March 28, 2014

News and Analysis (3/28/14)

“Proposed discriminatory laws are the latest escalation in persecution of Muslims and a political ploy to secure Buddhist votes ahead of polls in 2015″:

“Lawyers for Abu Ghaith said the prosecution was based on ‘ugly words and bad associations,’ rather than actual evidence that the defendant knew of or joined plots against Americans. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder … said it bolstered the argument that militants should be tried on terrorism charges in civilian courts, rather than as combatants in military commissions”:

“One percent of the town of Mattay’s population was sentenced to death on Monday, when 529 accused supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood received death sentences at the end of a 45-minute trial in nearby Minya…. A trial is where the truth is supposed to come out. But there was nothing normal about the trial that began in Minya on March 22″: …

… “The crackdown ‘has the opposite effect of what they wanted,’ said Ahmed, 21, who until recently worked as a photographer for a state-run newspaper…. ‘If one person from a five-person family gets detained at a protest, that makes the other four go down to protest’”:

“When it comes to governance, the Congressman said, ‘I think it’s perfectly legitimate to look at the core values of my faith — which happen to be quite universal — and bring those to bear in my decision-making.’ But he stops short of ‘prescribing unique features of my faith on others….” Ellison explains how he uses his religion as a lawmaker”:

“Although Pakistan has never executed anybody under the law, crowds angered over blasphemy accusations have been known to take the law into their own hands and kill those they suspect of violating it”:

“Under the pact, Muslim rebels agreed to disband guerrilla forces, surrender weapons, and rebuild their communities while the government gives them self-rule with wider powers to control their economy and culture. But potential threats to lasting peace remain, … a reminder to potential investors that the region is volatile”:

“Aid groups that have been providing care for those now living in crowded camps — where they have little access to food, education or health care — have for months faced threats and intimidation by Buddhist Rakhine, hampering their ability to work”:

“[T]he enhanced aid program would have a counterterrorism focus. The United States would help train Free Syrian Army fighters to combat al-Qaeda extremists, even as the rebels launch guerrilla attacks against Assad’s army”:

“Erdogan has harbored ambitions of changing the constitution to strengthen the role of the largely ceremonial presidency — so he can step into the post and rule Turkey with as much authority as he has enjoyed as premier. He is prohibited from running again as prime minister by term limits that he himself instituted”:

March 26, 2014

News and Analysis (3/26/14)

“The death sentences issued Monday by a court in the city of Minya, south of Cairo, brought an outcry from rights groups and criticism from the United Nations, European Union and United States over the cursory trial, which lasted only two sessions and in which lawyers said they were denied the right to make their case or question witnesses” ..

… Amnesty International’s Deputy Director on Middle East and North Africa says, “Imposing this many death sentences in a single case makes Egypt pass most countries’ use of capital punishment in a year”, and MB spokesman Abdullah El-Haddad says, “It shows that the military regime has switched from using special forces and rifles to using the Egyptian judiciary”:

… “[b]ut the verdicts were hailed as a triumph for justice by much of Egypt’s media, which have been cheerleaders for the crackdown on the Brotherhood since the military’s July ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi”:

“[P]eople assume there’s some sort an oxymoron if you say you are both a Muslim and a feminist, and what’s more you’re an Islamic feminist, but I find that discourse a little patronising. … I’d like to think … that women from various spiritual traditions have something to contribute to the broader discourse on feminism and what it means to be a truly, holistically emancipated woman”:

One “reason the group felt targeted was that on March 17, only their bulletin board had been cleared, while others remained up until the following day”:

Muslims in America are more diverse financially, racially, ethnically, and by national origin, and more willing to accept divergent interpretations of their religion than are Christians in America, but Muslims are less politically diverse, skewing more heavily Democratic:

“Sources said the commissioners had been particularly frustrated by the disqualification of dozens of candidates by a judicial panel because they were subjects of arrest warrants. Those affected – including former Finance Minister Rafa al-Issawi and several other MPs who oppose Mr Maliki – have no obvious way to appeal”:

“[F]our representatives of armed opposition groups were on the sidelines at the failed Syria peace conference in Geneva last month. These groups hope to prove their value as anti-regime fighters that the US can stomach arming”:

“The town of Boda is one of the last in the western C.A.R. still inhabited by a large number of Muslims. The government has told militiamen there to stop threatening this community, but the fighters say the Muslims must leave” …

… “The government of Central African Republic condemns criminal acts against the Muslim community in the strongest terms. We must spare no effort to prosecute criminals who use religion as a pretext to enrich themselves”:

UN “peace mediator for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, for an end the flow of arms to the combatants in” Syria and while “Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, urged Arab states to solve rifts he said were blocking joint Arab action” …

… but in the end the Arab states agree to disagree …

… “The failure of the deal as it was originally envisioned is the first major sign of how a political rift between Qatar and other Gulf nations over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood is hurting business decisions in the oil-rich region”:

“The actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, has filed an appeal alleging contempt of court’s order against the internet company, and that the video with her performance is still available on YouTube. This is despite a court order saying that no copies of the video with her performance should be available on the video-sharing platform”:

March 24, 2014

News and Analysis (3/24/14)

“Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood members in the street, and arrested thousands of others”:

As Turks continue to use circumvent the Twitter ban, Erdogan boasts that he is deaf to criticism and he will crush all his enemies: Twitter, Syria, and Gulen as well as the political opposition:

“A killing of insurgents in northern Nigeria may have actually been a heinous attack on local young men merely rounded up and detained”:

Why did Christie’s Muslim appointee write “a thoughtful and pragmatic 23-page opinion that drew on U.S. Supreme Court precedents … that a pregnant woman’s right to privacy is paramount … [and that] any interest a father has before the child’s birth is subordinate to the mother’s interest…[?] “He did what any New Jersey judge would do: Apply the law of the land”:

“A replica of a US aircraft carrier spotted near the coast of Iran is nothing more sinister than a movie set, Iranian media said on Sunday” and not, as typically befuddled US intelligence officials had speculated, constructed so Iran “could then blow it up for propaganda purposes”:

I wanted to tell her that I would never hurt my best friends or any living thing, and that there are more than a billion Muslims who are loving and kind. But I had no power. I was a child, a Muslim one, and she was an adult with authority. What voice did I have?”

With the Kerry initiative going nowhere, a group of Israeli and Palestinian politicians calling itself the Prague Forum “says it hopes to pressure negotiators in U.S.-backed peace talks to support the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The plan offers Israel peace with the Arab and Muslim world in exchange for a withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war”:

“Hamas tried in vain to mollify Egypt by insisting that its hostility was directed exclusively at Israel, but is now turning up the rhetoric. ‘The punishment of the people of Gaza must end,’ Ismail Haniyeh … told the rally in a speech interspersed with chants of ‘Jihad is not Terrorism’ over the loudspeakers. ‘Why punish Gaza? Was it because it achieved victory against the Occupier?’”:

“Candidates are choosing well-known strongmen as running mates to win support in their communities — despite their violent histories. Even the most urbane and international savvy of the presidential candidates, a former World Bank official, has tied his hopes to a warlord whose violent history has been condemned by the U.S. and other Western governments”:

March 21, 2014

News and Analysis (3/21/14)

“On Friday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul tweeted his own thought on the matter, quite different from Erdogan: “One cannot approve of the complete closure of social media platforms,” he wrote, adding that only individual web pages should be blocked if a court order is in place specifically regarding the violation of an person’s privacy” …

…. “Turkey’s main opposition party said it would challenge the ban and file a criminal complaint against Erdogan on the grounds of violating personal freedoms. The country’s bar association filed a separate court challenge. Twitter users called the move a ‘digital coup’” …

… but as coups go it wasn’t very effective and “Twitter use breaks new record in country as Turks defy purge of social media platform by Ankara:

“[M]ale MPs voted to amend the new marriage bill to allow men to take as many wives as they like without consulting existing spouses. Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval”:

The haul of handwritten notes, letters, computer files and other information collected from Bin Laden’s house during the raid … revealed regular correspondence between Bin Laden and a string of militant leaders who must have known he was living in Pakistan…. [Such] correspondence … with Bin Laden would probably have been known to their ISI handlers”:

“Experts traced [John Walker] Lindh’s path to Afghanistan back to his mother taking him, at age 12, to see Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X, after which he read Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X and began listening to hip-hop. After this episode, American and European officials began to speak of rap’s potential to radicalize”:

According the lawsuit obtained by The Huffington Post, the Tirmizis say their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when they were “assaulted, battered and forcibly removed” from the building’s observation deck on July 2, 2013 as they peacefully recited evening prayers”:

Among the absurdities in the script, calling an abaya a burka, a Muslim woman implausibly named after a Hindu goddess, and an ambassador’s daughter attending a  “makeshift school for girls” despite “the existence of an American International School in Riyadh,” but most disturbing is the pitting of “Islam against American values”in a story about an American Muslim:

“What’s most Muslim about Kismet, though, is his admirable purity…. In a time where even Batman or Superman let criminals fall to their deaths, Kismet never takes an opponents’ life…. Kismet challenges himself to avoid adding to the body count; to never be the aggressor or an instrument of punishment. Kismet leaves his enemies’ fates to Allah’s wishes, to Fate itself” …

… and the most recent Muslim superhero “finds the courage to use her newfound, not-quite-under control powers to save another girl after she remembers a passage from the Quran: ‘Whoever saves one person, it is as if he has saved all of mankind….’ Kamala is a superhero because she’s both Muslim and American at once”:

“[T]he first openly gay persons appointed to a senior role in a mainstream, non-gay Muslim organisation” says, “[B]y taking up this position I can help build bridges between the Muslim and LGBT communities. We share a similar experience of intolerance and victimisation” and wants to work “so that we can live together in a society without hatred, discrimination and violence”:

“Killings continue on a daily basis, rapes and other forms of sexual violence are rising and an estimated 15,000 Muslims trapped in enclaves in Bangui and other locations in the west and north of the country are in danger”:

 

News and Analysis (3/18/14)

“Captain Amr Farouq’s jail-term among first given to an official involved in country’s recent crackdown on dissent”:

“[S]ome neighbors intervened and informed the fighters that she was a Christian by birth. So they spared her life — on one condition. ‘Renounce Islam,’ one of her attackers said as they left. ‘Or else we will return and kill you for marrying a Muslim’:

“Under Hassan Rouhani, Iran is developing a more open media climate in which reformist reporters no longer fear for their lives”:

As Texans demand the weather service abandon its use of an Arabic word for “wind”, Muslim humorist Dean Oeidullah asks if “these Arab haters will now call alcohol, ‘Texas juice’ or rename algebra to, ‘that thing I failed in school’:

“Stance of Dr Nasser Gaber toward campus incident that was filmed by bystanders sparks fury among women’s rights activists”:

“A US official said the decision by Syria to terminate consular services explained why Washington ordered the closure of the embassy, which no longer had a purpose”:

“[T]he most prominent woman running on a ticket in the April 5 election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Sarabi once served as Afghanistan’s first female governor, and her current bid to become Afghanistan’s first female vice president is part of an effort to get out the women’s vote”:

Academics and hipsters try to make sense of the complex relationship between Muslims and hip-hop:

“Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas showed Barack Obama what his negotiator called “a very ugly map” of recently constructed Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, amid concern peace talks may be about to fall apart”:

“Ocalan was convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment without any possibility of conditional release. The Strasbourg judges said such a sentence was also a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights”:

March 16, 2014

News and Analysis (3/16/14)

“Erdogan has accused a coalition of “anarchists, terrorists and vandals” as well as opposition parties and an influential U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of orchestrating the unrest to undermine him. Using harsh words unlikely to soothe public anger, Erdogan … criticized the boy’s parents and suggested he had not really gone to buy bread”:

The unconscionable plight of the Rohingya Muslims is made worse as the Myanmar government bans Doctors Without B0rders:

“For Islamic feminists, the framework is Islam, the references are the core texts of Islam. My frame of reference as a Muslim is the texts, but truth is truth wherever it’s coming from – and something I hear from any feminist, Gloria Steinem or Germaine Greer, that reflects truth then becomes part of my Islamic lexicon” — actress-turned-author Myriam Francois-Cerrah:

Why the aftermath of Gaddafi’ ouster Libya s a disaster for both the Libyan people and the Europeans whose intervention made he regime change possible:

“If we report the terrorists to the army, the militants will kill us the next day. If we remain silent the army considers us allies of the terrorists and can start attacking our villages” — a Bedouin resident of Sinai:

Notwithstanding his denials of “allegations that he ran a vaccination program to collect DNA” that fronted for a CIA operation” which have contributed to the faltering of legitimate vaccination programs, U.S. lawmakers have confirmed he had a role in the hunt for Bin Laden … and exerted diplomatic pressure for his release”:

The program’s spokesman says the mosque indicatedn o subject would be off limits, but the “mosque’s chairman, Moahammed Naseem, [said] : ‘It was rather surprising how the programme was conducted. The impression given was that BBC3 wanted to discuss immigration’”:

Tunisia’s culture minister motes there is no need to censor film no one wants to see:

“The fall of Yabroud would deal a significant blow to rebels since the initiative passed to the government in spring of 2013″:

March 12, 2014

News and Analysis (3/12/14)

“Not God took my son away, but [Prime Minister Recep] Tayyip Erdoğan” – the boy’s mother:

Both Jordan and the PA have demanded an investigation in to the “shooting at close range” of a judge from Jordan as he crossed the Allenby bridge to visit relatives. “In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 20-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank … while tending his family’s goats near his home”:

“Senator Dianne Feinstein said on the Senate floor that such activities “may have undermined the constitutional framework” of government oversight. The Senate panel was investigating allegations of abuse during a CIA detention and interrogation programme”:

“An attorney representing a group of Muslim students found guilty of disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador said she will appeal the case, which she said tests whether ‘peaceful, measured student protests’ should be a crime”:

” Saudi Arabia’s fierce campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, already on the run in its Egyptian birthplace, has divided a Gulf Arab bloc, causing discomfort in some member states where the Islamist group is embedded in daily politics”:

“Silicon Valley’s model of empowerment and equality couldn’t be more different from Israel’s technology hub or its practices of technology disenfranchisement for Palestinians[, t]he agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and Netanyahu dangerously ignores [this] and implicitly condones effective technology apartheid”:

“Now we want to start the journey of peace in the Muslim world. The starting point is to dialogue, by inviting all the scholars to meet. There is a culture of peace in the Islamic heritage”:

The fact that a three-day course that lost its accreditation will still be taught in Virginia is just one example of how anti-Islamic propagandists “continue to win lucrative fees to train law enforcement officers despite a history of rhetoric that seems to undermine their credibility”:

“The debacle underlines the impotence of the authorities in Tripoli, whose fledgling army and police force are no match for the militias and other armed groups who remain a law unto themselves three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi…. [A]n infuriated parliament voted out Zeidan … and named Defence Minister Abdallah al-Thinni as acting prime minister”:

March 10, 2014

News and Analysis (3/10/14)

“Shamsia, now 8 months old, will one day learn how she was saved by a split-second decision by two women who refused to be influenced by the hatreds enveloping their country. She will also one day learn how her mother and her brothers died”:

Three “leading figures in Egypt’s 2011 uprising, have been imprisoned since December and sentenced to 3 years for violating a controversial protest law. On Monday, lawyer Mahmoud Belal said the three claimed their guards beat them because they complained their handcuffs were too tight”:

A female Muslim journalists finds that “fundamentalists” in her community are willing to respect the personal boundaries she has set regarding her progressive interpretation of Islam, but her professional life is different story:

The ex-Muslim who posed topless for a photoshoot freely chose to do what she did. Bangladeshi author Tanwi Nandini Islam says the real victim of American Apparel’s exploitation of women is the “poor, underpaid, overworked young woman making you a $5 shirt for 30 cents an hour“:

“The founder of Alpha Lambda Mu “tells NPR’s Arun Rath that he didn’t intend to start a movement; he just wanted to provide Muslim American men with a place to have fun and be themselves”:

“The al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades … said a “technical fault” affected the second of two Feb. 19 suicide bombings targeting an Iranian cultural center in Beirut, but didn’t specify what it was. The group insisted its suicide bombers were trained to not target civilians”:

“People can escape government regulation, but they cannot escape the word of God” – Hayu Prabowo, chair of the Council of Ulama’s environment and natural resources body:

The Libyan government demonstrates its weakness in the face the rebels’ capture of three ports by threatening to bomb a foreign oil tanker for using the port:

Showing rockets Iran allegedly sent for Palestinians to defend themselves against the Israeli aggression, Netanyahu hope he can fool the world into thinking that Iran, with no nuclear weapons, rather than Israel, with 200 nuclear devices, is the nuclear threat in the Middle East:

March 8, 2014

News and Analysis (3/8/14)

An “X, cut deep into the gray metal of the gate,… [evoked] a memory … of 1944,” when Stalin’s police tagged the houses of … the native Muslim residents of the peninsula … and all of them—almost two hundred thousand people—were evicted from their homes, loaded onto trains, and sent to Central Asia”:

“Turkey banned YouTube for more than two years until 2010 after users posted videos the government deemed insulting to the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk”.” Now Erdogan threatens to bring back the bad old days, with himself in the role of Ataturk …

… “Erdogan is still going to remain as a central figure…. But he’s no longer going to be seen as the transformative leader he had aimed to be. The United States no longer looks at him this way, but … sees him as creating uncertainty and potential instability” — Turkey specialist Henri Barkey:

“President Hassan Rouhani told reporters Saturday that it was wrong to close down a newspaper on its first offense just because one writer was seen as inappropriate. His comments were broadcast live on state TV. Rouhani said his opponents were free to attack him”:

Subjecting members and sympathizers to prison for up to 20 years, the ban escalates “a new campaign against the group across the region with a sweeping ban that imposes lengthy prison sentences for even expressing sympathy with” the non-violent and unarmed pro-democracy group:

A Malaysian court on Friday sentenced opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges, overturning an earlier acquittal and ending his hopes of contesting a local election this month…. International human rights groups say the legal moves … are politically motivated”:

“UN chief Ban Ki Moon wants 12,000 peacekeepers for conflict-riven CAR. Muslims say they may be killed or driven out by the time the blue helmets arrive”:

“There is ample scientific evidence that religious slaughter is at least as humane as conventional mechanical slaughter…. By contrast, many of the studies that suggest that religious slaughter causes unnecessary pain have been agenda-driven and methodologically flawed”:

“The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague has said that after decades of Muammar Qaddafi’s corrosive and capricious rule, Libya remains too insecure and its court system too weak to guarantee that big fish suspects are properly investigated and tried”:

“The statement by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant came a week after the leader of the powerful al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front gave the breakaway faction a five-day ultimatum to accept mediation by leading clerics to end infighting or be “expelled” from the region”:

“The Islamic Jihad denied involvement on Friday. Khalid al-Baths, an Islamic Jihad leader, said his group has ‘nothing to do with” the ship seized by Israel:

March 5, 2014

News and Analysis (3/5/14)

“Egyptian prosecutors have also charged Hamas officials with espionage and terrorism – and suggested that Hamas helped to engineer Egypt’s 2011 revolution” that toppled dictator Husni Mubarak …

… and in their zeal break the arm of a U.S. peace activist who “intended to meet up with international delegates before traveling to Gaza for a women’s conference”:

“There’s a third party to Syria’s civil conflict, and it may be the only one to emerge somewhat victorious from the war.  As President Bashar al-Assad’s grip has loosened, the roughly 2 million Kurds in Syria’s northeast have made their strongest bid yet to break away from Damascus”:

The recording supports allegations that Erdogan has interfered in the judicial process; in turn, government officials accuse Fethullah Gulen’s network of “illegally tapping thousands of telephones in Turkey for years to concoct criminal cases against its enemies and try to influence government affairs”:

“Decades of dictatorship in Myanmar produced a deep catalogue of casualties: slain dissidents, land mine victims and economic ruin, to name a few. A lesser-known casualty of Myanmar’s totalitarian rule? Facts… Myanmar’s Muslims are much more plentiful than the old military regime ever admitted”:

“Muslim clerics have become some of the most vocal critics of the killings, women’s groups say. Sheik Yousef Ideis, head of the Palestinian Islamic-law court, has … said that the killings are a discriminatory practice that violates the teachings of the” Qur’an, adding Islam fought the pre-Islamic tradition”:

“I am a queer woman. I am a feminist. And I believe that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger. Yeah, it’s the third one that usually gets the record-scratch reaction…. I do not speak for Islam. I do not speak for Muslims. I speak for one Muslim: myself”:

“Egypt’s armed forces chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signaled on Tuesday that he will run for president, saying he cannot ignore the “majority” of Egyptians who want him to do so”:

“The unprecedented move by the three states … [is] the clearest sign yet of the rift between Gulf Arab nations and Qatar, which has been a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere”:

“[T]aking the death toll from three days of attacks to 116 as soldiers struggle to contain raging violence”:

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