Archive for October, 2014

News and Analysis (10/14/14)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Have the Western media and mainstream Muslims exaggerated the barbarity of the so-called Islamic state? IS explains why it advocates slavery, concubinage, and violence in its own words (with a coerced assist from hostage John Cantlie):

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who took office last month, has admitted to previous ‘excesses’ by security forces and vowed to govern for all Iraqis. He has not yet commented directly on allegations contained in the Amnesty report but has previously said Iraq faces an ‘existential’ battle against militants from Islamic State”:

US mulls an expanded role as Kurds slow down IS troops near the Turkish  border, but Turkey maintains its ambiguity over the Kurdish, and its own, role:

“Allowing extremist Israeli settlers to raid Al Aksa compound protected by the Israeli police is a further proof of the belligerent agenda of the extremist Israeli government. Such actions are part of the Israeli goal to turn Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish city” — PLO statement against the most recent Israeli provocations ….

… In contrast, Indian Muslims clean a synagogue, “its furniture and artifacts” so that it will be available for prayers to the Indian city’s twenty or so remaining Jews:

“The shared need for change has nudged along a series of compromises that set the stage for a conference on Sunday in Cairo where world donors are expected to fork over billions of dollars for reconstruction in Gaza”:

“One specific reservation [about the assault] is whether the abduction of a single soldier could have justified such heavy and relentless use of force in a populated area”:

Britain’s House of Commons voted 274-12 to recognize the Palestinian state. The vote is strictly symbolic and “the decision will not decide government policy”; but it sneds a message to Israel that he world’s patience is running out:

“I think a final settlement can be achieved in these remaining 40 days. We will not return to the situation a year ago. The world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations”:

“[W]orkers threw rocks, burnt tires and closed a major road late Sunday to protest their employers’ negligence. The protesters say they should have been provided transportation back to Egypt by now. The men are among 1,700 seasonal butchers who stay in Saudi Arabia during the month of hajj”:

News and Analysis (10/10/14)

Friday, October 10th, 2014

While IS murders innocent humanitarians …

… Muslim neighbors of a one victim of IS murder raise funds “to help provide financial support for Alan’s family and other ongoing projects to benefit those in need to ensure his legacy continue”:

The continuing series of American missteps in the Middle East now threatens one of our most moderate and stable allies:

“Egypt has clamped down on security and tightened control over faculties…. ‘Our demands have not changed, but the situation has moved on without us. All we achieved were friends in prison, friends in graves,’ says Hend … [who took] a leading role in Al Azhar’s Muslim Brotherhood protests” …

.. and in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria the repression continues:

“It’s not fair that we have to constantly keep justifying and explaining things that people have not put any effort in trying to understand” – Amirah Amin, a “social worker … mentoring a handful of young women … [in a] group, called ‘SisterHOOD'”:

“The Instagram account has since been frozen by its users, with the explanation that it has been ‘shut down due to the high amount of false publicity'”:

“Last year, I said that I do not deserve it, and I still say that because I have started a campaign and it’s not over yet. It’s not completed yet”:

“By fusing both their sense of fashion with their faith, this growing group … is reinterpreting traditional notions of what it means to dress conservatively. They’re spawning a new market for niche fashion brands and finding unexpected supporters among some mainstream brands, as well as from conservative Christian and Orthodox Jewish women”:

“Distraught families plead that their girls are kidnap victims, but a proposed French law would treat them as terrorists liable to arrest upon return”:

“[T]he group, which swept to power in Somalia in 2006, stayed a potent force after it was driven from Mogadishu in 2011 and the latest setbacks are unlikely to halt its campaign that has included attacking the presidential compound, assassinating officials and ambushing the Western-backed African Union force”:

News and Analysis (10/8/14)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

As the town of Kobane teeters before the IS onslaught despite US airstrikes, Kurds press for a deeper Turkish involvement, but Erdogan insists an escalation must be part of the fight against the Asad regime” …

… and IS signals it is ready and wiling to use control of the water supply to squeeze the population on the land it occupies as the Israelis have used water to squeeze the Palestinians on the land it occupies …

… and issues rules for domestic journalists, forcing them to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi and clear all reports with his media bureau and prohibiting them from speaking al-Arabiyya, al-Jaxeera, Orient, or having any contact with any “international and local satellite TV channels …. in any way”:

“[Y]ou certainly don’t have to believe in Angels, God, Angelic military forces…. However what you do have to do is allow … texts to speak without projecting a particular meaning on to them detached from the text and the context…. [S]hallow misinterpretations of religious and irreligious extremists almost always lead to … violence”:

“It’s the indifference of good people that is bringing us down”:

Kassig’s former cell-mate says that to some of the “captors, I had the feeling that it made no difference” whether the hostages were Muslim or not, explaining their expressed willingness to behead the converted aid worker …

… while in the Central African Republic, Christians have no compunction against beheading a local Muslim cab driver:

“The attackers – armed and some dressed in police uniforms – … dragged the women from their cars before raping them. There was a chorus of outrage. Many [human rights] campaigners in Afghanistan – where women who are raped sometimes find themselves [punished for adultery – … wanted the executions to go ahead” …

… while in Saudi Arabia, “a former athlete and advocate for girls’ sports … thinks that attitudes may be changing…. ‘There’s a lot more acceptance of women’s involvement in sports today than there used to be a decade ago,'” she says, and there are reports of plans under consideration for “sections in stadia for female spectators”:

Islam is not monolithic. Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Palestinians in the occupied territories prefer Jewish law (stoning to death) to punish adultery, but the majority elsewhere prefer Islamic law (a lashing and prohibition against their future marriage to chaste Muslims):

“In an urgent action statement, Amnesty called for his immediate release, saying ‘the charges against him do not constitute a recognizable criminal offense'”:

As negotiators meet to try to iron out differences over details in the resolution of the dispute of Iran’s nuclear program before the Nov. 24 deadline, Rouhani insists Iran will not give up its right under the nonproliferation treaty to veto particular individuals assigned to the inspection teams:

“Monday’s gunfire and mortar shelling was one of the worst violations of a 2003 cease-fire between India and Pakistan”:

News and Analysis (10/6/14)

Monday, October 6th, 2014

“To give the Islamic State a free hand is to allow proponents of the caliphate to exploit the instability that U.S. efforts … have fostered. But to make Syria the latest free-fire zone in America’s never-ending Middle East misadventure will almost surely prolong and exacerbate the agonies that country is experiencing”:

“I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all. If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need” – Abdul-Rahman Kassig:

Stories of Iraqis murdered and tortured not by IS but by “fighters under the control of the former, western-backed prime minister Nouri al-Maliki” are unreported because “[n]o white westerners were forced to recite chilling messages in professionally made videos before being murdered, so no horror is expressed by western politicians”:

“[I]n a country where soccer is deeply entwined with a polarized political landscape, and with the government facing allegations of creeping authoritarianism, the so-called ‘Passolig’ system is being viewed by many fans as an attempt at covert surveillance and clamping down on dissent”:

“The actor reacted furiously to claims by Maher that Islam manifested as ‘the only religion that acts like the mafia'” and to Sam Harris’s insistence that any charge that “criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people [is] intellectually ridiculous”:

“[M]uch of the contemporary scholarly discourses surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood, whether it concerns analyses of its charitable associations and social welfare projects or its performance in state elections, stems from developments for which this generation [of young student activists] was responsible”:

“[A]dministration officials … have found that security rules put in place to defend America from a terror attack have played a role in alienating young Muslim men and women — the exact group being courted by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL”:

“The White House confirmed the call to the UAE, a day after Mr Biden offered a similar apology to Turkey”:

Reports “say more than 45 fighters on both sides were killed Sunday near the town of Kobani. The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman said Monday that one of the attacks against Islamic State fighters was carried by a female Kurdish fighter who blew herself up, killing” ten IS fighters:

“The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says Iran has around 35 imprisoned journalists and is in the top three countries for jailing reporters”:

News and Analysis (10/3/14)

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

“According to local reports, Kurdish leaders in the border region have called on both sides to observe a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on Saturday. Isis said that they would pray in Kobani on the first holiday of Eid…. Air strikes conducted by the US-led coalition have not slowed the Isis advance”:

In Australia, “Muslim women wearing the niqab or burqa were to be made to sit in a glass enclosure in Australia’s parliament house. That’s the latest episode in two months of anti-terror theatre” …

… while in France, entrepreneurial women circumvent the headscarf ban by starting home businesses:

“[A]nother woman approached her and began verbally abusing her with racist remarks. The woman’s abuser grabbed her by the hair and neck as her head was bashed several times on the wall of the train’s carriage. The Muslim woman was then pushed off the train when it arrived in Batman Station in Coburg North”:

“Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East.” Including Israel:

“There is no Muslim monolith, just an endless pattern of nuance and difference”:

The report says that “mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used child soldiers … may amount to systematic war crimes”, but also that “Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused ‘significant civilian deaths’ by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law”:

The “video shows the beheading of a man identified as the pilot of a missing Nigerian Air Force jet and burnt out parts of a plane — the first indication that Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremist group has the capability to bring down aircraft”:

“France called on Israel on Thursday to drop plans for new settlements in East Jerusalem, joining the United States and Berlin in criticism of the move” that would preempt any two-state solution by “effectively severing the northern and southern West Bank” …

… just as Sweden signals it will become “the first long-term EU member country to” recognize the Palestinian state:

Journalist Amira Hass was “reminded of the image that Israelis commonly have of Palestinians: irrational hotheads,” but “she has received messages of support from many Palestinians. Hundreds signed a petition saying they were shocked by the expulsion, calling her a courageous defender of Palestinian human rights”:

News and Analysis (10/1/14)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

“She also said IS leaders were ignoring the ‘verdict of their own justice system’ – in a previous statement she said she had been told a Sharia court found Mr Henning ‘innocent of being a spy'”:

“Iraqi Kurdish troops drove Islamic State fighters from a strategic border crossing with Syria on Tuesday and won the support of members of a major Sunni tribe…. The victory, which could make it harder for militants to operate … was … achieved with help from Kurds from the Syrian side of the frontier, a new sign of cooperation”:

“A Muslim NFL player was slapped with unsportsmanlike conduct for a religious celebration that went unpunished in Christian counterparts, like Tim Tebow. The NFL said it was mistake to punish Husain Abdullah of the Kansas City Chiefs with a 15-yard penalty after he prostrated himself and prayed in the end zone”:

“How great the distance between the Abbas who now extols the … BDS movement … work against ‘Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies’ and the Abbas who once expressed his opposition to boycotts directed against Israel (as opposed to those directed against settlement-made products), and … referred to it as a neighbor'”:

“It is beyond the capabilities of U.S. intelligence, or any other western states for that matter, to gain the complex strategic and tactical insight and the instinctive feel to successfully manipulate the conflict in the directions we want’:

Not only is the U.S. still in Afghanistan …

… but “[m]onths after Owais Jakhrani was sacked from the Pakistan navy for radical Islamist views, he led an audacious mission to take over a warship and turn its guns on a U.S. naval vessel in the open seas”:

“Artist Giulia Marchi describes her project, ‘Call Her Fatimah — Musilin,’ as being at the intersection of gender, religion and ethnicity…. [H]er niche photography series centers on the female [M]uslim population in China, a group … that challenges … perceptions of what it means to be a woman and religious outside of Western culture”:

“[O]ne reason IS poses a more complex threat than al Qaeda, the Islamist group from which it grew…. Islamic State sees itself as both army and government. ‘Wheat is a strategic good. They are doing as much as they can with it,’ said Ali Bind Dian, head of a farmers’ union”:

“The irony [of the media silence on Muslim criticism of Muslim extremists] is that the real antidote to Islamic State’s poison is Islam itself”: