New and Analysis (2/22/20)

February 22nd, 2020

Given that the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war, it is counter-intuitive to think the President can veto a bill preventing him in engaging in acts of war:

The common wisdom is that Donald Trump prefers to be surrounded by lackeys, but when it comes to immigration, Stephen Miller has made Trump his lackey:

The boy was locked up after leaving home to buy medicine last August. He is only one of hundreds of Muslim residents detained, many of whom “have been moved to jails across India”:

The former deputy warden denies that the “meme of two black garbage bags next to a Muslim woman and child in black burkas and a caption saying the woman had three beautiful children” represents his own views:

“The chief executive officer of Ryanair has called for the profiling of Muslim men at airports, claiming “bombers” will “generally be of a Muslim persuasion”:

Emgage’s CEO credits Sanders with building “a historically inclusive and forward-thinking movement” representing an America “grounded in the belief that all humans are equal and worthy of a dignified life”:

The effect on turnout of the disqualification thousands of< reform candidates is not yet known, but “conservative allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are likely to gain a sizeable majority based on partial results”:

News and Analysis (2/19/20)

February 19th, 2020

Bloomberg’s apologies for his stop-and-frisk program ring hollow absent apologies for his Stazi-style surveillance on Muslims:

India cracks down on Virtual Private Networks and journalists:

A Kokomo councilman Greg Jones resigned Jan. 17 over Islamophobic comments; now, his successor Roger Stewart is under fire for anti-Muslim post:

In response to criticism about Iran coming parliamentary election, Spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said that US must focus on fixing their electoral fraud system:

By adopting China surveillance system and controlled media, Pakistan insults as well as injures Islamic prohibitions on spying:

“In pushing for regime collapse in Iran, US officials should at least be aware of what they’re courting. Even if their policy is successful, it could be more disastrous than what they’ve ever imagined”:

Macron wants “to end practice allowing foreign imams to teach French Muslims, saying Turkey is yet to accept rules”:

News and Analysis (2/16/20)

February 16th, 2020

The appeals court refused to buy the lower court’s ruling that the men, prevented from flying because they refused to become spies, had no standing to sue because they were taken off the list after filing suit:

“AIPAC is the main instrument of such Israeli policy pushes in the United States, and has never been forced to register as the agent of a foreign state, as US law requires”:

James Dorsey notes that a commercial enterprise showed more courage than a university against leaders that threaten democratic civilized societies:

“As the [Syrian] regime draws closer to Idlib, as another 1m civilians prepare to flee, the UN has staked time and prestige on an effort that was doomed from the start”:

In a labor election husting in Glasgow, candidate Lisa Nandy, who is backed by the Jewish labor movement, endorsed pledges that recognize Palestinians’ “right to self-determination and to return to their homes”:

Is Iran and Saudi Arabia closer towards a dialogue after Saudi Foreign Minister called on Iran on Saturday to change course of actions?

Oman’s optimism regarding the possibility of talks seems unwarranted unless President Trump can summon the courage to meet Iran’s main condition: that the U.S. abide by the agreement it previously signed …

… yet the continuing stalemate “could benefit ISIS amid growing signs the terror group still poses a significant threat in the Middle East”:

Iran says, “We want more than anybody else to know what’s in the black box, to know what actually happened,” but Canada says it is impossible “for the equipment needed to decode the box to be transported to Tehran”:

SMU Professor of Old Testament Susanne Scholz calls Fundamentalist claims that Shiloh is the capital of ancient Israel “utter nonsense” (like their claim that the universe is 6,000 years old?):

News and Analysis (2/14/20)

February 14th, 2020

“Palestinian leader Mustafa Barghouti said the report provides critical information that shows these companies are willfully operating their businesses in violation of international laws:

The UAE Foreign Minister, urges on Tuesday reaching a political solution and de-escalation with Iran:

“[T]hanks to never-ending violence and oppression, we hardly attend school”:

Trump pushes Sudan for normalizing ties with Israel by offering incentives in an effort to counter Iran:

Thousands of women have been protesting every day since India passed the Citizenship Act:

After the killing of Gen. Soleimani last month, Senate, on Thursday, passed war resolution to curb Trump unilateral authority to go to war with Iran:

Mnuchin’s comments suggests that “if the Trump administration is trying to starve the Iranian regime into submission, bitcoin (BTC) may give the Islamic Republic a lifeline”:

“[M]oderates and reformists have championed improved ties with the West and expanded social freedoms, but they suffered major setbacks since President Donald Trump’s election” …

… and now confront Iran’s Revolutionary Guard moving into propaganda by funding “reality shows, comedies, documentaries and feature length films”:

Abbas and Netanyahu’s opposing positions on the Kushner plan underscore that it would conclude any peace process with a formalization of apartheid:

News and Analysis (2/11/20)

February 11th, 2020

Kamal’s latest book sheds light on the problem of imitative traditions opposed to deriving Islamic rulings from divine sources to address our contemporary realities:

The number of casualties keeps rising:

Pressed on the issue, Yang takes back his campaign’s assertion that Israel should obey international law, and humbly thanks those who called him out for his departure from the Israeli party line:

With four Republicans on board already, both the bill’s Democratic sponsor “and the chief Senate Republican vote counter … suggested Democrats could pick up additional GOP votes, depending on the final language”:

Leaders of a Long Island Islamic Center and the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County “opened a joint exhibit Sunday called Never Again is Happening Again: The Persecution of Muslims in Asia”:

On Sunday, thousands of people including political leaders marched in Morocco to oppose Trump’s peace plan, and condemn Moroccan Foreign Minister for approving the plan:

After sanction, Iran and India are trading through rupee-based bank, Iran has become the biggest buyer of Indian tea:

Israeli interrogators left one man with “kidney failure and 11 broken ribs,” another “nearly unrecognizable to his wife when he was wheeled” into court and a third “stitched up after being attacked by a security dog”:

News and Analysis (2/9/20)

February 9th, 2020

In a serious escalation in the West Bank, two teens and a Palestinian Authority policeman were killed by Israeli soldier on the last 24 hours:

Two convicted Killers of the Palestinian activist Alexander Odeh in 1985 in California are living free in Israel and continue to practice their work with the Israeli far- right:

UN statistics confirm Israeli violence against Palestinians far outpaces the reverse since the Kushner Plan (fatalities 4-0; injuries 352-3):

The resource curse on Arab countries: the struggle between authoritarian regimes, oil control, and the aspiration for democracy:

After the UK has left EU, Jonson is bonding with Trump: will his thinking about Iran nuclear deal align with Trump?

“Many in Indian-administered Kashmir believe Guru did not receive a fair trial, and the covert execution led to days of deadly anti-India protests in the Muslim-majority region, where anti-India sentiment runs deep”:

California Rep. Ro Khanna backs Nabila Islam, one of six democratic candidates for seat of Georgia:

News and Analysis (2/7/20)

February 7th, 2020

“Iraqi military and intelligence officials … believe it is unlikely that the militia the United States blamed for the attack, Khataib Hezbollah, carried it out.” They blame ISIS:

Use of the law that “allows detention without trial for up to two years” against mainstream elected legislators takes the crackdown on protests of India’s removal of Kashmir’s autonomy to a shocking new level …

… but the Saudis remain unmoved:

Bahabah, who was born in a refugee camp, deconstructs Trump’s plan and illuminates the language used to discriminate against Palestinians and gives Israel all it wants:

In the wake of the Kushner Plan announcement, Israelis go on a rampage:

“Through interfaith discussions, Muslim communities have gained knowledge and help from their Jewish neighbors on how to continue practicing cultural traditions”:

“Iran announced after the Soleimani strike that it would abandon its commitments under the nuclear deal …. [but] stopped short of expelling IAEA inspectors from the country”:

“The Sana news agency said air defences intercepted most of the missiles, but that eight people were wounded”:

News and Analysis (2/5/20)

February 5th, 2020

The app that delayed reporting of Iowa’s Democratic caucus results was developed by a company “backed by hedge fund billionaires including … a prolific funder of pro-settler Israel lobby organizations”:

On February 4, Iran reiterated its willingness to cooperate with the EU on the nuclear deal issue as long as the opposite side upholds its commitments:

Gen. Burhan reaffirmed Khartoum support of Palestinian’s right for full sovereignty, and confirmed his meeting with Netanyahu saying it was a diplomatic visit to improve Sudan standing with the US and lift sanctions:

US general, in the Gulf, warns of further escalation with Iran: the US must not underestimate Iran’s capability:

Undaunted by past failure, Iran announces on February the launch of a satellite by the end of the week:

Does her “her foul-mouthed outburst” make her a paragon of free speech or an enemy of freedom of conscience?

“[A]t least 17 Iranian students have had their dream of studying in the US dashed after landing in US airports, valid visas in hand. They were instead sent home and most were given five-year bans on returning to the US”:

Nonviolent Resistance and Palestinian Self-Development

February 3rd, 2020

[On January 24, 2020, Ali Abu Awwad discussed his work to mobilize a movement of nonviolent resistance to the occupation in the Palestinian Territories at the Middle East Institute. These notes summarize my impression of highlights of the presentation and are not an attempted transcription. To see the entire program click here.]

Ali Abu Awwad: It was a long journey from being part of the problem to being part of the solution. I was born a refugee in the West Bank to a very political family. My mother was a principal in the PLO under Yasir Arafat and was arrested several times. I remember the second time the Israelis came to arrest her. I was fifteen and watched her being beaten. It was enough to drive me to into the streets to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. I was not a politician, not a fighter, just a kid who wanted his basic human rights and his identity, to be who I am as a free person. With my actions, thoughts, and dreams under the daily control of the military occupation, I needed no curriculum, no one to teach me, how to hate. The Israeli kids who have to hide in shelters for hours need no one to teach them how to hate the Palestinians.

When by mother was arrested in 1967, for the second time, I became more active. The fourth time, in 1990, I was also arrested and tortured as they tried to coerce me into giving information against my mother, which I refused to do. I was sentences to ten years in prison and my mother to seven and a half.

My dreams of travel and study, and my crazy dream of becoming a pilot, were crushed by that sentence. Yet, prison turned out to be an amazing educational experience. I learned English and Hebrew, my dignity was not taken away. I felt respect from the other prisoners and even from the Israeli guards. My mother and I engaged in a hunger strike of seventeen days to get to see one another. What forced the Israelis to recognize my right to see my mother? I realized I had been blind to the strongest weapon I could have: my humanity.

We were released under the Oslo process. The process ended in 2000 by a second, this time more militant, intifada. I was wounded by a settler and then my brother was killed. The loss of my brother was a loss that left me in dilemma. Only his return would be justice but that was not possible. I remembered reading in prison that Malcolm X said that “justice is just us,” but I couldn’t understand what he meant. Then we got a phone call from a rabbi who said some Israelis who had lost people and wanted to meet. When we met with them and saw the tears of these Jewish people, I realized we were not the only victims on earth. Yet, still, though we were equal in sharing what is under the ground, we were not equal above the ground. Reconciliation requires sharing values.The struggle is more than just sharing hummus with Israelis.

I became a Palestinian spokesperson. My heart was changing, but not my life conditions. I was meeting with lefties but not with the right wing. It is insufficient for those who do not engage in violence to say leave us alone. They must share in the task of dealing with those who are violent. My biggest dream is a National Palestinian Non-Violent movement. The peace movement has failed in changing living conditions or the political situation. Retired politicians become part of the peace industry yet there is no peace. When we send our kids to one week summer camps and then back to refugee camps they become more traumatized. We must do that, but we cannot do just that.

Nonviolence is not about “normalization” and giving up your rights. The majority of Palestinians who hear me speak want to join the Taghyeer (Change) movement. After six month with zero budget, 3,500 people came to our program in Jericho, community leaders, not politicians, are the key. Politicians manage the conflict on the ground but leaders invest in the future.

Stop saying, “Educate women about their rights.” They know their rights. Stop saying you will empower them, they are powerful. I know, I am the son of one of these powerful women. What they want is respect. Instead we educate men about women’s rights. The new generation is not political but social. The one who brings a knife into a crowd comes not just to kill but to die. We listen to young people rather than talk to them and help them to implement their ideas. They are peaceful, but desperate. For them nonviolence is not a tactic or a strategy; it is who they are. You don’t fix a broken car by changing the driver. We have no hate for anyone. We are for ourselves and against no one. We managed to get 42 organizations to sign the charter. It is time to partner, not to lead.

The village of Jubbet al-Dhib is a great example of nonviolence. They had no water, no electricity, but the reached out to an Israeli group that provides solar systems and now they have electricity. Even after the system was confiscated by the Israelis, they hired lawyers and got the system back plus water and other resources. J Street provided them a clinic and Taghyeer is providing a guest house. We want to create the first Palestinian nonviolent college. I know that peace requires a high price in compromise and healing but it is much cheaper than the price of conflict. I am not here to compete as to who has suffered more. That competition solves nothing. 

[In response to a question accusing Palestinians of harboring a jihadist ideology rooted in Islam]: Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant to whether you are a terrorist or a peacemaker. As a Muslim I can tell you my book orders me if they incline to peace you must incline to peace, yet others can read the book differently. The same is true of Judaism–and believe me I have the best teachers on Judaism. I believe politicians should be forced to create a system in which all can practice there religion and identity in peace. My problem is not with Jews living in Hebron but with the occupation. I am not the best person to speak about religion, but I believe the Creator put all these different religions in one land for a reason. My Qur’an says to know those who differ from you (not to despise them). If there is another Qur’an, I don’t know it. 

[In response to a question about torture in prison]: You can fight behavior, but you cannot fight identity. If we change behavior, we can secure identity. If I am not a citizen and I am not a fighter who the hell am I?

[In response to a question about how to get international support for the Palestinians]: Palestinians today feel abandoned by both the international community and their own leaders. We should teach the world of humanity and nonviolent struggle. If you lose the support of the government, get the support of the people. Political leaders get their support from the political system, leaders get their support from the people. 

[In response to a question about outreach to the Palestinian diaspora]: We are in the first stage to create unity and leadership. We are not a political party. Our conflict is not like the British in India because the Jews believe they have a connection to the land; so we need to come up with our own nonviolent approach. 

[In response to a question about a role for Palestinian nonviolent pioneer Mubarak Awad in the proposed Nonviolent University]: Mubarak Awad was deported by Israel and we have worked with him. There are some people who are Non-Violent with hate, and we are working with Mubarak to create a different model.

[In response to a question about working with other groups]:There are 32,000 nonprofits in Israel and 4,000 in Palestine. When I formed Taghyeer, we invited ten Israeli and ten Palestinian organizations. Eight of the Palestinian organizations are active in the movements but none of the Israeli organizations were able to work together. Taghyeer is not a organization. It is a movement.

[In response to a question as to the prominence of Taghyeer in the Palestinian psyche]: The first things organizations do is bring in media to spread the message. We do not. We focus on the community leaders. As we grow there may be a time when we are in danger, but it won’t matter because the ideas and the movement will be established no matter what happens to the individuals in the movement. I hate it when people call me the Palestinian Mandella. In Palestine it doesn’t work like this. If you call me the Palestinian Mandela, people will talk to me. Our culture is different. There is a joke about Arafat going to India where he was asked to reach out to a Palestinian who had joined a movement where million people worshiped a man as their god. When that man died, they elected the Palestinian to be their new god. When Arafat’s people asked the Palestinian to meet Arafat he refused, so Arafat went to him, saying, ” I am Yasir Arafat. How dare you not come to me?” The guy replied, “I am a god to six million people!” Arafat replied, “I am a god to eleven million gods like you.”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (2/2/20)

February 2nd, 2020

Not as well known as Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, this Muslim plays a leading role in the most-watched event and largest spectacle in American culture:

Rashid Khalid reveals historical root for Trump’s one-sided peace plan, and the essence of the conflict:

The Kushner plan violates all norms and is doomed to fail …

.. yet, a policy adviser for  the Palestinian Policy Network hopes it will bring about “a paradigm shift in Palestinian political thinking towards a long-term struggle for equal rights for all within the framework of one state”:

“All of the newly named countries except Myanmar have Muslim populations of 35 percent or more” :

Protesters against military institutions siding with repressive regimes are moved to risk going to the street to oppose despotism regimes backed by “imperialist” powers:

“Iranians must have the ‘right to choose’ between different political factions at polls,” President Rouhani said of the controversy over the disqualification of thousands of candidates in upcoming election”:

Al-Sistani condemns the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators, calling for fair government election:

“The killing of Qassem Soleimani upended expectations in useful ways, but the U.S. isn’t in a position to capitalize on the turmoil”:

The member of the Iowa House and Muslim Caucus of America cited “Sanders’s willingness to ‘go against the tribe’ to ‘stand up for justice’ … among the traits that earned his and the caucus’s endorsement”:

Mossad took the initiative to deescalate tensions and avoid war seriously, but Netanyahu’s national security adviser convinced him that its purpose “was to give cover to the Iranians and the Americans who cheated us” …

… but the EU will meet …

… although the Saudis won’t let Iran participate in in the OIC discussions of the Kushner plan: