News and Analysis 5/23/12

As warily optimistic Egyptians go to the polls for their first free Presidential election, an opinion piece by a political sociologist and a scholar of comparative Islamic Law discusses the prospects of freedom within Islam and through Sharia:

“Egyptians make a distinction between Islam and Islamism – despite the best efforts of the MB and the Salafi movements in Egypt. Islam to them is a religion that produced a civilization of more than a millennium – Islamism is a political attempt to change Egypt which only recently came out of the shadows in the last year”:

As fresh talks begin, Ahmadinejad declares, “Based on Islamic teachings and the clear fatwa (edict) of the supreme leader, the production and use of weapons of mass destruction is haram (forbidden) and have no place in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defence doctrine”:

Although recent reforms to the “much-despised criminal codes, which were created more than a century ago by the colonial British rulers of India to put down tribal revolts” will allow Afridi to appeal, “the harsh sentence appeared likely to reinforce perceptions in Washington that Islamabad is increasingly hostile to U.S.” policies …

… such as continuing drone strokes which provoked a closing of supply routes over which a U.S. Senate panel has reportedly responded by voting “yesterday to cut Pakistan’s aid by 58 percent for the 2013 fiscal year”:

.. but the “drone attacks have created a tremendous blowback effect, even among liberal Pakistanis who once supported the war against radical Islamist militant groups”:

50,000 tickets have been sold for the show, 150 of them purchased by a militant group that wants not to watch, but to disrupt, but Jakarta police say the show may go on as long as Gaga, who ” also encountered protests in the Philippines from conservative Christian groups,”  “is dressed appropriately and does not violate cultural norms in this country”:

“Later, an executive from the company that runs security at the mall called Salaam to apologize. Salaam said that she appreciated the apology, but would not go the same mall in future”:

“One of the unintended results of my activism is that it has made me feel more rooted and adjusted to my own religion of Christianity”:

“Lebanon’s foreign minister has said that Lebanese Shia pilgrims abducted in Syria over the weekend have been located” and although “negotiations are ongoing[, ] … the captives should be ‘released very soon'”:

“Pentagon press secretary George Little disputed some of the allegations” and “denied that the cooperation was an attempt to boost President Barack Obama’s election chances” since “the movie would not be out until after the election”:

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