Archive for February, 2012

News and Analysis (2/8/12)

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Israeli “price tag” campaign of desecration of holy places spreads beyond mosques as “‘death to Christians’ and other Hebrew-language graffiti has been scrawled on a Greek Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem”:

Shortly after release of his “Worldwide Threat Assessment”, James Clapper, “the director of national intelligence, said of Iran: ‘We don’t believe they’ve actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,’” raising the question:

Tawakkul Karman is the new face of political Islam. She wears a veil, but talks of democracy. She fights against despots, but preaches non-violence. She asks the West for respect, but at the same time wants to work together. She is religious, but no extremist:
The granddaughter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder says that “the revolution has been definitely good for segments of Egyptian women who first voiced their grievances and succeeded in mobilising thousands, and later on millions, of Egyptians around primarily humane demands.” Yet, while women “paid the price, they shared little of the gain”:

Faiza Abou el-Naga’s “intensifying campaign against the civil society groups offers clear proof, her critics say, that some elements of the old guard remain entrenched and are trying to block the rise of new political leadership in the country”:

Islamic parties participating in Algeria’s upcoming elections are anticipating victory and warn of the consequences of fraud in a post Arab Spring Middle East:

“Festival Film Journalism” or the form of  journalism that revolves around the theme of “Islamists killing secular intellectuals” has been very attractive to the secular journalists in the Middle East and their Western audiences:

Faced with charges that his accession was “a ‘coup’ engineered by rogue elements of the police and supporters of the country’s former autocratic leader” or by “Islamic extremists” the new president says Islamists are a ” part of the society” of the Muslim countrythat should not be ignored and insists that he plans “to create a plural multiparty government”:


Fighting FGM in Sierra Leone

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Our volunteer Nancy Kebe has just returned from her five-week trip to Sierra Leone where, in addition to doing charitable work distributing urgently needed food, clothing and other goods to the poor and needy around the country, she launched our pilot project to educate the people on the actual teachings of Islam regarding the culturally persistent practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). There were no reliable Internet connections in the villages in which she worked so this is the first opportunity she has had to tell us about the success of our pilot project to bring an authentic Islamic perspective to a sensitive issue that has provided fodder to Islamophobes spreading disinformation about Islamic law.

She carried 200 copies of our pamphlet on the subject and before leaving underwent training on how to broach the subject with the people as a question of Shariah rather than as just a secular health issue. Because of her charitable mission, her strong family ties to the country, and the solid scholarship behind our pamphlet, she was most warmly received, as if she were the country’s president. She saved three girls from  the barbaric surgery and prompted calls from the people and the masjids to return to the country for a follow-up visit bringing more representatives of the Minaret of Freedom Institute with her to complete the job she started.

The secular groups opposed to FGM have reduced the practice from 100% of females to 60% of females, but they have hit a wall. Most of the remaining population are less concerned with secular health questions than with what does Islam teach, and the health workers are unqualified to (and in most cases unwilling) to address. People repeatedly told Nancy that they had never seen anything like our pamphlet before, and they were greatly excited.

One woman’s extended family was pressuring her two young nieces, ages 7 and 8, to join the “Bondo Society,” a cultural rite of passage that involves having their clitorises cut and then sending them into seclusion. The rite is made attractive to the girls by the fact that its completion is celebrated by having their hair done up and dressing them in fancy dresses and gold jewelry. The aunt, a teacher, was opposed to the family’s plans but had been unable to dissuade the rest of the family until she read the pamphlet and spoke with Nancy. Intellectually armed, she was able to explain to the family why what they planned to do was against Islam.

One 14-year-old girl had successfully resisted the pressure to have the operation and was in school instead, but her parents were pressing her to leave school to get the operation. After reading the pamphlet and talking to Nancy, she was able to convince her parents that the operation was not part of Islam and they wholeheartedly agreed to let her stay in school.

Everyone told Nancy that what we were doing there had never been done before and was badly needed. She wants to return and bring Minaret of Freedom Institute scholars with her to speak directly to the imams and the media as she has spoken to the women. The people take their Islam seriously in Sierra Leone, but this is a subject that the local Islamic scholars have feared to discuss. The only way to solve the problem is on the demand side with accurate information about Islam presented in a culturally sensitive manner.

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


News and Analysis (2/6/12)

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Exiled Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar warns Israelis that a drect attack on Iran would “be the worst scenario. It will be a gift from God for Ahmadinejad,” allowing the regime to “act as a victim, go around the world, and get support and legitimacy from other little countries”:

“The decision to move forward with prosecutions comes just a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Egypt’s foreign minister that Egypt’s crackdown on NGOs could affect US aid to Egypt”:

Arrests of journalists “have tainted the reputation of a country that, on balance, has taken significant steps toward full democracy over the past decade” but its “successful capitalist growth is spearheaded by the ‘Islamic bourgeoisie’” and “its evolving democracy is spearheaded by unapologetically Muslim politicians”:

For those who don’t find the Qur’anic warning that killing a single person (unless it is someone convicted of murder or widespread criminal activity) is like killing a whole people is not clear enough, 34 imams issue a fatwa (legal opinion) flatly stating that “there is no justification for honor killings, domestic violence and misogyny in Islam”:

The proposed law would eliminate abuses in divorce law and polygyny, but would cause other problems by banning marriage during the peak years of male sexuality, thus pressuring them to find extra-marital means of satisfying their desires:

” The Arab Awakening will fundamentally alter the notion that Islam is incompatible with democratic capitalism” because the old constraints that economic policies and “foreign relations had to meet the test of Western approval, will be replaced by those that will work for the benefit of the citizenry”:

“I very strongly believed in integration…. Here I was at this Ivy League university. But he confounded me a little bit. I had never heard a black man in public speak as forcefully as Malcolm X did that night. It was cataclysmic” — Richard Nurse, one of the three black students in his Brown University class in when Malcom gaver the newly discovered speech:

“A separate meeting that will bring together all other Palestinian factions will be held in Cairo on February 18” to “set the date for the parliamentary and presidential elections” …

… but Netanyahu rejects any solution that means peace for all, saying, “It is either peace with Hamas or peace with Israel. You can’t have them both”:


News and Analysis (2/3/12)

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

“A secret police document shows that the NYPD recommended increasing surveillance of thousands of Muslims and their mosques based solely on their religion”:

As America gives a mixed response to Israel sabre-rattling …

… Khamenei dismisses military threats as evidence “that America has no way but using force and bloodshed to achieve its goals, which further harms America’s rulers, international and domestic credibility,” and adds that “sanctions will benefit us. … More imposed pressures mean more self-reliance for Iran“:

“Photos of Brebesh’s body, seen by Human Rights Watch, show welts, cuts and the apparent removal of toenails, indicating that he was tortured prior to death” constituting the latest of numerous claims of mistreatment by detainees being held in jails across the country”:

Suiniing the Quebec provincial police for $100,000, the “Muslim man alleges he’s become a terror suspect simply because of a workplace quip – he says all he did was tell his sales staff to “blow away” the competition at a trade show”:

Has the Arab spring reached Kuwait? “Opposition secures 34 out of 50 seats in snap parliamentary elections held after anti-corruption protests in December’:

Anger over the soccer fatalities “may provide an opportunity for civilian politicians to come to grips with the military”:

News and Analysis (2/2/12)

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Despite Ban’s call for Israel to comply with International Law on settlements, Palestinians prohibited from visiting relatives held in Israeli prisons protest:

 The recent terrorist act in Norway performed by a devout Christian was not labelled as an act of Christianity. “The media instead described the attacker as a ‘far right-wing’ extremist who was inclined by a ‘Neo-Nazi’ type of philosophy”:

Also in Norway, a band  that sings “To hell with Muhammad and the Mohammedans” and their “unforgivable customs”, and ends by saying “Norway will awaken” is nominated  to win a prize:

“Finance experts from [Freedom and Justice and Nour] say they envision the creation of an index of sharia-compliant companies as part of a new Islamic economy, with banks and insurance companies that adhere to Islamic principles working alongside conventional institutions”:

The FJP “has dissapointed rights advocates” who “view the investigations as an affront to civil society, and were counting on the recently-elected lawmakers to use their new legislative power as a counter-balance to the country’s military leadership” …

… but criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to insure security following fatal clashes after a soccer match is unfair since the military rather than the newly elected parliament is still in charge:

Scott Peterson argues that Iranians are like Americans in their intense national pride and their belief in their own exceptionalism and in fighting tyranny and their commitment to spirituality and individualism:

“His remarks reflected a growing sentiment within the Obama administration that its approach to Iraq, where the official end of U.S. combat operations came 16 months before the final U.S. troop withdrawal in December, may provide a useful model for winding down operations in Afghanistan”:

News and Analysis (2/1/12)

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

“It takes a lot to get K Street to distance itself from a regime. Egypt’s ruling military junta has manged the feat by investigating a group of American NGO workers for criminal prosecution”:

“My 14-year-old son once asked if what he learns at school about rights and liberties was nothing but theory, or a reality that he can believe in. One evening, he concluded that the ‘bad guys [FBI] are using good laws to destroy the lives of good guys.’ Dismayed, he then asked, ‘Is this really America?’ “:

This pernicious law poses one of the greatest threats to civil liberties in our nation’s history“:

A spokesman insists “a majority of the people of Syria believed in a peaceful struggle against the regime. ‘Some security force members and commanders who couldn’t stand the killings of the people left the military, these people sometimes engaging in armed struggles for self-defense. Apart from these, there are no armed groups in the country” …

… and likewise, in Egypt,  FJP leader Mohamed Al-Beltagy, said, “I am against the monopolization of the revolution … when one group claims to speak for the revolution. As long as a demonstration is peaceful, does not disrupt, threaten, burn down or clash, I do not oppose it”:

Is the Brotherhood heading “very far from the principles of the movement”?

The report’s conclusions that “the Taliban’s strength and morale are largely intact despite the Nato military surge, and that significant numbers of Afghan government soldiers are defecting to them, are in stark contrast to Nato’s far more bullish official line”:
While the drone strikes have taken away 1,700 and 2,700 Pakistani lives, the US insists that those deaths are simply necessary to protect the future well-being of US citizens:
The opposition continues to argue against the governments accusations while the government proposes more sanctions against them.

Even after the criticism it received for its passivity during the Rwandan genocide, the UN remains reluctant to interfere with  inner state human right violations: