Archive for March, 2011

The Trump Speculation: Was Obama Born a Muslim?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I know that Donald Trump’s speculation that even if President Obama has a birth certificate he might not want people to see it because it lists his religion as Muslim is nothing more than a desperate attempt to find a foothold from which he can jump into the campaign for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, but I just can’t let it stand without comment.

I can easily imagine a hospital staff member asking the religion of the baby’s father and writing it into some blank on the birth certificate. There is only one problem with this scenario. Hawaiian birth certificates of that era do not have a blank for religion! Nor should they. Ask any newborn his religion and his answer will not be “Muslim” or “Christian” but something more along the lines of “Wah!” or “<gurgle>.”

Nonetheless, Trump may be right. Obama may well have been born a Muslim. Muslims believe that EVERYONE is born into the “fitra” or natural religion, and then become Christians, Jews, or whatever, as their parents raise them in a particular religious tradition. Just as Obama’s mother raised him as a Christian. Oops. Looks like Mr. Trump is wrong after all.

I guess there’s only one thing left to say to the would-be Presidential nominee after a blunder like this: “You’re fired.”

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

News and Analysis (3/31/11)

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

While debate continues over the size of the al-Qaeda presence among the Libyan rebels, one thing is certain: “Gen. Khalifa Haftr, the self-proclaimed commander of the Free Libyan Army,” is a defector from the Libyan army who lived in the U.S. until his recent return for an appointment “to lead the rebel army earlier this month:

As the rebels continue their retreat, Gaddafi’s confidant and former intelligence chief has defected to Britain, but the rebels want him back:

Syrians and Yemenis both get more empty promises …

… but in Yemen the protesters now number hundreds of thousands and an influential opposition leader says Saleh “should leave power,” and should leave the country with his family “for their own safety”:

The boy “had repeatedly harassed and attacked the girl over the last two months, and yesterday he allegedly shoved her to the ground, punched her, kicked her, and tried to pull off her hijab while asking, ‘Are you a Muslim?'”:

The “police identified the bomber as a local student,” but in the wake of the Raymond Davis scandal, “the killed politician’s party leadership pointed the finger at the US and at the Pakistani government”:

In Malaysia, Muslim versions of Terry Jones work for the government, but they don’t burn Bibles — they just stamp them “For Christians only”:

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s army chief has sought refuge at the home of South Africa’s ambassador in Abidjan” just as the elected President’s forces, having already taken the capital, are about to enter the country’s main city:

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad comments on Donald Trump’s speculation that Obama’s birth certificate may identify his religion as “Muslim“:

Libya and “the Obama Doctrine”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Listening to President Obama’s defense of his policy in Libya, you could tell that he is a lawyer. He carefully crafted a case to justify military intervention in Libya specifically, while appearing to rebut criticisms such as inconsistency in his policy with respect to other countries in which the Arab revolt is taking place, failure to consult Congress, the murkiness of the objectives of the intervention, and criticism from both the left (for intervening at all) and the right (for too little, too late, and too brief a commitment). Yet, careful reflection suggests that what he presented was less  a general statement of principle we associate with the Monroe, Eisenhower, or Reagan doctrines than a custom-tailored, and not entirely sound, excuse for the instant case.

The overarching theme of his address was that America’s inability to intervene in every pending massacre doesn’t mean it should never intervene.  While affirming that he would like to see Gaddafi gone, he insisted that the real objective of this intervention is the protection of innocent civilians. He distinguished the Libyan civilians from those in other countries not by their numbers (far more have been killed in Darfur and the Congo) but by the instability the refugee problem might impose on our ally Egypt. What about the stability problems imposed on that same ally (and others) by the Palestinian refugees and the siege of Gaza or on various other allies by the refugees from Iraq or on Pakistan by the refugees from Afghanistan?

The telling difference between the civilians shot in Libya and the civilians being shot in Bahrain and Syria is that the latter are consistently unarmed while the Libyans sometimes shoot back (or even first). There is absolutely no doubt that the current intervention has the effect of aiding the rebels in their effort to expand their base from the east and take over the whole country. The President took great pride in his position that our intervention is limited and that a broader NATO-based coalition will soon take over. But as Peter Grier has pointed out, “US forces constitute NATO’s backbone – the US pays for 22 percent of NATO’s budget;” so NATO leadership is still American leadership and certainly does not negate American intervention.

The President emphasized that his quick action in this case, quick compared to the delay in military intervention in Bosnia, may have saved many lives. I would argue that there are similarities and differences between Bosnia and Libya, both of which work against the President’s comparison between them. It was the embargo on arms to the Bosnians that cost all those lives, since it prevented the Bosnians from defending themselves against a well-armed oppressor and the current sanctions have now imposed such an embargo on Libya where Gaddafi’s supporters, like those of Miloslavić,  are well-armed. The difference is that the since Bosnians sought separation from Serbia seeing Miloslavić as a foreign occupier, while the rebels in the east want to overthrow Gaddafi, not secede from the western part of the country. Also, we knew who the Bosnian separatists were, while the inclinations and affiliations of the Libyan rebels are not clear.

Obama’s claim that he had consulted with bi-partisan leadership of Congress is meaningless. The U.S. Constitution requires official congressional action to engage in acts of war except under specific circumstances that do not apply here. A claim that there is a strategic U.S. interest at stake is insufficient, as Obama himself knows quite well as evidenced by his criticisms of George W. Bush’ s invasion of Iraq. When asked by a Boston Globe reporter on Dec. 20, 2007 when a U.S. President could bomb another country without congressional authority, then Senator Obama (correctly)  insisted, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The President made much of the fact that he was acting in concert with and at the request of certain European nations and the Arab league. Does anyone believe that when those same nations and the Arab League demand American action against Israeli aggression he will act upon this “doctrine?” Only last month he ignored their pleas to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli settlements not with military action, but by the simple act of not vetoing a UN resolution condemning the illegal settlements.

In the end, for all Mr. Obama’s efforts to be nuanced and comprehensive, by insisting that he has achieved the primary goal of preempting a massacre of civilians and that he will leave it to our allies to take care of the less urgent matters left undone, he has managed to give a speech that, for all its elegant eloquence, is in substance dishearteningly evocative of George W. Bush’s unforgettable but regrettable “mission accomplished speech.”

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

News and Analysis (3/30/11)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Minaret of Freedom Institute president Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad explores:

With the rebel loss of “the key oil port of Ras Lanuf and the nearby town of Bin Jawad,” their “full retreat from Brega” and “the rebel-held town of Misrata … still … under attack from pro-Gaddafi troops,” we need to ask:

Until now few have “called on Assad to step down,” instead focusing on the demand for  “reforms, annulling emergency laws and other stringent security measures and an end to corruption;” will that change now that Assad “failed to mention any” reforms …

… excusing his regime’s brutality with the typical socialist excuse, “We can sometimes postpone (dealing with) suffering that emergency law may cause … But we cannot postpone the suffering of a child whose father does not have enough money to treat him.”

Court rejects Wilders’ claims that malicious falsehood should be protected political speech if its spoken in The Hague:

Deputy Sheriff Sherif Morsi has worked for years to overcome “the negative perception about law enforcement” many immigrant Muslims bring from their home countries that “the police is just an extension of an oppressive regime”:

“Actions that prejudge the outcome of the process must stop, including Israel’s continued settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is illegal under international law and which contradicts the road map” — Ban Ki-moon:

It is unclear “if the pro-Ouattara forces who have been spotted in Yamoussoukro have met any resistance,” but in “Abidjan, the UN says attacks on civilians by pro-Gbagbo youths have continued”:

More details emerge on the Egyptian interim constitution:

Awlaki welcomes the no-fly zone, saying “”In Libya, no matter how bad the situation gets and no matter how pro-Western or oppressive the next government proves to be, we do not see it possible for the world to produce another lunatic of the same caliber of the Colonel (Gaddafi)”:

News and Analysis (3/29/11)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Obama’s argument for military intervention in Libya was less than convincing:

[H]undreds of thousands of regime supporters poured on to the streets” of major Syrian cities as Assad accepted the resignation of his cabinet and hopes mount that he will lift the emergency laws:

With Mubarak under house arrest and Germany offering advice on how to dismantle Egypt’s feared secret police, the military hands down interim measures to “stand in for [Egypt’s suspended] constitution, but give no indication whether or not they will endorse the “decree that would outlaw any strikes or protests that would harm the economy”:

Protesters accused Saleh of facilitating violence as a ploy to keep power, but pledged that “popular committees” can keep the peace if the government falls, as “[d]ozens of policemen and soldiers from different units joined the protests … chanting … ‘The people want the fall of the regime’ and ‘The police and army are partners in providing daily needs'”:

Notwithstanding their continued presence in Misratah, Libyan rebels fail to meet the challenge on Gaddafi’s home turf:

Her critics object that parading around in a bikini is degrading to women, but Shanna Bukhari intends to enter the swimsuit competition wearing “a one-piece and a sarong;” would she consider a bathing cap for a headcover?

As hearings on the civil rights of Muslims begin in Washington, CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper praises “a victory for common sense and legislative restraint” in Tennessee in the wake of the CNN exposé on Islamophobia in that state:

The Muslim Bernie Madoffs “had won key endorsements from religious scholars who belonged to a Chicago-based Shariah Board, which provides guidance to conservative Muslims on following Islamic law”:

Pakistan’s chief advocate of tolerance in the legislature says “politicians from religious parties compromise” on “bills against domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace,” but that it is “the faltering economy [that] fuels extremism”:

“The boys who she accused of rape are bringing a case because it is a very grave offense to accuse someone of a sexual crime,” says a spokesman for the pro-Gaddafi militias, unconcerned that under Islamic law rape is a crime of aggression (like armed robbery), not a sex crime (like fornication or adultery):


News and Analysis (3/28/11)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

After capturing two oil refineries the rebels face the challenge of taking Gaddafi’s home town on their road to Tripoli:

While Islamophobes are distracted by their paranoia over the conservative Muslim Brotherhood, real extremists are making inroads in Egypt and talking about politics for the first time:

The Egyptian military promises to lift the state of emergency before September elections, and, like so many Egyptians, Salwa al-Housiny Gouda trusted them–but now she says they arrested and raped her in a scenario evocative of Iman al-Obeidi’s headline-making charges against the Libyan regime:

Officials say that the factory “was briefly taken over by Islamic militants and then looted by residents of the area”:

”They are waging a war of propaganda,’ said a 32-year-old Syrian. ‘I am scared that many will choose to believe it. Meanwhile, it makes those who realise just angrier and less willing to accept anything they say'”:

Even “Israel is watching the unrest with some trepidation” since for all its hostility, at least the regime has been predictable:

“Before the 2011 revolutions, I never saw reflections of myself in the media portrayal of Muslim women” — Uzma Mariam Ahmed:

It has its limits, but the plan brings health insurance to working poor the governments has been unable to cover, and it will reach the break-even point once 75,000 people have signed up:

Village doctors are accused of cover-up in case of fatal extra-legal prosecution and punishment of a 14-year-old girl; seven people, including the man alleged to have seduced her are among those arrested:

After stealing his merchandise and throwing Bouazizi to the ground with the aid of her two accomplices, the female police officer slapped his face as he “wept with shame” and cried out, “Why are you doing this to me? … I’m a simple person, and I just want to work”:

News and Analysis (3/24/11)

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

As the Egyptian cabinet imposes “a law criminalizing protests and strikes” under which “anyone organizing or calling for a protest will be sentenced to jail and/or a fine of LE500,000” …

… Gates promises Egypt a continued flow of U.S. Taxpayer money …

… and Egypt’s youth, united on Mubarak’s removal rather than ending the emergency laws, flounders:

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is faced with its own “internal splits along generational and ideological lines” …

… but managed to call “on Bahraini authorities to listen to the demands of the people” and criticize “authorities for painting demands for political and constitutional reform as sectarian issues”:

“Morlock admitted to plotting the kidnapping and murders of Afghan civilians. He described how the group of accused soldiers planted weapons at crime scenes to make the victims appear to be terrorists”:

As the French shoot down a a small trainer aircraft, Obama vows a lesser US role in Libya, and Erdogan lashes out at Sarkozy: “I wish that those who only see oil, gold mines and underground treasures when they look in [Libya’s] direction, would see the region through glasses of conscience from now on” …

… meanwhile, rebels are disappointed that their anticipation of a rapid fall of Tripoli has not taken place,

“Around 20,000 people marched Thursday in the funerals for nine of those killed, chanting freedom slogans and denying official accounts that infiltrators and “armed gangs” are behind the killings and violence in Deraa” but sectarianism appeared for the first time with chants linking the Alawi regime to Iran and Hezbollah:

News and Analysis (3/23/11)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

With Egypt’s emergency laws still firmly in place …

… but opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan is intimidated, warning Saleh, “Friday will be the ‘Friday of the March Forward’, with hundreds of thousands of people…We will arrive where you are and we will remove you”:

With airstrikes failing to stop sniper attacks in Misrata …

… Obama continues to shy from leading the military intervention in Libya, “Germany and Italy are reluctant to assert themselves in a region that still harbors memories of World War II occupation” as evidenced by Gaddafi’s vow of victory over “fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history“:

An attack on a mosque in Deraa brings “to 10 the number of civilians killed by Syrian forces during six days of demonstrations;” few as the protesters may be, the fact that there are any at all willing to confront the corrupt and brutal regime with the slogan “God, Freedom and Syria, period!” is a revolutionary development:

Can the Arab revolt spread to China? U.S.-based businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer says that “China had responded to the protests with a security crackdown that made the western cities of Kashgar and Urumqi resemble war zones as soldiers searched homes and rounded up members of her Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur minority”:

“[A]n Israeli mortar killed three youths playing soccer and the grandfather of one of them in the most high-profile civilian casualty incident in Gaza in some time…. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret, but blamed Hamas“:

“It’s her religious belief . . . that it’s a sin to delay [the pilgrimage once one can afford it. The school board] put her in a position where she had to choose. Berkeley has qualified subs. She didn’t feel her absence would cause any problem at all.” — Kamran A. Memon, civil rights attorney:

Gaddafi’s enemies are a diverse group, including some who sought to fight him by proxy by joining the Iraqi resistance against the American invasion of Iraq:


News and Analysis (3/22/11)

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

As a “US Jet Crashes in Libya; Fighting Rages in Cities” and “rebels struggle to retake territory, despite UN help“; “We don’t depend on anyone but God, not France or America. We started this revolution without them through the sweat of our own brow, and that is how we will finish it” – Ahmed al-Aroufi, front-line Libyan rebel fighter:

Calling high level defections a “coup” and warning of a civil war if he is not allowed to remain in office until a successor is elected, Saleh is rebuffed by demonstrators who declare, “”What was acceptable yesterday is not acceptable for us today”:

Trophy pictures show US soldiers posing with corpses of Afghan civilians they are accused of killing for sport:

“Residents of the city of Daraa had been demanding [the governor’s] departure after security forces violently suppressed three straight days of protests by thousands of people calling for political freedom and an end to corruption”:

Complaining that foreign films usually “show very bad face of woman in Afghanistan. They wear burka, don’t go in the street,” the Afghani woman who made  the film “Half Value Life” says, “We do have this kind of woman. But we also do have active woman, who try to do something, they are helpful””:

Turning his back on the Bible’s command “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” Terry Jones “presides as judge over mock execution of Islamic holy book after jury finds it guilty of crimes against humanity”:

“”Home-grown” terrorists are driven by alienation, not by religion or poverty”:

“A Turkish court ordered five military officers and two civilians jailed Monday in a probe into the 2007 killing of three Christians, including a German national, over allegations that the attack was part of an alleged plot to topple the government”:

“At least 17 people have been injured by a series of Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics say” from the nine reported explosions:

In July, Tunisia, where the Arab revolts started, “will vote on a 200-member assembly that will elect temporary leaders and write a constitution in anticipation of new elections”:


News and Analysis (3/21/11)

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Has Amr Moussa realized too late that he has let the colonial powers in through the back door of the “no-fly zone?”

An ex-marine told “Spy or you don’t fly” is only one of 450,000 never charged with anything still on the FBI’s consolidated terrorist watch list who have been jailed, been restricted in travel, or have had “reputations destroyed” and “[l]awsuits filed by suspects since 2006 have pried millions of dollars in settlements from the government”:

Hamas says their first mortar attack since the Gaza invasion ended “was a response to an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas military camp Wednesday that killed two people,” but the Israeli press suspects the motive was political rather than military:

Saleh has been in power longer than Mubarak, but “defections and resignations were apparently sparked by Saleh’s decision to resort to violence to deal with protests against his rule”:

As Westerners intervene on behalf of the rebels in Libya, Gbagbo’s followers brand supporters of the winner of the Ivory Coast elections as rebels and chant “We will kill them now”:

Four journalists detained by Gaddafi loyalists for “traveling through the rebel controlled eastern region of Libya without visas” are now at the Turkish embassy on their way home, but three others remain missing:

“Of all the Arab states, Syria was considered one of the least likely to experience the convulsions that have roiled the Arab world in the past two months,” but as thousands march in Deraa, it appears that security forces’ crackdown is only fueling more demonstrations and observers wonder:

While many complain the changes do not go far enough and some fear “the established parties stand to gain the most from holding an election” as early as September, “77% of voters in Saturday’s referendum backed the changes”:

American graduate of al-Azhar says, “I actually started studying Shari`ah, I started realizing that, wow, I got this wrong and I really need to be comfortable with who I am and embrace who I am as a person”: