Archive for September, 2008

News and Analysis (9/30/08)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Details of the assault at a mosque during prayer remain unclear:

Afghanistan official claims Pakistan refuses to act against terrorism:

“It’s ironic… but today the Catholic Church is more tolerant of — and knowledgeable about — Islam than the French state”:

Despite Olmert’s recommendations, attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers occur weekly:

Karzai calls for “leader of the Islamic world” to facilitate peace negotiations:

Changes in high ranking military personnel reflect the new rule of General Kayani:

News and Analysis (9/29/08)

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Iraq hopes that recognizing physicians’ right to keep and bear arms will stem the tide of flight over security concerns:

Courts uphold restrictions over freedom of the press:

India resorts to torture in investigations with no convictions thus far:

Now that he’s leaving office, PM admits necessity of withdrawals:

As the economy suffers and pressure grows to quell terrorism:

Preliminary US investigation finds six dead, considerably lower than the Iraqi policy report:

News and Analysis (9/28/08)

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

With the Olympics over and the spotlight gone, China prohibits teachers and students from fasting:

“Use your brain, respected sir,” says Bahraini Shi’a Ahmed Noaimi of Qaradawi’s divisive accusations of heresy against the Shi`a:

Syrians blame Saturday’s bombing al-Qaeda offshoot:

The “first woman to enroll in the Kandahar police force after the 2001 ouster of the Taliban” internationally profiled for “investigating crimes against women and children” is assassinated:

Henry Paulsen has company, as Pakistan may default “on its debts after its foreign reserves dropped to just $3bn:

A move towards pious community action is seen in U.S. and Saudi:

Christians demand preservation of quotas in parliament:

An Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Last Thursday night (Sept. 25, 2008) I attended an interfaith iftar dinner cosponsored by a number of pro-peace Christian churches and the Iranian mission to the United Nations. The theme was the role religion can play in solving the world’s problems and the main featured speaker was the president of Iran. Most of the speeches dealt with the constructive role religion can play in peace building and most of the speakers respectfully but unambiguously embedded questions about Iran’s human rights record into their comments. Unfortunately Dr. Ahmadinejad did not address the issues thus raised in his own speech (although he did address most of them in his appearance on the Larry King Show.)  Had I been given an opportunity to speak, I would have raised a critical Iranian domestic issue (that has its own echoes here in American politics) to which Islam happens to have the answer. Since I did not have the opportunity to address it last night, here is my

 

Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

 

As your great nation struggles with many issues in its effort to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle it, I wish to draw your attention to one in particular to which insufficient attention is paid: the root causes of the inflation that has plagued so many nations of the world and which is now becoming acute in Iran.  It is imperative to understand the cause of Iran’s 27% inflation rate to appreciate the solution found in Islamic law.

 

Satan seduces policymakers into the irrational belief that governments can spend money without taxing by simply printing more of it. Increasing the money supply in this manner only decreases the value of the money, which is inflation.  Centuries ago Ibn Khaldun in his magnificent Introduction to History identified how the tragic flaw of rulers to seek to dispense favors to their people through spending leads them to debase their currency bringing about the downfall of their civilization. The falling purchasing power of currency cheats everyone, but it cheats those on fixed incomes the worst. Further, it not only drives prices up, but drives them up unequally in a way that exacerbates distortions in the economy and above all makes rational planning by investors difficult or impossible, driving many into poverty.

 

Only Allah can create something out of nothing. The only way to improve the standard of living of the people of Iran is to remove the obstacles from the marketplace that prevent the people of Iran from arranging their capital in the ways that are most productive. Expansion of the money supply is no shortcut to prosperity. You have seen the disaster that easy credit has caused in the American financial markets. Your proposal to give the money directly to the poor rather than subsidizing commodities is only a marginal improvement. It gives the poor slightly more control over the resources you give them, but it does nothing to stem the expansion of the money supply that is causing your inflation.

 

I strongly urge you to immediately reduce government spending, and to develop a plan to issue a currency denominated in units of gold dinars and backed by Iran’s oil supply. Such a currency will never lose its value as long the oil backing it is sufficient to buy back the currency in circulation. It will provide you with a non-inflationary way to share the oil wealth of Iran with its people. Once established, such a currency would be attractive to all the peoples of the world who would want to denominate their foreign debts in it as the world used to use the U.S. dollar before America foolishly abandoned the gold standard and silver backing, paving the way for their recurrent inflation and the current credit crisis.

 

May Allah guide you closer to the truth.

 

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (9/26/08)

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Tensions escalate as US claims “the ground forces fired rounds meant not to hit the Pakistani troops, but ‘to make certain that they realized they should stop shooting'”:

Militant Israelis vow to use violence, even against other Israelis, to protect illegal settlements within the West Bank:

Fears of sectarian violence surround census forms:

Islamic groups gain influence through free iftars during Ramadan, the opening of schools, and providing services to the poor:

Iranian ambassador counters the US proposal believing “the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government look at the agreement as being imposed on them”:

News and Analysis (9/25/08)

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Ashcroft, Rice, and Rumsfeld implicated in approval of torture techniques for al-Qaeda prisoners:

War prisoner allegedly denied due process:

Corruption and violence threaten to undermine government’s rule:

Pakistan seeks containment while US seeks Afghan stability:

Whoever controls influence in Najaf could “dominate upcoming local elections and set the tone for Iraq’s nascent democracy”:

Conditions worsen as EU, Russia, US, and UN fail “to make significant progress towards peace”:

News and Analysis (9/24/08)

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Diverse group calls for change in failed US anti-terrorism policy:

Incursions continue even as Bush says he “wants to help” protect Pakistani sovereignty:

Tax-exempt organization accused of illegal electioneering in targeting swing-state voters with inflammatory propaganda:

After months of debate, election deadline set at January 1, 2009:

Critics of the Trade Minister say lower level officials are scapegoats:

Ahmadinejad accuses the U.S. of forging documents given to the IAEA, while protesters demand he not be allowed to speak:

Muslim Charities in the American Legal System

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

What is widely viewed as the flagship case for the US government’s assault on financing terrorism resulted in an embarrassing first act and illustrates the disingenuous practices of the Bush administration. The persecution of the Holy Land Foundation, previously the largest Islamic charitable organization in the United States, highlights the unrelenting efforts of the Bush administration to secure any conviction justifying their crusade against terrorism.

The trial began in July 2007 as prosecutors pulled together weak evidence and bold accusations that Hamas ran the zakat committees to which the organization distributed over 12 million dollars. Even with the defendants’ civil liberties hobbled by recent legislation, the government could not secure a single conviction. Now the government prepares for a second round of trials, once again focusing on vilification rather than finding the truth.

Evidence remains the main element of securing convictions in the United States and the key component often lacking in government cases against terrorism-finance. Despite “197 counts, years of investigation and preparation, almost two months of testimony and more than 1,000 exhibits, including documents, wiretaps, transcripts and videotapes dug up in a backyard in Virginia,” jurors issued only acquittals and deadlocked on the other charges. Additionally, the government’s key witness, testifying under the pseudonym “Avi”, did little to sway jurors. In Court, Mr. Avi appeared to lack a basic understanding of zakat fund distribution, which discredited his testimony.

The Bush administration repeatedly has targeted Muslim charity organizations with the intention of showing progress in the “war on terrorism,” but with only feigned success, depending on plea bargains to technical offenses. Although lacking substance, the case portrays the immediate dangers in the government’s ability to forgo civil rights and seek false convictions.

Rarely accepting defeat, even at their most inept, the government began the retrial of the Holy Land Foundation on September 22. Once again speculation, not evidence, is the highlight of the government’s case. Simply put, the government’s case is predicated on the assertion that charity sent to Palestine must be assumed to fund terrorism through Hamas. To the contrary, evidence indicates the committees which received money from the Holy Land Foundation were licensed by the Palestinian Authority, and any success in establishing underground cooperation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority would certainly be groundbreaking. With little creditability left to lose, the government has orchestrated another effort to convict a Muslim organization of terrorism; hoping that emotions and ignorance will prevail.

While the damage this trial has had on the defendants is devastating, the real victims are the Palestinian people. Serious improvements to the plight and livelihood of many Palestinians would have transpired except for the government’s intervention. However, that interpretation does not uphold the image of “democracy’s beacon” the Bush administration attempts to sell the people of America. Apparently, fighting the “war on terror” requires the distortion of truth, and the infringement of justice and freedom.

Imran Malik
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (9/23/08)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Investors confident in the stability of the West Bank:

Negotiations at standstill with dispute over the release of prisoners:

Tensions rise as Iraqi government moves to incorporate American financed Sunni militia:

Defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak states, “Everyone should realize we have a common threat, a common enemy and a common objective to achieve”:

Study indicates 83% of women face harassment; legislation to criminalize proposed:

News and Analysis (9/21/08)

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

US military continues to violate Pakistani sovereignty:

New legal clinic faces several obstacles further delaying the release of Iraqi prisoners:

Kidnapping becomes top security concern for Afghans:

Free to be observant or not, Muslims in Dubai describe their experiences as “Middle Eastern culture”:

US claims proven unfounded as preliminary samples from site bombed by Israel test negative for graphite: