Archive for June, 2018

News and Analysis (6/29/18)

Friday, June 29th, 2018

The most bitter irony of U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA is that it is the U.S. not Iran that was in violation of the agreement to start with:

India claims that that they do not recognize unilateral restrictions imposed by the United States, and that their plans for drastic reduction of oil import from Iran are guided by UN sanctions …

… but Donald Trump cannot repeal the laws of supply and demand, and to whatever degree he may succeed in restricting Iranian exports he will drive up the price of oil …

… and if he succeeds in nullifying the agreement “[w]hat comes next likely will resemble Iran’s response to previous confrontation with the West over its contested atomic program:

“Palestinians reported 310 wounded by live fire and tear gas inhalation in clashes near the Israel-Gaza border, 133 of whom were taken to hospitals. Three of the casualties are said to be seriously wounded”:

“The idea that the issue at hand is a lack of confidence rather than a lack of freedom and respect on Israel’s part of basic Palestinian human rights, really does add insult to injury” …

… Palestinian territories (Guardian Opinion cartoon):

“The President’s statements, which the majority utterly fails to address in its legal analysis, strongly support the conclusion that the Proclamation was issued to express hostility toward Muslims and exclude them from the country” — Justice Sotomayor:

Despite U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s continuing antagonism towards Iran, he remains opposed to military action:

Iran “should stop the decades-old government practice of subsidising the purchase of US dollars by Iranians travelling overseas. According to government policy, every Iranian who travels abroad is entitled to purchase a maximum of $1,000 at half the market price”:

News and Analysis (6/27/18)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

The Supreme Court grants the President a privilege it denied the Colorado Civil Rights Division …

… yet travel ban is not only discriminatory (as noted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor), but ineffective since religion and national origin are not good predictors of who will commit the next terrorist attack …

… and an African-American opines that the Trump v. Hawaii decision will join Dred Scott and Korematsu in the annals of disgraceful decisions:

“The simple fact is that we are not winning the war—and if you are not winning a war against an enemy fighting on his soil among his people, you are losing. In a protracted stalemate, insurgents are more likely to hang on as long as they have to. We can always go home. They are home”:

The Palestinian leaders avoided Jared Kushner who visited the Middle East to gear up the unknown peace process “because President Donald Trump’s actions have made that politically impossible” …

… and because has collaborated with the Saudi abandonment of their cause …

… but the “Duke of Cambridge was clapped and cheered by Palestinians as he visited a refugee camp in Ramallah during an historic first visit by a member of the British royal family to the occupied West Bank”:

“While China can indeed take some of the sanctions heat off Iran, it is neither able nor willing to be Tehran’s economic savior.”:

U.S. issues an ultimatum to all the countries of the world to stop buying gas from Iran by November 2018 or face economic sanctions if they do not obey …

… but Japan is negotiating with the U.S. in hope of being an exception …

… and Turkey doesn’t care about U.S. threats:

Squaring the SCOTUS Decision on the Muslim Ban with the Masterpiece Cakes Decision Is a Disturbing Exercise

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

When confronted with many interesting and important questions about how to weigh religious freedom against the government’s place in fighting invidious discrimination in the Masterpiece Cakes case, the Supreme Court of the United States chose to sidestep all questions but one. They said they didn’t need to decide whether a creative designer of cakes should be forced to create a cake designed to celebrate a marriage unrecognized by their religious tradition. They insisted they don’t need to decide if this cake shop is depriving gay people of a public accommodation. All they needed to know was that the government agency that made the decision was overtly hostile to the religious views of the person they ruled against.

While some of us were disappointed that the Court elected to dodge other important questions for the time being, at least, we thought, this bodes well for their upcoming decision on the Trump travel ban, for Trump’s hostility to Muslims has been trumpeted even more loudly and clearly than the Colorado Civil Rights Division’s antipathy to Christians. Oh, how naive we were! It turns out Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kennedy, Roberts, and Thomas sing a different tune when the victims of overt hatred belong to a religion other than their own. Now, the public statements and tweets of the discriminating agency are suddenly irrelevant to the text of the administrative ruling. Instead they want to address whether the President has a right to fight terrorism by controlling immigration. (But not does the Colorado Civil Rights Division have a right to fight homophobia by regulating cake sales.) The President’s open hostility to Muslims is ruled irrelevant on the grounds that the means used to implement it are “ineffective,” banning a mere 8% of the world’s Muslim population.  (This makes as much sense as saying the KKK can’t be accused of racially motivated terrorism because they killed less than 8% of the black population.)

The Court acknowledged that the wisdom of the ban as a means of fighting terrorism was debatable, but insisted that the Congress must address that issue. In America’s system of separation of powers, however, it is the judiciary that is supposed to protect the Constitution. This Congress, in particular, has shown no capability of standing up to an executive branch bent expanding its power. We are left, ironically, to rely on the people themselves to stand up to the threat of populism, as they did when they flocked to the airports to defend American values and the immigrants who came here in search of them during the first Muslim ban.

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

News and Analysis (6/26/18)

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

By ruling that “when a president is acting within his executive authority, the court should defer to what the president says his intention is, no matter the underlying reality” the Supreme Court repeats its denial that “the internment of Japanese-Americans [was] based on racial prejudice” …

… “Iranian Americans … have worked hard for decades to become one of the most well-integrated and successful immigrant communities in this country…. The travel ban … [confirms that w]e aren’t wanted here. How could we be, if our relatives are viewed solely as security risks?”

“Hasan’s video relegates Islamic terminologies, which Muslim leaders and scholars have been working hard to reclaim, to the inaccurate definitions advanced by Islamophobes.” E.g., “Mullah” the term for scholar of law and theology becomes synonymous with “religious bigot”:

The series of pro-Palestinian resolutions endorsed by the Presbyterian Church (USA) included opposition to legislative attempts to deprive Americans of their right to boycott Israeli apartheid:

“The top military adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that the country’s armed forces are prepared to handle any threat, even military action by the U.S., Israel and their allies”:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered as a hub of terrorist money laundering for international criminals. While foreign nationals are allowed to buy property in the UAE, real estate market has been safe heaven for illicit money transfer:

Iran’s regional policy, which Trump wanted to change, has been unaffected, but domestic policy is changing — for the worse:

News and Analysis (6/24/18)

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

“HEART educators have been talking about sex and sexual assault for nearly a decade, creating their own #MeToo movement even before it had a name. The organization … puts sex education in a cultural context”:

Far right groups are using the FBI as a tool to “to shut down criticism of Israel and smear students voicing pro-Palestinian political opinions” …

… but has the establishment right’s silence on Israeli brutality given center right parties an opportunity to speak out?

Dale Kerns favors dissolving Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is a government agency that enforced separating asylum-seeking adults from their children, calling the agency a threat to both natives and immigrants:

Yahya Cholil Staquf, an adviser on religious affairs to the Indonesian government indicates a new eyebrow raising stand of the Muslims on the issue of Israel and Palestine:

“Malaysia’s institutions proved more resilient…and descent into authoritarianism has been averted – offering a lesson not only to aspiring dictators, but to those in the United States who argue [for] propping up corrupt leaders” — Alex Helan, security and anti-corruption consultant:

Iran accuses the US government of breach of terms in the 1955 Treaty of Amity which was signed with the Shah regime on economic relations and consular rights. Iran is fighting for recovery of its frozen assets:

The promptness of issuing passports to a Muslim couple became an issue to Shiv Sena in India. Shiv Sena demanded withdrawal or transfer of the Lucknow passport officer Vikas Mishra:

“The relationships that developed over the three decades of mandatory rule can only be described as a triangle of animosity, with Jews, Arabs and British sharing mutual antipathy that only worsened with time”:

The art exhibition of Hindu artists with their Muslim counterparts creates emotional atmosphere among the locals in Kashmir. Th Indian rule in Kashmir created conflicts and many people were forced to leave their home:

News and Analysis (6/21/18)

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

“[F]ear kills freedom, and people, even those who claim to care about individual liberty, will think and behave in opposition to their values and their interests when they’re afraid” — Dalia Mogahed:

“I wanted to talk about how a republican value like secularism is manipulated today, whereas in its spirit and its letter, secularism was made to bring people together”:

The passport official not only tried to demanded her Muslim husband to convert to Hinduism, but even demanded that she change her name rather than keep her own name as is the Muslim tradition:

Disobeying American policy could cut Total off from the U.S. financial system and the end of its operations in the country, demonstrating the costs imposed on oil giants by Trump’s sanctions policy …

… “Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a power struggle that will come to a head Friday, June 22, in Vienna as OPEC debates whether to raise its current oil production, leaving U.S. producers at the mercy of the oil cartel’s decision”:

For the first time, Iranian women are allowed to enjoy the World Cup at the stadium together with men after the Islamic revolution in 1979:

China will not withdraw any farm from Iran even after Trump’s cancellation of nuclear deal:

People in Gaza live without enough water, food, electricity, and other fundamental needs. There is no open border, and they seem to live in the greatest prison in the world. So, they protest to change their life:

News and Analysis (6/20/18)

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

A Circuit Court judge “concluded … that being a journalist in Syria placed on a kill list by your own government might constitute a violation of your First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights”:

The Iranian judiciary’s ban on a secure communication app impacts not only personal communications and businesses but also has created “serious problems” for the government:

Middle class parents complain that Erdogan forces religious education at public schools and “many link Turkey’s recent fall … in the PISA index, which evaluates critical thinking, from 44th to 49th out of 72 countries”:

“Due to the 11-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, patients in Gaza have long faced hurdles in leaving Gaza to undergo vital treatment, which has resulted in a slow death for many, but injured demonstrators are now facing even more stringent barriers in crossing Erez”:

“[T]he Trump administration’s plans to inject money into Gaza will do little to resolve the region’s conflicts”:

“[M]ilitant secularism mutes the fact that many queer Muslims also hope to march at Pride, and that a majority of Muslims condemn homophobia (the East London mosque notably campaigned against homophobic hate stickers in the local borough, Tower Hamlets)”:

Iran says it has no need to increase missile range as the current missiles of 2,000 km will be enough for Iran’s security, but that talks with Trump can be justified by nether logic nor public opinion:

Concerned about the overall effect of the collapse of Iran nuclear deal, Russia seeks long term solution instead of short term economic benefits:

“Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Jewish and Sikh New Yorkers … described incidents between July 2016 and late 2017”:

News and Analysis (6/17/18)

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

An on the scene reporter explains how the PA uses Israeli-style tactics to quash demonstrations and to prevent the press from reporting about them and the “bizarre feeling when everyone around you is more scared of Palestinian forces than they are of the Israeli army”:

“More than 700 Palestinians in a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem are awaiting a decision from Israel’s High Court, which could determine their right to live in their own homes”:

The quality of life in the little country is recovering from the initial shock of the blockade by the Saudis, UAE, and Egypt, but an intellectual residing in Qatar reports that “many of his old friends and colleagues in those countries no longer speak with him due to the political pressures”:

He “is also charged with five counts of sending packages containing substances the recipients feared were noxious between June 2016 and this month, five counts of sending letters conveying a threat and one of making a bomb hoax”:

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres blamed Iran for supplying weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen against Saudi Arabia. He mentions evidence in his report:

Political rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia travels to football field:

News and Analysis (6/15/18)

Friday, June 15th, 2018

The U.N. overwhelmingly (120-8) rejects the U.S. attempt to blame Hamas for Israeli violence against civilian demonstrators:

PACT officials “told her that they felt bad about doing so, but felt that their funding would be in jeopardy if they proceeded to honor her. [F]or Muslim activists in the U.S., such events are as common as they are ugly”:

“No infrastructure, no running water, no electricity and no educational framework for your children …[, under fire] by training military forces, and … the state destroys the few buildings and basic infrastructure you managed to build. Would you stay?”

President Trump perceives Islam as a foreign and unAmerican religion as he commented during the Iftar in the month of Ramadan on June 6, 2018:

“While Mohamed Salah has remained largely apolitical in his tenure at Liverpool, his visible displays of faith compel fans to reconsider their malevolence for Islam. He represents in flesh the complex, multilayered identity possessed by Muslims”:

Iraq may need two to six months to form a complete administration after recounting the election result. Muqtada al-Sadr seeks good relations with all regional countries, but he does not welcome their influence on decision-making:

Dream never ends–many Palestinians, the displaced and the refugees, still preserve their keys of their homes in the hope to go back. Some of them were even born and raised out of their homes in exile after 1948-49:

The U.S. withdrawal of the nuclear deal with Iran continues to create hardship for both the countries:

News and Analysis (6/13/18)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Contrary to the stereotype, fifteen of the 23 countries with the most highly educated women have Muslim majorities:

Trump says he is hopeful Iran will sign a new deal similar to (and as vague and unverifiable?) as what he calls the “real deal” with North Korea …

… Iranian leaders are warning Pyongyang not to trust and act depending on the Americans:

Judge orders prison to give Muslims balanced meals, ending policies that caused fasting prisoners to lose “more than 20 pounds each”:

Would a Tahitian pull out of a U.S. chess tournament if they insisted she couldn’t play topless?

Apart from a “young man who mused … about ‘the possibility of banning alcohol consumption in the States'” not a single one of 330 “home grown terrorists” studied by Peter Bergen contemplated bringing “Americans under Muslim rule”:

The Gulf states desire for American weapons has driven them into bed with Israel and facilitated Trump’s betrayal of his non-interventionist campaign promises to form a coalition with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to confront Iran:

Vikas Khanna who is a Hindu was saved by a Muslim family during riots in 1992, and he has fasted and prayed in gratitude one day every Ramadan for over two decades. He reunited with this family again after 26 years:

That Muqtada al-Sadr, a strong opponent of Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs would ally  with the Pro-Iranian militia leader Hadi al-Amiri was surprising: