This is a photograph of Asakusa taken a few years ago.
This is what it looked like in 1934.
The RCMP identified six suspects on Thursday it said had plotted a terrorist attack in Canada. One was also accused of financing the purchase of weapons to be used against Canadian Forces.
All are Canadian citizens, the RCMP said.
The case is the latest indication that Canada has a problem with “homegrown extremists,” a term that refers to Canadians who have become so radicalized by al-Qaeda’s ideology that they want to commit terrorist violence.
The Cordoba Project is partially being promoted as a monument to the three thousand who perished in the World Trade towers that fateful September morn. Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, maintains that Muslims associated with the Cordoba Initiative intended only "to look at the legacy of 9/11 and do something positive." Khan claims the American Society for Muslim Advancement represents moderate Muslims who want "to reverse the trend of extremism and the kind of ideology that the extremists are spreading."In addition to portraying it as a memorial bridge between faiths, defenders of the mosque maintain that building a house of worship on private property is an exercise of the constitutional right that grants freedom of religion to all Americans.The site where three thousand perished is revered and consecrated by the blood of the dead. Regardless of "moderate Muslim" intentions, Americans view the site of the 9-11 massacre as sacredly significant. In essence, lower Manhattan is a burial ground where the unearthed remains of many still reside.Muslims who insist on placing a mosque so close to holy ground, which would not exist but for the murderous aggression committed by Muslim warriors, is eerily reminiscent of acts of dominance carried out from age to age by Islamic conquerors.In 630 AD, Muslims captured Islam's holiest city, Mecca. It was there that a mosque was erected at the Ka'aba on the site of a building built by Abraham, the Judeo-Christian Old Testament father of faith. Muslims honor Patriarch Abraham for siring desert-dweller Ishmael, son of slave woman Hagar. Muslims claimed Abraham for Islam by building a mosque around the original Abrahamic structure, encircling the building and calling it the Masjid al-Haram.In the 7th century, when Islam triumphed over Damascus, the Church of Saint John the Baptist (believed to enshrine the head of the baptizer) was destroyed and replaced with a mosque. Legend has it that "Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid the church was demolished ... [and] Al-Walid himself initiated the demolition by driving a golden spike into the church."
Most notably, the struggle for religious dominance continues between the Muslims and the Jewish seed of Isaac on what was once the Jewish Temple Mount, site of Solomon's Temple. The Muslim descendants of Ishmael, after conquering Jerusalem in 638 AD, turned the temple into a Muslim shrine. The infamous holy place called the Dome of the Rock is situated in close proximity to the highly revered Al-Aqsa Mosque.Around 700 AD, in Cordoba, Spain, after Muslims conquered the Visigothic kingdom, Emir Abd ar-Rahman I took possession of the Church of St. Vincent, and for the next two centuries, what was once a Christian church was transformed into the Great Mosque of Cordoba.Before the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia was the "center of Eastern Christianity." The Ottoman conquest initiated the "era of Islamic worship in the holy structure, which Mehmed II converted into a mosque immediately after his conquest."
An Alberta elementary school is taking the concept of specialization to a completely new level. At R.J. Hawkey Elementary School, students heading into Grade 2 will be expected to select a "major" that defines the focus of their education for the next three years.
These majors include: the arts, sports, scientific inquiry and humanitarian/environment. Teachers are required to tailor the provincial curriculum to match these specialty areas. Thus, students in the humanitarian/ environment stream can expect to spend a lot of time in math calculating average recycling rates while sports stream students pore over team statistics.
The problem with this approach is it inevitably leads to a further erosion of academic standards. While it may sound exciting at first for students to have their personal interests reflected in every school subject throughout the day, the novelty will quickly wear off when reality sets in.
In order for students to become proficient in basic academic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics, they need to spend time specifically focused on these skills. Allowing students some flexibility in the books they read in class is one thing -- gearing their entire learning experience around a single theme is another. It is difficult to picture how this can be done without watering down academic standards...
The reality is that many, if not most, students learn best in a school environment where they receive focused academic instruction in the core academic subjects. In other words, let science be science and math be math.
The 20,000 defectors who have escaped to South Korea offer the most graphic and grim glimpses of life in austere, impoverished and isolated North Korea.
They talk of hunger and deprivation; of torture and fear; of constant suspicion and endless surveillance, and of their enduring desire to escape.
Kim Mi-ran, a 50-year-old mother of three children who are still in North Korea, says she first fled to China in 1998 when famine gripped the country and her family was starving.
There, she was sold for 7,000 yuan (about $1,000) as the bride of a disabled and mentally retarded Korean-Chinese man, 20 years her elder. When she threatened to turn herself and everyone else in the family in to the police, she was allowed to leave.
But the woman kept getting caught and repatriated to North Korea, where she was jailed, interrogated and beaten before being released, only to try to escape again.
"North Korean women live like a bird in a cage in China," she told a conference on North Korean human rights in Toronto yesterday.
"They don't even have the status of a stray dog. Some are sold into marriage because they want a bowl of rice. Others are forced into prostitution or become sex slaves or are simply taken advantage of."
Ms. Kim, who spent a total of four years in prison for trying to flee, insists her year in solitary confinement -- because someone had reported seeing her praying in prison--was the worst time of her life.
"To survive people had to eat what they could catch ... frogs, grasshoppers, insects ..."
Awakened each day at 5 a.m., she had to sit still on the edge of her bed for five hours before being interrogated. If she moved or glanced at her guards, they slapped and beat her.
Interrogations, conducted for hours, were done with her kneeling on the floor, with her hands tied behind her back. "They kicked my sides and breast," she said. "I couldn't even feel the pain because I was losing my mind." She tried to commit suicide by starving herself, but was dragged from her cell and force-fed.
Finally, she was transferred to a regular prison for three years, before being released in February 2007 and told to return to her hometown. "But I walked from Hyesan City for a month and escaped to China," she said. Over the next year, she made her way to South Korea via Burma and Thailand.
Send them home and use the Navy if necessary is the message coming from a new poll on the Tamil boat people issue.
By a margin of five to one, Canadians say the government shouldreject the almost 500 would-be refugees from Sri Lanka who arrived last week.
The Leger Marketing poll of 1,500 people, released exclusively to QMI Agency, was conducted from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4 as the ship travelled towards the British Columbia coast.
Asked which statement best described their own opinion on what should be done with the ship, which may include members of the banned Tamil Tiger terrorist group, 60% agreed with the statement: "They should be turned away - the boat should be escorted back to Sri Lanka by the Canadian Navy."
Just 17% agreed with the statement: "They should be accepted into Canada as political refugees."
A significant number, 20%, said they did not know which answer to choose and 4% did not answer.
Alberta ranked highest with 74% of respondents there saying send the boat back and just 11% saying let them stay, while Quebec was the second highest with 64% opting to send the boat back and 15% saying the passengers should stay.
There’s a poll out that shows Canadian have turned into hard-hearted, immigrant-hating SOBs.
The poll, which you can read about here, found that Canadians, by a margin of five-to-one, would take the 490-odd Tamils who floated up on the MV Sun Sea a week ago and fire them straight back to Sri Lanka. Overall, 60% agreed with the statement, “They should be turned away – the boat should be escorted back to Sri Lanka by the Canadian Navy.”
So intense is the anti-Tamil sentiment that people in Alberta and Quebec actually agreed on something, for the first time since … well, I’m trying to think of something they’ve ever agreed on, and I’m drawing a blank, so maybe this is the first time ever. Anyway, Alberta topped the Tamil-hate list with 74% of respondents urging they be shipped home (against just 11% willing to let them stay), with Quebec in second place (64% anti-Tamil bigots, 15% compassionate Canadians.)
Clearly this is a profound moment. The traditional notion of Canada as a caring, open-hearted country has died and we’ve turned into east Texas. Get the rope, boys, we got here that needs stringin’ up.
"There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded," she said. "How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we've been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City." (h/t Kristinn)
Calls to investigate the funding for those proposing the $100 million "Cordoba House" have fallen on deaf ears, though, as New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg has described such an investigation as "un-American."
Canadians aren’t keen to pay more out of their own pockets to help the country cope with rising health-care costs, nor are they calling for governments to pump more money into the system. Instead, a majority of Canadians think efficiencies should be found in the existing system, with not a penny more thrown in the pot.
Those are the findings of a new Ipsos Reid poll released Wednesday that asked Canadians how governments should keep up with the growing tab for health care without raising taxes.
The majority of Canadians, 61%, said focusing on finding more efficient ways to deliver health care is their preferred option, while 28% said a bigger piece of the tax-dollar pie should be devoted to health care, which could mean cuts in other government services.
I'm getting a little tired of all those right-wing ranters who seem so attracted to your Letters page. I am one of those "bleeding heart liberals" who they so despise, and am damn proud of it. I support the long-form census -- yes it's intrusive -- because it provides vital information for our social programs. I support immigration because that's what we all are, except for our First Nations people. I support the gun registry because every cop in the country says it makes us safer in a way getting "tough" on crime does not.
So to all those redneck yahoos who want to turn Canada into another Tennessee, why don't you go back to your pumpkin patches and shoot something, preferably each other, and let us "lefties" try to reverse the damage done by Stephen Harper and return Canada to its prideful place on the international stage.
The White House on Saturday struggled to tamp down the controversy over President Barack Obama’s statements about a mosque near ground zero — insisting Obama wasn’t backing off remarks Friday night when he offered support for a project that has infuriated some families whose loved ones died in the Sept. 11 attacks....
But on Saturday, Obama seemed to contradict himself, telling reporters at one point, “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about. And I think it's very important, as difficult as some of these issues are, that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about."
That impromptu answer to a TV reporter covering his trip to Florida prompted a second attempt to clarify his initial statement, this time from spokesman Bill Burton.
“Just to be clear, the president is not backing off in any way from the comments he made last night,” Burton said. “It is not his role as president to pass judgment on every local project. But it is his responsibility to stand up for the constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment for all Americans. What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that if a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque.”
White House officials later said that Obama was simply saying that since there is no local ordinance that would prevent construction of the mosque, he believed local officials made the right decision to allow it to go forward.
At least one Republican, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seized on the confusion. “Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3,000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade,” Palin wrote on Facebook.Expiration dates, indeed.
"There's one thing I wish," remarked Miss Adams, in the hard, metallic voice with which she disguised her softness of heart, "and that is, that I could see the Legislature of this country and lay a few cold-drawn facts in front of them. I'd make a platform of my own, Mr. Stephens, and run a party on my ticket. A Bill for the compulsory use of eyewash would be one of my planks, and another would be for the abolition of those Yashmak veil things which turn a woman into a bale of cotton goods with a pair of eyes looking out of it."
Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light; an awful brightness but no noise. Nervously, Chimoto-san raised his head. "A bomb! It's at Urakami." And in the area above the church he saw an enormous column of smoke float upward, swelling rapidly as it rose. But what struck terror into his heart was the huge blast of air like a hurricane that rushed toward him. It came from under the white smoke and rolled over the hills and fields with terrifying speed and power. Houses and trees and everything else collapsed before it.... Then a deafening noise struck his ears and he was thrown into the air and hurled five meters against a brick wall. Finally he opened his eyes and looked around. The trees were torn from their roots. There were no branches, no leaves, no grass. Everything had vanished. All that remained was the smell of resin.(taken from The Bells of Nagasaki by Dr. Takashi Nagai)
It was not the atomic bomb that gouged this huge hole in the Urakami basin. We dug it ourselves to the rhythm of military marches.(taken from A Hill in Bloom by Dr. Takashi Nagai)
Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha returned from Spain on Sunday, a vacation at a lavish hotel on the Mediterranean coast that triggered her first controversy since becoming first lady. I'm told she made the trip because she promised one of her closest friends, a longtime Chicago pal who just lost her father, she would spend time with her.
The execution-style killings of 10 people working for a Christian medical team in a remote region of northern Afghanistan fit into Taliban insurgents' stated shift in tactics: Target Western civilians, especially Christians, as "foreign invaders."
The Taliban took credit for one of the deadliest attacks yet on aid workers in Afghanistan, saying the Christian charity workers were proselytizing to poor villagers – a charge that the International Assistance Mission, which dispatched the team, denies.
The entire Ontario Provincial Police detachment at the remote Pikangikum First Nation was marched off the reserve five weeks ago by a rock-throwing mob of elected councillors and residents.
The stunning forced departure of 11 OPP members from the isolated community, reached in summer only by air or water, went publicly unacknowledged by the force until now.
It was also almost entirely unreported, with only a couple of small stories, none with any detail, appearing locally about a week after the June 30 incident.
These stories either mentioned that “some officers” had been forced to leave or described the incident as a protest in which no one was hurt.
But an OPP occurrence report obtained by The Globe and Mail paints a very different picture – of a chaotic scene that saw officers pushed and shoved as the mob forced its way into the station, with several men trying at one point to get at the vault containing the detachment’s firearms, while others cut power and phones and disabled or blocked police cruisers.
The crowd followed the police to their residence trailer, where two off-duty constables were asleep. Over shouts of “Burn it with them inside!” a sergeant negotiated permission from the mob to wake up the officers and allow them a few minutes to pack their things.
“Police then walked approximately two kilometres to the airport carrying their personal belongings and being followed by approximately 200 people, vehicles and [a] front-end loader,” the report says.
“Once at the airport,” the document continues, “police waited on the north side of the terminal building as community members continued to throw rocks over the building at them.”
Though officers were grossly outnumbered and effectively under attack, they never did abandon the community, OPP Superintendent Ron van Straalen, commander of the northwestern Ontario region, said Thursday – with those being run out of town staying at the airport until their replacements had arrived.
Our guide, however, was an oddity. A young Dutch woman with standard leftist views, she told me how she had no time for politicians who claimed Islam was any sort of threat.
But, I said, you are Dutch and in your country a movie director was slaughtered like an animal in the street by a Muslim fanatic and a woman MP had to live with 24-hour security because she criticized some aspects of Islam.
"That happened because they offended Muslims," replied the former social worker and generally good person. "You really should not offend them." No, it seems you should not.
Some of the finest men in the land bled the fields of Holland just so it could become a haven of drugs, prostituion and now Islamofascism and its ugly mirror image, dhimmitude. They can keep their damn tulips if we can get our men back. Failing that, the very least they can do is not debase themselves or cower to horrid little wife-beaters.
Because he is Salim Mansur and he speaks the truth:
I am struck by the construction boom across the city as I visit Ramallah, the legislative and political centre of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank....
There is money here, plenty of it, and those who have it are not hesitant to flaunt it.
New cars, beautiful residences, fancy stores and restaurants will startle any outsider arriving here with his head filled by the mainstream media in the West about the misery of the West Bank occupation by Israelis.
There is also poverty, Israeli checkpoints, the fence or wall separating Palestinian territories from Israel and the Israeli settlements.
And there’s the politics of resentment that spill over any conversation with ordinary Palestinians fed on a diet of half-truths and endless lies by their leaders.
But visiting with Palestinians is also an invitation to hear their bitterness about Arab leaders, and of their experience with discrimination and violence in places such as Lebanon and Kuwait.
They are their own worst enemy. Israel could have absolutely nothing to do with them and they could still tear each other to pieces.
The controversy around the proposed Cordoba Center in New York City is only an issue because if is being used by the Republicans to raise hysteria and possibly win in the mid-November elections. Americans should understand that Muslims have been always an intrinsic part of America. They were first introduced to the continent through explorers like Estevanico and Stephen the Moor. Professor Leo Weiner of Harvard University has written a book on the PreColumbian Muslims from Spain that came to escape persecution and married among the aboriginal nations. Yarrow Mamout, a Muslim, was a first shareholder of Bank of Columbia in 1807. American history is filled with such examples, including the ten million Muslim slaves who helped build the nation.
What's going on? What is this -- oh yeah, August 6, Hiroshima, the anniversary. I looked around, and behind me was a group of young people in front of a banner that said, "NO MORE HIROSHIMAS". OK, I get it, so I started listening. The fellow was actually reading a letter from the Mayor of Hiroshima, the usual prayer for peace and love among all mankind. Now, in my younger days, I was all Peace, Love and Brotherhood too. I still am, but I'm also, I think, a lot better informed about things like, say, the history behind the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and as I learned tonight, I'm also a lot less patient with the willfully stupid among us who have no excuse not to know better.
The Japanese fellow finished, accepted his applause and made way for a late-middle-age woman who I gathered was the compere for the evening. She looked and sounded like the sort of well-connected, public spirited Toronto WASP who organizes fund-raisers for battered women's shelters and the AGO.
She thanked the speaker for his "deeply felt, profound" wishes for peace, for the end of these terrible weapons, blah blah blah....
Then the killer line:
"I would like us all now to take a moment of silence together, for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and pray that they forgive us."
How about a minute of silence for the 10 million victims of Japanese imperialism and military aggression? How about 30 seconds of thought for the 100 million people they enslaved in their "East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere"? How about a few seconds for the thousands of Australians who were captured, imprisoned in horrible conditions and executed by beheading, years before the US entered the war? How about the thousands of young Canadian men starved and tortured and marched to death by these very same Japanese? And how about one second of gratitude for the American, British, German and Hungarian scientists who gathered in New Mexico and spent 4 years and a couple billion dollars to create the weapon that brought down the Japanese Empire, ending its conquest and enslavement of the western Pacific? A weapon that not only ended the war in a few days, but completely destroyed Japanese Imperialism, probably forever?