Archive for February, 2011

Celebrating the Egyptian People’s Peaceful Victory

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Celebrating the Egyptian People’s Peaceful Victory

by Sharmin Ahmad (MFI Director)

I feel myself among the most fortunate persons in the world to be at the Tahrir Square to celebrate  Egyptian people’s peaceful victory, Friday, Feb 18.  My Egyptian husband Amr and I  flew from  Costa Rica-U.S.A to celebrate with over 3 million people.

We saw youth volunteering in cleaning up the streets,repairing sidewalks and young and old alike guarding their city. Police, after their brutal attacks on unarmed citizens have fled their posts. Yet, in an almost-no-police-state we found  tremendous sense of peace and felt safe. We walked freely past midnight. Shops were open and people’s spirits were euphoric. Everywhere I was greeted “Welcome to Egypt”.   People  have reclaimed Egypt from the despotic regime and now its theirs to protect and nurture.

No doubt this revolution will go down in history as a model revolution for the world.

Tahrir Square Pictures (This online album has 14 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 05/25/2011.)

May Allah Bless Egypt and May it become the Model for People’s Peaceful Revolution of the 21st Century.

Sharmin Ahmad
Minaret of Freedom Institute


News and Analysis (2/28/11)

Monday, February 28th, 2011

For some, Lebanon’s “complicated and delicate  power-sharing agreement … based on political confessionalism that aims to maintain a balance between the country’s 18 religious sects” is to blame for the countries problems “including corruption and war”:

Unsatisfied with promises of more government jobs and increased authority to the elected consultative council, protesters demand “the trial of all ministers” and the “abolition of all taxes'”:

Before, working for Libyan radio “felt like a gun was being held to our heads.” Now, says broadcaster Ahmed Omar el-Naili, “I’m not getting paid, but it’s an incredible relief to be speaking freely for the first time in my life”:

After militiamen fired on protesters in Tripoli last Friday …

… Gaddafi’s son denies charges of aerial bombardment of civilians and Christine Ammanpour admits she’s seen no evidence of it …

… and the Western city of Zawiya is falling to the opposition:

Grégoire Mallard, assistant professor of sociology at Northwestern University, calls for an Arab bill of rights:

After Ghannouchi resigns with the explanation “I am not ready to be the person who takes decisions that would end up causing casualties”:

An Israeli official suggests banning the Muslim Brotherhood, but Prof.  John Esposito argues that “in a new, more open and pluralistic political climate, they will be but one of many potential political players and parties”:

Hamas calls the curriculum a plot “to justify acts of slaughter against the Palestinian people,” but the former director of UNRWA in Gaza, an advocate for Palestinian refugees and critic of Israeli policies  says an understanding of “the great injustices of the 20th century” will give Palestinian children tools “to fight legitimately for their own cause”:

News and Analysis (2/24/11)

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner tries to explain Gaddafi’s anarchistic governance structure, the self-appointed Brother Leader blames Bin Ladin for the turmoil, while his defenders blast “a mosque with antiaircraft missiles and automatic weapons”:

“Nine members of the ruling party have quit over the government’s handling of the protests” to date, but Saleh now promises “to protect the rights of its citizens to assemble peacefully and their right to freedom of expression” despite the fact that their main demand is that he step down:

Emulate “their brothers and sisters in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya” the youth of Gaza “are not demanding the overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza nor the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. What they want is the parties to overcome their bitter rivalries and unite to fight their common enemy: Israel”:

Ten family members, including four children, living in a “house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement” demonstrates what the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay calls an “inhuman life” Israel has imposed on the Palestinians:

If Monteilh’s allegations are true, the behavior of his handlers is inexcusable, but can the man who now says that he was “forced under the color of authority by the FBI and its agents, to plead guilty to grand theft'” be believed?

The suspect is accused of purchasing chemicals with an eye to “targets including the Dallas home of former president George W Bush”:

“Pluralist campaigners said the sentence was too light and would lead to more violence in the most populous Muslim country”:

“According to the UN, about 500 people, mainly pro-Ouattara supporters, have been killed since the election results [of his electoral victory over the Christian incumbent]were announced at the beginning of December”:

“When anti-monarchical revolution swept the Middle East in the 1950s, Jordan was one of the few populous Arab states to keep its king. King ‘Abdallah II, son of Hussein, the sole Hashemite royal to ride out the republican wave, has all the credentials to perform a similar balancing act”:

News and Analysis (2/23/1)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Qaddafi’s biggest blunder may be employing foreign troops against his own people; it backfired in Somalia and it is backfiring in Libya:

In “protest at violence used to quell demonstrations calling for the president to quit”:

“[A]s far as I know, the Muslim Brotherhood is worried that some of its young members might join our party. They are trying to preempt that [by naming their party the “Freedom and Justice Party]…. And they have all the right to form a party. May God help them” — Abouel Ela Madi, founder of the Wasat Party:

As young journalists demand women’s rights and Islamists call for more democracy, the Saufiking instead offers “a 15 percent raise for state employees, funds to curb inflation, and more money for housing loans and studying abroad”:

Muslim counterparts to Terry Jones demonstrate why it is wrong to offend things others hold sacred, but unlike Jones, they face prosecution for their offensiveness:

The ACLU/CAIR case hinges on a disgruntled FBI ex-employee whose “relationship soured with the FBI in 2007, when he came under investigation for a grand theft case:”

Surviving “weeks of protests after Vastanvi made comments that appeared to praise a Hindu nationalist politician loathed by Muslims,” the reformer is vindicated:

BBC reports that the pirates deny the Navy’s claim that they launched a rocket-propelled grenade that missed the U.S. ship:

News and Analysis (2/22/11)

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

“The Washington Post learned of Davis’s CIA affiliation after his arrest but agreed not to publish the information at the request of senior U.S. intelligence officials”:

Holding no government position from which to resign, Qaddafi refuses to step down as head of the revolution:

A coalition spokesman denies that Petraeus ever “said that children’s hands and feet were purposely burned by their families in order to create a CIVCAS (civilian casualty) event”:

Alan West has a colorful (if coarse) way of saying “Don’t Confuse me with the facts”:

“[I]nternational convention regulating shipping says the canal must be open ‘to every vessel of commerce or of war'”:

Offended by what they see as Pakistani intervention, Deobandi clerics, editors, and ex-students resist calls for the dismissal of the reformer as a “visionary who wanted Indian Muslims educated and lifted out of their ignorance and poverty”:

“The judge acquitted 63 others accused in the case”:

American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy

• Raymond Davis employed by CIA ‘beyond shadow of doubt’
• Former soldier charged with murder over deaths of two men
• Davis accused of shooting one man twice in the back as he fled

• Special report: A CIA spy and a diplomatic whirlwind

  •, Sunday 20 February 2011 19.38 GMT
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  • Article history
  • In Karachi, scores of demonstrators call for the execution of Raymond Davis, the US consulate employee who has been jailed in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis Link to this video

    The American who shot dead two men in Lahore, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time.

    Raymond Davis has been the subject of widespread speculation since he opened fire with a semi-automatic Glock pistol on the two men who had pulled up in front of his car at a red light on 25 January.

    Pakistani authorities charged him with murder, but the Obama administration has insisted he is an “administrative and technical official” attached to its Lahore consulate and has diplomatic immunity.

    Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official. The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who insists he was acting in self-defence against a pair of suspected robbers, who were both carrying guns.

    Pakistani prosecutors accuse the spy of excessive force, saying he fired 10 shots and got out of his car to shoot one man twice in the back as he fled. The man’s body was found 30 feet from his motorbike.

    “It went way beyond what we define as self-defence. It was not commensurate with the threat,” a senior police official involved in the case told the Guardian.

    The Pakistani government is aware of Davis’s CIA status yet has kept quiet in the face of immense American pressure to free him under the Vienna convention

News and Analysis (2/21/11)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The disastrous speech by Qaddafi’s son in which he simultaneously asserted that the death tolls have been exaggerated even as he threatened the eradication of his father’s enemies has not stopped the spread of the opposition, with the resignation of senior officials and rumors of Qaddafi’s flight:

Iranian hypocrisy on the people’s right to demonstrate …

… is matched by American hypocrisy on Israeli settlements …

… which has prompted Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad to offer an olive branch to his Hamas rivals:

A spokesman for Sudan’s ruling party insists that Bashir “is not under pressure” and his decision not to run for re-election “is happening because of the political strategy of the NCP to broaden participation”:

Modernizing reformer Ghulam Mohammed Vastani handed his opponent’s a weapon against him when opponents interpreted his assertion that Muslims were prospering in Gujarat “as praise for Gujarat’s chief minister … accused of stoking an anti-Muslim rampage that killed about 1,000 people in 2002”:

A former CIA analyst warns us against marginalizing a popular adversary to al-Qaeda:

Calling for the lifting of the draconian emergency law is on Cameron’s agenda:

“[F]or all the importance of religion in their lives, 65 percent of poll respondents said religious leaders should stay out of government”:

News and Analysis (2/18/11)

Friday, February 18th, 2011

“It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government’s supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech”:

“The massive turnout and Mr. Qaradawi’s warning that the revolution is not complete demonstrate that if the military drags its feet on reform, another uprising could begin”:

The threat to tolerance in Indonesia grows as “two weeks after Islamist fanatics brutally murdered three Ahmadiyah adherents in west Java’s Banten province”:

The Obama administration may “have to decide whether or not to break from its steadfast support for Israel in the United Nations and support a measure in the Security Council that nearly reiterates its own policy” on illegal Israeli settlements:

71% of Republicans and 76% of “those who most trust Fox News” support the King hearings:

News and Analysis (2/17/11)

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood “have a lot of street cred [now] within the old guard of the Muslim Brotherhood for pulling the big sleeping giant that is the Muslim Brotherhood into this demonstration”:

“It would be a huge mistake for American foreign policy to equate a ‘freedom agenda’ with secularism and rule out the possibility that there is just as much, if not more, dynamism in the Islam of young Muslims around the world as there is among those who self-identify as secular”:

With three dead, a potential uniting of “the Shiite underclass with middle-class Sunnis tired of the status quo” may force “the Al Khalifah dynasty … to cede more power to the people, or use greater force to suppress dissent”:

Qaddafi “has always insisted that the country is run by a series of people’s committees, though most outside observers believe it is a police state with him firmly in control”:

The context of the persecution of Afia Siddiqui makes the disposition of the Raymond Davis case all the more dangerous for Pakistan:

“The problem isn’t that Fox News viewers hear a lot of negative things about Islam, it’s they hear a lot of false things about Islam”:

Pardon the double negative, but Iranian sate television says the cancellation of the passage of two warships through the Suez canal has been canceled and the maneuver has been rescheduled:

Is the military’s promise to repeal the emergency laws credible as long as it leaves the state of emergency in effect?

News and Analysis (2/16/11)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Unless the military removes the state of emergency now, why should we believe their promises?

An “under-reported dimension of the Egyptian revolution … suggests a fascinating moment may be upon us, … when both Islam and Christianity (and, one would hope, other religions as well) can experience a shared reformation … against religious fear, intolerance, hatred, and violence”:

“If our rulers give [Raymond Davis] to the United States, Pakistan will come out on to the streets and protest as people did in Egypt” — Imdad Sabir, a Lahori schoolteacher:

“Leaders like Frederick Douglass knew that the hedonist couldn’t be freed, just as the good man can never really be enslaved. There was a reason slave owners tried to enslave their ‘property’ to drink and immorality”:

In Libya, “protests reportedly began after the arrest of Fathi Terbil, who represents relatives of more than 1,000 prisoners allegedly massacred by security forces in Tripoli’s Abu Salim jail in 1996. He was later said to have been freed”:

Previously “thought to be vanquished in 2009,” the Boko Haram is now blamed for targetted killings:

According to human rights organizations, the Muslim minority group has “been subject to extrajudicial killings, forced labor, restrictions on movement and religious persecution  in Burma”:

“God does not remove knowledge by extracting it from [His] servants. Rather He removes knowledge by removing the scholars” — Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

A first-time dissident suggests why Egyptians have abandoned their passivity:

News and Analysis (2/15/11)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

After barely avoiding tainting the Egyptian revolt by taking a too bold stand on an internal political dispute, the Washington falters again by feeding Iranian paranoia over foreign origins of domestic unrest:

“The military orders that a committee studying constitutional changes come up with amendments in 10 days, indicating that fundamental changes to the government aren’t anticipated. The Muslim Brotherhood says it will take advantage of the right to form political parties” …

… “but the Muslim Brotherhood said ending emergency law and freeing political prisoners would build a “bridge of confidence”:”

Continued pretense that “Palestinian Ghandis” (such as Sami Awad, Ali Abu Awwad, and Ayed Morrar) don’t exist may be longer be sustainable:

“I can get two benefits — rational and emotional,” said one customer, “There’s also a unique ritual before the treatment…tears were falling from my eyes when I went there for the first time”:

The “maximum allowed under Indonesian law for this type of offence, was not enough for the crowd,” which chanted “Kill him” as they attacked “the building and police, threatening the judges and prosecutor, the accused and his counsel”:

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir says, “I am accused of leading the militant group in Aceh, while I am not connected to them in any way,” and suggests that the U.S. was involved in fabricating charges of terrorism against him:

“The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war”:

With new developments in Bahrain and Yemen:

… In Tunisia, “People seem to have misunderstood what liberty is really about…. They just seem to want to do whatever they please and if you try to say anything to them they just say: ‘I’ll set myself on fire'”:

As “Hariri rallies supporters against Hezbollah-backed government,” the Hariri tribunal has been “plagued with fraud [and a] bunker mentality”: