September 15, 2014

News and Analysis (9/15/14)

As world leaders back America’s muddled policy to intervene in Iraq (where previous intervention paved the way for ISIS’s invasion) but not Syria (where Arab intervention enabled ISIL’s initial successes) …

… while “the most effective opponent of the Islamic State group” have been the Kurds whose relative autonomy insulated them from the mistakes of the American-backed regime in Baghdad and in recent fighting have captured approximately 14 villages:

“British aid worker David Haines devoted his life to helping civilians in war zones and that is how he should be remembered, his family said Sunday as they grieved his death at the hands of Islamic State militants in Syria” …

… and “the Briton threatened with execution next by militants from Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham is a Manchester taxi driver who drove a van full of aid to Syria to help children in the war-torn country”:

“Imams and leaders of Muslim societies in Britain have urged journalists and politicians to find an “alternative way” to refer to the [terrorist] group Islamic State. They say ‘UnIslamic State’ would be a more ‘accurate and fair’ description” …

… but as Jews calling for the “embargo on Palestinian be lifted and asked for justice for Palestinians” march in the same parade with Muslims condemning the savagery …

… Israeli leaders denounce the refuseniks who seek to wash their hands of the terrorism of political Zionism …

The former football coach of a young recruit to the terrorists’ cause says “the speed with which Berisha went from playing for a Jewish football club to joining a radical jihadist group underlined “how strongly we have to confront this kind of racism or we are in real trouble” …

… and the judge addressing the defendant as “a very young man, without a significant criminal record,” offers him a reduced sentence in exchange for “full information … about the inner workings of the group”:

Julian Assuange interviews former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg and Asim Qureishi from Cageprisoners “about the Caliphate and Shari’ah in the Muslim World”:

The 18-year-old Somali refugee designs bold, edgy clothes for Muslim women that are ‘on trend,’ … but modest enough to meet Muslim religious standards. She took first prize in Maine’s Future Business Leaders of America competition and the ‘Girls Rock Award’ for entrepreneurship from Hardy Girls, Healthy Women:

“In order to avoid causing any embarrassment for the State of Qatar, which we found to be a very welcoming and supportive host, some symbols of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing … have now honored that request,” an FJP leader said, but promised that the “revolution will continue” …

… while in Egypt bail is granted to the recipient of the “harshest given to secular activists amid an ongoing government crackdown on Islamists [who] was granted a retrial last month on charges of organising an unauthorised protest, beating a police officer and stealing his walkie-talkie last November”:

“Recently received analyses make plain beyond question that every Israeli commander who ordered these operations in Gaza knew well before the first rocket or tank shell was fired that two thirds of the victims of these ‘operations’ would be women and children”:

Dropbox has handed “over content 103 times, and ‘non-content'” such as “the name and email address associated with the account; the date of account creation and other transactional information like IP addresses’ … 80 times. The company also emphasised its commitment to notifying users of any governmental request for their data”:

September 13, 2014

News and Analysis (9/13/14)

“‘Muslim Americans are very troubled by the images they have seen of beheading innocent people, especially our fellow Americans,’ said Imam Magid. U.S. Muslim leaders have been quick to condemn videos like this one released by IS. Rizwan Jaka says Islamic State fighters are terrorists”:

“Forty-three past and present reservists signed a letter about Unit 8200, which carries out electronic surveillance. They said the intelligence it gathered – much of it concerning innocent people – was used to “deepen military rule” in the Occupied Territories”:

Egyptian prosecutors confess that they have no case by resorting to showing a homenvideo of the wife of a defendant belly dancing for her family as “evidence” against “a vocal government critic … sentenced … to 15 years in prison for protesting, the harshest sentence against secular activists amid authorities’ crackdown on Islamists”:

“After the expulsion, the director of the Centre for Middle-Eastern Strategic Studies, Anwar Ashqi, told satellite television channel al-Tahrir that the decision to expel the Brotherhood leaders was ‘an implementation of one of the articles of the Riyadh Agreement. Qatar has no choice but to commit'”:

“[T]he BBC has learnt that Iran already appears to be sending troops and weapons to fight the Sunni extremists in the country” …

… yet John Kerry has “refused to say precisely how a global campaign that is being pieced together by the U.S. would succeed in destroying the Sunni extremist movement that some believe is even more dangerous than al-Qaida” …

… but although “France has staked a tough stance in the nuclear dispute, [it] is viewing Iranian help in the region with pragmatism, stressing the overlapping concerns of Iraq, Iran and the West about the dangers posed by the Islamic State group. Paris believes Tehran should not be excluded”:

“Politicians need to consider the impact of their rhetoric on more than their polling numbers – on the way it can can, ultimately, foster violence. And the media needs to gauge how to report on conflict and use images to explain both the news and illuminate the truth. Otherwise, many more innocent Americans will become targets for hate”:

The civilian refugees “appear to have been among the victims of a wave of revenge attacks carried out after one of several Lebanese soldiers captured by militants from Syria in a cross-border raid was beheaded by jihadists earlier this month. The killing of the Shiite soldier by Sunni extremists has aggravated sectarian tensions”:

“The feared militant and 200 other fighters died in a battle on Friday in the state of Borno state, birthplace of the extremist group”:

September 10, 2014

News and Analysis (9/10/14)

Like a number of his predecessors, Pres. Obama refuses to be reigned in by Article One, Section Eight of the U.S. Constitution (“Congress shall have power to … declare War”):

“Usually nonprofit and charitable organizations are scared to publicize such things. I’m not going to be quiet. I don’t want to see this happening to anyone again” — Florida businessman Sofian Zakout whose American non-profit relief organization “has helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the civil war in Syria”:

Darshini “Kanda a journalist who works for Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysiakini, an independent online newspaper, was appalled and confused” by the US media’s reference to the group that beheads innocent journalists as “an Islamic group” and asks, “Why didn’t they just say terrorist group?”

Bosnian Muslims safeguarded “the Sarajevo Haggadah, a 600-year-old manuscript which narrates the Exodus from Egypt every Passover” by carrying “it through Nazi checkpoints, to a mountain village above Sarajevo. A Muslim cleric kept it hidden beneath a floor of a mosque until the war was over”:

“The long-running conflict between the government and Muslim fighters in the south has killed thousands of people and displaced more than three million. It has also left Mindanao … mired in poverty and lawlessness despite being rich in resources, including natural gas, gold and valuable minerals”:

“Several FSA commanders suggested that if the living conditions and treatment of Syrian refugees in Arsal do not improve, young people will continue to be drawn to radical Islamist groups”:

“More than 300,000 military personnel and 300 jets, choppers and boats have swarmed the northern state, rescuing more than 76,500 residents after a week of rain caused riverbanks to burst. This is the first major disaster faced by Modi’s administration, which in May won federal elections”:

“Verse 143 of Chapter 2 asks Muslims to be “… a moderate nation so that you could be an example for all people and the Prophet an example for you,” which requires Muslims to always follow the middle path, avoiding the extremes in everything. That would include music as well”:

“The Muslim Council of France (CFCM) in a joint statement with a Christian group denounced the persecution of Middle East Christians by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and said mosques across France would pray for them this week”:

September 8, 2014

News and Analysis (9/8/14)

“The Arab League also endorsed in the closing statement of its meeting in Cairo a UN Security Council resolution passed last month calling on member states to ‘act to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria':

“ISIS also reportedly had come to believe [the journalist] was an Israeli agent based on information from derived from prisoners during interrogations, which likely included torture”:

Sources claim torture went way beyond waterboarding. “The White House and the State Department fear that the Senate report could still cause a backlash and have made preparations for increased security at sensitive sites when it is eventually published”:

Al-Shabab quickly replaces its leader killed in a US air strike, but the Somali government reacts with a security shakeup:

“A woman who grew up raised not to lie, raised to be a pacifist — and yet here she was doing one of the most dangerous missions in the war and doing it when many people backed away” — Alex Kronemer,  executive producer of the docudrama, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story (Tuesday on PBS):

Unsatisfied with taking Palestinian land, water, and lives, Israel now steals their natural gas:

A Qatari official insists the detainees are being treated consistently “‘with the principles of human rights’ outlined in the laws of Qatar, and that British embassy officials have visited them to check on their situation. An official at the British embassy in Doha confirmed on Sunday that the mission is providing consular assistance to the men”:

As the AKP attempts “to prevent reversals of Turkey’s accomplishments over the past decade,” the question arises, “Does the civilization discourse of the AK Party, which ended the exclusion of religious Muslims and the Kurds from the public sphere, produce a form of, albeit more inclusive, nationalism?”

“A U.S. State Department official said the plane had failed to update its flight plan after leaving Bagram several hours late for Dubai, on a route that took it over Iran. When Iranian civil aviation officials identified the plane, they could not find it in their system because it was supposed to have flown through hours earlier”:

September 6, 2014

News and Analysis (9/6/14)

An Israeli occupying Syrian vineyards in the Golan Heights, says the Asad regime “is not our cup of tea, [but]… we prefer that the Syrian army controls this region and not a group of radical Al-Qaeda Muslim people”:

“[T]he core coalition only included one Muslim nation, Turkey. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, will now travel to the Middle East to build support for a military confrontation with Isis, an organisation that Obama said ‘killed innocents and enslaved women'”:

With Indian Muslims’ vocal rejection of Zawahiri’s overtures, underscoring how rival hirabist groups are overtaking the a dwindling al-Qaeda core force:

“Lost in the often vitriolic debate, however, are the voices of Muslim women…. ‘While we shouldn’t assume that wearing the hijab immunizes Muslim women from negative body image, our results do suggest that wearing the hijab may help some women reject prescriptive beauty ideals,” said lead author Dr. Viren Swami:

Iranian officials including a source close to Khamenei deny a report that Iran is raedy to cooperate with the US against IS. “Even without an official stamp of approval, both the US and Iran have found themselves on the same side of the Iraqi battlefield since Baghdad’s forces collapsed” …

… and “[d]espite Tehran’s concerns about separatism within its own Kurdish community, it ‘was the first country to provide us with weapons and ammunition’ to fight the militants, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said late last month”:

The Sisi regime adds new charges to the prosecution of his predecessor, but is no more successful at dealing with Egypt’s electricity shortage:

” A spokesman for Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah … Mujib Rahman Rahimi said Saturday that an equitable power-sharing deal could defuse tensions, but that otherwise postelection violence could break out”:

Investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald has refuted “bizarre claim that NSA documents released by Edward Snowden “prove” the US and Israel are behind al-Baghdadi’s actions”. The why do so many Muslims believe it, and similar absurdities? In part, it is because they have been lied to so often before:

September 4, 2014

News and Analysis (9/4/14)

“Former Deputy Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour told Al Arabiya News that Sotloff’s killing was not only against humanity but ‘there is no religion that accepts the killing of a human soul.’ Ashour cited a verse from the Quran saying “Do not kill any soul, which God has made forbidden, except in just cause” …

… while Sotloff’s family “said they would not ‘allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the one weapon they possess: fear.’ [family spokesman Barak] Barfi then spoke heatedly in Arabic, daring Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to a debate on the tenets of Islam”:

“Turkey, a Nato member with a powerful air force, is an obvious candidate. Iran, opposed to Isis and backing the new Baghdad government but wary of western intervention – especially against its close ally Syria – is already active”:

“In Ferguson, an invisible line separated white and black communities. In Jerusalem, a no-man’s land separated people, designated by barbed wire” …

…  while Israel’s murder of one American family member and arrests of others may be a game-changer, alarming the Department of State :

“The idea that any contraband could be hidden in a short beard is laughable. But trampling a man’s religious freedom isn’t funny”:

“Other charges against various members of the group include financing terrorism, embracing ‘deviant ideology’, disobeying the king, using the media to support terrorism, providing shelter to wanted people and training for combat”:

According to a Gaza businessman, “The people of Gaza ‘need to feel their humanity and dignity, otherwise the West – the US and Israel – are forming an army of 1 million in the future. And I wonder what power can stop an army of 1 million, ready to die'” …

… and according to Hanan Ashrawi, “the Palestinians are demanding a commitment to the 1967 borders and a deadline for the end of Israel’s occupation [and] … within three years, the occupation should end”:

“Imran Khan’s charismatic style of leadership, and his hero-status as the captain of Pakistan’s only World Cup-winning cricket team, has attracted mass support from urban and youth voters. But Mr. Khan’s decision to press forward with a nearly three-week long protest is beginning to alarm his middle-class supporters”:

The good news is that both sides are serious enough to come to a deal by the [Nov/ 24] deadline” — Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi: 

September 2, 2014

News and Analysis (9/2/14)

As “U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said there was “strong evidence” Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and allied groups had carried out targeted killings, forced conversions, sexual abuse and torture in Iraq” …

… and “Iraqi Shia militias and Kurdish forces are continuing their advance against Islamic State militants after breaking the siege of Amerli in northern Iraq” …

… Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s family objects to the use of her persecution as a bargaining chip, tells IS that they cannot “accept that someone else’s daughter or sister suffer like Aafia is suffering”, and calls on Muslims to “show those who have military might that mercy and forgiveness is even more powerful”:

How well did Israel’s assault on Gaza succeed in undermining support for Hamas? “The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll indicates 61 percent of Palestinians would choose the Islamic militant group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, for president if elections were held today”:

“Amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed civilians in the Rafah area and began shelling on Aug. 1, 2014. The Israeli military confirmed that Rafah residents were barred from leaving the area, but declined comment on the war crime allegations” …

… and in a real-life reversal of Zionist propaganda, Israel is turning a Palestinian garden into a desert:

“Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions, and computers still inside”:

“If confirmed, the capture of Bama would be an extremely significant development and would raise concerns that Boko Haram’s next target will be Maiduguri, the state capital about 70km (44 miles) away”:

“The breakdown in negotiations on a political deal comes days after Abdullah’s team walked out of a U.N. audit” over “the way that fraudulent votes were being handled” leaving the U.S.-mediated deal in tatters and deepened the uncertainty about when … Karzai can hand over power to a successor”:

“It was the fourth such wave of raids since July as the government cracks down on what Erdoğan has described as a ‘parallel state’ within the security forces seeking to topple his government” …

… but the Turks are concerned abut a certain foreign power spying on them as well:

“[A]nti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan have been leading twin protests since mid-August calling on [PM] Nawaz Sharif to resign” alleging widespread fraud in the country’s May 2013 election,” charges unsupported by international observers:

“Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Reza Najafi, appeared to acknowledge … that Tehran had missed a deadline of Aug.25 to meet five requests from the [IAEA] about its nuclear programme”, but insists, “Iran is in the process of implementing the five agreed steps”:


August 31, 2014

News and Analysis (8/31/14)

“Six senior Islamic scholars have endorsed the fatwa … describing Britons allied to Islamic State cells as ‘heretics'” and stating that they should fulfill their “‘moral obligation’ to help those in war-torn Syria and Iraq … without betraying their own societies”:

“Iraqi security forces backed by Shi’ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants and entered the northern town” …

… but IS’s skill at “adapting shows the scale of problems ahead for … Obama, the Pentagon and U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, as they struggle to reclaim ground from the Sunni militants, who have seized a third of both Iraq and Syria, and want to establish a jihadist hub in the heart of the Arab world”:

In Egypt, international “[r]ights defenders had until Tuesday to agree to government interference or face closure. But after a fierce international backlash the deadline was delayed on Sunday until November” …

… while the  the Giza Criminal Court  has decided it shall only kill Mohamed Badie once:

Israeli spent half of its annual $3 billion allowance from the U.S. on the Gaza massacres, but don’t expect daddy to put his foot down:

… as Israel adds theft to murder in what “Peace Now, an Israeli group that monitors settlements, said this is the biggest ‘land confiscation’ since the 1980s”:

For years she refused to wear one, then she insisted on wearing one, then she abandoned it, now she has taken a job that will require it. It’s a woman’s right to change her mind:

As Libya continues to unravel, a U.S. facility falls and residents confront a choice between abandoning their homes to looting or risking abduction by militants:

“Mr Khawaja’s lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi, said Ms Khawaja, the co-director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was denied entry and told that she had been stripped of her Bahraini citizenship. She was later granted a visa but was detained for seven days”:

“Clashes erupted between al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels and U.N. peacekeepers … on Saturday after the militants surrounded their encampment … as the international organization risked being sucked further into the conflict. Other U.N. peacekeepers were able to flee from a different encampment”:

August 29, 2014

An Open Letter to the “Islamic State”

Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):

On March 16, 2003, a committed young (only 23) American activist by the name of Rachel Corrie was murdered in cold blood by an Israeli soldier, while she attempted to non-violently prevent the destruction of a Palestinian family’s home in Rafah (Palestine). It has come to my attention that another young (26 years old) American woman was allegedly kidnapped on August 4, 2013, by members of ISIS while engaged in humanitarian relief work in Turkey and Syria. From what I’ve learned of this dedicated young woman, she is cut from the same human cloth as Rachel Corrie.

It is my understanding that she is a human rights activist who has protested against rendition, torture, America’s use of drones, and she begged family and friends to do what they could to urge the US government to intervene in a way that would help the suffering people of Syria (especially the millions of vulnerable refugees).

At the time of her abduction; she had gone into Aleppo to assist a project at an area hospital. She was abducted outside the hospital, along with her Syrian friend who has since been released. It is my understanding that she was initially given a life sentence in retaliation for the 86 year sentence imposed by the US Government on Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Then, on July 12th, 2014, ISIS informed her family that she would be executed in 30 days if: (a) Aafia was not released, or (b) the family did not come up with a ransom of five million euros.

If I had the chance to address her captors I would ask them to consider the following:

  1. The Noble Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah disallow the deliberate killing of civilian non-combatants, especially women and children.
  2. Deliberately engaging in actions on the battlefield that violate “the limits” established by The Noble Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah (i.e. Islamic Shariah) removes ALLAH’s barakah (blessings) from the actions taken. As Sheikh ibn Taymeeyah correctly stated: “Civilization is based on justice, and the consequences of oppression are devastating. Therefore it is said ALLAH aids the just State, even if it is non-Muslim; and withholds His help from the oppressive State, even if it is Muslim.”
  3. To murder an innocent young woman, who willingly put herself in harm’s way to non-violently assist other human beings (who happen to be Muslim), would make her killers no better than the murderous regime (Zionist Israel) who took the life of Rachel Corrie in 2003 (and countless others since)! Do you really want to be part of that fraternity?

I end with a message from the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who were shocked and saddened when this tragedy was brought to their attention.

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
Director Operations
The Peace Thru Justice Foundation

The Family of Aafia calls for Mercy and Compassion

The Family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is very distraught at the disturbing report [of the abduction of name omitted]. If the issue is true, we would like to state that our family does not have any connections to such groups or actions. We believe in a struggle that is peaceful and dignified. Associating Aafia’s name with acts of violence is against everything we are struggling for.

Cases like Aafia’s generate great support and emotional involvements because the suffering she has been put through and continues to endure can’t be ignored. A growing and tragic result of Aafia’s continued detention is that our appeals to reason and avoidance of violence are being ignored as people lose faith in the efficacy of those means, and we see them expressing their anger in a manner that neither us nor Aafia would endorse.

So, to those who have influence in the fate of Ms. [name omitted] we ask that they opt for a path of mercy and demonstrate by their actions to those who hold Aafia that mercy yields greater success, like the Sunna of our holy prophet. While we deeply appreciate the sincere feelings of those who, like us, wish to see the freedom of our beloved Aafia, we cannot agree with a “by any means necessary” approach to Aafia’s freedom. Nor can we accept that someone else’s daughter or sister suffer like Aafia is suffering.

Those of us who know and love Aafia can tell you that she would be distraught if she knew that there are people bragging about murder and mayhem and using her name to justify it. She would also be praying for the victims and their families. Aafia is one of too many people around the world who understands the toll that injustice imposes upon all of us.

Let us do our part to put an end to these cycles of pain and bloodshed. Let us show those who have military might that mercy and forgiveness is even more powerful. We pray that both establishments will do their part, and that both innocent women will be set free; not in exchange, not as ransom, but simply because it is the right and honourable thing to do.

The blessed are those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and when they are angry even then forgive (Holy Koran, 42:37)

But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs. (Holy Koran, 42:43)

The Family of Aafia Siddiqui

News and Analysis (8/29/14)

Steve Sotloff’s mother pleads with al-Baghdadi to follow the sunnah of Muhammad (pbuh), saying that she has “learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others…. Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He’s an innocent journalist” …

… but IS seems to prefer other teachers than the Prophet, such as the Khawarij (with the beheadings) and Dick Cheney (with his waterboarding) …

… “[I]t is not fear that forced the Peshmerga to fall back in the first weeks of combat with IS – it was the superior firepower provided IS by America, courtesy of the disintegrating Iraqi Army. Let the Muslim world see the crimes that these men commit, and then decide which side they are on”:

“Ten survivors write open letter to president and say disclosure of report is ‘necessary part of correcting America’s own history’”:

The leaders of IS “believe fighting ‘apostates’ is more important than fighting non-Muslims for now…. Their caliphate, say its fighters, will never be truly powerful unless apostates and ‘fake’ Muslims are first weeded out – and their definition of ‘apostate’ expands to include anyone who stands against them”:

“Muhbeen Hussain, founder of a British Muslim youth group in Rotherham, said the police and the town’s social services ‘totally failed us’ by not taking action against gang members. ‘We want the investigations to go back to 1997, cases reopened and prosecutions made'”:

“Jim Roth, the lone council member to back the center, predicted then that the council’s rejection would spawn a lawsuit. Roth said he was ‘embarrassed’ and ‘stunned’ by some of the remarks made” by its opponents:

“What prevents Muslims from uniting is the inability to discuss the history of early Islam calmly and in a civilized manner…. We need to understand that the bloody early schism, which still is an open wound in the Muslim world, was indeed earthly and sinful”:

“Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s first directly elected president, faces civil wars on his borders, a possible economic slowing, and accusations of authoritarianism”:

“The cabinet said it was resigning to enable the elected parliament to choose a new, inclusive government. The Islamist-linked militia which seized the capital, Tripoli, last week has called for the elected MPs to be replaced by the previous body, the General National Congress (GNC)”:

“Its moniker might stand for ‘Islamic State’, but it seems there are more than a few of its supporters who don’t understand much of their adopted religion”:

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