Archive for November, 2013

News and Analysis (11/29/13)

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Egyptian justice is more blinding than blind. A policeman “convicted of shooting at protesters, deliberately aiming at their eyes … was sentenced to three years in prison” while the fourteen women “found guilty of obstructing traffic” while protesting the military coup “were imprisoned for 11 years, while … seven under the age of 18 were sent to juvenile prison” …

… and under the new emergency law the police have “the authority to enter college campuses without warrants to quell protests”, …

… even anti-Mursi secularists like Alaa Abd El Fattah are targeted …

… and this is only the tip of an emerging iceberg as the proposed new constitution includes “an article allowing military trials of civilians in certain cases. The article would give the regime yet another bludgeon over any opposition, threatening to bring them into military courts”:

Has Israel added “zombies” its list of bogeymen? “Citing security concerns, Israeli officials have refused to hand over Palestinian bodies back to families”:

The intention is to “sue the current administration in an international court….  Brotherhood-linked historian Mohamed Al-Gawady listed 25 members of the dissolved parliament who would take part in the exile government. Ten of the officials are in prison. He claimed 20 countries would recognize the government-in-exile in the first week after it was formed”:

If you are wondering why Karzai is stalling on signing the pact to extend American intervention in Afghanistan, consider the “US air strike that killed a small child and injured two women in the southern province of Helmand” which a Karzai spokesman calls “another sign of America’s disregard for civilian life”:

“I wasn’t happy about not having my husband here for the birth, but I didn’t expect that he would miss the whole first year of our son’s life. I’m glad that [he] does at least recognise his dad” on the computer screen during Skype chats, says the Utah National Guardswoman who did not realize that her husband’s “decade of loyal service has done nothing to speed up his immigration case”:

“Embassies are being overwhelmed by nationals frantically seeking the documents they need to allow them to leave the country. ‘You could see this was a disaster waiting to happen,’ said [a] European resident. ‘It just wasn’t thought through. It’s all about incompetence'”:

“The Polish Constitutional Tribunal has accepted for review an appeal by the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland on the [religious] slaughter ban, while the Muslim Religious Association of Poland has turned to the European Commission in an attempt spur outside intervention”:

“The corpses – with gunshots to the head – were found near the town of Tarmiya. At least one army officer was among those killed…. Sectarian violence has surged across the country in recent months. The abductors were wearing police uniforms, according to eyewitnesses” …

… meanwhile, scholars from 25 countries meeting in Turkey plead for unity, invoking the Qur’anic command “The Muslims are but a single brotherhood, so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers and fear God, that you may receive mercy” (49:10):

“At least half of the [Syrian] refugees — 1.1 million — are children. Of those, some 75 percent are under the age of 12…. Children as young as seven work long hours of manual labor in fields, farms and shops for little pay, sometimes under dangerous or exploitative conditions”:

Global Governance & the Challenges to Good Governance

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #17

[This is the seventeenth 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.]

“Global Governance & the Challenges to Good Governance”
Professor Ali Mazrui, Institute for Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University, NY

My paper is formulated as a series of MAXIMS. The first issue is whether Muslim societies are so far behind because they are Muslim or because of other impediments? Some have understood Huntington to say Muslim countries are militaristic because Islam is a militaristic religion. Huntington responded that Islam is not doctrinally militaristic, but that demographic factors created destabilization. The ummah is underdeveloped for reasons other than religion.

I understand Bertrand Russell to say that civilization is born out of the pursuit of luxury. Third world observers are astonished at how much paintings sell for in the developed world, and the painters themselves, most long dead, wherever they are, must be equally astonished.

From Adam Smith, wealth emerges from the pursuit of profit. Muslims are averse to interest, but not to profit. Marx: The march of history is born of the pursuit of surplus. We are not sure how that refers to petrowealth, not the result of creativity, but of luck.

In a technological society power belongs to those who control the means of destruction rather than those who control the means of production. This is demonstrated in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria, etc.

Political pluralism survives best in societies that have experimented with economic pluralism first. Political liberalism succeeds where economic liberalism has preceded it. Taiwan, Singapor, South Korea, and seemingly next China.

Democracy can only survive if the voters have learned to vote across ethnic (and sectarian) lines.

Democracy will only survive when the culture of consensus is replaced with a culture of tolerance.

Democracy will only work when the rule of law is beginning to replace the rule of personal power and even the most powerful obey the rules.

Democracy of the last century demonstrated the increasing political empowerment of women.  Often women succeed in the Muslim world because of male martyrdom. Does petroabundance aggravate male dominance? Egypt had a female had of state before anyone else. Did it die with Islamization or Arabization.

Discussant: Imad ad Dean Ahmad

Ahmad: Articulation of the maxim on ethnic lines needs to be revised to include sectarian lines. The role of technology in the empowerment of women must not be overlooked. The question of females in high positions of state is separate from that of other forms of female empowerment. I suspect “the curse of oil” does aggravate male dominance as a corollary of a more general rule that it undermines meritocracy: It is rent-seeking.

Mazrui: The U.S. system at the national level does not lend itself to that kind of succession. With the Arabs, female empowerment continues to be a puzzle. In the Muslim word sectarian lines are getting to be more dangerous than ethnic lines. The observation on the impact petroleum rent on meritocracy is helpful.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

New and Anaysis (11/27/13)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Egypt’s secularists were right to worry that the new laws, even more restrictive than those under Mubarak, were aimed at them as much as at the Muslim Brotherhood. Why didn’t they understand that so was the coup itself?

Is the U.S. government reviving the old tricks it used in its unsuccessful attempt to drive a wedge between Martin Luther King and his followers against Muslims? A “top-secret NSA document … provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six” Muslim targets “as ‘exemplars’ of how … to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority”:

Proponents of the law are correct “that Islam does not stipulate the wearing of a veil.” which means that the law against it is a baldfaced attack on freedom of personal expression, and young Muslim women are going to court in attempt to end the “discrimination based on gender, religion and ethnic origin, to the detriment of women” …

… but an appeals court has overturned that an even more draconian law banning Muslim headscarves and Jewish kippahs   did not apply to private workplaces, a ruling which the victim has indicated she would appeal “as far as the European Court of Human Rights”:

“[T]he city and the NYPD also didn’t want to comply with the ACLU’s discovery request, which would force them to turn over lots and lots of records about not just the surveillance of the plaintiffs, but about the police department’s broader policies regarding spying on Muslims, or indeed anyone, based on their religious or political beliefs”:

The “latest in a series of moves to pressure Christian high school graduates into joining the army, breaking the community’s blanket rejection of conscription for the past 65 years” is seen by Palestinians “as a means to propel the country’s Christian and Muslim communities into conflict, as part of Israel’s long-term divide-and-rule strategy”:

“President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s economic problems went beyond sanctions, blaming ‘unparalleled stagflation’ on the profligacy and mismanagement of his predecessor, hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” who some say squandered “unprecedented revenue growth due to high oil prices … on subsidies … “and drove up inflation” …

… and “[t]his week Moody’s agency cut Tunisia’s sovereign credit rating by one notch to Ba3. It blamed the political uncertainty and polarization, security risks, problems in borrowing abroad and from international donors, as well as the budget and external deficits plus the need to recapitalize leading banks”:

“The deadly twin suicide bomb attack Tuesday against the Iranian embassy in Beirut illustrates how the conflict ravaging neighboring Syria is becoming more sharply defined as a Sunni-Shiite struggle between … Saudi Arabia and Iran”:

“Karzai has accused the United States of meddling in the 2009 elections. They were marred by fraud, but most observers that the bulk of it was on Karzai’s behalf. He also introduced new demands, including the possible release of 19 Afghan prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay” …

… and at the same time, “triumphant coalition statements about how much Afghanistan has changed should be treated with skepticism”:

The American and Iranian public are delighted, but hardliners in Iran, the West, Israel, and the Arab world see dangerous manipulation, differing only as to who is doing the manipulating and who is in danger :

Global Governance and Good Governance in the Wake of the Arab Spring

Monday, November 25th, 2013

NOTES FROM THE IIIT CONFERENCE ON GOOD GOVERNANCE IN ISLAM: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES #16

[This is the sixteenth 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.]

“Global Governance and Good Governance in the Wake of the Arab Spring”
Dr. Mohamed Nimer, American University, Washington, DC

What is a people-powered democracy? Arabs revolted before, against generals and for bread, but this is the first revolt in the age of FaceBook. The Arabs went out of history after the Ummayyad period and this is about their return to history. I will talk about how power and agency relate to recent events and Hassan al-Banna’s idea that after reform of the Islamic individual, family, society, state, then Muslims will be in a position to lead the world for goodness. He did not speak about conquest or power.

A people-powered democracy is set up to rule out hegemony by any faction group or social class. It should not be confused with populism which is against the rich people. The rich are people too. PPD protects the agency of all its members while guarding against any on group attaining a privileged position.  The constitution of medina did not speak much about the economy, but it did speak about defense and did not require Jews or pagans of Medina to surrender their weapons.

The Arab Spring began on Jan. 14 when Ben Ali stepped down and a can-do spirit spread throughout the Arab world. The threats to the Arab revolution are the old regime. Only one revolution is complete: Libya. The first transitional agreement could be seen as a new basis for legitimacy. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) chose the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to be the spokesmen for the people. Why didn’t they allow the people to elect their own negotiators? People gravitate to power centers and the MB has emerged as such a power center. The liberals may be in the lead, but the Muslim movements emerge as the majority. In the first round of the presidential elections a plurality voted for the “revolutionary candidates” rather the MB candidate. In the early days the MB mobilized people to clean the streets forcing local government into the position of assisting the cleanup effort.

If Libya falls back into tribalism, the people could turn again to NATO. There is a precedent that when Muslims were unable to provide protection to their dhimmis they would refund the jizya. We can envision a state that provides protection and justice in a neutral manner. Absent a theory of Arab security, stick with the Qur’an, in which security and sustenance are the basic elements of human as opposed to national security. American University has an objective to have major intellectuals in the world focused in the area of human security, going beyond peace.

Discussant Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad:

We must not over-interpret the Medina compact which, although it established many sound principles for Muslim governance, was never intended to be a constitution and has no guidance on the structure of government. Libya is not a complete revolution. That is an illusion because governance in Libya was by one man, so his removal seems like a complete revolution. Libya was in, and remains in, a state of anarchy. Voting is problematical. There is an old saw about cannibals voting on whom to eat. A complete revolution must be one that leaves multiple power centers in place and maximizes the degree to which people can govern their own lives through voluntary affiliations, including armed militias, which are protected in the U.S. by the 2nd amendment.

Nimer: When I said the Libyan revolution was complete, I merely referred to regime change. I think the Libyans have achieved a lot. They have local councils, a national election, explosion of the media, TV channels, civil society institutions, political parties.  A lot has been accomplished. It is a complete change of people who have the power to kill. Why not give Libyans the right to bear arms under strict rules. The tribes have always had their weapons. All the parties Libya use Islamic slogans and references but when you ask them what it means “not everybody is the same.”

GENERAL DISCUSSION:

I think Nimer and Imad-ad-Dean are trying to impose too much order on revolutions. Why is the transitional agreement seen as a template for a constitution when it seems to me more like a memorandum among the tribes.

The Medina document is ahd al madina. It is neither a constitution nor a memorandum of understanding, but a statement of the relationship among the tribes.  With regard to Afriqqiyya, sub-Saharan Africa came under Islamic influence somewhat late. Whatever Ibn Khaldun’s origins may be, he was a north African thinker and fits into that well. The Muqaddimah was an introduction to his history of the Arabs and the Berbers, but above all he was a judge, a jurist, and belonged to the Islamic religious establishment and made his livelihood not as a historian but as a jurist.

What is the objective of the revolution, that we may recognize that it is complete?

Ahmad: I do not criticize Libyan revolution for lack of order, I only say it is unfinished.

Little has been said about the role of ex-patriots. It is worth considering. I for one was glad that the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t do well in Libya because they should not assume they will be the beneficiaries of any Arab revolution. I hope they will not come to power in Syria either. When we speak of the completion of revolutions we must remain mindful of the impact of the world powers. The pressure from people who sell weapons also must be understood. Malaysia wanted the Indonesian economy so dependent on Malaysia that they have no incentive to attack Malaysia.

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

News and Analysis (11/25/13)

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The nuclear deal with Iran, its substance, its benefits and risks, its malcontents, and its secret history:

“Egypt’s interim president issued a new law Sunday banning public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior warning, imposing hefty fines and jail terms for violators in a bid to stifle the near-constant protests roiling the country. The law is more restrictive than regulations used under the rule of autocract Hosni Mubarak”:

“The 21st conference of the Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) concluded with a unanimous call to stop Muslim bloodshed irrespective of sect. The resolution said that sectarian killing is strictly unlawful, as it violates the sanctity of Muslim blood”:

“Hamas has denied the charges against them, arguing that the documents are forged, instead blaming the Egyptian media for launching ‘a propaganda war’ against the group”:

“It was my mother who first helped me read poetry when I was little. My dad convinced me …. to talk about something with value,” says the modestly attired winner of “Arab’s Got Talent” …

… while Turkish soap operas show Middle Eastern viewers “a woman like themselves, who is Muslim, who is religious, who is traditional, but on the other hand is modern and I think this is who they want to be, who they aspire to be”:

The American backed regime wants to limit the Qur’anic punishment for extra-marital to those guilty of premarital sex and to reintroduce the Old Testament punishment of stoning to death for married offenders:

Responding to charges that police have investigated only seventy of the 1432 reported cases a representative of the Association of Chief Police Officers “said some forces had problems keeping on top of the sheer number of reports coming in and, because many social media companies were based in the US, there were also difficulties in securing evidence”:

A Saudi court has sentenced one man to death and another 19 to jail terms ranging from 18 months to 25 years for taking part in storming the U.S. consulate in Jeddah in 2004, killing nine, one of a series of al Qaeda attacks last decade”:

As Turkey becomes more democratic and Egypt returns under the thumb of the military, the chill between the gets colder:

 

 

 

News and Analysis (11/22/13)

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

With the difference between Iran and its interlocutors narrowing …

… and sober observers warning that impeding progress can only have dangerous consequences …

… yet the Israeli PM continues to call “on pro-Israel groups around the world to mobilize their supporters in his campaign for war, and they are responding with the requisite enthusiasm” even though “the Iranians have the right to enrich under the terms of the Nonproliferation Treaty…. Any move … to enrich beyond permitted limits would soon be detected” …

… and even his own military can see the up-side to an agreement:

The controversial agreement that grants American troops “immunity from Afghan prosecution” for wrongdoing in exchange for “an open-ended commitment from the US to train, equip, and fund [Afghan] security services” has been thrown into doubt after Karzai tells the loya jirga that even if they approve it he wants to postpone signing until after the April elections”:

“Drone strikes are highly controversial to begin with, but today’s strike provoked additional outrage for reaching into the more settled areas of Pakistan proper” and reportedly hitting a school:

An expert on gender issues in the Arab world refuses to take part, saying, “This poll is nothing more than an example of how the West … imagines Arab women to be…. Once again, gender issues in the Arab world from the Western perspective are located in the domain of culture and tradition instead of institutional and patriarchal oppressions that are aided by colonial and neocolonial legacies”:

The Phillipines’ Muslim Family Code respects the right of young adults to marry when “of the age of puberty or upwards and not suffering from any impediment under the provisions of this Code,” and the musician will be married at a ceremony officiated by the Governor, who says Aguilar “articulated his desire to convert to Islam, even before he met and dated the young girl”:

They may not be allowed to drive or leave home without a male escort, but Yemen says that doesn’t stop these Saudi women from firing “assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at the military” …

… while on its northern border teh Saudis face shelling putatively “in retaliation for religious decrees in Saudi Arabia that insult Shiites and encourage killing them”:

“Members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood accused the security forces of using live rounds to disperse their protest, residents of Suez said. Police said the bullets had come from the opponents of the protesters, not from security forces. The child’s family accused the Brotherhood of responsibility for their child’s death, the state news agency MENA said”:

“The ‘Islamic Front’ unites rebel groups who want to transform Syria into an Islamic state after they overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, the groups said in a joint statement posted on the Tawhid Brigade’s Facebook page”:

“While Moscow has hundreds of Orthodox churches, many of them empty most of the time, there are just four public mosques within the city limits. Under its 1993 constitution, Russia has four founding religions – Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism – which share equal status under the law. Almost 20 percent of Russia’s population are Muslims”:

News and Analysis (11/20/13)

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

As the differences between Iran and the U.S. narrow, the prospects for a deal grow, and attention turns to the danger of hardliners in either country spoiling the deal:

“Officials and residents of typhoon-ravaged towns in Leyte and Samar appreciated the influx of local and foreign humanitarian missions, hailing particularly the delegations from the Muslim Mindanao region that they admittedly expected least because of lingering misperceptions raging from cultural differences to poverty and socio-political woes”:

“A Bosnian court on Tuesday released 10 Bosnian Serb war crimes convicts, including six jailed for genocide, because it applied the wrong criminal code during their trials”:

Afghanistan says “any deal would need to include a public apology for past mistakes by American forces from the US government,” but Susan Rice insists, “There is not a need for the United States to apologise to Afghanistan”:

“A pair of suicide … bombings were the latest in a string of attacks against strongholds of the Shiite militant Hezbollah, as the war in neighboring Syria bleeds into its tiny coastal neighbor. The blasts underscore the ever-growing sectarian nature of the conflict and highlight how regional involvement in the Syrian crisis is blowing back in a myriad of ways”:

The UAE is prosecuting people on charges that include donating and raising money for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood durnig the election, forming a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an “few of the suspects were also accused of stealing classified information from a flash drive that belonged to a State Security Department official” …

… while in Egypt police fire teargas to clear Tahrir Square and Egyptian athletes are being persecuted by the state for flashing the four finger salute that “commemorates the deaths of hundreds of Morsi supporters in mid-August in clashes that erupted when troops cleared two sit-ins in the capital Cairo” …

… and the violence against the state continues in Sinai:

“The director of the president’s office, Maj. Zaw Htay, said steps were being taken to address the issue, and the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi accused the rights committee of “interfering” in the country’s internal affairs

“The torture continues, unfair trials continue. Nearly 3,000 people are in jail and the numbers increase all the time” — Sheikh Ali Salman, who “has been charged with insulting the interior ministry through an exhibition about alleged human rights abuses by police”:

“The election marked a major milestone for the Islamic community in Connecticut, where there are just 375 Muslim adherents per 100,000 people, according to a 2010 study of religion in the U.S. by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies”:

“Tell Mama, a hotline for recording Islamophobic crimes and incidents, found that, excluding online abuse and threats, 58% of all verified incidents between April 2012 and April 2013 were against women and that in 80% of those cases the woman was wearing a … clothing associated with Islam”:

News and Analysis (11/18/13)

Monday, November 18th, 2013

With Iran boasting that it has the capability to send air to surface missiles over Israel using its new drone and France signaling its commitment to the Israeli position on Iran’s nuclear program, Iran suggests a compromise in which it allows other nations to pretend it does not have a right to nuclear enrichment under the nonproliferation treaty that it signed (and Israel didn’t):

In Britain Mursi supporters disrupt expression and “the university’s Palestine Society who organized the lecture sharply condemned the disruption. They alleged it was orchestrated by “non-members of the SOAS community” and branded it as an attempt to “silence and intimidate our invited speakers and attendees, and to forestall any debate” …

… but in Egypt teh shoe is on the other foot as, “moving methodically from room to room, the officers seized … equipment: headphones, a microphone stand, power cables, an amplifier – basically anything that could be used to make music. ‘Here, you can sing with this,’ one of the policemen said, laughing as he kicked a microphone across the floor”:

“Unknown gunmen shot and killed a senior national security officer in Cairo”, and the “[p]olice and army [have] sealed off Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the eve of a planned major rally to commemorate bloody clashes two years ago between demonstrators and security forces on nearby Mohamed Mahmoud street” in which 42 demonstrators were killed …

… and “a hastily erected circular folly, nominally to honour those who died during the overthrow of presidents Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi in 2013” astonishes many activists who demonstrated against both and see the memorial as an attempt “to hijack the legacy of … a revolt against the police and senior military officials” …

… and Egypt’s government signals “no intention to start talks with supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi” …

“Among the other complaints in the suit” the teacher claims that her supervisor, Monique Ngozi Nri scolded her “for expressing her belief to co-workers that [Trayvon] Martin was ‘murdered for walking,’ adding Nri felt the Florida teen was the ‘aggressor’ with authorities in the high-profile shooting. Both The New School and Moudiab’s lawyer, Laurie Morrison, declined comment”:

Why do Turkey’s secularists rage? “This debate about males and females staying in the same dormitory was the very last straw. The state is trying to enter our homes. And they create this impression that their kids have the moral values and ours don’t” — said Nese Yildiz, a 46-year old former banker visiting Anitkabir:

“Israeli prosecutors say the Palestinian was planning attacks on Israelis. They claim that releasing Mr Baraq would endanger the entire Middle East, but his lawyers have challenged them to produce any evidence”:

“The Pakistani government plans to ask the Supreme Court to begin treason proceedings against former President Pervez Musharraf for declaring a state of emergency and suspending the country’s constitution while he was in office”:

“In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into “marriage” with fighters – a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda”:

News and Analysis (11/5/13)

Friday, November 15th, 2013

With the Rouhani administration’s bid for good will through a nuclear slowdown, and Iran’s FM showing optimism about negotiations, Israel may jeopardize its special relationship with the U.S. by overplaying its hand:

“Three months after state forces killed hundreds of Egyptian protesters, the massacre has been whitewashed – both literally and from official records”:

A plan for the disposal of Syria chemical weapons has been adopted, but where will they be dumped now that Albania has said no?

“Libyan militiamen opened fire Friday on white-flag-waving protesters demanding their disbandment, killing at least 31 people and wounding more than 200 in a barrage of heavy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire”:

“You have to understand that being an American doesn’t mean I have to agree with every aspect of my country’s foreign policy,” Arafat says, “But we can talk and we can express our views in a civil way, a democratic way. And that’s how we make a change.” But “partly out of concern for his relatives in Damascus … Arafat doesn’t like to offer his opinions on the conflict there”:

“’The defendant was trying to egg him on,’ said the attorney, John Kenneth Zwerling…. Salim, an Army veteran and Somali immigrant …, said he was shaken by the charges being dropped. He said he sticks by his account and will ask federal authorities to pursue charges against Dahlberg. He said he also plans to file a civil suit”:

In recent years, attacks on Shia processions and gatherings marking Ashura have been frequent – especially in Iraq, the modern-day location of Hussein’s death in the Battle of Karbala. This year is no exception.” Yet, polls found that Sunnis and Shias … are united by their belief in key tenets of Islam, with near universal belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad” …

… so that now al-Qaeda affiliates are killing each other in their frenzied fear of Shiism:

“[T]he recommendations from Muslims countries and several African and Asian nations refuted the claims made by local Muslim groups that the review of Malaysia’s human rights record is a ‘Western, Christian’ agenda”:

“Jannati’s remarks underscore what has become a growing rift between the moderate-leaning government of new President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s hard-liners. Rouhani doesn’t have the authority to make decisions on freeing up social media, which is considered an internal security matter”:

News and Analysis (11/13/13)

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

“Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed’s escape was an embarrassment. The alleged torture and rendition that came before it might just be a major scandal” involving issues of rendition and torture:

“Much of what is followed today is the interpretation of a group of scholars dating back hundreds of years, rather than the literal teachings of God. The Qur’an is a complex and dense book, … [and] there are some interesting and brave attempts by female scholars to challenge accepted wisdoms not by deviating from the Qur’an, but by returning to it”:

Islamic scholars need to understand American culture before they judge it. In the words of the 14th century jurist, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, “[I]t is imperative that (the scholar) understands … [a people’s] cultural traditions and their habits because fatwa (religious rulings) change with the changing of time, place, culture and condition”:

The Muslim Brotherhood may be “authoritarian, arrogant and most of all, incompetent” but its “political rivals (mainly liberal and left-wing parties and organisations) are no less so. The only difference lies in the fact that the latter groups do not have a true popular constituency to begin with, and do not pose – at least for the time being – any serious challenge to the authoritarian state” …

… and the desperately needed reforms “in three sectors: the security establishment, the economy and the judiciary” are  likely t continue to be ignored …

… despite an ending of the state of emergency …

… as evidenced by the police indifference to the kidnapping of Christians …

… and continuing clashes:

“The Islamic Community of Kosovo said in a statement Wednesday that fighting in Syria “has nothing to do with religious principles” and it only prolongs the life President Bashar Assad’s government and the suffering of Syrian people”:

“How is it possible that all those who were telling me about jihad are now playing with their children and live free, with their wives, while I have not seen my child for months?” the 24-year-old whose 18 years jail sentence was annulled pending a retrial asks of the Bosnian Wahhabis whom he blames for his radicalization:

The Palestinian negotiating team resigns, even as Netanyahu’s determination to insure war with Iran exceeds his rush to steal land from the Palestinians:

“[W]hile Russia put the blame for the nuclear talks’ failure on an unnamed Western nation, its experts say a diplomatic solution for Iran’s nuclear ambitions remains likely” …

… as focus turns to “the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty … which says that its 190 signatories (of which Iran is one) have an “inalienable right … to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes'”: