Archive for May, 2017

News and Analysis (5/29/17)

Monday, May 29th, 2017
“The two men who were killed appear to have stepped in to protect the women from racial slurs”; …

… “More than 2,000 people attended the candlelit vigil at the Hollywood Transit Centre, where the attack took place, on Saturday evening” …

… while “more than 5,000 young British Muslims raised millions” for British Charities under the slogan “Love for all, hatred for none”:

After his predecessor “was killed by an American drone in 2015,” the new insurgency leader monitors sermons closely and murders those who depart from the Taliban’s hard line:

“The Pentagon has admitted to killing 220 civilians in Iraq and Syria since mid-2014, yet independent monitoring groups … say the number could be closer to 3,000”:
This is just one of several recent cases “where local officials have allegedly used zoning laws to keep Muslims from building community centers or houses of worship”:

Denying female agency: Some fathers force their daughters to marry while others forcibly break up their daughters’ marriages:

“An official of a top clerical body said although the group might trigger a culture clash in a conservative area, he did not feel it broke with Islamic values”:

Gulf state leaders relate to Trump’s “personality, his black-and-white outlook on life and … they were relieved he didn’t push them to change how they run their countries”:

“80 percent of the [prisoners’] demands” have been met according to Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission:

“More than 90 percent of the land is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Landowners are not allowed to engage in transactions with non-Jewish citizens”:

Evaluating the Iran Deal

Sunday, May 28th, 2017
Evaluating the Iran Deal
[This is my summary of the panel on evaluating the Iran deal held at the Cato Institute in Washington DC on May 16. My notes are my paraphrase and not a verbatim transcript.]
Wendy Sherman, Senior Counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group (interviewed by Laura Rozen, Diplomatic Correspondent, Al-Monitor)
The bottom line is that Rex Tillerson certified Iran’s compliance to the Congress. The Iran deal was never meant to address all the problems we have with Iran. Other nations don’t want us to address their problems when they are not in the room, although they may may be the first to protest that we have not done so.
Contrary to popular opinion there is a lot of politics in Iran. It is not true that billions of dollars was made available to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRG). They have done a lot with a small amount of additional money. This is not just a deal between the United States and Iran. Republican support has increased somewhat lately because there is an increasing realization that we are safer now. All pathways for fissionable material has been cut off. We put in all the safeguards necessary to protect the interests of the United States. You begin a negotiation seeking everything you ever wanted and more, but that was never possible. We monitoring and strict limits on the stockpile and an increase of the time we have to react to any breakout to a year giving us plenty of time to react.
She would advise Tillerson to start by putting together a team. He will not have his senior team for at least 18 months. He hasn’t even named the assistant secretaries for the regional bureaus, let alone an undersecretary for management.  200 medical professionals put an end to the Ebola crisis because we were able to assist in the training. We did it not out of altruism but to protect the national interest.
The bill now in Congress jeopardizes the JCPOA but does almost nothing except say we’re tough.
CATO’s Emma Ashburn commented that going beyond the JCPOA will require more, not less, engagement with Iran, but the administration seems determined to push back more strongly, first, with sanctions. These may not violate the letter of the agreement, but, like Iran’s missile testing, violates the spirit. Second there are bellicose statements like “putting Iran on notice” and pushing against the Houtis in Yemen. These are symbolic acts that raise the temperature and invite Iran to respond in kind. These threaten the possibility of capitalizing on JCPOA more than the agreement itself.
Ariane Tabatabai, Visiting Assistant Professor of Security Studies at the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service commented that however campaigning candidates may feel about the agreement, it is here to stay. The impression that Iran will stand by the JCPOA while the Americans seek ways to get around it makes Iran look like the responsible party. Khamenei all along has said even if the agreement works out the U.S. will not uphold its part of the bargain. More and more people are going towards Khamenei’s view: the deal is holding, but what are we getting out of it?
Sherman noted that the detention of American citizens in Iran is an ongoing tactic of the intelligence services. No special envoy has been named to address this or to meet the families of the detained. She shares Tillerson’s desire to eliminate special envoy positions, but believes that this one is necessary. Businesses make decisions on the basis of risks and the nuclear issue was only one risk. If Iran meets the conditions before 2024 sanctions may be lifted earlier.
In response to an audience member’s skepticism that Iran would use a nuclear weapon even if it had one, Tabatabai noted that proliferation is an issue because of the possibility of accident, miscalculation, or terrorists getting a nuclear device or radioactive materials.
In response to another questioner’s skepticism that Iran’s program can be monitored, Sherman responded that the IAEA is on the ground and if they suspect there is a previously unknown site of concern there is a mechanism for forcing Iran to grant access. Even if they somehow managed to open a new secret centrifuge center uranium accountancy makes it impossible to get the uranium to it.  During the Clinton administration a deal with North Korea prevented development of nuclear weapons but Republicans didn’t like the agreement and under Bush that changed. She believes it did not endure because North Korea expected it would lead to normalization, but that we learned from the mistakes of that agreement.
In response to a suggestion that we should be limiting Iran’s missile program, Tabatabai noted that the IRGC has control of the mission program which makes it difficult for the US to negotiate over it. The missile program is viewed as a deterrent and impeding it would be a difficult sell.
Regarding Israeli attempts to sabotage the agreement, Sherman claimed that we kept Israeli well informed about the deal and that the professional technical experts believe it has enhanced their security at least for the next ten years, but that Netanyahu disagreed.
It is my conclusion that until the experts admit that there are greater state sponsors of terrorism than Iran there will remain the wisdom of prioritizing nonproliferation over terrorism will go unappreciated. The Saudi involvement in Syria and Yemen got only a single mention and Israeli terrorism got none.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (5/26/17)

Friday, May 26th, 2017

To succeed at reform in his second term Rouhani must apply the “win-win approach he has defined for foreign policy … [to] domestic issues”:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration would appeal to the Supreme Court” …

… after a “US appeal court’s chief judge states revised ban ‘drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination'”:

“[S]everal residents of the Mosul neighborhood told The Associated Press on Friday there were no IS fighters or explosives inside the house struck by the US bomb”:

Olivier Roy argues that the “home-grown” Muslim terrorist have more in common with American mass school-shooters than with previous generations of Muslim warriors:

“Time and again Karak’s residents have chosen to rally … [together] in the face of forces that sought to turn Muslims and Christians against each other”:

Prohibiting bullying anyone over religion would be better wording, but the plaintiffs’ assertion that Islamophobia is “a problem that does not exist” seems Islamophobic:

Abe Lincoln admired Emir Abdelkader, “a Muslim, Sufi, sheikh, humanist, protector of his people against Western barbarism, protector of Christians against Muslim barbarism”:

“She attempted to appeal the grade, but college policy requires an instructor’s signature on the form. [Her instructor] twice refused, according to the law suit”:

Security forces bungled a raid, provoking chaos in which gunmen seized “bridges, roads and buildings and [took] Christians hostage. Duterte responded [with] martial law”:

News and Analysis (5/23/17)

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Rouhani won “partly on promises of continued détente with the West…. But Trump made clear in a landmark speech on Sunday that comity with Iran was not on the table” …

… his “Sunday diatribe in Riyadh … utterly ignor[ed] … the fact that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the fountainhead of the … extremism whose ‘terrorists’ murder ‘innocent people'” …

… he “thinks he can get the Arabs and Israel to destroy the power of Iran…. That means ‘war’, preferably between Muslims. The ‘ultimate deal’, indeed”:

Trump’s “conciliatory tone aimed at pleasing his Saudi host … is crude political expediency, ripped straight from his playbook, the art of the (weapons and oil) deal”:

“May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next” …

… “While some online seek to exploit killings to spread fear and prejudice, people directly affected by massacre share experience of Muslims’ support and generosity”:

“You are a thug and a racist to boot. It is time you learnt that your vile conduct and abhorrent views are a thing of the past” — Judge Francis Sheridan:

“The [drunken] woman’s distressed son can be seen repeatedly putting his hands over her mouth in an attempt to stop her ranting”:

News and Analysis (5/20/17)

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
“The goal … is not tolerance, as much as it is finding ways to use and instrumentalize Islam and Muslims to fight terrorism … [but]  the focus on religion runs the risk of distracting the U.S. from the political factors that it can more readily shape” …
… but for “now, the US is only making a divided region more divided. And the people who will pay the price aren’t the billionaires in Trump’s cabinet, but the everyday Americans and Middle Easterners who just want to live their lives in peace”:
… For their part, the Saudis have invited indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir, “Bret Baier, a host on the Fox News Channel that is popular with Trump and his supporters, and American country singer Toby Keith, who is to perform for a male-only crowd in the Saudi capital”:

“[P]olling stations stayed open until midnight in parts of the country, defying concerns that moderates disillusioned by the weak economy or slow pace of change would not vote”:

“Societies that encourage people to think for themselves do so because they know truth cannot be imposed. It must be discovered and nurtured in each person’s thinking”:

With the shut-down of the last operating mosque in Munich, “interfaith assistance has already arrived, with a local church opening its doors in the midst of fear and hatred, inviting Muslims in for prayer and safety”:
They “believe that entrepreneurs can win where politicians have failed”:

“[V]ictims included civilians … [and unarmed] soldiers were returning from a military parade…. Most of them were executed.” The defense minister has been suspended and “a commission of inquiry [has] been set up to investigate the attack”:

News and Analysis (5/17/17)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Humiliated on return “from a vacation to decompress after a two-year military deployment to Kuwait … to combat the Islamic State”:

The Mesa Police Dept. will pay “thousands of dollars in public funds … [to] a disgraced former FBI agent with deep ties to anti-Muslim hate groups … for a three-day seminar”:

AIMPLB says that “[m]arriage in the Muslim community is a contract and it is open for women to insist on specific clauses … to protect their interests and dignity” …

… but allowing either party to avoid “the process of reconciliation and mediation between the couple as mandated by the Quran” imposes one school of thought:

This research study … bring[s] to light into the fact that Islamic values can reinforce American values regarding the role of women in society”:

Pakistani activists say Saudi police beat the cross-dressing “family man, with a wife, four sons and five daughters … causing his chronic heart condition to deteriorate”:

“The U.N. base there has also been targeted, prompting the deployment of extra troops to the remote town on Sunday in anticipation of further attacks”:

Gulen says “[I]ndividual rights, the separation of powers, judicial independence and press freedom” are important “and veneration of the state or any leader” is dangerous:

Asking “European representatives to help reclaim Jewish property, while totally ignoring the extensive land and property theft that Israel has inflicted upon Palestinians”:

“The scale of the purchases raises ‘a legitimate concern that Chinese authorities could be planning to DNA profile a large fraction, or even all’ of the Uighur people in Xinjiang”:

News and Analysis (5/14/17)

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Other victims include one whose phone messages were falsely called “ISIS material, … an Iraqi refugee” speaking in Arabic on the phone, and a couple deemed “suspiciously ‘sweating’“:

Calling the law “outrageous” she asks if exempt persons including schoolchildren, “the elderly, people with medical issues [should be arrested] for drinking water”:

Before rejecting the SPJ Journalists’ Code of Ethics teaching to “consider which groups of people are ‘privileged’ and which are ‘oppressed’ …

… he might have considered the fact that Americans are seven times more likely to be killed by right-wing extremists than those driven by Islamist views:

“Inviting the public to ‘save’ [a] baguette from being held hostage, … she once asked an audience of students to find the flags of all the countries France has colonized”:

Fearing “a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement … Mexico … plans to quadruple exports of halal beef … this year”:

News and Analysis (5/11/17)

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

An Orwellian “memory hole,” as in “Donald Trump does not advocate a Muslim ban. Donald Trump has never advocated a Muslim ban”:

“Bayan and other US seminaries … can’t produce graduates fast enough to meet the demands of communities desperate for energetic leaders to help them navigate the Trump era”:

“The decision to jail Ahok surprised some observers because prosecutors had called for a conditional sentence of two years’ probation”:

The Israeli Defense Force staged a demonstration intended to desensitize young children to the killing of immobilized suspects:

“It’s a freedom that we find on our founding documents that sustains Muslim life and allows us to live a life here that is more free than in the Muslim majority world”:

News and Analysis (5/8/17)

Monday, May 8th, 2017

“Muslims who are serious about their faith and who are genuine in their commitment to liberty … can usher a reform in Islam toward ‘no compulsion in religion’ and freedom for all”:

Women in hijab on a Playboy cover and Muslim reformers in hipster beards and skinny jeans … [perpetuate] the trope of the good Muslim … [but challenge no] prejudices or preconceptions”:

“[I]t was easy to predict that Trump was not going to show up and listen to Minhaj roast him to his face. We know that Donald Trump can’t take a joke” having called for he cancellation of SNL:

“A Muslim woman who allegedly refused to stand for a Sydney judge or remove her veil in court is the first person in NSW to be charged” under an eight-month old law:

“Charissa Pomrehn, said she had prayed as a Christian to know more about her Muslim neighbors and that the dinner was like the literal answer to her prayers”:

Sources admit Barghhouti was set up; his wife believes the video a fake; and his lawyers demand to be allowed to meet with the prisoner so they can address the accusations:

News and Analysis (5/5/17)

Friday, May 5th, 2017

“Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish…. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal entity” …

… yet those for who nothing less than adoption of the Israeli position mean no change at all will miss the significance of Hamas’s new charter …

… and “it is extremely unlikely that Israel will change tack and it wouldn’t be surprising if it deliberately seeks to provoke the Palestinians by announcing more settlements in the West Bank”:

Do “stops at the Vatican, Israel, and Saudi Arabia” signal playing up to the religious right and to Muslims at the same time,  — or cloaking endless war in the mantle of religion?

Even for nations ranking similarly “on the women’s rights index, women in Muslim countries are shown suffering misogyny,” without the nuance shown women’s issues in the West:

Actually, “[t]he chapter being taught starts with Judaism, then Christianity and then to Islam and other religions,” but the ignorant refer their children to be ignorant as well …

… while elsewhere a school district will investigate how an unapproved propaganda film came to be shown to high school class:

“There is a strong message that Paul Ryan delivered at the meeting, that overcoming radicalism and terrorism is not [to be done] by positioning Islam as the enemy” — FM Retno Marsudi:

“[O]ver the past decade, sportswear manufacturers like Nike have created hijabs and headcovers that eliminate many [safety] concerns…. [T]he board finally recognized these changes”: