Archive for November, 2011

News and Analysis (11/30/11)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Islamic Banking has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent over the past three years and is predicted to almost double to $1.8 trillion in assets by 2016, yet suspicion is still present on the power of Islamic banking to eliminate the problem of leverage:

In “proceedings which could write legal history,” a “German federal court backed banning a Muslim pupil from praying according to Islamic rites at a Berlin public school, ruling it could jeopardise its smooth operation,” despite the fact that the right to pray, even during school, is a religious freedom guaranteed by the German constitution:

“The term French Muslims is both paradoxical and simplistic, but one that marks out those heirs to a particular history within the wider history of the French nation, those who came to build and defend France with little recognition. It means together creating a new country where, through confrontation and conjugation, we learn to shake off our hidebound identities”:

“Turkey is a Muslim state with people from different religious sects living in peace” and its influence in the Middle East is on the rise as it holds the Sixth Trilateral Summit between Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan …

… and increases sanctions on Assad urging him to step down:
Under pressure for the US Europe and the UN, Israel backs off its attempt to punish Palestinians for UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine by withholding their own tax money used to pay tens of thousands of workers and sustain the Palestinian Authority’s economy and security forces:
“Republicans on the campaign trail and in Congress have criticized Obama for withdrawing all US troops from Iraq and failing to secure an agreement with Maliki to keep some U.S. forces in the country to help assure that it remains relatively stable” and contain the interests of Iran. Al Maliki is scheduled to meet with Obama about the issue in the White House on Dec 12:

News and Analysis (11/29/11)

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Seeing the trees: a close-up look at the voting in Egypt; a man votes for the first time because his son was killed in Tahrir Square and his wife refuses to vote for the same reason:

The community service element of Islam fuels the Muslim Brotherhood’s advantage at the polls. “Some of the villages don’t even have sewage facilities. The education level is low. Water quality is weak. The Brotherhood has promised things, and in the past they have done them” — Shabban Abdel Reza, an Egyptian postal worker:

While the Prime Minister of Kuwait resigned on Monday after protesters and some deputies forced their way into parliament’s chambers, demanding that the prime minister quit earlier this month…

… the government in Bahrain remains in power even after an independent investigation, ordered by the king, urged his government to resign:

“We don’t want to impose anything on the people,” says Mohammad Shaqfah, the exiled leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. “[We have] always asked for freedom and democracy…. We will not replace one dictatorship with another. We are against dictatorships”:

In “in scenes reminiscent of the seizing of the U.S. Embassy compound in 1979 … [p]rotesters called for the closure of the embassy calling it a ‘spy den'” as some carried “photographs of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, who was killed last year in an attack that Iran blamed on Israeli and British spy services”:
“Islamic scholars [met in Pashawar, Pakistan,] on Monday [and] urged the followers of various sects to end their misunderstandings and get united to thwart the enemy`s anti-peace designs” and ensure the development of the Muslim Ummah:

The “face of political Islam in this fledgling democracy is a 47-year-old pharmaceutical executive who favors tailored suits and stiletto heels,” a “mother of two [who] … felt compelled to emerge as a spokeswoman to cut down fears that Ennahda would curb women’s rights or mix conservative religion and politics”:

“Taysir Al-Khatib, president of the Islamic society of Vermont in Colchester, questioned  the notion that some who wanted to observe Ramadan were looking for special favors. fasting throughout the day for Ramadan is no easy thing, he noted:

“Growing at about 25% a year, this secular though predominantly Muslim country’s economy has transitioned from its post-Soviet background to a healthy market economy today, in spite of the challenges of discord in the region which has resulted in about 15% of its population being refugees and displaced people”:

News and Analysis (11/27/11)

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

NATO’s killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers provokes a crisis as Pakistanis demand the US abandon the airbase from which its drone strikes are launched, to the delight of the Afghanis:

The arrests of what are probably Iranian informants comes on the heels of Hezbollah’s arrests of informants in Lebanon:

Election day arrives to the consternation of the military, with high hopes for the Muslim Brotherhood and secularists held suspect for their acceptance of the military’s delays:

Support for Obama has dropped and “26 percent of Muslim-Americans don’t see themselves as part of any party;” will Ron Paul be the benificiary?

On the scene in Libya, Franklin Lamb avers that Seif al-Islam has not been properly treated for his injuries because his guards fear that a trip to the only local hospital would lead to an assassination “on order to collect on the substantial rumored Qatar/NATO offered cash reward”:

Nineteen of the 22 Arab countries vote to cut off project funding and central bank transaction but Iran continues to wait:

…. meanwhile analyst George Friedman suggests that the rise of the “Syrian Free Army” coincides with Israel’s realization that Iran strengthened in regional influence by America’s intervention in Iraq is more threatening to them than a potential increase of Sunni religious parties in “democratized” hitherto secular Arab states:

“Opposition leaders said Mr Saleh had no authority to issue a pardon because he signed a deal last week transferring his powers to the vice-president”:

 

News and Analysis (11/25/11)

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Amid relief over the release of the American students, liberal Muslim critic of the regime Mona Eltahawy left detention with “her left arm and right hand broken and in casts,”saying she had experienced “the tip of the iceberg of the brutality Egyptians experience everyday” …

… and a showdown seems inevitable:

In contrast to the lively election in Tunisia, Moroccans show little enthusiasm as “its once-steady economy is creaking from the amount of money the government has pumped into raising salaries and subsidies to keep people calm amid the turmoil in the region”:

“Hezbollah and its allies, who hold the majority of seats in Mikati’s government, have rejected its funding by the Lebanese government.” Like the U.S., they “consider the court to be illegitimate”:

Islam makes no distinction between men and women in the punishment for extra-marital sex, yet “the Maldivian news agency said of the 184 people sentenced to public flogging in 2006, 146 were females”:

The current operations against al-Shabab “are reviving painful memories of an Ethio­pian invasion in 2006 that was backed by U.S. forces and preceded by an extensive CIA operation” and that “led, in fact, to the rise of al-Shabab”:

“The Assad government had not replied” to the Arab League ultimatum to fulfill its promise to end the violence “by the end of the deadline Friday but an Arab source in Cairo said the League would wait until the day’s end before deciding what to do. But the announcement of the air force attack appeared to be an oblique response”:

Of the 103 “on trial on charges of terrorism and stabbing policemen with swords during an April protest,” 37 have now been freed in the government’s campaign to improve “ties and dialogue with the opposition, including Islamists”:

“Many say the crisis has been fueled by politicians in a local struggle for political and economic gain, but religious sentiments are increasingly being stirred as well. Rights activists have petitioned the International Criminal Court over the crisis, arguing that the government is either incapable or unwilling to prosecute those responsible”:

“It would be a political misstep to accept funds earmarked for security services while schools and nurseries are not completed. Palestinians would see the aid as analogous to the 30 pieces of silver that were accepted by Judas Iscariot when he delivered Jesus” (peace be upon him):

News and Analysis (11/23/11)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The military’s failure to fulfill its promises to the Egyptian people has left Egypt in a highly complicated and awkward bind:

The ICC’s chief prosecutor says “that the trial of Gaddafi’s captured son, Saif al-Islam, could take place inside Libya as long as certain conditions were met,” but “the unveiling of a new cabinet revived regional and tribal rivalries which threaten the country’s stability,” a situation the NTC prime minister finds “scary”:

“Because Iran’s progress has been mostly in the form of research, rather than any actual infrastructure, Western states will likely only take economic and diplomatic measures until Iran makes … decisive moves … that hint at an “all-out bid” for nuclear weapons,” and even “the angry rhetoric from Israel threatening a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program has quieted”:

“King Hamad Al Khalifa welcomed the report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and pledged reforms. However, he ignored its finding that Iran was not involved in unrest in the Gulf island state”:

Is Thanksgiving a Muslim holiday? Not quite; but it is impressively similar to Islamic holdiays:

Another stereotype exposed as a fallacy: Muslims are more prod of bring British than the average Brit:

“Under the GCC plan, Saleh will shift all his powers to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who would form a new government with the opposition and call for an early presidential election within three months” but will Saleh renege again as he did with three previous plans?

Implying that he wants to return the favor to “Christians all over the world” who deplored Terry Jones’ “crime” of burning the Qur’an, the chairman of Ifhamul Quran International demands an inquiry as to who at the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority “made the decision to ban mentions of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and to prosecute them under the blasphemy law”:

“So far, her appointment has met with approval among Pakistan’s political classes. According to opposition lawmaker Ayaz Amir, “It’s a good choice. Pakistan has an image problem. A serious problem which someone articulate, sophisticated, and with the right background and poise can deal with”:

Questions on the Developments in Egypt

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I was interviewed by Javier Méndez of El Mercurio newspaper (Santiago, Chile) on the recent developments in Egypt. Here are my answers to his questions:

Q. What could be the political effects in Egypt of a speed-up of the transition?

A. The transition has already been unconscionably delayed. At the time Mubarak was deposed we argued that the election of a constitutional convention or at least a civilian caretaker government to appoint such a convention should not take longer than six months. It has now been ten months and we have seen the military Welch on its promises, a return to Tahrir Square, and a new wave of repression that cannot be blamed on Mubarak, bit must be blamed on the military regime of which he was an erstwhile figurehead. The Egyptian public gave the military a generous grace period to bow out and they squandered it. To minimize the damage they must allow the election to go forward as originally scheduled, with no further interventions, rescind the interventions applied to date. Above all the military must immediately revoke the emergency laws and promise to cede power to a civilian transitional government as soon as the various political parties can reach an agreement on its membership.

Q.  In the present situation in the Middle East, how important would a democratic government in Egypt be?

A. As Egypt is the most populous and influential Arab state, a smooth transition to democracy there would have an enormous beneficial impact on the entire Middle East.

Q.  Is the Muslim Brotherhood a real danger for the new regime?

As supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood would inevitably be a plurality in any elected government, it can pose no more of a danger to the new regime than any other segment of civil society. Even that puritanical segment of the Islamic revival referred to as the Salafis poses no threat the new regime since it lacks the Brotherhood’s deep roots in Egyptian society.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

 

News and Analysis (11/22/11)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
“”Our demands are clear,’ said Khaled El-Sayed, a protester from the Youth Revolution Coalition and a candidate in the upcoming parliamentary election. ‘We want the military council to step down and hand over authority to a national salvation government with full authority.’ He also demanded” trials “for the ‘horrific crimes’ of the past few days, when 29 people were killed in clashes”:
“There was nothing in the IAEA report that makes military action more likely. If anything, it points to the limits of the effectiveness of a military campaign, which would have to be weighed against the risk of starting a potentially catastrophic regional war”…
.. .consequently, the US, Britain, France and Canada decide to increase economic sanctions to “an unprecedented level”…
…while Iran dismisses the act as “propaganda and psychological warfare”…
… and Russia calls it “a violation of international law and an obstruction to constructive dialogue with Tehran”:

With the rise of the Islamist parties in the Arab Spring, both King Abdullah and Mr. Abbas feel to seek reconciliation with Hamas:

“[E]ven those supportive of the Ergenekon probe, which many originally hoped would target such crimes, are becoming increasingly frustrated”:

“When we have so many serious, serious crimes, why are the prosecutors following up these incredibly vague links?” asks Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a human rights lawyer who writes for the Today’s Zaman newspaper.

While Palestinians have long faced violence from both settlers and soldiers, now Jewish Israelis who choose to stand up for the basic human rights of Palestinians, can no longer expect protection from their own government:
 “Islam does not believe in segregating people but calls for their integration with also stress on the message of harmony, women[‘s] freedom to work for the benefit of human society and expects form every righteous man and women to establish a just order in Allah’s land to ensure peace and prosperity”:

News and Analysis (11/21/11)

Monday, November 21st, 2011

With the death toll mounting, Egyptian youth realize their trust in the military has been betrayed, Muslim puritans seek to take advantage of the discontent while the resignation of the cabinet raises questions as to whether next week’s  elections will take place on schedule:

As Bahrain takes a step in the right direction with an admission of excessive force …

… but despite external pressure and military defections, Assad continues his iron fist policy:

“Though the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon officially denied” the Hezbollah chief’s claim to have unmasked two CIA spies, “American officials concede that Nasrallah wasn’t lying and the damage spread like a virus as Hezbollah methodically picked off the CIA’s informants;” as with the 100 Israeli agents arrested by Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, “bad tradecraft doomed these CIA assets”:

Minaret of Freedom Institute advisory board member Prof. Charles Butterworth will be among the panelists discussing “attempts to constrain teaching about Islam and the Middle East on the American campus”:

“After the pressures that Afghanistan and Turkey put on Pakistan at the Istanbul conference,” Pakistan “has agreed to allow in an Afghan team investigating the killing of ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani”. who “was assassinated by a man posing as a Taliban peace envoy”:

“British Muslims are more proud to be British than the population as a whole, and they are significantly more optimistic about the country’s future”:

The Somali “government fears that the incursion by Ethiopia — a Christian-led nation — may hand the insurgents a propaganda victory”:

 

 

News and Analysis (11/19/11)

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

A rally dominated by Islamist groups of various stripes threatens the military regime in a manner reminiscent of last January’s demonstrations …

… meanwhile in New York’s Foley Square:

A federal judge has condemned the FBI practice “of deliberately lying to judges under the rubric of protecting national security interests. The FBI can file sensitive documents under seal, but cannot unilaterally override the judiciary branch’s oversight role on FOIA requests by lying to the court, the judge ruled”:

“In a unanimous vote in March 2010, the Lomita City Council rejected a plan for a new consolidated worship center, citing neighbors’ concerns and increased traffic” despite the fact t that “a study from city staff that concluded traffic would remain the same”:

Predictions that the apartheid wall would be used for land grabs are fulfilled:

Seif al Islam’s offer of a transition from charismatic rule to constitutional rule lost credibility when he backed his father’s threats of a brutal response to the Libyan rebellion; the rebels once again having claimed his capture, this time saying he will be given a trial whether in Libya or before the ICC:

“Syrian troops have stormed a central town and a north-western region in search of regime opponents, activists said, a day after the government agreed in principle to allow the Arab League to send observers to oversee a peace plan proposed by the 22-member bloc”:

News and Analysis (11/17/11)

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The Arab League ultimatum has no impact on Assad and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood welcomes Turkish, but not Western, intervention as the situation increasingly resembles a civil war:

As the would-be prime minster of Tunisia protests that his comment about a “Sixth Caliphate” was taken out of context, the center-left Ettakatol (Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties) Party suspends talks for a role in the governing coalition declaring the suspension “is not a total break we just wanted to a deliver message, as soon as … Ennahdha … explain[s] the statement we will resume discussions”:

While Islam did not completely ban slavery (it could be a preferable altertnative to the fate of  “death by starvation or execution, the two common ancient consequences to losing a war”), the earliest Muslims “cared for and freed them, …learned from and included them” and “Muhammad’s immediate household personally freed almost 40,000 slaves alone”:

The controversy comes from allegations that Haqqani “had a hand in reaching out to the US to lean on the country’s generals to decrease their role in the country’s nominally civilian political life” and “conveyed a promise from President Zardari to reduce the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s support for the Taliban and other militant groups”:

“The Muslim Brotherhood held its first public conference on Libyan soil on Thursday after being banned for decades, and used the platform to set a moderate tone, calling for a broad national reconstruction effort”:

Israel eased the blockade of raw materials into Gaza slightly, but then failed to let the finished products out, so the factories have fallen silent again:

Organizers of the first of its kind cruise blame local officials for the cancellation, but Morocco’s Foreign Minister insists, “We don’t ban cruise ships here and we never ask our visitors about their sexual preferences” and the cruise can proceed “if the organisers want”: