Special Travel Benefit for Saudis a “Slap in the Face”

IPT News
March 20, 2013

Egyptian Official: Beating of Naked Man Was Pre-Planned

demonstrators in CairoArutz Sheva:

A former Egyptian presidential candidate told Al Arabiya TV in an interview on Sunday that the brutal dragging and beating of a naked man near the presidential palace last week was previously planned by the interior ministry in an effort to terrorize the public.

Ahmed Shafiq, who lost the presidential race to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year, said the widely circulated video of 50-year-old Hamada Saber was intended to send a message of fear to those protesting in the streets against the brutal reign of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The torture is a “new style of exaggerated terrorism used against the Egyptian citizens that will lead only to violence and hatred of the regime,” Shafiq told Al-Arabiya.

Meanwhile, Saber on Sunday blamed police for the abuse after initially claiming they saved him from protesters.

The presidency described the footage as “shocking”, prompting the interior ministry to order a rare investigation.

While Saber first insisted that police had saved him from protesters, he then changed his account– which was bitterly contested by relatives who said he was being coerced– when prosecutors showed him the video footage, the official MENA news agency reported.

The man, who said he was shot in the foot during the clashes, explained that he initially blamed protesters to “contain the crisis,” the agency reported.

Saber, who has been transferred to a public hospital, said he changed his account and told the “truth” after his family “renounced me…and all of Egypt was angry and people made fun of me on Facebook.”

The main opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) has called for the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim over Saber’s beating.

The beating was “an inhumane spectacle… no less ugly than the killings of martyrs, which is considered a continuation of the security force’s program of excessive force,” the opposition bloc said, according to AFP.

Ibrahim ordered a probe into the incident and said he would resign if “that’s what the people want,” his office said.

Germany Launches Campaign to Counter Islamic Radicalization

by: Soeren Kern:

The German government has launched a nationwide poster campaignaimed at fighting against the radicalization of young Muslim immigrants.

The ad campaign is the brainchild of German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who has been leading Germany’s multifaceted response (here, here and here) to the rise of radical Islam there.

Beginning on September 21, the posters, which feature photos of four different Muslims under the caption “MISSING,” will be put up in the immigrant areas in Germany’s large cities (mainly in Berlin, Hamburg and Bonn), and will feature text in German, Turkish and Arabic.

The Interior Ministry says the posters — which feature a helpline telephone number for worried acquaintances and relatives — are designed to “counter radicalization” and “provide support.”

One of the posters includes the word “MISSING” in very large print above a portrait of a young man with dark hair and reads: “This is our son Ahmad. We miss him, because we do not recognize him anymore. He is withdrawing more and more, becoming more radical every day. We are afraid of losing him altogether — to religious fanatics and terrorist groups.”

Similar fictional “MISSING” posters feature “my brother Hassan,”“Missing” “my friend Fatima,” and “our son Tim.”

All of the ads include an appeal to phone the “Radicalization Advice Center,” known in German as the Beratungsstelle Radikalisierung, which was launched on January 1, 2012. It is part of an initiative called “Security Partnership: Working Together with Muslims for Security,” which the German Interior Ministry hopes will “counter the Islamist radicalization of young people.”

According to documentation published by the anti-radicalization center, “Parents, relatives, friends and teachers are often the first to notice that a young person is becoming radicalized, and are also often the last people with whom a young person maintains contact despite becoming increasingly isolated. In order to provide them with the best possible support in such a difficult situation and so to jointly counter the radicalization of the people close to you, professional consulting services are now available.”

The text continues: “German Interior Minister Friedrich, within the framework of the ‘Prevention Summit’ on June 24, 2011, confirmed that the radicalization of Muslim youth and young adults by Islamist groups would be resolutely pursued. The counseling center is an important element of this. Those within the social environment of the affected individuals are usually the first to notice when a son, student, friend or colleague change their religious attitude or even their entire worldview, increasingly withdraw from their existing environment, turn off from their past and embrace a radical spectrum, and are increasingly guided by ideologies that are incompatible with the principles of a liberal democratic state.”

“Missing”According to the center, the victims “often pull back sharply from their previous environment and refuse to ‘mix’ anymore. This leads to friends, but especially parents, to uncertainty: they are in a conflict between the potentially welcome religiosity of the child and the concomitant concern that their child might fall into the ‘wrong circles’ and that they might lose contact with them. This is especially true for non-Muslim parents, whose children have converted to Islam, and who have many questions about Islam as a religion.”

The text concludes: “In these cases, professional advice is important and necessary. It is important to recognize the problem as such and to accept to resolve pressing issues and finally to consider ways to counter the radicalization process. The ‘Radicalization Advice Center’ at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is in close contact with various consultancies and knows contact persons as well as networks for special topics in all areas. The offer of counseling is for all citizens provided free of charge.”

According to the Interior Ministry, the Radicalization Advice Center is currently handling about 20 cases, mostly involving German parents whose children have converted to Islam. The objective of the poster campaign, which will cost about €300,000 ($375,000), is to reach out to Muslim parents who may be concerned about the radicalization of their children.

Read more at Radical Islam

Soeren Kern is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.