Archive for September, 2015

News and Analysis (9/28/15)

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The realities of Western colonialism, American military bases, “American political and economic interventions, often violent” and “Israel, heavily armed with all forms of weapons of mass destruction, a cruel occupying force, and the regional superpower,” are overshadowed by “the Islamist Imaginary”:

The real lie is the pretense that the concession that “a person who faces religious persecution can withhold the identity of their faith in order to avoid bodily harm or death” is a secret plan for world domination:

“Twice in a decade, a jihadist wave had threatened to engulf the region. Twice, it seemed to the Jordanians, the American response had been to cut a fresh hole in the lifeboat”:

Children are being forced to learn about religion of a fourth of the earth’s population?! What next? Will they be forced to study math, science, art history, geography, literature and (shudder!) even biology?!

“The United States said on Monday it was willing to work with Russia, as well as Iran, to try to end the Syrian civil war but the two big powers clashed over whether or not Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be included”:

“The Dutch proposal to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which could expose abuses on all sides of the war, follows the submission of another one co-sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Yemen that does not seek an international mission”:

“Both Afghan government leaders and the U.S.-led coalition view the defense of Kunduz as a key test of whether security forces could prevent the Taliban from expanding its reach in the country”:

News and Analysis (9/24/15)

Friday, September 25th, 2015

“It was the second major disaster during this year’s Hajj season, raising questions about the adequacy of measures put in place by Saudi authorities to ensure the safety of the roughly two million Muslims taking part in the annual religious event” …

… the “Saudi health minister … earlier pointed a finger of blame at the dead, saying the pilgrims had been undisciplined and not followed movement instructions, but the witnesses disagreed.” One said that “police had closed all entrances and exits to the pilgrims’ camp, leaving only one”:

While the Pope expresses solidarity with Muslims,  boy-genius Bobby Jindal echoes Ben Carson saying that he will only consider voting for a Muslim who would “put his hand on the Bible: i taking th eoath office:

“[W]hat if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your color? What if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your race? What if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your faith? And that’s what you did to me”:

“It’s important for me because it’s my way of representing myself as a Muslim. And also I’d be showing that I think I can perform just as well as someone who’s wearing half the clothes that I’m wearing”:

Although “50 parents, students, faculty and community members spoke against Nichols, and only two supported him, … he stands by his earlier statement that he didn’t post the comment disparaging the sanitary habits of Muslims and also said he won’t name the person who used his phone to do so”:

“[A]fter he was seen reading a textbook titled ‘Terrorism Studies’ in the campus library”, the student “in the terrorism, crime and global security master’s program was approached by an official who ‘grilled him about his views on homosexuality, the Islamic State and al Qaeda'”:

“No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Saudi Arabia has seen a series of recent assaults claimed by affiliates of the extremist Islamic State group. The kingdom is taking part in a U.S.-led coalition targeting the militants in Syria and Iraq”:

“Social Justice and Islamic Legal/Ethical Code: A Case Study from the Prophetic Period”

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

[This is the thirteenth and last in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Islamic Law and Ethics held in Herndon, VA in June  2014. These notes are NOT a transcript, but a lightly edited presentation of  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 conference director.]

“Social Justice and Islamic Legal/Ethical Code: A Case Study from the Prophetic Period”

Katrin Jomaa, University of Rhode Island

My paper is on categorizing the Medina Compact, a document from the Prophet’s era. It is a legal and political document, but neither religious nor secular. When Islamist political parties formed, the question arose as to whether non-Muslims would have to observe Shariah, whether women would have to wear hijab, and how majority-minority relations would be conducted. It is a case study in the problem of how to read a text to derive Islamic values in a way that can be applied to issues today.

Today we are confronted with the liberal model articulated by John Rawls under which religion is a private matter, not a public matter. This is how secularism addresses the issue of religious differences. They are tolerated as long as they do not enter the political and public realm. Critiques of liberalism, like communitarianism, say it is impractical. A politician cannot preclude his religion in the public sphere without becoming schizophrenic. Minorities are given rights but are they full rights? For example, when I ask my students if thry would accept a Muslim President, they say no way.

According to Lockerby, the Muslims were the minority in Medina. The Jews did not accept Muhammad as a prophet, yet they accepted him as an arbiter, a political leader. Then Medina compact defines itself as a kitâb and says the Jews with the Arab tribes are an ummah. Ahl as-sahîfa, the people of the document. All the tribes are referred to by name in a redundant manner. In the modern nation state the relationship is direct between the individual and the state. Clause 13 says all God-conscious believers shall unite against unjust acts or the infringement of rights. It is using social pressure to institute an Islamic legal order.  But when we come to the Jews, clause 25 says whoever commits a crime shall harm only himself and the members of his house. For the Muslims they have a choice of retaliation or blood wit. Not so for the Jews for whom there is no blood wit, so we have a concept of pluralism.

Not everything is at the center. Clause 42 says there is autonomy but in intercommunity disagreements the Prophet will rule. Wasat is how the individual and community can be balanced. In the cases of war, the Jews do not pay jizya because they join the Muslims in defending Medina. Medina is declared a haram (sacred place), there can be no bloodshed there. If you are going to fight you do so outside, but if Medina is attacked directly all must fight together (clause 37). If the Jews are invited to a peace agreement they shall adopt it and vice versa except in the case of war over religious issues.


Shahirah Mahmood, University of Wisconsin – Madison. Katrin’s data is on a document text. You talk of Medina compact as a template, but it is a template for 622 H. The critique of Rawls is abundant. His “veil of ignorance” is abstracted from real life. Is sacredness superior to religious interests? You didn’t discuss the decree of women at all. It goes against your argument.

Jacquelene Brinton, University of Kansas. The paper deals with ancient texts and how they are applied in the present, focusing on the opportunities they provide. Katrin, I think your work could add to the conversation in the world today. You make the public-private thing about internal and external which is an interesting take. There is some ambiguity in the document that could be discussed at greater length. I think “dismantling” the tribal system is too strong a word; it rather leads out of the tribal system. Clause 45 is fascinating. It’s inclusive but with a sense that it is the Muslim view that takes precedence.

Jomaa. I am not suggesting the document be applied today because it is too context specific, but rather to get ideas that might be useful today. That women cannot be protected without the permission of their tribe is an example of the limitation imposed by the condition of the time. I think we can derive not the Islamic political theory but an Islamic political theory. I agree that there is no complete equality, but it is a system of fairness. All systems are based on some kind of ideology, even modern secular systems. This is an ethical system based on a particular religion.

General Discussion.

[Name withheld]. The Medina constitution is interesting, but little reference is made to it in subsequent literature. The problem was not between the Arab and Jewish tribes but between the Aws and the Khazraj. The Jews did not pay jizya because there was no jizya yet. Look at Hamid Hamidullah’s analysis of the constitution and also Mohammad Mahdi Shamsuddin, who takes Montgomery Watt to task. Also at the time of the migration the tribes of Aws and Khazraj were considered Muslim. When you look at a Qur’anic verse it helps to look at the context.

[Name withheld]. Have you looked at the Ottomon period and asked how that could have been influenced by the Medina pact?

[Name withheld]. I am a little wary when it comes to using classical texts in modern language. Even the use of “constitution” rather than “agreement” defies modern constitutional language. This document comes into being when the city is still Yathrib and not yet Medina. Modern concepts like equality are not there yet. Jewish tribes had already rejected the Prophet’s message and were already in the process of forming an alliance with the Meccan tribes.  Polemics against the Jews have already started. The qibla changes in the second year of hijrah. Prophethood aside, the Jews did not want to accept the political leadership of Muhammad. I think Watt’s Muhammad at Medina is worth reviewing.

Jomaa. I do talk about the context, and I know the jizya came later, but I still think the constitution gives insight. For example, on abrogation, I do not think the arrival of jizya later abrogates that part of the Prophet’s life. Today we are often minorities and in our own societies we are often oppressed.

[Name withheld].  This is not pluralism because it is the difference between religious state and a secular state. A Jew will give you a completely different interpretation than of jizya than a Muslim.


Jomaa. There is no law for atheism, yes, but I am not saying it is equal to the secular state. It is a political document based on religious values. I was not saying we apply jizya later, I meant that there are contextual issues. Is there another aspect of the tradition that can deal with it?

[Name withheld]. We are not completely understanding what the jizya is. It applies to the People of the Book in specific situations. The Banu Talib a Christian tribe of Medina, said we will fight on your side but not pay the jizya, and they were accepted.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: Rawls’s work was seminal, in that subsequent liberal theory is in dialog with it, but it cannot be taken as the totality of liberal thought on justice, as it was criticized within the liberal tradition. You need to read Robert Nozick’s Anarchy State and Utopia in addition to the other liberal critiques of Rawls. Nozick’s concluding chapter on the “Framework for Utopia” is harmonious with the religious pluralism embodied in the Medina Compact.  The American notion of secularity is not so absolute as others, such as the French. Besides Bishop Sheen, who was politically active, there is Father Drinan, a liberal activist who actually held a seat in Congress, as well social conservatives and, of course, the politically powerful Christian Zionists. Also I do agree with you that the Yathrib agreement is pluralistic. Yes, it is different from secular pluralism, but it is still pluralism. Jizya is still applicable. It makes an effective method to excuse people from fighting against their coreligionists. Abraham Lincoln accepted cash in lieu of military service.

[Name withheld]. Keeping jizya in context makes perfect sense. See Hamid Anayat’s Modern Political Thought.  We are affected by modern terminology. The challenge is to put oneself in the classical age.


Jomaa. Why can the works of Aristotle and Plato be part of the canon to be drawn upon to discuss universal principles, but not Islamic literature?

[Name withheld]. This is an important methodological question. I must pay attention to nuances or my work will become detached from the very sources in which I seek authenticity. Aristotle’s democracy is different from ours and we cannot take their statements verbatim. We can go through a hermeneutic process that will enable us to derive something relevant to our condition.

Jomaa. That is what I am trying to do. What am I missing?

[Name withheld]. Imam Ali’s instruction to the governor of Egypt was normative. You are dealing with a specific document which is the answer to a particular question and must be used carefully. Umar’s letter to the archbishop of Jerusalem that the Muslims will not harm Christian churches overtly makes a universal statement.

[Name withheld]. There is a long scholarly context of quoting verses out of context. This verse is a statement of historical fact being used as general statement.

[Name withheld]. Decree 25 makes your task impossible. It acknowledges a tension between religion and justice that you need to resolve.

Brinton. Civil society means religion is one voice among many. Lincoln offered a choice to individuals rather than communities.  Take the way that Christians or Jews see the compact in order to bring nuance to your analysis.

[Name withheld]. The issue is not to see when a theory is used but when it is not used. In India jizya was not applied. That permits us to make conclusions about principles.

Jomaa. Maybe I need to criticize the Medina compact. Rawls is the leader of secular liberalism.

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

News and Analysis (9/22/15)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Forced out of the mosque he led for seventeen years” by an ethic-based split, Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini has a new project, to “see that the youth are empowered and assuming a leadership role in the Muslim community. Traditionally, in most mosques in Dearborn, there is no youth presence”:

Before deciding which of the many offers from other schools, the young Muslim will first meet with UN officials and then with the President of the United States …

… but “[f]or Muslims in the sciences, tech, engineering and math (Stem), Ahmed’s close call is not an isolated incident”:

Shahab “Ahmed’s vision of Islam, profoundly informed by more than 1,000 years of history, poetry, mysticism, science and philosophy, offers an authentic, sophisticated and inspiring alternative to the cramped, reductive and often violent versions that predominate today”:

The narratives of defectors “highlight the group’s contradictions and hypocrisies, and expose many of their promises as lies”:

A “22-year-old dental student from Sudan, who had lived in Sweden and Saudi Arabia before coming to Hungary for school. Of all the places she had lived, she said, Hungary was the hardest”:

Here’s a story Ben Carson can cite to prove that “Creeping Shari Law” is Communist-atheist plot:

Carson’s “clarification” that he could support a Muslim candidate who would denounce “Sharia Law” is as ignorant and absurd as saying he would support a Catholic who denounced Canon Law, a Conservative who denounced Natural Law, or a liberal who would denounce the Bill of Rights:

“The Concept of Ridâ (Approval) in the Qur’an and the Misunderstanding of Coexistence”

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

[This is the twelfth in a series of my notes on the International Institute of Islamic Thought conference on Islamic Law and Ethics held in Herndon, VA in June  2014. These notes are NOT a transcript, but a lightly edited presentation of  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 conference director.]

“The Concept of Ridâ (Approval) in the Qur’an and the Misunderstanding of Coexistence”

Asaad al-Saleh, University of Utah

The motivation of people to dismiss my experiences in the West is the identification of “The West” with “Jews and Christians” and to identify what is happening not by actualities but by the verse in the Qur’an “Neither Jews nor Christians will approve of you until you follow their religion.” Being in cultural studies I tried to related this to history and its historical context. One Facebook post said the crusades against Islam haven’t stopped at all and the US is responsible for Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Libya. Why did they give Iraq to the Shia? Why did they turn Sudan into two states? Another wrote, “We don’t see it as a crusade but they have explicit said it is so,” referring to Bush’s notorious speech. “They occupy the Muslim countries they no longer find obedient to them.” Finally, “the dirty face will remain dirty no matter how much you try to polish it. The US spilled the blood of Muslims and drank it to the full. The glaring example of Palestine can never be ignored.” I was aware of such attitudes but I never expected a casual positive comment about a positive experience in the West to trigger such a firestorm. Even educated Arabs think that a president who made a reckless remark was speaking for all the American people. Politics can explain but not justify such aggressive attitudes. My concern is with those who only referred to the verse as if the text is sufficient to prove the point. Growing up in the Middle East, I remember it being used a lot out of context as a timeless description of the eternal attitude of Jews and Christians. Since then I have found disturbingly numerous examples of the verse quoted in unsettling circumstances.

When soccer star Samir Nassri was left out of the French World Cup team for 2014, his girlfriend from England made news headlines by using Twitter to insult the French coach. One commentator in the popular Algerian newspaper, Echorouk, followed the Qur’anic verse about ridâ with a message directed to Nassri that that what happened to him is “the penalty for everyone who forgets his homeland.” Similarly, Hafiz Mirazi is a popular TV broadcaster at Arabiyya who quoted this verse to attribute his dismissal to the Jews and Christians. A newspaper in Turkey printed the headline, “Neither the Jews or the Christians will ever be satisfied with you Mr. Erdogan.” They believe that the US is either Jewish or Christian rather than a secular country. In Finland 70% and in Sweden 60% do not identify themselves with Christianity. Some recent scholars give the vision that by 2050 most Christians will be outside of the West.

We have no established meaning of this verse from the Prophet, the Companions, or the followers, only from later interpreters like Tabari, etc. Almost all of the classical exegetes took it to address the Prophet himself, not Muslims in general.  Jews and Christians are spoken of in various ways in the Qur’an many of which have general import, but not this verse, which advises the Prophet not to be distracted from making the call to the truth even if not everyone accepts it.

Why do the people in the Arab world have this attitude? Umar agreed with Christians from Syria to take precautions against future exigencies. The Crusades and colonialism played a role, as did he US invasion of Iraq and the history of Orientalism. You cannot try to deconstruct this interpretation without being accused of questioning the legitimacy of the Qur’an. Ridâ only means agreement. There is no connotation of war against Islam. The word appears in the hadith that a woman’s silence in response to a proposal of marriage constitutes consent. There is no charge of hatred in the absence of agreement or consent.


Shahirah Mahmood, University of Wisconsin – Madison. Asaad’s paper is based on social media (Facebook). I think what Asad is trying to show is that people are using the verse as a legitimizing force for their feeling of “otherness.” American military action is seen not as motivated by nation interest but by civilizational struggle. Are they angry about US involvement in the Middle East or at their own leaders?

Jacquelene Brinton, University of Kansas. Asaad’s paper focuses on the problems of application of ancient texts in the present. This paper could have been an opportunity to speak of the conflation of politics and religion. I would be careful about essentializing the Arab community based on anonymous Facebook posts. In dealing with media you must deal with the issue of what it is that is responding. There are resources out there. More nuance is needed when you give the example of the response regarding the footballer talking about all Christians and Jews or one specific country or team: There are lots of different opinions about America and the West in the Muslim world.

Asaad al-Saleh. The methodology of studying Facebook is kind of challenging. I don’t use the phrase Arab mind, I say Arab consciousness.

General Discussion.

[Name withheld]. The reference to Muslims and the Jews as one community apart from other people is a reference to their common monotheism. Even when they quarrel it is in the name of monotheism. Most often when the Quran says yahûd it means the Jews of Medina, and when it says Bani Isra’îl it usually means the historical Jews.

Al-Saleh. I am trying to see how the verse is being circulated without any context.

[Name withheld]. I think the methodology of analyzing Facebook is problematic.  Muslims make the same responses when a referee makes a decision they don’t like in soccer.

[Name withheld]. We also assume politics is part and parcel of Islam. Does Prophetic ministry require a political component?

Al-Saleh. It is not a metaphor, but it is taken out of context.

Brinton. People who argue religion should be part of civil society say it should be a voice not the voice.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad. How sophisticated do you expect a Facebook post to be? Shall we next agonize over the lack of depth and nuance in a Tweet?

Al-Saleh. I think we need to respond.

[Name withheld]. There is a long scholarly context of quoting verses out of context. This verse is a statement of historical fact being used as general statement.

[Name withheld]. Ridâ means more than agreement in Quran and Sufi literature. It can mean being content, pleased.

Asad al-Saleh. This is not the first time people have misused a text. I discuss the shades of meaning of rida. That’s what we need.

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

News and Analysis (9/20/15)

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

“They just wanted to humiliate a little Muslim boy…. [T]hey didn’t evacuate the school[,] … call a bomb squad[, and] … get as far away from him as possible…. [T]hey put him and the clock in an office[,] … waited[ed] with him for the police to arrive, and then they put the clock in the same car as the police”:

“Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday as Israeli forces suppressed protests across the West Bank in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid ongoing entry restrictions”:

A “Syrian who escaped to Jordan, prayed that the hearts of rival leaders would be touched to stop the bloodshed. ‘Will it ever end? God knows. I hope all our leaders can come to Mecca and share the same faith as all those people do,’ he told Reuters.  One purpose of the Hajj is to do just that”:

Junaid Juhangir argues that since the “abuse and violence” for which the Qur’an justly condemns Lot’s people “is not found in loving same-sex relationships, tadabbur (deeper reflection) reveals that it would be inappropriate to equate committed same-sex relationships with the conduct of Lot’s people”:

After leaving active duty, they joined forces once again to create Combat Flip Flops, a company that flips the battle on how wars are won through their “Business, not Bullets” mantra.

“[W]hile Germany and France have the largest Muslim populations of any nation in Europe (unless we’re counting Russia or Turkey), the European Union member with the highest percentage of Muslims is actually Bulgaria. These are not immigrants”:

When “asked whether the billionaire businessman would consider putting a Muslim in his Cabinet or on his ticket,” Trump responded, “Oh, absolutely. No problem with that”:


News and Analysis (9/16/15)

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

“[P]ublic opposition to what we later learned would have been a massive bombing campaign … succeeded without knowing about the rejected proposal for peace of 2012 … [but] the U.S. went right ahead inching its way into the war with trainers and weapons and drones”:

The enterprising 14-year-old was very proud of having built his own electronic clock, but when he tried to show and tell at school his teacher insisted it must be a bomb and had him arrested …

… but “The hashtag … was trending on Twitter all day on Wednesday” and since opening his own twitter account “Ahmed has been invited to visit NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (his “dream school”), and the White House – a personal invitation from President Obama”:

The unification of Yemen in 1990 was never stable, and once again we may see two governments in the country:

“Hungarian police issued a statement accusing “aggressive” migrants of breaking through the fence, but a United Nations official at the scene said the barrier did not appear to have been breached”:

“Allan staged the hunger strike to protest Israel’s controversial practice of “administrative detention,” which allows it to hold suspected militants without charge for months at a time” and his father fears the re-arrest will kill him:

Barbara Falconer Newhall is frightened by both the rigid Saudi interpretation of Islam and ISIS’s violent practice, but not by the “open-minded and loving” expression of the religion her Muslim friend who practices “Islam the way [her] mother does and the way [her] grandmother did”:


News and Analysis (9/14/15)

Monday, September 14th, 2015

“The hajj is due to go ahead unaffected, but locals have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths. ‘There have been quite a few minor incidents, workers getting killed, but it never reaches the press,’ said the activist. ‘This time they can’t hide it'”:

The message, “May our shared Abrahamic roots deepen respect and bring peace and mutual understanding. L’Shanah Tovah” did not appear on the Farsi version of Rouhani’s account, but Rouhani’s “government agreed to allow Jewish schools to be closed on Saturdays to mark Shabbat” …

… and the head teacher at the only Jewish school in Tunis and acting rabbi at a synagogue in the coastal suburb of La Goulette says, “Actually, we feel it’s harder for the Jews in the US and Europe than in Tunisia”:

“Tony Abbott earlier this year allocated significant funding to security agencies because ‘too many Australians are being brainwashed online by this death cult’. However, one of those apparent representatives of Islamic State has now been” discovered to be a Jewish American:

“Security forces in Egypt have mistakenly killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, during an anti-terror operation, the interior ministry says…. Ten Mexicans and Egyptians were also injured and are being treated in a local hospital”:

Is Tunisia slipping back into dictatorship? “Police had originally banned Saturday’s demonstration, citing threats of terrorist attacks, but left-wing and liberal parties as well as civic groups went forward with the march” …

… meanwhile “Egypt’s government resigned Saturday in the face of intense criticism from state-friendly media that reflects growing discontent but stops short of faulting President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the former general who led the overthrow of an Islamist president two years ago”:

In the clip Reagan re-imagines John Winthrop’s conception of America as a “shining city in a hill” as one “teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace,” adding, “If there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here”:

Should the world’s most famous advocate of Western-style education have to meet the same standards  as others who would attend Stanford? No hypocrite, Malala is on record saying, “It wouldn’t look very good if the girl shot for wanting to go to school failed” such entrance exams:

News and Analysis (9/11/15)

Friday, September 11th, 2015

The state curriculum includes “Hinduism, Buddhism, monotheism, the 10 Commandments, the Hebrew Bible, Christianity and Jesus being the son of God” as well as Islam, Shintoism, and Buddhism. School board chairman David Bates “said it is essential to teach about religion, not of religion”:

One difference between US and IS is that we cover up our atrocities while they post theirs on the Internet:

A “leading chemical weapons expert has told the BBC there is ‘very strong and compelling evidence’ that mustard gas has been used in a recent attack, blamed on Islamic State (IS) militants” …

… but even as the world has awoken to the tragedy of the Syrians, but the head of Oxfam’s programs in Yemen says, “Yemen is one of the world’s worst crises”:

The Israeli decision equates Muslim groups that shout “God is Great” and hold up the Qur’an to Jewsih groups that “carried out so-called price-tag acts of vandalism and arson against churches, mosques and Palestinian property”:

Devout Catholic Steven Colbert, reflecting on both Christian history and current events involving Muslims observes that “every religion has been so defensive of its beliefs that it has actually abandoned its beliefs at times”:

“If elected, Khan or Kamall would immediately become one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in Western Europe. They’d also give voice to the rising Muslim population in London, which was 12.4% of the city in the 2011 national census”:

Fourteen years later, the 9/11 attacks and the thousands of innocents killed represent international criminality and immorality of the first order” yet “no one in Washington has yet taken the slightest responsibility for” policies responsible for floods of refugees and  hundreds of thousands dead:

News and Analysis (9/7/15)

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

The FBI’s brilliant plan to deter Americans from joining the Islamic State: Send those who choose NOT to join to prison for thirty years …

… while some equally brilliant British newspapers propose solving the Syrian refugee crisis by creating more Syrian refugees …

… because “[t]his mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing ‘democracy’ at the barrel of a gun” …

… meanwhile, President Rouhani says, “Iran will sit at any table with regional countries and world powers if the outcome will be a safer, stable and democratic future for Syria,” calling the offer “part of Iran’s commitment to ‘international, Islamic and humane’ norms”:

“[A]mong some 6,200 candidates running for office for 92 parties, it seems certain that there will be not a single candidate from the Muslim population” and “hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been denied the right even to cast ballots”:

What Netanyahu means when he says Israel lacks the “demographic depth” to take in Syrian refugees, is that there are already too many non-Jews in the land:

“Free speech is non-negotiable and therefore, the demand to ban or proscribe any book, work or literature goes against our constitutional principles. [i]t will also be counterproductive because proscription or banning today … will actually make that work more popular”:

Allegations of police forcibly shaving men and of one man being beaten to death for wearing a beard reflect a “crackdown on religion, and everything connected with it … [that includes] restrictions on imports of hijabs and a drive to eliminate names considered to be ‘too Arabic’:

Turkey’s cease-fire with the PKK is over, which is bad news for the US-backed coalition against IS:

“Jazal is a medium-sized field that lies to the north-west of the rebel-held ancient city of Palmyra, close to a region that holds Syria’s main natural gas fields and multimillion-dollar extraction facilities”: