November 1, 2014

News and Analysis (11/1/14)

“This is not the first time Ilatov’s party has proposed this measure. In 2011, another Yisrael Beitenu member proposed a similar bill … backed by … Avigdor Lieberman, …and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The move foundered after officials decided it was too divisive”:

… while al-Aqsa has been reopened under pressure from Jordan, after being shut down completely “after the shooting of … a far-right religious activist who has led a campaign for Jews” to pray at the site, an act “forbidden by the Torah … [until] the Messiah comes” …

The “announcement further discredits the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Thursday formally announced his candidacy for elections on Feb. 14, 2015 in Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria … is divided almost equally between Muslims … and Christians”:

“Nida Tunis…, running on an explicitly anti-Islamist platform, won 85 of the 217 seats …, giving it the right to name a prime minister and lead a coalition government” while “Ennahda … won 69 seats, or nearly 32 percent, of the new parliament, representing a loss of some 23 seats”:

Iran partially blames resentment of Western propaganda for its failure to convince relatives of the accused rapist to forgive her killer, and insists that the overwhelming number of executions “involve drug smuggling”:

“Turkey’s top security council has declared the Gulen Movement, once the government’s most powerful political ally, a ‘threat to national security,’ raising concerns of a wide-ranging ‘witch hunt’ against the religious group, whose leader resides in the United States”:

When the Prophet (pbuh) conquered Mecca, he issued a geneal amnestty. IS is doing the opposite of the sunnah, and shooting down former Iraqi police in their homes:

“[R]eflecting growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip” Sweden’s foreign minister said “Sweden made the move because Palestine had fulfilled the international law criteria required for such recognition”:

Many older Lebanese, “both Sunni and Shia, report that as youngsters they were not aware of the internecine antagonisms, nor did they harbor animosity with their neighbors…. [They] intermarried, shared holidays, …. ‘That is all changed now, perhaps until End Times'”:

“More than a million Indian soldiers and 400,000 Muslims fought alongside British troops in 1914, but it is a fact that is little known or talked about”:

October 29, 2014

News and Analysis (10/29/14)

“Large parts of Egypt’s civilian infrastructure have been placed under army jurisdiction, a move nominally aimed at terrorists that also makes it easier for the government to try members of the political opposition in the country’s opaque military courts” …

… and “[t]he press, which experienced a rare window of greater freedom after Mubarak’s fall, is now effectively muzzled. On Sunday, 23 Egyptian newspaper editors issued what amounts to a loyalty pledge to Sisi’s government” …

… and “[p]lainclothes policemen arrested three female Al-Azhar University students Monday, of whom one, Rehab Awad, remains in detention …

… “the most repressive regime Egypt has known in more than a half-century” demonstrates why subordination human rights to “backing repressive regimes that are supportive of U.S. national security objectives, such as fighting terrorism … is misguided”:

“None of [three murderers in this week’s headlines] was born and brought up a religious Muslim.” All were recent converts, “unstable young men prone to radicalism and violence” attracted by the fantasy projected by terrorists and Islamophobes, not by the teachings of Islam:

In a video now banned on Youtube, the British hostage charges that “western reporters and commentators … are receiving their information from Kurdish fighters who, allied with Washington, don’t have the ‘slightest intention of telling the truth of what is happening here'”:

“The semi-official Isna news agency, one of the first Iranian media organisations to probe the assaults and interview victims, has come under attack from hardliners who have criticised the coverage of the vicious assaults in domestic and foreign news websites”:

Among the defenders of the event, Sisters in Islam defended the event, said that “touching a dog is not haram (prohibited). The dog is a creature of Allah,” and the organizer’s attorney said, “[T]here is nothing in Islam that says you cannot criticize something”:

Libya has had “two governments and parliaments since a militia group from the western city of Misrata seized the capital Tripoli in August, setting up its own cabinet and assembly…, effectively splitting the vast desert nation”:

Israel thinks the back of the bus is too good for Palestinians. Pushing the envelope of apartheid, the Israeli AG proposes “banning thousands of Palestinian workers from the Israeli public buses they ride back to their homes in the West Bank” …

… and “US relations with Israel have plunged to new depths of bitterness and hostility as senior officials in the Obama administration decried Binyamin Netanyahu as a chickenshit prime minister, coward and a man more interested in his own political survival than peace” …

… but the Egyptian junta works to deprive the Palestinians of any means to defend themselves:

Canada and Australia react very differently to the pressures for religious discrimination:

October 27, 2014

News and Analysis (10/27/14)

A 36-yr.-old Tunisian says, “Because [politicians] have done nothing for us. As a citizen, if I don’t have faith in someone, why should I give him my vote?” His father adds, “Things are better now than with [Ben Ali]. Now we can speak, now we can breathe. If things go well, good. If not…”

… “Ennahda … had expected to fare much better by leaning on its popularity with the poor in many of the country’s marginalised communities. But the party was also accused of mismanaging the economy and of inexperience when governing during the transitional period”:

“Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) started the discussion last week, in an interview with NewsMax TV in which he said the country needs to go ‘all out’ to monitor mosques” and calling those with civil liberty concerns over such spying “morons”:

IRNA said the police investigation found that Jabbari sent a text message to a friend saying she would kill Sarbandi three days before the deadly incident” but Amnesty International, opposed to the death penalty, alleges the claims “do not appear to have ever been properly investigated”:

“We wouldn’t conflate ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ with commentary on Christianity. It’s about Christians. And yet it seems like whenever you write about Muslims, … [t]here’s no sense that Muslims are … capable of making mistakes that are somehow not connected to Islam”:

“New York-based HRW criticized the Nigerian government for what it called the ‘horrific vulnerability’ of all females in the northeast… The report … came as 30 more boys and girls in the state of Borno were kidnapped by Boko Haram, allegedly to be used as child soldiers”:

“Isis could not have emerged without support from western powers and their regional allies…. Isis was doing the bidding of the same neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who had decided that the overthrow of … Gaddafi, should be followed by the overthrow of Assad”:

“Erdogan has been forced to relent and open a Turkish corridor for Peshmerga fighters from Iraq to reinforce Kobani. Turkish officials fear this will provoke reprisals in Turkey by IS…. Almost anything Turkey does now comes with big risks”:

 

In the refugee camps and crowded Turkish towns on the border with Syria, impoverished Syrian women and girls are falling prey to criminal rings that are forcing them into sexually exploitative situations ranging from illicit marriages to outright prostitution.

“The Muslim Brotherhood believes the shedding of blood of any Egyptian is forbidden. The group holds the junta and its leaders responsible for the continued failure in the security, economic and social fields, as experienced by all the people, especially the people of the Sinai”:

October 24, 2014

News and Analysis (10/24/14)

Benedict Koehler writes that the khulifah rashidun, the first caliphs, promoted innovative and dynamic economies. Would-be pretenders who wish to bear their mantle ought to keep in mind that the benefits from enlarged markets are far greater than those from rapine and intolerance”:

Canada  “fears that the country is suffering reprisals for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria” …

… The shooter was once ejected from a mosque “because of his ‘erratic’ behavior”, like the alleged Boston Marathan bomber  “who has since been implicated in a 2011 triple homicide that targeted a drug-dealing friend of his, [and] was once ejected from his neighborhood mosque” …

… and the shooting requires care that any changes in the law “be done … with an understanding of the limited scale of the threat, …  and not as a panicky reaction to a very small number of men who … pose no threat whatsoever to the survival of Canada” …

More reasons to doubt the government’s optimism about release of the abducted girls: “The abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram group”:

“A 3-month-old baby killed in Jerusalem when a Palestinian man slammed his car into pedestrians was an American” …

… while in the U.S. attacks on Iraqis,  “[s]ix of the civilians were children and five were women” …

“Pakistani American Aizzah Fatima was disillusioned with stereotypical roles for Muslim actors, so she wrote her own one-woman play, Dirty Paki Lingerie”:

“Europe’s fear of radical Islam appears to be feeding extremism”:

Successful “attacks showed Islamic State’s continued operating resilience despite air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces aimed at defeating the ultra-radical Sunni jihadist group”:

“Every major Western power involved in the fight against IS is now speaking to the PYD. [The Turks] are trying to convince everyone that they’re a terrorist group who should be treated the same as IS, and no one’s listening”:

“Ghulam Azam, 91, died late on Thursday after life support was removed at the Bangabandhu Sehikh Mujib Medical University in the capital, Dhaka”:

October 22, 2014

News and Analysis (10/22/14)

“Muslims are already under the microscope, and to do this just to gain some cheap publicity is totally unacceptable. There should be no attempt to justify it; they should just apologize and ask people to forgive them for their irresponsible actions” — CAIR spokesman,  Ibrahim Hooper:

“The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group” …

… but “the Syrian air force has destroyed two of three jets seized and reportedly test flown over Aleppo by the Islamic State group last week, according to the country’s information minister”, although “militants were able to hide a third jet, which the Syrian air force is now searching for”:

The men who snatched Abu Issa from the streets of this southeastern city were Turkish gangsters, but their client was the Islamic State, and they had been promised good money to spirit the Syrian rebel commander across the Turkish border into Syria.

To motivate them “to join an increasingly efficient militant group that promises to vanquish their oppressors” need the victims of Asad and Maliki ‘convert’ to ISIS’ … [or] aspire to a caliphate …? These questions are never asked, and ‘beliefs’ are made simply to fill the explanatory void”:

“Officials have not released details, but social media users say the women were targeted for not following Iran’s strict dress code. If convicted, the attackers could face the death penalty”:

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he was setting up an investigation into attacks on United Nations facilities during Israel’s recent war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the use of U.N. sites to store weapons”:

A previous sodomy conviction was quashed. “‘I have vowed to fight from this country. I will continue my struggle’…. Anwar said he can’t predict if jailing him would spark massive street protests like in 1998, but believes it would galvanize further support for the opposition”:

“The three journalists of the Qatar-based broadcaster were jailed for seven years on 23 June. They were accused of spreading false news and supporting the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood”:

When they Gulf state visitors were told that it is illegal for women to dress in that fashion in France, the couple left the opera. Afterward, “France’s ministry of culture said they are drawing up a new set of rules regarding veils for theatres, museums and other public institutions”:

October 21, 2014

Leonard Liggio (1933-2014): A Scholar For The Free World

Leonard Liggio (1933-2014): A Scholar For The Free World

by Alejandro Chafuen, President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

[Originally published in Forbes, reprinted with permission of the  author]

The free society lost a great champion on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 when Leonard P. Liggio passed away. I first met Leonard P. Liggio in 1980 at a Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) meeting held at the Hoover Institution. He was standing on the left side of the packed auditorium next to Murray Rothbard, another intellectual giant, much smaller in size, but similar in their passion to understand and promote liberty. At the time Liggio was president of the Institute for Humane Studies (I.H.S.). At the time of his passing, he was vice president of the Atlas Network, which as I.H.S. relocated to Northern Virginia and, for some years, shared offices near George Mason University. John Blundell (1952-2014), who succeeded Liggio as president of I.H.S., also became president of Atlas Network (1988-1991), and had an outstanding relationship with him.

From the moment of our arrival in Virginia I worked daily with Leonard on different projects. With his deep and encyclopedic historical knowledge he complemented and enlightened Atlas Network’s work to create and nurture public policy think tanks. His understanding of the evolution of legal institutions helped me and many others put our economic and policy arguments into a better perspective.

In 1990, Manuel Ayau (1925-2010), the founder and late president of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, asked Leonard and I to help him build the program of a regional MPS meeting. Although the topic always led to major disagreements among classical liberals, we organized a panel on religion and liberty. We invited Father Robert Sirico to speak. That meeting led to conversations among us and eventually to the founding of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. The co-founders, Sirico and Kris Mauren asked us to become founding trustees. Our next joint effort was in 1993 with Tony Sullivan, then at the Earhart Foundation developing a program to promote classical liberal ideas among the Muslim world. We provided advice and some support to the Minaret of Freedom Institute founded later that year.

After a restructuring of I.H.S. in 1988, Atlas had a chance to bring Liggio onto its team. I.H.S. focused on scholars, and Atlas on think tanks, but the latter needed the input and academic guidance of figures like Leonard. Plus, a new crop of intellectual entrepreneurs working at universities, would profit from having such a talented and generous scholar helping them multiply their impact. Seeing its enhanced academic capital, the John Templeton Foundation asked Atlas to administer the Templeton Freedom Project, which focused on teaching the principles of the free society at universities in the U.S. and across the globe. [One of the most successful courses to emerge from that effort was the course on “Religion, Science, and Freedom”  taught by Minaret of Freedom Institute President Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad in the University of Maryland Honors Program for six years.] Those investments continue to bear fruit.

Describing Liggio’s affiliations and saying a few words about their relevance would fill an academic paper. Think tanks and academic societies in Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, France, Portugal, Turkey and the United Kingdom benefitted from his advice and knowledge. He had a stellar career in the United States. In addition to I.H.S., he was president of the MPS, the Philadelphia Society, vice president of the Cato Institute and the Atlas Network, and a trustee of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Also, Leonard and I were involved in the early discussions of the Christian, conservative think tank at Grove City College: The Center for Vision & Values.

As a member of the board of Liberty Fund, his knowledge of the international academic scene helped the Liberty Fund invest wisely across the globe helping connect the best liberty scholars in the world. Leonard won several awards and recognitions including an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín and the 2007 Adam Smith Award conveyed by the Association for Private Enterprise and Education. Numerous academic journals have profited from his editorial advice, hundreds, if not thousands of young academics benefitted from his insights and generous recommendation letters. He helped many with their book projects. Perhaps due to that generosity, he never completed a book of his own, but his dozens of learned academic papers and lectures will illuminate generations to come.

Liggio was much more than a man of ideas, he was also a man of the spirit. Whenever he saw a friend or colleague with some pain in their soul, he shared with them, with respect, love and above all, understanding, the treasure that he found in his Catholic faith. He always reminded think tank leaders to avoid scheduling events during the religious holidays of other faiths. Leonard Liggio was a scholar, intellectual entrepreneur, and generous human being who serves as an example of how to devote a life to promote the free society.

Alejandro Chafuen
President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

https://atlasnetwork.org/

October 20, 2014

News and Analysis (10/20/14)

“Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce and there have been at least five attacks since – blamed by security sources on the insurgents – that have killed dozens.” Further,  there are “doubts about the credentials of the reported Boko Haram negotiator …, who was unheard of before”:

“For many Kurds, Ankara’s spectator role in Kobane is a systematic policy to weaken PKK to get more leverage in the peace talks” …

… but despite Turkish opposition, the U.S. supplies the Kurds with arms to fight IS …

… and shortly thereafter Turkey’s FM announced that it “will allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross the Syrian border to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane”:

As “John Baird was greeted warmly by his Saudi Arabian counterpart to discuss coordinated efforts to combat Islamic State militants …, a Saudi court judge decided to pass a death sentence against a leading opposition figure on charges of sedition and ‘breaking allegiance to the king” …

… and the Muslim journalists murdered by IS don’t get the attention of their Western counterparts :

During a “hearing on charges of ‘destroying government property’ after tearing a picture of Bahrain’s king during a protest in 2012,” the 8-months pregnant defendant repeated the act in court, declaring: “I will give birth to a free baby boy even if it is inside our prisons”:

“After returning to the UK her son was questioned by the Metropolitan Police … [and] was also approached by officials from MI5 but she said the contact … ‘made him quite mistrusting, a bit paranoid. Despite this she does not regret her decision to bring her son home”:

“In an effort to lay a stronger political foundation to counter the Islamic State, the Iraqi parliament approved a Sunni Muslim as defense minister, and a Shi’ite as interior minister. Six Kurdish members of the cabinet were also sworn in” …

… but the suicide bombings in Baghdad, mostly claimed by IS, continue …

… “But when it comes to reversing the dramatic IS victories in Sunni areas, some leaders of Iraq’s influential tribes say they could prove a vital counterforce, at least until a proposed Iraqi national guard becomes a reality”:

“Hadzialic became the deputy mayor of the Swedish city Halmstad at the age of 23. Hadzialic was born in 1987 in Bosnia and fled from the Bosnian War with her family when she was five years old”:

Zionists threaten “the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb” with death because they consider John Adam’s opera about murder of Leon Klinghoffer somehow to be “anti-Semitic.” Rudy Juliani will lead opening night protest demonstrations:

October 19, 2014

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui (1933 – 2014)

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui (1933 – 2014)

[Obituary by Prof. Sulayman Nyang]

Professor Ali A. Mazrui is dead. We hereby call upon the Almighty Allah to grant him mercy and the best of his rewards to his servants. His death is a shock to many of us and to the countless numbers who knew him personally and benefited from his writings and other forms of sharing knowledge and memories. In writing this brief obituary it is imperative for us to educate the readers about the man and his works. Born to an Afro-Arab family with strong roots going back to the Middle East, he fulfilled in his life what is now called “the triple heritages.” This is to say, Ali was a Muslim child who learned to negotiate between Arabic, Swahili and the English language. This linguistic troika framed his opinions on and attitudes towards colonial rule in Kenya, Not only did he face colonialism but he also shared with other Kenyans the pangs of settler colonialism.

Being a contemporary of the late Tom Mboya, he carried with him all the agonies and frustrations known to the Kenyans of his days. The fact that a colonial governor intervened early in his life, in the sense that his education at the University of Manchester, where he received his Bachelor’s degree, was an act of goodwill, was never forgotten. Many a time Ali spoke about these developments in his life and how this act affected his encounter with Britain and the impact of the English language in Africa.

In talking about Ali Mazrui and his education in Kenya and abroad, seven things can be highlighted for the uninformed and perplexed. First of all, Ali came out of Kenya with a firm background in Swahili culture and this fact remained with him throughout his life. Secondly, Ali was a Muslim and in both his speeches and lectures, echoes of Islam and Africa reverberated in the firmaments of his public debates. 

Thirdly, one could list the fact that Ali was an engaged intellectual. Not only did he look at the learning systems of the West, but he also carried with him the critical tools for careful and formidable inspections of words and deeds from the West. His books and videos on Africa are now a part and parcel of his ever-growing legacies for all of us.

Fourthly, Ali Mazrui was a public intellectual who had the required training and audacity to stand up and speak for Africa and Islam. Certainly, he had the nerve and the verve to make a big difference. The fifth point to note is the fact that Ali Mazrui went to Columbia for his Master’s degree and to Oxford for his doctorate. These two instances provided him with the environments and personalities that changed and affected his life.

Tom Mboya, a rising star in Kenyan politics when Mazrui was a budding university professor, is a memorable partner in the telling of Kenyan history. Both of them owed a lot to Jomo Kenyatta. Not only were they impressed by the Mzee (Elder), they also helped in their own different ways to contribute to Kenyan struggles for independence. Tom’s book on Kenya and Ali’s book on Uhuru formed a part of the narratives with countless contributions from other Kenyans, Africans and others beyond East Africa.

The sixth point about Ali Mazrui and the Kenyan experience is related to his encounters with the political leaders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. His scholarship led him to inquiries about political life and times in this region of the continent. Witness is relationship with Idi Amin, which led to his flight from his beloved campus in Uganda; what about his verbal combat with Obote; how can we miss his political dance with Julius Nyerere, whose followers despised his creation of the term, Tanzaphilia, to define those local and foreign scholars singing praises to the old man from Arusha. 

How can we forget the relationship between Ali and Yacubu Gowon on Nigeria; how can we ever forget his relationship with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Muammar Qaddafi of Libya? Both were seen during the Cold War as political lepers quarantined by the West. Ali belonged to those scholars who demonstrated courage and determination to speak for Africa and Islam. His profile in courage led one Western scholar to describe him this way, as reported in my book, Ali Mazrui: The Man and His Works (1980).

According to this observation: “He was the Muhammad Ali of African intellectuals. Fly like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.”  The seventh and last point to identify hereunder is the fact that Ali Mazrui was later in his life and scholarship deeply invested in Islam and the Muslim experience in the West. A careful Google search will point to numerous pieces from which many essays and commentaries could be constructed by future students of Ali Mazrui and his contributions. Those who knew Ali and his works cannot forget his relationship with fellow Muslims who are public intellectuals in their own right. The leaders of the Minaret of Freedom, which has championed the work of Muslims and others clamoring for freedom and justice in America and abroad, particularly in Palestine, will forever add Ali to their narratives, either as a part of their main texts on Muslims and the American experience or, minimally, as a footnotes in their pages. Ali Mazrui was the first keynote speaker at a Minaret of Freedom Institute annual dinner, addressing the still urgent issue “Muslim Dilemmas from Human Rights to the Right to Nuclear Weapons.”

In writing about the man and his works, it is imperative for us to see the impact of Mazrui in the field of African Studies and Islamic Studies in the United States of America. With respect to the former, we can state here that many reflections on Islam and the American experience came from the pen of Ali A. Mazrui. Future researchers, who will try to understand and document the American Muslim narratives, are going to come across his name. This is evident through the Muslim journals on Islam Studies and in the pages of American and other Western journals on Islam.

When Mumtaz Ahmad and I started the American Journal of Islamic Studies in the early part of the 1980s, the efforts of many of our towering scholars were deployed. Ali A. Mazrui not only contributed through the journal when its name was changed to the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, but he also served as another editor-in-chief for the publication. He was able to relate his achievements in the field of African Studies to the field of Islamic Studies. That is why Ali worked well with John Esposito and a number of other scholars serving in their capacities as members of the academic council of the Center for Muslim-Christian understanding.

From that vantage point, Mazrui met and knew many people. As a result, Mazrui secured another place among scholars writing on Islam and the American experience.

In concluding this obituary on Ali A. Mazrui, it is fitting to revisit the impact of his father and the impact he had on the man and his future residence in the United States of America. His father was a learned jurist who served as a mufti in the Islamic high courts of Colonial Kenya. From him he inherited the deep interest in learning and sharing knowledge with family, friends and strangers. Being colonized by the English, he studied the language of the conqueror and became a celebrity among Third World scholars who deployed the language of the colonial master to defend and strengthen his people in their wars for freedom and independence.

 Not only did he learn and master the English language, but closer to home, he also engaged the Swahili language of his people and in time shared his command with the listeners of the BBC and other outlets where this African language became the vehicle of self-articulation and knowledge-transfer for those who were hungry for knowledge.

Professor Sulayman S. Nyang, Howard University
Minaret of Freedom Institute Board of Directors
www.minaret.org

October 17, 2014

News and Analysis (10/17/14)

“‘One of the things that Obama wanted to know was: Did this ever work?’ said one former senior administration official who participated in the debate and spoke anonymously because he was discussing a classified report. The C.I.A. report, he said, ‘was pretty dour in its conclusions'”:

“[D]uring the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran,  … [having learned] that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage…. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent”:

Kerry parrots “Sissi that ‘the central issue to Egypt’s future is economic.’ That facile conclusion overlooks the fact that substantial reform in Egypt — from the reduction of subsidies to the attraction of foreign investment — won’t be workable under a regime that holds thousands of political prisoners and denies basic rights” …

… but Jimmy Carter says, “The current environment in Egypt is not conducive to genuine democratic elections and civic participation. I hope that Egyptian authorities will reverse recent steps that limit the rights of association and assembly and restrict operations of Egyptian civil society groups”: 

“There are many Muslims throughout the world who stand up for equality, peace, and women’s rights. But they are usually the first to be shut down by America’s allies and other extremists’ voices”:

Contra the claims of Thomas Friedman, the poor economic status and low level of political participation of India’s Muslims suggests that being left free to pursue their life and religion is what really accounts for their resistance to radicalization; in that case the rise of Hindu nationalism may threaten to change everything:

When Hourani and her volunteers campaigned in a neighborhood, “a resident called police after he told her to leave the neighborhood but she refused. When the police arrived, she told the paper that she left peacefully.” Among deleted offensive comments on the story: “don’t elect a Muslim SOB, you should start shooting them!” :

Extremists in Syria are apparently encouraging jihadis traveling to join them to bring children, intent upon proving they can establish an Islamic caliphate, compete with devout families …

… while “Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air”:

“Boko Haram negotiators “assured that the schoolgirls and all other people in their captivity are all alive and well,” Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, told a news conference. The chief of defense staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, announced the truce and ordered his troops to immediately comply with the agreement”:

“Almost anywhere else in the world, hiring local people in the place of immigrants would pass unnoticed. But in a country where women are often housebound and many men prefer to do nothing rather than accept a low-grade job, the changes at the store are significant. They reveal trends that are gradually modernising the country”:

October 16, 2014

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala Yousafzai: Bone-chilling Contrasts in the West

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala YousafzaiBone-chilling Contrasts in the West

by El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

Let me begin by stating loud and clear, this writer is proud to know that a Muslim woman, Malala Yousafzai, has become the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. While her young age (17) might raise the eyebrows of some, in my humble opinion she is far more deserving than a number of much older Nobel laureates who immediately come to mind (I won’t mention any names).

This commentary is about something else, however. With the attention and celebration that greeted the selection of Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for the world’s most coveted peace prize, one would think that the American establishment has a special regard for young, accomplished (and committed) Muslim women. An honest review of the record would show that quite the opposite is true.

After news of the selection hit the air waves, this writer heard a regrettable BBC interview of a Pakistani editor who not only didn’t agree with Malala’s selection, but publicly “condemned” the Noble Committee’s decision. (In pockets of the Pakistani community, both here and abroad, there is a visceral hatred felt toward this amazing young sister.)

The remarks of this Pakistani editor against one of his own (during the course of that interview) underscored how blind, unforgiving and irrational hatred can be. That same blind, illogic thinking can also be found in America toward Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, as evidenced by the position that some within the US political and media establishments (and a minority of voices within America’s Pakistani community) have taken on her plight. Their thinking and response is just as dumb-founding and shameful as the Pakistani editor who doesn’t believe Malala was even shot – it’s all a “conspiracy,” he argues.

With that said, the parallels between Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Malala Yousafzai are striking!

  1. Like Malala, Aafia was already a well-educated young sister when she came to the West at the age of 18. (Aafia entered the US as a promising young immigrant, while Malala was transported to the UK in critical condition following a gunshot injury to the head, at the tender age of 15.)
  2. Aafia received her university training in America, graduating with honors from MIT and Brandeis. Malala has resumed her educational pursuits in the UK, and this writer predicts that she too will complete her educational pursuits with honors, insha’Allah.
  3. Both demonstrated a passion for Muslim women’s rights. In the case of Aafia, she campaigned for a full recognition of women’s rights across the board – see the youtube video of a 19 year old Aafia Siddiqui speaking at the University of Houston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skmj16h40wE ; for Malala, the right of Muslim girls (specifically in Pakistan) to be educated was, and is, her passion.
  4. Both grabbed the attention of special interests in the West, but with very different results. While Malala Yousafzai is being celebrated for her accomplishments and yet unfulfilled future potential, Aafia Siddiqui is wasting away in a maximum security prison cell on a military base in the land of “liberty and justice for all!”

While I could on, I think the point has already been made. And my advice to Malala, given the vagaries of American political conscience, don’t think about taking up residence in the United States any time soon!

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan, Peace Thru Justice Foundation

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister had this response to the recent court order:

“This is not Aafia’s decision. I know because my last conversation with her was that she was visited [in her dreams] by our prophet Muhammad, saw, and he was pleased with my efforts and the appeal. She said it is for this reason I consent, and if we don’t connect again DO NOT believe any statement to the contrary on my behalf.”

Since then we have had absolutely no contact with her. I know she did not withdraw of her own free will. She has been coerced. God knows how much torture [she’s been forced to endure], complete solitary and manipulations…. It horrifies me to even think about what she has been forced to go through.”

 

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