Archive for April, 2015

News and Analysis (4/27/15)

Monday, April 27th, 2015

“Throughout my 17 years as a journalist writing about Islamic societies no editor ever asked me ‘What does it say in the Qur’an about this?’ Instead I was writing about what Muslims did, Muslims as an identity issue, Muslims as a geopolitical concept. I had seen the tremendous power of the text in action but I hadn’t read the text”:

Ali’s “derisive language makes it difficult to take her seriously as a reformer who wants peace. Instead, it only attracts other “warriors”—those who both hate Islam and those who want to fight in the name of Islam—while alienating the ‘reformers’ … who believe that shariah can be a part of our modern world, if interpreted correctly”:

“We congratulate the powerful state of Israel and its people on its anniversary of independence, and we hope that next year we can participate in the joy of the grand occasion in Israel’s embassy in Damascus” — Free Syrian Army foreign affairs official Mousa Ahmed Nabhan:

“[D]espite growing international acceptance of describing the massacres as genocide, the debate is not simply a he-said-she-said between modern Turks and Armenians. Genocide has a very specific meaning, one that Turkey argues the Armenian massacres fail to meet”:

“Ban-Ki-moon condemns attacks, including strike on UN school that killed 20 people and wounded dozens, ‘as a matter of the utmost gravity’”:

“The abductors from the militant, al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in Syria were not paid for the captives who were freed Friday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the mission”:

“Last year, the magazine Zanan-e Emrouz (Today’s Women) published a special issue discussing various aspects of cohabitation, dubbed ‘white marriage’ in Iran, and the reasons behind what it said was the increasing number of unmarried Iranian couples living together”:

“Militants loyal to Islamic State have exploited a security vacuum in Libya, where two governments and parliaments allied to host of armed groups are fighting each other on several fronts four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.”:

News and Analysis (4/24/15)

Friday, April 24th, 2015

“The blockade by air and sea, led by the Arabian Peninsula’s richest country against its poorest, has led to a warning by the International Committee of the Red Cross that Yemen’s humanitarian situation is ‘catastrophic'” …

… “the UN’s human rights agency said Friday at least 551 of the [over 1,000] people who died were civilians” during the Saudi-led bombing campaign:

 “The surprise results at Birzeit – the Palestinians’ oldest university — are the only discernible manifestation of democratic elections in Palestinian politics today”:
“Islamic writer Ahmad Abu Ratima … asserted that true faith comes from free will and does not fear openness, adding, ‘We need to turn religiosity from a social obligation to a free choice….’ The problem is … political…. If Gaza opens itself to the world, the environment that breeds religious radicalism or atheism would disappear”:

“Saudi Arabia has become known for its association for the strictest brand of Sunni Islam practiced by an existing state. However, Muslims note that the Prophet Mohammed was supportive of a healthy sexual life when it involves a husband and wife”:

“Frontier will amend its employee handbook to more clearly state its zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and provide all new employees with training on that revision. The airline also will amend its customer complaint policy to ensure allegations of discrimination are given appropriate attention”:

The rapid growth in the number of Muslims is mainly due to their youth and fertility, but ” religious switching, which is expected to hinder the growth of some other religious groups, is not expected to have a negative net impact on Muslims”:

American style secularism is absent  in Europe. “England has a state church. France sees religion as a threat to the republic’s sacrosanct laïcité, and keeps it out of public institutions. But the German state sees religions as partners to help citizens – and democracy – remain stable, and it supports religious groups in myriad ways”:

According to “A senior Pakistani counterterrorism official … the leader of the Weinstein kidnapping cell was a relative of Tahir Yuldashev, the former IMU [Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan] leader killed in a CIA drone strike in the Pakistani tribal regions in 2009…. Weinstein was given or, more likely, sold to al Qaeda”:

News and Analysis (4/22/15)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

“Convicting Mohamed Morsi, despite fundamental flaws in the legal process and what seems to be at best flimsy evidence produced in court under a gag order, utterly undermines this verdict” — Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director:

She alleges that a corrections officer “told her that attendance at the Christian services, described by her lawyer as ‘Evangelical Protestant,’ was mandatory. Refusing to participate would result in being removed from a low-security residential area … and being put into general population”:

“The Saudi declaration had created hope that a political bargain to end Yemen’s civil war might be in the offing …. on the assumption that calling off airstrikes was a quid pro quo for something. But Wednesday’s attacks indicate peace is a long way off for the Arab world’s poorest country”:

“This is not a sectarian conflict. People right now are not killing each other for the sake of religion…. The current conflict is 100% related to disappointment after the revolution…. There was no justice, there was no reconciliation, there’s pure revenge now”:

“Certain problematic attitudes towards science have been imported into Muslim societies as a part of rapid globalization and modernization — the rejection of the theory of evolution, for example. But this also offers an opportunity”:

Europe’s “callousness”, Libyan “gangs [that] prey on migrants, and [Libyan] racism against darker-skinned Africans” and the “migration crisis in its current iteration” are among the unintended consequences of “the fall of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi”:

“U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to give Congress a say in any future accord – including the right of lawmakers to veto the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States”:

News and Analysis (4/20/15)

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Nawaz Sahrif thinks the Saudis have “‘bitten off more than they can chew.’ The Egyptian experience in Yemen, in which Egypt had up to 20,000 casualties in the 1960s fighting the same Zaydi tribes that back the Houthis, figures prominently in Pakistani thinking, especially in the army” …

… and 18 “scholars concerned with Yemen [who are] residents/nationals of the United Kingdom and the United States” say, “The military attack by Saudi Arabia, backed by … [various states,] above all the US, … is illegal under international law. None of these states has a case for self-defense”:

“Documents uncovered in Aleppo show that Haji Bakr drew up the ‘blueprint for a caliphate’ after being jailed by the US authorities, according to Der Spiegel “:

Hick’s crazed obsession with parking annoyed everyone from neighbors to towing companies, but his obsession only led to murder when it came to Muslims, Muslims who, with sad irony, reportedly sought to accommodate his unjustified demands:

“HRW said the prosecution had presented little evidence to show the defendants did anything other than spread news about a mass sit-in in Rabaa square in 2013 and organize peaceful protests”:

“The series centers on the ‘Qu’osby’ family, a middle-class Muslim family…. Despite their extreme efforts to fit in, they are constantly tripping up, such as when the father, played by Mandvi, overdoes his Halloween decorating and creates the impression that the family might be terrorists”:

“A Moslem who attacks smoking generally speaking would be a threat to existing government as a ‘fundamentalist’…. Our invisible defence must be the individualism which Islam allows its believers … [and] encourage governments to a point at which it is possible quietly to suggest their benefits”:

“Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing outside a bank in Jalalabad Afghanistan Saturday. The attack killed at least 33 people and wounded 105”:

News and Analysis (4/17/15)

Friday, April 17th, 2015

How was Congress’s compromise with the Obama administration on the Iran deal even possible? Because you-know-who gave the green light: ““This is an achievement for Israeli policy” –Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz :

“[She] wears [a headscarf] … for herself … because she wants to be modest with her body okay? … [The killing in Kenya and Syria are] not her doing that, that’s a minority of people not a majority. Have some respect. What’s that got to do with her?” Stacy Eden asked the vindictive older woman”:

“[T]his was a student-led initiative, rather than a school-sponsored activity. We will put procedures into place in the future that ensure that any communication from a school email is for a school-sponsored event, and not merely supported by a student-run group”:

Judges should allow Muslim women to appear in court wearing a full-face veil, Britain’s most senior judge has suggested, saying that “those people who do cover their face for religious, cultural or any other reason, they should be allowed to do so unless the situation demands otherwise”:

“[L]ocal authorities warned [Ramadi] was in danger of falling unless reinforcements arrived soon” …

… while DAASH may have extended its reach into Pakistan: “The English version of the pamphlet [left in the victim’s car] read: “Oh crusaders, we are the lions of Dualat al Islamia, the falcons of the caliph”:

“I thought … if I go out and shoot people because of this, I would probably shoot another innocent bystander. I would fuel this idiotic cycle of violence.” Instead he is now “on the Global Advisory Council of World Learning, alongside ambassadors, CEOs, and NGO presidents”:

“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said today perpetrators of human rights abuses among his security forces and Shi’a militia allies will be “held accountable,” but he offered no evidence that any of Baghdad’s fighters guilty of ISIS-like atrocities have yet been brought to justice”:

“With the raids failing to stop the rebels, there has been speculation a ground campaign could be launched” …

… while  “Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he would not leave the country, dismissing reports in the Gulf Arab media that he was seeking a safe exit as Saudi Arabian war planes bomb troops loyal to him and their Houthi militia allies”:

“Indian police arrested a top Kashmiri separatist leader on Friday for leading an anti-India demonstration and detained two others to prevent a planned protest in the Himalayan region”:

News and Analysis (4/15/15)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

“In a rare outbreak of bipartisan compromise and a partial victory for the White House, the Senate foreign relations committee voted unanimously to amend language in legislation that once threatened to give congressional hawks a chance to derail nuclear diplomacy and risk … military strikes”:

With Nigerian schoolgirls now free from the clutches of Boko Haram embracing Western education with an in-your-face attitude towards their former captors, President-elect  Muhammadu Buhari cockily threatens the terrorist group …

… yet he admits “that he cannot promise to find the 219 [girls] who are still missing”:

Developments in the Yemeni conflict include a UN arms embargo, Egyptian-Saudi coordination, the death of a Saudi religious figure, and an Iranian peace proposal:

“Sharia, she points out, is a world view, ‘the divine order of the universe’. What she is interrogating is fiqh, the Muslim legal tradition of man-made rules based on almost exclusively male interpretations of sacred texts”:

Rather than “argue with those who have no desire to gain a deeper understanding of Islam, or … who lack understanding of historical context and … can’t differentiate between the literal and analogical ….[, it] would be far more powerful to embody the values for which Islam stands”:

“Counter-terrorism can only succeed if both civil society and the government work together to counter violent extremism” — joint statement by 15 civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Kenyan Human Rights Commission:

“Afkham will only be the second female ambassador Iran has had…. [President] Rouhani said this week that he saw it as his government’s duty to create equal opportunities for women”:

“I have not written (in party mouthpiece Saamana) that the voting rights of Muslims should be taken away. I only said that Muslims will not be used for political opportunism if they are not allowed to vote” …

… and one way to prevent them from voting is to prevent them from reproducing–and ditto for Christians:

Does the man who “tweeted a photo of the men praying and captioned it: ‘Muslims praying at half time at the match yesterday #DISGRACE'” even know what the definition of “grace” is?

News and Analysis (4/13/15)

Monday, April 13th, 2015

“The Fars report alleged Rezaian had obtained economic and industrial information from Iran and sold it to unnamed Americans. It also linked him to Omid Memarian, an Iranian opposition journalist based in the US”:

“Bahah is popular across Yemen’s spectrum of feuding parties and may be seen as a figure who could calm tensions and bring warring parties to the negotiating table” …

… and while “[i]n the media Yemenis are usually depicted as either pro-Saudi or pro-Iran, Sunni or Shia. People forget that Yemenis can be pro-Yemen as well”:

“If confirmed, the presence of two Iranian officers, whom the local militiamen said were from an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, would deepen tensions between Tehran and Riyadh, who are vying for influence in the Middle East” …

… but “[t]he so-called pan-Arab military that the House of Saud is promoting is a reincarnation of US containment policies from the Cold War…. The Israeli-Saudi alliance in Yemen is being relieved as the Kingdom and Israel have united with the US against the Houthis”:

An Indian far right party goes Likud’s Netanyahu one better:

“A UN-backed court set up to investigate the assassination 10 years ago of the Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri will finally put defendants in the dock next week. Tellingly, however, they are not suspects accused of the crime, but journalists charged with contempt of court”:

“Besides distributing roses, the Muslim women planned to spread messages of Islam, including from the prophet Muhammad: ‘Feed the hungry and visit the sick, and free the captive if he is unjustly confined. Assist any person oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim'” …

… while at the University of Buffalo, a panel participant opines that “humanity’s biggest weakness is ignorance. That is true regardless of what culture, religion or place you are”:

“The unraveling of Libya continues”:

Obama told “reporters at the Americas summit in Panama that Khamenei and others in Iran were addressing their own internal politics. ‘Even a guy with the title ‘Supreme Leader’ has to be concerned about his own constituencies,’ Obama said”:

“Jamaat-e-Islami party denounces the execution of Muhammad Kamaruzzaman on charges of crimes against humanity as ‘revenge and pre-planned murder’”:

News and Analysis (4/11/15)

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

“The men were among thousands detained after the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013. Egypt’s mass trials of Brotherhood supporters have drawn international criticism of the country’s judicial system” …

… and an American who “been on a hunger strike over his detention for more than 14 months” has been sentenced to life imprisonment:

“The Islamic extremist group has claimed complex hackings before, but experts and a French official said the ability to black out a global television network represented a new level of sophistication for the group”:

Muslims served in the U.S. military under the command of General George Washington, … the Civil War, [and] Muslim Americans fought and died in World War II and Vietnam” holding “military grades from private first class to sergeant”:

Imam “Hazim … said the FBI told him they were undercover FBI agents and that the sting was arranged to get Booker ‘off the streets….  think the two FBI agents set him up, because they felt at that point someone else might have done the same thing and put a real bomb in his hands'”:

“Leaders of the UM Muslim community tried to mediate, but the women [who vandalized Mahmood’s apartment] were unwilling to meet…. Derek Draplin, a UM student, editor of The Michigan Review, and friend of Mahmood’s called his treatment ‘completely hypocritical'”:

Cenk Uygur tells New Atheists who “support  profiling and ‘want [authorities] to go into [Muslims’] mosques, universities, college groups, and if need be urge first [nuclear] strikes against them” they are “foaming at the mouth neoconservative”[s who should] … stop pretending you’re liberals”:

“What you’re dealing with is this religious imperative to be one community. Faith is supposed to tie us together with this sacred bond, and in some ways it does. But making that bond something that shows up in all times and circumstances is something that takes work”:

“The demonstration came after two male Iranian pilgrims alleged abuse after Saudi officers at Jeddah’s international airport searched them. Details of the abuse have not been made public though Iran formally has called for the Saudi officers to be punished”

“The Yarmouk camp in Damascus is home to factions that support Syrian President Bashar Assad and groups that oppose him, and it was unclear whether Palestinians from both sides of the divide had indeed agreed to join forces”:

News and Analysis (4/8/15)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

“Shaimaa al-Sabbagh’s shooting death … has laid bare deep flaws within the country’s security and justice system … [and] left the state scrambling for cover … amid signs Mr. Sisi’s rule is growing more authoritarian. The policeman suspected of causing her death is facing trial, but so are the witnesses”:

“Turkey has become one of the most aggressive censors of the Internet in the world under President Recap Tayyip Erdogan. Lucy Kafanov reported … that his administration’s suppression of information has seen 68,000 websites made inaccessible to average Turkish users”:

The handout does not list any sources, but … talks about Sharia Law, terrorism, jihad, even beheadings and ‘If taken hostage by radical Islamists, what to do'”:

Neighbors “started holding Ram Darbars, gatherings at which they would play Hanuman Chalisa and bhajans on a music system, outside the bungalow every evening”, inviting a Hindu nationalist leader who “asked residents to attack Zaveri’s office … if he did not give up the bungalow within 48 hours”:

“Many who were involved in the US war effort in Iraq continue to insist that the country fell apart because of Obama’s failings. There is little evidence to support them”:

“In her closing argument, [the defendant’s own attorney, Judy] Clarke said that there was ‘no excuse’ for her client’s actions, calling them ‘senseless'”:

“Houthi forces fought street-by-street battles with local militia in the old center of Aden on Wednesday, as the first boatloads of emergency medical aid reached the south Yemeni port city”…

… “Fighting in Yemen has displaced more than 100,000 people and killed at least 74 children over the past two weeks, and the UN warns the humanitarian situation is set to get a lot worse…. Yemen’s civil war has disrupted water supplies and overburdened the country’s poorly equipped hospital”:

“There is no food for the civilians who are stuck in the camp and still under siege. Also the medical situation is very bad, as most of the doctors fled the camp at the beginning of the fighting between Islamic State and the Palestinian group that was controlling most of Yarmouk before”:

“[A]bout 40 children are among those released, while the rest were elderly”:

News and Analysis (4/6/15)

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Saddam’s revenge? Each time the U.S. knocks out a leader of the anti-American extremists in the region now encroached upon by ISIS, not only is he replaced by an even more extreme militant, but the Baathist influence in the emergent replacement group becomes stronger:

With Yemen on the brink of civil war and aid groups are calling for a ceasefire, the rebel Houthis pushing “back President Hadi’s loyalists in port city despite 11-day bombing campaign by Saudi-led coalition” …

… “Yemen’s Houthis are ready to sit down for peace talks as long as a Saudi-led air campaign is halted and the negotiations are overseen by ‘non-aggressive parties'” …

In 2003 Rouhani “convinced Khamenei to stop the clandestine military nuclear programme” and in 2006 wrote, “A nuclear weaponised Iran destabilises the region, prompts a regional arms race, and wastes the scarce resources in the region. An Iranian bomb will accord Iran no security dividends” …

… and now “the message from Friday prayer pulpits … indicated that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported Zarif and his team, even though many hardliners – and at times, apparently Mr. Khamenei himself – have been critical of the nuclear talks”:

Critics warn that the proposed resurrection of security laws repealed three years ago “could severely curtail civil liberties[,] … be misused against political opponents[, and that it] … will allow authorities to detain suspects indefinitely without trial and the decision cannot be challenged in court”:

“The United Nations says around 18,000 civilians, including a large number of children, are trapped in Yarmouk. The camp has been under government siege for nearly two years, leading to starvation and illnesses caused by lack of medical aid”:

“Across the Middle East, sectarianism has always been linked to the battle for power, resources and territory”:

“[T]he deliberate destruction and desecration in war of cultural property has a long history … [from] Greek and Roman times … [to] the willful ruin of … mosques and churches, … monasteries, archives, libraries, and museums” in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Taliban’s destruction of Buddhist statues“:

“Rights groups say … Israel is out of bounds with its large-scale use of” administrative detention, and “Palestinian prisoners’ advocate, Qadoura Fares, said the arrest is an Israeli punitive political act. He said Israel is holding 16 Palestinian lawmakers in jails, most of them … members of … Hamas”:

“One of the gunmen who slaughtered 148 people at a Kenyan university was identified Sunday as the law-school-educated son of a Kenyan government official, highlighting the inroads Islamic extremists have made in recruiting young people to carry out violent attacks in the country”: