Archive for February, 2015

News and Analysis (2/9/15)

Monday, February 9th, 2015

“In unverified recordings supposedly of Sisi and his chief of staff, Abbas Kamel, the man said to be Sisi says Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s most generous donor, should pay $10bn (£6.5bn) directly into the army’s account, circumventing the rest of the Egyptian state”:

“Mr. Greste, Mr. Fahmy, and their Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed were each sentenced last year to seven to 10 years in prison on terrorism-related charges in what was widely regarded as a show trial…. Greste was unexpectedly set free last week” …

… meanwhile, “Bahrain-based Al Arab Television, owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was taken off the air a day after debuting with an interview with a local opposition leader. ‘Technical’ reasons were cited”:

“We achieved what we aimed for. We destroyed logistics centers, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters” — General Mansour al-Jbour, head of the Jordanian airforce”:

“Some fear Yemen’s southern secessionists will see this as a good moment to break away, although splits in their own ranks have so far prevented them from taking such a step”:

“He’s a rapper, a cop, a congressman and, yes, a Muslim. Welcome to America, where such things are possible”:

“‘I am for reaching a good settlement and the Iranian nation too will certainly not oppose any deal to uphold its dignity and integrity,’ Khamenei said, an apparent warning to hardliners that they might have to accept a deal with powers including the United States”:

“Muslims arrived here before the founding of the United States — not just a few, but thousands. They have been largely overlooked because they were not free to practice their faith. They were not free themselves and so they were for the most part unable to leave records of their beliefs”:

“The attack would appear to deal a blow to the Islamic State group’s efforts to develop a local affiliate to challenge the long-dominant Taliban”:

“The death of at least 40 militant, highly politicized, and street battle-hardened Egyptian soccer fans in clashes with security forces … dashed hopes that the Al Sisi government may adopt a less brutal approach to its civil society opponents”:

News and Analysis (2/7/15)

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

“I came to the United States because I valued living as a free person, one who is able to advocate in a democratic society. Unfortunately, the U.S. has been turning into a less free society, a police and surveillance state, especially after 9/11″ — Sami Al-Arian

“In the week after the first attack, the CFCM reported 60 incidents. These included physical attacks on 26 mosques around the country, some of which involved firebombs. One mosque in Le Mans was attacked with grenades”:

“IS said on its website that an American female hostage, identified as Kayla Jean Mueller, was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on Friday during Muslim prayers. The Jordanian government said it was highly skeptical of the claim, and American officials said they were looking into the report”:

IS survives despite the loss of Kobane and veterans from the fighting in Syria are establishing themselves in Libya:

“The unity I felt on the airplane was just overwhelming. So many people were consoling me. People were very gentle and nice to me and my husband. This is America. That’s the American response”:

“Regulators are concerned that money is being funnelled to extremists. But the Somali government has warned that suspending legal transfer services may give rise to a new unregulated black market in cash transfers that could make it easier to channel money to militant groups … [and] jeopardise stability in Somalia and the welfare of millions of Somalis who depend on financial assistance from abroad.

“With a big Muslim population, Trappes exemplifies what Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, has provocatively called “territorial apartheid”. Yet the town also reveals the complex links between segregation, an assertive secular state and the rise of jihadism”:

Houthi insistence that it is open to political coalitions do not assuage the alarm of neighboring states after they dissolved the Yemini parliament, and the U.N threatens unspecified action:

The erroneous belief that support for the Netanyahu invitation was bipartisan underscores the hubris of Likud’s confidence  in American subservience; rather the specter of American legislators conflating Israeli interests with America’s has spawned a boycott-the-Netanyahu speech movement:

News and Analysis (2/5/15)

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

“[T]he U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said it has received reports of “several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive”, …

… an association of Muslim scholars declared that IS’s barbarity “does not represent Islam in any way and its actions always harm Islam,” and even those countries who have no problems with beheading and crucifixion as punishment were shocked by the burning of a prisoner of war, …

… and even a hard-line Jordanian leader with “ties with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda” called the execution “un-Islamic in every sense” and has united “all of Jordan — Islamists and liberals, East Bank and West Bank — … against” the IS …

… but the perpetrators justified their actions with an “eye for an eye” reasoning,  “saying the immolation matched what he had done in “burning Muslims with the fire of his plane'” …

… but Jordan’s response is to rain down more fire:

“Prime Minister Habib Essid, whose cabinet has ministers from four parties including the powerful Islamists, promised “work and nothing but work” on the country’s economic and security problems”:

“An Egyptian court sentenced prominent activist Ahmed Douma to life in prison on Wednesday, judicial sources said, part of a sustained crackdown on Islamist and liberal government opponents”:

“Greste saw first-hand the flaws of the Egyptian judicial system…. [P]rosecutors inexplicably presented as evidence of his guilt a Gotye song, footage of trotting horses, photos of his parents, an interview he filmed with Kenyan politicians, and Arabic text messages, which he cannot read”:

The wife of Mohammed Baher said that “she is looking to any country that could provide Baher with a foreign nationality” after Canada’s foreign minister said that another of the three detained Al-Jazeera journalists “could be imminently released after renouncing his Egyptian nationality”:

“[R]eining in the religious, semi-governmental and military organizations accustomed to tax breaks portends a political challenge akin to “pulling fresh kill out of a lion’s mouth,” a Tehran-based political analyst said”:

George W. Bush had a roundtable with Muslim leaders in his first term, while Obama has “had roundtable discussions in the White House with African-American, Jewish-American and labor leaders, but never Muslim-American advocates” until year seven of his administration:

“Brian McKeon, principal undersecretary of defense for policy,  … said President Barack Obama and his national security team all believe the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention center “is used by violent extremists to incite local populations”:

“Kenyan mediator Kenneth Marende told reporters that representatives of both the Seleka and anti-Balaka armed groups pledged to stop the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and to stop launching attacks against civilians” …

… but “extremists on the run from a massive, three-nation offensive took revenge Thursday on civilians in neighboring Cameroon, shooting and burning scores to death and razing mosques and churches”:

News and Analysis (2/3/15)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

“Today’s death sentences are yet another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system. These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness” — Hassiba Sahraoui, Amnesty International:

“From religious efforts at tackling Ebola in West Africa, to the interfaith solidarity that has so far helped prevent the horrors of France being imported to these shores, religion remains a force for change at home and abroad. Religious literacy is essential to the diversity we treasure in Britain”:

So where are the Muslim satirists? Bassem “often described as the Jon Stewart of Egypt” is going to Harvard:

“Rodeo announcer Bob Tallman, known for giving the event a Christian tone, said Bakhach ‘did a wonderful job….’ But since then, online anger directed at the rodeo for inviting a Muslim to deliver the prayer prompted Bakhach to cancel the blessing scheduled for Feb. 2″ …

… “Muslim extremists and the anti-Muslim protesters share a … mindset that says you’re the enemy if you don’t believe exactly as they do. Neither side can accept the pluralism that has been a hallmark of both American and Muslim traditional values…. Both sides are motivated by … fear”:

“The Reform temple, which was built in the late 19th century, had fallen into disrepair by 2013 and only with the help of the city’s Council for Mosques did the Jewish community raise enough money to get it back in working order”:

“The law was adopted under pressure from armed groups who surrounded public buildings until it was approved by officials. Libya has been torn by conflict since the fall of Col Gaddafi, with rival militias battling for control of cities and resources”:

“Schabas said a legal opinion he wrote for the Palestine Liberation Organisation in 2012, for which he was paid $1,300, was not different from advice he had given to many other governments and organisations.” Now, will any consultants to, or advocates for, Israel also resign?

News and Analysis (2/1/15)

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Rep. Molly White (R-Belton) has the nerve to demand that her American constituents who happen to Muslim pledge allegiance when they have the better right to question her loyalty for placing the flag of a foreign nation (you guessed it: Israel) on her office desk at the Texas state capital:

“Director Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper, who plays real-life sniper Chris Kyle, have yet to comment, though over the weekend Eastwood called Sniper an anti-war film”:

Hamas, “an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and repressed” since the military coup against Egypt’s elected President Mohamed Mursi, calls the decision “a political, dangerous decision that serves only the Zionist occupation” …

… “Sisi leveled the accusation despite the fact that a Sinai-based militant group with links to the Islamic State terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks and released photographs as proof. The Brotherhood routinely denounces the Islamic State”:

“In what may have been a unique moment in America, more than 100 women gathered Friday at the interfaith Pico-Union Project. While many mosques continue to follow a tradition of separating women from male congregants, the downtown Los Angeles mosque forbids men from attending”:

“[L]ongtime rodeo announcer Bob Tallman … said Bakhach ‘did a wonderful job’ when giving Sunday’s prayer” and that “there was ‘a beautiful spirit’ in Will Rogers Coliseum Sunday night, and said the blessing went on without a hitch” but the reaction from those not present was another story:

“Correspondents say it is the largest number of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality since … an uprising in 2011 in which the Shia majority demanded democratic reforms from the Sunni-led government”:

According to a United States Institute of Peace report, “Extremist groups are increasingly active in the central and northern districts, disrupting the pluralistic culture that has long defined the province”:

“Jordan renewed an offer Sunday to swap an al-Qaida prisoner for a fighter pilot held captive by the Islamic State group, a day after a video purportedly showed the militants beheading a Japanese hostage.” At the time of the original offer IS “didn’t say … if they were considering such a deal”:

“The Islamic State group has acknowledged for the first time that its fighters have been defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani and vowed to attack the town again”:

“We do not want a war but we are not afraid of it and we must distinguish between the two, and the Israelis must also understand this very well. “We have the right to respond in any place and at any time and in the way we see as appropriate” — Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: