Archive for November, 2014

News and Analysis (11/28/14)

Friday, November 28th, 2014

“The law would allow Arab Israelis found guilty of throwing Molotov cocktails and even firecrackers to be banished to Gaza; would deny families of assailants the right to bury their dead; and would expose anyone who waved a Palestinian flag at a demonstration to loss of their health and social security benefits”:

“In the 39 years I’ve been doing this, it’s the first time I’ve seen defendants’ counsel turn around and apologize on behalf of his clients to the plaintiffs.  I think more adults should apologize to young people; I think it would be a better world.” —

“Seventy-eight boys have been sentenced to up to five years in prison by an Egyptian court for being present at Muslim Brotherhood protests” …

… and the junta warns that it is prepared to use lethal force against pending protests being called the “Muslim Youth Intifada“:

“[T]he tendency to look for moderate Islam … reduces content of religious change to strategic ideological change and views modernity as something external to Muslims…. Furthermore, it ignores the capacity of civil religious actors in renewing culture and bringing about change”:

“Too often, the media suggests that there are only two options when discussing solutions for Syria: the tyranny of the Assad regime or ISIS style extremism. But there is a third option…. [T]he multitude of Syrians that desire freedom and democracy … [includes] many Syrian Muslim clerics”:

“A 2013 poll found that Muslim communities give more to charity than any other religious group in Britain, and that Muslim charities form one of the fastest-growing areas in the charity sector. However, the latter … face a perfect storm of negative press and disproportionate regulation”:

“It’s not a delaying tactic; their logic is close to that of the P5+1,” according to Iran specialist Farideh Farhi , who adds that as “the deadline approached, and gaps remained, the Iranians could have walked away, but instead, like the P5+1 diplomats, ‘looked each other in the eye and decided, “no”‘”:

“[O]n the whole, traditional Muslim scholars were not duped by the Nazis. Even when it became clear that the colonial powers were not keen on granting the Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia the right of self-determination, they rejected the idea of an alliance with the Germans”:

News and Analysis (11/25/14)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

“Obama is positioning the US for more war. His dismissal of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel today appears to be because the job the Nebraska Republican was brought in to do is no longer the task at hand”:

“The witch-hunt of Muslim schools is part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘muscular liberal’ approach to [target] … children at Muslim schools … to adopt secular liberal values from a young age, and what better way to do this by conflating normative Islamic beliefs with extremism?”

“[T]echnical details are not the main reason why they need more time to talk. At the heart of the talks there still is no agreement on the vital equation – the amount of uranium that Iran would be able to enrich, and the extent to which sanctions against it would be lifted”:

Erdogan blames feminism that “in Anatolia .. [o]ur poor mothers suffered immensely and got hunchbacks while the men were playing cards and rolling dice at teahouses. What women need is … to be equivalent, rather than equal. Because equality turns the victim into an oppressor and vice versa”:

“Military attacks against this deviant group (IS) are necessary but insufficient. The roots of their violent ideology must be dried up. This is the job of Muslim scholars, to preach the true, moderate face of Islam and expose the ugly face of IS ideology” – Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi:

“Tunisia has become a marketplace of ideas. Yesterday’s election featured 22 candidates from an initial 27 (five dropped out). One, magistrate Kalthoum Kannou, made history as Tunisia’s first female presidential candidate”:

As Israel resumes its immoral, ineffective, and counter-productive policy of collective punishment …

…”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was determined to pass … [t]he bill … ‘expressing the fact that Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and only theirs, alongside preserving the rights of every single citizen of the state of Israel'” [emphasis added]:

A “large proportion of those tweeting … argued that the problem was not religious law per se, but a flawed understanding and interpretation of it…. Others found the hashtag to be offensive to Muslims”:

“They will keep making the same mistakes – closing mosques, arresting Somalis… They know the tactic is not working. They should look at other counterterror measures… but there is no political goodwill to do that” — a former Kenyan security official:

News and Analysis (11/23/14)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

“The state security prosecutor general ordered Mr. Bani Rushaid’s arrest on charges of harming relations with a friendly country, according to Brotherhood officials and local media reports citing unnamed government officials” …

… while in Egypt, a notorious judge referred five of the six [defense] lawyers … to prosecutors for investigation, which is unprecedented in Egypt.” The entire defense team has withdrawn from the case in protest. The union backed their decision, telling members to boycott Shehata’s court”:

“Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out … a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision”:

“Secular and humanist campaigners have welcomed an increase in inspections, saying that for too long the UK has allowed religious communities to ‘enforce their own values and traditions’ on children.” Meaning: “We want to enforce secular humanist values on other peoples’ children”:

Erdogan’s misreading of Columbus’s metaphorical reference to a rock formation as a mosque may have been silly, but the overreaction of his critics to his claim of pre-Columbian Muslim visitors to the West says as much about their prejudices as about his unscientific political posturing:

Muslim workers who sorted mail DHL said management reversed a policy that had allowed flexible break time for workers to say required evening prayers…. The prayers took about five minutes, workers said”:

“Good for you for saying out loud what 90 percent [of citizens] want” –Eran Kraus, supporter oft he mayor’s proposed racist policy:

“The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Muslim Student Association helped organize the funeral service for Kassig, whom some of the group’s members knew”:

“The transfer brings the detainee population of a prison Barack Obama has vowed for six years to close down to 142 men, 72 of whom the Pentagon considers pose little enough threat as to be eligible for transfer”:

“We were the first to enter this cycle of change which they have called the Arab Spring. We will be the first [to make the transition] but others will follow” – Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa:

News and Analysis (11/20/14)

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

“Vengeance is ours,” saith the State. Not satisfied with the death of the murderer, Israel renders his family homeless …

… but the victims of “the deadliest in months of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the contested holy city[,] … many [of whom] do not support the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israel’s settlement policy, and official visits to the Temple Mount”, have not called for revenge:

Although the new rules are restricted to foreign preachers, they still raise the question as to how a state that licenses who may and who may not preach based on a state-endorsed training dares claim to be secular:

“The early morning arrest of Mohammed Ali Bishr from his home in the Nile Delta was linked to a call for demonstrations at the end of the month, according to a security official. The rallies have been called by a hard-line Islamist group called the Salafi Front, and not the Brotherhood”:

“The U.S. State Department has confirmed it does not consider two prominent Muslim American groups as terrorist organizations, after they turned up on a terror list issued by the United Arab Emirates”:

Although #MuslimSitcoms spawned “language that creates a divide between our culture and western culture”, its founder still believes that “if people kept an open mind and attempted to reach out to others across borders, social media can diminish many stereotypes and humour, if used responsibly, can mend perceptions”:

“[T]he doctor denied FGM had taken place. ‘What circumcision? There was no circumcision. It’s all made up by these dogs’ rights people,’ he said. Sohair’s grandmother … admitted in May that the procedure had indeed occurred but the child’s death was ‘what God had ordered’. Equality Now and local lawyers plan to appeal”:

How did Ghana achieve “zero hunger”? It all started by cutting the confiscatory tax rate on cocoa farmers by one third followed by opening up deforested land to farming:

“The previous years taught me that our parliament is paralyzed of making any changes unless it’s what the government wants” — a Shi`a taxi driver:

“[T]he gaping hole in the prosecution case up to now has been the lack of motive for Hezbollah to want Hariri dead. Hariri, an ambitious billionaire businessmen who helped rebuild Beirut following the 1975-1990 civil war, maintained cordial relations with Hezbollah leader … Nasrallah in the months before his death”:

News and Analysis (11/18/14)

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

“The UAE cabinet approved a list of ‘designated terrorist organisations’ on Saturday, which includes groups such as Al Qaeda alongside more than ten Western civil society organisations that have since spoken out against their inclusion” …

… while in Britain, “Muslim charities [have] been ‘disproportionately affected’ by investigations, and that some of the charities being monitored by the Commission had been subjected to questioning over tenuous links to extremist clerics”:

“US citizen Mohamed Soltan has been in an Egyptian jail for over a year, and on hunger strike for nearly all of that time.” The day that he “smuggled a letter out of prison to mark his 27th birthday” he had a hearing before the same judge “who sentenced the Aljazeera journalists to lengthy jail terms”:

“[Y]ou cannot blame and thus hate the Jews for the actions of the State of Israel…. What happens when Muslims ask for the same discernment and expect a clear distinction between the actions of ISIS and the mainstream faith of the vast majority of Muslims?”

A 32-year-old “Palestinian bus driver, was driving back home from work on Sunday when he was abducted and then hanged by Israelis in his bus in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood… Tensions have been running high … after Israeli troops shot dead a young Palestinian man … last week”:

Like Baruch Goldstein, who murdered Muslim sat prayer, those who have killed Jews at prayer in a synagogue, “risk turning the conflict of Palestinian against Israeli into a battle of Muslim against Jew … to be dreaded – because “a religious war cannot be solved‘”:

ISIL’s attitude is  “you’re either with us or against us.” Hmm. Where have we heard that before?

Dignity, even more that “pride and … exceptionalism[,] … drives the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy; a restored dignity … promised its people in the revolution of 1979 … [when] the people of … arguably the world’s first multi-ethnic state – chose dignity over subservience, whatever the cost”:

“The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said it recorded violations of more than a dozen articles in the constitution adopted with an overwhelming majority in January and hailed by authorities and experts as ‘the constitution of freedoms.’ The violations were mostly in the freedoms and rights section of the charter”:

News and Analysis (11/16/14)

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

“Unlike Malaysia’s Kelantan state, which introduced the gold dinar and silver dirham for investment purposes only, IS proposes to make the coins the official currency, freeing their people from the tyranny of central bankers” …

… now if they would just stop murdering people; an American Muslim aid worker is the latest victim of IS brutality:

The Gulf state monarchies lumping the Muslim Brotherhood with  actual terrorists reflects their concern that the proto-democratic impulses of their “Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the principle of dynastic rule”:

“A Jerusalem holy site at the heart of recent tensions between Israelis and Palestinians was quiet on Friday, police said, after age restrictions for Muslim men who wanted to pray there were lifted for the first time in weeks”:

“[S]anctions … somewhat … benefit entrepreneurs…..” Digikala has filled the void of Amazon’s absence from the Iranian market and plans to use the rise of venture capital to expand in “Iran for now,” and perhaps later “to Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq”:

Alone among the countries that experienced the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, Tunisia’s transition has remained on track”, but “[t]he possibility of an old-regime politician and his party controlling both the presidency and parliament has raised some concern”:

“A suicide bomber has targeted a prominent female Afghan politician, killing three civilians and wounding others in an attack on a Kabul convoy. Shukria Barakzai, a women’s rights advocate and ally of new President Ashraf Ghani, was lightly injured in the attack”:

“Several weeks ago, Ghani invited the Taliban to join national reconciliation negotiations. On Saturday, Sharif backed Ghani’s initiative, but added that the process must be fully Afghan-led and Afghan owned”:

News and Analysis (11/13/14)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Montgomery County School Board preferred to take Christmas off the calendar than mention the Eid al Adha:

Wondering what all the treasure and lives spent on Afghanistan has bought us?

Experiences such as the suggestion that a Cosby-like parody about an American Muslim family would be made realistic by adding “a terrorist uncle who lived in the basement with a goat … radicalized” Aasif Mandvi into “the jihadist of irony”:

“The men were reportedly lured from their homes by the soldiers with the promise of money and jobs but then shot dead … four years ago. They were then falsely described as Pakistani militants. The staged killings led to protests and bloodshed in the Kashmir Valley”:

The history of “the unusual economic independence of the woman Muhammad married – and his approval of her sovereign existence … is often missing from the narrative within and about Islam” but Muslim women are once again becoming “a significant economic force”:

Video from security cameras suggested [two teenagers] were shot despite posing no immediate threat to the troops”:

It’s a setback for conservative  rival Gulf states which have sought to marginalize Qatar for its support of the relatively more democratic Muslim Brotherhood:

“Nearly three years after Yemen ousted a decades-old dictatorship and began a political transition aimed at preventing civil war, the fragile nation is once again on the brink of disaster”:

Having liberated the village from the IS, the Kurdish peshmerga have turned it over to a Christian militia of its former inhabitants to enable it other residents to return …

… while the Iraqi government shakes up its corrupt military amid reports that the “US-led coalition against the so-called Islamic State and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians”:

News and Analysis (11/11/14)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

“Well known journalist and Egyptian author, Hani Shukrallah, tweeted ‘#Orwell’s_1984 never more popular in #Egypt, shared left & right on FB, thanks to police arrest of student in possession of the novel’,” but was the book the reason he was arrested? As one would expect in the increasingly Orwellian Egypt, “[t]he charges against the student remain unclear”:

Jordan’s foolish mixing of religion and state sets in a path to extremism; the open question is whether that extremism will end up secular (as in Egypt), religious (as in Saudi) or violent (as in IS):

With a third intifada on the verge of eruption …

… Abbas blames (predictably) Israel and (also predictably) Hamas, but not (naturally) Fatah, nor (remarkably) Islamic Jihad (which “claimed responsibility Monday evening for the stabbing attack in southern West Bank“):

Does no one remember what happened after Eisenhower sent “advisers” to Vietnam?

“The university, which is counted among India’s best, allows all graduates to use the Maulana Azad library but some 2,500 under-graduate women are banned” and told to use the less well-stocked library at the Women’s College. “Aren’t we part of AMU? At least let us borrow books, if we can’t sit inside”, asked one student:

In Mubi, unidentified Boko Haram leaders have ordered shops to reopen … and … provided security for the weekly market…. There are reports that Boko Haram is paying for anything they take from the shops” and it has permitted residents free movement including use of motorcycles, which are “banned in some parts of [government-controlled] Adamawa”:

“US laws ban the sale of lethal weapons to countries whose military are accused of gross human rights abuses” …

… “With the Nigerian military accounting for the largest single budget item in West Africa’s largest nation, why the Army appears to be incapable of protecting people has become a raging question bringing tension and great disappointment”:

News and Analysis (11/8/14)

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

How do you transform a peaceful human rights activist into a militant radical? Tell him that democratic elections are the way to advance your agenda and then dissolve the legislature when the elections don’t go your way:

In the U.S., “the judge ruling in the government’s favor criticized its lack of “common sense and compassion” but did not find it illegal …

… in Britain, “leading human rights groups are to boycott the official investigation into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition in the years after 9/11,” saying they “have lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth”:

“Activists have long complained that heavy-handed police tactics after militant attacks, including the mass round-up of suspects, have stoked anger among local Muslims and undermined moderate preachers trying to counter radical ideas” and that police offer insufficient protection”:

“Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, said in Geneva that Rezaian would likely be freed or pardoned in ‘less than a month.’ Inside Iran, Rezaian’s arrest is widely seen as a political move by hardline opponents of President Hassan Rouhani”:

Shot while trying to escape?  “The security cameras clearly show that there was no danger to the lives of the officers. The video shows him running away from the officers; this horrifying incident could have been avoided, but unfortunately they decided to kill him in a cruel way”:

“14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia” and “[t]he crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House” which “considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia”:

“Obama’s decision greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq’s fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisers” …

… but “he will ask Congress for new authority to combat the Islamic State, replacing the administration’s reliance on laws passed more than a decade ago to justify its current military operations against the militants in Syria and Iraq”:

“In a blow to anti-Islamist factions, Libya’s highest court … ruled that general elections held in June were unconstitutional and that the country’s parliament and government, which resulted from that vote, should be dissolved”, further deepening the country’s political rift:

“The Saudi king’s advisory council — whose suggestions are not binding — has recommended that the government lift its ban on female drivers, a member of the council told The Associated Press Friday. Local media subsequently quoted an official denying the report”:

News and Analysis (11/5/14)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

“In the ex-Baathists, jihadists found organizational skills and military discipline. In the jihadists, ex-Baathists found purpose. ‘In Bucca, the math changed as ideologues adopted military and bureaucratic traits and as bureaucrats became violent extremists'”:

The weapons are marked “FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS TRANSPORTATION IF REFILLED — PENALTY UP TO $25,000 AND FIVE YEARS IMPRISONMENT (49 USC 1809)” with codes that should make it easy for the [US] to trace their transfer “if they choose to do so“:

In branding the head of a groups devoted to the destruction of Muslim religious sites as “the leader of a movement for Jewish access … is like saying the Ku Klux Klan is an organization dedicated to the well-being of white people”:

“[T]he Knesset raised the threshold for election to the parliament, in what has been widely interpreted as an attempt to exclude all three small parties representing the Palestinian minority” and is now moving to ban a branch of the “widely supported” Islamic Movement:

“Stalin and Mao would have enthusiastically endorsed Sam Harris when he wrote that “there are some beliefs so terrible that we are justified in killing people just for holding them”, just as they would have endorsed his defence of torturing prisoners“:

The “US ambassador to the UNHRC, said Egypt had violated ‘freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association [and] deprived thousands of Egyptians of fair trial guarantees’. Some Egyptian human rights organisations refused to attend the hearing, fearing reprisals”:

“Cat Stevens was a truly engaging and prolific singer-songwriter until 1979 when he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam and vanished from the music industry for 27 years – an absence that he jocularly refers to tonight as ‘taking a short break'”:

Turkey’s new sultan has cut down hundreds of trees in a forest reserve to build a 1000-room palace “bigger than the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow and even the Palace of Versailles near Paris” at a cost of $615 million:

“Since Rouhani’s election in 2013, there has been a tug-of-war between the hardline and pragmatic camps about foreign policy and particularly on how to deal with the United States”: