Thursday, March 24, 2016

How ISIS came to CA

The FBI confirmed Thursday that a Nov. 4, 2015, attack at the University of California, Merced was inspired by the Islamic State group.

Faisal Mohammad, 18, wounded four students in a knife attack before a campus police officer shot and killed him. Federal authorities now say Mohammad had ISIS propaganda on his laptop and other evidence proving he frequented the Islamic terrorists’ websites, the Associated Press reported.

Law enforcement agencies initially said Mohammad’s attack was not terror-related despite the fact that he was found with an ISIS flag and a manifesto to behead his fellow students.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said early on that FBI agents looked into Mohammad’s background and family and found nothing to indicate terrorist ties, WND reported Nov. 5, 2015. Authorities also moved quickly to scrub Mohammad’s social-media websites before releasing his name.


Some diversities are less diverse than others

Leftists sure do love diversity — to a point. Their favored constituencies include blacks, Hispanics and those suffering from gender disorientation pathology. But each member of those groups must yield to leftist groupthink, or they’ll be excommunicated.

The thought police were on patrol most recently at Brown University, where Janet Mock, a black transgender activist and author, was forced to cancel an appearance after students objected to the group that invited her. Hillel House is a Jewish group that asked Mock to speak, but a group of Palestinian activists accused Hillel of having “defended and even advocated for the Israeli state’s policies of occupation and racial apartheid.” Furthermore, the aggrieved students say, Israel is guilty of “colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide of native Palestinians.”

In a petition, the students complained, “Hillel’s Moral Voices campaign has chosen the topic of LGBTQ rights this year. This hides the fact that for decades, the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations (like Hillel) have been engaging in pinkwashing, a strategy that tries to improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern, and ‘hip’ country.”

Mock is hardly alone. Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has been ridiculed by leftists for generally being conservative politically, but worse, for daring to say nice things about Ted Cruz. No doubt thanks to that backlash, Jenner even felt compelled last week to deny endorsing Cruz.

And then there’s Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), who is black, said last month that Barack Obama should nominate a black because “to have an African-American voice that has definitely not been there since Thurgood Marshall would really be an incredible contribution to our country.” Thomas is conservative, therefore he isn’t “an African-American voice.”

In other words, leftists love diversity, as long as it’s only skin deep.


Australia: University of Sydney's Evangelical Union shouldn't have to give up its faith in fight against discrimation

Here is the new rule for student groups on campus at one of our leading universities: you can have any faith you like, as long as it's not any faith in particular.

As of November last year, the bolshie student politicians running the University of Sydney student union have voted to stop clubs and societies from defining themselves by reference to a particular creed. Because, er, discrimination, or something.

And the union's board has inaugurated this new reign of tolerance by deciding to kick one of its oldest and largest interdenominational faith based groups off campus. The Evangelical Union has been around doing its thing since the 1930s – my grandma was on the committee.

For 86 years they have been doing their same earnest and mildly irritating thing, floating around campus in  green T-shirts inviting people to interminable barbecues.

From March that must all stop. That is, unless the members of the Evangelical Union agree to make membership of the Evangelical Union about something other than being evangelical. The beliefs and principles which form the core basis of their association (and which their executive must sign up to) have to go, or else.

Olivia Ronan, vice president of the student union, sees it as an open and shut case of discrimination: in an interview with a student newspaper she explained that the student union is about "accessibility and inclusion" and so the board has decided that for associations to require particular beliefs of their executive "is no less exclusionary than requiring candidates to be of a particular sexuality or gender identity".

And she'd be absolutely right. If we were talking about "Electricians United" or the "Eurhythmics Union". But this is the "Evangelical Union": being out and proud as an evangelical is what the club is about.

It's not unlawful discrimination to make being on board with what the association is about a requirement for leadership in that club: it's what it means to freely associate with like-minded people. And inclusion is not the issue; as the green T-shirts will all too keenly inform you, they actually give discounts to encourage non-believers to take part in their activities.

We need anti-discrimination policies to address the wicked tendency of powerful people to exclude those they don't like (whether because of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation). Discrimination is discrimination because these factors are irrelevant to the inherent requirements of a job, or (in this case) the basis of the association.

It's good for us normally to be suspicious of faith-based requirements for membership. As a rule of thumb, someone's beliefs are usually irrelevant. But not always. Political views are no reason to ban someone from a restaurant. But political beliefs are a very good reason to decide who can sign up to a political party. By deciding that beliefs are never relevant to any association you're saying faith groups can't form associations.

The irony of using an anti-discrimination policy to justify violating the right to religious freedom appears to be lost on the USU board.  For five years, successive Evangelical Union leaders have patiently tried to explain to the union's staff and board members that a rather important part of protecting diversity is protecting the rights of diverse groups to associate. Indeed the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which Australia has signed) explicitly guarantees as much.

The USU vice president has responded to this (as only a law student could) by pointing out that the union board is not a signatory to the UN. Let's just pause on that for a second. The student union couldn't care less what one of the single most important international instruments on the subject of human rights actually says about the very rights they say they're trying to protect?

It's a dark day for anyone who cares about discrimination to see words designed to protect against religious discrimination used to banish faith-based groups.

Protecting freedom of religion by attacking faith communities' freedom to associate? The union board has missed the irony. Or perhaps they just don't like religious groups, and want them, and their annoying T-shirts, off campus for good.


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