November 8, 2015

News and Analysis (11/8/15)

“[S]urprised to see a September poll showing 30 percent of Iowa Republicans didn’t believe that Islam should be legal in the United States” a UNI assistant professor of religion says, “Islam is connected to the story of America itself” and is not “new to the United States or Iowa”:

“[I]n the newest legal action the inmates’ lawyers argue that the earlier court order was ignored, and the MDoC continued to deprive their clients of sufficient nutrition repeatedly”:

“[F]or the 1 million Rohingya Muslims who live in Rachine State … it’s not a free election[,] … crowded into makeshift huts … [, they] suffer from shortages of firewood, water and food, and are forced to bribe security guards to leave the camp for medical treatment”:

“President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed last week he expected sanctions to be lifted by year-end, paving the way for the return of the biggest economy to the global trading and financial system since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991”:

Among the security gaps reported by anonymous “officials involved in security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport” was a “malfunctioning scanner had been noted in security reports to their superiors, but the machine was not replaced”:

“As it happened in the 10th and 11th centuries, Muslim intellectuals who live in the West can initiate a new scholarly synthesis between Islam and Western knowledge — something that is a must to overcome the problems of the Islamic world”:

“We call on politicians, rabbis, imams, civil society leaders – all the people of Israel and Palestine to end rhetoric that exacerbates hatred and violence” — Rep. Keith Ellison and Rabbi Adam Latz:

“[T]he New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said reporters face unprecedented threats in President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s Egypt. CPJ said Egypt currently had the highest number of journalists behind bars since it began keeping records in 1990”:

“The war has evolved into a wider proxy struggle between global powers, as Russia has joined the Assad-Iran axis and Western powers have stepped up support for Gulf Arab-backed rebels”:

November 5, 2015

News and Analysis (11/5/15)

A uniquely French plan to stop extremism: “This was the week that schoolchildren in one Paris suburb got a stark choice at the cafeteria: pork or nothing at all”:

Which should be reported as a potential terrorist: “a person posting about a plan to attend a political event, or someone with an Arabic name posting about going on ‘a mission’ overseas”? For the FBI training program it is a no-brainer [No brains, indeed!]:

“Filkins thus assembled a set of ‘facts’ … supporting his thesis of Iranian guilt, without any serious effort to inquire into its accuracy, reliability and significance [and] …suggests a readiness to interpret data that doesn’t fit the accepted picture in such a way as to keep it intact”:

“There is an undeniable link between media censorship and the proliferation of conspiracy theories in Turkey. In turn, society is so polarized that it lacks the means to negotiate truth claims”:

The accusations that the man who provided the rational for America’s disastrous Iraqi intervention was working for Iran were never proven, but there is no doubt that he “justified his lies by insisting that they served a greater good” …

… while a “new biography of the 41st president – Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush – reveals that Bush Sr held Cheney and Rumsfeld responsible for the hawkish stance that ‘hurt’ his son’s administration”:

Friday’s narrative that the mission “would be totally ‘non-combat'” and suggesting “keeping the operation purely advisory … was ditched almost immediately:

Saad Almasmari, newly elected to what is believed to be “the first majority Muslim City Council … in the entire country” says, “We are going to represent everybody. We are going to serve everybody, Christians, Jewish, Muslims, everybody”:

“It was the fourth time in six weeks that Hindus had killed Muslims they suspected of slaughtering, stealing or smuggling cows”; a neighbor asks, “How can a man whose family consisted of engineers and doctors, and himself a respected headmaster, steal a calf?”
“Following the visit of a delegation of AFL-CIO leaders from Connecticut to Palestine this Fall as guests of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), the Connecticut AFL-CIO adopts a comprehensive resolution against Israeli apartheid:

November 2, 2015

News and Analysis (11/2/15)

Surprising most analysts, the AKP wins a clear majority in parliament, enough to rule without a coalition but not enough to allow Erdogan to completely monopolize power:

Having failed to deny Iran a seat at the Syria peace talk, are the Saudis trying to provoke them to walk out?

“What the Government is really saying is that its classification system trumps the decisions of the federal courts as to the public’s access to official court records; in other words, the Executive Branch (in this case, the Military) purports to be a law unto itself — Judge Gladys Kessler:

“[T]he courage and heroism of those Muslims who risked their own well-being to save the lives of Jews, and rescuing the names of these people from obscurity, is … useful response to the Netanyahu uproar. This is a story that has received remarkably little attention” …

… while a viral video exposes “the inhumanity of Zionism…. It is not simple hatred that motivated the disgusting comments from the onlookers, it is an ingrained, inter-generational sense of superiority bred of dehumanization of the Palestinian, and the Arab generally”:

“CISA is … a surveillance bill masquerading as a cybersecurity bill, … giving the NSA access to more personal information for its expansive databases. CISA is fundamentally flawed because of its broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers”:

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has determined unanimously that Malaysia’s imprisonment of Anwar Ibraham is a violation of International Law and that he shjld be reeased immediately and have all his political rights restored:

“Khin Maung Thein, the lone Muslim candidate, is only campaigning in Mandalay’s mosques, rather than on its streets, and is concerned that Ma Ba Tha monks might harass the people he canvasses”:

Two Muslims crossing from the Muslim ghetto “to enter the Christian sixth district … were slain and their bodies chopped up into pieces, while [a] third … was later stoned to death by a crowd near a church. In an apparent act of retaliation, a Christian man was killed” the next day:

“Even if the situation in Iraq gets better, no matter how safe it is, there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again,” says Naghm Yousif Abdel Meseeh, now resigned to “[l]eaving the land where Assyrians have lived for thousands of years”:

November 1, 2015

El Mercurio Interview on the Russian Airliner Crash in the Sinai

[Here are our answers to questions by El Mercurio’s reporter Javier Méndez about the crash of a Russian civilian airliner in the Sinai]:

Q. It is possible that a Russian airplane passengers could be shot down by ISIS?

A. The plane could not have been shot down at that altitude. An on-board attack cannot be ruled out, but seems very unlikely in the light of the reports during ascent by the pilot of some sort of “technical problem” and his intention to land the plane as soon as possible. Further, reports that this particular plane had experienced problems with an engine days before the flight suggest a more likely explanation.

Q. What could be the political effects in the Middle East for this serious incident?

A. The fear expressed by a number of airlines to fly over Sinai in the wake of this tragedy puts pressure on Egypt, whose government has already lost legitimacy as demonstrated by the poor turnout in the recent elections. Alleged claims that ISIS is responsible, far-fetched as those claims may be, nonetheless portend more violence against the group in Syria and its affiliate in the Sinai.

Q. In your opinion, what will happen with the Islamic State the next year? Could ISIS be defeated by the international coalition?

A. I cannot predict what will happen to ISIS, but if it is defeated without popular support of the indigenous populations, it shall only be replaced by another undesirable, and perhaps even more vicious party.

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

October 30, 2015

News and Analysis (10/30/15)

“[R]eleased after 14 years incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay where he was beaten by his American military jailers, Aamer can be expected to receive compensation, perhaps as much as £1m, as 15 other British residents and citizens did in 2010, in return for dropping a civil case”:

“Iran signaled on Friday it backed a six-month transition period in Syria followed by elections to decide Bashar al-Assad’s fate, a proposal floated at peace talks as a concession but which the president’s foes rejected as a trick to keep him in power”:

“Why did old-style British colonialism, with its last bit of strength, drive wedges round the heart of the region and say: here – against the tradition of 2,000 years of history – here there will be a homeland for a people of only one religion?”

“Bassam Tahboub, Hebron’s head of education, said that the incursion was not the first, adding that scores of students were transferred to hospitals on Tuesday after their school was exposed to tear gas”:

“A campaign to portray Aung San Suu Kyi as pro-Muslim, and to label her National League for Democracy the ‘Muslim party’ is under way.” It’s backers passed laws “intended to stop Muslims having large families” and have conjured “a supposed Muslim menace to Burma’s Buddhist values”:

“Prophet Mohammed spoke frankly about sexuality[,] … about sexually transmitted infections … and preventative measures through … good hygiene after sexual intercourse[,] … about sexual activity and emphasized the importance of foreplay — especially for the woman’s benefit”:

“Countering this online IS propaganda … cannot be achieved simply through using social media or YouTube videos…. What these potential recruits need are … real examples of Muslims who can touch them by their individual success and their peaceful communities”:

“I’m not against the government, I’m just a journalist who criticises the government. Despite this I am still subject to physical assault, so it’s normal that journalists who define themselves as oppositional to the government would feel anxious” — Ahmet Hakan, columnist and TV host:

“I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps…. Our job is to build a nation in which we all stand together as one people…. [T]here is a lot of … hatred being generated against Muslims in this country…. [W]e have got to stand together and end all forms of racism”:

October 28, 2015

News and Analysis (10/28/15)

For Muslim universities “to revitalize their teaching methods and meld science with liberal arts such as history and philosophy … [and] develop new ways of assessing faculty members to reward valuable research, teaching and outreach … governments must give universities more autonomy”:

“TV editor Tarik Toros was seen arguing with the trustee manager who entered the station’s control room, apparently to prevent a live broadcast of the raid. The two television channels went off the air hours later as Toros was on live, vowing to fight for media freedoms”:

“Khan’s letter had something rare and valuable in the propaganda war against Isis: authenticity” but “there is a sense that she has been tarnished by her closeness to Cameron’s policies”:

“[T]he US Civil Rights Act ‘rejects’ the idea that employees should just resign when their beliefs come into conflict with their responsibilities, and has often been used to protect Christians: … [such as the] Jehovah’s Witness fired for refusing to raise the American flag“:

“The police visibly attempted to reconcile the First Amendment rights of festivalgoers and the Bible Believers. There may have been much better ways for the police to handle this situation, but there was no First Amendment violation” — Dissenting Appeals Judge John Rogers:

“It’s the American dream at work. And entrepreneurship of course is an important part of that process” — Benjamin Jones, a professor of entrepreneurship and emerging markets at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management:

“Pakistan’s supreme court has called on the country’s politicians to ensure that hundreds of people facing imprisonment and even execution under controversial blasphemy laws have not been falsely charged, often by enemies wanting to settle personal scores.” Best to just end this unIslamic law:

“[T]he United States revealed it had invited Iran to take part in multilateral talks in Vienna on Friday, reversing its long-standing opposition to involving President Bashar al-Assad’s closest ally in discussions about his future”:

The signatories are “deeply disturbed by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement”:

October 25, 2015

News and Analysis (10/25/15)

“The debate in 1788 over the ratification of the Constitution in North Carolina turned into a discussion on the possibility of Muslims as American citizens…. And what emerged … was an agreement that there would be no religious litmus test” and “the possibility of a Muslim president”:

“Undemocratic measures … such as the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the denial of basic rights to Palestinians living there … [have] become permanent…. Israel is settling into the apartheid-like regime against which many of its former leaders warned”:

“I just wanted to do music that wasn’t necessarily speaking about drugs and stuff like that, but speaking about things that are morally sound and things that people can get benefit from in their day-to-day life … to make a change within music that people, mostly teenagers, listen to nowadays”:

“The case for war was not based on unaltered information provided by career intelligence analysts and officers, but by a media unit with the prime minister’s office who lifted information from a PhD student who was not even sure of the argument for his thesis at the time” …

… “The ex-PM said “those of us who removed Saddam” did bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today. But he said it was ‘hard to apologise’ for removing Saddam Hussein and Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise”:

Why “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hesitant to condemn clearly the Hindu communal mobilisation and violence that confronts him as Prime minister, no matter if it gives his party and government a bad name and his country a black mark”:

“Turks on balance still have negative opinions of every major world power tested, including the U.S. (58% unfavorable), NATO (50%) and the European Union (49%). Still, a majority in Turkey (55%) favor joining the EU”:

“The anti-Islam group Hooligans Against Salafists (HoGeSa) were able to bring out about 1,000 supporters…. The counter-demonstration, composed of far-left activists, civil society groups, politicians and average citizens, drew some 10,000 people”:

“Although Israeli security forces control the al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jordan is its religious custodian, it was unclear how new cameras could be installed without stoking more violence at the flashpoint site if Palestinians objected to them”:

October 23, 2015

News and Analysis (10/23/15)

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time – he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he [Hitler] asked. He [Husseini] said: ‘Burn them'” — Benjamin Netanyahu:

“A Jewish Israeli man was shot and killed in a scuffle with Israeli soldiers who suspected he was a Palestinian attacker, police said Thursday, in a reflection of the jittery mood that has gripped Israelis”:

“It’s an apartheid wall. They want us to stay in our home and not go to school. If they put up hundreds of walls we will still be here. We will stay in this land”:

“Restoring the province to the control of the Assad regime would allow Hezbollah to extend its front line with Israel from Lebanon’s southern border into the adjacent Golan Heights, opening up the potential for attacks into the occupied volcanic plateau … seized by Israel in the June 1967 war”:

“Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled a controversial counter-extremism strategy this week. It was met with swift criticism from members of the Muslim community that worries the policy will limit free speech, free assembly and freedom of religion”:

“Egypt’s ongoing parliamentary elections – farcical in every sense, with a turnout so far of only 2 percent – are further proof that Egypt is witnessing the solidification of a quasi-authoritarian system of government, not a democratic revival”:

After Qur’anic quotes and citations from Prophet Muhammad’s life, “[o]minous introductory music gave way to images of rifle-toting jihadists and caged prisoners. ‘Their deeds couldn’t be further from the faith they claim,’ bold text read. ‘Their acts are NOT IN HIS NAME'”:

“Ahmed said he was impressed with the program, the modern trappings of Doha, and thinks he’ll ‘learn a lot and have fun, too.’ Looking at all the great offers we’ve had, it’s the best decision, said Eyman, Ahmed’s 18-year-old…. ‘They even have Texas A&M at Qatar…. It’s basically like America'”:

October 19, 2015

News and Analysis (10/19/15)

“[T]he Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood travels across the West Bank to ask why this, why now – and why Palestinian women are getting involved. In the past month, eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks – mostly stabbings – and 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire” …

… “Israel’s Interior Ministry, which oversees municipalities, declined immediate comment on Sunday on the decision, condemned by a party representing the country’s Arab minority as racist”:

“The man … allegedly shouted ‘white power’ and ‘kill them all.’ [He] then grabbed the woman by her neck and slammed her head into the table. He then attempted to remove the woman’s headscarf”:

“Why are you asking about Islam? You need to ask about radical Islam or extremism or ISIS…to ask someone about Islam is stupid”  — Muslim community leader and anti-radicalisation campaigner Jamal Daoud:

Will giving people a half day off to vote compensate for the state repression that have demoralized voters? 

… “Egypt’s Al-Nour Party leaders hardly referred to religion at a recent rally, a dramatic change for a party that was once one of the strongest advocates for Islamic Shariah law”:

“Isis has a strategic game here: it is aware of Turkey’s deep polarisation and, by not taking responsibility for the bombing, it hopes to deepen the chasm and even provoke conflict”:

“US-trained Afghan security forces are facing a reinvigorated Taliban and not always faring well. Casualties among Afghan forces shot up this year. But on the other hand, Afghan forces are widely demonstrating a will to fight”:

Criticized for “her silence over the treatment of Muslims in Rakhine, … Ms Suu Kyi’s remarks were carefully worded…. Muslims have put their hopes in the NLD, even though it did not field a Muslim candidate on its lists of more than 1,100 hopefuls standing in the 8 November election”:

“Jesus never said, ‘Love your neighbor… just not your Muslim ones’ — Former South Carolina governor David Beasley:

“Harper’s Conservative Party is now vowing to pursue a niqab ban during citizenship ceremonies and to consider a wider ban for all public employees if re-elected. His opponents … have dismissed the niqab issue as a distraction and oppose such bans”:

October 16, 2015

News and Analysis (10/16/15)

“[D]ocuments detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets”:

“We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind”:

“Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accused Washington of ‘misreading’ the conflict,” ignoring the fact that 22 of the 32 Palestinians killed were not “wielding knives” but many were “children and protesters” …

… while Mahmoud Abbas condemned an attack against the tomb of Joseph (peace be upon him), ordering “the damage to be repaired and opened an investigation into the arson” and rejecting “actions that violate law and order, and which distort our culture, our morals and our religion”…

… and a “video showing a violent confrontation between Israeli police and a Palestinian woman that ended in her hospitalization for gunshot wounds have inflamed tensions on both sides, as Israel ramps up its government surveillance on Palestinian activists”:

Debating Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz argues that Islam is not about war or peace per se, but about the “connection between belief and action, one’s interpretation of scripture to what one believes one must do”:

Hassan Minhaj owes his job on “The Daily Show” to Bill Maher becuase “‘Islamophobes are thankfully right on time when you need them… they are like the gift that keeps on giving’ for Muslim comedians'”:

“Witnesses say the militants have enforced gender segregation in public areas, banned music at wedding parties and forbidden non-al-Qaida clerics from preaching in mosques”:

“Reversing policy on Afghanistan, President Barack Obama announced on Thursday he will prolong the 14-year-old U.S. military engagement there, effectively handing off the task of pulling out troops to his successor”:

“Does the new axis of Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah advance eastward to retake the entire country from the rebel forces and the jihadist extremists of the Islamic State? Or will Moscow settle for strengthening the Assad regime ahead of a potential bid for a political settlement”:

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