News and Analysis (12/4/13)

Iran is expanding it foreign charm offensive …

… but at home, the situation is not so charming …

… and they are not getting any better in Egypt either:

“The Free Syrian Army began as a simple group of fighters battling Assad”, but . But Ruth Sherlock, in Antakya, finds their mission is now making millions from bribery and extortion” …

… a clear indicator of the degradation of the struggle is the fact that while in the first three years of the conflict “two bishops and a priest have previously been kidnapped by rebels” only  now have nuns become a target, held captive along with three other women …

… while in in the Central African Republic Christian vigilantes murder civilians in retaliation for the atrocities of the now disbanded Muslim rebel forces that brought the countries first Muslim president to power in a violent coup”:

“There is a need for us to understand that we are measuring the wrong things…. Are people having access to good education, to health care? Can they afford to buy their homes? Are they happy?” — Fatin Bundagji, a Board Member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce:

“In both Republican and Democratic states, there was no difference between the call backs received by the gay candidate as compared with the straight candidate. But in the Republican states, the Christian candidate received more interview calls than the Muslim candidate”:

“Morocco is a signatory to the 1961 drug control treaty and would face sanctions if it legalized drugs for recreational use, however the treaty does provide exceptions for legal and industrial applications” and “lawmakers from several different parties, including the moderate Islamist party running the government, have expressed support for some sort of legalization”:

“The people of Arab and Muslim countries thirst for democracy because they want freedom, coexistence, partnership with others, protection of human dignity and humanity, equal opportunities and development” and must emphasize ethical values, including knowledge, love and strength in confronting “real enemies”:

Hezbollah, openly preparing for yet another Israeli invasion, blames Israel for the assassination of a top leader in the parking lot outside his home and the Saudis for last month’s suicide attacks on the Iranian embassy:

“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said the bilateral security agreement (BSA) could be signed by Karzai’s defense minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, effectively circumventing” Karzai’s demand that NATO stop attacking residential communities, but Karzai says, dream on!

Aided by the Christian environment at Georgetown University, an Indian Muslim learns that Hindu-Muslim dialogue is highly rewarding, and not as difficult as you might expect:

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