July 2013

Northern Colorado wants to secede from Colorado (Yahoo! News, July 11)

Will North Colorado become America’s 51st state?

That’s what some residents in the Centennial State are pushing for. Representatives from eight northern counties convened Monday, CBS Denver reports, to “begin mapping the boundaries for the new state they say will represent the interests of rural Colorado.”

The secession movement stems from “a growing urban-rural divide,” with state lawmakers in Denver passing sweeping gun control legislation and calling for more renewable energy and less oil and gas production — a big part of northern Colorado’s economy.

“Northern and Northeastern Colorado and our voices are being ignored in the legislative process this year, and our very way of life is under attack,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told Coloradoan.com.

“This is not a stunt. This is a very serious deliberative discussion that’s going on,” Conway told CBS Denver. “There’s a real feeling that a lot of folks who come from the urban areas don’t appreciate the contribution that many Coloradans contribute.”

Officials from Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties were involved in the discussions, Conway said, adding that two counties in Nebraska are interested in joining the new state.

Conway and his coalition are hoping to put the question of secession to voters in November through a ballot referendum.

[Careful with that. You may hear from Brussels, Washington and Denver. It could jeopardize America’s path to the E.U.!]

The movement does appear to have at least one supporter in Washington.

“The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be,” U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, Colo., told Denver’s 9 News last month. “The governor and his Democrat colleagues in the statehouse have assaulted our way of life, and I don’t blame people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders in our state.”

Feeling disenfranchised, one could argue, is part of being American. Residents from more than 30 states, including Colorado and Texas, filed petitions to secede in the wake of President Barack Obama’s reelection in November. But citizens in Austin, Texas, filed a counter petition to allow the city to “peacefully” secede from Texas and remain a part of the United States.

They mean, “join” the United States, no? Just like the northern Kosovo Serbs want to “join” Serbia, right?

Of course, with our National Guard tied up in preventing Kosovo Serbs from staying Serbian, whom can we count on to keep the same “safe and secure environment” when it comes time to pummel the northern Coloradans?

“Muslino” is of course the hybrid term I concocted back in 2005 or so, to summarize the trend of Hispanics and Latinos converting to Islam. A trend which, thankfully, remains small. But still perceptible enough that it gets some coverage every year or two. The year opened with this update, which Liz M. circulated last month, and if this doesn’t sell you on immigration reform, nothing will:

Hispanic American immigrants increasingly finding home is Islam (Jan. 25, 2013, Public Radio Int’l By Wendy Diaz / The Muslim Link)

A growing number of Latina women are choosing to convert to Islam. (Photo by Wendy Diaz / The Muslim Link.)

A growing community of Hispanic American immigrants, as well as Hispanics in their home country, are choosing to convert from their predominantly Christian religions to Islam. It’s especially common for women.

Tucked away in a quiet rural neighborhood in Somerset, N.J., is an old brownstone that houses the New Jersey Chapter of the Islamic Center of North America’s WhyIslam Project.

Within its confines, in a second floor office decorated with rose-colored walls, sits the administrative assistant and only female employee of the department, Nahela Morales.

…A Mexican immigrant and recent convert, Morales is the national Spanish-language outreach coordinator for the program, part of ICNA’s mission to disseminate information about Islam nationwide.

But Morales’ efforts go beyond U.S. borders: the 37-year-old recently led a trip to bring Islamic literature, food and clothing to her native Mexico.

According to WhyIslam’s 2012 annual report, 19 percent of the some 3,000 converts it assisted in 2011 were Latinos, and more than half of those (55 percent) were women. The 2011 U.S. Mosque Survey, which interviewed leaders at 524 mosques across the country, found the number of new female converts had increased 8 percent since 2000, and that Latinos accounted for 12 percent of all new converts in the United States in 2011.

Muslim and Latino immigrants are increasingly living side by side in urban neighborhoods across the country, from California, Texas and Florida to New York and Illinois….At the same time, these five states are also home to the highest number of mosques, The American Mosque 2011 Report shows, reflecting a growing Muslim presence as well.

Wilfredo Ruiz, a native of Puerto Rico who converted to Islam in 2003, is an attorney and political analyst specializing in the Islamic world… “More women than men convert…” Ruiz said.

Latina immigrants, he explains, often feel exploited both in Latin America and the United States. The higher status afforded women in Islam and their modest dress, he believes, offers a sensible alternative.

“I have heard from Latina women that they seek protection, and they find (that) protection and respect in Islam,” he added.

Juan Galvan, executive director of the Latino-American Dawah Association and author of Latino Muslims: Our Journeys to Islam, believes that Islam may also hold another, distinctly religious appeal to Latino immigrants because it reveals to them what he calls a more profound understanding of monotheism.

Because Islam emphasizes God’s, or Allah’s, oneness, Galvan says, it presents Latinos with a unique alternative to traditional Christian theologies that accept the existence of holy deities – Jesus, the Holy Spirit, saints and miracle workers — which are connected to, yet distinct, from God.

“While Protestantism may have fewer intermediaries than Catholicism, Latinos come to Islam because they believe in a concept of God that acknowledges him as the most powerful and therefore, needs no son,” said Galvan, who is himself a Mexican-American convert to Islam.

[If Catholics want something less polytheistic, they could try Judaism. You know, the religion that first came up with the concept of one all-powerful god. Then again, that’s the religion they’ve been taught for centuries to revile. I guess Islam is the way to go, then.]

…[Morales] moved to New York in 2001. Shortly after her relocation, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred. When news reports blamed Muslim extremists, Morales began to research Islam.

Situated in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, 30 percent of NHIEC’s [North Hudson Islamic Educational Center’s] congregants are Latinos. The Latino influence is so great that the mosque offers simultaneous Spanish translation of its Friday sermons and Islamic studies classes, and even hosts an annual “Hispanic Muslim Day.”

During one of her visits to the NHIEC mosque in 2009, a WhyIslam worker overheard Morales speaking Spanish and asked if she would be interested in a bilingual position with the company.

She’s been working with NHIEC for more than three years, and recently led a campaign to deliver Islamic literature and audio, clothing, and toiletries to a needy Muslim community in Mexico City.

“It is obvious that Islam is still very strange in Mexico,” said Morales, adding that since her last visit her own family has become more receptive. “But it is also very clear that people want to learn about it.”

Isabela Duarte has been in the United States since the age of seven. A Muslim convert living in Chicago, the 30-year-old left Mexico with her family in 1990, crossing the border illegally….she has found solace and community, participating regularly in events held by the Latino Muslims of Chicago, an Islamic group that serves the needs of Latinos….

Part of a growing Hispanic population in the United States, Duarte is also among a Muslim community that, according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, is expected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years, thanks largely to immigration from South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

An estimated 5.3 million Muslims live in North and South America as of 2010. That number is expected to more than double by the year 2030.

Liliana Anaya, a 34-year-old Muslim convert from Colombia and a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., is familiar with the trend. The mosque in her hometown, Barranquilla, Colombia, reports an average of four conversions a month…

[S]he met her husband, a Muslim convert from Argentina, and together they applied for U.S. citizenship. While Anaya was expecting their first child, she decided to travel back to her country to give birth. After their arrival, she and her husband discovered the Othman bin Affan Mosque in Barranquilla, a small Muslim community that lacked adequate resources. Because Anaya’s husband had earned a degree in Islamic Propagation from Umm Al Qura University in Saudi Arabia, they became involved in the mosque, organizing and teaching classes…

As if Americans didn’t have a hard enough time distinguishing Arabs and Muslims from Latinos. Well, at least the latter becoming the former should make things easier.

This topic is one I’ve had loads of fun with since 2005, starting with my article “Move Over Spanglish, Here Comes Sparabic!” Then there was a sort of Top 10 list:Why are Black and Hispanic Converts to Islam on the Rise since 9/11? , as well as “Why Call it Crime when you can Call it Religion?” and “Officials Worry About Some Latino Converts To Islam.”

But a more meaningful analysis came in an email exchange with Jim Jatras, who posited the following, after I brought up the possibility of a somewhat easy transition from Catholicism to Islam:

I suspect the salient element that influences Hispanic immigrant converts today is less their Catholicism or their specifically “Hispanic” (Spanish) identity than an ethno-racial one: the large majority of these people are not ethnically Spanish at all, or only slightly so. They are basically Indians (and among the large majority who hail from Mexico and Central America, for many of them Spanish isn’t even their first language). Their attraction to Islam reflects both a lack of any stable identity (not American, not Mexican, not Spanish, and separated from their indigenous roots) and the attraction of “the Other” to a counter-cultural identity. It’s kind of like a reverse assimilation to America specifically, and the declining Anglo-Protestant founding culture generally.

Not mentioned in this article but what I have seen elsewhere (not so much in the US but in the home countries) is the role of alcohol and North American missionaries. See:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gxSW-iziKthNvGV1A_db-cIIIwvw?docId=CNG.e423a3fd012d67b0e15204cd3cffed5a.391. Like many indigenous communities, the places these people come from are ravaged by alcoholism. Their religion is less standard Roman Catholicism than a mélange of Catholicism and home-grown pagan beliefs. Then along come Protestant Evangelical (or often, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh-Day Adventist, and other) missionaries from the U.S. — and they stop drinking. Then, a few years later, they convert to Islam.

Anyway, something similar may be evident in the US among immigrants, though this story really didn’t highlight it.

Just to harp for another moment on the Catholic-Islamic affinity, however (which worked ever so symbiotically to hand over Bosnia and Kosovo to Islam), let me also point out something obvious about Islam. It’s anti-Semitic. Which, in turn, brings me to a little-discussed aspect of the 2012 election season. I got a flyer in my door, which read — in both English and Spanish — as follows:

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson can’t take away our right to vote…He doesn’t want us to vote…The candidates he bought and the extremist groups he funds have treated us like second-class citizens, harass us and disrespect us. But they can’t stop us….We want [fill in with synonym for “free stuff”] and we will make our voices heard…Our votes can beat his money…No one can take away our rights. Stand up for the right to vote and STOP THE GREED AGENDA.

Spanish-language radio stations were peppered with the same types of ads. Stations which have good relations with La Raza, and which fanned the flames of the 2006 protests against immigration reform.

But the point is: we have a prominent Jewish name along with the words “GREED AGENDA.” Surely this is entirely unrelated to La Raza’s racism and anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, it’s curious that it was Adelson who was the target of their wrath — not any of the rich non-Jewish conservatives, and not the far more plentiful rich left-wingers of Jewish stock. They went after the one vocal rich guy that the right has, as opposed to the countless ones on the left, starting with that other Jewish rich guy, George Soros, who has destroyed entire regions of the globe. He gets a pass, since he toes the ‘correct’ line. Starting with the line he toes on Islam and Muslims:

Iranian TV Loves Soros Report on Islam (Accuracy in Media, Sept. 8, 2011, By Cliff Kincaid)

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was approaching, a new report from the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) purported to examine a conservative network of people and groups described as “Fear Inc.” and said to be guilty of “Islamophobia” toward Muslims…

On cue, another Soros-funded group, Media Matters, ran with excerpts from the report, emphasizing the “role played by right-wing media” such as Fox News in supposedly fanning the flames of “Islamophobia.”

But CAP has its own propaganda network, which includes foreign propaganda channels Al-Jazeera and Iranian Press TV, an official government-funded propaganda channel.

Press TV is an anti-Semitic channel that frequently blames Jews and/or Israel for what goes wrong in the world….

CAP’s “Think Progress” affiliate notes with pride that the “Fear Inc.” report’s authors have appeared on CNN.com, Al Jazeera English, Current TV, Guardian.co.uk and have done radio interviews. It says that print media outlets such as The Jewish Daily Forward, The Atlantic, Salon.com, The Washington Post and The Nation ran articles on the report’s findings.

However, CAP failed to highlight how Iranian Press TV, which is completely funded by the government of Iran and has a Washington, D.C. bureau, has run several reports about the CAP study….

One of the Iranian Press TV stories about the report ran under the headline, “US Empire foments Islamophobia.”

The CAP report made much of the claim that seven conservative-oriented foundations gave $42.6 million to “Islamophobia think tanks” between 2001 and 2009. But CAP’s income in one year alone, according to Guide Star, which monitors public policy groups, was $38,600,935. The latest annual income of the Center for American Progress Action Fund was reported as $8,966,943.

So this means that CAP’s money surpassed the think tanks it attacks in the report by about $5 million in one year alone.

The CAP report, based on “a grant from the Open Society Foundations,” which are funded by Soros, used information from one Jim Lobe, a frequent contributor to Al-Jazeera and Washington, D.C. correspondent and chief of the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service (IPS), described as “journalism and communication for global change.” IPS is supported by the United Nations, foreign governments, and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, as well as the Soros-funded Open Society Institute…

It turns out that Jim Lobe’s story about the CAP report that used him as a source ran under the headline, “New Report Identifies Organizational Nexus of Islamophobia,” the same headline over another Press TV story about the report. An official of the Muslim Public Affairs Council appeared on camera to promote the report, while the Iranian reporter, Marjan Asi, said the network under scrutiny was based on money from “several extreme right and Jewish family foundations.”

Daniel Greenfield at FrontPagemag.com recognized the same theme, saying that CAP was trying to peddle a “Jewish conspiracy theory.”

Ed Lasky at AmericanThinker.com said CAP was trying to blame “rich Jews” for stoking so-called Islamophobia.

While CAP’s authors may try to deny that they intended to single out Jewish-American support for educational activities exposing radical Islam, that was one of the messages taken away not only by conservative writers but Iranian Press TV. It wanted its international audience to know that CAP was going after conservative Jews…

Just like that Spanish-language ad played and replayed throughout the presidential campaign season.

I’ve written before about clueless Christian missionaries in Kosovo who, like this other group, and like our soldiers, seem to focus their activities on helping the Muslim-Albanian victors rather than the losing side there that never asked for the KLA insurgency we helped, their own Christian brethren, the Serbs, who need the help so much more. But this one takes the cake. Or, the chili:

This “church” in Montana isn’t helping rebuild Kosovo’s Albanian-destroyed churches or monasteries. Instead:

Great Falls church hosting chili cook-off with celebrity chefs to help Kosovo (June 1, 2013 by Simone DeAlba (simone@krtv.com))

The Great Falls Christian Center is hosting a chili cook-off on Saturday, June 1st, as a fun way to support a serious cause.

The center wants to offer aid and support to the families who suffered from ethnic cleansing [sic] in Kosovo back in 1999.

The years following the massacre have been difficult for survivors, and they have struggled to recover.

The chili event features notable public figures as celebrity chefs, including former KRTV anchor Cindy Cieluch, Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards, and Great Falls City Manager Greg Doyon.

There will also be a live auction.

Pastor Nate Swanson says this event gives the community a chance to make a difference for those in need in the international community: “The children, for a long time, were just running the streets and they were uneducated, uncared for, and so we’ve established a daycare there and we have full time missionaries that are now teaching these children and encouraging the families.”

The cookoff starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Christian Center, located at 4114 North Park Trail.

It’s $15 for a family or $5 for an individual.

For more information, call 406.727.4849.

I’ve quoted conservative former Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher before, both favorably and unfavorably, but always noticing that he seemed to have more of a clue on the Balkans than most commentators. Source Danny recently sent me the following which, again, has a bit of cluefulness, followed by a bit of cluelessness.

Toward the bottom of his May 9th column in The American Conservative, “How America Helped Kill Middle Eastern Christianity,” he wrote the following:

I am working this morning from a hotel room in Texas, where I’ve come on business for a couple of days. I just had a heartbreaking conversation with the maid, an older woman who is a Kosovar Muslim war refugee. Dear lady, she talked about how thankful she is to America that our country offered her and her husband and children refuge from Milosevic’s persecution, but how humiliating it has been for her to work as a chambermaid all these years.

“I only make enough to pay my rent and my groceries, but I am happy for that,” she said. “At least I have my life. But it is hard, when you have everything taken from you, and you are so old when you come to this new country that the only thing you have the language skills for is cleaning rooms.”

I could tell that she felt bad that she had complained. She followed by saying that she is grateful that she and her family have their lives, and weren’t murdered by the Serbs. I told her I agreed, and that I feel sorry today for the Serbian Orthodox monks and nuns whose monasteries are today being desecrated and destroyed by Kosovar Muslim thugs. She smiled sadly.

Anyway, America gave this Muslim woman and her family a haven from persecution [he still thinks the war was about Albanian persecution] in a war we didn’t start. Yet we could not give Arab Christian families - people from our own cultural and civilizational roots - a haven, even though we started the war that led directly to their own murder and persecution.

Shame on America. Christian readers, let’s batter the offices of our members of Congress and our president on behalf of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, who are suffering in part because of our country’s actions.

Apparently interested in Dreher’s background, Danny looked up his Wikipedia page, and discovered that Dreher had been raised Methodist and converted to Catholicism in 1993. But covering the Church’s child sex abuse scandals led Dreher to question his faith and in 2006 he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

A bit late with this item from October, I meant to call attention to the fact that Europe’s first hijab-wearing mayor is from that bastion of “non-religious, tolerant, secular, Western-facing, modern, pork-eating, alcohol-consuming, non-threatening, moderate” Islam — Bosnia:

Bosnia, Europe get first mayor wearing hijab (FOCUS News Agency, Oct. 9, 2012)

The small Bosnian town of Visoko, near the capital Sarajevo, has elected a mayor who wears the hijab headscarf, a first not only in Bosnia, but also in Europe, the electoral commission (CIK) said Tuesday, cited by AFP.

Amra Babic, 43, who regularly wears the hijab, won 30 percent of votes in Sunday’s local elections in the town of some 40,000 inhabitants.

Her Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the main Muslim party in Bosnia, said ahead of the vote that if Babic won, she would become “first female mayor of Visoko, but also in Europe who wears headscarf.”

Babic, a mother of three and an economist, served as finance minister in the central canton of Zenica prior to running for mayor.

Having lost her husband in the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia, Babic has for years led an association of families of Muslim fighters killed in the conflict. […]

Bosnian Town Elects Woman Mayor, Islamic Head Scarf And All (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Oct. 11)

…Babic, a trained economist and former finance minister on the canton level, hailed the choice as “a model for Europe and Islam” in an AFP story. She called it “a great victory of democracy.”

“I will never abuse politics for religion,” Babic was quoted as saying. “If I have the strength to protect my own rights, I will find the strength to protect the rights of others.”

RFE/RL’s Balkan Service says the news has received scant attention in local media, noting that head scarves are not necessarily a reflection of closely held religious beliefs so much as a routine fashion accessory.

They suggest it’s a clear victory for Bosnian women, however.

That’s a perspective that Babic herself embraced, saying, “My fellow citizens showed a great open spirit because they elected me first as a woman but also as a woman who wears a veil.”

The victory has been picked up by media outlets from Iran to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, calling her “Europe’s first hijab-wearing mayor.”

Babic is a member of the late Alija Izetbegovic’s Party of Democratic Action, a leading party among Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Muslims that played a historic role in independence.

Babic told AFP that she never wore one until turning to Islam for comfort after the death of her husband…in the Bosnian conflict of 1992-95. She now heads a civic group that brings together the families of Muslim men killed in that fighting. […]

So, she is from the party of the late fundamentalist who started the war, and she is among those many Muslims whose piety was strengthened by the war — precisely the effect our leaders promised us would be avoided if we helped the Muslim side, “so that they don’t turn to the extremists for help instead ™.”

A Bosnian woman blazes a trail - becoming nation’s first hijab-wearing mayor (AP/Calgary Herald, Oct, 24)

When Amra Babic walks down the streets of the central Bosnian town of Visoko wearing her Muslim headscarf, men sitting in outdoor cafes instantly rise from their chairs, fix their clothes and put out their cigarettes.

Her victory comes as governments elsewhere in Europe debate laws to ban the Muslim veil, and Turkey, another predominantly Islamic country seeking EU membership, maintains a strict policy of keeping religious symbols out of public life.

For Babic, the electoral triumph is proof that observance of Muslim tradition is compatible with Western democratic values… “We have sent a message out from Visoko. A message of tolerance, democracy and equality.”

For centuries, Bosnia has been a cultural and religious mix of Muslim Bosniaks, Christian Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats who occasionally fought each but most of the time lived peacefully together. Then came the Balkans wars of the 1990s….Bosnia’s Muslim majority fell victim to the genocidal rampage of ethnic Serbs seeking to form a breakaway state. [Nice touch there.]

…Now Babic feels she is ready to run this town of 45,000 people, mostly Bosnian Muslims, for the next four years…Babic sees her victory as breaking multiple barriers, from bigotry against women in a traditionally male-dominated society to stigmatization of the hijab that sprang up under the communist regime. [So, a victory against second-class citizenship for women, and a victory for second-class citizenship for women.]

“Finally we have overcome our own prejudices,” she says. “The one about women in politics, then the one about hijab-wearing women — and even the one about hijab-wearing women in politics.” […]

Serbia police: 6 Kosovo Albanians wounded in shootout near border (AP, July 8 )

…Serbian police said Monday a group of armed Kosovo Albanians on Sunday opened fire on the police while illegally chopping woods inside Serbia. In Kosovo, police confirmed the clash and said at least 6 people were hospitalized.

The incident could fuel tensions amid efforts by Serbia and Kosovo to normalize ties….Serbia does not recognize the 2008 declaration of independence by its former province, but must improve relations to move closer to European Union membership.

And if it insists on enforcing the law where Albanians are involved, it risks jeopardizing that membership!

5 Staten Island students getting crash course in Bosnian culture (Staten Island Advance, July 7, By John Stillman)

Five Staten Islanders are among a group of 18 New York City public high school students that set off last month on a journey of over 4,000 miles — to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they will live until July 19.

The cultural crash course — organized through a group called Global Kids — pairs them with local students and houses them in the residences of local families. Their goal is to lay the groundwork for cross-cultural understanding by cooperating with their Bosnian peers on social media projects.

Ms. Lewis admitted that she knew nothing about Bosnia before being accepted into the program…None of the five spoke the Bosnian language. None had ever traveled to the country.

In preparation for the trip, the students did some cursory reading on the nation’s tumultuous history — Sarajevo, where they will be spending part of their time, was under siege as recently as 1996…Most of the lessons will take place on site. Having memorized only a short list of basic phrases in Bosnian, they plan to pick up the language on the fly, as well.

Also on the trip are Islanders Alexandra Galdi, Paulina Jedrzejowski and Albert Mushkilli. [Ah, another Albanian volunteers to go to Bosnia.]

According to the organization, Global Kids exists for the purpose of challenging students in this way. The program offers intensive cultural immersion on a relatively short timeline and expects the teenagers not only to meet their Bosnian peers, but to contribute to the organization’s over-arching objectives: “community building,” “peace-building,” “citizen diplomacy” and “social change.” […]

How edifying could this trip be if the kids’ multi-cultural horizon-expansion didn’t start with the basic fact that there’s no such thing as a “Bosnian language”?

When someone brought this point up in an email exchange with Richard L. Kent, who authored the essay “A Srebrenica Christmas” in 2000 (reprinted in 2010), when he was deputy political advisor to the commanding general in Tuzla (he’d written that a boy had given “a short speech in Bosnian”), Kent countered that it’s only polite for a visitor to refer to a host country’s language as their own. Paraphrasing him from an email: If I were in Croatia, I’d call it the Croatian language. If I were in Serbia, I’d call it Serbian. But I was in Bosnia, and so it was the Bosnian language.

That seemed fair enough on the face of it — finally, a polite American ignorance. But then the following questions occurred to me: Do the Belgians speak Belgian? Do the Swiss speak Swiss? Do Austrians speak Austrian? No, Belgians speak French, and Swiss and Austrians speak German. Just like the Bahamians don’t speak Bahamian, but English. As do the Irish and Scottish, as opposed to speaking Irish and Scottish. And have you heard the Kosovar language being spoken recently? Or is it Albanian?

So why is it only the Serbian language that’s called something else — out of deference to the people on the lands taken from the Serbs?

******UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

This year’s Vidovdan in “multi-ethnic,” “democratic,” “minorities-protected,” “mature,” “independent,” “come-a-long-way” Kosovo:

Religious leader: Serbian buses attacked in Kosovo

BELGRADE, Serbia, June 28 (UPI) — Schoolbuses carrying Serbs from a religious celebration in Kosovo were attacked by stone-throwing mobs, witnesses said.

There were at least two incidents, Radio B92 in Belgrade, Serbia, reported. Buses were damaged and a number of people injured, including three children, witnesses said.

The buses were carrying worshippers from a celebration of St. Vitus Day at a shrine near Pristina, the Kosovar capital. St. Vitus, a Sicilian martyred under the Roman Empire, is venerated in Slavic countries.

Sava Janjic, a Serbian Orthodox abbott, posted an account of what he said was the most serious attack on Twitter.

“Albanians are en masse stoning Serb school buses. Five buses have been damaged, there are injuries. Witnesses said that groups of Albanianas waited for Serb buses in ambush, some even followed the buses in their cars,” Janjic said. “What were Kosovo police doing?”

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is recognized by more than 100 countries, including the United States. Serbia, however, has withheld recognition of its former territory. [I wonder why! Those obstinate Serbs!]

The country is overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian. [And so they MUST deserve their own country, which is the whole reason they’re attacking Serbs, don’t you know.] Tensions between the Albanian and Serbian communities in Kosovo remain high.

Ah, there go those “tensions” again. Like the “tensions” between Muslims and Jews in Malmo, where there’s hardly a Jew left because of the mutual, morally equivalent “tension” in which Muslims slit rabbis’ throats.

The Albanian-Serbian “tension” is much the same. One must note a tad of progress even in this language usage, however: At least lately we see the word “Albanian” preceding the word “Serbian,” before the word “tension.” Whereas it used to be “Serbian-Albanian” fighting or tension. Similar to the progress of printing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, rather than always Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Anyway, the scene this Vidovdan (Friday) was with the internationals still there. Imagine how awesome Kosovo life will be for non-Albanians once the do-gooders leave.

Then again, here was last year’s Vidovdan in Kosovo. And the do-gooders were right there.

Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs also got wind of the incident, and posted the following on July 3rd:

Albanian Jihadists Attack Children’s Buses in Kosovo

Every day it becomes terribly clear how vicious it was of President Clinton to send US troops to fight alongside Albanian Muslims to defeat the Christian Serbs in the cause of Islam.

This is another episode in the worsening jihad by Muslims against non-Muslims in Kosovo. Their successful and continuing ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims from parts of the former Yugoslav Republic is owed largely to Bill Clinton’s war in Bosnia, sold to the clueless Clinton administration by the notorious EU dhimmis. The Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, once a symbol of ethnic diversity, has become an entirely Muslim city.

“Albanian extremists’ attack on children’s buses in Kosovo” Pravoslavie, June 29, 2013 (thanks to Maksim)

Statement of the Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations.

“According to PTC news agency, on June 28, 2013, a group of Albanian extremists committed an organized attack on a column of school buses taking Serbian children home from the celebrations on the occasion of the national holiday ‘Vidovdan’, the Day of the Kosovo Battle against the Ottoman Empire.

“The helpless children were hit by a flow of stones. Three young pilgrims were seriously injured. The Kosovo police failed to apprehend the attackers.

“We regret to state that similar incidents happen in Kosovo and Metohija almost annually. Thus, in 2012, over 50 young people, who came from Serbia for Vidovdan, were injured during an attack in which petrol bombs were used and some of them were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

“The extremists seek to mark Vidovdan with violence against Orthodox Serbs to intimidate and make them reject their own history linked with the Kosovo region. The attack against Serbian schoolchildren should be resolutely condemned by the international community.

“This incident is evidence raising again the doubt that the Kosovo authorities are capable of overcoming ethnic tension and give real guarantees of safety to the Orthodox Serbian population of the region.”

Of course, we know that it’s not extreme Albanianism to throw rocks at Serb kids. That’s standard fare. These are the “moderates” we promoted. Just like, generally speaking, “moderate Muslims” means they only hate Jews, moderate Albanians only hate Serbs. (And tend to engage in heroin- and human-trafficking.) And so now these moderate Albanians have just had their army fully activated, on schedule. Feel safer?

Kosovo: NATO Chief Hails Birth Of Western Proxy Army
NATO Secretary General statement on Kosovo Security Force reaching Full Operational Capability (July 9)

I congratulate all members of the Kosovo Security Force on the achievement of this step. I thank the servicemen and servicewomen of KFOR for all they have done to help build the Kosovo Security Force.

The Kosovo Security Force mission remains the same as it always has been: to conduct civil protection operations and to assist the civil authorities in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies.

The future of the Western Balkans lies in dialogue and reconciliation. I therefore encourage members of all communities in Kosovo to consider joining the Kosovo Security Force, to ensure that it continues to become a truly multi-ethnic and representative force.

North Atlantic Council visits KFOR (July 3)

…The Secretary General made clear that NATO and KFOR will continue to guarantee security in Kosovo and remain ready to deal with any attempts to undermine the progress that has been made…. [That’s fundamentally a veiled threat to any resistance by the Serb side.]

“Because peace and security here will benefit everyone in the region, and will take us closer to our goal: a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.”

And so look for war in the near future. Or totalitarianism to keep it in check, whichever we find preferable by that time.

Oh, at least there was this, below. If the Kosovo Police Service is any indication (and it is), it doesn’t inspire one to be optimistic about the Kosovo Security Force. But note the usual Kosovo phenomenon of bad news coming out about Kosovo, along with news of the next reward and state of “progress”:

EU Mission ‘Failed to Protect Serbs in Kosovo’ (Balkan Insight, July 2, By Edona Peci)

The EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, was accused by its own human rights panel of not protecting Serbs from violent attacks at an event to mark the historic ‘Battle of Kosovo’.

EULEX’s independent human rights panel said on Monday that the mission had not done enough to ensure the security of Serbs who gathered a year ago to mark the anniversary of the ‘Battle of Kosovo’ in 1389.

The annual commemoration event last May in Gazimestan on St. Vitus Day, celebrated by Serbs as Vidovdan, came after clashes between Kosovo police and Serbs which left more than 60 people injured.

The human rights panel found that EULEX “had allocated insufficient resources to ensure respect for human rights by the Kosovo authorities and third parties during the Vidovdan security operation”, it said in a written statement.

“The complainants submitted that they were the subject of attacks, which included, inter alia, the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at teenage children who were travelling on buses from Gazimestan to Gracanica/Gracanice at the conclusion of the Vidovdan celebrations,” the statement said.

“Moreover, the panel found that EULEX failed to conduct a thorough and adequate investigation into the allegations of human rights violations,” it said. [Now there’s a surprise.]

Hundreds of Serbs travelled to Kosovo for the Vidovdan celebrations last year, some wearing nationalist T-shirts and singing Serbian nationalist songs. [There’s the requisite justification for the attacks. The “nationalist” stuff was actually anything with national symbols, like a Serbian flag — and anything remotely identifying one as Serbian, which is the offensive part. Being Serb. Again, identity is being called ‘nationalism.’ That aside, you got man-handled even if you completely de-Serbed your clothes and belongings.]

On arriving at Gazimestan, they were stopped by police and forced to remove any nationalist symbols. [National symbols.]

This provoked groups of mainly Serbs to sing nationalist songs and chant the names of Bosnian Serb military and political chiefs Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, who are on trial for alleged war crimes in The Hague.

Kosovo Serbs gather every year on June 28 to honour St. Vitus, a fourth-century Christian martyr, at the site of the Battle of Kosovo of 1389. The battle, which Serbia lost to Ottoman invaders, is seen as a crucial moment in Serbian history and has inspired much of the country’s epic poetry. [Might those be the “nationalist” songs? Like the one that Ban Ki Moon was bullied into apologizing for after treating the Serbs as human beings and inviting them to sing for Orthodox Christmas in January?]

The commemoration event at Gazimestan this year passed off without incident.

Oh, so maybe next year, when the Kosovo state and army are even more solidified, the panel can find out about this year’s violence on Vidovdan. And let Balkan Insight know about it. Oh wait, they do know about it — apparently only their Albanian reporter above doesn’t:

Buses with Kosovo Serbs Pelted With Stones
(Balkan Insight, B92, RTS, June 28)

Several Kosovo Serbs, including at least three children, were hurt when locals pelted with stones buses traveling back from a popular saints day celebration.

Unidentified persons threw stones at buses with children and students as they returned from celebrations marking St Vitus Day at Gazimestan, near Pristina, on Friday.

They are receiving treatment in the nearby Serbian enclave of Gracanica.

The well-known Serbian Orthodox cleric, Sava Janjic, wrote on his Twitter account that Kosovo Albanians stoned five of the buses in all. “Five buses were damaged, there are injuries,” he wrote.

“Witnesses said that groups of Albanians waited for Serbian buses in ambush, some even followed the buses in their cars,” Fr Janjic added.

The Serbian broadcaster B92 says that the buses were attacked at two locations, most seriously near the village of Milosevo, close to Gazimestan.

Kosovo police said they are working on the case. […]

Yes, we can see the sweat dripping from their brows.

Greece: Hunt for Albanian escapees biggest police op of decade (Digital Journal, July 7, By Katerina Nikolas)

The hunt for the Albanian prisoners who escaped from a Greek prison in March has turned into the largest police operation of the decade. Since the escape the convicts have been on a spree of robbery and murder.

These are the kind of events that inspire movies. Greek police have launched the biggest manhunt in a decade as they pursue the fugitives that escaped from Trikala prison as they make their way to the Albanian border through the mountainous terrain of northern Greece.

Three of the original 11 escapees were apprehended shortly after the mass escape. Another was shot dead, along with an uncle who aided the escape, just over a week ago. Media has reported the escapees planned to spring another Albanian compatriot from another Greek jail but their plans were thwarted.

The Albanian criminals have committed the cold blooded murder of a policeman in Dostimo, and shot 25-year-old Katerina Zogali dead. They were also responsible for a one million euro bank heist in May. Altogether they have been linked to 69 robberies since their escape.

[Say, isn’t that how our friends the KLA got their start? And isn’t this happening in the part of Greece that Albanians want? Epirus?]

According to Proto Thema the seven remaining fugitives have been living like wild animals in the mountains for the past 20 days, as they edge closer to Albania. They are being tracked with thermal cameras. Newsit reports that the police operation is hampered by the number of tourists in the area that could be used as hostages by the armed criminals.

The drama continues to unfold as police intensify their searches despite the risk of facing dangerous men armed with Kalashnikovs.

Weirdly, disgraced British former MP Denis MacShane’s byline found its way into the pages of Jerusalem Post. The June 19th article badgering Israel to recognize Kosovo was probably among the “number of commentators [urging] Israel to recognize the independence of Kosovo,” which J-Post columnist Michael Freund was referring to in his June 24th counter-opinion.

It might have been relevant for the newspaper to mention somewhere, either in a disclaimer or in MacShane’s bio, that he has defended Hashim Thaci’s honor (!) in publications like The Wall St. Journal, and has been so typically and reliably pro-Albanian over the years that if, unlike virtually all the dignitaries in Albanians’ pockets, he hasn’t been taking money, he certainly should have been. Of course, we already know MacShane is corrupt, ultimately resigning from the Labor Party after an expenses scandal in which the inquiry found “his conduct was the ‘gravest case’ of wrongdoing ever to have been investigated.” (The Telegraph) A two-minute Google search would have revealed MacShane as a passionate defender of the notorious gangster-prime minister Thaci, and a disgraced former MP, both things being somewhat important to the context of the article and making MacShane’s “opinion” on the matter somewhat corrupted. Instead, the J-Post bio reads, simply, “The writer is a former UK foreign minister and author of Globalising hatred: the New Antisemitism (2008) and Why Kosovo Still Matters (2011).”

An abridged version appears below; note the expected mention of the monument to Jews, which I just finished making fun of:

The Kosovo case: Punishing friends, rewarding enemies (Jerusalem Post, June 19, By Denis MacShane)

The monument is of the most perfect simplicity. A plain, upright marble slab.

In Albanian, Serbian, Hebrew and English it records the site as the ground where the last synagogue in Pristina stood…

Yugoslavia’s pre-1939 Jews suffered not just from the arrival of the Nazis in 1941 but from the openly anti-Semitic Ustashe Croats. In Serbia, the local Gestapo boss in Belgrade reported to Berlin in August” 1942: “Serbien ist judenfrei” – the first of the conquered lands in the Nazi imperium to rid itself of Jews. [Indicating just how much Germany was in control of Serbia after Serbian blood flowed to have it not so.]

The one temporary haven was in Kosovo, which had been occupied by Italy under a deal between Hitler and Mussolini. Kosovan- Albanians continued the Ottoman tradition of shelter, including for Jews.

Again, notice that instead of doing the usual — naming Albania as the shelter for Jews and Albanian Albanians as saviors, MacShane diverts right to Kosovo, which previously had been too problematic to bring up. But Kosovo is what Greater Albania and its human purchases such as MacShane are after at the moment, and so we’re suddenly being told about “Kosovan Albanians.”

…As the Germans moved south through the Balkans into Greece…Jews living in Kosovo also perished.

…In an impressive ceremony in Pristina. Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci, spoke of the need to learn from the Jewish emphasis on reconciliation. A senior Israeli diplomat, Ambassador Yossef Levy laid a wreath along with Kosovo’s president.

Now there are plans to build a museum to the history of Kosovo Jewry and the Anglo- Israeli architect, Ron Arad, has been commissioned to draw up plans.

All the major democracies in Europe and North America have recognized Kosovo. The most recent to recognize Kosovo include Tanziania [sic] and Yemen…But the most curious and illogical recognition refusenik is Israel.

Most illogical! Why wouldn’t Israel just follow the lead of countries like Yemen?! Surely Yemen’s Islamists have a good reason to recognize Kosovo! Meanwhile, a refusenik is someone who is refused something, not someone doing the refusing, so even MacShane’s attempt at a pun exploiting Jewish history fails.

In a startling reversal of normal diplomacy, Israel’s approach to Kosovo is to punish its friends and reward its enemies. Despite Ambassador Levy’s warmly received presence, Israel stands with many of its own enemies in not recognizing Kosovo.

As it would if it were to recognize Kosovo, but let’s just gloss over that.

For years, Western diplomats have urged Arab countries to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Even at the height of Franco-German enmity, when Germany occupied and annexed the Alsace-Lorraine region of eastern France, Berlin and Paris maintained diplomatic ties. So why does Israel irritate its friends by refusing to recognize Kosovo?

What bizarre point is he making here? Has MacShane had a little too much of the UK’s Albanian-imported heroin? Is he comparing Kosovo and Israel to WWII Germany and France? Is he acknowledging that a diplomatic relationship with Kosovo would be, gee, no more complicated or futile than Israel dealing with its Arab enemies?

The formal reason is that to recognize Kosovo might encourage the recognition of the Palestinian state. Yet the very countries in the forefront of pushing for diplomatic recognition of Palestine – Brazil or South Africa for example – are those that refuse to recognize Kosovo.

Because a policy’s merits can be judged strictly by who’s on what side of it, right? Hey, neither Russia nor China rings my bell exactly, but they happen to be right on Kosovo. Similar point: What did a flag-waving conservative like me have in common with the anti-American and consistently anti-war likes of Democracy Now!, Ramsey Clark, or the World Socialist Web Site? Nothing until 1999. Because even a broken clock is right twice a day.

…[Kosovo] needs to play a full part in international bodies from the World Bank to the Council of Europe. [So it can make sure that nothing like the Council of Europe’s exposee of Kosovo’s leaders ever happens again?]…The Serb-Russian bitterness over Kosovo’s independence is counter-productive diplomacy. One can understand why anti-Western governments endorse it but Israel’s nonrecognition of Kosovo makes no sense. Kosovo is a natural friend of Israel and Israeli diplomacy should recognize the fact.

So, on June 19th MacShane wrote that Israel is punishing its FRIENDS the Albanians. On June 20th came this:

Rally of support for Turkish PM in Albania (World Bulletin and Turkish Weekly, June 20)

The rally “We are with you, Erdogan” was organized by the New Albania Movement Party in the capital of Tirana.

The New Albania Movement Party (NAMP) has organized a rally on Wednesday in the capital of Albania, Tirana, in support of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

The rally was named “We are with you, Erdogan.”

The leader of NAMP Edmond Vlashaj made a speech at the rally on “martyrs boulevard”, to which Albanians and Turks living in Albania responded with the slogan “We are with you, Erdogan.”

“The friends of Turkey both in Albania and in other Balkan countries have attended the rally,” said Vlashaj.

Vlashaj also stressed that their target was to do service to justice and development, adding, “Nobody can prevent us on the way to justice and development…”

“Our leader and also teacher is Erdogan on the way to justice and development, so Albanians are with leader Erdogan,” said Vlashaj.

Sounds like Albanians have something in common with Palestinians and Bosniaks, who see Erdogan as their leader.

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