The Islamic State Wants Gaza

CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organization that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

The video statement, issued from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas.

“We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked Islamic State member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas”.


Britain: Bid to Crack Down on Islamic Extremism Faces Resistance

“Islamist propaganda is so potent that it is influencing children as young as five… If I feel the need to be extra vigilant [with my own children], then I think you need to feel the need to be extra vigilant.” — Mak Chishty, Britain’s most senior Muslim police officer.

“It is very noticeable that the main Islamist groups are not really up in arms about this. They want it, because it will feed the narrative of grievance and victimhood they love. They will be able to use it to say, look, we told you so.” — Haras Rafiq, Director of the Quilliam Foundation.

“You can’t protect democracy by undermining democracy… It is a battle of ideas and we have to defeat these ideas by argument, not by banning even having the debate. What we need, far more than any new law, is a counter-argument and a policy which can inspire [Muslim] society to defeat extremist ideas.” — Rashad Ali, counter-extremism specialist at the Home Office’s de-radicalization program.

“As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation, and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values… And it means confronting head-on the poisonous Islamist extremist ideology. Whether they are violent in their means or not, we must make it impossible for the extremists to succeed.” — British Prime Minister David Cameron.


Turkey Cracks Down on the Free Press

This time, the Islamists are opting for less subtle methods than their previous tax fines. Now they are putting newspaper editors in jail.

Hurriyet’s editors may have to stand trial and face jail terms for running a headline identical to a remark made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Islamists’ direct targeting of the country’s largest media group is comparable to similar practices in the world’s most authoritarian regimes.


Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

If Greece ends up leave the eurozone, it won’t go quietly – with Yanis Varoufakis threatening to block the country’s expulsion from the euro through the courts. “The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,“ the Greek finance minister told Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

This comes as Greece’s bailout officially expires today, leaving it with a €1.6bn IMF loan to repay tonight (18.00 Washington time/2300 GMT), something it refuses to do until its citizens vote on the terms of the €12 billion bailout offered by international creditors in a referendum on Sunday. If you want to see how “default day” pans out, it’s worth following Mehreen Khan on our liveblog.

Judging by the Greek referendum’s baffling 72-word question, asking voters if they like the sound of the “Reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond” (i.e. more austerity), Alexis Tsipras’ government is doing its best to nudge Greeks towards voting ‘no’. “In the event of a no vote, it’s the end of the road for Greek membership of the euro; and if a yes vote, it is presumably the end of the road for Syriza. And that may well have been the game plan all along,” writes Jeremy Warner.

The vote is still days away, but the markets have been getting jittery, with £34bn wiped off Britain’s FTSE100-listed companies on Monday. Europe’s leaders have bluntly warned that Greece could be forced out of the Eurozone and potentially the EU if voters reject the bailout. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker asked voters not to “commit suicide” by rejecting further austerity. With thousands of Greeks taking to the streets to back the no campaign, Juncker didn’t quite have a captive audience. One Syriza MP caught the mood in Athens. “Juncker is calling for the overthrow of the government,” he said acidly.

What happens if Greece defaults on the loan due today? Christine Lagarde, the fund’s head, has warned that it won’t be able to provide any more financial aid until the country pays off its debts, but Syriza dismiss such talk as a bluff.. Greece will still remain a member of the IMF – at least for two years. Greece could risk much more by missing the payment due on July 20 to the European Central Bank, as it might see emergency liquidity to Greek banks frozen, which would be calamitous as the system is being propped up by ECB money. “Leftist politics have doomed Greece to collapse”, writes Allister Heath, “These are grim days indeed.”


British Muslims must report concerns about family members or friends becoming radicalised or they risk allowing a terror attack in Britain as deadly as the one in Tunisia, David Cameron has said. In a passionate intervention, the Prime Minister said that Muslims in the UK “need to act” if relatives are seeing extremist preachers or visiting radical websites, Peter Dominiczak reports. He also told MPs that “we will prevail” in the fight against extremism.

“If we are to talk about uniting as a nation, then we need to have a pretty good idea what we are defending,” writes Philip Johnston. “We did once; but I am not convinced that we do any more.”


One in five of the MPs elected in May’s general election employs their wives, husbands, children, brothers, sisters and even in one case his father, a new register shows. The decision to offer work to family members in their private offices offers a way for MPs to top up their pay, as the expenses watchdog considers giving them a 11 per cent rise. Which MPs employ a family member? Chris Hope has the full list.


Business leaders have shown their hand too early by coming out in support of Britain staying in the European Union before negotiations have even begun, the Business secretary has said. Sajid Javid told the Confederation of British Industry, the country’s biggest lobby group, that it was wrong to say the UK should remain in the EU “no matter what”, Steven Swinford reports. He also likened the CBI’s position to poor “poker player” who has showed his hand too early.


Proposals to give English MPs a veto on English-only laws will be revealed on Thursday and could become law before the summer, senior government sources have told Ben-Riley Smith. Number 10 hopes to use an obscure parliamentary procedure known as standing orders to lock Scottish MPs out of shaping legislation that only affects English voters.


A Labour general election candidate has sparked outrage by posing for a selfie at the spot where the Tunisian beach massacre happened. Amran Hussain, 29, who was on a week-long holiday with four friends, was pictured holding his selfie stick aloft just 48 hours after dozens of tourists were slaughtered. Leon Watson has more.

Meanwhile “selfie queen” Karen Danczuk has revealed that her obsession with photos led to her split from her MP husband Simon. She told the Sun newspaper: “He was overwhelmed that suddenly it was all about me!” Olivia Goldhill has been looking at previous political couples who split up. “Politicians aren’t immune to fights and heartbreak,” she wrote. “But when power couples break up, it can be embarrassing for their high-profile careers.”


Forget the ley lines and the mysticism of the Tor: one Labour candidate in the London Mayoral election says that Glastonbury Festival should be moved to the capital for one year, reports Kat Brown. Gareth Thomas, the MP for Harrow West, says that if London wins a bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023, moving Glastonbury 140 miles east would be the perfect way to mark it, suggesting Hackney Marshes or Epping Forest as potential venues for the festival.


School governors will have to be publicly named and be registered on a national database for the first time in the wake of the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal, Steven Swinford reports. There is presently no central register of who serves as a school governor, raising concerns that schools could be taken over by groups with radical agendas.


Lancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county, in a major blow to what would have been the UK’s biggest round of fracking so far, the Guardian’s Adam Vaughan reports. Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the council’s town hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.


Greville Janner will be prosecuted for child sexual offences, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced after public pressure, with the u-turn taking place after a review carried out by an independent legal expert. Martin Evans has more. The CPS is now being urged to publish the independent review which led to its humiliating climbdown, David Barrett reports. “Such a prosecution will serve no reasonable purpose,” writes Matthew Scott. “Who can trust that anything approaching the true facts will safely emerge from it?”

Dan Hodges writes that Lord Janner’s trial has “nothing to do with justice” as “the man cannot even defend himself”, adding: “It’s about vengeance. Vengeance for those victims of abuse – real and imagined – who have had it denied. It’s about politics.”

Meanwhile, lawyers across England and Wales have backed an unprecedented protest over legal aid cuts which is expected to see courts begin to grind to a halt from Wednesday. Solicitors in London are expected to back a poll asking them to stop taking on criminal legal aid work in protest over Government reforms which will reduce their payments from July 1.


More than half of households in Britain receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes, official figures have revealed as George Osborne prepares to make £12billion worth of welfare cuts, Steve Swinford reports. The Office for National Statistics disclosed that 13.7million households in Britain receive more in benefits, while the richest fifth of Britons pay 43.7 per cent of the nations tax.

UK’s Cameron: “I wish the BBC would stop calling it ‘Islamic State’ because it is not an Islamic state”

The Netherlands is not at “war” with Islamist extremists, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday.

President Obama at Ramadan White House Gala decried “very distorted impression” of Muslims.

The Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence.

Tell it to the millions of Muslims waging jihad and citing Islamic text and teachings.


The euro versus democracy, Greek style

The Greek government’s wish to put the latest Euro area/IMF offer to voters for decision is a game changer. It has left a wounded and surprised Euro area fulminating against the way Greece behaves.

The European Central Bank with the support of the Euro area has cut off all supply of Euro support to Greek commercial banks. As a result we now have our third Euro, the Greek Euro.

Like the Cypriot Euro in their crisis, the Greek Euro is not freely convertible into the regular Euro as you cannot draw it out of a Greek bank when you want to. What kind of a currency is this European single currency, when the Central Bank does not stand properly behind all the banks in the system, and when in part of the zone they have to close the banks on a normal trading day?


Jihad on Churches: Muslim Persecution of Christians, March 2015

“Destroying churches is permissible — as long as the destruction does not bring harm to Muslims, such as false claims that Muslims are persecuting Christians….” — Dr. Yusuf al-Burhami, leading Salafi cleric, Egypt.

“The children were isolated and put in cages. Adults who do not deny their faith will be decapitated, and their children burned alive in the cages.” — Sister Monique of the Vincentian Daughters of Charity, Syria.

“[T]he police detained my son Zubair and tortured him in front of me. When Zubair cried with pain, they told him that he would be released only if I confess the theft…. I repeatedly told the police that I had no connection with the said theft, and then they threw me out of the police station… The next day we found Zubair’s dead body outside our house.” — Aysha Bibi, on the Pakistani police’s attempt to extract from her a confession to a theft she did not commit.