November 23, 2014

News and Analysis (11/23/14)

“The state security prosecutor general ordered Mr. Bani Rushaid’s arrest on charges of harming relations with a friendly country, according to Brotherhood officials and local media reports citing unnamed government officials” …

… while in Egypt, a notorious judge referred five of the six [defense] lawyers … to prosecutors for investigation, which is unprecedented in Egypt.” The entire defense team has withdrawn from the case in protest. The union backed their decision, telling members to boycott Shehata’s court”:

“Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out … a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision”:

“Secular and humanist campaigners have welcomed an increase in inspections, saying that for too long the UK has allowed religious communities to ‘enforce their own values and traditions’ on children.” Meaning: “We want to enforce secular humanist values on other peoples’ children”:

Erdogan’s misreading of Columbus’s metaphorical reference to a rock formation as a mosque may have been silly, but the overreaction of his critics to his claim of pre-Columbian Muslim visitors to the West says as much about their prejudices as about his unscientific political posturing:

Muslim workers who sorted mail DHL said management reversed a policy that had allowed flexible break time for workers to say required evening prayers…. The prayers took about five minutes, workers said”:

“Good for you for saying out loud what 90 percent [of citizens] want” –Eran Kraus, supporter oft he mayor’s proposed racist policy:

“The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Muslim Student Association helped organize the funeral service for Kassig, whom some of the group’s members knew”:

“The transfer brings the detainee population of a prison Barack Obama has vowed for six years to close down to 142 men, 72 of whom the Pentagon considers pose little enough threat as to be eligible for transfer”:

“We were the first to enter this cycle of change which they have called the Arab Spring. We will be the first [to make the transition] but others will follow” — Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa:

November 20, 2014

News and Analysis (11/20/14)

“Vengeance is ours,” saith the State. Not satisfied with the death of the murderer, Israel renders his family homeless …

… but the victims of “the deadliest in months of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the contested holy city[,] … many [of whom] do not support the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israel’s settlement policy, and official visits to the Temple Mount”, have not called for revenge:

Although the new rules are restricted to foreign preachers, they still raise the question as to how a state that licenses who may and who may not preach based on a state-endorsed training dares claim to be secular:

“The early morning arrest of Mohammed Ali Bishr from his home in the Nile Delta was linked to a call for demonstrations at the end of the month, according to a security official. The rallies have been called by a hard-line Islamist group called the Salafi Front, and not the Brotherhood”:

“The U.S. State Department has confirmed it does not consider two prominent Muslim American groups as terrorist organizations, after they turned up on a terror list issued by the United Arab Emirates”:

Although #MuslimSitcoms spawned “language that creates a divide between our culture and western culture”, its founder still believes that “if people kept an open mind and attempted to reach out to others across borders, social media can diminish many stereotypes and humour, if used responsibly, can mend perceptions”:

“[T]he doctor denied FGM had taken place. ‘What circumcision? There was no circumcision. It’s all made up by these dogs’ rights people,’ he said. Sohair’s grandmother … admitted in May that the procedure had indeed occurred but the child’s death was ‘what God had ordered’. Equality Now and local lawyers plan to appeal”:

How did Ghana achieve “zero hunger”? It all started by cutting the confiscatory tax rate on cocoa farmers by one third followed by opening up deforested land to farming:

“The previous years taught me that our parliament is paralyzed of making any changes unless it’s what the government wants” — a Shi`a taxi driver:

“[T]he gaping hole in the prosecution case up to now has been the lack of motive for Hezbollah to want Hariri dead. Hariri, an ambitious billionaire businessmen who helped rebuild Beirut following the 1975-1990 civil war, maintained cordial relations with Hezbollah leader … Nasrallah in the months before his death”:

November 18, 2014

News and Analysis (11/18/14)

“The UAE cabinet approved a list of ‘designated terrorist organisations’ on Saturday, which includes groups such as Al Qaeda alongside more than ten Western civil society organisations that have since spoken out against their inclusion” …

… while in Britain, “Muslim charities [have] been ‘disproportionately affected’ by investigations, and that some of the charities being monitored by the Commission had been subjected to questioning over tenuous links to extremist clerics”:

“US citizen Mohamed Soltan has been in an Egyptian jail for over a year, and on hunger strike for nearly all of that time.” The day that he “smuggled a letter out of prison to mark his 27th birthday” he had a hearing before the same judge “who sentenced the Aljazeera journalists to lengthy jail terms”:

“[Y]ou cannot blame and thus hate the Jews for the actions of the State of Israel…. What happens when Muslims ask for the same discernment and expect a clear distinction between the actions of ISIS and the mainstream faith of the vast majority of Muslims?”

A 32-year-old “Palestinian bus driver, was driving back home from work on Sunday when he was abducted and then hanged by Israelis in his bus in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood… Tensions have been running high … after Israeli troops shot dead a young Palestinian man … last week”:

Like Baruch Goldstein, who murdered Muslim sat prayer, those who have killed Jews at prayer in a synagogue, “risk turning the conflict of Palestinian against Israeli into a battle of Muslim against Jew … to be dreaded – because “a religious war cannot be solved‘”:

ISIL’s attitude is  “you’re either with us or against us.” Hmm. Where have we heard that before?

Dignity, even more that “pride and … exceptionalism[,] … drives the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy; a restored dignity … promised its people in the revolution of 1979 … [when] the people of … arguably the world’s first multi-ethnic state – chose dignity over subservience, whatever the cost”:

“The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said it recorded violations of more than a dozen articles in the constitution adopted with an overwhelming majority in January and hailed by authorities and experts as ‘the constitution of freedoms.’ The violations were mostly in the freedoms and rights section of the charter”:

November 16, 2014

News and Analysis (11/16/14)

“Unlike Malaysia’s Kelantan state, which introduced the gold dinar and silver dirham for investment purposes only, IS proposes to make the coins the official currency, freeing their people from the tyranny of central bankers” …

… now if they would just stop murdering people; an American Muslim aid worker is the latest victim of IS brutality:

The Gulf state monarchies lumping the Muslim Brotherhood with  actual terrorists reflects their concern that the proto-democratic impulses of their “Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the principle of dynastic rule”:

“A Jerusalem holy site at the heart of recent tensions between Israelis and Palestinians was quiet on Friday, police said, after age restrictions for Muslim men who wanted to pray there were lifted for the first time in weeks”:

“[S]anctions … somewhat … benefit entrepreneurs…..” Digikala has filled the void of Amazon’s absence from the Iranian market and plans to use the rise of venture capital to expand in “Iran for now,” and perhaps later “to Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq”:

Alone among the countries that experienced the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, Tunisia’s transition has remained on track”, but “[t]he possibility of an old-regime politician and his party controlling both the presidency and parliament has raised some concern”:

“A suicide bomber has targeted a prominent female Afghan politician, killing three civilians and wounding others in an attack on a Kabul convoy. Shukria Barakzai, a women’s rights advocate and ally of new President Ashraf Ghani, was lightly injured in the attack”:

“Several weeks ago, Ghani invited the Taliban to join national reconciliation negotiations. On Saturday, Sharif backed Ghani’s initiative, but added that the process must be fully Afghan-led and Afghan owned”:

November 13, 2014

News and Analysis (11/13/14)

The Montgomery County School Board preferred to take Christmas off the calendar than mention the Eid al Adha:

Wondering what all the treasure and lives spent on Afghanistan has bought us?

Experiences such as the suggestion that a Cosby-like parody about an American Muslim family would be made realistic by adding “a terrorist uncle who lived in the basement with a goat … radicalized” Aasif Mandvi into “the jihadist of irony”:

“The men were reportedly lured from their homes by the soldiers with the promise of money and jobs but then shot dead … four years ago. They were then falsely described as Pakistani militants. The staged killings led to protests and bloodshed in the Kashmir Valley”:

The history of “the unusual economic independence of the woman Muhammad married – and his approval of her sovereign existence … is often missing from the narrative within and about Islam” but Muslim women are once again becoming “a significant economic force”:

Video from security cameras suggested [two teenagers] were shot despite posing no immediate threat to the troops”:

It’s a setback for conservative  rival Gulf states which have sought to marginalize Qatar for its support of the relatively more democratic Muslim Brotherhood:

“Nearly three years after Yemen ousted a decades-old dictatorship and began a political transition aimed at preventing civil war, the fragile nation is once again on the brink of disaster”:

Having liberated the village from the IS, the Kurdish peshmerga have turned it over to a Christian militia of its former inhabitants to enable it other residents to return …

… while the Iraqi government shakes up its corrupt military amid reports that the “US-led coalition against the so-called Islamic State and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians”:

November 11, 2014

News and Analysis (11/11/14)

“Well known journalist and Egyptian author, Hani Shukrallah, tweeted ‘#Orwell’s_1984 never more popular in #Egypt, shared left & right on FB, thanks to police arrest of student in possession of the novel’,” but was the book the reason he was arrested? As one would expect in the increasingly Orwellian Egypt, “[t]he charges against the student remain unclear”:

Jordan’s foolish mixing of religion and state sets in a path to extremism; the open question is whether that extremism will end up secular (as in Egypt), religious (as in Saudi) or violent (as in IS):

With a third intifada on the verge of eruption …

… Abbas blames (predictably) Israel and (also predictably) Hamas, but not (naturally) Fatah, nor (remarkably) Islamic Jihad (which “claimed responsibility Monday evening for the stabbing attack in southern West Bank“):

Does no one remember what happened after Eisenhower sent “advisers” to Vietnam?

“The university, which is counted among India’s best, allows all graduates to use the Maulana Azad library but some 2,500 under-graduate women are banned” and told to use the less well-stocked library at the Women’s College. “Aren’t we part of AMU? At least let us borrow books, if we can’t sit inside”, asked one student:

In Mubi, unidentified Boko Haram leaders have ordered shops to reopen … and … provided security for the weekly market…. There are reports that Boko Haram is paying for anything they take from the shops” and it has permitted residents free movement including use of motorcycles, which are “banned in some parts of [government-controlled] Adamawa”:

“US laws ban the sale of lethal weapons to countries whose military are accused of gross human rights abuses” …

… “With the Nigerian military accounting for the largest single budget item in West Africa’s largest nation, why the Army appears to be incapable of protecting people has become a raging question bringing tension and great disappointment”:

November 8, 2014

News and Analysis (11/8/14)

How do you transform a peaceful human rights activist into a militant radical? Tell him that democratic elections are the way to advance your agenda and then dissolve the legislature when the elections don’t go your way:

In the U.S., “the judge ruling in the government’s favor criticized its lack of “common sense and compassion” but did not find it illegal …

… in Britain, “leading human rights groups are to boycott the official investigation into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition in the years after 9/11,” saying they “have lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth”:

“Activists have long complained that heavy-handed police tactics after militant attacks, including the mass round-up of suspects, have stoked anger among local Muslims and undermined moderate preachers trying to counter radical ideas” and that police offer insufficient protection”:

“Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, said in Geneva that Rezaian would likely be freed or pardoned in ‘less than a month.’ Inside Iran, Rezaian’s arrest is widely seen as a political move by hardline opponents of President Hassan Rouhani”:

Shot while trying to escape?  “The security cameras clearly show that there was no danger to the lives of the officers. The video shows him running away from the officers; this horrifying incident could have been avoided, but unfortunately they decided to kill him in a cruel way”:

“14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia” and “[t]he crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House” which “considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia”:

“Obama’s decision greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq’s fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisers” …

… but “he will ask Congress for new authority to combat the Islamic State, replacing the administration’s reliance on laws passed more than a decade ago to justify its current military operations against the militants in Syria and Iraq”:

“In a blow to anti-Islamist factions, Libya’s highest court … ruled that general elections held in June were unconstitutional and that the country’s parliament and government, which resulted from that vote, should be dissolved”, further deepening the country’s political rift:

“The Saudi king’s advisory council — whose suggestions are not binding — has recommended that the government lift its ban on female drivers, a member of the council told The Associated Press Friday. Local media subsequently quoted an official denying the report”:

November 5, 2014

News and Analysis (11/5/14)

“In the ex-Baathists, jihadists found organizational skills and military discipline. In the jihadists, ex-Baathists found purpose. ‘In Bucca, the math changed as ideologues adopted military and bureaucratic traits and as bureaucrats became violent extremists'”:

The weapons are marked “FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS TRANSPORTATION IF REFILLED — PENALTY UP TO $25,000 AND FIVE YEARS IMPRISONMENT (49 USC 1809)” with codes that should make it easy for the [US] to trace their transfer “if they choose to do so“:

In branding the head of a groups devoted to the destruction of Muslim religious sites as “the leader of a movement for Jewish access … is like saying the Ku Klux Klan is an organization dedicated to the well-being of white people”:

“[T]he Knesset raised the threshold for election to the parliament, in what has been widely interpreted as an attempt to exclude all three small parties representing the Palestinian minority” and is now moving to ban a branch of the “widely supported” Islamic Movement:

“Stalin and Mao would have enthusiastically endorsed Sam Harris when he wrote that “there are some beliefs so terrible that we are justified in killing people just for holding them”, just as they would have endorsed his defence of torturing prisoners“:

The “US ambassador to the UNHRC, said Egypt had violated ‘freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association [and] deprived thousands of Egyptians of fair trial guarantees’. Some Egyptian human rights organisations refused to attend the hearing, fearing reprisals”:

“Cat Stevens was a truly engaging and prolific singer-songwriter until 1979 when he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam and vanished from the music industry for 27 years – an absence that he jocularly refers to tonight as ‘taking a short break'”:

Turkey’s new sultan has cut down hundreds of trees in a forest reserve to build a 1000-room palace “bigger than the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow and even the Palace of Versailles near Paris” at a cost of $615 million:

“Since Rouhani’s election in 2013, there has been a tug-of-war between the hardline and pragmatic camps about foreign policy and particularly on how to deal with the United States”:


November 3, 2014

News and Analysis (11/3/14)

Not only can NSA spy on US citizens and without a warrant, they have allowed at least one foreign power to do so as well:

“Several hundred Egyptian journalists have rejected a recent policy declaration by newspaper editors pledging near-blind support to the state and banning criticism of the police, army and judiciary in their publications, arguing that the move was designed to create a one-voiced media”:

The politicization of Islam “reduces faith to conformity to prescribed conduct, completely ignoring its spiritual and internal dimensions. It gives supreme moral authority to lesser authorities…” Believers are changed from willing servants of God into pawns state compulsion:

“The sustained bloodshed appears to demonstrate the group’s resilience to the U.S. air strikes that have been targeting its fighters in Iraq and Syria. [The tribal chief] said he had repeatedly asked the Shi’ite-led central government in Baghdad for arms but that his pleas were ignored”:

“The Islamist-affiliated militias in control of Tripoli have accused Egypt of bombing their allies, who hold power in the eastern city of Benghazi” and have introduced “visa restrictions is likely to be a politically motivated move to put pressure on Cairo”:

The Israeli “activists” seeking to provoke a violent reaction at the Dome of the Rock aim to build “Judaism’s Third Temple on the site, which would require the destruction of both the Dome of the Rock and, many Muslims believe, the nearby Al Aqsa mosque”:

“[T]he man had been observing the first day of the holy ritual of Ashura…. A friend of the victim said threats by alleged Islamic State (Isis) supporters had been made during the evening, before the shooting”:

November 1, 2014

News and Analysis (11/1/14)

“This is not the first time Ilatov’s party has proposed this measure. In 2011, another Yisrael Beitenu member proposed a similar bill … backed by … Avigdor Lieberman, …and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The move foundered after officials decided it was too divisive”:

… while al-Aqsa has been reopened under pressure from Jordan, after being shut down completely “after the shooting of … a far-right religious activist who has led a campaign for Jews” to pray at the site, an act “forbidden by the Torah … [until] the Messiah comes” …

The “announcement further discredits the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Thursday formally announced his candidacy for elections on Feb. 14, 2015 in Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria … is divided almost equally between Muslims … and Christians”:

“Nida Tunis…, running on an explicitly anti-Islamist platform, won 85 of the 217 seats …, giving it the right to name a prime minister and lead a coalition government” while “Ennahda … won 69 seats, or nearly 32 percent, of the new parliament, representing a loss of some 23 seats”:

Iran partially blames resentment of Western propaganda for its failure to convince relatives of the accused rapist to forgive her killer, and insists that the overwhelming number of executions “involve drug smuggling”:

“Turkey’s top security council has declared the Gulen Movement, once the government’s most powerful political ally, a ‘threat to national security,’ raising concerns of a wide-ranging ‘witch hunt’ against the religious group, whose leader resides in the United States”:

When the Prophet (pbuh) conquered Mecca, he issued a geneal amnestty. IS is doing the opposite of the sunnah, and shooting down former Iraqi police in their homes:

“[R]eflecting growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip” Sweden’s foreign minister said “Sweden made the move because Palestine had fulfilled the international law criteria required for such recognition”:

Many older Lebanese, “both Sunni and Shia, report that as youngsters they were not aware of the internecine antagonisms, nor did they harbor animosity with their neighbors…. [They] intermarried, shared holidays, …. ‘That is all changed now, perhaps until End Times'”:

“More than a million Indian soldiers and 400,000 Muslims fought alongside British troops in 1914, but it is a fact that is little known or talked about”:

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