Archive for April, 2007

News and Analysis (4/30/07)

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Strife Iraq is worsened by allegations that PM Maliki’s cabinet fired some of the nation’s top police and army commanders based on sectarian considerations:

Iran’s decision to send high-level official on Iraq conference sends reassuring message that “some diplomatic doors remain open” between Tehran and Washington:

The arrest of 172 suspected Al-Qaeda militants is an example of how the Saudi government has capitalized on the terrorists key strategic mistake–”attacking Saudis, Arabs and Muslims”:

UK finds two men innocent and convicts five extremists of attempting to kill hundreds with giant fertilizer bomb, sentencing them to life in prison:

Exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader denounces latest national elections:

In the latest attack on the political opposition in Egypt, government arrests 14 Muslim Brothers, including two parliamentarians, violating parliamentary mmunity:

“Progressive” Islamic-oriented party is formed in Aceh, Indonesia, aiming to engage issues such as “corruption, good government, savage deforestation, and the protection of women”:

News and Analysis (4/29/07)

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

While an independent film powerfully highlights the death of an innocent Afghan to raise questions about the US’ use of indefinite detention and torture, 82 inmates at Guantanamo are cleared of charged, but still detained and the US-backed Ethiopian government continues to indefinitely detain American-Muslim:

Not falling in line with Bush’s Middle East policies and objectives as much as in the past, some administration officials are wondering whether reliance on Prince Bandar “has begun to outlive its usefulness”:

In spite of assurances that Turkey’s Islamic-oriented party that the party will remain faithful to the nation’s secular principles, secular opposition groups and armed forces stage rally and issue stern statements:

Fingerprinted 14 times, body searched 9 times, handcuffed 4 times and put in isolated detention at least 13 times, the case of Abe Dabdoub highlights the racial/religious bias of American security checks and the lack of legal redress:

News and Analysis (4/27/2007)

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Turkish Parliament most likely to vote in first Islamic-oriented president since the founding of the secular republic:

Saudi Arabia completes massive preemptory crackdown on alleged terrorists plotting attacks on “‘public figures, oil facilities, refineries … and military zones’”:

High profile US aid to support democracy and human rights activists have created fear in the Iranian government, prompting massive crackdown on the people meant to be helped:

Though some of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric shows that sometimes they live a fine line between faith and politics, Iran’s Jewish community still find themselves living in peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors and facing many similar problems:

With a 25% drop in executions, significant changes have been made in Pakistan’s penal system, however many more reforms are needed as it still has the most number of prisoners facing execution in the world:

 Seeing their rising market potential, advertisers begin courting American-Muslims:

News and Analysis (04/26/07)

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

China sentences Uighar Muslim man to nine years in prison: “His crime? Having a human rights activist for a mother”

Egypt tries civilians in secret military court:

Iranian Judge warns of unintended consequences as police enforce ‘Islamic dresscode’:  “Hauling women and young people to the police station will have no use except to cause damage to society.   Tough measures on social problems will backfire and have counter-productive effects.”

Bangladesh’s emergency government gives up on idea to exile former leaders, seemingly agreeing with critics that the government “needs to adhere to existing law and investigate whether there is any case of corruption against these two leaders to be answered. If there is, then it needs to make a credible case and pursue it through the courts.”

Afghan government set to impose State control and censorship over private media:

Muslims reject the violent beheading of a man by a boy as ‘un-Islamic,’ but all unlawful (according to principles of Islamic justice) should be condemned!

News and Analysis (4/25/07)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

In the wake of publicized abuses and appointment of new Undersecretary of Intelligence, Department of Defense announces end to obscure and intrusive domestic intelligence program:    

Extremist secular nationalism and the interference of the secular military establishment foment religious intolerance toward faith-based activism and religious minorities in Turkey:    

Clobbering bad guys and negative stereotypes, Kuwaiti psychologist Naif al-Mutawa develops the Islamic comic book series “The 99” in order to provide culturally relevant heroes for Muslim youth:    

Under moderate Islamist party leadership, free market economic reforms have led to greater national prosperity, creating a growing Muslim religious middle class in Turkey:   

Polling of Muslim-majority countries show highlights complexities of Muslims’ sentiments toward Al-Qaeda and American militarism, the public role of Islamic values and laws and democratic governance:   



News and Analysis (4/24/07)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Syrian democracy and human rights reform advocate Anwar al-Bunni is arrested by government security forces for spreading “hostile information”:

Despite condemnations and allegations of fraud, intimidation and other forms of abuse from European Union and Nigerian electoral watchdog NGO, Umaru Yar’Adua is named victor of elections:

Muslim women in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia slowly but steadily empower themselves by entering into the workforce:

Some Sudanese are becoming increasingly frustrated with the government’s foot dragging on Darfur, but also feel “aid agencies [that] exaggerate the scale of the humanitarian disaster” and general economic sanctions are counterproductive:

George McGovern takes Vice-President Cheney to task for his comments about the former presidential candidate’s past and current anti-war stances and how they measure up to the current status of Iraq and the “War on Terror”:

News and Analysis (4/23/07)

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Efforts to enact security sector reforms to combat lawlessness and internal fighting among Palestinians suffer set back as the Interior Minister submits his resignation:

Somalis many challenges to fleeing for safety: Some can’t leave the country, others brave the deadly sea route trying to escape to Yemen and others still who managed to reach safety get abducted and sent back to Somalia or Ethiopia for coerced interrogations:

“Light on facts” and “hard to particularize” are what some US legal officials close to the upcoming trial of Jose Padilla characterize the case as:

Moqtada As-Sadr’s is political and military plans for stabilizing Iraq are just as elusive as the Bush administration’s:

News and Analysis (4/21-22/07)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

While lead Presidential candidates and Nigeria’s head monitoring organization call for new elections, the apathetic Syrian “electorate” openly voice openly voice “their lack of interest in the polls”:

Prime Minister Maliki and prominent Sunni parliamentarian Adnan Al-Dulaimi reject sectarian wall built by US military occupation forces:

Hamas officially ends its non-military resistance since 2004 after the latest Israeli incursion into the West Bank kills three Palestinians and a prominent Arab-Israeli Knesset member resigns from his political office:

British Muslim argues that the term “moderate Muslim” is a redundant and loaded term and opts for “orthodox Muslim”:

State Department-Sponsored Digital Video Conference with Ghanian Muslim Youth Leaders

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

On April 19 I was invited by the State Department to represent MFI at a 90-minute Digital Video Conference (DVC) with a group of Ghanian Muslim youth leaders at the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana. I was joined by Aly R. Abuzaakuk, Washington DC Office Director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy and MFI Vice-President.

The format of the program was as follows: 1) A question submitted in advance by the Ghanian participants on a particular topic would be asked to us; 2) Aly and I would give our responses and; 3) our Ghanian colleagues would briefly provide us with their perspectives on the prepared question and our responses to that question.

The ‘meat and potatoes’ of the DVC began with the first question asking what American Muslims’ overall educational performance was. Aly first responded, noting that excellence in education is important to the Islamic ethos and that most American Muslim youth attend public schools. I added to his observations by noting that the average media household income for Muslims tends to be higher than the national average and college enrollment rates for Muslims are close to double the national average.

Our Ghanian colleagues responded by noting their problem was exactly the opposite: they had too many programs supporting local religious education, but not enough people enrolling in non-religious education schools and subjects like science, medicine and law. Those who do seek this education many times are forced to go to Christian schools where they become indoctrinated by Christian teachings and leave Islam.

Other questions about American Muslims youths’ interest in global politics, competitiveness in the national job market and connection of local civil society development to Muslims’ communal welfare were also asked.

Both Aly and I felt that there was a higher interest of global affairs among American Muslim youth, compared to other youth largely because higher education levels, the extremely diverse ethnic composition of the American Muslim community (at least 80 different countries), youths’ connection to fast means of communication technology (i.e. internet and television) and the negative political spotlight cast on Muslims at home and around the world.

Some Ghanian representatives responded by noting that while there is a keen interest in global affairs of Muslims, they are also extremely concerned about local issues and global poverty issues which tend to affect their communities the most.

Concerning the job market, one Ghanian Muslim woman noted that there were some cultural/spiritual problems with Muslims entering into the job market. In her personal observations she saw that many Muslims were getting jobs but would hide their identities when they became successful. Another individual felt differently, citing the lack of Muslim entry in Ghanian job market by citing the University of Ghana as an example, where there are 45,000 students, but only 5,000 are Muslim in a country that is 40% Muslim.

On our end, we responded by noting that while American Muslims are successful in the job market, according to our offhand observations, this is limited to certain career paths because of cultural reasons. Many immigrant parents, particularly those of Middle Eastern and South Asian origin encourage (or force) their children to become private physicians, engineers, information technology specialists, or businessmen and women. As a result there is an alarming lack of Muslims in humanities and social science majors who head into public policy careers.

Our time, like the space in this blog, was limited and could not allow further exploration of other questions, comments and general ideas exchanged. This and the occasional technical communication glitch were main drawbacks to the program. In particular I was extremely disappointed by the small amount of time with which we had to talk about local civil society growth and its connection to the welfare of Muslim communities in our respective nations.

Nevertheless I was able to exchange ideas with my fellow sisters and brothers in Islam from Ghana, contributing to our intellectual and spiritual growth. The experience was an incredibly enlightening and motivating event and I sincerely hope to contact and stay in touch with many of those brothers and sisters with whom I conversed with that day.

Alejandro J. Beutel

Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (4/20/07)

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Thursday’s deadly bombings demonstrate that without fast and smart political action from the Iraqi government, the ‘surge’ is a failure and the bodies will continue to pile up:

“Are we in the West Bank?” – Abu Qusay, Baghdad resident

While confidence in Nigeria’s corruption and poverty-afflicted democracy dramatically declines among its citizens, Mauritania’s newly elected President is sworn in, completing a smooth transition from military to civilian rule:

Gates to Israel–Don’t worry, we’re selling these arms to Gulf nations so they can counterbalance other Muslims [Iran], not your military:

200,000 residents of Mogadishu–one-fifth of the city–flee fighting between government troops and guerrillas of the ousted Islamic Courts Union, only to arrive at malnutrition and disease: