Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anti-Islamic Dutch Lawmaker Event at University Cut Short as Crowd Turns Nasty

Amid tight security and a large turnout of protesters, Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders told an assembly of Temple University students that Europe and America must fight an ongoing "stealth jihad" that threatens democracy and free speech. "Where Islam sets roots, freedom dies," Geert Wilders told the students during his 30-minute address organized by a new student group called Temple University Purpose and funded by the California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, a foundation that promotes conservative scholarship.

His remarks were met by a mixture of applause and boos, and occasionally gasps - particularly when he stated that "our Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture and we should defend it."

He decried as a "disgrace" a resolution co-sponsored by the U.S. and Egypt, and backed by the U.N. Human Rights Council earlier this month, deploring attacks on religions while insisting that freedom of expression remains a basic right. Wilders also criticized President Barack Obama for his efforts to extend a hand to the Islamic world, saying that such appeasement marks "the beginning of the end." If the spread of Islam continues unabated in the Western world, "you might at the end of the day lose your Constitution," he told the assembly. "Wake up, defend your freedom." He also touched on common themes in his speeches, including calling for an end to Muslim immigration and referring to the Muslim holy book, the Quran, as "an evil book" that promotes violence and intolerance.

A question-and-answer session was cut short after the tone of the event began to turn nasty, when some in the crowd of several hundred students began shouting jeers. Wilders' security detail quickly ushered him from the room.

"In order to improve our understanding of others, we need to learn," said Alvaro Watson of Purpose, the student group. "We can't fight for something if we only know one side."

Before his remarks at Temple, a public university serving about 34,000 students, Wilders showed his 15-minute anti-Islam film, "Fitna," which juxtaposes passages from the suras, or chapters, of the Quran with images of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, beheadings, shootings and speeches from clerics advocating violence against non-Muslims.

"I think it's completely wrong that someone who promotes racism and intolerance should be given a platform at this university," said Temple student Josh Rosenthal. "It's hate speech disguised as free speech." Another student, Joseph Rodrigues, said that being able to voice unpopular opinions is a freedom not to be taken lightly. "I might not like what he said, but I think it's important that he be allowed to say it," he said.

Temple officials issued a statement saying the university "is a community of scholars in which freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression are valued." "We respect the right of our student organizations to invite people who express a wide variety of views and ideas," the school said in a statement.

British officials once banned Wilders from visiting for fear it would spark violence. He successfully sued the government and visited Friday.

Wilders is scheduled to speak at Columbia University in New York on Wednesday.


How crazy Leftist Britain encourages good student behaviour in its schools

Nine-month nightmare for school helper hauled to court after marching yob from class

A classroom assistant accused of assaulting a pupil broke down in tears yesterday as he was cleared at the end of a nine-month nightmare. Mark Ellwood was fingerprinted, held in a cell, and banned from living with his children during the ordeal, which began when he escorted a foulmouthed schoolboy out of a lesson.

The 46-year-old claims he was 'hung out to dry' by the authorities and warned that a climate of fear in schools means pupils are often beyond control and that teachers are too frightened to discipline them. Speaking outside court, Mr Ellwood, a married father of two teenage girls, said: 'Any confidence a teacher may have will have been sapped out of them after what has happened to me. 'On a daily basis, staff are threatened with being stabbed. 'Swearing is endemic; the respect is simply not there and if you pick a pupil up on their language they tell you where to get off. The teachers are scared of the pupils anyway and they know it. 'I lost my job, was removed from my family and faced a criminal conviction, only to be found not guilty. If the power is in favour of the pupil you have not got a hope in hell.'

Mr Ellwood's ordeal began last January, three months after he began work at David Lister School in Hull, which had recently been placed in 'special measures'. As a 'classroom mentor', Mr Ellwood helped deal with children who had been removed from general classes and placed in a special unit because of bad behaviour. The incident occurred when he noticed a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, playing with a mobile phone during an art lesson and still wearing his jacket. When he asked the boy to take his coat off and put away his phone, the 15-year-old responded by threatening to stab him, adding: 'I will have you killed.' The boy, who was taken out of the class, along a corridor and into the car park, then tried to kick Mr Ellwood in the shins.

Hull magistrates heard how the classroom assistant - a former kickboxing champion - responded by skilfully and 'gently' sweeping the boy's legs from under him to prevent any further attack. Although the teenager suffered no injury, a complaint from his mother led to Mr Ellwood being charged weeks later with common assault.

Police revealed the boy had claimed he had been thrown on to the classroom floor. 'This did not happen at all,' Mr Ellwood said. 'The teacher was in the classroom at the time and he denied seeing anything untoward. 'He landed with his back on the floor. It was done gently and he suffered no injury.'

After being charged with assault, social services visited Mr Ellwood's home before ordering him to move out pending an inquiry. He was forced to sleep on a gym floor for two weeks before being allowed to move back into his home. After the verdict was announced, magistrates chairman Christopher Buren told Mr Ellwood to 'forget about this and restart your life'.

The classroom assistant said he is considering his career options. Stuart Todd, David Lister School's new headmaster, said that Mr Ellwood would be 'welcome back' at the school.


British pupils skipped 8 million school days last year

Children skipped more than eight million days of school last year as the truancy rate soared, official figures show.

Pupils in primary and secondary schools in England missed 1.03 per cent of half days in the autumn term last year and the spring term this year due to unauthorised absence. This is up from 0.97 per cent for the same two terms in 2007-08.

It means that almost 64,800 pupils skipped school without permission on a typical day through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons. In total, 8.2 million days were lost due to unauthorised absence.

The Schools minister Vernon Coaker said that missing schools without a good reason was "totally unacceptable". The most common reason for absence was illness, accounting for 59.2 per cent of cases.

Absence for family holidays was the second biggest reason, accounting for 9.7 per cent of absent half days; of these almost a fifth (18.6 per cent) were not authorised.


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