Archive for July, 2008

News and Analysis (7/31/08)

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Islamic organization complies with requests for publicly-available evidence in a monumental lawsuit over the national surveillance program’s legality:

Politically-charged AKP trail ends in financial sanctions rather than disbandment of the ruling party, avoiding what could have been a political and economic crisis in Turkey:

Under Australia’s newly revamped immigration policy, Afghan and Iraqi refugees seeking asylum will no longer be detained for years in off-shore camps:

Insurgents in Iraq have not been eradicated, but merely pressed to relocate their operations to Afghanistan and Pakistan:

Internet cafes, cable providers, and music stores are among those considered the “traitors of Allah” in a recent threat by Pakistani Taliban:

Syrian critics of the government on assert their Damascus Declaration calling for democracy was non-offensive and made in defense of the homeland:

Member of the religious police accused of violating the religious law he purports to enforce by taking more wives than the law allows:

In Steven T. Wax’s “Kafka Comes to America,” the accounts of two men jailed without charge illustrate “the threat from terrorists is real, but the unfortunate reality is that the threat from an overzealous response to terrorism is real as well”:

Following the release of a report that disproved politically-charged allegations against him, Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim seeks to regain his original seat in Parliament:

News and Analysis (7/30/08)

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Greater focus on military operations than reconstruction in Iraq creates a poor job market outside of the government and police force:

Turkish military uses Istanbul explosions as an excuse to strike Kurdish Iraq again:

Giving a blunt warning of American intervention, the CIA dispatches an emissary to Pakistan’s new civilian government to illustrate ISI-Taliban militancy connections…

…and a recent military breach of the Swat-region peace deal could be it’s response to US pressures to assert its feeble authority:

Underscoring the increasing Fatah-Hamas divide within Palestine, Human Rights Watch accuses both groups of arbitrary arrests and torture:

British House of Lords excuses Saudi’s threat to withdraw national security cooperation in response to the investigation of an arms deal’s legality:

A new media law would further clamp down on freedom of expression, but one Egyptian laments that people trying to make ends meet in a soured economy don’t have time for political activity anyway:

Observers, scholars, and government representatives will discuss conflicts in Muslim countries at an Indonesian conference:

News and Analysis (7/29/08)

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Following a weekend of terrorist bombings which India accused Pakistan of involvement, skirmishing at the Kashmiri Line of Control brings about urgent talks:

Columnist Eugene Robinson denounces White House memos calling for a sort of “middle ground on torture” as a “hideous affront to this nation’s honor and values“:

Muslim leaders aim to promote interreligious understanding, deconstruct misconceptions, and diminish the influence of extremism:

After February’s peace treaty broke down almost immediately, new fragile truce between Yemeni government and al Houthi rebels also looks unlikely to hold:

Business development is driving economic liberalization where the government fails, and while most yearn for peace, Syrians still see Israel as an imperialist and predatory state:

In Fatah-Hamas power struggle, threats received by journalists from both sides are a “flagrant violation of the freedom of expression” that “harms the reputation of the Palestinians”:

Ahead of a court case that is part of the nationalist-Islamist power struggle, Kurds resent accusations of responsibility for recent attacks, instead attributing the violence to nationalist extremists:

In Indonesia, a scuffle between students in a dormitory and locals was over disturbing behavior rather than religion:

News and Analysis (7/28/08)

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Reversing original statement claiming small-arms fire, the U.S. military admits soldiers panicked and fired upon a car speeding to work in secure zone:

Sunni attacks in Iraq continue to demonstrate upheaval over the Shiite prominence and Kurdish claims to Kirkuk:

Citing last month’s presumed-Pakistani bombing at Indian embassy in Afghanistan, some are convinced ISI is also involved in Ahmedabad and Gujarat bombings…

…while others more focused on domestic sources of the attacks stress the importance of addressing the country’s Muslim-Hindu divide:

Finger-pointing in recent bombing overshadows Palestinian reconciliation talks:

Separatist Kurds are presumed responsible for explosions yesterday in Turkey:

New agreement with Muslim rebel group affords expansion of autonomous territory:

Medical results disproving sodomy charges against Malaysian leader finally come a month later, wearing away the public’s trust in police investigations:

French Muslims still enjoy Islam and secular society, despite highly publicized events that give the impression otherwise:

Averroes Would Be Appalled

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

[Charles Butterworth, a member of the Minaret of Freedom Institute Board of Advisors,  submitted the following letter to the Washington Post, which it did not publish. We present it here as a guest blog.]
July 5, 2008

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20071 letters@washpost.com

To the Editor,

Joel B. Pollak’s rant (“Teaching Arabic and Propaganda,” The Washington Post, Saturday, July 5, 2008, A15) against his Arabic grammar is curious, but I do not see how it leads to judging the book as anti-Semitic, linking it to texts used at the Saudi Academy in Fairfax,
or calling for scrutiny of NEH funding of Arabic programs. It shows, rather, that Pollak has failed to understand both the Arabic grammar and the larger culture it portrays.

The characters in the grammar provide a glimpse into the hopes and frustrations of contemporary Egyptians. Nasser was and is revered by most Egyptians because of the improvements he made. Part of his appeal was being able to speak in the language of the masses even while preserving features of an older, more formal Arabic. From his speeches, students of Arabic can learn much about the colloquial and classical language.

Pollak misrepresents Israel’s treatment of Palestinians after its pre-emptive 1967 war and wrongly asserts that Jewish scholars in Egypt preserved the writings of the Andalusian Averroes (1126-1198). Of Averroes’s 46 writings, all but 11 have always existed in Arabic. Of those 11, 6 are available only in translations made originally from Hebrew and 2 in independent Hebrew and Latin translations. Not one of these was done by scholars in Egypt. Of the 35 writings by Averroes that have always existed in Arabic, 13 are only in Hebrew characters. Again, not one of these Judaeo-Arabic transcriptions is by an Egyptian
Jewish scholar.

No Washington Post reader is well-served when so factually flawed and politically tendentious an article is published without its facts or basic logic being scrutinized.

Sincerely yours,

Charles E. Butterworth
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (7/26-27/08)

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

At the Hamdan trial, they just pretend the CIA doesn’t exist:

Without evidence, India accuses Pakistan with complicity in bombings …

… while protests over land theft underscore that Kashmiris seek independence from India, not annexation to Pakistan:

Under the Taliban opium production was cut 91% on the pronouncement that it was unIslamic; under Karza’s implementation of the American mandated “War on Drugs,” there is talk of “narco-corruption” and a record crop:

Continuing sectarian violence mocks claims of a successful “surge”…

… while things get worse in Pakistan both militarily …

… and economically:

In cases of manslaughter Islamic law encourages forgiveness in exchange for either God’s mercy or financial compensation; Saudis are asking for more cash, and hold the mercy:

As Israel takes a break from killing Gazans, Palestinians take on the job themselves:

News and Analysis (7/25/08)

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Guantanamo detainee who provided information is now charged by the US in a court that does not recognize the right against self-incrimination:

As sectarian strife continues, new unity government in Lebanon tackles the issue of militia weapons:

Iraqi President calls for inter-religious dialogue and encourages Christian refugees to return to Iraq to be part of the social framework:

Fearing sectarian political interference, International Olympic Committee bars most Iraqi athletes from the games:

Jordanian queen uses the Internet to engage with the West and promote moderate Islam:

Turning the tables in “Great Game” tradition, insurgent groups may now be using attacks by foreign forces to eliminate their opponents:

Uncertainty surrounding the new coalition government, judicial crisis, and Taliban insurgency drives investors’ fears:

Despite “restoration” of diplomatic relations, the closing of a state-owned Iranian station is just one indication of lingering enmity:

News and Analysis (7/24/08)

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Britain would like the current Hamas-Israel ceasefire to inspire major world powers to engage in dialogue with the militant group:

China’s has exaggerated Olympics terror threat to justify harsh control in Muslim Uighur territory:

Muslim Brotherhood declares law dealing with children’s legal status and health issues a move to force non-Islamic standards on Egyptians:

State-owned oil shippers cut off oil flows to Switzerland in response to assault accusations against leader Muamma Gaddafi’s son:

Despite years of improved relations between the two countries, Pakistan threatens a rebirth of its arms race if US-India deal over nuclear energy goes through…

…while the US finances F-16s meant to counter Afghan insurgency, but are in fact more useful against India:

Senior counternarcotics official finds Afghanistan’s government deeply involved with protecting the opium trade:

Brothers establishing HIV/Aids education and prevention programs are detained, despite cooperating with the government and religious leaders:

News and Analysis (7/23/08)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Sectarian disputes over the oil-rich Kirkuk province paralyze the Iraqi electoral process…

… meanwhile the US ignores the underlying political and socio-economic problems, using military gains as a standard for success in the country:

Faced with the real-world situation in Afghanistan, Canadians focus on building infrastructure and shifting security responsibilities to locals:

Concern over increased civilian casualties causes American forces to take extra care in unplanned attacks and practice patience in capturing Taliban:

Former national security advisers fear keeping force as an ultimatum in Iranian nuclear discussions might legitimize an Israeli attack or commit the US to unaffordable action:

A departure of Palestinian security as a response to persistent Israeli attacks during peace talks would unleash armed political groups:

Moderate who attended peace talks and agreed to ceasefire with Ethiopia is pushed to the side in an Somali extremist’s power grab:

As risk-takers start to rebuild accommodations, Iraq’s tourism minister looks first to attract determined religious pilgrims:

News and Analysis (7/22/08)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Regardless of the next American administration, Arabs do not expect a change in US Middle East policy:

Recent ceasefire provides a window of opportunity to address Gaza’s deteriorating waste infrastructure:

Residents fear Fallujah leaders may be using threats to security to advance their own political interests in an upcoming election:

Although a coherent Taliban policy is lacking in Islamabad, some fear a US intervention could draw more support for extremists:

Kurdish political party declares the arrest of its leader unconstitutional because permanent “emergency powers,” rather than judicial action was the instrument for government detention…

…and members of Egypt’s main opposition group are arrested for possession of banned literature:

As GE pledges commercial finance to the Middle East and Africa, an Abu Dhabi company hopes to become one of its largest shareholders in the open market:

Reports indicate foreign fighters are joining local insurgency in Somalia: