Archive for April, 2009

News and Analysis (4/22/09)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Obama removes his objection to an independent Congressional investigation while authorizing attorney general Holder to investigate and potentially prosecute:

Appointment of the co-author of Who Speaks for Islam “is viewed by many in the Middle East as a step by Obama to move beyond the stereotypes and prejudices”:

Despite his lawyers claims Muse is only 15 (which is the age of majority in Islamic law), he will stand trail as an adult and if convicted, will serve life in prison:

A reminder that any meaningful peace talks must include Hamas…

… as Israel dodges the Palestinian question with renewed hostility towards Iran:

Military Equipment to Israel require export licenses which are subject to strict criteria, “including that the equipment must not be used for internal repression, must not provoke or prolong armed conflicts”:

News and Analysis (4/21/09)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

It appears the conference will suffer the same fate as its predecessor in 2001…

…Meanwhile, Israel is quick to respond to Ahmadinejad:

Due to Israel’s blockade on Gaza, basic infrastructure such as sewage lines remains damaged and continues to contaminate the environment:

Qatar seeks to act as the world representative of the Middle East, a role traditionally played by Egypt or Saudi Arabia:

“Only about 30 percent of the 650,000 people that had lost healthcare coverage following the departure of the NGOs have received some form of assistance”:

Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, has agreed to defend Roxana Saberi:

News and Analysis (4/20/09)

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Ahmadinejad warns judiciary that Saberi retain “all freedoms and legal rights” in defending herself;, but what’s his motive?

Obama administration reveals suspects underwent even more unnecessary torture than previously reported:

Empowered by their victory in the Swat providence, Islamists leaders hope to extend their influence nationwide:

The conference focus on Islamophobia and Israeli racism are reasons why the U.S. should attend:

In the conflict between the US and Taliban, the poorest of Afghanistan continue to suffer:

Samarrai promises “parliament will check the government, not topple the government, because lately the parliament had become a tool in the hands of the government”:

Hamas argues that the report failed to take into consideration the conditions created by Israel under which suspected collaborators were killed:

News and Analysis (4/18-19/09)

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Iranian-American receives 8 years after a secret trail that lasted one day:

Reflecting views after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai,

Prostitution has once again embedded itself into Iraqi society:

Remaining immune to the economic crisis, Islamic banking continues to enjoy an upward trend in popularity:

King Mohammed VI claims almost half of the urban shanty dwellers have been rehoused, but remaining targets are suspicious of the program:

Regardless of how third parties handle negotiations, Palestinian unity is essential to the peace process:

News and Analysis (4/17/09)

Friday, April 17th, 2009

As Israel absurdly suggests that the committee headed by Richard Goldstone is biased …

… it pre-emptively sabotages the peace process by demanding that a land of widely mixed heritage and ownership be recognized as a solely Jewish state:

Will Obama leverage his non-prosecution of lower level offenders to get evidence against those who gave the orders:

Pakistan is rapidly becoming the AIG of the international community:

In the emerging debate on child marriage, lawmaker al-Qadhi  points out that regulations short of an outright ban won’t work… ‘Are we going to post a policeman at every bedroom to ensure husbands don’t consummate marriages before girls reach puberty?'”:

Iran can offer a cultural bridge, helping American policy  incorporate an understanding of Afghanistan’s “humanity, religion and psychology”:

Muslim organizations agree to cooperate with investigating specific individuals with adequate reason but reject the FBI’s “fishing expeditions”:

News and Analysis (4/16/09)

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Approximately 1/3 of Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 are blamed on sectarian violence:

“An outward appearance of Islamism disguises the increasingly secular reality of some Arab and Muslim societies”:

Attacking Iran could only delay the creation of a nuclear weapon while further strengthening their resolve…

…Demonstrating their scientific prowess in other areas, Iran becomes one of five countries in the world to clone a goat:

Rarely emphasizing a neutral view, media in Pakistan and India often use language encouraging hostility and promoting an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality:

Ultimately, foreign policy is decided by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

“If the government of Pakistan was not convinced of the efficacy of the drone attacks, why would they be asking for the technology?” – Prof.  Hussain of Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad:

News and Analysis (4/15/09)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Several Afghanis appear to be stuck between two bullies, the US and the Taliban:

… but across the border it is Pakistanis who won’t concede the necessity of an armed populace to the security of a free state …

…Meanwhile, a spokesman for Karzai pleads with Pakistan to reconsider the agreement and its potential effect on relations between the two countries:

The debate over a controversial law turns ugly:

As “walkouts, boycotts and street protests” cast a cloud over claims of success of recent provincial elections …

… Iraq works towards establishing an identity in the international community:

The Pentagon questions a transcript of alleged charges by a Chadian national that he has been abused almost everyday since Obama’s inauguration:

Marriage of Minors in Saudi Arabia: Is Betrothal Obsolete?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

A growing debate has emerged in Saudi Arabia over a controversial court decision to uphold the marriage of an 8 year old girl to a 47 year old man. The debate over child marriage has developed into a critical issue for Saudi  Arabian politics and human right groups. The father, the sole parent with custody, consented to the marriage of his daughter with the provision that it will not be consummated until she reaches puberty. Although her mother’s petition to block the marriage was denied, the judge has ruled the girl can file for divorce on her own behalf when she reaches puberty.

There is no parallel in contemporary Western culture to which one can compare such an arrangement. In modern times, the consummation of a marriage takes place relatively soon after the wedding. The closest analogy is the obsolete practice of “betrothal.” Setting aside the wisdom of  a “February-October marriage,” the legal aspects of this case are governed by universal principles of contract as familiar to the West as to Islam and those who wish be governed by Sharia law should adhere its standards.

In Islam, a wedding usually beings with the signing of a Nikah, an agreement of consent by the bride and groom. This consent is essential to legal integrity as well as a major factor illustrating the legitimacy of the marriage. Just as in Western culture, a minor’s  consent is meaningless. Therefore, until this girl is  no longer a minor and free to choose to consent or not consent, the marriage contract is not final. Thus the bride’s ability to annul the marriage before its consummation is an absolutely necessary protection.

The Saudi government has been quick to respond to the criticism promising “to put an end to arbitrariness by parents and guardians in marrying off minor girls.” Justice Minister Mohamed al-Issa’s statement lacks specifics, suggesting that the practice will continue. Will reforms consider the reasons for this particular betrothal–the settlement of some of the father’s debts be admitted to be “‘arbitrary?” It seems

to us it is worse than arbitrary, it constitutes the sale of a human being into marriage, something that is not part of Islamic law. (In Islam the dowry is not paid to the brides family, but is a gift to the bride herself that also doubles as contingent bequest and alimony against the possibility of the husband’s death or decision to unilaterally divorce.)

Are there any positive elements to the betrothal of a minor? In any case where the objective is the interest of the parent rather than the child, one is hard pressed to explain how this does not constitute the exploitation of children. In the contemporary environment the practice of committing underage women to marriage seems to cheapen the value of family within the community.

If the contemplated changes provide genuine protection to the bride, it would certainly be a welcomed reform to Saudi law. However, if  it is only an announcement to appease the critics, a cosmetic change with no substantial effect then it is a hypocritical lip-service to Western mores,  “the tribute vice pays to virtue.” Islam is the religion that banned female infanticide, gave women rights of inheritance, and the right to speak up on political issues. Muslims must accept our God-given responsibility to defend the rights of women and girls as a point of integrity and honor before the world community.

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

News and Analysis (4/14/09)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Alliances built on payoffs are not self sustaining …

… are we learning from history or repeating it?

“Piracy along Somalia’s coast began as a vigilante movement against illegal fishing and dumping”:

Allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium should facilitate negotiations for long-term compromise:

At a minimum, the agreement should provide a case study testing the effectiveness of such a policy:

With a verdict on secret charges expected within the week, Saberi could face the death penalty if convicted:

Denying involvement, the Muslim Brotherhood emphasized government coordination when taking military action:

News and Analysis (4/13/09)

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Evoking thoughts of the West Bank Wall, a policeman says of Samarrans, “They hate checkpoints. They hate order.”

Zardari is cautious of the political implications:

Officially, Bouteflika won 90% of the total vote with his nearest opponent coming in at 4.22%

Reflecting the shortsightedness of military intervention, soldiers must focus on combating the insurgency village by village:

As the opportunity international recognition grows …

… an analyst argues that Egypt, under fire for its “continuing participation in the blockade” of Gaza wants to defend its actions as aimed not against the Palestinians or Hamas but against an Iranian attempts “to dominate the Arab world”:

The arrest of an American journalist is a cloud over conciliatory gestures: