News and Analysis (5/21/14)

Libya plans to hold elections even as it unravels, divided between “Islamist politicians who dominate Libya’s interim parliament, and … rivals … amassing behind Khalifa Haftar, the retired general. His forces have attacked Islamist militias in Benghazi and claimed credit for an attack on the ….parliament”:

Pharrell said it is “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness” …

… and we hope he feels the same way about the arson directed against “The Ulfah Collective, the first practising Muslim female band [that] … sings traditional Islamic songs alongside Christian gospel music and once appeared in front of 12,000 fans at Wembley Arena with the late Bee Gee, Robin Gibb” …

… while both sides of the controversy over an Iranian film star’s air kiss with French director Giles Jacob exhibit tone-deafness toward someone else’s culture. “It was me who gave a kiss to Madame Hatami,” Jacobs insisted, exonerating Hatemi who is serving “on the prestigious Cannes judges panel”:

Critics charge that the school’s president with “deems it more important for prospective students of Southwestern to agree to avoid the ‘use and possession of alcohol and tobacco’ than to affirm their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior””; can a Muslim have a “mature Christian character”?

“The British government Tuesday praised the terrorism conviction in New York of a radical Muslim cleric it spent a decade trying to expel to the U.S. for prosecution and vowed to prevent such drawn-out extraditions from happening again” …

… yet the fact that Britain itself could not prosecute the firebrand preacher raises questions as to whether protections for the accused are stronger in Britain than in the U.S.; did he break no British law?:

Hoping to avoid sanctions, the Dutch foreign minister “has stressed to Saudi authorities ‘that the Netherlands has freedom of expression, but that Mr. Wilders’ standpoint … — deliberately offending people by manipulating a flag — is absolutely not shared in any way by the Dutch government”:

Unmoved by Greenwald’s insistence that identifying the fifth country from which “the US is harvesting cellphone metadata … ‘could lead to increased violence’” Assange has promised “reveal the name of the censored country whose population is being mass recorded” by 10:36 pm (GMT) on May 22:

“There is no direct mention of Modi but the video … refers repeatedly to the events in Gujarat in 2002…. BJP officials said that they will take a tougher stance on internal security than the outgoing Congress party administration”:

Only “months after he became pope, … Francis declared his opposition” to a Western invasion of Syria, winning “much goodwill in the Islamic world, in many parts of which the memory of the Christian-led Crusades is still alive” …

… he will confront the diminution of the Christian community since Israel’s founding caused by “high Jewish immigration and Christian emigration … and a low birthrate among Christians who stay[,] Israeli restrictions in the occupied West Bank” and the barrier that “has choked cities like Bethlehem”:

“The state has all the power in Turkey. Citizens do not. We as a nation are used to being slapped by those in positions of higher authority. In family, in school, in the army, in the street, in the supermarket … the slap is everywhere”:






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