Saudis warn against New Year’s celebrations (& 13th victim of attack on school bus dies)

December 31, 2013

Mother of seven Sarah Sharon was 38 when she was raped and stabbed to death in Holon on January 20 1993


* Lebanese cleric: “Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is worse than fornication, alcohol, or killing someone.”

* Malaysian Muslim group: New Year’s parties are “a plot by Jews” to cause Muslim youths to commit sins, by mixing with the opposite sex and possibly drinking alcohol.

* The Israeli Christian community is the only Christian community left in the Middle East that is still growing.

* The (London) Daily Mail: “Check YouTube for pictures of la quenelle at weddings and parties, by soldiers, policemen, on ski trips and, of course, at Auschwitz. In one reel, it is shown performed at the Holocaust memorials in Berlin and New York, on a deportation wagon in Drancy, outside synagogues in Paris, Bordeaux, Budapest and Barcelona, and on innumerable rues de la Juiverie. Quenelliers stand laughing while posing in the act outside the Creche Israelite de Paris or the Memorial des Camps de la Mort. So it is preposterous to believe Anelka did not know what he was doing, or the association.”


I attach a variety of items below.

You can see these and other items that are not in these dispatches if you "like" this page:



1. Saudi religious police warn against New Year’s celebrations
2. Malaysian Muslim group calls for New Year parties to be canceled because they are “Jewish”
3. Somalia government bans Christmas
4. Israel’s Christian population continued to grow in 2013
5. 13th victim of terrorist attack on bus of children from Avivim dies
6. NBA player Tony Parker apologizes for Nazi-like gesture – while English-based soccer star stops short of full apology
7. Fatah: Hamas should disengage from “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood
8. Egypt anti-terror prosecutors interrogate al-Jazeera English team
9. Farage calls on UK government to take in Syrian refugees
10. “Anelka should be banned for 16 games… this was twice as harmful as Suarez baiting Evra or Terry targeting Anton” (Daily Mail Sport)

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


Saudi Arabia’s religious police have warned people against celebrating New Year’s Eve, the Saudi daily paper Okaz reports.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, known unofficially as Mutawaa, said violators will be severely punished.

Saudi Arabia follows the Muslim lunar calendar, unlike other Gulf states that use the Gregorian calendar.

Members of the commission enforce the kingdom’s religious rules, including the strict segregation of men and women, and forcing women to cover from head to toe in public.


MALAYSIAN MUSLIM GROUP CALLS FOR NEW YEAR PARTIES TO BE CANCELED BECAUSE THEY ARE “JEWISH” reports that a Malaysian Muslim group has called for New Year’s parties to be cancelled tonight because they are supposedly “a plot by Jews” to cause Muslim youths to commit sins, by mixing with the opposite sex and possibly drinking alcohol.

(The Jewish New Year is held, of course, in the fall, and not on December 31, which is the Christian New Year.)


In Indonesia, the “Guardians of Sharia law in Aceh” group have forced a major vacation resort hotel to cancel New Year’s celebrations this evening.



The Somali Government released an edict on Tuesday (Christmas Eve) banning the celebration of Christian festivities in the country.

The Director General of the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow Aden, and the Director of Religious Matters, Sheikh Ali Sheikh Mohamud, held a press conference in the capital Mogadishu, to make the announcement.

The ban came into effect just hours before Christmas Day.

Sheikh Aden said that copies of the directive were delivered to hotels and other meeting places in Mogadishu to warn non-Muslim foreign workers and residents against celebrating Christmas.

It is the first time that a Somali government has banned Christmas.


In 2011, Lebanese-born cleric Abu Musaab Wajdi Akkar said that “saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is worse than fornication, alcohol, or killing someone.”


Last week, in the latest in a long line of lies, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used his annual Christmas holiday message to again claim that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab (when of course Jesus was a Jew – and were he alive today, might be regarded as a Jewish settler in the West Bank town of Bethlehem).



According to the latest census figures released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, there are around 161,000 Christians living in Israel, comprising about 2 percent of the population. This is an increase from 158,000 Christians at the end of 2012.

Nearly 80 percent of these Christians are Arab, while the majority of the remaining 20 percent are from the former Soviet Union.

The Israeli Christian community is the only Christian community left in the Middle East that is still growing. Christians now make up only 4 percent of the region’s total population, a dramatic decrease from 20 percent a century ago.


The Israeli army has also observed a rise in Christian-Arab enlistment recently.


The Associated Press reports that suspected Islamic militants killed 12 civilians in weekend attacks on two Christian villages in Muslim-dominated northeast Nigeria. One attack targeted a wedding reception, where eight victims were murdered.


At least 34 people were killed in bomb attacks on people leaving Church Christmas services in Baghdad on Christmas Day.



43 years after nine of her young classmates (aged 8 and 9) and three adults were murdered en route to school in the upper Galilee, Leah Revivo (52) died last week from an infection from a fragment from terrorists’ fire that lodged in her brain.

Tom Gross adds:

Last night, under pressure from the Obama administration, Israel released 26 further convicted Palestinian terrorists.

They included Muammar Mahmoud and Salah Ibrahim, convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University in 1989; Yakoub Ramadan, convicted of the multiple rape and murder of 38-year-old mother of seven Sara Sharon in 1993; Barham Nasser who stabbed to death his employer, father of nine Morris Edri, in 1993; Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal who murdered Steven Rosenfeld, 48, a New York native; Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal who murdered gardener Shlomo Yehiya, 76, a father of six who was stabbed to death during the Sukkot holiday; and Tamimi Rushdi Muhammad Sa’id who murdered Haim Mizrahi, 30, while he was buying eggs, leaving behind a pregnant wife.

Members of the families of the prisoners’ victims have been begging the Israeli government not to release the murderers. The vast majority of the Israeli public opposes the release.

Almost no one in Israel can understand why Barack Obama and John Kerry have forced Israel to release convicted terrorists, almost all of whom were responsible for murdering Israeli civilians (and several of whom also killed Palestinian moderates) before any peace deal has even been signed with the Palestinians.

If you haven’t read it already, you may want to read the piece by terror victim Adi Moses which I had translated and published earlier this year: “Because if he is released, I will no longer be able to live” - But me, you do not really know at all .

* The release of prisoners in recent weeks has been marked not by peaceful reciprocal gestures towards Israel, but by an increase in the number of murders and attempted murders of Israelis (including a bus bomb last week in the Israeli coastal town of Bat Yam), and from sniper and rocket fire from Gaza and Lebanon.

* Nearly half of the 13,000 terrorists whom Israel has released since 1985 resumed terrorist activities either as planners of attacks, executors of attacks, or accessories.



(I write in some detail because of the disgraceful misreporting in some international media, including broadcasts on the BBC and reports in The Guardian, failing to explain who Dieudonne is and implying that Anelka is the innocent party. One paper that has reported on it accurately is the Daily Mail, and I include an article from the Daily Mail’s sports pages at the end of this dispatch.)


San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker has apologized for using the “quenelle” Nazi-like gesture invented by the notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, the French entertainer Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.

Parker said he will “never again repeat the gesture,” and expressed his hope that the incident would “serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt” and incitement to kill.

Several prominent French public figures including soccer star Mamadou Sakho and TV journalist Yann Barthes have all been photographed making the gesture. Alain Sorel, an anti-Semitic filmmaker, was also seen posing at the Berlin Holocaust memorial, and in September, two French soldiers were punished for displaying the quenelle in front of a Paris synagogue they were supposed to be guarding.

Meanwhile, English-based French soccer star Nicolas Anelka has still not properly apologized for his use of the gesture after scoring a goal for English soccer club West Bromwich Albion earlier this week.

Jewish groups accused Anelka of “mainstreaming anti-Semitic hate” and criticized the West Brom coach and sections of the British media for defending Anelka.

The “quenelle” has been used by followers of Dieudonne in front of Nazi concentration camps, synagogues and Holocaust day memorials.

On Friday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, said that his ministry was looking for legal ways to ban Dieudonne’s shows which are rife with encouragement to harm Jews and Holocaust survivors.

Dieudonne’s film, “The Anti-Semite,” was banned from the Cannes Film Festival last year. He has also openly supported former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial and said museums that educate about the Holocaust were “pornography.”

Dieudonne also tells his audience that Jews spread the Aids virus in Africa, and the Jews made up the Holocaust.

Anelka is believed to be one of his followers. France’s Minister for Sport, Valerie Fourneyron, said that, “Anelka’s gesture is a shocking and disgusting provocation. Anti-Semitism or incitement to hatred has no place on the football field.”

Dieudonne has defended the torture and killing of a young French Jew, Ilan Halimi, hunted down in Paris, and he has demanded Halimi’s killers should be released from prison.

(For more on the murder of Halimi and the reaction to it, please see this article.)



The Palestinian Fatah movement has called on Hamas to disengage from the Muslim Brotherhood to protect the Palestinian people from “atrocities,” Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA reported.

The statement comes after the decision of Egypt’s interim government to officially declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

Ahmed Assaf, the spokesman for Fatah, said that the continuation of Hamas’s “subordination” to the international Muslim Brotherhood organization will put millions of Palestinians -- especially those in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip -- in confrontation with several Arab states, including Egypt.

“This will lead to a dangerous security and economic situation that will threaten the future and lives of the people in Gaza,” Assaf said.

Hamas is an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.



Egyptian state security prosecutors interrogated a team of four journalists (including an Australian) working for Al-Jazeera’s English channel who were arrested on Monday in Cairo. State security prosecutors usually investigate cases involving national security or terrorism.

Egypt has long accused Al-Jazeera of bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. But so far its crackdown on the network has mostly targeted its Arabic service and a local branch focusing on Egypt coverage.



Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (which is often viewed as being anti-immigrant), has called on the British government to start admitting refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war into Britain.

Farage, who has been at the forefront of the opposition to migrants from Bulgaria and Romania being granted free access to the UK, said that those displaced by conflict are in a very different position to those wanting to enter the country from Europe.

“I think refugees are a very different thing to economic migration and I think that this country should honor the spirit of the 1951 declaration on refugee status that was agreed,” he told BBC News.

“I think actually there is a responsibility on all of us in the free West to try and help some of those people in Syria fleeing literally in fear of their lives.”

The British government has consistently rejected calls to take in any Syrian refugees.


Tom Gross adds: Regime air strikes on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 517 people since December 15, including 151 children and 46 women, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Among the deaths, last Saturday, Assad’s helicopters dropped TNT-packed barrels on a vegetable market and next to a hospital in Aleppo city, killing at least 25 civilians, including children.


I attach one article below.


Anelka should be banned for 16 games... this was twice as harmful as Suarez baiting Evra or Terry targeting Anton when you consider the thought behind it
By Martin Samuel
Daily Mail Sports correspondent
December 29, 2013

Dieudonne M’bala M’bala is an extremist. He started on the left, which drew him towards events in Palestine and Israel, and as this obsession grew he moved right, to Holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy theories, flirtations with the language and actions of anti-Semitism and hanging around with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former president of Front National.

Dieudonne is a comedian. In 2008, he gave the academic and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson an ‘insolent outcast’ prize on stage in Paris. The award was presented by an assistant dressed in a concentration camp outfit, complete with yellow star. Perhaps you had to be there.

In pursuit of more laughs, Dieudonne created a gesture he called la quenelle. He equates it to defiance of the system, although others believe it has quasi-Nazi intent and is nakedly used to bait Jews. Nicolas Anelka made it after scoring for West Bromwich on Saturday.

Like Josip Simunic of Croatia, who took over a loudspeaker system to shout an extreme nationalist slogan following a World Cup win over Iceland and was banned for 10 matches, Anelka says he is surprised by the reaction to his celebration. Anelka insists he was merely showing solidarity with a friend, but this apparent lack of awareness should be approached with caution.

Dieudonne has been convicted on eight occasions of offences linked to anti-Semitism – as well as a more recent court appearance, in which he was fined close to £700,000 for tax evasion – has links to Iran and Hezbollah and the implications of la quenelle have been discussed by President Francois Hollande.

Until now, the stance has been that the gesture is too vague to invite prosecution, but as its use has grown, so the government has become nervous.

It is easy to understand why. Check YouTube for pictures of la quenelle at weddings and parties, by soldiers, policemen, on ski trips and, of course, at Auschwitz. In one reel, it is shown performed at the Holocaust memorials in Berlin and New York, on a deportation wagon in Drancy, outside synagogues in Paris, Bordeaux, Budapest and Barcelona, at the Wailing Wall and on innumerable rues de la Juiverie.

Quenelliers stand laughing while posing in the act outside the Creche Israelite de Paris or the Memorial des Camps de la Mort. So it is preposterous to believe Anelka did not know what he was doing, or the association.

He says he was acting in support of a friend. Yet support against what? If he knows Dieudonne requires support, then he is aware of the issues.

‘We will act to shake the tranquillity which, under the cover of anonymity, facilitates shameful actions online,’ said Hollande. ‘But also we will fight against the sarcasm of those who purport to be humourists but are actually professional anti-Semites.’ This has been interpreted as a direct reference to Dieudonne.

So Hollande knows the score and so, almost certainly, did Anelka. Keith Downing, caretaker manager of West Brom, didn’t, so he made a fool of himself by defending his player. ‘I think the speculation can be stopped now, it is rubbish really,’ said Downing. ‘Nicolas is totally unaware of what the problems were. It has got nothing to do with what is being said.’

Oh yes it has. La quenelle is a way of making a semi-Nazi gesture without getting arrested, just as Dieudonne’s coining of the term shoananas – crushing the Hebrew word for Holocaust into the French word for pineapple – has become a cute way to deny the Holocaust without contravening French laws.

Many quenelliers pose with pineapples in their pictures. Indeed, the controversy around these antics are such that to be Dieudonne’s friend, or his fan, and not know this, would be akin to claiming to be on Team Nigella while professing not to be aware of any drug allegations.

This is what Dieudonne is, this is what he does, la quenelle defines him – and now Anelka has brought that ghastly package to a wider audience. And some of them will be receptive.

If you didn’t know la quenelle before – and chances are, you didn’t – you do now and do not doubt that there will be imitators. So, what Anelka did was twice as harmful to British sport and British society as Luis Suarez’s baiting of Patrice Evra, or John Terry’s riposte to Anton Ferdinand.

What Suarez said, what Terry said, was for private consumption, no matter how unpalatable. It was in the context of a game, and was not intended to be heard beyond that game. There was no message to the wider world, no belief system.

It was abuse, pure and simple. Horrid, racist abuse, but ultimately meaningless. Like ranting nutters on the train, the words may be offensive but they do not go anywhere.
Anelka’s gesture does. It causes ripples. It introduces people to a cynical way to deny the Holocaust, or strike an anti-Semitic pose without getting arrested. YouTube is full of quenelliers posing beside unsuspecting Hasidic Jews or Jewish celebrities, who smile dumbly, while the friendly stranger makes a gesture designed to demean and humiliate them.

Anelka brought this to a wider audience, and he did so knowingly. His best defence would be that the gesture was spontaneous; he scored, and did not think too hard about the ramifications of his celebration. To suggest an innocent misunderstanding, though, insults our intelligence.

English football has many problems, but anti-Semitism is not high among them. Yes, there are one or two grounds where sinister hissing noises can be heard when Tottenham visit, and the whole Yid Army debate has dragged the game into a moral maze but, for the most part, Jewish football fans can attend matches without feeling threatened. Anelka has jeopardised that.

What if la quenelle catches on? What if the Football Association take action against him and a section of the crowd at West Brom start doing it in support of their striker? What if fans visiting White Hart Lane begin making it? Cries of ‘Yid Army’ at one end, massed ranks of quenelliers at the other?

What if Anelka has thoughtlessly, uncaringly introduced a set of issues to English football that simply did not exist before December 28, 2013?

He is not Dieudonne’s only friend over here. At least two Newcastle United players are acquaintances of his as well.

Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool claims he was tricked into making la quenelle for the camera last month. Yet what if Anelka’s display catches on? Anti-social behaviour that is not stopped is as good as encouraged. Where does this end?

The FA have a dilemma. Performing la quenelle isn’t, without context, an illegal or offensive act. As the French have found, whatever the meaning, its design is subtle enough to evade prosecution. It is not out there like the verbal attacks of Suarez or Terry. It is insidious. It permeates. And, as such, its potential for spiteful harm is far greater.
There will always be racist words and racist speech. The right people deplore racism, the wrong people embrace it, society deals with it as best it can and moves on.

This is different. Through the decades, the strongest reason for the English league to resist an outstretched hand to Rangers and Celtic has been that the fan culture of those clubs is based on religious division.

Nobody in England cares who is Protestant or Catholic, so why introduce sectarianism? The same can be said of la quenelle.

This is not about free speech or freedom of expression. There is no freedom to falsely shout ‘fire’ in a crowded cinema. Not all words and gestures are permissible.

Once Britain became aware of the meaning of Anelka’s gesture – and in our modern social media world it did not take long for the outrage felt in France to filter over here – the danger was obvious.

We do not know where this goes now and can only hope that Anelka and his comedian friend do not become a cause celebre.

Despite this, any punishment should be exemplary. Suarez received eight matches, double that would not be too harsh. Were Anelka not seen again this season it will be no loss, and no injustice.

This is not a gesture without meaning. There is a philosophy here, one that has no place on the football field or beyond. The creator of la quenelle knew what he was doing; so did Anelka. It is time to kick him out, no matter his denials.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.