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The dangers of Britain’s Islamist Underground

Around 2003, shortly after he converted from Christianity to Islam, Adebolajo joined the al-Muhajiroun group. The group’s leader was a Syrian immigrant named Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical Islamist cleric who urges his followers to fight the jihad and is currently banned from returning to the UK. In 2006, from his exile in Beirut, he allegedly called for violent resistance against “the enemy,” which, in his view, is primarily the British and Americans. “When you meet them, slice their own necks,” he reportedly said, concluding with: “Use the sword and remove the enemy’s head.” It sounds like instructions for the Woolwich murder. No wonder Bakri called Adebolajo a “courageous” man shortly after the attack last week and insisted that his actions could be reconciled with the Islamic faith because he “had not attacked civilians, but rather a soldier.” Adebolajo asked him religious questions in London, Bakri says, adding that “he was curious.” But he admits that he doesn’t know if he influenced the young man. Choudary says that he was Bakri’s right hand. Working together, he says, they aimed to rally Muslim youth throughout the country against the policies of the British government and usher them onto the streets.

Insider trading at the White House

There is no evidence that the private discussions with the two administration officials about health-care decisions provided investors with confidential agency information or that the investors made trades based on what they learned. But this sort of intelligence gathering has been drawing attention from lawmakers and federal investigators who are looking at whether some traders are gaining access to information that is not available to investors in general or the wider public. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are probing a spike in health-insurance stock trading this year that occurred after a Washington brokerage issued a bulletin predicting the outcome of a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase funding for the Medicare Advantage program, which is administered by private insurers.

Drop in Teen Birth Rates

The report, from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that teen birth rates fell at least 15% in all states with the exception of West Virginia and North Dakota during the years 2007 to 2011. Rates in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah fell by 30% or more. The CDC based their findings on birth certificates collected during the study period. Overall, the rate of births to teen mothers dropped by 25% from 41.5 per 1,000 teens between the ages of 15 to 19 in 2007 to a record low of 31.1 births per 1,000 teens in 2011…“The short answer is that it is a combination of less sex and more contraception. Teenagers have a greater number of methods of contraceptives to choose from,” says Bill Albert, the chief program officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “The menu of contraceptive methods has never been longer.”

Jewish converts to conservative Christianity

“I came from a not particularly Bible-oriented household,” Mr. Olasky said, “so there are lots of things, as far as memorizing parts of the Bible, that folks that grew up in the evangelical subculture have, and I just don’t have that.” While he has felt no anti-Semitism from Christians, Mr. Olasky said he has encountered resentment from Jews. One time he was seated at a dinner next to a religious Jew. “And he would not talk with me through the whole dinner,” he said. “I encounter that occasionally.”

Why some wars are so brutal

Some wars are more likely to see routine sadism of the Syrian type than are others. The humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib stirred revulsion among the American public, but on history’s scale of atrocities it was not remotely in the same league as what occurred in the Rwanda genocide in 1994, the Iran-Iraq War or the Soviet fighting in Afghanistan during the 1980s, or the Balkan nightmare of the 1990s. One way to ensure brutal cycles of violence is to prolong fighting. Mubarak was toppled quickly. Had he turned the army against the protesters and incited a civil war, the grotesque episodes we see in Syria might have become commonplace in Egypt. The Six-Day War of 1967, in which Israel fought back against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, lacked the horrendous violence of the drawn-out conflict in South Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, the PLO and others that lasted from 1982 to 2000.

For gays, why stick with the Catholic Church?

At the time of my baptism the church’s teaching on homosexuality was one of the ones I understood the least. I thoroughly embarrassed myself in a conversation with one of my relatives, who tried to figure out why I was joining this repressive religion. I tried to explain something about how God could give infertile heterosexual couples a baby if He wanted to, and my relative, unsurprisingly, asked why He couldn’t give a gay couple a baby. The true answer was that I didn’t understand the teaching, but had agreed to accept it as the cost of being Catholic. To receive the Eucharist I had to sign on the dotted line (they make you say, “I believe all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches” when they bring you into the fold), and I longed intensely for the Eucharist, so I figured, everybody has to sacrifice something. God doesn’t promise that He’ll only ask you for the sacrifices you agree with and understand. But being embedded in Catholicism colors my reading of the Bible—that is actually what tradition is supposed to do—and shapes my sense of which elements of Christian history are essential and which are wanderings from the path. So the main reason I’m planning on celibacy for the foreseeable future is just that I’m Catholic and lesbian and them’s the rules, bud.


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