Archive for October, 2012

News and Analysis (10/29/12)

Monday, October 29th, 2012

The depleted-uranium-doped armor-piercing bullets the US used in the first Gulf War is only one of the factors suspected to  lie behind the “tales of inexplicable sickness and deformities have abounded in Iraq….” A new study suggests that “in 2011, a child born in Basra was 27 times more likely to suffer from a birth defect than 16 years earlier”:

“It’s not easy to inherit a country with no state institutions, with no constitution, no army, no functioning security apparatus…. It’s almost like a vacuum”:

“Even after police arrived, Larson continued making bigoted comments about the driver, an immigrant from India. According to police, Larson referred to him derisively as Iranian and Iraqi, and used several anti-Arab slurs before also using an anti-gay slur”:

Your school tax dollars at work: The mother of one of the students reported that Linda “White told her students that president should not be re-elected because he’s Muslim, WJTV reports. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, however, should be elected to office because he’s ‘a good Christian””:

“The authorities are not solving the problem and soldiers are not defending us” — Kyaw Myint, “a Muslim man who took refuge at Thechaung camp outside Sittwe. He fled his home in nearby Pauktaw when it was torched Wednesday”:

“Syrian authorities blame ‘terrorists’ for breaking the truce and the opposition says a ceasefire is impossible while Assad moves tanks and uses artillery and jets against populated areas” …

… “110 people were killed on Sunday alone. Of those, 39 were civilians, 34 armed opposition fighters and 35 members of the state security forces” according to the UK-basaed  Syrian Observatory for Human Rights …
… but one ” hospital put aside sorrow and weariness to celebrate the wedding of two of its staff”:

“Majorities of women in virtually every country we surveyed say that women deserve the same legal rights as men, to vote without influence from family members, to work at any job they are qualified for, and even to serve in the highest levels of government”:

“Alhaji Bello Sa’eed … explained that Nigerians should realize that God is one and as such, ‘we should stop being at each others’ throats at every slight provocation’ … [and] Farida Abubakar … blamed violence in the country on the lack of fear of God”:

News and Analysis (10/27/12)

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

EID MUBARAK!

The NATO-created power vacuum in Libya is being filled by extremists, and “militants are free to come and go from the city and surrounding areas as they please. ‘There’s no police, no army and no militias. Nothing. It’s an open city from east and west[,]’ according to “the head of the largely toothless local council”:

“Lieberman has in the past advocated legislation seen as discriminatory toward Israel’s 20 percent Arab [Muslim and Christian] minority, including a bill that would have required all potential citizens to swear an oath of loyalty to Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic’ state”:

Ayman al-Zawahri “said that abducting nationals of ‘countries waging wars on Muslims’ is the only way to free ‘our captives…. This is the only language which they understand”:

“‘Let all your feuds be abolished,’ the Prophet Muhammad said in his last sermon on the hill called Jabal al-Rahman, Mountain of Mercy, in the area of Mount Arafat. ‘You must know that every Muslim is the brother of every Muslim…between Muslims there are no races and no tribes…do not oppress and do not be oppressed'”:

The “executive director of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation … says this wilful destruction of Islamic heritage is no accident: it is driven by state-endorsed wahhabism, the hardline interpretation of Islam that perceives historical sites as encouraging sinful idolatry. So anything that relates to the prophet could be in the bulldozer’s sights”:

In Syria, neither side is inclined towards peace:

A bomb near a playground in the Bawiya neighbourhood of the capital Baghdad killed several people, including at least three children” in spreading sectarian violence:

“Tehran has refused a request by a group of European lawmakers to visit two jailed dissidents to present them with …  the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought”:

“[N]o one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate” —  CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood:

News and Analysis (10/24/12)

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

After “a string of minor marijuana arrests” the young Bangladeshi-American “who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called ‘create and capture'” in which he would create “a conversation about jihad or terrorism” and send “the response … to the NYPD” and be paid $1000 per month:

Iran hints that it might enrich uranium to 60%, three times the level needed for medical purposes:

“Hinna Khan, a 17-year-old from Swat, was named during a call made to her mother’s mobile phone two days after Malala, who spoke out against the Taliban, was attacked…. Hinna’s father … said: The Taliban have kidnapped me and tortured me in the past for promoting women’s development, but now they are threatening the entire family”:

Malala is only one in a long line of females prominent in the making of Islamic tradition, starting with another young firebrand named Aisha (may God be pleased with her) …

… and she won’t be the last; “It’s a victory of tolerance…. We have sent a message out from Visoko. A message of tolerance, democracy and equality”:
“Taliban insurgents will increase the number of insider attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, which have resulted in the deaths of at least 52 foreign troops so far this year, the movement’s reclusive leader said Wednesday”:

… as may have been international speculation that the assassination of would trigger a Lebanese civil war:

At a time when Ahmadinejad’s enemies blame him more than Western sanctions for Iran’s economic woes, his dospute with Larijani over whether he needs judicial approval to visit Evin orison demonstrates that Western claims that he is a “dictator” sorely misread the political structure of the Islamic Republic:

“Unlike Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region, where clashes between police and Islamist insurgents are regular events, oil-producing Tatarstan has until recently been relatively peaceful”:

“Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said four Israeli planes attacked the factory and two people were killed[,]” adding “that evidence pointing to Israel had been found among remnants of the explosives and that Sudan’s cabinet would hold an urgent meeting at 20:00 (17:00 GMT)”:

Good Governance Between Fiqh and Sharia

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #2

[This is the second in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Good Governance in Islam: Classical and Contemporary Approaches held in Herndon, VA. These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“Good Governance Between Fiqh and Sharia”

Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, Professor of Religion and Christian Muslim Relations

We have two material sources of Islamic law and morality: Qur’an (divine aspect of the divine-human relationship) and sunnah (human aspect, guided by divine will and intervention). The Islamic project begins with the selection of bu Bakr as the Prophet’s successor in the saqîfah of Bani Sa`ida. The two sources together comprise the Sharia, a word that appears rarely in the Qur’an. In one place the Prophet is commanded to follow the Sharia. The application of the Sharia in real life becomes the dîn. Sharia was originally used as the way of the camels to the watering place, or even the bank of a river. It is enshrined in the Qur’an and sunnah and is immutable.

When Sharia is legislated by God himself it becomes dîn, a subordination of human will to the divine will. Part of it is the five pillars. Islam is the human edifice of the Ummah Muslimmah. Of the five pillars salat and zakat are most often mentioned together, but the details are not given in the Qur’an. Sharia is coded into Islamic law through the science of fiqh. The acquision of fiqh is more about dîn than Sharia, about the mutable aspect of the law. Sharia is immutable, but it is flexible. Those seek it must resort to ijtihad or qiyas, and its implantation depends on ijma, consensus of the community.

Essential to Sharia is the establishment of justice. Perhaps Sharia suffers through fiqh. Fiqh began as kalâm, theological discourse. One of the earliest examples is the Fiqh al-Akbar of Abu Hanifa in which he says that it is possible for a human to accept faith through the Persian language a well as the Arabic language of the Qur’an, and prayer, and Islamic scholarship. Later fiqh became the fiqh of the fuqaha, the reduction of Sharia into a code that differs in details, in ijma and qiyas but not in the usûl al fiqh.

A later development is usûl ud-dîn, a mixture of law and theology dealing with heresies or bid`a in the ummah as well as the orthodoxy of al-Ashari. Human authority is derived from divine will. This is what made at-Tabari call his history the History of Prophets (or messengers) and Kings. In my view we must reject the Western accusation that after the 11th c. Islamic jurisprudence became static. It was never static, but when fiqh (jurisprudence) became qanûn (law), it became almost impenetrable. We need a new fiqh based on the Sharia, flexible and applicable today, that takes into account scientific discoveries in genetic and elsewhere.

Another 20th c. development that began with the abolition of the caliphate was Rishad Rida’s view that in the absence of a Caliph, a group could rule the state until a qualified candidate appears. (He included membership in the clan of the Quraish among the qualifications). I believe Khomeini relied on Rida as well as Iranian thinkers in his formulation. The model of caliphate we have to go on is the first four caliphs, although even this period has its problems.

Ad-dawla ma`thûma is the notion of a divinely protected state from Muhammad through the twelfth imam. While the existence of the imam is necessary for the good of the world, I would argue the Shia have pushed the imam out of world. I think Ali ruled not as a Shia imam but as a Muslim caliph. Mohammad Mahdi Shams-ud-Din, a Lebanese Shia would agree, saying neither the ideal Sunni nor Shia state is capable of realization at this time and the ummah should practice wilâyya on its own people, which may be interpreted to lead to a kind of Islamic democracy. Ijma is central to Islamic law but is the most difficult legal source to define or argue. The Shia view is that if a member of the ummah is liable to error than the community is liable to error. Our differences are real, but surmountable. We need to strive for one ummah.

I am not a faqih. I am just a student of Islamic thought.

Chair: Dr. Hisham Altalib

Discussant: Dr. Yahya Michot

The idea that the Sharia is the way is extremely important. Islam is between the West and the East, and in dealing with Buddhism and Hinduism it will be easier to take Sharia as the way rather than as a body of laws. The latter is introducing Judaism into Islam, while introducing permissiveness is to introduce Christianity into Islam. When I am asked what authority I give to the fuquha I say the same that I give to guidebooks when I enter a strange territory. The essence of the Sharia is an imperative of an ethical nature.

Discussant: Dr. Imad ad Dean Ahmad

We must always bear context in mind when we seek to understand the relationship between Shariah and fiqh. Shariah is “path” and fiqh is a map of the path. In other words, the former is an objective reality and the latter is the human effort to articulate that reality.

Michot: We should not ashamed to be spiritual Bedouins because Bedouins are free people. All the basic terminology in Islam means path or way.

Ayoub: How does ummah come from path? For Sharia to be fruitfully applied it has to be consonant with the wasatiyyah (middle way) of Islam. The Sharia may resemble human `adl, but it is not coincident with human `adl. My plea is for the ummah to work towards a new fiqh that suits our situation in the world. We are doing it ad hoc but we need to do it more systematically.

General Discussion

Given the Western sensitivity to the word law, Sharia should instead be translated as ethics, which may have implications for law.

I translate Sharia as a set of moral imperatives and social etiquette. We must recover the creativity that allowed Muslims to create the most universal civilization.

Ahmad: I do not think “imperatives” solves the problem, since it leaves open the challenge of “imposing the Shariah.” Consider a map showing a 500 foot drop. But the Qur’an says: let those who will follow the path and let those who won’t…. Also Eastern in Michot’s observation related not to Abrahamic faiths but but Buddhist and Hindu thought. Taoism is named for the Path!

Ayoub: We have been mistranslating the word shepherd and sheep. It doesn’t necessarily mean shepherd at all. It is closer to guide or protector. The law is more than halal and haram. It is the five principles.

The law punishes and the Sharia includes rahma (mercy) as well as hudûd.

Good governance is how to serve the people. Fiqh means understanding and we need to understand the Sharia. How can you help politicians create laws that will serve society?

The Qur’anic discourse can be categorized in a few major subjects, nature, history, ethics, and laws. We need to address the great issues of the ummah. Is Islamic studies limited to a study of classical or contemporary Muslim scholars?

We are talking about a multiple discourse. The important voices are scientists and jurists. For example, the discovery of the role of DNA in infractions of the Sharia are of interest to us. Students of the history of fiqh can make contributions, because we must build on what we have. I do not agree with those who say we must abandon the tradition and start from scratch. The tradition is rich. I think fiqh-al-`aqaliyât of Dr. Jabir is a step in that direction, as is Qaradawi’s work on whether you can say “Happy Christmas” to a Christian.

Hudûd are punishments according to the fuquha.

Saying “apply the Sharia” is an empty statement. Intermediate statements are necessary. The phrase dawlat-al-Islamiyya is only about a century old.

When did fiqh become different from muttakammil? Many scholars say “I am not a faqih” and them make a statement about what the fiqh states. If you are not a faqih, what is your definition of a faqih?

I think all of us distinguish between dirasatul-islam and dirasatul-Islamiyya. The latter is the pursuit of self-improvement as in al-Ghazali’s Ayuh-al-Walad (O My Son!).

How can your vision of a new fiqh be realized? The state is reality, even if one imposed upon on us, and has influence on us; so how can we develop a new fiqh without it?

Hadûd is the counterargument. It proves that not every sin is a crime and not every obligation is state-enforce. Hadûd limits the punishments as well as the crimes. Akhlâq may mean virtuous rather than ethical.

Dawla is used by both the classical sources and in the Qur’an to mean authority. Dawla-Islam (as opposed to dawla-Islamiyya) is an old concept. Lughat and istilahiyy are two terms for Sharia, but when we consider Sharia to be what is in the book of God and the practice of the Prophet we have a system we can apply flexibly. Khamr and ridda are condemned in the Qur’an but there is no punishment. This is good because it gives no straight-jacket interpretation. Hudûd means moral limits, not punishments.

Ahmad: Your question contains its own answer. You said these punishments are the understanding of the Sharia. Hudûd are limits on punishments. Wishing a Christian a Merry Christmas is no more unIslamic than wishing a Muslim a happy mawlat-an-Nabi, but what about wishing a Christian a joyous Easter?

Populations have been traumatized for tens of years and there are some things on which the fuquha should remain silent. If you want to be followed by your sheep, first start feeding them and they will follow you.

Can the privatization of religion be an issue in a state based on Sharia? How do we introduce tawhid as an element of good governance?

In a verse in the Qur’an shar`a  refers to following different ways. I do not believe the Sharia to be a body of laws, so when someone asks to “implement the Sharia,” I ask when was it ever imposed? You have Sudan’s Shaikh Taha who wanted to throw out the Medinan verses of the Qur’an, and the other hand you have people you want to cut off people’s hands. I think we should not apply the Shariah but be guided by it.

We have to address the linguistic divide between English and Arabic. Ethics in English has no religious connotation.

Perhaps OIC could be empowered to be a means of communication between the Muslim and the outside world. Fiqh grew out of people’s consciousness. People insisted on living by the rules of God and not the opinions of men. When we talk about applying the Sharia we are talking about a dialog of understanding and diplomacy. Fiqh’s ancient stage developed as Islam was becoming a world power, but it quickly became a world power.

Ahmad: I believe Sharia is like gravity. It is meant to be obeyed, not imposed. And like gravity, our understanding of its nature may change dramatically over the centuries even while our faith in its reality remains steady. Man has believed in gravity from time immemorial, but our explanation for it changed from Aristotle’s “the natural place for earthly matter” to Newton’s “the mutual attraction between any two particles with mass” to Einstein’s “the curvature of space,” to a consequence of the Higgs’ boson, tantalizingly called the  “God particle.”

Higgs was a Jewish atheist. He called it the God particle because he didn’t believe it exists.

The law of protecting life, religion, livelihood, family, etc. are the laws of protection. The man who wrote most understandably on maqâsid ash-shariah (ash-Shatabi) was a Maliki probably influenced by the Maliki notion of maslaha (public interest). This is the most important modern concept we have hit upon. I hope it is not overused and abused.

Maqâsid is more about public order than law in its own right. It is about the value system of the society applying the law. Any system aimed at these purposes can achieve them even if not based on Islam, and would be Islamic to the degree that it is achieved. Thus some countries not claiming Islam are more Islamic in this respect than others claiming Islam. Perhaps one country doesn’t ban alcohol, but alcohol use there is less than another that professes to ban it.

If we find homosexuality is genetic rather than a choice, will the maqasid ash-shariah be invoked to change the traditional treatment of homosexuality? We have a precedent in the traditional discussion of transgender issues and the Islamic right to companionship, etc.

There has to be harmony between the maqâsid and the letter of the text. I see no way to change the definition of family, but not to discriminate against people because they have a genetic predisposition is also part of Islam.

I want to know how to expand this methodology. The maqâsid form a guideline. You have a fiqhi rule that harms the dîn.

I have a problem with what I am hearing. The Islamic state will not be judged on the Day of Judgment. We will be. If we need an Islamic state to live according to Islam then none of us is living according to Islam in any nation on earth today.

What if violation of the law harms society? We have forgotten to bring maslaha into the conversation. If we are going to tolerate homosexuals, was Allah wrong to punish the people of Lut?

Ibn Taymiyyah explains it is better to disobey than to innovate because when you innovate you lose your awareness that you are changing the norm. There are many circumstances where the fuqaha are better to remain silent if they know they will go unheard. When enjoining good and forbidding evil yields more evil, it is wrong to do it. A fatwa can neither be made into a universal rule nor ignored. Those are two extremes to be avoided. About homosexuals, he says if it is in the public square implement the hudûd, if not, then he let them wash after the act so they can pray; the rest is between them and God.

Make a distinction between applying Sharia and good laws in different countries. God holds responsible not only individuals, but nations.

Ahmad: Why can’t we say they pursue the maqâsid ash-sharia regardless of whether they are inspired by Islamic texts or not. It easier to practice Islam here than in any Muslim majority country. Punishment of Qawm Lut (the people of Lot) was not for their genetic predisposition but for public actions including threatening rape of the guests of Lut. In that respect I second the proposed distinction between redefinition of the family and compassion towards those with a genetic condition that limits their ability to do certain things. In Iran sex change operations are provided to those who seek the in order to avoid homosexual activity.

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

News and Analysis (10/22/12)

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

“[T]he Catholic Church’s fraught relation with Islam has emerged as one of the main themes at a major gathering of the world’s bishops in Rome”:

“A ban on girls wearing the Islamic headscarf to a school in southern Russia has angered Muslims and forced President Vladimir Putin, who has robustly defended the Orthodox Church, to affirm that Russia is a secular state”:

“A school should provide a secular education, that is what a school is for, and all the more Russian schools,,,, We have enough madrasas open for those who want a spiritual education” — an anonymous teacher:

“This is a landmark of the end of Fatah” — Mahdi Abdul-Hadi, head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs:

Authorities fired teargas and stun grenades as thousands took to the streets of Kuwait City to oppose changes to the electoral law that could hobble the opposition at polls due in December. Critics have accused the government of staging a constitutional “coup”:

Once largely immune to the violence that has swept over Syria since the anti-Assad revolt began in March 2011, Damascus has become a frequent target of bombings in recent months …

“Many in the Lebanese opposition see the hand of Damascus behind Friday’s car bomb that killed the intelligence chief – heightening tensions in a country already dangerously divided between supporters and opponents of the Assad regime in Syria”…

… and the Jordanian state news agency claims Al-Qaida operatives brought in arms from Syria in a  terrorist campaign aimed at Western diplomats, foreign nationals and shopping centers:

BARBED wire and armed troops guard the Muslim quarter of a violence-wracked city in western Myanmar, a virtual prison for the families that have inhabited its narrow streets for generations. The security forces outside the ghetto in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe are not there to stop its residents leaving – although few dare to anyway – but to protect them from Buddhist mobs after an outburst of sectarian hatred”:

 

News and Analysis (10/20/12)

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

“Sponsor Charles Mainor, an assemblyman who is also a Jersey City police officer, says New York police targeted many innocent Muslims during their surveillance. His legislation allows prosecutors to get an injunction blocking an agency from conducting surveillance if it hasn’t complied with the notification requirements”:

The young Bangladeshi recruited by the FBI to blow up the NY Federal Reserve Bank has been linked to Hizb at-Tahrir, a group as opposed to violence as it is to democracy:

As pundits, law enforcement authoritiies, and politicians try to sort out what really happened in Libya …
… fighting continues and spreads:
Self-described as “half-gay,” the “former atheist” who “became Muslim after a 2007 trip to Turkey” wants to form a chapter of Muslims for Progressive Values because he is “no longer able to participate in the Friday prayers where women are segregated and homosexuals must endure moral discrimination”:

Kaysar Trad believed the under Islam school had a duty to be like a second parent to the students, but one parent accused him of being ”’very soft” and some teachers felt he undermined their authority” but protesting students defend him, complaining “”We’re all sick and tired of the way the teachers have been treating us, disrespecting our rights”:

“The Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for wanting an education stood up today in a remarkable comeback from her near fatal wound” and “posed for photos in her hospital bed showing her awake and snuggling with a white teddy bear”:

“{S]upporters of an Islamist separatist group have repeatedly fought police over the disappearance of their spiritual leader, who was then released after nearly four days in captivity”:
“Authorities believed that the obvious Muslim prayer may have made them a target”:

 

News and Analysis (10/18/12)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The Israeli “government research detailing the number of calories Palestinians in Gaza need to consume to avoid malnutrition”gives credence to the UN’s concern that “if the research reflected a policy intended to cap food imports, it went against humanitarian principles”:

“The clip, which has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube since it was uploaded by an anonymous user in 2009, combines dramatic music with skewed population statistics to make claims about various European countries such as ‘In just 39 years France will be an Islamic republic'”:

“In midsummer, Hashemi wrote to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon calling on him to intervene for the health of Iranian patients who, she said, have had ‘their basic human right’ taken away from them because of sanctions”:

The Roman Catholic boy who plead guilty to grand attacks “said he converted to Islam in 2005 and traveled to Somalia” for training and “returned in 2011 and carried out attacks after Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia. ‘If they killed some of our members in Somalia, I had to kill some civilians here. It was tit for tat,’ he told investigators”:

Malala Yousufzai is showing some improvement …
… but “Pakistan’s media have expressed alarm at Taliban threats to target journalists after critical coverage of the shooting”:
Another unintended consequence of American interventionism:
A tyranny of the majority? “In the void of justice and security on Egypt’s streets, the directives of law enforcement that once flowed from the top down now increasingly flow the other way as a population empowered by the strength of revolution has sought to define a new society — with or without the central government’s support” …
… and human “rights groups say that some Islamic conservatives have been emboldened by the success of groups like Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafi trend in parliamentary and presidential elections and have been increasingly brazen about forcing their standards on other Egyptians”:

Mr Brahimi wants a truce over the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on 25 October, to “allow a political process to develop”:

“20 percent of the country’s 2 million Kurds were stripped of citizenship rights in 1962, effectively banning them from owning property or marrying. But in April last year, Assad restored these rights in a bid to win Kurdish support in the early days of the uprising. Many believe the” Syrian Kurds are trying to emulate Iraqi Kurds in seeking autonomy”:

News and Analysis (10/15/12)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Myanmar says it will welch on its promise “the opening of the OIC office will not be allowed as it is contradictory to the aspirations of the people,” aspirations ,it appears, for genocide of the Muslim population:

“The Pakistani government is bearing the costs of transportation and treatment. The UK foreign secretary, William Hague, said: ‘Last week’s barbaric attack on Malala Yousafzai and her school friends shocked Pakistan and the world. Malala’s bravery in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all'”:

Amid concerns “about the girls’ academic performance because they have not been allowed to attend school for two weeks[,] … parents emphasize that in general teachers do not discriminate [against] the girls on their religion. But they are following the instructions of higher authorities”:

Defenders of the Syrian dictatorship as a bulwark against Israeli aggression must now dealwith the fact that the regime, like Israeli, is willing to use inhumane weaponry fatal to civilian populations:

The Security Council paves “the way for military intervention in Mali o retake the north from Islamist extremists” after UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights” reported “that forced marriage, forced prostitution, and rape were widespread, and that women were being sold as ‘wives'” and that they “stoned to death an unwed couple”:

“Be. Prepared. Engage. This is how we make a difference. This is the obligation upon all of us”:

Iran believes “Hezbollah had the right to launch the drone into Israeli airspace since Israel’s warplanes ‘repeatedly violate Lebanese airspace'”:

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video–which is widely available on the Web–is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube” — Google spokesman:

“Libya’s national congress elected a human rights lawyer as interim prime minister on Sunday, a week after his predecessor was sacked for failing to present a cabinet lineup that political factions could agree on”:

News and Analysis (10/12/12)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Release of a draft constitution and dissatisfaction over the acquittal of Mubarak’s shock troops are ingredients in a mix of emerging turmoil:

Iraqi and Afghan war crime issues continue to be problematic:

Demonstrating “absolute defiance,” Khamenei dismisses Western gloating over Iran’s currency crisis, minimizing the street protest;  “For about two or three hours, a number of people set some garbage cans on fire on two Tehran streets, and immediately officials of certain countries flouted diplomatic protocol and childishly expressed delight”:

Nasrallah “said the drone was able to film strategic and sensitive Israeli facilities — it was downed near the Dimona nuclear facility — and claimed that his group plans to put more drones in the air over Israel”:

“They can make us into a police force, or village watchers, even militia units. But they can not just take away our guns” — MILF brigade chief Guiazakallaha Jaafar:

Details of the Taliban plot against their 14-yr.-old enemy emerge:

With Netanyahu expected to win another term in Israel and Palestinians skeptical over their own elections, no progress is anticipated on either side:

“In a forthcoming Israeli TV documentary, former Sgt. Gilad Schalit said his Hamas captors treated him well for the most part, but he feared he would never be released”:

“While Hui Muslims enjoy freedom to practice their religion, Muslim Uighurs face strict government repression in far-western Xinjiang province. Bao says while the Hui have happily assimilated with the majority Han, the Uighurs have not”:

News and Analysis (10/11/12)

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

In a shocking interview with the Hebrew press an Israeli police chief admits to knowing who is behind the mosque arson, but declares his intentions to deport “leftists and anarchists” (i.e., international human rights activists) instead:

“The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says the verdict is likely to infuriate many Egyptians. It is also likely to be an embarrassment to Mubarak’s successor, Mohammed Morsi, our correspondent adds, who has promised to bring to justice all those responsible for killing opposition supporters during the revolution”:

Eric Nordstrom says his please for more security in Benghazi were denied because “there was too much political cost”:

“Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had regarded the sanctity of Muslim’s life and property more important than the sanctity of the ‘Kaaba’ (sacred Muslim place)” and ““Islam does not stop women from acquiring education and by attacking Malala the Taliban have crossed the limits of Islam,” says the fatwa  …

… of the shooting of the girl who wrote “I wanted to scream, shout and tell the whole world what we were going through. But it was not possible. The Taliban would have killed me, my father, my whole family. I would have died without leaving any mark. So I chose to write with a different name. And it worked, as my valley has been freed”:

In the “11 years [since 9/11] , the U.S. has become exceptional at hunting and killing Islamic extremists. But it still does not know how to undercut the basic appeal of Islamic extremism”:

Prosecutors call the convicted fraudster’s request to be housed with the jail’s general inmate population “unwise” …

… while Indonesian preacher Habib Munzir Almusawa advises “his tens of thousands of followers in Jakarta: Just ignore” the insulting film:

“The transsexuals had argued that Malaysia’s constitution is supposed to uphold freedom of expression and forbid discrimination based on gender. However, the High Court ruled that Muslim transsexuals cannot be exempted from” traditional juristic (fiqh) rulilngs erroneously labelled “Shariah legal provisions”:

“Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system,” he said. “And, those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun” — President Benigno Aquino:
Syria denies Turkey’s claim that the civilian airliner had “missile parts” on board and call Turkey’s confiscation of its cargo “piracy”: