Archive for April, 2012

News and Analysis (4/11/12)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

“It is now clear that Egypt’s new constitution will not be finished before a new president is elected by June. That means the old constitution, which gives the president near-dictatorial powers, will still prevail when the military council that has ruled Egypt for the past year is replaced”:

The FJP’s “presidential candidate — a self-made multimillionaire tycoon —” distinguishes himself from the opposition by his commitment to “free-market capitalism and reducing corruption,” declaring, “there is no other alternative for Egyptians except to focus sharply on financing a great deal of development projects outside the state budget”:

“The SNC and the Free Syrian Army … accepted Annan’s plan but rejected a last-minute demand by Assad to provide written guarantees that they would lay down their arms. Annan told the UN he had been advised … ‘that the Syrian government is no longer insisting on written guarantees, but would need me to assure that the other parties and governments also accept the plan'”:

“Mira Yusef, a Muslim feminist who founded and runs a statewide domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention program” opposes the anti-shariah bill whose sponsor justifies  the bill as a measure against culturally sanction practices like “honor killings” even as she admits that knows of no such “or how, under the Iowa and U.S. constitutions, it could” possibly happen:

A group calling “for the release of thousands of people detained without charge or trial on suspicion of involvement in ‘militant activity” says its co-founder “detained on charges of “instigating demonstrations, membership of an unlicensed association, supporting the pro-democracy protests in neighbouring Bahrain, and possession of prohibited books” has been force-fed:

In Iraq, the parliament approved the creation of an independent Human Rights Commission to monitor any human rights violations in government and non-government institutions.  Any citizen can appeal to the court and the court will be independent commission under Article 102 of the constitution but will produce annual reports for the parliament:

The victim worked at “the Islamic Culture Center, one of the oldest Islamic groups in Russia, which was banned by Russia’s Supreme Court last year. The group claimed the ban was instigated by the Federal Security Service, Russia’s man KGB successor agency.” The group’s chairman compared the killing “to hate crimes committed by radical ultranationalist groups”:

Are mass murderers like Anders Behring and Mohamed Merah lunatics, ideologues or “losers wishing to blow up the world around them, because they feel humiliated or rejected, whether socially, professionally or sexually”?

Despite ” torrents of hate mail and animosity from the conservative Muslim community,” Ludovic Mohamed Zahed, married to his partner Qiyam Al Din through the blessings of a Mauritian Imam named Jamal, “admitted that he faces more obstacles with French law than Muslim opprobrium”:

News and Analysis (4/9/12)

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Syria refuse to honor its agreement, adding new conditions, and escalating the violence until it spills over the borders with Turkey and Lebanon:

A glaring highlight on the divide between the allies’ respective counter-terorrism strategies:

The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization says that once Iran has enough medical-grade uranium in stock, “enrichment could be dropped it to the 3.5 percent level needed for nuclear power” resolving foreign powers’ concerns  over weapons-grade (90% enrichment) uranium:

Mubarak’s spy chief dismisses the Muslim Brotherhood’s concerns that he threatens Egypt’s revolution, but at least one Israeli legislator openly roots for his victory …

… meanwhile, supporters of the ultra-conservative candidate disqualified because his mother held U.S> citizens protest the immigration documentation is fraudulent, even as other candidates may face similar disqualification …

… and as as the grandson of the MB’s founder argues they lack a “serious set of policies for dealing with Egypt’s stark economic and social problems,” the FJP’s attempts to excuse breaking its promise not to run a candidate for president fail to address the concerns we raised in a recent blog:

Saudi princess calls for a constitution “inspired by the philosophy of the Koran with principles that are set in stone and not open to the whims of individual judges as is the case now. In particular, the constitution should protect every citizen’s basic human rights regardless of their sex, status or sect. Everyone should be equal before the law”:

Amnesty International says the pro-democracy demonstrator’s confession was “made under duress, and no evidence was presented showing he had used, or advocated violence,” and his daughter writes that he “told guards ‘If I die, I die with dignity'” and she and her mother are proud and support “him all the way, no matter what he decide[s]”:

“Salah arrived at Heathrow Airport on June 25 and was detained three days later. He later sought damages for unlawful detention, and the High Court ruled that since he was not given “proper and sufficient reasons” for his arrest until the third day of his detention, he should receive damages for that period’

Experts ask if the emergence of the “lone wolf” terrorist might be connected to “estimates that about half of French inmates are Muslim, far greater than the proportion in the population at large” while “there are only 151 Muslim prison chaplains … compared to 700 Roman Catholic chaplains”:


News and Analysis (4/7/12)

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

With escalating violence in Syria condemned by the U.N. secretary-general, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood promises”to establish pluralism and democracy in a civil constitutional State, with equality of all citizens – even in access to the country’s ‘highest level posts,’ and with full respect for human rights and freedoms” …

… but while the U.S. goodwill tour of their Egyptian counterparts hits the right high notes, the broken promise to stay out of the Egyptian presidential race fuels doubts in the minds of Christians, liberals, secularists, women and others as to what other promises it would break …

… and seems to have encouraged Mubarak’s chief intelligence officer to throw his hat into the ring just as the Nour Party candidate is disqualified for having an mother with a U.S. citizenship:

Unintended consequences continue to bedevil Western intervention into Muslim affairs:

“The overarching theme of these stories is, of course, the often conflicting pulls of religion and sexuality and how these Muslim women struggle to reconcile the two, particularly in the case where their partner is not Muslim. And yet what ties many of these women together is their own personal commitment to Islam”:

“Being discriminated against for wearing certain types of clothing, or coming from certain religious or racial backgrounds is unacceptable… We want to help spread the word on campus to both honor Trayvon and Shaima’s lives, and to send a loud and clear message” — Yale Muslim Students Association announcement:

Correspondent alleges “Court proceedings in the Gaza Strip are not held in public, and defendants are identified only by their initials, so it can be difficult event to match announcements of executions even with previous news of arrests or convictions…. It is not even possible to know what specific charges the executed men faced”:

An Israeli official brands an Iranian legislator’s protest that Iran could build a nuclear weapon but doesn’t want to as a threat, but Israel’s Iranian Jews are left in an awkward position as they recall “relations with Muslims back in Iran as being ”so good it is hard to describe'” insisting neither they nor the Iranian people want war and asking what went wrong?


The FJP Vision Is Inspiring, but Is It Believable?

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

I attended the presentation given by the Freedom and Justice Party’s delegation to the U.S. at Georgetown University sponsored by the Al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding last Wednesday. The FJP advocates on the panel spoke well and for the most part presented an inspiring vision for Egypt’s future. They spoke of the centrality of freedom,  dignity, justice, democracy, and rule of law to a free and prosperous Egypt in which civil society and a free market as well as democratic government would flourish and in which inspiration of its Islamic and Egyptian heritage would embrace rather than constrain the role of Christians and women in society, including politics. They denounced  the policies of the old regime that had placed obstacles in the way of Christians renovating their churches and prevented them from building new ones.

I was disappointed in one major respect. They failed to appreciate that by breaking their promise not to run a candidate for president, they have undermined their own credibility. Why should Coptic Christians, women, liberals, and secularists believe their beautiful promises if they themselves have no respect for their own promises?

They had an explanation for their change of heart. (Politicians always do.) Circumstances have changed since the Muslim Brotherhood expelled Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh for violating their pledge that no member of theirs would run for president. Back then, they said, they would be satisfied to have the pluarality in the parliament and let others dominate the executive branch, but since then, they complain, the military has made it clear that it will not let them form the government to which their parliamentary victory entitles them  I don’t buy it. If they didn’t have the foresight to see that the ,military would stubbornly cling to power and Aboul Fotouh did, why can’t they simply forgive Aboul Fatouh and support his bid rather than run another candidate and split the moderate Islamist vote leaving the field open for a “Salafi” candidate or for a member of the old regime like Mubarak’s torturer-in-chief Omar Suleiman to become the new pharaoh?

Of course, there is nothing new about politicians breaking promises. We joke about it in America: “How do you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” Perhaps it is inevitable that democratic politics requires people to sell out. But it is very sad indeed when people sell out before the  democracy has even been established.

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

News and Analysis (4/5/12)

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Liberals, secularists and even some members of the Muslim Brotherhood are “furious” or “livid” over the FJP’s about-face on running a presidential candidate, but the New York Times reports that their “candidate is in regular contact with U.S. Ambassador Anne Paterson, and that U.S. officials have praised his moderation, intelligence and effectiveness”:

Support for a “special relationship” with the Kurdish Regional Government appeals to “certain members of the U.S. Congress, think-tanks, and others concerned about diminishing U.S. influence in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s concentration of power, and the destabilizing Iranian role in Iraq”:

Christians are stepping  up their campaign against the Israeli attempt to make Muslims a scapegoat for the Zionist of the Christian community in Palestine.

Critics “charge that prison and exile have hardly equipped [the moderate Islamist] ministers to navigate a difficult transition to democracy” but if “the revolution has so far brought little tangible improvement in living standards, freedom from Mr Ben Ali’s ruthless secret police is one gain Tunisians are determined to keep”:

The judge said, “Whoever authorized these charges has apparently never watched a football game,” and the boys’ attorneys “say they were only charged because of their Muslim background, and no other football player has ever been charged for an incident like this”:

In an act that sparked sectarian violence in Egypt, the supreme court  sentenced a 17-year-old Christian boy to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammad:

“Iraq’s fugitive vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, … wanted by Baghdad authorities on charges of terrorism” flew to Saudi Arabia “as Iraqi officials announced they had called off a national reconciliation conference … that was supposed to ease tensions between Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Sunni and Kurdish factions in his coalition government”:

Don’t say they have no sense of humor. Iranian officials say if the West doesn’t like Istanbul as the venue of the talks, they would gladly consider Syria, China, or Iraq:

Pakistan says the U.S. must provide “concrete evidence” if it wants Islamabad to act against a militant leader Washington has placed a $10 million bounty on. Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit says that any evidence against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, would have to withstand judicial scrutiny:

News and Analysis (4/4/12)

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

A political anthropologist accuses the West of de-democratizing the Middle East “because seldom did its power elites see the region as a people with diverse, dynamic social-cultural texture instead of a repository of multiple resources and strategic interests. Hence their prime aim was to keep the Middle East ‘stable’ and ‘manageable'”:

Muslim Brotherhood finds Egypt’s liberals refuse their offer of more seats on the constitution writing panel in wake of the group’s reneging on their promise not to run a candidate for president and in the midst of a U.S. goodwill tour:

“Those arrested have a similar profile to Mohamed Merah,” say the French police. “They are isolated individuals, who are self-radicalized … [and] tracked on Islamist forums expressing extreme views and said they were preparing to travel to areas including Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Sahel belt to wage jihad (holy war):

In Turkey, coup leaders, both in poor health and hospitalized  have been charged with crimes against the state and face possible life imprisonment for leading the coup:

Scoffing at the accusation that he is in hiding or connected with the Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed openly declares his itinerary:

“[T]here is a real danger that Western analysts will mistakenly identify north Nigeria’s conservative Islam with Boko Haram’s violent ideology, instead of seeing the extremists for who they are: violent groups espousing fringe views that most Nigerian Muslims reject”:

To their regret Muslims were the deciding favor in George W. Bush’s election in 2000. A report suggests they may decide this year’s Presidential election as well:

In an attempt to assert his power in parliament, the Indonesian president expels the Islamist Party from the government coalition after a disagreement over fuel pricing:

“We are counting on Tunisian and foreign businessmen to help boost growth and reduce unemployment,” he added. He also said the government was hoping Tunisians would seek work abroad in Europe, the Gulf and neighbouring Libya to help bring down unemployment and boost growth at home:

News and Analysis (4/2/12)

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

By breaking its promise to stay out of Egypt’s presidential election,  the Muslim Brotherhood has spoiled its reputation for integrity to the point that members are defecting and it does not ameliorate dissatisfaction with its dominance over the panel charged with writing the constitution:

He wanted to topple Saddam Hussein and he knew Americans wouldn’t commit to a war that would end up “costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds” so he lied and U.S> officials with same objective sold the lies to the public:

Long before he “killed eight of his colleagues and one civilian Friday morning” Asadullah started on the road of treason by giving “the Taliban permission to kill his father,” an parricidal act of betrayal for which he was rewarded by the Afghan government with a paid trip to Mecca as compensation for his father’s death:

Saying that “the FBI was undermining its efforts to improve relations with Muslims,” Civil Rights Commission member Michael Yaki called on the DoJ’s “inspector general to consider both an investigation of the Bay Area disclosures and a ‘comprehensive review of the civil rights implications of all FBI engagement activities’ with Arabs and Muslims”:

“I’m a Christian but I stand with my Muslin brothers and sisters…. If it’s Muslims who are spied upon just because of their religion, which group will be next?” — Newark Council member Luis Quintana:

Muslim women at Thompson Rivers University were occasionally frustrated by confrontations with those who have “fallen for stereotype over fact,” so “Hayfaa Golabkhan came up with the idea for the Muslim Sisters Club … ‘not only to show our own culture, it’s to share my ways of helping people'”:

Ironically, Catholic George Galloway’s victory demonstrates the importance of the Muslim vote in Bradford West; his success can be credited to Galloway’s out-Musliming his Muslim opponent and the focus of England’s Muslim electorate on foreign policy issues:

“There is still little international appetite for a full-scale military intervention. But officials from several countries described consensus on a range of escalating steps to pressure the regime, aid opposition fighters and ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Syrian people”

“The prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said on Monday that his foreign minister was in Cairo for ‘intensive consultations’ with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority on” Israeli’s chocking off of fuel that the ICRC says is “putting the lives of thousands of patients in danger”: