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”:

Two men argue with one another in front of a police officer. When they are wearing Western clothes, he ignores them, but when they repeat the scene in Arab garb just twenty minutes later, he promptly intervenes, frisking one, and pushing the other against a wall:

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

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”:

October 8, 2014

News and Analysis (10/8/14)

As the town of Kobane teeters before the IS onslaught despite US airstrikes, Kurds press for a deeper Turkish involvement, but Erdogan insists an escalation must be part of the fight against the Asad regime” …

… and IS signals it is ready and wiling to use control of the water supply to squeeze the population on the land it occupies as the Israelis have used water to squeeze the Palestinians on the land it occupies …

… and issues rules for domestic journalists, forcing them to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi and clear all reports with his media bureau and prohibiting them from speaking al-Arabiyya, al-Jaxeera, Orient, or having any contact with any “international and local satellite TV channels …. in any way”:

“[Y]ou certainly don’t have to believe in Angels, God, Angelic military forces…. However what you do have to do is allow … texts to speak without projecting a particular meaning on to them detached from the text and the context…. [S]hallow misinterpretations of religious and irreligious extremists almost always lead to … violence”:

“It’s the indifference of good people that is bringing us down”:

Kassig’s former cell-mate says that to some of the “captors, I had the feeling that it made no difference” whether the hostages were Muslim or not, explaining their expressed willingness to behead the converted aid worker …

… while in the Central African Republic, Christians have no compunction against beheading a local Muslim cab driver:

“The attackers – armed and some dressed in police uniforms – … dragged the women from their cars before raping them. There was a chorus of outrage. Many [human rights] campaigners in Afghanistan – where women who are raped sometimes find themselves [punished for adultery – … wanted the executions to go ahead” …

… while in Saudi Arabia, “a former athlete and advocate for girls’ sports … thinks that attitudes may be changing…. ‘There’s a lot more acceptance of women’s involvement in sports today than there used to be a decade ago,'” she says, and there are reports of plans under consideration for “sections in stadia for female spectators”:

Islam is not monolithic. Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Palestinians in the occupied territories prefer Jewish law (stoning to death) to punish adultery, but the majority elsewhere prefer Islamic law (a lashing and prohibition against their future marriage to chaste Muslims):

“In an urgent action statement, Amnesty called for his immediate release, saying ‘the charges against him do not constitute a recognizable criminal offense'”:

As negotiators meet to try to iron out differences over details in the resolution of the dispute of Iran’s nuclear program before the Nov. 24 deadline, Rouhani insists Iran will not give up its right under the nonproliferation treaty to veto particular individuals assigned to the inspection teams:

“Monday’s gunfire and mortar shelling was one of the worst violations of a 2003 cease-fire between India and Pakistan”:

October 6, 2014

News and Analysis (10/6/14)

“To give the Islamic State a free hand is to allow proponents of the caliphate to exploit the instability that U.S. efforts … have fostered. But to make Syria the latest free-fire zone in America’s never-ending Middle East misadventure will almost surely prolong and exacerbate the agonies that country is experiencing”:

“I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all. If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need” — Abdul-Rahman Kassig:

Stories of Iraqis murdered and tortured not by IS but by “fighters under the control of the former, western-backed prime minister Nouri al-Maliki” are unreported because “[n]o white westerners were forced to recite chilling messages in professionally made videos before being murdered, so no horror is expressed by western politicians”:

“[I]n a country where soccer is deeply entwined with a polarized political landscape, and with the government facing allegations of creeping authoritarianism, the so-called ‘Passolig’ system is being viewed by many fans as an attempt at covert surveillance and clamping down on dissent”:

“The actor reacted furiously to claims by Maher that Islam manifested as ‘the only religion that acts like the mafia'” and to Sam Harris’s insistence that any charge that “criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people [is] intellectually ridiculous”:

“[M]uch of the contemporary scholarly discourses surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood, whether it concerns analyses of its charitable associations and social welfare projects or its performance in state elections, stems from developments for which this generation [of young student activists] was responsible”:

“[A]dministration officials … have found that security rules put in place to defend America from a terror attack have played a role in alienating young Muslim men and women — the exact group being courted by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL”:

“The White House confirmed the call to the UAE, a day after Mr Biden offered a similar apology to Turkey”:

Reports “say more than 45 fighters on both sides were killed Sunday near the town of Kobani. The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman said Monday that one of the attacks against Islamic State fighters was carried by a female Kurdish fighter who blew herself up, killing” ten IS fighters:

“The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says Iran has around 35 imprisoned journalists and is in the top three countries for jailing reporters”:

October 3, 2014

News and Analysis (10/3/14)

“According to local reports, Kurdish leaders in the border region have called on both sides to observe a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on Saturday. Isis said that they would pray in Kobani on the first holiday of Eid…. Air strikes conducted by the US-led coalition have not slowed the Isis advance”:

In Australia, “Muslim women wearing the niqab or burqa were to be made to sit in a glass enclosure in Australia’s parliament house. That’s the latest episode in two months of anti-terror theatre” …

… while in France, entrepreneurial women circumvent the headscarf ban by starting home businesses:

“[A]nother woman approached her and began verbally abusing her with racist remarks. The woman’s abuser grabbed her by the hair and neck as her head was bashed several times on the wall of the train’s carriage. The Muslim woman was then pushed off the train when it arrived in Batman Station in Coburg North”:

“Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East.” Including Israel:

“There is no Muslim monolith, just an endless pattern of nuance and difference”:

The report says that “mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used child soldiers … may amount to systematic war crimes”, but also that “Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused ‘significant civilian deaths’ by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law”:

The “video shows the beheading of a man identified as the pilot of a missing Nigerian Air Force jet and burnt out parts of a plane — the first indication that Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremist group has the capability to bring down aircraft”:

“France called on Israel on Thursday to drop plans for new settlements in East Jerusalem, joining the United States and Berlin in criticism of the move” that would preempt any two-state solution by “effectively severing the northern and southern West Bank” …

… just as Sweden signals it will become “the first long-term EU member country to” recognize the Palestinian state:

Journalist Amira Hass was “reminded of the image that Israelis commonly have of Palestinians: irrational hotheads,” but “she has received messages of support from many Palestinians. Hundreds signed a petition saying they were shocked by the expulsion, calling her a courageous defender of Palestinian human rights”:

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