Archive for July, 2012

News and Analysis (7/13/12)

Friday, July 13th, 2012

“Whether or not armed conflict is imminent, Sinai leaders say they have increasingly taken on tasks the state is not performing;” but that their courts “are not imposing corporal punishments … and are only arbitrating disputes among people who agree in writing to adhere to the decision of the scholars”:

“Although state religious officials in Malaysia say preventing citizens’ exposure to “un-Islamic” books, authors and entertainers is a moral necessity, opposition leaders offer a different view: It’s largely about political power”:

Ghannouchi insists “that the Islamists of Ennahda, which dominates the government, share power with two centre-left parties” that won 33 percent of the seats in the assembly” so that Tunisia is governed not by Islamists but “by a coalition … in which the secular partners have as much weight as their Islamist partner”:

“[A]bout 1,200 bearded Brotherhood activists marched through downtown Amman on Friday to press for the elections law to be changed,” shouting, “Revolution is headed to Amman”:

The Saudi defense Minister and Egypt’s Morsi “said they talked about their shared ‘moderate Sunni’ Muslim views. When asked Friday in the Cairo press conference if the comment was directed at Shiite-led Iran, Morsi said: ‘I did not mean at all for that to be a veiled message to anyone,’ ” yet the comment calls the Brotherhood’s inclusiveness into question:

“Balci asserts a paradox that secular westerners may find reassuring: the very forces that have created more public expressions of faith, and have made religion a more prominent part of Turkish politics, are reducing support for the idea that Islamic law should rule the country; as Islam has gotten more prominent, Islamism has lost strength”:

“The German Medical Association said it opposed the ban because it could drive circumcision underground with greater risk of infection through poor hygiene, but advised doctors not to carry out the operation until the legal situation was cleared up”:

“Turkey is not a fully mature democracy. We still have lots of problems to fix here before fighting for democracy elsewhere” — a retired Turkish businessman:

News and Analysis (7/11/12)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The relative failure of the Islamists in Libya demonstrates that votes for Islamists are not simply ideological. Factors such as tribal affiliations, organizational strength, and perceived foreign influence also come into the picture at the voting polls:

The highest court in Egypt has overturned a decree by President Mohammed Mursi to recall parliament:

“Islamic extremists don’t actually want to take over the West. That’s the conclusion of a study that flies in the face of the Clash of Civilizations thesis that has hung over world politics for the last decade. According to researchers in the United States who scoured 2,000 messages, al-Qaeda and other Islamists believe they are the victims”:

Interesting statistics on people’s views on democracy, personal freedom, the economy, and Islam in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Pakistan:

“There seemed to be a lot of people talking about what Islam is and what Muslims are like, but not many of them seemed to be Muslims themselves. We sought to fill what we saw as an obvious gap in the dialogue about Islam and Muslims,” says editor Zahra Suratwala:

“Nawaf Fares is the first senior Syrian diplomat to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad,”describing “the situation in Syria as a “horrific massacre by the criminals of a brutal regime'”:

“’The name Srebrenica will forever be associated with some of the darkest acts of the 20th century,’ Obama said, adding that the U.S. ‘rejects efforts to distort the scope of this atrocity, rationalize the motivations behind it, blame the victims, and deny the indisputable fact that it was genocide’”:

News and Analysis (7/9/12)

Monday, July 9th, 2012

A former adviser to the Gadhaffi regime, the apparent winner of the Libyan election by a landslide characterizes his party as diverse rather than liberal and calls fora  grand coalition to govern:

“[I]f we only look at anti-Muslim sentiment post-9/11, we would miss a lot. In fact, as Deepa Kumar shows in her new book Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, … the production of Islamophobia has a long history. Generating anti-Muslim fervor was central to projects of empire-building in Europe and the United States”:

The Constitutional Court only ruled that the party-affiliated candidates in the last parliamentary elections were ineligible to run as independents. Morsi’s position is that that this disqualification of particular candidates does not invalidate the entire election, but the military feel otherwise; crowds return to Tahrir Square:

“The government does not have the capacity to create more jobs. The only way to create more employment opportunities is to support the private sector” — Mohammad Rahim Rahimi, director of the Ministry of Economics in Kandahar:

“MMADV’s mission is to end domestic violence in the Muslim community through Islamic education….  Our focus is on Muslim men educating other men about their responsibilities as husbands and partners so that we can instill nurturing values leading to happy relationships, happy homes and happy communities”:

“U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan said he and President Bashar al-Assad agreed on Monday on an approach to Syria’s conflict that he would now take to the opposition, and flew on to Iran for talks with the main regional ally of Damascus”:

“The death toll of 63 (many of their bodies discovered in the home of a Christian pastor) in the central city of Jos would have made this weekend one of the deadliest of the year thus far. But then the reprisal attacks by Christian villagers against their Muslim neighbors … raised the toll to more than 200”:

The arrest of the dissident on a charge of sedition may result in fulfillment of widening demonstrations against sectarian discrimination and political imprisonment that he predicted his arrest or death would spark:

“Iran insists it is not pursuing a nuclear bomb, which it rejects as un-Islamic, and refuses to give up what it says are ‘rights’ granted by the NPT”:

News and Analysis (7/6/12)

Friday, July 6th, 2012

The pattern of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood breaking its promises when confronted by its rivals’ over estimates of their own popularity with the electorate fuels a spiral of distrust that only benefits the ruling military:

“I’d be surprised if Islamists, from the Brotherhood and other parties, don’t secure most of the seats and a great chunk of the vote” — Dartmouth University professor Dirk Vandewalle, adviser to the UN mission in Libya:

At the negotiating table, Iran offers to exchange 20-percent enrichment for lifting of sanctions. This development emerged during talks with the P5 +1 in Istanbul this week:

“Criticism of Muslims, when warranted, is a legitimate exercise in public discourse. But our national interests are ill-served if we only criticize and never appreciate. We are still paying the price of our many adventures in the Muslim world often initiated on a foundation of misguided views about the beliefs, history and culture of Muslims”:

“I have personally seen the new designs with a Velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player’s safety” — Zhang Jilong, acting president of the Asian Football Confederation:

“We live in a bizarre Twilight Zone world where Greeks, Armenians and Israelis are generally considered ‘white’ (because they are Christian or Jewish), while Turks, Persians and most Arabs are considered ‘non-white’ (because they are mostly Muslim or non-Christian) … despite the fact that there are virtually no substantial physical differences” among them:

“I don’t think an Islamic state would help – it doesn’t work with democracy,” he says. “But I don’t have a problem with Salafis. We’re like a family here, and Mohamed Ali’s death has touched us all.” A beautifully written piece shedding light on  social interactions within a small town in Tunisia:

“There are hundreds of diplomats, military commanders and civil servants who want out but are too scared. This may encourage them to follow suit” — Ayman Abdul-Nour, an exiled former member of Assad’s ruling Baath party:
“I hope that people realise through reading Radical that the real conversations we need, as globalised citizens in a new age, are not conversations about Islam versus Christianity, or indeed around any religious theme, but around multiple identities, democratic culture, and transnational values”:

News and Analysis (7/4/12)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday apologized for Pakistani military deaths in a November airstrike, and she announced the reopening of NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.

The al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters who have used pick-axes, shovels and hammers to shatter earthen tombs and shrines of local saints in Mali’s fabled desert city of Timbuktu say they are defending the purity of their faith against idol worship:

“Palestinians leaders agreed today to exhume the body of Yasser Arafat after a television documentary suggested that he had been assassinated while being treated in a Paris hospital”:

“Naïveté is thinking that because it was so convenient for Israel to have peace with one dictator, Mubarak, rather than 80 million Egyptians, that this dictator — or some other general — would and could stay at the helm in Egypt forever”:

“The Islamists and others have been staging almost weekly protests since last year, demanding reforms that could pave the way for a parliamentary system in which the premier is elected rather than named by the king”:

A university student was fatally stabbed in a park in Egypt as he was walking with his girlfriend. Although little evidence has been provided, the attackers are suspected to be Islamists opposed to pre-marital relationships:

“[W]e all resolved to stand together as one united front….We decided as solidarity that the Muslim youth will provide a vigilante service to the churches not only in Garissa but in any other places that the Christians may deem fit” — Adan Wachu, head of the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims:
“A demonstration of the far-right Norwegian Defence League last week in Stavanger saw a turnout of only around 20-30 people, while an counter anti-racist protest nearby attracted around 800 supporters”:

Syria’s human rights abuses are unmistakable, but the path to unity for the opposition is very unclear:

News and Analysis (7/1/12)

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Taking his oath of office in Tahrir Square, Morsi swears to put the Egyptian people ahead of the military and promises to challenge the U.S. imprisonment of “the Blind Shaikh” convicted of the non-crime of free speech:

This time, the extremists target Muslim shrines:

“His patriotism was never in question,” but now he feels “‘betrayed” asking “Why were they (NYPD officers) scribbling notes on Muslim girls going to elementary school?” and together with “seven Muslim co-plaintiffs” filing suit “to stop the NYPD from spying in the Garden State” and “asking the court to declare that the NYPD has violated their First and 14th Amendment rights”:

As Turkey scrambles jets to the Syrian border, commentators are split on what the new international consensus on ending the Syrian conflict means for the Assad regime:

“The problems I had (with scarves) were medical, and I don’t have those problems anymore” — Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee:

“Muslims from a Pakistani background, often believed to associate more strongly with Pakistan than with Britain, are revealed in the survey as quite the contrary” while there are a “significant numbers of White Brits who feel little or no association with ‘being British'”:

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”:

“Abbou hails from the party of President Moncef Marzouki, who recently quarreled with the prime minister over his decision to extradite a high ranking Libyan official” …

… while the pending Libyan election faces increasing calls for a boycott: