Archive for April, 2012

News and Analysis (4/30/12)

Monday, April 30th, 2012

“The announcement from Gamaa Islamiya provides a boost to Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh’s chances in the May 23-24 vote. He received a similar endorsement from an influential ultraconservative Salafi group last week”:

“[T]he Brotherhood has been respected for its Islamic and social programs, such as schools and clinics. The fear among many members is that the Brotherhood’s taste for politics is jeopardizing its soul”:

Muslim students object to using their name as he excuse for banning alcohol on campus:

“Change is coming, you can no longer have a closed regime with an open society … this is not sustainable,this cannot continue. We have advised these leaders to lead this change, or you will be pushed by change”:

“[I]t was the result of the courageous testimony of Bosnia’s sexually abused women that rape was recognized as a war crime under international law”:

And yet, “a majority of those responsible for these crimes have not been prosecuted; they are still at large,” says Elena Wasylew, one of the authors of “Old Crimes, Same Suffering,” an Amnesty International report.

Peaceful resistance techniques making an impact against oppressive regimes:

“[C]omments by Sarkozy suggest he was aware of the [the] refutation of the … claim [that Mosques are endorsing his Socialist opponent], yet he aired the view of a grand Muslim conspiracy again anyway”:

“Muslims, civil rights groups and other religious leaders say the conference is merely another event put on by well-known bigots to attack the minority religion” and “Mokdad’s family maintains that the killing was a tragedy that has nothing to do with their Islamic beliefs”:

“[O]ur challenge … is to show we are not what they think. We do not want to oppress women or make them stay at home or let people have four wives”:

News and Analysis (4/28/12)

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Malaysian Spring? “Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who many hope will win the upcoming election, rallied the enthusiastic crowds as one of Bersih’s leaders, Ambiga Sreenevasan, said: ‘We all want change today'”:

“Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, kids. At least until there’s like, you know, some proof”:

“[W]hile Egypt’s Islamists – generally not fans of free speech when it comes to matters of faith and social mores – are on the rise politically, it’s worth keeping in mind that [persecution of critics under color of blasphemy laws] were frequent under the presumably secular Mubarak regime”:

“On Friday around 1,000 protesters demonstrated outside the mission, demanding the release of” a prominent Egyptian lawyer “and other Egyptians held in Saudi jails,” chanting “‘Oh Saudi ambassador, we will respond to every lash with a hundred!” and “showing their anger by removing their shoes and waving them at the building”:

“Changing fundamental words of Scripture such as ‘father’ and ‘son’ will also fuel the Muslim claim that the Bible is corrupted, full of errors and has been abrogated by the Quran and example of Muhammad” — Most Rev. John Harrower, Anglican bishop of Tasmania, for whom, “the changes aren’t simply a matter of word choice, but theological choice”:

The ancient “pilgrimage route was abruptly halted after Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war” when potential pilgrims feared “visiting the mosque would amount to recognition of Israel’s claim to the area and be inappropriate when Israel prevents many Palestinians from entering”:

With the Nour Party candidate disqualified from running, ultraconservative clerics seek a role as kingmaker, questioning remaining candidates without connections to the Mubarak regime on implementation of Islamic law, foreign policy, and how they “would deal with the clerics if elected”:

Do we have this straight? The ISI told the CIA that bin Ladin’s cell phone was in Abbottabad, they just didn’t realize it was bin Ladin’s cell phone, but the CIA did?

Days after “Israel’s serving military chief, Benny Gantz, … said he did not believe the Iranian leadership was prepared … to acquire nuclear weapons,” former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin said Netanyahu and Barak are “misleading the public” because “many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race” rather than end it:

 

News and Analysis (4/26/12)

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

“Breivik has said that he wants to be judged sane so that his anti-Islamic ideology is taken seriously.” He denied that he has a Messiah complex, that the Knights Templar are not a paranoid fantasy and that what psychiatrists called his “’emotional flatness’ was actually part of his military dehumanization training” to become a cold-blooded killer:

“Simon’s segment made clear that Israel isn’t targeting Palestinian Christians as Christians, rather they are targeted by Israeli policies because they are Palestinians” but he erred grievously when he asserts that the Israeli wall in the West Bank “completely separates Israel from the occupied West Bank” rather than divides the West Bank from itself:

In the wake of demands from Bedouins in the Sinai that the current terms of the Camp David Accords “do not guarantee national security and do not provide for the Bedouin population’s participation in security plans for the Peninsula”:

“’People are scared of things they don’t know or understand,’ Sikorski said, ‘and right now it’s Islam.’ By portraying these women as she sees them—happy, non-threatening surfer girls—her art forces a reevaluation of the connotation of ‘otherness’ that the head scarf often prompts in this country. ‘These are southern California girls,” Sikorski said’:

“Imam Asim Abdul Rashid, of the group that is sponsoring the reward, said Tuesday the the crimes are endangering members of the Muslim community.  ‘It puts our women in danger and it puts a black mark on our community in general’:

Arab Spring in reverse? Issuing a Mubarak-style decree to quash any effective opposition, the NTC bans “the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June”:

The reinstatement of Mubarak’s PM Ahmed Shafiq will probably split votes with popular secular candidate Amr Moussa …

… to the benefit of the FJP whose candidate has dumped the nearly meaningless old MB slogan “Islam is the solution” for a new completely meaningless slogan, “Renaissance is the will of the nation”:

Iran “is going step-by-step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile” — Lt. Gen. Benny Grantz, IDF chief:

“There was no mention of the bus shooting or bombardment in Syria’s rigidly controlled media or comment from the authorities in Damascus, which has barred most foreign journalists since the revolt started. Annan” says Syria “failed to withdraw weapons from population centers in violation of the terms of the April 12 truce he engineered”:

News and Analysis (4/24/12)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

As the presidential campaign begins in Egypt, things start popping, with the banning of Jimmy Carter’s center from monitoring the elections for fairness, the proposed (but probably moot) ban of the Mubarak-era PM from the race, and a tacking to the right by the MB’s candidate seeking to attract supporters of the but disqualified Nour Party candidate:

“The gas pipeline had long drawn complaints of Mubarak-era corruption, popular anger at Israel, and the failure of commercial dealings to improve Egypt-Israel ties”:

“Iran claims it hacked into the data banks of a captured CIA stealth drone. US officials dismiss it as ‘bluster,’ but aviation and cyber experts say it’s possible”:

Prof. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, “the author of “Marriage and Divorce in Islam,” is among those “asking for codification of the legal system within the framework of Koranic law,” because, she says, “The Koran does not support a system that is controlled by the patriarchy, and the government has to treat this matter on a war footing if they truly mean to bring about gender justice,” but, she complains, “Politicians refuse to move ahead because some males have objected”:

In St. Louis, the city jail accommodates headscarves of Muslim inmates, but Amnesty International’s report  “‘Choice and Prejudice” criticizes European states for having “focused so much in recent years on the wearing of full-face veils, as if this practice were the most widespread and compelling form of inequality women in Europe have to face”:

The community differs from other Muslims in the Indian subcontinent in their practice of “‘Khatna’ (the excision of the clitoris)” which is strictly prohibited in Islam:

Egyptians are upset with Saudi suppression of free speech …

… but at home, a comedian is fined in a case brought by an Islamist lawyer “reportedly offended by the film Al-Irhabi (The Terrorist), in which Imam plays a radical Islamist; the play Al-Zaeem (The Leader), a comedy satirising Middle Eastern autocrats; and the film Morgan Ahmed Morgan, which sees a rich businessman stand for parliament”

“[P]erhaps the most revealing part of the” CBS 60 minutes program on Christian life under Israeli occupation “was Bob Simon sharing that” Ambassador Michael Oren, who tries to blame Israel’ persecution of Christians on the Muslims, had complained to CBS News head Jeff Fager before the segment had even been aired, calling it “a hatchet job”:

“The protesters clashed with police Tuesday as they attempted to march toward Pearl Square, the focal point of an uprising against the monarchy in its early weeks last year. The square is now heavily guarded and ringed by razor wire”:

News and Analysis (4/22/12)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Egypt’s economy is an a dangerously sad state …

… but millionaire Islamists say that removing the ceiling on success can “empower a new class of businessmen … while also improving the lives of poor Egyptians and attracting investment from abroad” as in “Turkey, where a religious middle class, encouraged by the country’s Islamic government, has driven a spectacular economic boom”:

“[W]hile Friday’s rally coalesced around a common theme — the call for an end to military rule — the various Islamist, liberal, leftist and youth groups taking part remained divided over the means to that end. Some called for delaying the election, while others pressed for an immediate transfer of power to parliament”:

“General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards, related what he said were details of the aircraft’s operational history to prove his claim that Tehran’s military experts had extracted data from the US RQ-170 Sentinel captured in December in eastern Iran”:

“The television has never been independent…. The guidelines are a way of trying through the window, rather than the front door, to take control of public broadcast media’” — Matti Monjib, president of the Ibn Rushd Center, “which promotes investigative journalism”:

“It was common, [journalists in Pakistan] said, to receive a threat by a phone call from the Taliban for not getting enough quotes from them, from political parties for including the Taliban in a story or not being represented the way they saw fit, and even from Pakistan’s version of the CIA, the ISI”:

“The idea of secularization is a concept that does not exist in the Middle East for both Christians and Muslims because [there] people are by nature religious. It is much better to speak about …. ‘citizenship for all’ whereby the citizens are allowed to pursue their own religious values[,] … that all have the same rights” — Archbishop Paul-Mounged El-Hachem:

“I think and hope he is alone. Most Norwegians are nothing like him” — Sihen Naidja, a 42-year-old Algerian mother:

“Did not God check one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled down monasteries churches synagogues and mosques in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure” — Qur’an 22:40

“The shelling in Douma highlighted the need for more observers a day after the Security Council voted to expand the number of UN observers from 30 to 300 in hopes of salvaging an international truce plan marred by continued fighting between the military and rebels”:

News and Analysis (4/19/12)

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

“The far-right fanatic said he was inspired by al-Qaida’s use of decapitation but noted that ‘beheading is a traditional European death penalty,’ adding, ‘The goal was not to kill 69 people on Utoya. The goal was to kill them all’” …

…as he enacts his self-scripted crusade that combines terrorism with modern-media theater:

Once praised for social service, resistance to Israel, and incorruptibility, Hamas now has among its critics a moderate who says they are “like a police state,” an militant who says they have “left Islamic Jihad alone on the battlefield,” and an “unemployed former shopkeeper” who charges that “only those who ‘pray in a Hamas mosque’ get work”:

With demonstrators planning days of rage to coincide with the Formula One races, an expert doubts Bahrain’s ability to guarantee security, but t he governments insists on proceeding as planned:

Anyone who thinks Iranian women are passively submissive is not paying attention:

“The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed”:

The desire to require marriages be registered with the state is one thing, but to invalidate a  religiously valid marriage because it is not registered is an unwarranted state intrusion on religion inappropriate in a secular society:

“The liberal ideal may be to have political parties that represent economic or social ideologies, where communal identities do not matter in governance. But India is not currently headed that way”:

“God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves” (Qur’an 13:11). In Kenya and Nigeria, Muslims debate whether governmental discrimination or their own shortcomings are responsible for their status:

The failure to resolve issues of oil rights and borders before separation laid down the path to war:

News and Analysis (4/18/12)

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

With excuses for disqualification of the three frontrunners from the presidential race upheld on grounds ranging from the plausible (inadequate diversity in the sources of petition signatures) to the dubious (American citizenship of one’s mother) to the outrageous (imprisonment by the Mubarak dictatorship), a return to the streets may be in the offing:

Norwegian mass murderer resists having the genesis of his attempt to create a “Crusader” version of al-Qaeda exposed and protests against the humiliation of imprisonment, demanding he either be released as an innocent man or slain as a martyr …

… while “France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Wednesday there is no shame in fighting so-called Islamization of France and insists it won’t breed a mass killer like the anti-Muslim Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik”:

With the victim’s accusation that the FBI was involved in rendition, his attorney calls it “deeply disturbing ”  that the government is making surrender of their constitutional rights a condition of return to their home sin the U.S.:

The U.S. “and its Afghan allies have not abandoned the plan to build the larger Afghan force, which is needed to cover the withdrawal of American and NATO troops in 2013 and 2014…. But the larger force, which costs about $6 billion annually, is not seen as affordable over the long term in a country with a weak economy and little governance” …

… even as a “”morally repugnant” revelation hits the headlines:

“In 2010, the Saudi Human Rights Commission, a government-affiliated group, hired a lawyer to help a 12-year-old divorce her 80-year-old husband…. Saudi Arabia is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which considers those under the age of 18 as children”;

Zionists turn apoplectic as Julian Assange begins his new webcast by interviewing Hassan Nasrullah:

“Although her family knew she was a Jewish convert, none of them knew of her brutal past. It was only in the past week that Jabarin, who was born Helen Brashatsky, finally sat down and told them the story of how she was born inside Auschwitz, the most notorious symbol of Nazi Germany’s wartime campaign of genocide against Europe’s Jews”:

“Sudan and South Sudan have accused each other of opening up a new front along their disputed border, raising fears of all-out war”:

A Ph.D. student tries to “to understand what ‘Islamism'” by observing current developments “in Gao and Timbuktu, northern Mali”:

 

News and Analysis (4/16/12)

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The significance of the Afghan defense forces ability to defeat the insurgent attack without Western help is disputed, while NATO’s failure to anticipate the  ability of the Taliban to penetrate so deep into the heart of Kabul provokes speculation over the role the Haqqanni Network and the connection to an attack on a Pakistani prison that freed hundreds of militants:

Having “proudly admitted bombing the government’s headquarters in Oslo last July, killing eight people, before gunning down 69, mostly teenagers, at a summer camp,” the mass murderer’s only regret, according to his defense attorney, is “that he didn’t go further”: …

… but the defiant killer who gave “a closed-fist salute” on his arrival in court, later displayed his sensitive side, “wiping away tears as he watched a trailer for a propaganda film he had made to justify the one-man war which reached its awful conclusion on 22 July”:

The international human rights activists came to demonstrate that Israel’s control of the borders is a tool of oppressing Palestinians under the false mantle of security, and the Israelis obligingly proved their point by pressuring airlines to refuse boarding and detaining the ones who managed to arrive:

“The two main demands of the liberals and leftists are specific guidelines for how members of the assembly are chosen and a requirement that everything must be approved by a 75 percent majority rather than more than 50 percent”:

Islamic law allows those who engage in pre-marital sex to redeem their honor by marriage, but abuse of this provision to pressure the victims of rape into marriage to the rapist is a scandal with devastating consequences. Will Morocco’s king and Islamist government take action to end this perversion of the law?

“The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) this month imposed new measures to curb demand for the dollar after a spike at its daily auctions as local traders bought greenbacks to sell them on to Iran and Syria”:

“How do you get a group described by the US government as a cult and an officially designated foreign terrorist organisation to be viewed by many congressmen and parliamentarians as champions of human rights and secular democracy”

“It smelled … like a setup. ‘I had a feeling that I had just played out a part in some Hollywood movie where I had just been introduced to the leader of a ‘terrorist’ sleeper cell,’ Akili wrote” of tactics that Muslim and civil rights activists have called “entrapment”;

“A Khartoum information ministry official told the BBC the move was linked to South Sudan’s seizure last week of the Heglig oil field. The South had accused Sudan of launching attacks on its territory from the frontier oil field”:

 

News and Analysis (4/14/12)

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

“Egypt’s election commission disqualified 10 presidential hopefuls, including Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief and key Islamists, from running Saturday in a surprise decision that threatened to upend an already tumultuous race… The disqualified candidates have 48 hours to appeal the decision…”:

“The lawsuit says that since 2008, the four men, including the imam of a big mosque in Canton, were at various times detained, handcuffed, strip-searched and interrogated for hours. Sometimes, agents would surround their cars with guns. Agents would ask questions such as: Which mosque do you go to? How many times a day do you pray?”

“[I]in what Western diplomats called a constructive development given their low expectations, agreed to meet again next month.” The chief Iranian negotiator indicated that despite “differences of opinion … some important points had been agreed to” and “that the next talks should focus on arranging measures to build mutual confidence”:

Contradicting the women’s affidavits, a variety of official documents, and  the age given by one woman’s father in an official police filing, the police insist that a “”medical examination” reveals that they are minors, but they declared “they were old enough to marry, had not been coerced by the boys or anyone else and had voluntarily converted to Islam” :

“Islam is a religion that banned and stopped people from burying their daughters alive, and injustice and brutality against women. But five women were killed in the span of 2 weeks in an Islamic republic and there is no sign of justice. Islam emphasizes on love between couples but in an Islamic country, when a husband kills his wife, her Islamic and human rights are forgotten and nobody is ready to maintain justice”:

More unintended consequences of the NATO intervention into Libya; “A group called Ansar al-Din who have been fighting along the main Tuareg rebel group in Mali say they have established a state based on Islamic law in the north of the country,” but “mass looting and extreme poverty have been the only result so far”:

The “top government lawyer and devout Muslim … taking on menial jobs to atone for the beheading of a Sikh by Islamist militants … initially hid his quest from his family … but they are now supportive. He also avoided media interviews until a reporter reminded him that Islam tells followers to publicize good deeds as an example to others”:

“America, … a safe heaven for persecuted believers since the Mayflower, keeps up with its heritage by welcoming Muslim believers as well,” and the handful of “fear-mongering … anti-Islamic propagandists … represent not the best of America, but the worst of the hateful oppression from which some of the newly Americanized Muslims have just fled”:

In “the US … a network of neo-conservative, evangelical and conservative organisations attempts to spread ‘negative perceptions of Islam, Muslim minorities and Islamic culture’. Nick Lowles, director of Hope Not Hate said: “… it was the ‘counter-Jihadist’ ideology that inspired [Breivik] and gave him the reasoning to carry out these atrocious attacks”:

News and Analysis (4/12/12)

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

“[T]he prosecution in the Mehanna case made the material support statute a vehicle for the suppression of unpopular ideas that fall within the boundaries of the First Amendment – including watching ‘Jihadi’ videos with others, lending CDs to ‘create like-minded youth,’ translating texts freely available on the internet”:

To Saudi complaints that there needs to be a caption explaining the photo, the artist “counters it’s up to the viewer to interpret the meaning, but says she had hoped the photo would show the public that women who wear the niqab are the same as everyone else”:

Among the unintended consequences of NATO’s involvement in Libya is  the waste of millions of dinars and a destabilization of that part of Africa:

“[O]utside of Colin Powell, who did so a few years back on ‘Meet the Press,’ it is difficult to think of many — or any — who have dared to confront the notion implicit in the lie. Namely, that being a Muslim is incompatible with being an American’:

While calling “call for an immediate end to American drone strikes against militants on Pakistani soil,” it is not a pre-requisite for the call “for NATO and the U.S. to pay Pakistan more for the right to ship supplies across its soil and stipulate that no arms or ammunitions be transported”:

With unverified “reports of killings by both sides,” the truce is fragile:

Britain’s MP “told students at Al Azhar University in Jakarta today that Indonesia has demonstrated it’s possible to develop democracy and a modern economy without compromising security or the ability to practice their religion”: