Archive for November, 2008

News and Analysis (11/29-30/08)

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

What began as a clash between two political parties over a disputed election turned into Christian-Muslim conflict:

The White House policy that “if a country cannot deal with a terrorism problem on its own, the United States reserves the right to act unilaterally” may make India deaf to pleas for restraint against Pakistan…

… and Pakistan withdraws its previous offer to send it’s spy chief, claiming Pakistani was “‘already bending over backwards’ to be cooperative and did not ‘want to create more opportunities for Pakistan-bashing'”:

Still well below the 100,000 average of refugees admitted during the 1990s,

Hamas takes out its anger over its rival, the Palestinian Authority, which coordinated the pilgrimages, on the pilgrims:

“The weekend clashes will raise fears of a return to the regular bloodshed that plagued the city in the 1990s”:

Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the top Marine in Iraq, states that troops could be largely withdrawn without harming the process of making Anbar self-sufficient:

News and Analysis (11/28/08)

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Prosecutors simplified “a complex case of terrorism financing” to secure convictions:

The High Court rules in favor of Palestinians, requiring the government explain why settlements have not been removed in accordance with the ‘road map’ peace plan:

Maliki’s political reputation will be permanently linked to either the success or failure of the US security pact…

…Meanwhile the agreement’s opposition vocalize their disappointment:

“Eradication effort, along with drought and a global food shortage that boosted the price of wheat, cut production of the crop” which peaked in 2007:

Outrage ensues as foreign troops repeatedly attack civilians:

Diplomats sent from the Obama administration would be the first since the 1979 hostage crisis:

News and Analysis (11/27/08)

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

“Given the choice of targets, the coordinated nature of the assaults, one might think it is Islamic extremists. It is a fair theory. But at this point, it is just that — a theory,” – US Official

The agreement now needs approval from by President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies:

“At a time of almost unprecedented financial volatility, Islamic banks are being hailed as bastions of stability. Growing numbers of individuals and companies are now embracing their workings, which are based on Koranic principles”:

Israel iuse of cluster bombs in the final 72 hours of conflict in 2006 motivated international community, excluding Israel, the United States, Russia and China, to ban the weapon:

US, Canadian and Australian led block fails as Syria receives approval for assistance in building a nuclear power plant:

Temporary opening of Gaza border canceled after rocket attack struck Israel:

News and Analysis (11/26/08)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

“The Fourth Amendment’s requirement of reasonableness — but not the Warrant Clause — applies to extraterritorial searches and seizures of U.S. citizens” – Judge José A. Cabranes

In a step to establish civilian authority, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence’s ‘political wing’ is quietly shut down:

Recently established security forces help curb violence in Hebron, an area in which Palestinians fall victim to some of the most extreme Israeli settlers:

The Foreign Press Association has filed a petition requesting the supreme court to overrule the ban on journalists allowed into Gaza:

Parliament’s vote on the security pact viewed as a referendum on Prime Minister Maliki’s performance:

“If we don’t have a clear idea of how long it will be, the Afghan government has no choice but to seek political solutions,” including “starting to talk to Taliban and those opposing the government”:

US to increase troops in Wardak and Logar, two volatile provinces that have traditionally lacked Western forces:

News and Analysis (11/25/08)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Verdict threatens to be a green light for wider intimidation of Muslim charity organizations:

Guantanamo prisoner released to Yemeni custody in the trial case of military commissions for accused terrorists:

“The greatest enemy in many cases is not the Taliban, but criminals and the police who are often seen as being complicitous with them”:

The Justice Department hopes to return the innocent Chinese Muslims to prison while they seek asylum abroad:

Food shortages will lead to a “huge humanitarian crisis”:

A murky political scene emerges with the cabinet resigning to prevent parliament from  questioning Sheikh Nasser over corruption allegations:

News and Analysis (11/24/08)

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Two shot dead with about 20 wounded as Indian forces opened fire against the “stone-throwing” demonstrators boycotting the elections:

The expiration of the UN security agreement leaves Iraq’s oil wealth and other assets at risk for seizure to satisfy billions of dollars in legal claims against Saddam Hussein’s regime:

A victim reports “how gunmen apparently working for Iraq’s Interior Ministry kidnapped her, beat and raped her; of how they discarded her on a Baghdad sidewalk”:

Pioneers of Saudi Arabia’s first all-girl rock band illustrate the changes in Jidda, the kingdom’s most cosmopolitan city:

“In some ways, we are seeing a return to traditional Iraqi political culture, where authority is centralized in the person of the leader in Baghdad,” said an anonymous US official:

At a conference intended to curb violence in Iraq, US receives little support in the criticism of Syria:

“Finding troops will not be easy unless there is a significant drawdown in Iraq”:

News and Analysis (11/22-23/08)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Considered the strongest pro-Israeli candidate for secretary of state, the selection of Hillary Clinton would leave many wary for the prospect of peace:

The non-binding legal opinion of Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council shows ignorance of Islam, Hinduism and Yoga:

“One of the biggest fears of the Pakistani military planners is the collaboration between India and Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan… Some people feel the United States is colluding in this.”

Autonomous region independently obtains weapons claims they are for defensive purposes:

The incorporation of women into security forces encourages stronger adherence respecting human rights in police raids:

“According to Majd, most Iranians suffer from a superiority/inferiority complex in which immense pride in Iran’s history and culture is tempered by a sense of shame at the country’s third-world status and anger at its treatment by foreign powers”:

Camps initially for Afghan refugees reopen for those made homeless in the conflict over Pakistan’s northwest providence

Hospitalized Gazans remain at serious risk from Israeli blockade:

News and Analysis (11/21/08)

Friday, November 21st, 2008

A judge who previously ruled against the detainees releases five and describes the government’s evidence as “skimpy” while questioning credibility of the government’s sources:

In order to secure maritime trade in the Red Sea, “the international community must search for stability and economic and political development in Somalia”…

…illustrating the complexity of such a task, militants take a break from overthrowing the government and seek to capture the abducted Saudi ship:

In a symbolic move, protesters “hanged an effigy of President Bush from the plinth that once supported the statue of Saddam Hussein”:

An issue largely ignored by the Bush administration, the importance of resolving the issue of Kashmir is acknowledged by Obama:

Gaza continues to suffer with 27 of the 47 bakeries closed, blackouts of up to 20 hours, and the suspension of welfare for 98,000 Gazans:

“The goal is to prepare a generation that has deep religious faith and is also close to Hezbollah”:

Obsession: Neoconservatives Assault on the Islamic Faith

Friday, November 21st, 2008

In an outrageous attempt to raise fears and produce votes in favor of John McCain, the movie Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West was distributed to over 28 million homes with funding provided by Clarion Fund. A flagrant misrepresentation of Islamic beliefs, the film purposely undermines its own disclaimers in order to distort Islam and demonize Muslims.

Beginning with a disclaimer that “most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror,” the film immediately begins to contradict this statement. Organizing an A-list of Islamophobes, including Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, and Daniel Pipes, Obsession portrays the hostility of terrorists as a fundamental element in Islam. These self-proclaimed Islamic experts spew hateful rhetoric reflecting that which terrorists use against the West.

Among the many perversions of Islam in this film, false assumptions about the term Jihad are the most intolerable. For a Muslim, the term Jihad refers to a struggle which may be good or evil. Such a struggle is Islamic only if it is in the cause of God (Fi sabil Allah), which means both the ends and the means must be righteous. While there is no doubt that many Muslims have manipulated the word Jihad to fit their own bidding, the comparison of “Jihad” to “Mein Kampf,” simply because “jihad” and “kampf” both mean struggle is a gratuitous and abhorrent attempt to equate Muslim scripture with the paranoid ravings  of a fascist anti-Semite.

Furthermore, once the distorted definition of Jihad is established, the implication of quotes also becomes distorted. For example, Arafat is quoted in the movie as condemning acts of terrorism juxtaposed with a video of him chanting “Jihad! Jihad.” Obsession would have you believe he is calling for the use of terrorism against the West. However, a scenario in which Arafat is reminding the Palestinian people to remain committed struggle for a Palestinian State seems much more likely. In fact, Arafat was a secularist indicating a position inherently opposed to religious war.

Shortly after this scene, the experts of Obsession profess to evaluate the core of Radical Islam, but they completely dismiss any shortcomings in American foreign policy or provocative Western action, and simply pronounce Islamic militants illogical and unyielding. An unrelenting desire of Islam to conquer the West is cited as their lone motivation. Analogous to McCarthyism, panic is spread over an Islamic threat instead of a Communist threat. (At least McCarthy has the excuse that the Soviets actually occupied states like Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. The attack on the World Trade Center was despicable, but the notion that its objective was to occupy the United States is laughable.)

The Neoconservatives eventually resort to baseless comparisons to the Nazi regime as a shameless scare tactic. Obsession compares the propaganda of the Nazi regime, defined as “hate speech, paranoia and us against them” to the propaganda of the Arab world. Ironically, these characteristics perfectly embody the tone of Obsession. By using generalizations and weak evidence, this film egregiously portrays Muslims from around the world.

Notwithstanding the fundamentally wrong arguments of the film, the most offensive aspect remains the inability, or perhaps the lack of desire to distinguish between the common beliefs of most Muslims and the very small minority that collaborate in terrorist organizations. For me, the most shocking moment occurs with a video of Muslims praying at Mecca, the holiest site of Islam, and the narrator asking, “The question then becomes, what percentage of the Muslim world supports Jihad and could be considered radicals or Islamic fundamentalists?”

The movie informs the audience that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world but chooses not to reiterate the fact most are not extremist. Pipes appears to pull figures out of thin air, claiming 10 to 15 percent of Muslims are radical. Orchestrating the same level of intolerance and ignorance as the very group they target, Obsession completely misrepresents the Islamic faith. A true Muslim is a believer in peace through justice, not a warmonger. The film’s hidden agenda aims to encourage a military centered strategy without examining the potential ramifications of such a misdirected policy.

Imran Michael Malik
Minaret of Freedom Institute
(blog.minaret.org)

News and Analysis (11/20/08)

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Zawahiri applies Malcolm X’s term for domestic slaves’ acquiescence in their people’s oppression to Obama and other African-American leaders, and the main stream media takes what is on its face a personal attack as a “racial slur”:

Over the years the U.S. has come to adopt the Israeli position on assassinations that are “illegal under international laws and norms:”

In what could be a promising start in the direction of our call for a gold denominated currency in our Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,

Unexplained traces of uranium and accusations of a nuclear reactor layout leave unanswered questions over Syria’s nuclear program…

…Meanwhile, reports indicate Iran possess enough raw fuel for an atomic bomb but still faces other complications:

Jewish settlers in Hebron desecrate cemetary, defy High Court ruling, vandalize military vehicles and wound an Israeli soldier:

Tensions remain high on debate over US security pact:

Advertising placed in four Israeli newspapers produces mixed feelings and lackluster results: