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In interviews, American Muslims Say They Reject Separate 'Sharia' Law System

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© The Associated Press/M. Spencer Green
The Islamic Society of North American conference in 2006
A new study based on interviews with more than 200 North American Muslims concludes that a recent spate of state laws banning "sharia law" from the court system may be an overreaction to a non-existent threat.

Oklahoma, Tennessee and Louisiana each passed laws or referendums to ban state judges from considering sharia and other foreign laws last year, and more than 20 other states have debated similar legislation. Newt Gingrich has called for a federal law to ban sharia, while his fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has said sharia law is an "existential threat" to America.

The qualitative study, by University of Windsor law professor Julie MacFarlane and published by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding think tank, is the first to ask American Muslims what they think of sharia, or Islamic religious law. MacFarlane interviewed 101 Muslim men and women, 41 imams and 70 community leaders and specialists about their uses of Islamic law in everyday life. (About a quarter of the respondents live in Canada, but MacFarlane found no significant difference between the Canadian and American responses.)

MacFarlane asked the respondents whether they thought American courts should apply Islamic law to non-Muslims in the legal system. All of them said no.

Handcuffs

US: Night in the Cells Accidentally Became Two Years in Solitary

Suspected drunk driver wins $22m after he was forgotten, isolated - and terribly neglected.
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© The Independent
Stephen Slevin at the time of his arrest for drink driving in August 2005, left, and when he was released in May 2007, right

Stephen Slevin was driving along a rural highway in southern New Mexico in August 2005 when traffic police pulled him over and arrested him on suspicion of drink-driving, along with a string of other motoring offences.

By the time all of the charges against him were dismissed and Mr Slevin was released from custody, it was 2007. For reasons that remain unclear, officials had forced him to spend the intervening two years in solitary confinement.

During the ordeal, he claims to have been denied access to basic washing facilities for months at a time. He'd lost a third of his body weight, grown a beard down to his chest and was suffering from bed sores. Prison officials had also ignored his pleas to see a dentist, forcing him to pull out his own tooth. They declined other requests for attention, including an audience with a mental health professional. He duly became delirious and says that by the time of his release he'd "been driven mad".

This week, a jury in Albuquerque ordered Dona Ana County, which was responsible for incarcerating Slevin without trial, to pay $22m (£14m) in compensation. It was the largest award ever granted to a US prisoner whose civil rights have been violated.

Attention

US: Highway Patrol: At Least 9 Dead in Nighttime Wrecks on Hazy Interstate 75 in North Florida

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© The Associated Press/The Canadian Press/The Gainesville Sun/Matt Stamey
Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, south of Gainesville, Fla.
At least nine people died in a series of crashes apparently caused by heavy smoke and fog overnight on Interstate 75 in north Florida, authorities said Sunday.

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan said the pileups happened around 3:45 a.m. Sunday on both sides of I-75 south of Gainesville. All lanes of the interstate remained closed as investigators began trying to figure out what caused the early morning crashes.

Riordan said several people were injured and taken to Gainesville hospitals. Their conditions were unclear.

At least 17 people hurt in the wreck were being treated at Shands at the University of Florida, the hospital said on its website.

The FHP had closed the highway briefly overnight because of a mixture of fog and smoke from a marsh fire in the Paynes Prairie area south of Gainesville.

2 + 2 = 4

Canada, Ontario: Teacher Loses Licence After Sex With Students

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© unknown
An Ottawa high school teacher has had her teaching licence revoked after admitting she had "inappropriate relations" with three male students.

Joanne Léger-Legault pleaded no contest to the allegations of professional misconduct presented to the Ontario College of Teachers discipline committee, which heard the case last year.

She admitted to having an "intimate sexual relationship" with two of her students and kissing a third student on the lips.

The Ontario College of Teachers officially stripped the licence of the former teacher of A.Y. Jackson Secondary School and Merivale High School in late September. The news was not widely known until now.

The incidents investigated involved four teenage boys and happened during school years from 2001-02 to 2005-06.

USA

World Gone Mad! British pair arrested in U.S. on terror charges over Twitter jokes

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Leigh Van Bryan was due to go to Los Angeles with his friend Emily Banting but was stopped when he arrived in the U.S. over tweets he had sent.
Two British tourists were barred from entering America after joking on Twitter that they were going to 'destroy America' and 'dig up Marilyn Monroe'.

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was handcuffed and kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers for 12 hours after landing in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting.

The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read: 'Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?'

After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last Monday afternoon the pair were detained by armed guards.

Despite telling officials the term 'destroy' was British slang for 'party', they were held on suspicion of planning to 'commit crimes' and had their passports confiscated.

Comment: This situation is a good reminder of a quote from Andrew Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology which addresses hysterisation in society that opens the door to totalitarianism in one form or another:
The traditional interpretation of these great historical diseases [of Pathocracy] has already taught historians to distinguish two phases. The first is represented by a period of spiritual crisis in a society, which historiography associates with exhausting of the ideational, moral, and religious values heretofore nourishing the society in question. Egoism among individuals and social groups increases, and the links of moral duty and social networks are felt to be loosening. Trifling matters thereupon dominate human minds to such an extent that there is no room left for thinking about public matters or a feeling of commitment to the future. An atrophy of the hierarchy of values within the thinking of individuals and societies is an indication thereof; it has been described both in historiographic monographs and in psychiatric papers. The country's government is finally paralyzed, helpless in the face of problems which could be solved without great difficulty under other circumstances. Let us associate such periods of crisis with the familiar phase in social hysterization. [...]

States of Societal Hysterization

When perusing scientific or literary descriptions of hysterical phenomena, such as those dating from the last great increase in hysteria in Europe encompassing the quarter-century preceding World War I, a non-specialist may gain the impression that this was endemic to individual cases, particularly among woman. The contagious nature of hysterical states, however, had already been discovered and described by Jean-Martin Charcot .

It is practically impossible for hysteria to manifest itself as a mere individual phenomenon, since it is contagious by means of psychological resonance, identification, and imitation. Each human being has a predisposition for this malformation of the personality, albeit to varying degrees, although it is normally overcome by rearing and self-rearing, which are amenable to correct thinking and emotional self-discipline.

During "happy times" of peace dependent upon social injustice, children of the privileged classes learn to repress from their field of consciousness the uncomfortable ideas suggesting that they and their parents are benefitting from injustice against others. Such young people learn to disqualify disparage the moral and mental values of anyone whose work they are using to over-advantage. Young minds thus ingest habits of subconscious selection and substitution of data, which leads to a hysterical conversion economy of reasoning. They grow up to be somewhat hysterical adults who, by means of the ways adduced above, thereupon transmit their hysteria to the next generation, which then develops these characteristics to an even greater degree.

The hysterical patterns for experience and behavior grow and spread downwards from the privileged classes until crossing the boundary of the first criterion of ponerology: the atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals.

When the habits of subconscious selection and substitution of thought-data spread to the macrosocial level, a society tends to develop contempt for factual criticism and to humiliate anyone sounding an alarm. Contempt is also shown for other nations which have maintained normal thought-patterns and for their opinions. Egotistic thought-terrorization is accomplished by the society itself and its processes of conversive thinking. This obviates the need for censorship of the press, theater, or broadcasting, as a pathologically hypersensitive censor lives within the citizens themselves.

When three "egos" govern, egoism, egotism, and egocentrism, the feeling of social links and responsibility toward others disappear, and the society in question splinters into groups ever more hostile to each other.

When a hysterical environment stops differentiating the opinions of limited, not-quite-normal people from those of normal, reasonable persons, this opens the door for activation of the pathological factors of a various nature to enter in.

Individuals we have already met [psychological deviants such as psychopaths, schizoids, characteropaths, etc] who are governed by a pathological view of reality and abnormal goals caused by their different nature are able to develop their activities in such conditions. If a given society does not manage to overcome the state of hysterization under its ethnological and political circumstances, a huge bloody tragedy can be the result. ...
For more information on ponerology - the science of evil, see these Sott links:

Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Applied for Political Purposes

Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes


Whistle

Confessions of a Frustrated Pharmacist

When an insider breaks ranks with pharmaceutical orthodoxy, it is time to take notice. "Whistleblower" may be an overused term, but the article that follows might be well worth readers' consideration before standing in line for their next prescription refill. - Andrew W. Saul, OMNS Editor

I'm a registered pharmacist. I am having a difficult time with my job. I sell people drugs that are supposed to correct their various health complaints. Some medicines work like they're supposed to, but many don't. Some categories of drugs work better than others. My concern is that the outcomes of treatment I observe are so unpredictable that I would often call the entire treatment a failure in too many situations.

Sheriff

Police Get Help With Confronting Veterans

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© unknown
The Justice Department is funding an unusual national training program to help police deal with an increasing number of volatile confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans.

Developers of the pilot program, to be launched at 15 U.S. sites this year, said there is an "urgent need" to de-escalate crises in which even SWAT teams may be facing tactical disadvantages against mentally ill suspects who also happen to be trained in modern warfare.

"We just can't use the blazing-guns approach anymore when dealing with disturbed individuals who are highly trained in all kinds of tactical operations, including guerrilla warfare," said Dennis Cusick, executive director of the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute. "That goes beyond the experience of SWAT teams."

Cusick, who is developing the program along with institute training director William Micklus, said local authorities have a better chance of defusing violent confrontations by immediately engaging suspects in discussions about their military experience -- not with force.

USA

US: St. Louis Hosts 1st Big Parade for Iraq War End

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© The Associated Press/Jeff Roberson
Participants in a parade to honor Iraq War veterans make their way along a downtown street Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in St. Louis. Thousands turned out to watch the first big welcome home parade in the U.S. since the last troops left Iraq in December.
Thousands of people have turned out in St. Louis for the nation's first big parade welcoming home Iraq War veterans.

Several hundred veterans, many dressed in camouflage, marched Saturday afternoon through downtown along with marching bands, politicians and even the Budweiser Clydesdales.

But the biggest cheers clearly were for the veterans themselves. The crowd wildly cheered as groups walked by, and some veterans wiped away tears as they acknowledged the support.

People in the crowd waved American flags and held signs reading, "Welcome Home" and "God Bless Our Troops." Fire trucks with aerial ladders hoisted three huge American flags along the route.

Two St. Louis men launched a grass-roots effort to hold the parade after noticing there'd been no large public celebrations to welcome troops home.

People

Belgium on strike as EU leaders ready to open summit

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© AFP/File, Georges Gobet
Belgian rail workers have launched a national strike in protest at EU-ordered austerity
Belgian rail workers launched a national strike in protest at EU-ordered austerity cuts just as European leaders were to gather for a Brussels summit on the debt crisis.

The first trains stopped turning around 9:00 pm (2000 GMT), travellers said on Twitter.

High-speed international Eurostar, Thalys and inter-city Belgian trains had warned passengers in advance it would be Tuesday mid-day before the network was functioning normally again.

Southern Charleroi airport -- a key low-cost hub -- was expected to be out of action Monday, but the main international runways at Brussels were due to be functional.

Heart - Black

Canada: All 3 Guilty in Shafia Murder Trial; Judge Condemns Twisted Concept of Honour

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© The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes
Mohammad Shafia, centre, Tooba Yahya, right, and Hamed Shafia, left, arrive at the Frontenac County courthouse in Kingston, Ont., Sunday, January 29, 2011.
Three members of an Afghanistan-born Montreal family were defiant Sunday in the face of life in prison and harsh condemnation for the murders of three daughters and a co-wife apparently motivated by what the judge called their "twisted concept of honour."

A jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in a so-called mass honour killing that has captivated Canadians from coast to coast, and touched off post-911 criticism of Muslim culture.

The three immediately pronounced the verdicts as unjust, but the judge was unmoved, cutting right to the core of the cultural cloud that hung over this case.

"It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime," Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger said.

"The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour...that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."