Archive for May, 2014

News and Analysis (5/30/14)

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Egypt is claiming the turnout in the election of Sisi is not as bad as initially reported, and moves to prove it by arresting a woman they accuse of”charged with filming empty polling stations during the country’s presidential election this week”:

Under pressure for his defense of pastor’s sermon characterizing Islam as a “doctrine spawned in hell,” Northern Ireland’s First Minister was quick to explain that he was supporting the pastor’s freedom of speech, not the bigotry of the sermon itself:

Jonathan threatens “total war”, but Nigeria is awash with speculation “of a possible deal would be Boko Haram freeing some or all of the girls in return for the government releasing Boko Haram operatives and/or their wives and children who are currently extra-judicially detained without charge”:

A “2006 law, passed after Hamas won elections, … explicitly forbids US aid for a ‘Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority’. That provision is already being interpreted by some in Congress as being applicable to a technocratic government backed by Hamas”:

“[T]he 18-to-36-year-olds who make up a majority of the country … are challenging what one Pakistani Millennial calls the “culture of dependency” and want to build a more self-reliant Pakistan”:

“A Pakistani man demanding justice after his pregnant wife was murdered outside Lahore’s high court this week admitted on Thursday to strangling his first wife … [saying,] ‘I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love'”:

Dr. Wani said international outcry against his wife’s unjust sentencing to death plus one hundred lashes has been “a real boost” and “it is his wife’s right to choose her own religion”, adding,  “She grew up… with her mother, went to the church and I don’t think that means that she” has broken any laws:

The deadline for “the British government’s controversial review of the Muslim Brotherhood … comes just as Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is confirmed as Egypt’s next president….  If its purpose was, as the critics charge, to please Arab autocrats, it conclusions look unlikely to help”:

The Iraq Inquiry “decision to exclude full details of correspondence between Mr Blair and former US president George Bush has angered the families of British personnel who lost their lives in Iraq”:

News and Analysis (5/28/14)

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

This is NOT a satire. These are actual Egyptian newscasters expressing their amazement and frustration at the fact that Egyptian voters are not willing to participate in the sham election of Sisi …

… but the regime is even more panicked than their minions in the media desperately and ineffectually opening the polls for an unscheduled third day:

“Supporters of President Assad’s government will be keen to demonstrate their loyalty…. [and o]thers who are not hardcore backers of the opposition may feel the government is going to survive, and fear they will not be able to return home if they do not vote”:

“If the last 11 months have been brutal for the Brotherhood, they have also been transformative for the women who have long operated in its shadow: the Muslim Sisterhood”:

US efforts on the 300 girls is small and may not help. But it is large enough to start ‘mission creep’ and get America blamed for a war on Islam…. Nigerian military officers yesterday claimed to know where the girls are being held”:

A new definition for khutzba? The state corrections department claims it need not offer Muslims the same food it offers Jews because it incarcerates so many more Muslims that Jews:

“Transferring control of one of the most sensitive sites on the planet to an extreme, exclusionary organization such as Elad is an act of colossal irresponsibility…. Elad controlling turf immediately below Al Aqsa mosque is a nightmare scenario”:

“A half-dozen other organizations, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, have offered support to the Muslim group” that has charged the PM’s chief spokesman with libel:

“A Turkish court on Monday ordered the arrests of four former Israeli military commanders being tried in absentia over the killing of nine people aboard a Turkish aid ship that tried to break a Gaza blockade in 2010”:

Even the State  Department recognizes the situation in Libya has become dangerous for Americans and  warns ‘US citizens “to depart immediately” and “against all but essential travel to Tripoli and against any travel outside the Libyan capital”:

News and Analysis (5/26/14)

Monday, May 26th, 2014

At least three Muslim youths were killed and mutilated by a Christian militia in the Central African Republic while on their way to play in a reconciliation football game between the two faiths,

“The leader of Nigeria’s Muslims on Sunday called for followers of the faith to unite against Boko Haram extremists, pledging the government full support to ensure their defeat … [and that] the government should address issues of inequality toward Muslims, which … [have fueled] the five-year insurgency”:

As Egypt conducts an election from which popular opposition parties have been excluded …

… “Egypt is redefining authoritarianism by both institutionalizing the ‘deep state’ and crystallizing military rule… [by employing] three important elements: the closing of political space, the elimination of public dissent, and the removal of the trappings of democracy” …

… and a “former Muslim Brotherhood leader has warned that government oppression in Egypt is fanning militancy that will pose a threat abroad unless the army-backed authorities start respecting freedom and human rights“:

Netanyahu prompted the Pope to visit the “Memorial to the Victims of Terror” after the latter’s “surprise stop at the hulking concrete [apartheid wall], daubed with anti-Israeli graffiti, which separates Bethlehem and Jerusalem” …

… but journalist Max Blumenthal explains the demographic reasons why Israel can never respect the lives or property rights of Palestinians:

After he shaved his head in solidarity with his bullied student, other students laughed at him, but he “would tell them that many scientists, many intellectuals had no hair on their heads, and that having no hair is no problem.’ Soon, every student in the class had also shaved his head. The bullying stopped”:

A Christian school certainly has a right to reject women who violate Christian principles, but exactly how does dressing like Mary, the mother of Jesus, (peace be upon them both)  constitute a violation of Christian principles?

“A new PBS documentary [‘Valentino’s Ghost’] reveals how films and other media have shaped an anti-Muslim narrative…. PBS indicated that it would not use the film without considerable changes. Much of the excising relates to segments critical of Israel and its policies, as well as its U.S. lobby, AIPAC”:

“The parliament session was held amid tight security in a palace east of the capital after the renegade general’s forces said that the legitimacy of the parliament has expired. A spokesman for Gen. Khalifa Hifter had threatened Saturday to attack the parliament session if it convened”:

“[T]his isn’t a battle over beliefs — it’s a battle over culture.” Many “mosques need new habits and more hospitality”:

News and Analysis (5/23/14)

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

“NSA defenders still won’t tell the whole truth, but a newly revealed damage assessment offers a window into government damage control – not any actual damage done by Snowden”:

A Kansas sheriff’s office insists on having a man who can’t tell the difference between Hamas and the Council on American Islamic Relation train its officers in how to spot terrorists. Say what???

“There are signs of a diplomatic thaw between Iran and the Arab oil monarchies of the Gulf. It has just been announced that the ruler of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, will make a state visit to Iran. This news comes after it was confirmed that the Iranian foreign minister has been invited to Riyadh”:

“Khalifa Hifter, who has been leading an armed revolt in Libya since Friday, called for a new presidential council and parliamentary elections Wednesday. A divisive figure in Libya, many worry Hifter’s goal is to be a new Gadhafi”:

“Embracing the law — the constitution and Shari’a at once — would combat the Taliban’s political initiative, dispel corrosive doubts about the government’s true motives and affiliations, and give U.S. and NATO skeptics who see Pakistan playing a “double game” a better narrative to focus on”:

“After election results were announced on May 16, and it became clear that the BJP won a majority of its own, and would not have to depend even on its NDA allies, the Muslim forum softened its stance towards the BJP”:

“Israel has cultivated millions of global [Evangelical] supporters …. But since Palestinian church leaders called for … solidarity five years ago, mainstream Protestants have increasingly aligned themselves with pro-Palestinian initiatives, including the” BDS movement:

“Like much of the program Sisi has hinted at in media appearances, the map draws on practices from the era of President Hosni Mubarak, prompting more accusations that the former army chief is a product of the old regime”

“Responding to the draft report, the Olive Tree leadership said the school had no books available to children that described or advocated stoning women, and called a claim that the library carried no books on religions other than Islam ‘an outright fabrication'”:

Is Secularism by Any Means Possible? A Reading of the ‘Civil State’ in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s Contemporary Political Statements and Declarations

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

[This is the fifth in a series of my notes on the 2013 International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Islamic Reform Movements After the Arab Spring held in Herndon, VA.These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. The official proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“Is Secularism by Any Means Possible? A Reading of the ‘Civil State’ in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s Contemporary Political Statements and Declarations”

Najib Awad, Hartford Seminary

I was invited to present this paper by some of the senior leaders of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), whose political project is online at their website. This is a 9-page summary of 25 page critique published on their website.

Every known application of civil society is secular. Is there any sense of secularity in the SMB understanding of civil society? The “Political Project of the Syria of the Future” is the view of the SMB. This view is both religious and particularist rather than secular or civil. For them Syrian identity is both Arab and Islamic. The articulation of an Arab dimension is a kind of admission of the non-Muslim element of Arab identity, yet the thesis is entirely constructed on Islamic identity. Islam is seen as the one absolute ahistorical premise. By realizing ijtihad the SMB project opens space for individual interpretation of Islam’s rules and principles, but this margin is inescapable narrow and restrained. This is not seen as a door for new thought, but a controlled tolerance that imprisons individual ijtihad into secondary areas  and limits even this ijtihad to subset of society, leaving the main decisions to the ulama’ alone. They have control over the public square. The faqih alone and not the nation determines the course of the nation, and he is to serve the interests of only one group in the community, the “authentic” Muslims.

In part 3, the SMB understanding of the modern state says pluralism is the natural outcome of freedom of thought and belief and conjectures that as Islam offers religious freedom it naturally grants political freedom. “State with authoritative political reference,” a state founded on a single norm or reference, Islam. This impoverishes its pluralism. If Islam permeates Syrians, they are Muslims whether they like it or not. Pluralism is reduced for a society of equals to a toleration of inferior participants. Rather than emancipate religion from the swamp of political games it reduces Islam to a political Islamization of the state.

The social civil society seeks religion as a personal matter. In the SMB view, there is no room for cultural plurality. In this view Islam is not one view among others, not a cultural choice, but a state of beingness. If the SMB wants a genuine pluralism they must embrace completely all the people of Syria regardless of their religious identity. Otherwise they should drop the language of plurality and avoid any form of dissimulation.


Mohamed Mosaad Abdelaziz Mohamed, Northern Arizona University: I agree completely with the paper except that there is both the written and the oral. Someone told me there is huqm and there is fatwa so the land must be all Muslim, but there must be compromise and the Palestinians will get West Bank and Gaza, yet only days later in print he said there will be no compromise with Israel and there must be war to liberate all of Palestine. As an orthopedist I took people’s statements literally. As a psychologist I ask “What do they mean?”As an anthropologist, I don’t care what they say; I watch what they do. Arabs do not exchange statements of truth, they exchange propositions. If you don’t believe me watch Arabs discussing whether they want a cup of coffee. It is true they do not say how to harmonize their goals, but that is because they do not know.

Abadir Ibrahim, St. Thomas University School of Law: I wish the paper had discussed democracy as well and not just secularism. I also would like to see the question “Why secularization?” addressed. It is something produced in European history. Also you did not define civil society.

Awad: I cannot address their political practice because they have not had an opportunity to practice. I do not expect them to speak as a state, not yet, but they have identified this as their political project.  If I discuss democracy as well, I would have written a book and maybe I will one day.  However, they don’t discuss democracy at all. In fact to they use the word secular only once to say their project is not secular. It seems to me their notion of democracy is focused on the right to vote.

Q: People moderate in power. Look at Hamas. Your approach is like an old positivist reading of positivism. If you read post-modern Western scholars they have no concern about pushing religion into the private sphere, they accept public religion as fact whether they like it or not.  I think separation of church and state is a minimum requirement of democracy. I think there was a separation of religion and politics immediately after the Prophet. We are already secularized, and the task is to make it more authentic as you have mentioned.

Awad: In the full version of my paper is a section on civil society that mentions both Charles Taylor and Habermass. I agree on the dangers of mixing ideology and politics and if they would take my advice I would have them revise their paper accordingly.

Q: My test for any statement about Islam is can it be translated into Arabic. Secular, zaman, does not appear in the Qur’an at all but dunya does: Do not forget your share in this world.

Awad: In the Syrian discussion it stands for that society that is pluralist, inclusive, and in which religion is present but is not the only referential idea of what is right or wrong.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: Why do you think they asked for your comments and why did they publish them on their website? Do they understand secularity?

Q: You know that you cannot understand a document without understanding its context. It seems you may have fallen into pure textuality. When the Prophet went to Medina he established a civil society in Medina.

Awad: I think they seriously value my opinion and that is why I would like IIIT to publish it otherwise I would translate it into Arabic and distribute it to them. I invite them to study new notions of secularity.

I fully agree on the importance of contextuality. There are two basic understandings of context: the practical application of understanding, which I cannot address because I’m waiting—optimistically, really—for them to show that. The other meaning is the setting that the text is written for or about or with respect to. The context here is Syria.

I agree that there is a hate speech in the media and on the streets. One of the things I am involved in is speaking to the Christians and those who do not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood who have begun to use a very aggressive language that you are with us or against us and demonizing the other. But the SMB also doesn’t know the other well. You can’t expect this during a war and we hope that after the war we will start to deal with that.

Mohamed: I would recommend the later work of Habermass when he speaks of the law as a discourse grounded not in reason but in norms.

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

News and Analysis (5/21/14)

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Libya plans to hold elections even as it unravels, divided between “Islamist politicians who dominate Libya’s interim parliament, and … rivals … amassing behind Khalifa Haftar, the retired general. His forces have attacked Islamist militias in Benghazi and claimed credit for an attack on the ….parliament”:

Pharrell said it is “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness” …

… and we hope he feels the same way about the arson directed against “The Ulfah Collective, the first practising Muslim female band [that] … sings traditional Islamic songs alongside Christian gospel music and once appeared in front of 12,000 fans at Wembley Arena with the late Bee Gee, Robin Gibb” …

… while both sides of the controversy over an Iranian film star’s air kiss with French director Giles Jacob exhibit tone-deafness toward someone else’s culture. “It was me who gave a kiss to Madame Hatami,” Jacobs insisted, exonerating Hatemi who is serving “on the prestigious Cannes judges panel”:

Critics charge that the school’s president with “deems it more important for prospective students of Southwestern to agree to avoid the ‘use and possession of alcohol and tobacco’ than to affirm their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior””; can a Muslim have a “mature Christian character”?

“The British government Tuesday praised the terrorism conviction in New York of a radical Muslim cleric it spent a decade trying to expel to the U.S. for prosecution and vowed to prevent such drawn-out extraditions from happening again” …

… yet the fact that Britain itself could not prosecute the firebrand preacher raises questions as to whether protections for the accused are stronger in Britain than in the U.S.; did he break no British law?:

Hoping to avoid sanctions, the Dutch foreign minister “has stressed to Saudi authorities ‘that the Netherlands has freedom of expression, but that Mr. Wilders’ standpoint … — deliberately offending people by manipulating a flag — is absolutely not shared in any way by the Dutch government”:

Unmoved by Greenwald’s insistence that identifying the fifth country from which “the US is harvesting cellphone metadata … ‘could lead to increased violence'” Assange has promised “reveal the name of the censored country whose population is being mass recorded” by 10:36 pm (GMT) on May 22:

“There is no direct mention of Modi but the video … refers repeatedly to the events in Gujarat in 2002…. BJP officials said that they will take a tougher stance on internal security than the outgoing Congress party administration”:

Only “months after he became pope, … Francis declared his opposition” to a Western invasion of Syria, winning “much goodwill in the Islamic world, in many parts of which the memory of the Christian-led Crusades is still alive” …

… he will confront the diminution of the Christian community since Israel’s founding caused by “high Jewish immigration and Christian emigration … and a low birthrate among Christians who stay[,] Israeli restrictions in the occupied West Bank” and the barrier that “has choked cities like Bethlehem”:

“The state has all the power in Turkey. Citizens do not. We as a nation are used to being slapped by those in positions of higher authority. In family, in school, in the army, in the street, in the supermarket … the slap is everywhere”:

Is Religion One Thing and the State Another? Egyptian Islamist Organizations and the Question of Institutional Political Involvement

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

[This is the fourth in a series of my notes on the 2013 International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Islamic Reform Movements After the Arab Spring held in Herndon, VA. These notes have only been lightly edited and represent my perception of the discussion. The proceedings will be published by IIIT at a later time. Responsibility for any errors in the notes is mine alone. Names of participants (other than mine) in the general discussion have been omitted by request of the organizers.]

“Is Religion One Thing and the State Another? Egyptian Islamist Organizations and the Question of Institutional Political Involvement”

Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University

If an Islamic group directly involves itself in politics, have they tainted their religious credentials? Does that make people have a more or less negative view of Islam in society? Is it possible for an organization involved in religious preaching and social services to participate in politics without compromising the rest of its mission? Iranians are asking if their decision to get involved in politics has adversely affected the perception of Islam.

From the beginning the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has had an ambiguous relationship with politics. In 1984 they began to run candidates as independents and did very well. A referendum on Article 2 (“Islam is the Religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence”) passed a referendum with about 70% of the vote. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fatouh was opposed to forming Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as an arm of the MB. He lost that discussion and left the MB. Hisb al-Wasat wanted the party to be completely distinct from the religious movement and recruited Christian members. It does not identify itself as Islamist, but it embraces Islamist values.

In Jamaat Islamiyya, Dr. Ibrahim argued that violent activities had adversely affected their religious calling and argued on similar grounds against forming a party, but they did. While FJP is formally independent of the MB, no one disputes the influence of the MB’s Guidance Bureau. The options were to be coterminous organization (a political wing, formally separate but heavily influenced), or completely separate but drawing on one another. The Nour Party chose sufficient independence so that if things turned out badly it could be ejected without harm to the mother organization.

The fact that the Egyptian public square is filled with anti-Muslim vitriol indicates that no one distinguishes between the FJP and the MB Guidance Bureau. What is surprising is that the downturn in MB popularity is not as great as generally propagated. According to Pew, favorable ratings dropped from 75% in 2011 to 63% now. This is not great when one considers how difficult things have been. Francois Hollande’s ratings have fallen much further.

Emad Abdel Ghafour left the Nour Party to form his own party. Of all the major presidential candidates Abol Fatouh has the highest favorable and lowest unfavorable ratings. Wasat has proven influential since the elections.

A large number of Egyptians are unhappy about the role of Islam in politics. The percentage want the Qur’an playing no role in law has doubled.



Mohamed Mosaad Abdelaziz Mohamed, Northern Arizona University: I liked Brown’s paper. People do not split over ideology, only over personal things. I agree that Morsi has to appoint Muslim Brothers, but they must be qualified.

Brown: I refer you to the second Bush administration.

Mohamed: Maybe I’m wrong. I agree completely with the second paper except, there is both the written and the oral. Someone told me there is huqm and there is fatwa so the land must be all Muslim, but there must be compromise and the Palestinians will get WB and Gaza, yet only days later in print he said there will be no compromise with Israel and there must be war to liberate all of Palestine. As an orthopedist I took people’s statement literally. As a psychologist I ask “What do they mean?”As an anthropologist, I don’t care what they say; I watch what they do. Arabs do not exchange statements of truth, they exchange propositions. If you don’t believe me watch Arabs discussing whether they want a cup of coffee. It is true they do not say how to harmonize their goals, but thatis because they do not know.

Abadir Ibrahim, St. Thomas University School of Law: Will this paper move beyond analysis to facts? It is a problem when people vote on ethnicity (or sect) rather than on issues.

Brown: I agree that personally clash is more important than ideological disagreements. That’s why Shattir couldn’t stomach Aboul Fattouh to be in charge. Those that have made clear distinctions between their religious and political organizations have done better than those that haven’t.


Q: We have always had a mixture of ideology and politics. We do not oppose religion to civil society. We oppose military to civil society. If we adopt the minimalist definition of democracy we can let the people choose.

Brown: Pre-modern civil society did exist. Pre-modern states didn’t do very much. It is the modern state that has expanded into every aspect of life. I would not dispute that the MB has made one bad decision after another. I am bothered by the notion that broken promises by politicians is something without precedent.

Q: When the Prophet went to Medina he established a civil society in Medina.

Q: Islamic movements are often accused of hate speech. In Egypt there is a hate speech directed against the Islamists. How many have been killed by mobs?

Brown: I’m stunned at people I’ve known for years who suddenly sound like they’ve taken some terrible drug. These are normal people, not [bigots] who adopted extreme rhetoric overnight. I would love to hear an explanation.

Q: Somehow in Muslim society more than in others people look funny at religious leaders. Because I pray people call me an ikhwani. We are religious yet mistrustful of religious leaders at the same time.

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

News and Analysis (5/19/14)

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Goodluck Jonathan tries to paint Boko Haram as a Nigerian al-Qaida, but the interventionism he courts in support of his repressive regime is what turns national terrorists into international terrorists …

… and the spillover of the intervention into Libya is what provided heavy arms to Boko Haram in the first place …

… beyond the chaos it has introduced ito Libya:

“The parliament speaker said that claims she was raised as non-Muslim are untrue. She is a Muslim raised in an Islamic environment and her brother, a Muslim, filed the complaint against her … [that] alleges she went missing for several years and her family was shocked to find out she married a Christian…

… but a leading British Muslim thinker Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui” says that the Qur’an mandates “freedom  of religion. The idea that former Muslims should be put to death was introduced later as part of ‘man-made sharia’law” and is “being debated by Muslim scholars around the world”:

Muslim support for BJP has increased …

… yet this “It is the first time that a ruling party has no Muslims in the Lok Sabha, the apparent Modi “wave” having failed to impact the BJP’s Muslim candidates. The party had fielded seven Muslims among 482 candidates (1.45 per cent) and all lost”:

“An Egyptian court acquitted 169 Muslim Brotherhood supporters charged in connection with unrest that followed the overthrow of president Mohamed Mursi last year, breaking a pattern of mass convictions at trials involving the Islamist opposition”:

“Producers have asked her to censor her own jokes, telling her that she is “too conceptual, theoretical, laden with message,” but the stakes are too high for Sakdiyah to shut up…. Great comedy mirrors the hypocrisy of a culture, which means it hurts real bad”:

“The Corrie family will ask Israel’s highest court on Wednesday to overturn a 2012 judgment by a lower court in Haifa … that, by entering a conflict area and impeding the work of the bulldozers [demolishing the homes of Palestinians] , Corrie was responsible for her own death”:

“The arrests seems to signal a shift in relations between the mining company and the government.” Questions have been “asked about mine owner Alp Gürkan’s political connections. His wife is said to be a local councillor for the governing party and his company leases several publicly owned coal mines”:

The fate of the Iranian reconciliation with the West is still unclear:

“The judge dismissed the case after police produced a letter from the Ministry of Interior attesting that the agent was allowed to carry a weapon while in Pakistan and therefore any ammunition was legal”:

News and Analysis (5/16/14)

Friday, May 16th, 2014

“[I]n a March 2009 hearing, [Judge] Brinkema expressed her opinion that [Sami] Al-Arian may have been essentially hoodwinked. ‘But I think there’s something more important here, and that’s the integrity of the Justice Department'”:

With an absent Muslim father, she was raised by her Christian mother; yet, she was unjustly convicted of apostasy and disgracefully charged with adultery for having sex with her Christian husband. Given three days to recant, she refused to renounce the religion in which she was raised …

… while at the other extreme of the perversion of Islam scale, some Indonesians engage in anonymous adultery in the belief it will confer divine favor upon them:

Whatever the damage turns out to be, the mine-owners need to be held strictly responsible for it lest Turkey fall into the trap so no business in the country indulges in the false economy that shifts costs of risk to its workers or to taxpayers as a regulatory regime would do:

Modi’s victory, attributed to development gains in Gujurat was larger than expected, but can his pledge to include Muslims and Christians in the growth be taken seriously given the degree to which identity politics is integrated into India’s culture?

Posting of conflicting videos was “‘fair use,’ because it was for the purpose of making ‘religiously based criticism against a public figure on a matter of public concern’ based on … sincerely held religious beliefs that ‘it is morally wrong to lie, and especially wrong to lie in a church and to U.S. Marines’:

Prosecutors have unsuccessfully tried to blame Iran and Hezbollah for the bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association. Now “a federal court is blocking a joint Argentinian-Iranain ‘truth commission’ … to investigate the 1994 bombing …, but officials say they will appeal”:

“For fans, the app is a vindication of Palestinian history which has been largely erased from modern-day Israel, where the term nakba is banned in school textbooks and it’s not uncommon for Arabic-language signs to transliterate Hebrew place names of modern Israeli towns”:

Glenn “Greenwald made public slides that Snowden obtained from the NSA” stating that ” intelligence relations with Israel … arguably tilted heavily in favor of Israeli security concerns. 9/11 came, and went, with NSA’s only true Third Party CT relationship being driven almost totally by the needs of” Israel …

… and Israel is responding to the rising tide of evidence of its espionage in America with its usual weapons, but this time, “[m]oney, rushed state visits and accusations of anti-Semitism may not be enough to save proposed visa waivers”:

News and Analysis (5/14/14)

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

One Egyptian is spared, …

… but an Egyptian-American’s letter from prison reveals the depth of the junta’s cruelty:

Hatred belongs in the public domain. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court says that while Pamela Geller may use terms disparaging other people, she can’t use the power of the state to prevent others from using them:

“The New York Police Department has no intention of scrapping a policy of recruiting Muslim arrestees and arrestees from Muslim countries as informants, visiting NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told The Jerusalem Post”:

As negotiators make another attempt to start a final draft on a nuclear accord …

… America prosecutes an Israeli for selling jet parts to Iran …

… and Iran boasts of a pending test flight for its replica of a downed U.S. drone …

… Saudi Arabia and Iran both signal desire to end the divisiveness that leaves the would-be regional leaders easy prey to their common enemies:

As the chair of governors at the “school at the centre of the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations” expresses his shock at the poliferation of “false allegations”, …

… “with each reincarnation of a creeping Islamic threat, the gulf between the facts and what is reported widens. The following are some of the most popular examples – and the facts that discredit them”:

The shocking nature of Boko Haram’s most recent atrocity has put the little-understood terrorist group in the spotlight:

Proving they prefer autonomy to welfare, “Iraqi Kurdistan is risking the loss of its share of Iraq’s national budget to secure greater independence and the right to manage its own oil”:

Dakka claimed that rather than wait while his attorney finished parking his car, an impatient detective “lunged toward Dakka’s daughter to bring her inside the headquarters, and a melee started in which … police officers allegedly beat Dakka to the ground” and the called Dakka names “and uttered expletives”:

“[I]mplementation and timing of the reform remain in doubt, as does the nature of the system that will take its place. In one significant change it will become easier for foreigners to leave the country and change jobs. This and other reforms will have to be ratified by the shura (advisory) council”: