Daily Beast in which he suggested President Obama should make it clear to Israel that if they attempt to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons sites the U.S. Air Force will stop them.
“We are not exactly impotent little babies,” Brzezinski said. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? … We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”
The USS Liberty was a U.S. Navy technical research ship that the Israeli Air Force mistakenly attacked during the Six Day War in 1967.
Brzezinski endorsed then-Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign in August 2007, which at the time was portrayed in the media as a boost to Obama’s foreign policy cred. The Washington Post reported: “Barack Obama, combating the perception that he is too young and inexperienced to handle a dangerous world, got a boost yesterday from a paragon of foreign policy eminence, Zbigniew Brzezinski.”
Brzezinski was never an official campaign adviser, but Republicans jumped on the endorsement to push the meme that Obama wouldn’t be a friend to Israel, as Brzezinski’s views of Israel attracted criticism from some quarters in the American Jewish community.
Les mer informationlearinghouse.info
Telegraph: Poland is to become the first EU country to impose chemical castration on convicted paedophiles.
Legislation is being pushed through the country’s parliament to make the procedure compulsory for all sex criminals who pose a risk to others. The method involves giving convicted paedophiles drugs which take away their sexual urges. Calls for the introduction of chemical castration have arisen following a recent incest case that shocked the country.
In a story reminiscent of that of Josef Fritzl, a 45-year-old man was arrested in Poland a fortnight ago accused of fathering two children by his young daughter.
Polish prime minister Donald Tusk unveiled the legislation after being angered by the revelations. It is hoped that judges will soon have the right to order the procedure.
But European civil liberties groups have condemned the plans, saying that they violate human rights. However the prime minister has received overwhelming public support for his decision and his popularity has rocketed in opinion polls.
Defending his decision, Mr Tusk said: “I don’t think you can call such individuals – such creatures – human beings. I don’t think you can talk about human rights in such a case.”
Polish citizens could challenge the move in the European Court of Human Rights but this seems unlikely owing to the widespread praise for the legislation.
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Guardian: A survey says while some schools cover it thoroughly, others skim over the topic.
Some pupils are spending just an hour of their school lives learning about the Holocaust, according to research which suggests there is too much variation in how the events of the second world war are taught.
The survey of 2,100 teachers, funded in part by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, reveals that, despite it being a compulsory part of the national curriculum, some schools are skimming over the Holocaust while others dedicate 20 lessons to the subject.
The survey comes after a report from the Historical Association this week questioned the quality of history lessons in state secondaries more generally, finding that thousands of pupils were being allowed to drop history at the age of 13 with the curriculum being squeezed into two years.
Today’s report concludes that pupils are receiving on average six hours to learn about the Holocaust, but that figure masks a far greater variation.
The survey was conducted by the Holocaust Education Development Programme (HEDP), part of the Institute of Education, University of London.
Paul Salmons of HEDP said: “Teaching of the Holocaust varies a great deal across schools and classrooms – some teachers are spending 20 [lessons on it], others just a single lesson.
“It was perhaps the most important event in the history of the 20th century. It has shaped the world and is still influential. It’s a vital part of any child’s educational literacy to learn about it. We want schools to find better ways of teaching this across the curriculum.”
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UPI: TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 22 (UPI) — U.S. Navy warships have begun arriving in Israel for joint missile defense exercises next month, and the Jerusalem Post reports that officials believe some systems may remain in the Jewish state to strengthen its defense shield against feared Iranian missile attacks.
Meantime, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a former general who is the country’s most decorated soldier, was scheduled to fly to Washington for discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the Iranian threat.
The talks will include the role Israel will play in the revised U.S. missile defense plans announced by the administration of President Barack Obama earlier this month.
This involves scrapping plans to deploy anti-ballistic interceptors and radars in Poland and the Czech Republic, and switching to naval-based defenses in the Mediterranean and the North Seas instead.
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BBC: A gay parade planned to take place in Belgrade on Sunday has been cancelled, due to security concerns.
The decision came after a recent wave of homophobic graffiti that has appeared across the city with slogans like “Gay parade – we’re waiting for you” and “Death to homosexuals”.
Past days have seen increased threats from ultra-nationalist groups vowing to stop the parade at all costs.
The organisers and city authorities feared a repeat of eight years ago, when Belgrade’s first ever gay parade had to be abandoned half-way through due to widespread violence by an angry mob of protesters.
Television pictures of bleeding participants and police firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd were flashed across the globe.
Majda Puaca, one of the organisers of this year’s event, also took part in 2001.
I met her in one of Belgrade’s few gay bars – a smoky little venue, tucked away behind the central boulevard.
It is a far cry from the very public party scene in the rest of the city, in which the streets are teeming with cafes and nightclubs. This particular place tries hard not to be noticed.
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This is Serbian style of pride