April 6, 2016

News and Analysis (4/6/16)

That the Prophet neither forcibly converted nor expelled his enemies “gives the lie to Qureshi’s statement that the Prophet fought them on account of religious differences.” Nor did he fight the neighboring Abyssinian Christian kingdom that “permitted [Muslims] freedom of religion”:

Muslims were “not alone in criticizing Lynn, as House Democrats on Tuesday announced they formally filed a workplace harassment complaint with … the state’s head of legislative human resources” over her distribution of “of hate-filled propaganda” to fellow legislators:

“Erdogan has also called for a new legal definition of terrorism and terrorist to include activists or journalists …, increasing concerns over free speech in Turkey where academics were recently imprisoned for speaking out against Turkey’s renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels”:

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that up to 35 percent of the names on the watch list are outdated, and thousands of others are placed on the list without conclusive factual evidence”:

“[T]he government consulted 29 organizations including government departments, faith-based groups, various teaching associations, and charities over the content of the Educate Against Hate website — but none representing Britain’s Muslim community”:

“It was not clear if the written statement had the full support of all ministers in the self-declared National Salvation government. But it appeared to mark a step forward for a U.N.-brokered unity government … after years of factional power struggles following” Gaddafi’s overthrow:

Abadi’s move to appoint technocrats “to free the ministries from the grip of a political class that has used the system of ethnic and sectarian quotas instituted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to amass wealth and influence through corruption … shocked the political establishment”:

Rising sectarian acrimony in the Middle East is manifested in an Egyptian attempt to silence Manar TV even as the Iranians and Saudis agree to meet to try to iron out problems following last year’s Hajj stampede and the recent Saudi execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr:


April 4, 2016

News and Analysis (4/4/16)

His spray of high-powered rifle fire through the “House of Peace” mosque window “was the first in an unprecedented wave of anti-Islam incidents that swept the country in the aftermath of the Paris attack” but now he and his Muslim neighbors seek “forgiveness and reconciliation”:

“VandaSec’s work has sparked wild rumours suggesting someone inside the DWP is running ISIS-supporting accounts, or they were created by intelligence services as a honeypot to trap wannabe jihadis”:

An interview with U.S. Army Special Operations Officer and a global psychological warfare-counterterrorism analyst unveils his letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein that “demonstrates either enormous ineptitude … or something more insidious”:

“Momentum for the illegal oil drilling of Syrian territory by Murdoch, Cheney and the gang is aided by the [pretense] that Golan Heights is already part of Israel. Afek Oil and Gas refers to their newfound field simply as ‘northern Israel'”:

Those unhappy with the court decision want to be able to force men to touch women. No doubt there are those who would like to force women to let men touch them:

A now declassified 93-page document not only “reveals that there was ‘no operational tie between Saddam and al Qaeda’ and no WMD programs. The report reveals that the intelligence community and the US Department of Energy” knew it:

White racists show up in “full gear” to demonstrate against what they describe as “Arab radical Islamists team[ing] up with Nation of Islam/Black Panthers and White anti American Anarchist groups” but turn tail when outnumbered by New Black Panther Party counter-demonstrators:

“This week, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published an editorial that answered once and for all the question ‘Is Charlie Hebdo racist?'” by implying that all Muslims, “by just existing and practising, are part of a continuum that climaxes” in terrorism:

Google has removed the application from its store but refuses to state which policies the app violates on the grounds that it “does not comment on individual apps”:

April 2, 2016

News and Analysis (4/2/16)

“It turns out that the best predictor of foreign fighter radicalization was not a country’s wealth … [n]or how well-educated its citizens were, how healthy they were, or even how much Internet access they enjoyed. Instead, the top predictor was whether a country was Francophone”:

“While the teacher reports her statements were made in the context of trying to make a point about negative stereotypes, District officials do not believe that the teacher exercised the appropriate sensitivity expected of the District’s educators” — School District statement:

“[P]eople are not usually led to jihadist groups by religious faith.” As a former CIA officer observed, “They only became religious once they joined the jihad.” Thus, “[i]t is not through mosques but through the Internet that such jihadists discover their community”:

“While older men are more likely to be degree-holders than their female counterparts, younger women are more likely to have degrees.” While “the trend for girls to outperform boys had been well observed among non-Muslim students for some time … ‘it is very new among Muslims”:

“The regime has clamped down on private donations to extremists … and carried out airstrikes against ISIS. They deny they are supporting the terror group, but many feel it is the underlying Wahhabi Salafi ideology [shared with ISIS] that is the wider problem”:

“[T]he Nusra Front and rebel militias captured a village overlooking a major highway … [which] along with heavy government airstrikes that killed more than 30 civilians near Damascus this week, threatened to completely dissolve the truce …[and draw] Russia back into the conflict”:

“The communal grave, on the north-eastern edge of Palmyra, is the only one found so far in the city by the Syrian forces, the source said. It held the bodies of both civilians and Syrian army members captured by Islamic State … [and] many women and children …[,]  some …beheaded”:

March 30, 2016

News and Analysis (3/30/16)

“America” is the ideal of “liberty and justice for all.'” “Americans” often fail to live “up to that ideal…. Because of expedience. Because of bigotry. Because of cowardice. Truth to tell, sometimes, they don’t even try. But the failure of the people is not the failure of the ideal”:

“[T]he FBI’s growing network of confidential informants … have their own biases, receive little to no training and certainly aren’t equipped to ferret out violent extremism or distinguish between [constitutionally protected] extremism, … and [legally punishable] violent extremism”:

The judge ruled that none of “15 petitioners … had no standing to raise the issue with the court.” Asked the chairman of a religious nonprofit, “Bangladesh has a state flower — it’s the water lily. We have a state fruit — the jackfruit. Why shouldn’t Islam be our state religion?”:

“The lawsuit asks the court to order all 11 defendants to remain 300 yards from any TMOA [‘Four generations of predominantly African American Muslims who trace their ancestry to the slave trade’] property, to pay unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and legal fees”:

The judge “held that Rebit’s case was not one of jurisdiction, but of his constitutional right to religious freedom. ‘He does not need a Shari‘ah court order to release him from Islam, because freedom of religion is his constitutional right, and only he can exercise that right'”:

“I think one of the things Wil has showed me is you can’t push (religion) down; people have to believe it for themselves” — Penatcostal mother whose son is now president of his college Muslim Student’s Association:

The atheists’ arguments that by allowing prayer rooms on campus the university must either endorse religious tenets or “dictate to religious students which tenets they are allowed to follow on university property” imply that observant students shouldn’t be allowed on campus at all:

Germans and Europeans tell Erdogan he’s mistaken if he thinks he can suppress freedom of speech in their countries:

At least 19 people are currently on death row … [under] the laws … [which have] religious minorities and … are often used to settle personal disputes. [Although n]o one has ever been executed for blasphemy, … mob violence has killed several Pakistanis accused of blasphemy”:


March 27, 2016

News and Analysis (3/27/16)

“In a pointed message to the United States, which has led a separate Western and Arab coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq since 2014, the military command said its gains showed that the army “and its friends” were the only force able to uproot terrorism”:

Sorry to shock you, but there are countries where instead of being slaughtered in the streets, Muslims are actually allowed to ask icons of democracy tough questions on television. “The Burmese politician … [lost] her temper [when] asked her to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment”:

“Tributes were paid to a Muslim shopkeeper killed in what police described as a ‘religiously prejudiced’ attack against the well-liked member of the minority Ahmadiyya community which has been accused by (accuses) other Muslims of disguised unbelief (“heresy”):

“Lafquiri was killed as a result of the attack that took place at the Maelbeek metro station in the Belgian capital” …

… “Nine people in total have been arrested since Thursday in Belgium and two in Germany, as European authorities swoop on Islamic State militants they link to the bombings at the airport and the metro in Brussels … and to the attacks in Paris last November”:

“The abduction of about 270 school girls by Islamic militants from a school in Chibok on 14 April 2014, sparked international outrage and the campaign ž#bringbackourgirls. While about 50 of the girls managed to escape, 219 of these girls remain missing”:

In the face of  “footage of a soldier lethally shooting a Palestinian attacker who had already been shot and subdued” Netanyahu insists that it is the IDF’s victims who are “bloodthirsty murderers” and that criticism of the IDF is “outrageous and unacceptable”:

March 23, 2016

News and Analysis (3/23/16)

Annoyed by a question about political prisoners, Castro asked, “What political prisoners? Give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately.” He wanted to know when the U.S. will return  Guantanamo Bay where it holds uncharged and untried prisoners:

“NYPD Assistant Chief Thomas Galati acknowledged in a court testimony that the program never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation”:

“[T]he biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation — the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam— did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and metro that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded”:

Japan’s non-interventionism had “mostly kept Japan and its citizens out of the conflict in Syria” until its PM pledged $200 million to IS’s Middle Eastern enemies last winter and IS beheaded two Japanese civilians after the government refused to pay” them an equal amount in ransom:

As IS exploits the chaos unleashed by the Western overthrow of Qaddafi to try to establish a base from which it can destabilize neighboring countries, the UN is frustrated in trying to impose a compromise regime to replace Libya’s feuding parliaments:

“[B]ankers from Europe, the Middle East and other countries, … say the remaining sanctions are so complex, and the risks of errors in due diligence so high, that they still don’t dare to engage with Iran”:

As human rights organizations fault Egypt’s deteriorating record, and the Egyptian public is increasingly victimized by an economic dive, el-Sisi looks to a meaningless cabinet reshuffle to solve his countries’ problems:


March 20, 2016

News and Analysis (3/20/16)

“There are approximately two dozen quotations on display in the art installation created by the Law School. The three most prominently displayed at the entrance of the art installation, are quotes from St. Augustine, the Holy Qur’an and the Magna Carta”:

What do President Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton Aide Huma Abedin, Congressman André Carson, Justice Elena Kagan, Gen. David Petraeus, Gov. Chris Christie, Grover Norquist, Saddam Hussein and Timothy McVeigh all have in common?

“[E]ven its former defenders in the civilian political elite are turning against [the Sisi regime] as its crimes mount and the economy flounders. For the Obama administration to hand Cairo a blank check now would be foolhardy. Congress should prevent it”:

“Earlier, Israeli authorities raised the number of Israelis killed in the bombing to three, among them two who also hold American citizenship”:

“U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura describes Syria’s political transition as “the mother of all issues” and, emboldened by the Russian and U.S. muscle that brought the participants to the negotiating table, he refuses to drop the subject”:

A “U.N. security council resolution … requires [Houthi rebels] to hand over weapons and withdraw from territory, including Sanaa…. Previous attempts … failed to take hold on the ground, with each side accusing the other of immediately violating the terms”:

“Abdeslam, captured Friday in a police raid in Brussels, was charged Saturday with ‘terrorist murder’ by Belgian authorities … is a top suspect in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead” and one of more than thirty suspects in those attacks:

March 15, 2016

News and Analysis (3/15/16)

“Prophet Muhammad made it clear that freedom of religion is an inherent right for Christians living in a Muslim nation. His cordial relations with Christians were not due merely to political expediency or personal aspirations”:

Erdogan “said there was no difference between ‘a terrorist holding a gun or a bomb and those who use their position and pen to serve the aims’ of terrorists. Mr Erdogan added that this could be a journalist, a lawmaker or an activist”:

It is not wealthy elites who “can pay 1500 riyals ($400) a month for drivers” that are shaking up Saudi society, but women “who can’t afford drivers or cars, whose families object to taxis, and who persist nonetheless”:

“Two brothers … are on the verge of getting kicked out of school for fighting … bullying [that] moved from the school yard to their front yard, when their house was vandalized”:

“Growing up in a refugee camp near Bethlehem, Ms Al Hroub now works with refugee pupils, with an approach using play that is aimed at resolving violence and tension. ‘I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage,’ she said”:

“Iran has retrieved thousands of pages of information from devices used by U.S. Navy sailors who were briefly detained in January…. Iranian authorities returned all the devices taken from the Americans even though it had the right to confiscate them”:

March 12, 2016

News and Analysis (3/12/16)

“Congress has never declared war on Somalia, nor has it authorized the use of military force there…. What legal authority does Obama even possess to bomb this country?” Further, “the U.S. government presumptively regards all adult males it kills as “militants”:

“CMUs, highly secretive and dubious of legality. And they’re right here in the United States. And an estimated 70 people might be held there. CMUs, largely unknown to the general public and media”:

“They would never be able to recruit anyone from our group, because we equip them with the knowledge and methodologies to counter any argument from groups like Daesh. More than this, our youth are effecting positive change by stopping other youth from joining extremist groups”:

“Facing opposition in parliament and bickering in his own cabinet, Jokowi has been scaling down his proposed reforms and working … [on] smaller economic fixes – lifting tariffs and quotas and enlisting business support – aimed at igniting growth and aiding … poor citizens”:

With the controversy behind it, the Montana library lecture draws an overflow crowd:

“The Gaza health ministry says … that shrapnel from an airstrike on a Hamas base hit a nearby house killing the boy, Yassin Abu Khoussa and wounding two of his siblings, one seriously, early Saturday”:

March 9, 2016

News and Analysis (3/9/16)

“[P]roposed new powers to criminalize extremist views that stop short of advocating violence. The plans have been criticized by religious and civil liberties groups” as “trying to define extremist speech would be all but impossible and might ‘do more harm than good'”:

“[T]here have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite and diminution of the five year slaughter”:

Special rapporteur Juan Mendez says U.S. officials continue to set what he considers excessively strict conditions for his visits, such as on which inmates he could see…. ‘If I accept terms like that, every other government is going to demand the same treatment, and rightly so'”:

“Shari’ah, with a capital ‘S,’ is the path that is guided by Qur’anic ethos in its totality to achieve justice. It is neither the collection of rules derived by Muslim jurists, nor the interpretations that were solidified by Muslim leaders”:

“[M]ost of the known opponents of the deal and the Rouhani government were MPs from Tehran who have now been voted out…. [T]he current chairman of the Assembly of Experts did not win enough votes to keep his office”:

But only “[s]tudents with a permission slip signed by their parents will be able to attend the presentation”:

The film’s co-director “said it’s unfortunate it took a court battle to get the ads up, but the film they are promoting is still available for download and on DVD.” An MTA spokesman “said the ads have been revised to state more plainly that they are promoting the film”:


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