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OMNI-TV File: 2013 – More of the Same: Old White Man with a forked tongue preaching democracy

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

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I wish I could sit here like some of the pundits in the mainstream media, recounting 2012 — coming up with one liners for each event and then another one liner of wisdom – what the poet T.S. Elliott called ‘measuring our life with coffee spoons’ – but for me, this has been one of the most horrible years in human history – marking the resurgence of Western hegemony, the return of colonialism dressed in the garb of a wise old white man with a forked tongue claiming to spread democracy around the world — leaving a trail of destruction and chaos that eventually benefits the West — Libya, gone the way of Iraq – a human rights nightmare – Syria about to go the way of Libya, Egypt and Lebanon on the brink, Iran holding its own for now, Africa targeted for western mining companies with dubious environmental records, the US and Europe backing dictators heading brutal regimes in some of the old Soviet republics, in the Mideast and Africa and Latin America – the Saudi Arabia’s, Ethiopia’s, Colombia’s and Guatemala’s — Has any of this reduced hunger or poverty in this world — no – raised the level of human rights? – no – in fact, the whole thing is now a science fiction movie where even grassroots revolutions that previously overturned dictatorships are not possible, what with technology that can read your intentions before you formulate them and remote controlled drones that can wipe you out with a button pressed thousands of miles away by a uniformed nerd who grew up playing terminator games on computers – and on top of this we are about to enter the 13th year of this century – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 

I wish I could sit here like some of the pundits in the mainstream media, recounting 2012 — coming up with one liners for each event and then another one liner of wisdom what the poet T.S. Elliott called ‘measuring our life with coffee spoons’ – but for me, this has been one of the most horrible years in human history – marking the resurgence of Western hegemony, the return of colonialism dressed in the garb of a wise old white man with a forked tongue claiming to spread democracy around the world — leaving a trail of destruction and chaos that eventually benefits the West — Libya, gone the way of Iraq a human rights nightmare Syria about to go the way of Libya, Egypt and Lebanon on the brink, Iran holding its own for now, Africa targeted for western mining companies with dubious environmental records, the US and Europe backing dictators heading brutal regimes in some of the old Soviet republics, in the Mideast and Africa and Latin America the Saudi Arabia’s, Ethiopia’s, Colombia’s and Guatemala’s — Has any of this reduced hunger or poverty in this world — no – raised the level of human rights? no in fact, the whole thing is now a science fiction movie where even grassroots revolutions that previously overturned dictatorships are not possible, what with technology that can read your intentions before you formulate them and remote controlled drones that can wipe you out with a button pressed thousands of miles away by a uniformed nerd who grew up playing terminator games on computers – and on top of this we are about to enter the 13th year of this century think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

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OMNI-TV File: Fress Press, False Sex Charges, a Teacher destroyed

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

Free Press, False Sex Charges, a Teacher Destroyed (Dec. 14, 2012)

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The recent nightmare of 47-year-old Brampton, Ontario teacher Alan Muliyil, courtesy of the York Regional Police — and the unravelling of his reputation built over 25 years — once again highlights the desperate need to impose legal limits on an unrestrained, profit-oriented, sensationalist media that does irreparable damage to the lives of ordinary people — Muliyil is a South Asian Canadian whose ordeal began in May when police charged him with sex related offences involving a 14 year old prostitute — and held the charge over his head for six months — his 14 year teaching career ended, his 20 years of coaching for a volleyball team ended and he was a pariah in the community — and then suddenly the crown attorney withdrew the charge because of mistaken identity — the cops had not even checked to see that the description of a white suspect with a beard did not match this clean shaven South Asian and apparently only went by a cell phone number given them which turned out to be his landline — but embellished accounts had been fed to the media – and soon these were all over the Internet — because our right to a free press knows no limits his presumption of innocence disappeared in a puff of smoke – under the old law all you could report was the name, address, age and the charge laid and you made sure the word alleged was used – sensational accounts were considered a contempt of court and details could only be reported during the trial – today, the police PR machine makes sure you are convicted in the media before your trial – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri

Non-Christian priests cut from jails (Nov. 30, 2012)

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The federal government’s decision to cut the contracts of all non-Christian chaplains in federal jails doesn’t just smack of discrimination but a colonial mindset – a desire of the Tories to take Canada back to 1812 when if you were not Christian you were a nobody – public safety minister Vic Toews made this decision purportedly to save money – even though nobody knows how much it would save from the six and a half million dollar chaplain budget – given that of the 80 full time chaplains only one was non-Christian and of the 100 part-timers only 20 were non-Christian – chaplains give religious and spiritual help to convicted criminals and Toews’ office told the media that Ottawa quote is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funds – but in fact it has – it has picked and chosen Christian chaplains over other religions – now don’t get me wrong, personally I would have had no problem getting rid of all religious chaplains and replacing them with secular psychiatric councillors – given my firm belief that religions are the root cause of the conflicts we see in the world today – in fact historically the most savage wars have been fought under the banner of religion whether Islam, Christianity or what have you – let convicted criminals make their own peace inside or outside jail with the god or goddess of their choice – however, if you are going to keep religious chaplains in secular penitentiaries then treat everyone equally – the words of Sikh chaplain Harkirat Singh makes sense: how can a Christian chaplain provide spirituality to the Sikh faith? – how indeed – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 

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OMNI-TV File: Food Bank Use Up in Canada; in Canada?????

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

 

Food banks and the Holiday Season (Dec. 7, 2012)

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Poverty in Canada may sound like an oxymoron given the rosy economic picture that the rest of the world has been painting about us – but some startling numbers from the Food Banks Canada group tells us otherwise – Almost nine hundred thousand Canadians regularly use of food banks across Canada, inching closer to a million as our own economy starts to slip slowly – this is up thirty one per cent from the beginning of the 2008 recession – according to Katharine Schmidt, an executive director of the group, more than half the four thousand five hundred foods banks across Canada reported an increase in use – and what is scary is that almost forty per cent of those using food banks are children or youth – and contrary to redneck views held by many that the same families use food banks so as to have money for other sundries such as beer, this is not the case says Schmidt – most still use it until they have secured good enough jobs – and the cause of all this? In most cases it is expensive rental housing caused by money grubbing landlords – and cutbacks in employment insurance – the solution is obvious say several groups: the government should dramatically increase construction of low cost housing such as co-op homes – and simultaneously, Ottawa and the provinces should pump more money into retraining programs – money better spent than Prime Minister Stephen Harper flying his armoured cars for an official state visit to India – and why aren’t the governments doing this? – to get an answer, call your member of parliament – but meanwhile, as the holiday season approaches, think about the less fortunate and give to food banks, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 

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OMNI-TV File: Malala Yusufzai – brave girl being played like a political football by the West; India-Canada Nuke Deal – does it bode well for our planet?

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Malala Yusufzai: Brave girl being played as political football by the West (Nov. 16, 2012)

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Don’t be fooled by the uproar in Pakistan over the shooting of 14 year old Malala Yusufzai – the brave teenager recovering in a UK hospital after being shot by the bearded Neanderthals of the Taliban because she spoke out for the education of Muslim girls – also don’t be fooled by an online petition signed by among others Bob Rae of the Liberal Party nominating her for the highly politicized Nobel peace prize – whose genuineness has been diminishing by the year – just watch how soon Malala is forgotten once the self-promoters have finished riding on her coattails – remember Pakistan is a totally failed state whose rich and powerful are busy transferring their wealth to the West – and the masses are busy eking out a living, saving enough to educate their boys to become their Canada Pension Plan – instead of using Malala as a political football for gender equality, let each developed nation contribute ten million dollars to a Malala Yusufzai Fund for the education of Muslim girls – then put together feminist thinkers and activists on the ground – and I mean the real McCoy’s like Shoma Choudhary, the female editor of India’s investigative magazine Tehelka, firebrand women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes in Mumbai, author Arundhati Roy and others like them in Pakistan – not elite feminist wanna-be’s who grace tea parties in western consulates – these female activists fight for women every day on the ground – give them the resources and let them loose rather than descending like a bunch of patriarchal westerners – remember time is of the essence because Pakistan has been ranked 134 of 135 by the latest Global Gender Gap Index when it comes to women – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 India-Canada Nuclear Deal: Does it bode well for our planet (Nov. 9, 2012)

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By the time you see this, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be wrapping up his first trip to India – his armour plated vehicles with Ontario licence plates shipped to the next port of call, and several trade deals signed with a country whose rich and middle class – the folks with the money to buy – numbering almost four times the population of Canada – the only big cliff hanger before he ventured to India was and remained the nuclear fuel issue – if you remember, India surreptitiously diverted Canadian uranium almost 40 years ago to build a bomb – an event that sparked the nuclear arms race in South Asia, with Pakistan following closely and taking the world closer to the brink – Canada suspended any nuclear trade with India – something that was reversed only in the last few years in principle –– Canada continued to insist that India, which like Pakistan refuses to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty that even Iran has signed, allow Canada to monitor its supplies – India considers this an infringement of its sovereignty – the deal means big bucks to Canadian miners because India is planning to build 40 nuclear reactors in the next 20 years – whatever the outcome, we cannot and should not just take India’s word because the stakes are high and we are not talking about exporting timber or cupcakes – and the stock price of our uranium miners is also secondary much as our business-minded Tory government may think otherwise – the primary issue is the future existence of our planet and our grandchildren – besides, once India agrees to these safeguards, Pakistan will have no excuse but to fall in line – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 

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26 Years Later, Arafat’s Words to Me Are a Reality: the PLO’s Burgeoning Islamic Fervor

Yes, that is your’s truly Zuhair Kashmeri in 1986 in Baghdad, interviewing the late Yassir Arafat for The Globe and Mail.

The Palestinian saga has to be one of the most ridiculous stories of the 20th and perhaps even the 21st Century. More than 25 years after I did a mamoth series for The Globe and Mail entitled “Inside the PLO,” the Palestinians continue in their stateless existence as Israeli settlers continue gobbling up more and more of their land. And the neo-Colonial West looks on as it always has… In this context, I offer you my article from 1986, published and distributed worldwide by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, which, I believe continues to make sense… although hopes for a Mideast peace are nearing extinction!

The PLO’s Burgeoning Islamic Fervor

May 11, 1986|Zuhair Kashmeri | Zuhair Kashmeri is a reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail.

©The Los Angeles Times Syndicate

AMMAN, JORDAN — It is time for the noon prayers and the office of the Palestine National Council in Amman suddenly starts emptying. In the corridors, people are hurrying by, completing their ablutions before bowing to Allah.

For years the council, the Palestinian parliament in exile, and its parent body, the Palestine Liberation Organization, have projected themselves as secular. After all, more than 20% of their members are either Christian or simply atheists. But this is changing. Palestinians are turning to Islam and the PLO is becoming Islamized from the bottom up.

Despite the Muslim majority, most Palestinians in the past had resigned themselves to the thinking of Yasser Arafat, their leader, that only a political and diplomatic solution, supported by the United States and the West, would get them their homeland. Hence, the need to be secular.

Now, rank-and-file Palestinians say this was a myth that has been shattered. Twenty-one years after the PLO was formed, they are no closer to a homeland. And almost 52% of the West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Israel during the 1967 War and marked out by President Reagan as the logical homeland, has now fallen either to Jewish settlers or annexation.
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OMNI-TV File: Myth of the Muslim Tide book review; Desmond Tutu’s vision of Seeing Bush and Blair in handcuffs

 

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Myth of the Muslim Tide by Doug Saunders: Book Review

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(September 2012) Finally a book that destroys the myth spread by our so called free press about an Islamic conspiracy to take over North America and Europe through immigration and large families and then turn them Islamic – No, I am not joking – these myths are propagated by politicians and Islamophobic racists such as Ann Coulter and Pamela Geller, of Fox News, Canadian Mark Steyn whose essay was published by none other than Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine and was quoted by Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik who murdered 69 youngsters at a liberal party youth camp – now we have a superbly researched book by Doug Saunders, the European bureau chief of The Globe and Mail called The Myth of the Muslim Tide : Do Immigrants threaten the West? – published by Random House Canada – he uses extensive studies to demolish the most dangerous myth of the 21st Century – propaganda similar to what previously led to the persecution of Jews and Catholics – sure some fanatic Muslims turn to terrorism, he says, but most are well settled in their new homeland – one study shows that between 2001 and 2009 there were 65 Islamic Jihadist incidents in Europe involving 336 people which was less than one per cent of all terrorist incidents in Europe – did MacLean’s or any other publication bother to put the works of these Islamophobic nutbars into perspective? Of course not – why let the facts get in the way of a good headline – If any country shines in all this, it is Canada, with its multiculturalism introduced by Pierre Trudeau – make sure your local library carries this book and your local media review it – today it is the Muslims, tomorrow it could be you – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

Bush, Blair and Desmond Tutu

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(September 2012) I am usually very soft on punishment as my own children will tell you, but the thought of former US president George Bush and former English Prime Minister Tony Blair in handcuffs, testifying from the prisoner’s dock at the International Criminal Court, has me rubbing my hands with glee – of course all this was happening in my imagination, triggered by the retired Anglican Archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tuto – Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his fight against apartheid, refused to share a platform with Tony Blair – he said the lies about the weapons of mass destruction propagated by Bush and Blair to invade Iraq cost that country lives and more – most studies conclude that the Anglo American invasion cost well over a million Iraqi lives, hundreds of thousands of them little children and their mothers – Tutu said the two leaders fabricated the grounds to launch their assault and the Iraqis are today reaping the results of this – Tutu believes there are different standards applied to Western leaders – instead of forcing these two to tread the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague – what a brave statement – but then Tutu like Mandela and others was a product of the then African National Congress which fought apartheid and white rule by any means necessary and won the hearts and wallets of people such as myself – Of course Bush and Blair won’t be tried and you are probably seeing Iraq being repeated in Syria with Iran as the next stop – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

 

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OMNI-TV File: Anti Muslim Film: A Freedom to Slander? and The Shameful Saga of Child Soldier Omar Khadr

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

 Anti Muslim Video: Freedom of Expression? Or Freedom to Slander? (Oct. 19)

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Now that the furore over the controversial California made video, The Innocence of Muslims, has died down after protests and violence and deaths in several parts of the Muslim world, let’s examine this whole notion of freedom of expression – especially whether freedom of expression means the freedom to abuse and hurt millions just because you believe that their faith is somehow oriented in the wrong direction or to the wrong god or prophet – and I am not suggesting that the western world bring back blasphemy laws as in Pakistan – all I am saying is that it get off its high horse of a western styled democracy as the panacea for the world and have the humility to study other jurisdictions – like Russia, where the courts have banned this film in the interest of avoiding large scale public disorder, or India for that matter, which routinely curbs certain media coverage so as to avoid large scale sectarian or religious conflicts – this video wasn’t free expression – the actors and the director were part of the pornography industry and believed they were shooting a porno flick – what was supposed to be an orgy in the desert was later dubbed to show prophet Mohammed involved in sex acts with juveniles – are the makers of this odious video going to face any censure or any charges? – No, they are covered by free expression and Muslims have already been painted in our media and on public posters in New York’s subway trains as savages – most of us believe that – but how far do you think these free expressionists would have gone had they made a similar film about Jews and Judaism? – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

Shameful Canadian Saga of Child Soldier Omar Khadr (Oct. 12)

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Finally, the shameful saga of child soldier and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr has started to end – with his return to Canada to complete the illegal sentence given him by a kangaroo military court in America – to recount his story, he was 15 when captured by invading US special forces in Afghanistan and charged with murder for throwing a hand grenade that killed a special forces officer – he had been brainwashed by his father to join the forces of al Qaida – under normal rules of war, he killed an enemy combatant and should have been held as a prisoner of war – instead he was held like a common criminal and charged with murder – and the Canadian government of Stephen Harper playing second fiddle to Washington instead of to international law let him flounder in a concentration camp and be tortured – a 15 year old in a Canadian or American court would be tried as a juvenile, which means even his identity would be protected help his rehabilitation in the future – but not this Canadian who in fact was described by our public safety minister Voc Toews as follows when announcing his return to Canada: a convicted terrorist and a supporter of terrorists – as someone who quote murdered in violation of the rules of war end of quote – holy smokes, I did not know first of all that the rules of war prohibit the killing of an enemy soldier, which is what the American were in Afghanistan – what a sham, how disgraceful, it is at times like these I hang my head in shame as a Canadian and I hope you do too – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

Click here to read: The Omar Khadra Headache by Neil Macdonald of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

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OMNI TV – Behind the Commentaries: The Omar Khadr Headache by CBC Correspondent Neil Macdonald

So, the Americans are minus one more Guantanamo Bay headache.

 And Canadians will now start arguing in earnest about whether Omar Khadr was a child soldier, as the UN has categorized him, or a terrorist murderer.

CLICK HERE to read the full story on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. written by one of Canada’s most honest investigative reporters, Neil Macdonald, Senior Washington Correspondent for CBC TV.

About The Author

 Neil Macdonald is the senior Washington correspondent for CBC News, which he joined in 1988 following 12 years in newspapers. Before taking up this post in 2003, Macdonald reported from the Middle East for five years. He speaks English and French fluently, and some Arabic.

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OMNI-TV File: Freedom of Press? Or Freedom to Jeopardize a Fair Trial? the Case of Melissa Ann Frederich

 

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

Freedom of the Press? Or Jeoparidizing a Fair Trial…

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(October 2012) Did you follow the news reports about Melissa Ann Friedrich aka Millie Weeks? – The seventy-seven year old woman arrested in Nova Scotia in connection with the attempted murder of her husband – no it wasn’t the case that twigged my interest, it was the media reporting of her arrest – for starters, the news media turned into muckrakers – it was reported that she is known as quote the Internet Black Widow after the notorious spider – and to back this the media delved into her history – stealing from one husband and being jailed, drugging another and running him over with a car then serving time for manslaughter – all very titillating – the headlines and nightly news promos that would draw huge audiences – a free press indeed – this ain’t freedom of the press, this is freedom to infringe on the right of an accused to get a fair trial – the coverage was like the early years of the penny press in England – report everything and let the chips fall where they may – it used to be before all this rubbish about freedom to report everything that you would be charged with contempt of court if you began getting into colourful details and previous convictions that could jeopardize a fair trial – essentially all you could report at the time of arrest was the bare details with no colour that today the police deliberately leak to the press – the colour would come during the trial – what jury is going to give her a fair trial when Melissa Ann Frederick has already been dubbed as the Internet Black Widow and her previous criminal history laid bare like a Harlequin romance – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

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OMNI-TV File: American cop and his gun; Islamophobia takes toll on Sikhs; India – no power outage for powerless

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

American Cop and his Gun

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Police officer Walt Wavra of Kalamazoo Michigan is perhaps one of the big reasons why I immigrated to Canada and not to the US – and I am so happy this 20-year veteran of the Kalamazoo police department is the laughing stock over the Internet – Wavra’s claim to fame begins in Nose Hill park in Calgary during the Stampede – he and his wife were strolling when suddenly two young men stepped in front of them and asked if they had been to the stampede yet – Wavra was not used to such friendly gestures – in Kalamazoo the two would have been smoked by a 9 mm Glock automatic, even though all they were doing was handing out free Stampede tickets – Wavra stood between his wife and the two men, and reached for his gun – which of course was in Kalamazoo thanks to our laws – he then said he did not wish to converse with them, leaving them baffled – later, in a letter to the editor of the Calgary Herald the copper wrote: they did not have good intentions when they approached in such an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort, end of quote – Holy mackerel! – can you imagine if we allowed maniacs like Wavra to bring their guns with them? – promoting the Calgary Stampede on the street would then be declared a job more hazardous than cleaning nuclear waste – He also argued that since the police can’t be everywhere, people should be allowed to carry handguns to defend themselves – right on Wild Bill Hickok, you would make the American Rifle Association proud – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmer

Sikh Temple Shooting

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The real culprits in the horrific mass murder of six Sikhs at their Gurdwara in Southern Wisconsin will go scot free as usual – I am talking about the mass media that have painted a sordid picture of all Muslims as a band of turban-wearing, cutthroat murderers and terrorists who want to forcibly convert the world and make Sharia law universal – Led by trashy racists like Pamela Geller, Anne Coulter and Mark Steyn among others – who spout their Islamophobic venom of defeating Islam – half the American states are actually looking at passing anti-Sharia laws – all of which is lapped up and reported by a media hungry for anything that will sell papers and the evening news short of being wiped out by the Internet – is it any wonder then that neo-Nazi, racist nut bars like former US army veteran Wade Michael Page go Muslim hunting – Page of course identified Sikhs as Muslims because of their turbans and undertook his murderous rampage – coincidentally, in the same week, an arsonist torched a Muslim Mosque in Joplin Missouri – his or her third attempt – finally succeeding – not that anybody featured this on the front pages or even linked the two as a connected phenomenon – and neither of these incidents are new – and yet I am expected to support uncontrolled freedom of expression and press – the freedom for established magazines like Maclean’s to run the hate-ridden anti-Muslim rants of that racist Mark Steyn – of Fox news to include racists like Pamela Geller to spout their venom? – I think it is time to broaden hate laws to include Islamophobia and give religious and minority groups the power to launch class action suits for defamation – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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