Canada withdraws funds from UNRWA, the UN agency that funds Palestinian “refugees”

David Bedein reports in the Philadelphia Bulletin:

Jerusalem — A senior Canadian government official has briefed officials in Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the news of Canada’s decision to defund the United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) which administers 59 refugee camps for Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents who left their homes in the wake of the 1948 war.

UNRWA maintains Palestinian Arab refugees in their facilities under the premise and promise of return to homes and villages from 1948 that no longer exist.

All other U.N. refugee camps around the world ascribe to the principles of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which mandates that a refugee has a right to be resettled in new conditions.

Apparently the European Union commissioned a report on UNRWA which concluded that Hamas terrorists were administering UNRWA facilities.  We’ve reported on Hamas’s domination of UNRWA before (here, for example) though not on the EU report. In October I posted on a bill in the House of Representatives to attempt to block UNRWA’s terror ties; the bill had been stalled in the Foreign Affairs Committee (chaired by Howard Berman, D-CA) since January 2009 and is still there a year after its introduction.

I guess Canada is way ahead of us here, as they have taken the only kind of action that counts in response to the EU report. Bedein concludes:

Canada heads the “Refugee Working Group (RWG),” a subgroup of the Middle East negotiation process which was established in the wake of the Madrid Middle East Summit in October 1991, to oversee Palestinian refugee policy for the 38 nations that contribute to UNRWA.

The fact that Canada has used its position as the head of the RWG to defund UNRWA will most likely not go unnoticed by the 38 countries that contribute to the half a billion-dollar UNRWA budget.

 The U.S. under our current government no longer cares much about promoting human rights and fighting Islamic terrorism, so let’s hope some other countries gather up their courage to take our place until we can resume our leadership.

Some other reports here, here, and here make it clear that Canada is not stopping its aid to Palestinians, but the aid will now go directly to  specific projects rather than through UNRWA.

Iraqi refugees overwhelm Detroit-area nonprofits — and are they Christian?

The headline of the Assyrian International News Agency article is actually Thousands of Iraqi Refugees Overwhelm Service Agencies in Detroit.  But I knew you would think that meant government welfare agencies, while it really means private self-help  groups. It begins:

Prior to 2006, strict immigration policies didn’t allow refugees fleeing the violence in Iraq to enter the United States. In 2007, a more lenient “open door” policy was implemented, allowing thousands of Iraqis –15,000 in 2009 alone– to settle in the Detroit area. Now, local Arab community groups that stepped up to help the refugees say they are overwhelmed by the burden of taking care of the new arrivals.

In a recent interview on WDET’s Detroit Today, Joseph Kassab, executive director of the Chaldean Federation of America, and Abdallah Boumediene, from the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services [ACCESS], acknowledged that the Arab community in Michigan can’t deal with the crisis by itself.

With little to no support from the local, state or federal governments, Detroit’s Middle Eastern community has to deal with providing thousands of displaced Iraqis with housing, health care, education, transportation and jobs.

Assyrians are Christian, though the website never seems to mention the word. And of the two groups mentioned, Chaldeans are Christian, and have been settling in Michigan for many decades. I can’t tell about the other group, ACCESS. Abdallah must be a Muslim name. The site itself doesn’t mention either “Muslim” or “Christian,” but its calendar shows events for Caldeans and Maronites, who are Christian, and also a celebration of Iftar, a Muslim holiday.

I started to post just on the original article, but got sidetracked on this Christian-Muslim question because it intrigued me. At first I thought the groups mentioned must be Christian, because Muslims generally aren’t shy about proclaiming their religion, whereas Christians might be, having been persecuted in the Middle East for so long. Usually inter-faith groups like to give that fact prominence: it’s so heartwarming, especially to entities that hand out money. But perhaps Christian and Muslim Arabs in Michigan, or some among them, work together amicably in ACCESS, and don’t wish to trumpet this cooperation to the world. Muslims, especially, would catch hell from some of their co-religionists for working closely with Christians, while the Christians might have their sanity questioned. Maybe somebody who knows more can let us know.

Now, to get on with the report:

Local non-profits are not only dealing with resettling the newly arrived, they’re also trying to cope with serious mental health issues suffered by many refugees. Iraqis often have had family members kidnapped, tortured or killed. Families experience depression, loneliness and the post-traumatic stress caused by living in a war-torn country.

“We deal with tragic situations and stories of people who have gone through horrendous experiences,” Boumediene said.

The agencies say they are committed to fully supporting the newly arrived, despite what they say is a lack of support from the government.

“We don’t want to re-victimize these people,” Kassab said. “These people are victims of torture, victims of persecution, victims of failed policies and therefore they should be helped.”

This does sound more Christian than Muslim, but who knows? At any rate, praise to these groups, whatever religion they are, who are trying to do what should be done, without much government help.

Ann previously posted on the Chaldeans in Michigan in 2008, here, and pointed out that the community was helping the refugees, not the government. And a later post pointed out that although the State Department had stopped settling refugees in Detroit, Iraqis settled in other areas of the country went there on their own. And why not? It sounds as if the Chaldeans and perhaps other groups there have the best resettlement program in the country.

It is definite! Haitians have been granted Temporary Protected Status

As you can see from my post earlier this a.m., I’ve been confused!  However, The Wall Street Journal has now reported that thousands of Haitians in the US illegally can stay for another 18 months —to work here and send money back to Haiti!

In making the announcement yesterday, Janet Napolitano warned that this only applies to Haitians here before Tuesday of this week.  So don’t try to get here now, you will be turned back, she said!   Good luck with that.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano extended temporary amnesty to Haitians who were illegally inside the U.S. before Tuesday’s earthquake, but warned that the Coast Guard would turn back any new refugees fleeing the devastation.

The so-called temporary protected status, or TPS, doesn’t apply to any Haitians who may try now to get into the U.S. If refugees take to the sea—the normal reaction to turmoil throughout Haiti’s recent history—officials in the U.S. and other countries will have to grapple with how to deal with a new wave of immigrants, most of whom will arrive without visas.

Ms. Napolitano warned that no new arrivals would get amnesty and the U.S. Coast Guard and other authorities would move quickly to stop new migrants. “People should not leave Haiti with the false belief that they will be entitled to TPS in the United States,” she said. She also said, “We are seeing no signs of any sort of migration of that nature at this point.”

TPS has been offered to victims of natural disasters before, particularly to refugees from El Salvador in 2001, as well as from Nicaragua, Honduras, Somalia and Sudan. But until Friday, TPS had never been granted to Haitian refugees, despite calls for relief following hurricanes and civil strife, mainly because successive White House administrations have feared it would trigger a stampede of refugees seeking haven in the U.S.

 Immigration advocacy groups are tickled pink with the decision!

“It’s a good day!” said Cheryl Little, executive director of Miami-based Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, a Haitian activist group, after Ms. Napolitano’s announcement.

Ms. Little said the tens of thousands of Haitians in the U.S. who now will be eligible to work will be able to remit money back to Haiti, which she said should “discourage some Haitians from risking their lives at sea.”

Ms. Little, where are they going to get jobs?

For information on TPS, go here.

Somali teens appear in court in MN triple-murder case

This is the latest from Minneapolis on the supposed robbery gone wrong that we reported here  just over a week ago.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

More than 200 East African immigrants tried to squeeze into back-to-back Hennepin County court sessions Friday for two teenage Somali boys facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of three men last week at a Seward neighborhood store.

More than half those who came to support the families of the victims and the defendants had to wait outside as Mahdi Hassan Ali, 17, and his friend, Ahmed Shire Ali, 17, appeared before a judge for the first time since the Jan. 6 shootings at the Seward Market and Halal Meats in south Minneapolis. (The teenagers are friends and not related.)

During separate hearings, District Judge Gary Larson set bail at $3 million for each.

Mahdi Ali was the alleged gunman in what authorities have described as a robbery turned fatal. Ahmed Ali allegedly confined two people to the back of the store while his friend robbed and shot the men up front, according to a criminal complaint.

A reader sent  me the criminal complaint but it sure looks like if they planned to simply rob the place they started killing before they even gave the victims a chance to give them any money.  Maybe there is more to this story than just a couple of crazy kids gone wrong.

You can read the whole story in the Star Tribune.  It is one more sordid Somali crime. 

If you didn’t see it yesterday, see the story of the crazy Maine Somali Mom, driving without a valid license, who runs down a high school student in Lewiston.

Scandinavia terror watch

Here is an article from Terrorism Monitor that addresses the recent case of the attempted murder of the Danish cartoonist by a Somali immigrant (the whole story is in this article if you haven’t seen it), but I was most interested in the information that Sweden and Denmark are keeping a closer eye on their Somali communities.

What is clear, however, is that operational networks do exist which link al-Shabaab to Somali diaspora communities in the Nordic countries. Sweden’s security services have repeatedly warned of this threat, while Danish security services have found themselves very busy in the wake of the cartoons. Both have increased their focus on their respective domestic Somali communities. It has been estimated that there are about 20,000 Somalis in each nation, though figures are unreliable. What has alarmed Swedish forces, however, is the growing evidence that non-Somalis are being attracted to the fight from Sweden, something that is supported by a Danish report which claims Somalia is now being seen as the exciting jihad hotspot among young radicals. While the actual numbers are quite small (Sweden claims some 10 nationals are currently in Somalia, and the number from Denmark is unlikely to be much higher), the connection does raise the worrying prospect that al-Shabaab or a similar group might attempt to manipulate the network to carry out an attack in Europe.