July 30, 2014

News and Analysis (7/30/14)

“Despite being home to more than a million Muslims, Italy has put stringent limits on the number of government-approved mosques…, there are just seven in the entire country … [and] Muslims have been forced to transform warehouses, parking lots, stadiums and supermarkets into places of prayer”:

Hamas’s decision to carry on fighting in recent weeks despite catastrophic civilian losses owed as much to Egypt’s refusal to lift this blockade as it does to Israel’s:

“At least 17 people have been killed and 160 wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a fruit and vegetable market near Gaza City … during a four-hour truce called by the Israeli military”:

Muslims and Christians in Palestine come together amid the current crisis, where a Greek church becomes “a haven not just for Christian but also hundreds of Muslim families seeking shelter there as the offensive drags on” …

… but while the world celebrate the end of Ramadan, Palestinians in Gaza are shy to send each other Eid greetings, because they “don’t feel right this year” said Mohammed Al Masri:

 

HSBC bank closes some Muslims accounts, and claims that the action was not taken based on race or religious discrimination. Some of their members have been banking there for more than 20 years:

 

“A hate crime against one group is a hate crime against us all, so we’re going to actually double down on uniting as one neighborhood to reject this act of hatred and intolerance” City Councilman Mark Treyger:

At least 15 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli fire while sheltering in a UN run school, “Some 3,300 Palestinians, including many women and children, were taking refuge in the school in Jabalya refugee camp”:

Chinese TV boasts that hundreds of Muslims are allowed to gather in a mosque in Beijing to pray Eid together after a month of fasting Ramadan, but the crackdown on the Uighers in Muslim majority Xinjing province continues and a Muslim scholar is prosecuted:

“Over the years, outsiders have come and told me: ‘Put the women behind a curtain; they can watch from a TV.’ I say to them: ‘The whole world looks at Islam as suppressing women. How are we going to change that? No curtains, no walls here, ever’”:

 

 

 

July 29, 2014

News and Analysis (7/29/14)

Attempts to kill two of Nigeria’s most prominent of Muslim leaders, Sheikh Dahiru Bauch and Muhmmadu Buhari occurred after the two declared Boko Haram’s actions “unislamic”:

ISIS continues to demolish both Christian sites in northern Iraq and Islamic landmarks that are hundreds of years old, as the residents of Mosul watch helplessly:

“Muslims in France have been largely successful” in integrating with the French society, yet Muslims are still “socially and politically marginalized, suffering from discrimination”:

A survey finds that “42 percent of Americans believe law enforcement is justified in using profiling tactics against Muslim-Americans and Arab-Americans,” especially after the recent acts of violence, conducted under the name of Islam:

Throughout the World,  Muslims break the fast and end Ramadan with Eid prayers …

… Obama marks Eid Al- Fitr by describing Muslims as ” The fabric of our nation,” noting that “the message of interfaith peace that poverty, conflict and disease affect all of humanity, and not of just any one faith” …

… but can the Palestinians hear that messages over the sounds of the bombs?

[V]igilante extremists — whose views on racial and religious purity evoke the Ku Klux Klan — are successfully exploiting [unfounded] fears to spark deadly anti-Muslim riots …

… while concentration camps in Burma highlight a humanitarian crisis where the Burmese government dismissed aid groups in the area, “leaving more than 700,000 people without proper medical care”:

Several Spanish actors speak out, urging the European Union to join them in condemning Israel’s bombing of civilians, as boy band One Direction’s Pakistani-British Muslim Zayn Malik receives death threats after expressing his support for Palestine:

… yet the “U.S. media is biased against Palestinians, using selective coverage, skewed opinion, and false balance to offer implicit support to Israel’s stance” …

… and the U.S. Congress wants to make the “Iron Dome” defending Israel even more effective, but won’t cut off funds for Israel’s immoral, ineffective, and counter-productive aggression in Gaza; making the moral and logistical imbalance even more one-sided …

… and encouraging Israel’s repitition of the tragic mistake of its attack on Lebanon in the 1980′s:

“Intense fighting in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, and battles between rival militias in the capital Tripoli have pushed the nation deeper into chaos after two weeks of the fiercest violence since the [Western-backed] civil war which ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011″:

A newspaper article attracted thousands of  critical comments from German politicians who described the article as ” racist” and demanded an apology from the Newspaper to German Muslims:

 

 

 

July 27, 2014

News and Analysis (7/27/14)

EID MUBARAK!

Warned by a coward hiding behind the handle “Abu Hafs” to “stop hindering men from Allah’s path,” the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association replies, “it is people like this Abu Hafs who are ‘hindering men from Allah’s path’”:

“It’s bringing me back to reality. I’m trying to stay on a straight path” — inmate Derek Cooper:

Gaza libertarian Omar Shaban says, “Twenty years ago, how to make peace with Israel was a daily topic for the Palestinian people[, but today, in] Israel, politicians and groups compete to see who will be more aggressive towards the Palestinians:

 

Israel’s formula in spinning the slaughter of Gazans “can be found in The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary. The Orwellian manual provides a detailed outline on how to ‘communicate effectively in support of Israel’”:

The man who wants to ban the niqab is the latest example of Muslim (and other) men telling Muslim (and other) women what they can and can’t wear:

The UN human rights convoy expressed deep concerns over the conditions in camps where “more than 100,000 mostly minority Muslims displaced by violence led by Buddhist extremists”:

“British Muslims are an extremely enterprising community. They contribute over £31billion to the UK economy every year”, they are role models, extremely tolerant and charitable:

If Michelle Bachman thinks she can use Sisi-style tactics to persecute journalists and think tanks that want to report on the Muslim Brotherhood, she better re-read the US Constitution:

 

Danish politican Mogens Camre said that he did not mean that every Muslim is persecuting Jews and that he didn’t have room to explain himself fully in his Tweet, but he still seems to believe that they are “just waiting to kill us”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 25, 2014

News and Analysis (7/25/14)

If Israel thinks its offensive will further divide the Palestinian people, it is having the opposite effect, bringing Palestinians with political differences together where “there is one value that unifies the entire Palestinian people: resistance, by any means necessary” ..

… and if Israel thinks its hypocrisy about peoples’ right to defend themselves will further divide American Muslims from American Jews it is in for a very big surprise indeed as Jews and Muslims rally separately for a common end:

An astronaut captures a photo of Gaza at night that he describes as the ” saddest photo yet” where it shows explosions and rockets over Gaza:

The UN’s top humanitarian official, Valarie Amos described Israel attack on UN school as “The blatant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law have been pointed out very clearly by the UN’s commissioner for human rights …

… but as the civilian death toll rises over 800, Israel rejects a cease fire proposals, “because it did not let Israel carry on hunting down Hamas’s tunnel network that criss-crosses the Gaza border,” i.e., continue the siege …

… meanwhile, a “Day of Rage” erupts in the West Bank against the offensive in Gaza led to clashes with the Israeli forces, when one Palestinian was shot dead as thousands demonstrate after more than 15 women, children and United Nations staff were killed and around 200 injured when a UN shelter” …

… and “[g]lobally in the last week alone, actions in solidarity with Palestine have taken place in Glasgow, Scotland; Vienna; Ahmadabad, India; Madrid; Seoul, South Korea; Jakarta, Indonesia; Beijing; Sydney; Tokyo; Paris; Valparaiso, Chile; Ankara, Turkey; and many, many more” places …

… yet the tragic situation in Palestine is farcically covered by Fox News’s Sean Hanity, who shouts at a Palestinian guest speaker who asks ” do I actually get to speak now?” As you might expect, he didn’t get to speak …

… and Brazil is the second country to recall its ambassador from Israel after the start of the Gaza war, while Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor insults Brazil,comparing the war on Gaza to the disproportionate football game where Brazil lost 7-1:

Claiming to be imposing Islamic values, ISIS expands it oppression, forcing Muslim women to wear the veil and only walk when accompanied by a male guardian:

Years after “W” left office, and redundant with the Constitutional mandate that only Congress can declare war, the House now resolves, “The President shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization”:

 

July 24, 2014

News and Analysis (7/24/14)

As Israeli atrocities reach new heights …

… Obama wants Israel “to do more” to limit the casualties of Gaza civilians, but neither Obama nor the Department of State specified what “more” they are expecting …

… and a former Israeli soldier explains, “Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might…. The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights” …

… while Palestinians take desperate measures to survive Israel’s crimes, as when families “consider how to separate … so not everyone dies in one missile strike”:  

“The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither ‘concrete facts’ nor ‘irrefutable evidence’ to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document” …

… and a new report “uses in-depth studies of cases from across the nation to show what justice looks like for Muslim-Americans suspected of terrorist sympathies: out-of-control informants, overzealous prosecution, unfair trials, and extraordinarily harsh prison sentences

In the past White House iftars were a reward for Muslims “hand-picked by government bureaucrats … for good behaviour” but this year’s controversy “brought to light the growing discontent with the older, primarily male, and immigrant “official” leadership by a younger, more gender diverse generation”:

ISIS crimes against Christians and Muslims in Iraq represent the new lowest standard of barbarity. It is against Islam and “the Qur’an 22:41 specifically commands Muslims to protect Churches from destruction” :

“An Italian diplomat said today that Italy used its regional ties to help Ibrahim leave Sudan, ‘We had the patience to speak to everyone in a friendly way. This paid off in the end’”:

“[A]llowing for some regional autonomy while keeping the entire country under Baghdad’s federal umbrella” might be the only solution for Iraq’s problem right now as the country is on the verge of division:

“Both houses of India’s parliament have been adjourned in uproar over reports that some Hindu MPs tried to forcibly feed a Muslim man fasting for Ramadan”:

With the current poverty in the UK,  the “younger generation of charity leaders interpret Islamic obligations … [so] that the recipients are increasingly likely to be non-Muslims”:

“Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003″ the U.S led invasion held that the presidency goes to a Kurd, the Prime ministry to a Shiite, and house speaker to a Sunni:

 

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2014

News and Analysis (7/23/14)

As the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” attacks Baghdad, killing more than 33 in its most recent attack, in addition to claiming “responsibility for a wave of bombings in Baghdad, including several blasts on Saturday which killed 27 people” …

Today in Iraq more human rights are violated than it were under Saddam’s regime. “The Center for Public Integrity claimed that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence records”, and its ultimate goal was the removal of Saddam …

… and cyber war in Iraq is an extension of the current conflict, where “cyber-thieves are also using the conflict to help trick people into opening booby-trapped messages” to gather intelligence:

More than 200 Iraqis gathered in front of a Catholic Church in Baghdad, holding “slogans to show solidarity after a radical Islamist group evacuated Christians from their homes in the northern city of Mosul” …

… Iraqi Christians have been in Iraq for more than 2000 years. If fanatics continue their actions, “they will be annihilating centuries of civilization”:

“[W]hen Muslims are collectively depicted as terrorists or extremists, it’s a hell of a lot easier to look the other way when they are spied on”:

In Lansing, Michigan, “The Council on American-Islamic Relations says three people allegedly attacked a 26-year-old woman…attempted to pull the victim’s dress and face veil off before knocking her down and shouting obscenities at her” …

… and Muslims in Brooklyn are experiencing “racial slurs and even eggs being thrown at worshipers wearing traditional Muslim clothing” as a result of the Gaza, Israeli conflict: 

Not shocked by the surveillance and the Informants on Muslims in the United States, Muslims answer is ” We need to be visible, to be active, and to speak up when the government uses our religion as the basis for persecution”:

PLO executive member Hanan Ashrawi described Israels actions as ‘war crimes’ and warned that Palestine will seek the International Criminal Court if Israel continues its violence against civilians …

… and “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has backed calls by Hamas for an end to the economic blockade of the Gaza Strip as a condition for a ceasefire”:

Aming the issues still unresolved are limits on enrichment capacity, “ the heavy water Arak reactor, sanctions relief and the Fordow enrichment site”:

“The two reports differed in their conclusions, although neither found evidence of extremism in the schools.” One “said there had been a coordinated attempt to introduce an ‘aggressive Islamist agenda’” but the other “said individuals had encouraged certain Islamic principles … to ‘raise standards’”:

The CAR Muslims are “ gripped by ethnic and religious violence since the Muslim-led Seleka rebels, seized power in the mainly Christian nation in 2013, “feel that they have been “abandoned”:  

July 22, 2014

News and Analysis (7/22/14)

Exploring a “phenomenon that has been far more pervasive than the media, government officials, or community leaders have acknowledged” the new film “shines a light on the informants … actively enlisting young men who never demonstrated any inclinations toward engaging in violence”:

As the carnage continues …

… pro-Palestine protests continue throughout the world, as well as in D.C, where thousands marched down Constitution Ave, asking the government to stop using American tax money to fund Israeli crimes; …

… while in Denver, protesters from both sides rallied in downtown to urge a cease-fire; …

… and “in Paris, despite a rare police ban and warnings from President Francois Hollande, hundreds began massing for their march but clashed with police who blocked their route”:

… and Israel is losing the media war because “American audiences are seeing the story of the conflict, perhaps more than ever before, through Palestinian eyes”:

“All major religions promulgate rules, but they also teach tolerance and compassion. For some sad reason … the doctrinal and punitive aspects of historical Islam … overshadow the religion’s compassionate teachings and practices. Resetting the balance … is best done from within”:

Instead of Boycotting Obama, Muslims should work within the system to have more representation in the American government, says Shadi Hamid:

A new Islamic group established to  end to religious violence in the Muslim world, by traveling to conflict zones and promoting peace in the region:

ISIL has driven the Christians out of Mosul, but the local Muslims defy the self-declared terrorist government with graffiti protesting “We are all Christians”:

“When questioned by The Tennessean …, Kelly was unable to cite any specific instance when Mohyuddin made such statements.” Mohyuddin said, “I have never ever said any words even close to that in public or in private. It is absolute lies”:

A report by “the former head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command said there was no evidence of radicalisation, violence or encouragement of terrorism, but” found true accusations of “efforts to remove headteachers who did not conform with the wishes of governors”:

Rand Paul opines that after the Iraq war, “Today the Middle East is less stable than in 2003″:

July 20, 2014

News and Analysis (7/20/14)

From London to New Zealand, from Libya to the Vatican, public expressions of solidarity with and concern for the people of Gaza …

… while in France, protests violate a city wide ban on pro- Palestinian demonstrations, and peaceful demonstrators were met with ” teargas and Tasers”; while some were injured, others were arrested …

… and Nelson Mandela’s 1990 remarks remind us that the root problem is apartheid, “We identify with them…because we do not believe it is right for the Israeli government to suppress basic human rights in the conquered territories” …

… and the Hamas chief says, “the US president and his administration’s officials have tied their own hands with illogical laws that prevent them from having direct contacts with Hamas, which hasn’t made any act of aggression against America. Those laws don’t serve America’s interests”:

A survey conducted by the Pew Project using a “feeling thermometer” to see Americans feelings towards the different religious groups, where Muslims and Atheists ranked in ” The cold area” :

Islam recognizes the importance of equality between all humanity, without any distinctions, including rights to life, women’s rights and individual’s rights:

In Burma, about “140,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have been forced to live in camps where disease and despair have taken root” are underrepresented in the media:

An immigrant Muslim- Moroccan girl scores the highest marks on examinations, is named France top high school student:

“What is being done by the Daesh terrorist gang against our Christian citizens in Ninevah province, and their aggression against the churches and houses of worship in the areas under their control reveals beyond any doubt the extremist criminal and terrorist nature of this group” …

… “the order was issued after Christian leaders failed to attend a meeting called by” IS in a letter saying “that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a tax on non-Muslims known as jizya, or give up their possessions and leave the city. Failure to do so would result in a death penalty, ‘as a last resort’” …

… meanwhile, the UN issues a report accusing IS (a/k/a ISIL) of crimes against humanity, “focused on a range of violations committed against civilians”:

Muslims fro Tulsa to Singapore are feeding the hungry during their month of fasting:

” Assets of Islamic banks grew at an average rate of 17% per year between 2008 and 2012… However, usury or riba is also prohibited under sharia law so in principle banks cannot charge fees or interest for money lending”:

 

July 19, 2014

What Is the Future of Islamic Reform Movements?

[This is the ninth in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Islamic Reform Movements After the Arab Spring held in Herndon, VA. It sets the stage for the other papers the presentations and discussions of which will be summarized in the remainder of this series. The official proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“What Is the Future of Islamic Reform Movements?”

Nathan Brown, George Washington University

My focus must be narrow because my expertise is in the Arab world, especially those on the model of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). I think this is a critical moment in the transformation of these movements, and by moment, I mean these few days [on and around June 30, 2013]. The movements are discovering that, in a moment of what looks like extreme triumph, events are controlling them when they thought they would control events. The focus of these movements is reform, in their own eyes and in fact. For this reason these movements have never seen politics as the primary, let alone only, avenue for their efforts.

The Arab regimes took a wary eye towards any movement that might have political impact. At best they would allow them to pursue certain activities, even political activities, as long as they did not take their political activities too seriously. What was the best path for the movements to respond? As the environment became slightly less harsh, they decided to move into whatever avenues were opened to them: student government, election as independents, etc., out of which a pattern developed, the consequences of which we now face. They were able to establish a broad presence on the ground so that once politics turned electoral they were well-placed for action. There was a cat and mouse game in which the Islamists would calculate what is the best they could do without threatening the regimes. In the 70′s and 80′s the regimes had no grand design, but acting ad hoc, gave the Islamists an opportunity to actually win an election, as in Algeria; but they learned that if they win, they will pay a high price. When I asked the Jordanian Brotherhood how many seats will you contest? He did not give a number but said only, “We will not repeat the disaster of Hamas.”

In 2011 we had a very different environment. Both obstacles seemed to have dropped. Domestic opportunities suddenly arose, and the reaction of international actors, especially the US, was not alliance to the MB, but an absence of opposition. The MB heard the US saying they would not object if the MB would agree to observe Egypt’s international obligations, especially the treaty with Israel.  But the MB made a gigantic, although understandable (given the forces arrayed against them), mistake in 2011. Through a series of short term decisions it decided to contest more seats that originally intended and the presidency as well. They were ill-suited to that task. They did not have the political skill set for the transformation from a repressed opposition to the leader of a majority government. They did not know how to talk to the opposition or the fence-setters. Further they underwent no period of experience in local government. The third problem was that events went very fast. The best time to talk to these movements is a year after the election. These are movements that reflect and learn; but when they happen as fast as they did in Egypt, there is no opportunity to learn. There is nothing that goes wrong in the country today that is not blamed on Muhammad Mursi. The movement and Mursi himself are acting like a deer caught in the headlights. I think that, as with Hamas, abrupt political success has changed their emphases in a way that is harming them.

Discussant: Abdullah al-Arian, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (Qatar)

It is hard enough to understand what’s happening now, let alone the future. I think there has been an emphasis in looking at Islamist movements through their ideology and its connection to traditional Islamic thought rather than by looking at practical politics and immediate realities. What defines these movements is not tradition and ideology, but their departures from them in their actual policies. They try to justify their actions in ideology, but there is an evolution taking place.  Remember that they used to consider political parties as completely abhorrent. There is no sense in which any party in Egypt can effectively succeed the ousted regime. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has been unable to understand and reform the structural impediments in the military, the judiciary, and the media. This is not to say they do not believe in democracy–that is the one thing we know they believe in–but they do not know what to do. They shy away from the challenges they do not understand and end up mired in debates over questions that are irrelevant and unhelpful, like the role of Islam in a future Islamic state. Ghanouchi has tried to avoid these traps, if not completely effectively, more so than the MB. The claim that Mursi is totally in the control of the Guidance Council is an exaggeration. Binaries like those between technocrats and ideologues are floating around. Where are the Islamist technocrats? How can this be remedied? The obstacle is a limited understanding of what constitutes Islam? We see Wasat, other new parties, and the youth movement promising to follow that path.

Q. The army has given the politicians  8 hours to solve the problem or they will impose their own solution. How will the opposition react?

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: The disaster of Hamas was an accident. George Washington, too, opposed political parties, but has there ever been a no-party democracy?

Q. My understanding of the bureaucracy is that it is a kind patrimonial system. Is that dismantled?

Brown: A week ago the military said they had one week, so if they say 48 hours that’s an extension. There are elements in the opposition openly trying to provoke military intervention, but the opposition is very diverse and I think some groups will not accept it. In democracy you need some kind of civilian oversight and the Egyptian military has made it clear that it sees itself as an independent actor. There are ways out, such as a government of national unity; or, the President can call a binding referendum, but he would need to formulate a referendum acceptable to the opposition, and the two sides are too far apart. The opposition thinks the president is already dead and the MB thinks it won the election and there is a violent (witness the attack on their HQ) attempt to overthrow them.

Some members of top leadership knew by December that they were going to win, but they had no discussions as to what to do about it. They put their foot to the accelerator and threw away the steering wheel.

I won’t speak of the bureaucracy, but talk about the “deep state” in Egypt is misleading. The state is not so deep as it is wide, with strong bodies like the military and al-Azhar, that are part of the state but difficult to control. It acts not of grand design, but is still difficult to control and guide.

Al-Arian: I think a no-party system is theoretically possible. The military used the failure to allocate independent seats properly as an excuse to annul the results completely. I agree with Nathan’s answer about the bureaucracy. If you roll back the clock by inviting the military in, you have done irreparable harm to democratization, setting it back for fifty years. Remember that many powerful elements in the opposition, like remnants of the NDP, oppose democracy.

Brown: Are we going to see a return to the 1950s?

Q. For years there were stories that the MB was just waiting for an opportunity to take down the government and now the originators of those stories are the ones seeking to overthrow the government. Given the nature of the previous regime, who could have had the experience to take over government other than those in the previous regime? What is the role of al-Azhar in all this?

Q.  “One man one vote one time.” Before the 1990s the head of the family voted for the entire family. It was the Islamic movement that demanded one man vote, meaning votes for women.

Brown: Over and over during the past week, the Egyptian opposition has seen itself as democratic and with the majority on their side. The argument, “If I can live with George Bush for 8 years you can live with Mursi for three more,” had no resonance. Their response is, you’re an American so your pro-Ikhwan. There is a constitution but the opposition does not accept it. There is no single Egyptian people. Al-Azhar sees itself as speaking for Islam. They know that what they say is not binding, but they still think it is correct. The General Guide is practitioner of veterinary medicine and the president is an engineer. Only a very small minority want to see the MB repressed, most simply want them out of power. By giving an ultimatum, the military has already intervened; I don’t know how far they will go.

Q. I hope the MB would draw on their experience from the 50s and 60s.

Q. My personal experience from sub-Saharan Africa justifies the worry that letting the soldiers come in “temporarily” means they will stay for 50 years. The Egyptian state is the oldest state in the Muslim world, going back thousands of years. Why do they act like newly decolonized state?

Q. Because they were ruled by foreigners even from the time of the pharaohs. Q. Iran also goes back thousands of years.

Q. It is sad to see what is happening in Egypt. It was once part of the Persian Empire. We have good relations. After the Iranian Revolution we had the same chaos, but the clerics came to power. Khomeini wanted to give some space to the opposition groups, but we faced an armed group, the Mujahidin-e-Khal. Khomeini felt that building his own army was justified. The invasion by Iraq also contributed to this. These armed opponents and American machinations were used to justify the authoritarian turn. Some have concluded that we Easterners do not deserve democracy and soon we shall decide we need a new despot. Khomeini took a lesson from the 1906 revolution in which most of the clerics were involved but secularists took over. Khomeini was careful to prevent this, denouncing Mossadiq as a kâfir, which he was not. When we asked Khomeini why he had done this, he said it was to prevent him from becoming a “banner” or public hero. All fuquha have always said a tyrant is better than fitna, and I fear al-Azhar will come to the same conclusion.

Q. In Iran peaceful demonstrators were brutally suppressed four years ago. Mursi seems to be a bit more tolerant and that is good. In Iran democratization from below is taking place in spite of the Islamic movement. The election of Rowhani makes us proud. You may say he is part of the establishment, but what he is saying is very good. In Egypt I think democracy is also coming from below, although it may be murkier since the Iranians do not have Egyptian’s fascination with the Islamic movement.

Al-Arian: This mutual demonization in Egyptian society is very harmful. Takfîr has gotten attention, but the same thing is happening on the other side, where the Islamists are painted as some kind of foreign invasion. The least extreme thing is we’ll give them fair trials before we put them back in prison. Egyptians should know better than to lump all Islamic groups together as Ikhwan.

Q. Twenty million signatures for the opposition is a myth, since some people signed many times. Since the opposition refuses to meet with Mursi, what can he do? If the police will not keep the peace, what choice does the army have?

Q.  What about the Copts?

Q. What are Egyptians going through in their daily lives since the revolution? What simple, even band-aid, reforms could improve life?

Brown: This is an extremely difficult situation for any government. It should be clear that the Egyptian presidency is a job no one should want. I think the FJP made a strategic calculation a year ago that made sense then, but has come back to haunt them. They feared the remnants of the old regime (military, judiciary) rather than the popular opposition, which they dismissed as unruly youth unworthy of attention. They postponed decisions of governance. I don’t know what will happen next, but I think we should remember the historical perspective. Even if thrown out of power now, they are not going away and they need to do long-term strategic thinking.

Al-Arian: Some of the things for which Mursi is being blamed (flight of capital, deployment of police out of neighborhoods where they were needed) were done by elements of society who wanted to see him fall. During these 48 hours I think they will stand pat.

Brown: Coptic reaction ranges from nervousness to outright panic so those who have reacted at all lineup with the opposition.

Q. Is the army unified? Does it mean a new Mubarak?

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

July 18, 2014

News and Analysis (7/18/14)

As Israel promises more carnage …

… details emerge about the bizarre iftar at which President Obama defended Israel’s right to defend itself while ignoring Palestinian’s rights to defend themselves, demoralizing all the attendees except Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer who milled about isolated in the adjacent White House Green Room …

… while Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of attempting a “systematic genocide” on the Palestinians, condemning the Muslim world for remaining silent, and saying that “ humanity has been destroyed there, as well as the honor of Muslims” …

… and photographs of a the father of one of the Palestinian boys who were killed by an Israeli air strike on the beach of Gaza, goes viral. Israel’s response was “the strike had been intended for Hamas militants,” calling the death of the children “a tragic outcome” …

… but NBC yanks the reporter who “owns” the story, refusing to explain, except for a vague comment about “security concerns (are they afraid Israel will attack Rockefeller Center in retaliation?) …

… and Parisian police will ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris, following  “accusations by Jewish community leaders that the demonstrations promote discrimination against France’s Jews,” despite the fact that many of the demonstrators are Jews …

… yet “European political expression on matters Israel-Palestine is vastly different in scope and content than here in the US, certainly compared to what one hears when listening to members of Congress or to American TV”:

The wife of the targeted MB entrepreneur Khairat Al-Shater says he “is jailed in the Tora prison and has been denied the right to visits, denied access to external food and clothing, and deprived of everything … [but] [t]hey will not benefit from the injustice and oppression. Tomorrow is not far away….”:

Here are seven points of religious symbolism from his sermon that resonated deeply among observant Muslims, but were missed by most outsiders who looked on aghast at Ibrahim al-Baghdadi’s triumphalism …

… but ISIL’s demolition of religious sites of other faith is demolishing Islam’s image. A Pakistani scholar opines, “If ISIL members were true Muslims, they would respect different beliefs”:

The invasion of Iraq “continues to bedevil the [Obama] administration today, with the rise of the Sunni extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” …

… and in a rare convergence of opinions, Senators John McCain and Rand Paul both point at George W. Bush to explain the disaster in Iraq:

Ameenah Rusul, a Muslim who taught her students that “women were guided to see themselves as leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, property owners, informed mothers and wives” passed away:

“Hamas desperately needed a way out of its increasing isolation. It had lost Syrian and (much of) Iranian support in 2011 when it sided with the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad” and more recently the new Egyptian junta “closed the tunnels … that had enabled Gaza’s survival:

Lara, a Canadian born Scandinavian, became a Muslim after learning about Islam from “authentic Islamic book” saying that Islam “seems so right”:

A study shows that “Mosque attenders were no more likely to participate in anti-regime protests than were non-attenders…[but] Koran readers are significantly more likely to support democracy and to perceive unequal treatment from the government” :

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