Archive for December, 2012

News and Analysis (12/8/12)

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

With the opposition split over how to respond to Mursi’s invitation to dialog, the FJP and the military signal mutual support …

… but dissatisfaction with Mursi’s assumption of dictatorial powers is not limited to the secular opposition:

Backed by the anonymous replacement for the head of the “Qassem armed wing,” recently assassinated by Israel as he was reviewing a false Israeli offer for a cease-fire, Meshal shows that Netanyahu has no monopoly on intransigence, declaring “There will be no concession on an inch of the land”:

“An internal report for the U.S. Congress has concluded that Iran probably is no longer on track, if it ever was, to having an ocean-crossing missile as soon as 2015”:

“The white woman from suburban Philadelphia who became a Muslim jihadist and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder a Swedish cartoonist” says she turned to Islam to escape violence against women in America and to militancy in anger over the Israeli bombing of children:

“[T]here is only one Muslim woman member of Parliament in Thailand,” but the new Leadership Academy aims to change that:

This is “a ‘teachable moment’ in terms of shining a light on how the ‘fear-mongers,’ that is, the Islamophobia network in the United States, works to try to disrupt and discredit strong interfaith work among religious groups at the grassroots”:

With Jordanians increasingly dissatisfied with the declining economy, “[t]he Muslim Brotherhood seems ready for a more active role in Jordanian politics. But the group says it wants no part in changing the government”:

As the …

… the French fund the rebels who have elected a new ommander and will next target the Damascus International Airport:

“The comments follow a diplomatic flap after Bahrain’s crown prince did not mention the U.S. at the opening of the conference Friday as he listed critical allies in the kingdom’s 22-month battle against an Arab Spring-inspired uprising. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet”:

News and Analysis (12/5/12)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The draft constitution of the U.S. also lacked sufficient protection of human rights, and thus the first ten amendments; can a “bill of rights” end the Egyptian turmoil?

The winner of the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has ended her hunger strike “after the authorities lifted a travel ban on her 12-year-old daughter”:

Iran claims they have physical evidence of possession of U.S. drone, but the White House claims all drones are accounted for:

“The defence secretary … has been asked to launch an urgent inquiry into claims that British forces led a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan during which a 12-year-old boy and three teenagers were shot dead [at close range] while they were drinking tea”:

“We have begun to receive some of the most vile, mean-spirited e-mail I’ve ever read in my life, talking about All Saints participating in terrorism by being hospitable to Muslims”–Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Church in Pasadena:

“Broad-brushing the entire [Muslim Students Association] group is akin to labeling all evangelical Christians as freaks on par with the Westboro Baptist Church. But it’s good business for David Horowitz”:

“One side fights through the vote and the other through the courts—and both appeal to the streets to bypass the official political process….. Islamist political parties have widespread popular support, while secular parties have influence over state institutions…. There are no good and bad guys in this battle, only politics and expediency on both sides”:

Even as Palestinians’ upgraded status at the UN gives them new tools to challenge Israel’s intransigent contempt for international law, the apartheid state dismisses the world’s horrified reaction to its accelerating aggression as “Antisemitism”:

“Opposition forces now say that they’re focused on cutting government supply lines to the north to isolate government troops there, forcing them into a battle of attrition. Rebels, who have long struggled to advance due to Syria’s air force, also secured a boost last week when they used surface-to-air missiles to shoot down a helicopter and a jet”:

The Death Penalty–Just in Theory, Unjust in Application

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Here is my response to a set of questions about the death penalty posed by a Virginia high school student.

Q. What do you believe about the death penalty?

A. I believe that the death penalty should only be applied as a punishment for willful murder or for widespread criminal activity of a most serious nature, such as terrorism. However, because the criminal system in the United States has been unable to enforce the death penalty in a fair handed manner, especially as regards the racial and ethnic backgrounds of the perpetrators, and because of the frequency with which people have been convicted of capital crimes and later shown to have been innocent, I believe that there should be a moratorium on the death penalty until such time as these flaws in the system can be fixed.

Q. Why do you believe what you do? How did you come to this position? What were the influences in forming your beliefs?

A. Among the factors that have contributed to the development of my present position are the teachings of my religion (Islam) and my familiarity with the criminal justice system.  “… [I]f anyone killed a person, unless it is for murder or for spreading terror in the land, it would be as if he killed a whole people, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people.” (Qur’an 5:32)

Q. Do you see any problems with your point of view?

A. The only problem I see with my view is that it is vulnerable to skepticism that the flaws in the justice system that make the death penalty so unfair at this time may not be fixable.

Q. How do you explain the perspective of those who think differently from you? Do you see inconsistencies or problems with their point of view? Do you associate with persons who believe differently? Can you respect their beliefs?

A. I believe that people who disagree with me in most cases are starting from different premises. Were I to accept those premises I would have to change my view. For example, one might reasonably argue that lifetime imprisonment is a harsher punishment than death for some people. In most cases I can respect their points of view. On the other hand, I do confess to seeing in inconsistency in the views of establishment “liberals” who oppose the death penalty for the guilty, but have no problems with the slaughter of innocent and guilty alike by war.Q. Can you give me any stories, references or other resources to help me with my research?

A. I recommend that you search the Internet for examples of cases of people who were sentenced to life imprisonment for capital crimes of which they were subsequently found innocent. Had they been executed, they would’ve had no means of redress.

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

 

News and Analysis (12/3/12)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Israel’s aggressive response to the UN recognition of Palestinian statehood expands beyond illegal settlements to confiscation of Palestinian tax money, alienates her European allies, and even annoys the U.S.:

A Palestinian construction worker attacks the occupation army with his car and an ax …

… and anti-war and pro-civil rights singer has withdrawn from a benefit concert for the soldiers of the apartheid state and “announced he would be making donations to charities that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities”:

The decision by Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Forum “suggests enough officials can be mobilized to oversee the vote” as to whether the electorate will ratify the hastily drafted constitution:

“[I[n a nation where beliefs persisted that Muslim women were oppressed by a religious doctrine, rather than by misguided individuals. It was time to reclaim the narrative”:

“A practical businessman … advocates that Muslims remain in the mainstream of the society they live in. Language and local culture, he says, bind people, not just religion”:

The rector of the Grande Mosquée de Paris objects to calling the “small room in a private building” opened for gay Muslims a mosque, but adds that “all the faithful, whatever their private lives, were welcome in France’s mosques”even as he declares gay “practices are formally rejected by Islam and in total contradiction with the word of the Koran” …

… but a closeted gay Muslim student warns that “avoiding open discussions about deeply personal matters affecting our communities … leads to the circulation of myths and thus unhelpful solutions and the subsequent worsening of the original matter”:

“[D]eputy Multnomah County medical examiner Peter Bellant said Relin died of blunt force head injury, but declined to provide any other details”:

News and Analysis (12/1/12)

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Human Rights Watch provides a list of the strong and weak points of the treatment of human rights issues in Egypt’s hastily completed draft constitution (click her for translation of full text; click here for comparison to suspended constitution here)

… but “[t]he contrast [between the pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrations] was undeniable – and not just in numbers. The protests Saturday were filled with bearded Islamists and conservative women, many from poorer neighborhoods. Those who came to Tahrir clearly represented the nation’s upper class, with unveiled women and clean-shaven men”:

The settlements and the murders of peaceful demonstrators were always illegal, but with the approval of Palestine’s nonmember state observer status at the UN, Israel’s eagerness to demonstrate its contempt for international law only increases:

An American singer scores a box-office success as she shows respect for Indonesia’s culture …

… but Muslim extremists sow vandalism and terror as they disrespect Mali’s culture:

The actress who has “has accused the [now jailed] purported filmmaker of fraud, libel and unfair business practice” in tricking her into participating in an anti-Muslim propaganda film is denied relief by the courts a second time, as the judge rules that she abandoned any copyrights she might have held to the film’s producers:

Leila Ahmed is the first time female Muslim to win “the University of Louisville’s prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion, a $100,000 cash prize”:

The NJ AG has “issued a directive requiring New Jersey law enforcement agencies to notify the New Jersey State Police Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness if they hear of outside departments working in” the state and an Assemblyman “has introduced legislation that would give such guidelines the weight of law”:

“Many conservatives say Mashaei will likely be barred from running [to succeed Ahmadinejad] but others believe it could be a tough challenge for the ruling system to disqualify him from the vote”:

Each side in the civil war had blamed the other for the blackout of Internet and telephone services, but it’s over now as the rebels, agreeing to allow peacekeepers into the country only if Asad is forced out  push on to Damascus and the regime bombs rebel-held portions of the capital city:

Is a civil war in Iraq next? “The Kurds have seen the move by Iraqi forces to consolidate control in areas disputed by the two sides as a declaration of hostilities”: