Archive for August, 2006

News and Analysis Updates (8/31/06)

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Will Africa become the new battleground between the US and Al Qaeda?

Olmert remembers the “original excuse” for invading Lebanon and demands the two soldiers taken hostage be returned in exchange for lifting blockading and troop withdraw:

Article about the increasing number of Muslim chaplains in the US military:

Germany reacts to failed terrorist attack as the memories of “police state excesses of the Nazis and decades of snooping by the Stasi” fade

For Muslim in Britain drawing up a will may land them in jail under terrorism suspicions:

On the nuclear issue, Iran’s president defends national sovereignty saying. “Iran will not back down an inch… and will not accept being deprived of its rights”

News and Analysis Updates (8/30/06)

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Muslim taxi driver who made a video of tourist sites in London acquitted of terrorism charges

Olmert rejects Annan’s call to lift ‘humiliating’ blockade of Lebanon

Former Iranian president given permission to visit US

Should the past US occupation of the Philippines be a model for the US occupation of Iraq?

Newly elected female president of ISNA sets part of her agenda: “”I want to make sure women are fully engaged. They should sit on boards and in mosques in space equal to men so they can participate in discussions.”

Racial Profiling: “It’s one of those things that makes people think they are doing something to protect themselves when they’re not. They’re in fact producing more insecurity by alienating the very people whose help is necessary in the war on terrorism.”

Freedom of Expression? : Arabic language not welcomed at US airport

Amnesty International criticizes Pakistan for the increasing number of disappeared persons

News and Analysis Updates (8/29/06)

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

ISNA elects female convert as its president:

Muslim charities in the US struggle to give aid to Lebanon without “knowingly financing or “working with” Hezbollah.”

A sorority-like group in Syria gives space for women to explore the difference between religion and tradition

Article describes how Hizb ut Tahrir manipulates the system to recruit young British Muslims

Morocco is accused of dumping African migrants in the Sahara with no food or water:

Somalia’s interim government and Union of Islamic Courts begin peace talks with the presence of foreign troops topping the list of concerns:

As Turkish laws and politicians skirt around the issue, young boys are increasingly committing honor crimes in Turkey.

Analysis of divisions within Pakistan in the wake of the killing of popular tribal leader

News and Analysis Updates (8/28/06)

Monday, August 28th, 2006

New Australian anti-terrorism laws: presumed guilty until proven innocent?

Nasrallah: “We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude.”

American Muslims feeling more alienated after 9/11, choose integration rather than assimilation

State of the Muslim Ummah?: attempt on the life of prominent Islamic scholar at UCLA likely an attack by a fellow Muslim wanting to stifle sincere scholarship

Op-ed: Racial profiling inefficient and neglects other illegal activity

Reverse brainwashing?

New anti-terrorism laws in Jordan: following the American model?

NY man arrested and charged with “doing business with a terrorist entity.” His lawyer argues, “It’s like the government of Iran saying we are going to ban the New York Times because we think of it as a terrorist outfit, or China saying we will ban CNN.”

News and Analysis Updates (8/28/06)

Monday, August 28th, 2006

“More than 200 Palestinians, at least 44 of them children, have been killed in the past 8 1/2 weeks:”

Wide Angle Explores “Faith and Prosperity in Turkey”

Monday, August 28th, 2006

By Sarah Swick, Minaret of Freedom Institute, www.minaret.org

The latest episode of PBS’ Wide Angle, which highlighted successful businessmen in Turkey, explored the relationship between Islamic piety and business. The film followed a devout Muslim man who had founded a clothing line which caters to pious Muslim women. (The film also followed a secular businessman catering to a more “Westernized” clientele.) The owner of the Muslim clothing store, Tekbir, pointed out that two of the five pillars of Islam require business: Hajj and Zakat. Afterall, how can someone afford to go on the pilgrimage or afford to give charity if they haven’t made any money?

The various Muslim businesses in central Turkey featured in the film not only cater to Muslim clientele but also Muslim workers. They provide buses to take workers to Friday prayer services and in one area they built a beautiful mosque near the factories. These successful international businessmen believe that there is no conflict between Islam and business. Moreover, despite accusations that they are “fundamentalists,” the men do not wish to see Turkey turned into a “Shariah state” and do not want Turkey’s future looking like that of Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Another interesting aspect to the film was the role and status of women in the rising market. One worrying sign presented in the film is that the businessmen in one town meet weekly for a “unity lunch,” which inherently excludes women from this networking opportunity. But one of the businessmen has taken a positive and active stance on women’s inclusion by establishing a training program for women to become executive assistants. While this fits the stereotype of women’s limited skills, one of the women participating in the program expressed a desire to someday become a CEO—proof of the lofty aspiration of Turkish women.

The film also discusses barriers to female advancement in business. The foreign minister of Turkey, who is part of the ruling Islamic party, explained that while previously girls didn’t usually attend school, more women are staying in school longer because of the economic progress in the last decades. So while, the wives of the businessmen did not work, their daughters do. Another barrier is the strict laws against the hijab. Under Turkey’s extreme interpretation of secularism women are not allowed to attend university or enter government buildings while wearing the headscarf. This restriction has inhibited many women from pursuing higher education and even prevents the foreign minister’s educated wife from practicing law. So while the West views the headscarf as oppressive, it seems that the laws which force “liberation” from the hijab are truly the oppressive agent which dramatically hinders female empowerment in Turkey. And as the businessman who runs the female executive assistant program alluded, while prevented from government work due to the headscarf, pious Muslim women may find an outlet for empowerment through business—as, according to him, business cares about money, not the scarf.

For more information on the program, the Washington Post recently hosted a discussion forum with the director and producers of the program. And the New York Times also published an article (Turks Knock on Europe’s Door With Evidence That Islam and Capitalism Can Coexist) about Islamic businesses in Turkey.

News and Analysis Updates (8/27/06)

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

They call it “Calvinist Islam;” we call it Islam:

Conflating legitimate resistance with terroism is risky:

Centanni and Wiig express hope that their experience will not scare away other foreign journalists:

News and Analysis Update (8/26/06)

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Preparing excuses for the next escalation?

The entire story of the captivity of Jill Carroll, in her own words, is now available:

Iraqi attempt to reverse sectarian violence:

News and Analysis Updates (8/25/06)

Friday, August 25th, 2006
Loss of power among costs of policy blunders:

State Dept. will investigate allegations of Israeli violations of terms of American supplied anti-personnel devices:

No free speech for you!

Yet another American who believes in the Constitution:

Article on Tunisian Women Misses the Mark

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

by Sarah Swick, Minaret of Freedom Institute, www.minaret.org

A recent Associated Press article, which was printed in the Washington Post, celebrated 50 years of Tunisian independence by exploring women’s rights in the North African nation. The article, titled Injustice Lingers in Tunisia for Women, praises Tunisian women as the “most liberated in the Muslim World.” Clearly, Tunisia has made some positive steps towards female empowerment, “99 percent of girls in the North African nation attend school, up from 33 percent in 1956, and women are strongly represented in national and local politics, the judiciary, academia, law, medicine, the media and big business.” But Tunisia should not be held up as an ideal for Muslim nations. It is still plagued by gross human rights abuses and while the nation is largely Muslim, the laws pertaining to women are largely influenced from Western traditions rather than Islamic.

The purpose of the article was to highlight “unjust” inheritance laws based on Islamic law which usually gives women half the inheritance of men. The article begins by telling the story of Basma Hammami, whose “maternal grandfather, a wealthy landowner, left his entire estate to his only son at the expense of six daughters.” It is not until the end of the article that it was briefly pointed out that the injustice done to Ms. Hammami was actually a violation of current law. “She said it was “a great injustice, because my mother and her sisters were deprived even of the small parts that would rightfully come to them according to Shariah.”

Therefore, the case of Ms. Hammami, which is the backbone of the article, clearly does not fit the thesis of the journalist’s piece. The journalist would like to show that the inheritance laws should be completely reformed. I disagree. The problem with Ms. Hammami’s story is not the law, but the enforcement. Moreover, inheritance laws under Islam are there for the benefit of men and women at the lowest common denominator. Traditionally, in Muslim society the man must take care of the women in his family and therefore, under Islamic Law women have a claim on the property of the man, while the man has no claim on a woman’s property. To offset this imbalance, inheritance laws give men more than women (in most cases–there are exceptions) since he may have to provide for many other people, including some of the other inheritors.

One solution for more “modern” families, where men and women share equal financial burden, is to create wills that offset the differences in inheritance. According to the article, the Association for Women’s Rights “ is working on some 60 cases of couples trying to bypass the inheritance law by writing their own wills.” This is acceptable under Islam.

Overall, I was disappointed with the quality of this article (which appeared in many “reputable” newspapers). Aside from the one-sided representation of the inheritance laws, the side the journalist did present was based on a poor example of a woman who claimed to suffer from the law, but in reality the woman is not a victim of the law. She is the daughter of a woman who suffered from a lack of enforcement of the law. There are many challenges still facing Tunisian women, and at a time when Tunisia is celebrating its “progressive” and “liberal” laws, the real story should be the many Tunisians who suffer today from government oppression and a lack of just enforcement of the laws. In brief, the article simply misses the mark.