October 24, 2014

News and Analysis (10/24/14)

Benedict Koehler writes that the khulifah rashidun, the first caliphs, promoted innovative and dynamic economies. Would-be pretenders who wish to bear their mantle ought to keep in mind that the benefits from enlarged markets are far greater than those from rapine and intolerance”:

Canada  “fears that the country is suffering reprisals for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria” …

… The shooter was once ejected from a mosque “because of his ‘erratic’ behavior”, like the alleged Boston Marathan bomber  “who has since been implicated in a 2011 triple homicide that targeted a drug-dealing friend of his, [and] was once ejected from his neighborhood mosque” …

… and the shooting requires care that any changes in the law “be done … with an understanding of the limited scale of the threat, …  and not as a panicky reaction to a very small number of men who … pose no threat whatsoever to the survival of Canada” …

More reasons to doubt the government’s optimism about release of the abducted girls: “The abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram group”:

“A 3-month-old baby killed in Jerusalem when a Palestinian man slammed his car into pedestrians was an American” …

… while in the U.S. attacks on Iraqis,  “[s]ix of the civilians were children and five were women” …

“Pakistani American Aizzah Fatima was disillusioned with stereotypical roles for Muslim actors, so she wrote her own one-woman play, Dirty Paki Lingerie”:

“Europe’s fear of radical Islam appears to be feeding extremism”:

Successful “attacks showed Islamic State’s continued operating resilience despite air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces aimed at defeating the ultra-radical Sunni jihadist group”:

“Every major Western power involved in the fight against IS is now speaking to the PYD. [The Turks] are trying to convince everyone that they’re a terrorist group who should be treated the same as IS, and no one’s listening”:

“Ghulam Azam, 91, died late on Thursday after life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University in the capital, Dhaka”:

October 22, 2014

News and Analysis (10/22/14)

“Muslims are already under the microscope, and to do this just to gain some cheap publicity is totally unacceptable. There should be no attempt to justify it; they should just apologize and ask people to forgive them for their irresponsible actions” — CAIR spokesman,  Ibrahim Hooper:

“The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group” …

… but “the Syrian air force has destroyed two of three jets seized and reportedly test flown over Aleppo by the Islamic State group last week, according to the country’s information minister”, although “militants were able to hide a third jet, which the Syrian air force is now searching for”:

The men who snatched Abu Issa from the streets of this southeastern city were Turkish gangsters, but their client was the Islamic State, and they had been promised good money to spirit the Syrian rebel commander across the Turkish border into Syria.

To motivate them “to join an increasingly efficient militant group that promises to vanquish their oppressors” need the victims of Asad and Maliki ‘convert’ to ISIS’ … [or] aspire to a caliphate …? These questions are never asked, and ‘beliefs’ are made simply to fill the explanatory void”:

“Officials have not released details, but social media users say the women were targeted for not following Iran’s strict dress code. If convicted, the attackers could face the death penalty”:

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he was setting up an investigation into attacks on United Nations facilities during Israel’s recent war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the use of U.N. sites to store weapons”:

A previous sodomy conviction was quashed. “‘I have vowed to fight from this country. I will continue my struggle’…. Anwar said he can’t predict if jailing him would spark massive street protests like in 1998, but believes it would galvanize further support for the opposition”:

“The three journalists of the Qatar-based broadcaster were jailed for seven years on 23 June. They were accused of spreading false news and supporting the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood”:

When they Gulf state visitors were told that it is illegal for women to dress in that fashion in France, the couple left the opera. Afterward, “France’s ministry of culture said they are drawing up a new set of rules regarding veils for theatres, museums and other public institutions”:

October 21, 2014

Leonard Liggio (1933-2014): A Scholar For The Free World

Leonard Liggio (1933-2014): A Scholar For The Free World

by Alejandro Chafuen, President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

[Originally published in Forbes, reprinted with permission of the  author]

The free society lost a great champion on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 when Leonard P. Liggio passed away. I first met Leonard P. Liggio in 1980 at a Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) meeting held at the Hoover Institution. He was standing on the left side of the packed auditorium next to Murray Rothbard, another intellectual giant, much smaller in size, but similar in their passion to understand and promote liberty. At the time Liggio was president of the Institute for Humane Studies (I.H.S.). At the time of his passing, he was vice president of the Atlas Network, which as I.H.S. relocated to Northern Virginia and, for some years, shared offices near George Mason University. John Blundell (1952-2014), who succeeded Liggio as president of I.H.S., also became president of Atlas Network (1988-1991), and had an outstanding relationship with him.

From the moment of our arrival in Virginia I worked daily with Leonard on different projects. With his deep and encyclopedic historical knowledge he complemented and enlightened Atlas Network’s work to create and nurture public policy think tanks. His understanding of the evolution of legal institutions helped me and many others put our economic and policy arguments into a better perspective.

In 1990, Manuel Ayau (1925-2010), the founder and late president of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, asked Leonard and I to help him build the program of a regional MPS meeting. Although the topic always led to major disagreements among classical liberals, we organized a panel on religion and liberty. We invited Father Robert Sirico to speak. That meeting led to conversations among us and eventually to the founding of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. The co-founders, Sirico and Kris Mauren asked us to become founding trustees. Our next joint effort was in 1993 with Tony Sullivan, then at the Earhart Foundation developing a program to promote classical liberal ideas among the Muslim world. We provided advice and some support to the Minaret of Freedom Institute founded later that year.

After a restructuring of I.H.S. in 1988, Atlas had a chance to bring Liggio onto its team. I.H.S. focused on scholars, and Atlas on think tanks, but the latter needed the input and academic guidance of figures like Leonard. Plus, a new crop of intellectual entrepreneurs working at universities, would profit from having such a talented and generous scholar helping them multiply their impact. Seeing its enhanced academic capital, the John Templeton Foundation asked Atlas to administer the Templeton Freedom Project, which focused on teaching the principles of the free society at universities in the U.S. and across the globe. [One of the most successful courses to emerge from that effort was the course on "Religion, Science, and Freedom"  taught by Minaret of Freedom Institute President Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad in the University of Maryland Honors Program for six years.] Those investments continue to bear fruit.

Describing Liggio’s affiliations and saying a few words about their relevance would fill an academic paper. Think tanks and academic societies in Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, France, Portugal, Turkey and the United Kingdom benefitted from his advice and knowledge. He had a stellar career in the United States. In addition to I.H.S., he was president of the MPS, the Philadelphia Society, vice president of the Cato Institute and the Atlas Network, and a trustee of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Also, Leonard and I were involved in the early discussions of the Christian, conservative think tank at Grove City College: The Center for Vision & Values.

As a member of the board of Liberty Fund, his knowledge of the international academic scene helped the Liberty Fund invest wisely across the globe helping connect the best liberty scholars in the world. Leonard won several awards and recognitions including an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín and the 2007 Adam Smith Award conveyed by the Association for Private Enterprise and Education. Numerous academic journals have profited from his editorial advice, hundreds, if not thousands of young academics benefitted from his insights and generous recommendation letters. He helped many with their book projects. Perhaps due to that generosity, he never completed a book of his own, but his dozens of learned academic papers and lectures will illuminate generations to come.

Liggio was much more than a man of ideas, he was also a man of the spirit. Whenever he saw a friend or colleague with some pain in their soul, he shared with them, with respect, love and above all, understanding, the treasure that he found in his Catholic faith. He always reminded think tank leaders to avoid scheduling events during the religious holidays of other faiths. Leonard Liggio was a scholar, intellectual entrepreneur, and generous human being who serves as an example of how to devote a life to promote the free society.

Alejandro Chafuen
President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

https://atlasnetwork.org/

October 20, 2014

News and Analysis (10/20/14)

“Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce and there have been at least five attacks since – blamed by security sources on the insurgents – that have killed dozens.” Further,  there are “doubts about the credentials of the reported Boko Haram negotiator …, who was unheard of before”:

“For many Kurds, Ankara’s spectator role in Kobane is a systematic policy to weaken PKK to get more leverage in the peace talks” …

… but despite Turkish opposition, the U.S. supplies the Kurds with arms to fight IS …

… and shortly thereafter Turkey’s FM announced that it “will allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross the Syrian border to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane”:

As “John Baird was greeted warmly by his Saudi Arabian counterpart to discuss coordinated efforts to combat Islamic State militants …, a Saudi court judge decided to pass a death sentence against a leading opposition figure on charges of sedition and ‘breaking allegiance to the king” …

… and the Muslim journalists murdered by IS don’t get the attention of their Western counterparts :

During a “hearing on charges of ‘destroying government property’ after tearing a picture of Bahrain’s king during a protest in 2012,” the 8-months pregnant defendant repeated the act in court, declaring: “I will give birth to a free baby boy even if it is inside our prisons”:

“After returning to the UK her son was questioned by the Metropolitan Police … [and] was also approached by officials from MI5 but she said the contact … ‘made him quite mistrusting, a bit paranoid. Despite this she does not regret her decision to bring her son home”:

“In an effort to lay a stronger political foundation to counter the Islamic State, the Iraqi parliament approved a Sunni Muslim as defense minister, and a Shi’ite as interior minister. Six Kurdish members of the cabinet were also sworn in” …

… but the suicide bombings in Baghdad, mostly claimed by IS, continue …

… “But when it comes to reversing the dramatic IS victories in Sunni areas, some leaders of Iraq’s influential tribes say they could prove a vital counterforce, at least until a proposed Iraqi national guard becomes a reality”:

“Hadzialic became the deputy mayor of the Swedish city Halmstad at the age of 23. Hadzialic was born in 1987 in Bosnia and fled from the Bosnian War with her family when she was five years old”:

Zionists threaten “the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb” with death because they consider John Adam’s opera about murder of Leon Klinghoffer somehow to be “anti-Semitic.” Rudy Juliani will lead opening night protest demonstrations:

October 19, 2014

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui (1933 – 2014)

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui (1933 – 2014)

[Obituary by Prof. Sulayman Nyang]

Professor Ali A. Mazrui is dead. We hereby call upon the Almighty Allah to grant him mercy and the best of his rewards to his servants. His death is a shock to many of us and to the countless numbers who knew him personally and benefited from his writings and other forms of sharing knowledge and memories. In writing this brief obituary it is imperative for us to educate the readers about the man and his works. Born to an Afro-Arab family with strong roots going back to the Middle East, he fulfilled in his life what is now called “the triple heritages.” This is to say, Ali was a Muslim child who learned to negotiate between Arabic, Swahili and the English language. This linguistic troika framed his opinions on and attitudes towards colonial rule in Kenya, Not only did he face colonialism but he also shared with other Kenyans the pangs of settler colonialism.

Being a contemporary of the late Tom Mboya, he carried with him all the agonies and frustrations known to the Kenyans of his days. The fact that a colonial governor intervened early in his life, in the sense that his education at the University of Manchester, where he received his Bachelor’s degree, was an act of goodwill, was never forgotten. Many a time Ali spoke about these developments in his life and how this act affected his encounter with Britain and the impact of the English language in Africa.

In talking about Ali Mazrui and his education in Kenya and abroad, seven things can be highlighted for the uninformed and perplexed. First of all, Ali came out of Kenya with a firm background in Swahili culture and this fact remained with him throughout his life. Secondly, Ali was a Muslim and in both his speeches and lectures, echoes of Islam and Africa reverberated in the firmaments of his public debates. 

Thirdly, one could list the fact that Ali was an engaged intellectual. Not only did he look at the learning systems of the West, but he also carried with him the critical tools for careful and formidable inspections of words and deeds from the West. His books and videos on Africa are now a part and parcel of his ever-growing legacies for all of us.

Fourthly, Ali Mazrui was a public intellectual who had the required training and audacity to stand up and speak for Africa and Islam. Certainly, he had the nerve and the verve to make a big difference. The fifth point to note is the fact that Ali Mazrui went to Columbia for his Master’s degree and to Oxford for his doctorate. These two instances provided him with the environments and personalities that changed and affected his life.

Tom Mboya, a rising star in Kenyan politics when Mazrui was a budding university professor, is a memorable partner in the telling of Kenyan history. Both of them owed a lot to Jomo Kenyatta. Not only were they impressed by the Mzee (Elder), they also helped in their own different ways to contribute to Kenyan struggles for independence. Tom’s book on Kenya and Ali’s book on Uhuru formed a part of the narratives with countless contributions from other Kenyans, Africans and others beyond East Africa.

The sixth point about Ali Mazrui and the Kenyan experience is related to his encounters with the political leaders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. His scholarship led him to inquiries about political life and times in this region of the continent. Witness is relationship with Idi Amin, which led to his flight from his beloved campus in Uganda; what about his verbal combat with Obote; how can we miss his political dance with Julius Nyerere, whose followers despised his creation of the term, Tanzaphilia, to define those local and foreign scholars singing praises to the old man from Arusha. 

How can we forget the relationship between Ali and Yacubu Gowon on Nigeria; how can we ever forget his relationship with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Muammar Qaddafi of Libya? Both were seen during the Cold War as political lepers quarantined by the West. Ali belonged to those scholars who demonstrated courage and determination to speak for Africa and Islam. His profile in courage led one Western scholar to describe him this way, as reported in my book, Ali Mazrui: The Man and His Works (1980).

According to this observation: “He was the Muhammad Ali of African intellectuals. Fly like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.”  The seventh and last point to identify hereunder is the fact that Ali Mazrui was later in his life and scholarship deeply invested in Islam and the Muslim experience in the West. A careful Google search will point to numerous pieces from which many essays and commentaries could be constructed by future students of Ali Mazrui and his contributions. Those who knew Ali and his works cannot forget his relationship with fellow Muslims who are public intellectuals in their own right. The leaders of the Minaret of Freedom, which has championed the work of Muslims and others clamoring for freedom and justice in America and abroad, particularly in Palestine, will forever add Ali to their narratives, either as a part of their main texts on Muslims and the American experience or, minimally, as a footnotes in their pages. Ali Mazrui was the first keynote speaker at a Minaret of Freedom Institute annual dinner, addressing the still urgent issue “Muslim Dilemmas from Human Rights to the Right to Nuclear Weapons.”

In writing about the man and his works, it is imperative for us to see the impact of Mazrui in the field of African Studies and Islamic Studies in the United States of America. With respect to the former, we can state here that many reflections on Islam and the American experience came from the pen of Ali A. Mazrui. Future researchers, who will try to understand and document the American Muslim narratives, are going to come across his name. This is evident through the Muslim journals on Islam Studies and in the pages of American and other Western journals on Islam.

When Mumtaz Ahmad and I started the American Journal of Islamic Studies in the early part of the 1980s, the efforts of many of our towering scholars were deployed. Ali A. Mazrui not only contributed through the journal when its name was changed to the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, but he also served as another editor-in-chief for the publication. He was able to relate his achievements in the field of African Studies to the field of Islamic Studies. That is why Ali worked well with John Esposito and a number of other scholars serving in their capacities as members of the academic council of the Center for Muslim-Christian understanding.

From that vantage point, Mazrui met and knew many people. As a result, Mazrui secured another place among scholars writing on Islam and the American experience.

In concluding this obituary on Ali A. Mazrui, it is fitting to revisit the impact of his father and the impact he had on the man and his future residence in the United States of America. His father was a learned jurist who served as a mufti in the Islamic high courts of Colonial Kenya. From him he inherited the deep interest in learning and sharing knowledge with family, friends and strangers. Being colonized by the English, he studied the language of the conqueror and became a celebrity among Third World scholars who deployed the language of the colonial master to defend and strengthen his people in their wars for freedom and independence.

 Not only did he learn and master the English language, but closer to home, he also engaged the Swahili language of his people and in time shared his command with the listeners of the BBC and other outlets where this African language became the vehicle of self-articulation and knowledge-transfer for those who were hungry for knowledge.

Professor Sulayman S. Nyang, Howard University
Minaret of Freedom Institute Board of Directors
www.minaret.org

October 17, 2014

News and Analysis (10/17/14)

“‘One of the things that Obama wanted to know was: Did this ever work?’ said one former senior administration official who participated in the debate and spoke anonymously because he was discussing a classified report. The C.I.A. report, he said, ‘was pretty dour in its conclusions'”:

“[D]uring the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran,  … [having learned] that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage…. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent”:

Kerry parrots “Sissi that ‘the central issue to Egypt’s future is economic.’ That facile conclusion overlooks the fact that substantial reform in Egypt — from the reduction of subsidies to the attraction of foreign investment — won’t be workable under a regime that holds thousands of political prisoners and denies basic rights” …

… but Jimmy Carter says, “The current environment in Egypt is not conducive to genuine democratic elections and civic participation. I hope that Egyptian authorities will reverse recent steps that limit the rights of association and assembly and restrict operations of Egyptian civil society groups”: 

“There are many Muslims throughout the world who stand up for equality, peace, and women’s rights. But they are usually the first to be shut down by America’s allies and other extremists’ voices”:

Contra the claims of Thomas Friedman, the poor economic status and low level of political participation of India’s Muslims suggests that being left free to pursue their life and religion is what really accounts for their resistance to radicalization; in that case the rise of Hindu nationalism may threaten to change everything:

When Hourani and her volunteers campaigned in a neighborhood, “a resident called police after he told her to leave the neighborhood but she refused. When the police arrived, she told the paper that she left peacefully.” Among deleted offensive comments on the story: “don’t elect a Muslim SOB, you should start shooting them!” :

Extremists in Syria are apparently encouraging jihadis traveling to join them to bring children, intent upon proving they can establish an Islamic caliphate, compete with devout families …

… while “Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air”:

“Boko Haram negotiators “assured that the schoolgirls and all other people in their captivity are all alive and well,” Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, told a news conference. The chief of defense staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, announced the truce and ordered his troops to immediately comply with the agreement”:

“Almost anywhere else in the world, hiring local people in the place of immigrants would pass unnoticed. But in a country where women are often housebound and many men prefer to do nothing rather than accept a low-grade job, the changes at the store are significant. They reveal trends that are gradually modernising the country”:

October 16, 2014

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala Yousafzai: Bone-chilling Contrasts in the West

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala YousafzaiBone-chilling Contrasts in the West

by El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

Let me begin by stating loud and clear, this writer is proud to know that a Muslim woman, Malala Yousafzai, has become the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. While her young age (17) might raise the eyebrows of some, in my humble opinion she is far more deserving than a number of much older Nobel laureates who immediately come to mind (I won’t mention any names).

This commentary is about something else, however. With the attention and celebration that greeted the selection of Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for the world’s most coveted peace prize, one would think that the American establishment has a special regard for young, accomplished (and committed) Muslim women. An honest review of the record would show that quite the opposite is true.

After news of the selection hit the air waves, this writer heard a regrettable BBC interview of a Pakistani editor who not only didn’t agree with Malala’s selection, but publicly “condemned” the Noble Committee’s decision. (In pockets of the Pakistani community, both here and abroad, there is a visceral hatred felt toward this amazing young sister.)

The remarks of this Pakistani editor against one of his own (during the course of that interview) underscored how blind, unforgiving and irrational hatred can be. That same blind, illogic thinking can also be found in America toward Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, as evidenced by the position that some within the US political and media establishments (and a minority of voices within America’s Pakistani community) have taken on her plight. Their thinking and response is just as dumb-founding and shameful as the Pakistani editor who doesn’t believe Malala was even shot – it’s all a “conspiracy,” he argues.

With that said, the parallels between Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala Yousafzai are striking!

  1. Like Malala, Aafia was already a well-educated young sister when she came to the West at the age of 18. (Aafia entered the US as a promising young immigrant, while Malala was transported to the UK in critical condition following a gunshot injury to the head, at the tender age of 15.)
  2. Aafia received her university training in America, graduating with honors from MIT and Brandeis. Malala has resumed her educational pursuits in the UK, and this writer predicts that she too will complete her educational pursuits with honors, insha’Allah.
  3. Both demonstrated a passion for Muslim women’s rights. In the case of Aafia, she campaigned for a full recognition of women’s rights across the board – see the youtube video of a 19 year old Aafia Siddiqui speaking at the University of Houston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skmj16h40wE ; for Malala, the right of Muslim girls (specifically in Pakistan) to be educated was, and is, her passion.
  4. Both grabbed the attention of special interests in the West, but with very different results. While Malala Yousafzai is being celebrated for her accomplishments and yet unfulfilled future potential, Aafia Siddiqui is wasting away in a maximum security prison cell on a military base in the land of “liberty and justice for all!”

While I could on, I think the point has already been made. And my advice to Malala, given the vagaries of American political conscience, don’t think about taking up residence in the United States any time soon!

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan, Peace Thru Justice Foundation

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister had this response to the recent court order:

“This is not Aafia’s decision. I know because my last conversation with her was that she was visited [in her dreams] by our prophet Muhammad, saw, and he was pleased with my efforts and the appeal. She said it is for this reason I consent, and if we don’t connect again DO NOT believe any statement to the contrary on my behalf.”

Since then we have had absolutely no contact with her. I know she did not withdraw of her own free will. She has been coerced. God knows how much torture [she’s been forced to endure], complete solitary and manipulations…. It horrifies me to even think about what she has been forced to go through.”

 

News and Analysis (10/16/14)

The Saudi sentence of “dissident Shiite cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr to death … for leading demonstrations and ‘inciting sectarian strife'” and death sentences against “at least 5 other Shiite activists … illustrates a problem for the US strategy for taking on the so-called Islamic State in Iraq”:

“[T]here is no such thing as a Muslim pope, there is no such thing as a Muslim Vatican. No one gets to tell you who is and who is not a Muslim”, even when they betray the teachings:

“[I]t may come as a shock to some—and really freak out others on the right—to discover that in various places across the United States, politicians are actually courting support from the Muslim community in terms of both votes and money. And the kicker is—some of the candidates are even Republicans”:

“Army sergeant who suffered mustard burns in 2007 … was denied hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the United States despite requests from his commander. Congress, too, was only partly informed, while troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts”:

“The statement by the 52-year-old Narendra Tyagi comes two days after the girl ran away from her parents with her Muslim lover and claimed that her family had forced her to give false statements of gang-rape and forcible conversion against him”:

“The Sept. 26 clash at the university started after a left-wing group put up a poster in the main hall of the Department of Literature denouncing the killings carried out by ‘IS gangs,’ said Korkut and others. In the early afternoon, masked men came to deliver an ultimatum: Take the poster down, or else”:

“Syrian Kurdish official said the KRG had sent a ‘symbolic’ arms shipment, but that it had not reached Kobani because Turkey would not open the transit corridor sought by the Syrian Kurds to allow them to reinforce the town” …

… yet, even so, observers say the that the part of Kobane controlled by IS has dropped from about 40% to less than 20%:

Rejecting the Dalai Lama’s appeal “to stop instigating attacks against Muslim minorities that have killed scores”, leaders of Buddhist terrorist “groups announced an alliance to make common cause against Muslims”:

“Both sides said they still aimed to meet the self-imposed Nov. 24 date, despite doubts among many experts that they can reach a full agreement to end a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme with just a few weeks remaining”:

October 14, 2014

News and Analysis (10/14/14)

Have the Western media and mainstream Muslims exaggerated the barbarity of the so-called Islamic state? IS explains why it advocates slavery, concubinage, and violence in its own words (with a coerced assist from hostage John Cantlie):

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who took office last month, has admitted to previous ‘excesses’ by security forces and vowed to govern for all Iraqis. He has not yet commented directly on allegations contained in the Amnesty report but has previously said Iraq faces an ‘existential’ battle against militants from Islamic State”:

US mulls an expanded role as Kurds slow down IS troops near the Turkish  border, but Turkey maintains its ambiguity over the Kurdish, and its own, role:

“Allowing extremist Israeli settlers to raid Al Aksa compound protected by the Israeli police is a further proof of the belligerent agenda of the extremist Israeli government. Such actions are part of the Israeli goal to turn Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish city” — PLO statement against the most recent Israeli provocations ….

… In contrast, Indian Muslims clean a synagogue, “its furniture and artifacts” so that it will be available for prayers to the Indian city’s twenty or so remaining Jews:

“The shared need for change has nudged along a series of compromises that set the stage for a conference on Sunday in Cairo where world donors are expected to fork over billions of dollars for reconstruction in Gaza”:

“One specific reservation [about the assault] is whether the abduction of a single soldier could have justified such heavy and relentless use of force in a populated area”:

Britain’s House of Commons voted 274-12 to recognize the Palestinian state. The vote is strictly symbolic and “the decision will not decide government policy”; but it sneds a message to Israel that he world’s patience is running out:

“I think a final settlement can be achieved in these remaining 40 days. We will not return to the situation a year ago. The world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations”:

“[W]orkers threw rocks, burnt tires and closed a major road late Sunday to protest their employers’ negligence. The protesters say they should have been provided transportation back to Egypt by now. The men are among 1,700 seasonal butchers who stay in Saudi Arabia during the month of hajj”:

October 10, 2014

News and Analysis (10/10/14)

While IS murders innocent humanitarians …

… Muslim neighbors of a one victim of IS murder raise funds “to help provide financial support for Alan’s family and other ongoing projects to benefit those in need to ensure his legacy continue”:

The continuing series of American missteps in the Middle East now threatens one of our most moderate and stable allies:

“Egypt has clamped down on security and tightened control over faculties…. ‘Our demands have not changed, but the situation has moved on without us. All we achieved were friends in prison, friends in graves,’ says Hend … [who took] a leading role in Al Azhar’s Muslim Brotherhood protests” …

.. and in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria the repression continues:

“It’s not fair that we have to constantly keep justifying and explaining things that people have not put any effort in trying to understand” — Amirah Amin, a “social worker … mentoring a handful of young women … [in a] group, called ‘SisterHOOD'”:

“The Instagram account has since been frozen by its users, with the explanation that it has been ‘shut down due to the high amount of false publicity'”:

“Last year, I said that I do not deserve it, and I still say that because I have started a campaign and it’s not over yet. It’s not completed yet”:

“By fusing both their sense of fashion with their faith, this growing group … is reinterpreting traditional notions of what it means to dress conservatively. They’re spawning a new market for niche fashion brands and finding unexpected supporters among some mainstream brands, as well as from conservative Christian and Orthodox Jewish women”:

“Distraught families plead that their girls are kidnap victims, but a proposed French law would treat them as terrorists liable to arrest upon return”:

“[T]he group, which swept to power in Somalia in 2006, stayed a potent force after it was driven from Mogadishu in 2011 and the latest setbacks are unlikely to halt its campaign that has included attacking the presidential compound, assassinating officials and ambushing the Western-backed African Union force”:

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