Archive for November, 2006

News and Analysis (11/30/06)

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Gearing up for another civil war in the Middle East?

Some Sunni scholars in Southern Iraq issued a fatwa prohibiting the killing of Shi’as:

Muslim lawyer falsely arrested in connection to Madrid bombings receives apology, $2 million and the ability to continue lawsuit against the Patriot Act:

Bahrain imports Western-style zoning regulations:

What would Saudi do if US pulls out of Iraq?  An advisor to the Saudi government gives his analysis:

News and Analysis (11/29/06)

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Suspension in protest over al-Maliki’s meeting with Bush stops short of a withdrawal that would cause the government to fall:

· Powerful Shiite Bloc Boycotts Iraqi Government (Washington Post)

Some call it genocide, but no one puts a stop to it:

· Atrocities Daily in Sudan’s Darfur: U.N. Rights Chief (Reuters)

Lawyer ejected for addressing judge, prosecutor as “brother” then recalled:

· Saddam Genocide Trial Thrown Into Chaos (AFP)

Turkey wants EU to ease sanctions before it opens Cypress ports:

· European Commission Recommends Partial Freeze of Turkish EU Talks (AFP)

An appeal is made to the common love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus:

· Pope Makes Further Muslim-Christian Gesture (Reuters)

The invaded are faulted for the failed occupation:

· As Iraq Deteriorates, Iraqis Get More Blame (Washington Post)

“If they have their way … Justice Department lawyers … would prohibit any judge and any jury anywhere from ever hearing the arguments”:

· The Wronged Man: Unjustly Imprisoned and Mistreated, Khaled al-Masri Wants Answers the U.S. Government Doesn’t Want to Give (Washington Post)

When the line between peacekeeping and warmongering gets fuzzy:

· U.S. Peacekeeping Plan for Somalia Criticized: Sending Intervention Force Could Create Wider War With Islamic Militias, Some Fear (Washington Post)

Jordanians pay a price for American Iraqi policy:

· Iraqi Refugees Spill into Jordan, Driving Up Prices (Christian Science Monitor)

The attention that the Israeli peace movement has given to the fact that Israeli settlements involve go beyond a dispute over self-determination, but are an issue of the private property rights of Palestinians has focused world attention on a hitherto mainly ignored human rights matter:

· Land Claim Unsettles Israeli Settlers (Christian Science Monitor)

Judge denies president “unfettered authority to create blacklist”:

· Judge Strikes Down Part of Bush Anti-Terror Order (Reuters)

News and Analysis (11/28/06)

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

China’s Hui Muslims: “The national policies are opening up and as long as you don’t go against the country’s religious policies and regulations, you can freely progress.”—but then, is it really ‘free’?

Meanwhile, China increases persecution of the Uighars, arresting and harassing the family of an outspoken activist for Uighar rights:

“Calculating that President Bush is desperate for friends in the Middle East,” Mubarak’s regime continues crackdown on any opposition

Civil society group in Lebanon launches a controversial campaign to fight sectarianism:

US Airways stands by decision to kick imams off the plane for praying and practicing their first amendment right to free speech:

“Israel is ready to “withdraw from considerable territory”, free Palestinian prisoners and release funds to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the return of a soldier seized in June.”

A new safe haven for Al-Qaeda: classified US military memo describes “al-Qaeda in Iraq as the “dominate organization of influence in al-Anbar,” surpassing all other groups, the Iraqi government and U.S. troops “in its ability to control the day-to-day life of the average Sunni.”

    News and Analysis (11/27/06)

    Monday, November 27th, 2006

    Erdogan wants to talk with Benedict:

    ·        Turkish Prime Minister, Pontiff to Meet (abcnews)

    Troop reductions announced:

    ·        Britain to Downgrade Commitment to Iraq (abcnews)

    If they want freedom of speech they should insult prophets instead:

    ·        Two U.S. Men Charged With Broadcasting Hezbollah TV (Reuters)

    ·        Woman Faces Fines for Wreath Peace Sign (abcnews)

    Who benefits?

    ·        Iraq War Was Good For Israel: Olmert (Reuters)

    The Abu Ghraib commander withdrawn from duty says “she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods”:

    ·        Rumsfeld Okayed Abuses Says Former U.S. General (Reuters)

    Administration wants to know who leaked actions against Islamic charities:

    ·        Times Seeks to Bar Review of Phone Data (NY Times)

    The good, the bad, and the ugly about the Mahdi Army:

    ·        A Day When Mahdi Army Showed Its Other Side (Washington Post)

    ·        Dozens Killed In Iraq Attacks (Washington Post)

    ·        Iraq’s Deadliest Zone: Schools (Washington Post)

    News and Analysis (11/26/06)

    Sunday, November 26th, 2006

    “Do not let those who are depriving you of security impinge on your unity.”–Shi`a, Sunni and Kurdish joint statement:

    ·        Calls for Calm as Crowd Stones Iraq PM (Reuters)

    “A senior U.S. official said this month Washington was ‘in principle’ ready to discuss Iraq with Iran but said the timing of such talks was unclear”:

    ·        Iran says will help U.S. if it quits Iraq (Reuters)

    Israeli activist gives an honest assessment:

    ·        The Problem with Israel (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)

    “For every day that passes, there’s an invasion of privacy that could be cured”—Arlen Specter (R-Pa):

    ·        Despite a Year of Ire and Angst, Little Has Changed on Wiretaps (NY Times)

    They classify them as terrorists, and yet:

    ·        US in Contact with Anti-Iran Kurds: PKK (Yahoo)

    News and Analysis (11/24/06)

    Friday, November 24th, 2006

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander:

    David Kimche suggests Israel replace its current policy with something that works:

    Whodunnit? Patrick Seale looks at the usual suspects and the ones who stand to gain:

    A marine commander explains the U.S. dilemma this way: “If the Chinese invaded your [American] neighborhood, you would know where to hide, which dumpster behind the 7-11 to stash things.”

    Real estate purchases, Israeli style:

    The whistleblower who exposed flawed translations that jeopardized America’s security has been left out to dry:

    What real news? Try al-Jazeera:

    News and Analysis (11/21/06)

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

    Pierre Gemayel is fifth opponent of Syria to be slain in two years:

    Bush administration Iraq strategy does what Arab and Muslim peacemakers failed to do for 24 years:

    When did they ban prayer in flight?

    Jewish peace group confirms:

    News and Analysis (11/20/06)

    Monday, November 20th, 2006

    Iraq decides not to wait for the Baker-Hamilton report:

    Nine civic leaders plead that Iraqi policy hurts the struggle against extremism:

    Judge finds case against the man held for three years without charges “light on facts:”

    You heard him right; the libertarian definition of freedom “is a grave threat to liberty:”

    Nat Hentoff raises the alarm on Bush’s plans to club the press with the Espionage Act:


    Pakistani Rape Laws: An Unholy Hybrid

    Sunday, November 19th, 2006

    Over the past weeks and months Pakistan has been embroiled in a debate over changes to the “Hudood Ordinances,” which, among other things, require a woman to provide four eyewitnesses to complain about rape—lacking the four witnesses, she may then be tried for perjury and/or adultery. The institution of the required four witnesses to prove adultery was implemented to promote justice for women who were falsely accused of adultery. But what once was a justice for women, has been turned into a complete and utter injustice. Happily, this week, Pakistan’s parliament passed legislation to amend this injustice.

    However, I am ashamed and embarrassed to say that so-called “Islamists” have rejected this legislation. As a practicing Muslim woman, I reject calling these representatives “Islamists” or “pro-Islamic.” Instead, I will refer to them as “Tribalists,” since what they are trying to protect are tribal customs rather than Islamic law.

    The new legislation pertaining to rape removes it from the sole jurisdiction of the Shariah system and adds it to the civil code while still remaining a part of the Shariah system. This would distance rape from adultery and place it in the same realm as murder and assault. This will allow women to seek justice without four witnesses and will allow forensic evidence to be used.

    I would agree with the “women’s activists” (although, I reject placing “Islam” against “women’s activists,” since the Prophet [pbuh], himself, was one of the biggest proponents of women’s rights) that rape needs to be completely separated from adultery, in fact this is a position supported by “true” Islamic Law.

    Yet, the Tribalists continue to protest these changes by threatening to resign and hold mass protests. One female Tribalist represented in the Parliament went so far as to say, “The Hudood Ordinance was devised by a highly qualified group of ulema (Islamic scholars), and is beyond question.” Unfortunately, this is how Tribalist view Islam: what scholars say is beyond question, despite the fact that even the Qur’an is not beyond question. Allah challenges people to find contradiction and falsity in the Qur’an (yet, of course, it is a fruitless search). The fact is that the “Hudood Ordinances” are an unholy hybrid of Islamic law and British common law. The classification of rape as a sex crime rather than a crime of aggression (as it is classified in Islamic law) was taken from British law and the requirement of four eyewitnesses was then tacked on as Islamic law requires for sex crimes (where considerations of right of privacy trump accusations of illicit sexuality).

    Moreover, the Tribalists are now also objecting to another legislation that “aimed at ending the practice of women being married off as compensation in murder cases and forced marriage.” Again, the Tribalists are distancing themselves from Islam by objecting to this legislation which is in line with the Islamic prohibition of forced marriages.

    I am disheartened that the reputation of Islam is being tarnished by these Tribalists. And I am angry that women are again being used as a pawn in a political battle between Tribalists and secularists. We must remember that in this debate, women, who have been victimized once by the crime of rape and again by a lack of justice, are suffering. May Allah give them strength, courage and justice. Amîn.

    -Sarah Swick, Minaret of Freedom Institute

    News and Analysis (11/17/06)

    Friday, November 17th, 2006

    In the Netherlands freedom of expression is a one-way street:

    But Israel has always refused “to negotiate with terrorists:”

    A glimmer f Hope For An End To the violence that has claimed 200,000 lives:

    The proponent of free markets was also an opponent of the military draft, an especially violent variation on slavery:

    “Killing soldiers is war; killing civilians is murder. This is not merely my opinion. It is an article of my faith:”

    Should Iran be concerned?

    Leon Hadar on what to expect next from the people who brought you the War in Iraq:

    Michael Young thinks we are returning to the days of “reliable thugs:”