Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Turks increasingly turn to Islamic extremism

By Sebastian Rotella

Reporting from London -- In an audio message from a hide-out in South Asia this month, an Al Qaeda chief did something new: He sang the praises of an ethnic group that once barely registered in the network.

"We consider the Muslims in Turkey our brothers," said Mustafa Abu Yazid, the network's operations chief. Lauding Turkish suicide bombers killed in recent attacks near the Afghan-Pakistani border, he declared, "This is a pride and honor to the nation of Islam in Turkey, and we ask Allah to accept them amongst the martyrs."

The message is the latest sign of the changing composition of Islamic extremism, anti-terrorism officials and experts say. The number of Turks in Al Qaeda, long dominated by Arabs, has increased notably, officials say. And militant groups dominated by Turks and Central Asians, many of whom share Turkic culture and speak a Turkic language, have emerged as allies of and alternatives to Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan. Read more ...

Source: L.A. Times
H/T: Jihad Watch

Bangladesh: Widow whipped 202 times, man whipped 101 following cleric's fatwa against them for "anti-social activity"

DHAKA: A widow was whipped 202 times and a man 101 times following a fatwa by a religious leader for their alleged involvement in "anti-social activity" in a village in southeastern Bangladesh, prompting local protests and action by the police.

Piara Begum, a widow of 40, and Mamun Miah, 25, were whipped before hundreds of people at Khaiyar in Comilla district Saturday night.

The woman fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital. Doctors said she was critically injured and needed to be given intensive treatment.

Miah was whipped 101 times, The Daily Star newspaper said Monday.

Punishment under a fatwa is held illegal as per a high court ruling of 2001 in Bangladesh that has a predominant Sunni Muslim population.

The police arrested six people, including Moulana Mohammed Manirul Islam, a religious leader working in the local madrassa.

Piara Begum filed a case with the Debidwar police station under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service
H/T: Jihad Watch

Where's the Stop Sign?

Hi, fellow MAS readers. North Northwester here.

I've long linked to this blog and sometimes I've highlighted particular posts as exemplary.

Recently I made a comment and out of the blue I was invited to join it. I don't know whether that was a mistake, because many of my own posts are highly and pungently critical of some aspects of Islam - or at least some of its supporters - but here's my first post to see if I can find out something I consider to be very important , and it's a question about what is for me the crux of the Islam/religion of peace controversy.

What allows all you pious, observant Muslims to eschew violent jihad and taqiyya against us non-believers? What makes you the peaceful people that you are and lets you stay faithful to Islam at the same time?

This question may seem to be insulting and hostile to Muslims but it isn't meant to be so and so please bear with me while I explain myself... and then tear my arguments to shreds in the comments section if need be.

I'm not asking why so many of my fellow human beings who happen to be Muslim neither try to subvert nor enslave their predominantly non-Muslim homelands; nor do they lie to their neighbours about any intention to pursue jihad at some more propitious time. It takes no explaining or justification that a majority of pretty much any group mostly wants to get on with their lives without deliberately hurting anyone else - it's a common feature of human nature after all - though sadly not a universal one.
I don't expect most of my Muslim neighbours her in north-west England to be plotting mayhem or savagery against the rest of us, or even oppression against those in their own religious communities. They get on with life running shops or teaching in schools and colleges or cooking or driving taxis or selling mobile phones or nursing in our hospitals, and it doesn't surprise me or alarm me that they do so - 'just folks,' and all that...

BUT - and this is where the politics comes in - some students of Islam whom I read and admire (such as Robert Spencer and Melanie Phillips ) say that the Koran is held to be the perfect and definitive word of God; incapable of amendment or improvement.

How does the Koran's clear and open-ended injunctions to faithful Muslims to wage war against infidels: some quotations here, and here; or which permanently demean unbelievers here (all collected from the strongly anti-Islam website The Religion Of Peace, ) square with both the faithfulness and the peacefulness of most Muslims in the West?

It is quotations like these that the head-hackers and bombers use to justify their killings, and I believe it is such writings that provide the original motivations of such crimes.
But they are the bad guys. I'm asking about the good guys here.

As I say, I'm not surprised when my Muslim countrymen leave me unharmed and in peace, but how do they and you, the believing Muslims who are
Muslims Against Sharia contributors get around what Mohammed quite clearly has reported in the Koran, and what the Hadith and Sunna also report Mohammed as having said or done or enjoined on the faithful to do?

How does a decent - or how do scores of millions of decent Muslims - go to work, pray, live alongside their non-Muslim fellows in amity or peaceful competition, and ignore the supposedly unimpeachable but bloodthirsty or cruel passages of the Islamic trilogy?

What makes you as soppy as me and Episcopalians and Jews?
It's not the decency I don't understand - only how it triumphs over what seems to me and to many others to be very clear and oppressive notions?

Where's your 'Stop sign?'

Cards on the table about me here. I'm a Right-wing (by British standards) conservative and a willing follower of a formerly violent and cruel religion called heathenry, which was once suppressed and later wiped out by Christians throughout Europe, but which has now revived as a much gentler ( I'm glad to say) and tolerant minority cult of tree-huggers in parts of Europe and North America.

This is where I'm coming from, just so you know.

AU: Egyptian stabs stepdaughter 20 times with a butcher knife: "I stabbed the slut. I wanted to kill her, but unfortunately she's still breathing."

By Amelia Bentley

A man used a butcher's knife to stab his stepdaughter up to 20 times because he believed she was a "slut" who was interfering in his marriage, a court has heard.

Khaled Ibrahim Mohamed Ellaimouny, 38, was today jailed for 12 years for the attempted murder of his stepdaughter Amanda Lee Smith, who was 24 when her stepfather stabbed her in the chest, arms, legs and face as she sat on the lounge of the family's Shailer Park home in January 2007.

In the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Crown prosecutor Philip McCarthy said Ellaimouny, an Egyptian national who married Ms Smith's mother after meeting her online, moved in to the Smith family home in January 2006.

Mr McCarthy said Ellaimouny, who worked as a chef at a restaurant in the Logan area, got along well with his stepdaughter until late 2006 when he discovered semi-nude photos of her and her boyfriend on a family computer and began referring to her during arguments with Ms Smith's mother as "the slut daughter." Read more ...

Source: Brisbane Times
H/T: Jihad Watch

Pat Condell: Ban the Burqa

Source: YouTube
H/T: Gramfan

Quote Of The Year

"On a more serious front, I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan. Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran."

--columnist Burt Prelutsky

Source: This is Israel
H/T: Gramfan

Michael Ledeen: Obama Must 'Bring Down Iranian Regime'

Iranian-Americans and supporters march in Los Angeles
Sunday to protest what they say are crimes against
humanity and democracy committed by the government
of Iran after the disputed June 12 Iranian presidential
election results in Los Angeles, California.
By Jim Meyers

Foreign policy expert and author Michael Ledeen tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama "hasn't done anything" to help the Iranian people as resistance to the country's repressive regime continues.

Ledeen also says that the talks Obama seeks with the current regime will go nowhere, charges that Iranians "have been killing Americans all over the world," and warns that as soon as the Islamic Republic acquires a nuclear weapon, it will "test" it on Israel.

But he also believes the current regime is unlikely to survive. Israel will certainly attack Iran if the West fails to stop the ayatollahs from completing a nuclear weapon, Ledeen said.

"They've said as soon as they get a nuclear weapon they're going to test it on Israel, so that's a pretty big threat," Ledeen said, adding, "I expect the Israelis to eventually attack the Iranian nuclear facilities if the rest of the world doesn't find some other way to do it. Whether they will bomb it or not, I can't tell. There are a lot of ways to do it." More ...

Source: NewsMax

CNN on Megahed...by the Numbers


CNN ran a report Monday about Youssef Megahed, the Egyptian resident alien and former University of South Florida student (where convicted terror supporter Sami Al-Arian was once a professor and the current leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah, also taught). Megahed was acquitted in U.S. District Court in Tampa of federal explosives charges stemming from an ill-fated road trip to South Carolina with an associate who pled guilty to providing material support to terrorists. After Megahed's acquittal, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Tampa took Megahed into custody and charged him with removal (deportation) violations, ostensibly on terrorism/security related violations that are believed to rely on evidence related to his criminal case, even though he was not convicted.

As reported by the IPT in April and again in June, Megahed's supporters and apologists argue Megahed is being treated unfairly. Some even claim the immigration case amounts to double jeopardy. The law, however, is clear. Deportation proceedings are civil/administrative in nature, not criminal, and foreign nationals (aliens) in the United States may be subject to removal based on a lesser standard of evidence than "beyond a reasonable doubt" in criminal cases, even if the evidence is very similar.

There is no double jeopardy. This process is not used by the government frequently and a decision to proceed requires significant review by high-ranking officials within DHS, sometimes in consultation with the Department of Justice.

Today's CNN article contained 55 paragraphs. Of those, only five reflected the U.S. Government's position in the case. The rest of the article describe Megahed's "plight" and how the former foreman of Megahed's criminal case jury traveled to the Florida detention center to personally visit with Megahed and his family.

The network report did identify a few facts that are worth noting, including that a government search of a computer found at Megahed's residence found "numerous videos, documents and an internet search history that supports Islamic extremism, jihad against the United States..." Also, CNN quotes a former Miami U.S. Attorney as saying, "The government doesn't use this a lot, but I think this is an arrow in the quiver that needs to stay because there are those cases where the government needs to do everything in its power to keep us safe, from some of those same individuals." Also, Guy Lewis states, "In one context, the real question is, are you going to jail for a long time. The other context is, are you going to get to live among us?"

The other 50 paragraphs clearly side with Megahed.

Source: IPT Blog
Latest recipient of the Yellow Rag Award

Yellow Rag Award

Court Ruling Cuts off Saudi 9/11 Litigation

Saudi Arabia and four of its princes are immune from 9/11-related civil litigation after Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision not to take up an appeal of a lower court decision that ruled against 9/11 families. The move keeps intact a ruling by New York's 2nd District Court of Appeals dismissing the lawsuits. In a statement, attorneys for the family of the FBI's former New York Executive Agent in Charge John O'Neill, who died at the World Trade Center, expressed disappointment at the ruling:
"We note, however, that there are still cases pending in the lower courts against other sovereign nations unaffected by the Supreme Court's ruling.

We note, too, that there are still cases pending against other defendants seeking to hold them accountable for their actions in assisting Al Qaeda."
Earlier Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on a government report which found a Saudi-financed charity, the Saudi High Commission, helped supply weapons to the Somali warlord responsible for killing 18 U.S. soldiers in the 1993 Black Hawk Down battle. Read more ...

Source: IPT Blog

Saudi Hate Film Draws Private State Department Fire

While President Obama praises the "long history" of U.S.-Saudi "friendship" and the "strategic relationship" between the two countries, some State Department officials are privately unhappy over a Saudi-produced film blaming "Zionist gangs" for the suffering of the Palestinians. The film is "The Olive Dream," a soon-to-be-released Arabic-language movie produced by Saudi filmmaker Osama Khalifa.

"The narrative of 'the catastrophe of 1948' and the resulting 'Palestinian suffering' has long served as an incubator for violence and anti-American sentiment," an anonymous State Department official wrote in a June 16 "Counterterrorism Communication Alert" obtained by IPT News. "As the US government works to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward, a significant obstacle to winning Arab public opinion and achieving lasting a lasting peace is the current narrative of the conflict."

But the Saudi-produced film, which "aims to teach children about the 'Palestinian Cause' from the viewpoint of a Palestinian refugee, may serve to further cement this narrative in a new generation of young Arabs and Muslims," the State Department official warned in the memo labeled "OFFICIAL USE ONLY." Read more ...

Source: IPT News

Islamic Face Masks: Banned in Michigan Courtrooms

By Phyllis Chesler

In 2006, in a small claims matter in Michigan, a Muslim woman, Ginnah Muhammed, refused to take off her face mask (niqab) while she testfied. Judge Paul Paruk dismissed her case. Muhammed sued, the ACLU backed her. They argued for a “religious exception” to courtroom attire. Although Muhammed’s small claim case was against a car rental agency, here is what Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan stated:

“The Michigan Supreme Court should not slam the door of justice on a category of women just because of their religious belief…Under the proposed rule, women who are sexually assaulted do not have their day in court if they wear a veil mandated by their religion.”

Sexual assault was not at issue nor was the victim afraid that testifying might lead to her death. Leave it to the ACLU to always get it wrong.

Finally, earlier this month, on June 17, 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a 5-2 vote, ruled that a Judge had the power to “require witnesses to remove head or facial covering as (the witness) was testifying.” A Judge has the right to see a witness’s “facial expressions” to determine her “truthfulness” while she testifies. Read more ...

Source: PJM

Obama's Cairo Address: Distortions, Fabrications, Inaccuracies, Exaggerations, and Outright Fallacies.

It's an understatement to say that the much-hyped speech hasn't stood up to the scrutiny of history scholars.

By David Solway

“In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a highway robber who tied travelers to his bed and made them fit; if their legs were too short, he stretched them; if they were too long, he cut them off.”

— Dictionary of Classical Mythology

President Barack Obama’s famous (or infamous) Cairo address of June 4, 2009, has been subjected to the unrelenting scrutiny of many reputable observers and distinguished political scholars — and found egregiously wanting. It is replete with distortions, fabrications, lacunae, misconceptions, inaccuracies, lies, exaggerations, and outright historical fallacies. There is scarcely a passage without its resident howler. I do not have the space to run through this near-interminable list here — anyone with a decent knowledge of history or ready access to a search engine can trawl for himself — but I will provide two exemplary instances of historical error. Read more ...

Source: Pajamas Media

A Close Look at Obama's New Islamic Partners

An exclusive Pajamas Media investigation reveals the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to be a hotbed of extremism, racism, and terror support.

By Patrick Poole

Following up on Jennifer Rubin’s exclusive Pajamas Media article — concerning the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to recruit employees to man their booth at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., — it bears examining exactly who the Obama administration and the DOJ are partnering up with. The Investigative Project on Terrorism notes that ISNA appears to be the new lead partner for the administration’s Islamic outreach after a top FBI official met with an ISNA vice president last week.

In response to Rubin’s report, Thomas Jocelyn of the Weekly Standard observed that ISNA’s name has come up in a current German terror finance investigation. It is believed that the Islamic group had donated $100,000 to the Third World Relief Agency at the very same time that TWRA was funding the terror network behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

According to Steve Emerson in his New York Times bestselling book, Jihad Incorporated, ISNA was also responsible for providing $170,000 in start-up cash for the Islamic African Relief Agency. The U.S. Treasury Department designated them a global terror finance entity in 2004 for providing direct support to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Hamas. Read more ...

Source: Pajamas Media

Latest recipient of the Distinguished Islamofascist Award

Distinguished Islamofascist Award

Mr. President, Listen to the Iranian People

By Rep. Sue Myrick

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As demonstrators in Iran continue to voice their support for democracy, I am deeply concerned that Iranian-American voices are not being heard. Their cultural and personal ties to the uprising in Iran are invaluable and deserve the attention of our great country.

Mr. President, below are a sample of statements on the uprising from Iranian-American leaders from across the US. I hope you will have your staff contact the people behind these statements to utilize their knowledge. No one better understands Iran, and what is happening on the ground there, than those with direct links to the country. Few in America should have greater say about our policy toward Iran than Iranian-Americans who fear for the safety of their friends and family still living in Iran.
"Mr. President it is now proven to you and your advisors that no matter what you say or don’t say the Islamic regime in Iran, like all other dictators, will blame United States because without it they have no other reason for being in power. This is an inescapable fact. Your advisors also know that the Islamic regime in Iran will drag negotiations without any outcome the history has proven this fact. Now that the people of Iran have been able to use a window of opportunity to prove to the world that this regime is not their representative, standing with them, is the right political decision to make. Oppressed people have always looked to America for freedom." Read more ...
Source: FPM

Barack Obama
Latest recipient of The Dhimmi Award

The Dhimmi Award

Feminist waves in the Iranian Green Tsunami?


By Golbarg Bashi

As pictures of women, young and old, religious and non-religious, have plastered our Internet and TV screens chanting and bleeding for a recount in what many in Iran believe has been a fraudulent presidential election result in June 2009, their extraordinary heroism and sheer numbers have awaken the international media to the sizable female presence in the Iranian Green Movement (Nehzat-e Sabz).

A poignant question to ask at this point might be where and what are the positions of Iranian feminists inside the country. They have been for long at work demanding their civil liberties. To what extent are they now participating in defining the goals and aspirations of the Green Movement?

Unknown to perhaps many outside Iran, the Iranian women’s rights movement has been relentlessly working and expanding its demands for an end to gender discrimination in a country where in the realm of family and penal law, women are treated as second-class citizens. Since the 1990’s various NGO’s, magazines such as Zanan, individual lawyers, and specific campaigns such as the One Million Signatures and the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign have worked relentlessly and across ideological divides to publicize, mobilize and realize their specific demands for women’s rights in the legal sphere. The women we have been seeing marching in the streets of Tehran, Shiraz and elsewhere did not grow like mushrooms out of nowhere. They are the robust children of decades of sustained and grassroots struggle.

A Feminist Awakening (without the “F” word) slowly but surely has emerged in post-revolutionary Iran. Over 63% of university graduates are female in Iran and contrary to many countries in that region, Iranian women are visible in all areas of public life. They are lawyers, doctors, artists, publishers, journalists, bloggers, politicians, students and professors. In 2003, when I was visiting Tehran and other major Iranian cities, during any given state radio news broadcast, the entire news team were women, as their names were announced: Negin, Parvaneh, Sara, Fatemeh… This was often the rule and not the exception. Be that as it may, one should not paint an overly rosy picture of women in Iran. Only 12.3% of them are part of the public workforce and for many marriage is the only gateway out of their parental home. The staggering rate of 30% unemployment is particularly acute among young women, who also face additional gender discrimination in the workforce.

Source: Tehran Bureau
H/T: Gramfan

Same S#!t, Different Day

Carter Obama

More on the subject: WWJCD - What Would Jimmy Carter Do?


If your embassy is taken hostage by Islamic terrorists, WWJCD says that you should;

A. Kill the terrorists

B. Praise the terrorists

C. Apologize to the terrorists

D. Praise the terrorists, apologize to them and promise to never open an embassy without their approval again. Read more ...

A Frenzy of Honor Killings: Neda, Soraya, Bursa - and Me.

The world has just watched the cold-blooded murder of Neda in Teheran. The last sentence she uttered was: “Death to the Dictator.” Many of us are now about to see the haunting film about the real-life stoning of another Iranian woman, known as Soraya M. These two tragedies took place in a Muslim country.

The blood of real (not just reel) Muslim women, murdered either by the state or by their families, continues to cry out—not only in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa but also in the West.

Two days ago, on June 24, 2009, in Germany, a Turkish father, Mehmet O, a kebab shop owner, repeatedly knifed his fifteen-year-old daughter, Bursa, while she was sleeping. Despite the fact that Bursa, her mother, and her sister all wore hijab, Mehmet O. still felt Bursa was too “westernized,” and that she did not want her “strict Muslim father to control her life.” Bursa’s friends described her as a “fun-loving girl, (who) loved hip hop music….But that is no reason to kill someone.”

This is certainly not the first honor killing in Germany or in Europe by a Muslim father or brother.

Earlier this year, on March 4, 2009, a Turkish brother strangled his 20-year-old twin-sister, Gulsum Semin, because she allegedly had an abortion. Her father has been arrested as an accessory to this murder.

On July 3, 2008, in Norway, an Iraqi woman, Vian Bakir Fatah, who had divorced her violent husband, converted to Christianity, and was dating a Norwegian man, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband and by her violent 16-year-old son. Read more ...

Source: Pajamas Media

A Comforting Falsehood

The Stoning of Soraya M.
By Robert Spencer

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a riveting, immensely important film that unforgettably and unflinchingly depicts the horror of the Islamic Sharia punishment of stoning for adultery. But in today’s politically correct environment, reviewers are rushing to divert attention away from or downplay the root causes of the crime the film indelibly depicts – and by doing so, are condemning more women to suffer Soraya’s fate.

This phenomenon – which I call Islamophobophobia – was vividly manifested in a review of the film by Kevin Thomas that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

Islamophobophobia: John Derbyshire coined the term to refer to his distaste for those (foremost among them me) who study how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam in order to justify terrorism and Islamic supremacism, and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. But now that Derbyshire has coined the term, I think it should be applied not only to a distaste for so-called “Islamophobes” (an appellation that I reject in any case), but also to an anxiety not to appear “anti-Islamic,” no matter what contortions one may be forced into as a result. This kind of Islamophobophobia especially manifests itself among politically correct types who find themselves for whatever reason in the position of discussing some human rights abuse or terrorist activity that its perpetrators justify by reference to Islamic teachings -- they will discuss it, all right, but will go to any length to make sure nobody thinks that it really has anything to do with Islam, or that it is any different from what those nasty Christians do. Read more ...

Source: FPM

Obama's strategies failing in Iran

By Mark LeVine, Middle East Historian
Iranian-Americans have called on Obama to be more forceful with Iranian leaders [GALLO/GETTY]

It took two weeks of intensified government repression against protesters in Iran before Barack Obama, the US president, moved from cautious commentary to describing the crackdown as "violent and unjust".

The acknowledged elephant in the room preventing a more robust US response to the Iranian crisis is the Anglo-American-organised coup in 1953, which overthrew Mohammed Mossadeqh, the nationalist prime minister, and brought the 33-year-old Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, back to the country as unchallenged ruler.

The coup was motivated by Mossadeqh's and the Iranian parliament's decision to nationalise the British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951, and by the fear that Soviet-inspired communists might take over the government.

The US-sponsored overthrow of Mossadeqh and our subsequent whole-hearted support for the Shah's brutal rule are ignominious chapters in the history of US foreign policy.

But does a coup 55 years ago really disqualify the US from standing up forcefully for democracy in Iran today?

It is highly unlikely.

US policies flawed

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, do not fear the US but rather their own people's desire to live in a country more like the US.

In fact, in poll after poll Iranians have revealed themselves to be among the most pro-American and pro-democratic people in the Muslim majority world.

The Iranian government needs little excuse to beat, jail, and otherwise punish its citizens. It is already doing a thorough enough job without US interference, and seems poised to go even further. However, if it goes too far it risks "losing legitimacy in the eyes of its own people," as Obama said at a June 25 press conference.

Obama is acutely aware of the real reason why he cannot be too forceful in supporting the millions of Iranians demanding to have their votes counted.

The problem is not with US administrations long past, but with the policies of the current administration.

The fact is that the US counts as its closest allies in the Middle East regimes who routinely rig elections - if they even bother to hold them at all - which produce governments that are far less legitimate than Ahmadinejad's today.

The substance of Obama's foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa remain in many key areas strikingly similar to, and are in some cases more aggressive than, those of George Bush, his predecessor.

Saudi Arabia remains our most crucial Arab ally despite the fact that its government is among the world's most repressive and undemocratic (about which Obama has had nothing to say since becoming president).

Rather than encourage Arab democrats, the Obama administration is improving ties with Libya and returning an ambassador to Syria, where today we are courting Bashar al-Assad as a "key player" in the region, despite his country's abysmal record on human rights and democracy. Read more here...

Source: Al Jazeera English

H/T Gateway Pundit

'Palestinian support for Hamas waning'

Hamas support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is waning, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC).
Palestinians attend a Hamas...

Palestinians attend a Hamas rally in Gaza City

According to the results of the poll published Monday, 18.8 percent of the Palestinian population backs the Islamist group, compared to 27% when the last JMCC survey was conducted in January.

The survey of 1,199 people also showed that 35% of Palestinians support Fatah, a nine percent rise compared with the previous survey.

In addition, 26.5% said they blamed Israel for the lack of a breakthrough in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks, while 23% said Hamas was responsible and 15% blamed Fatah.

Khader Khader, head of the JMCC media unit, said Hamas's popularity was hit by disgruntlement among Gaza residents over a lack of a deal in Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks and the continued blockade of the territory.

"It's a sort of protest by the people (of Gaza) because there is no progress on these two major issues," Khader was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Source: Jerusalem Post

Saudi royal denounces his brother

By Magdi Abdelhadi
Arab Affairs Analyst

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal
Prince Walid bin Talal is one of the world's richest businessmen

A member of the Saudi royal family has called for the assets of his brother to be frozen.

Prince Khaled bin Talal denounced his brother's media empire in an unprecedented public attack from within the ruling family.

Prince Khaled accused Prince Walid bin Talal of disseminating vice and violating the rules of Islamic Sharia in the conservative kingdom.

Prince Walid is one of the richest businessmen in the world.

It has long been known that there is a split within the ranks of Saud family between liberals and conservatives.

But, until now, they have always managed to keep a lid on the problem.

Prince Khaled said he had been forced to speak out after quiet efforts to advise his brother to mend his ways had fallen on deaf ears.

Prince Walid, known for his liberal lifestyle, owns a media empire which features entertainment channels that have long angered conservative Saudis.

Prince Khaled, told an Arabic website that his brother's plan to introduce cinema into Saudi society was the straw that broke the camel's back.

This was a reference to a Saudi film financed by Prince Walid, and shown in Saudi Arabia late last year despite fierce opposition from Islamist activists.

Nearly all forms of modern entertainment - particularly those that bring men and women together - are regarded by conservative Saudis as morally corrosive and can, in their eyes, undermine the religious foundation of the Saudi society and state.

Source: BBC

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thousands of Iranians ignore threats, march in rally

Mehdi Karroubi
Presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, center, joins thousands of supporters of
Mir-Hossein Mousavi at a mosque in Tehran's northeast.
As supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi shout out their support in Tehran, European leaders voice anger at the Saturday arrests of eight British Embassy staffers.

By Borzou Daragahi

Reporting from Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- Thousands of Iranians disputing the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marched at an unauthorized rally Sunday, defying truncheon-wielding security forces and dire threats by Iranian leaders.

Meanwhile, European leaders' hackles were raised by the arrest a day earlier of eight British Embassy staffers in Tehran, a move that has sharpened Iran's confrontation with the West over the disputed election and its violent aftermath. Several of the staffers, all Iranian nationals, were quickly released. Read more ...

Source: L.A. Times

A Caliphate of Toxic Assets

Sharia Finance
By Alyssa A. Lappen

When a pro-terrorist organization announces its intention to launch a financial jihad against the West, it is well worth learning their methods. More significant than the promotion of a religious pseudo-financial scheme is the possibility their largely unregulated practices could release a new wave of toxic assets into the wider economy and trigger a series of small-scale Enrons.

The Muslim organization Hizb Ut Tahrir capitalizes on Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna's 20th century derivative, encouraging followers to build a parallel financial structure. Al-Banna envisioned the resultant Shari'a-compliant finance as a “back door” into Western financial markets and institutions through which to supplant liberty and prosperity with Islam. Muslim clerics including MB spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi promote Shari'a finance as generally safer than Western investments, a diversification method to steady personal assets -- and a stable economic system that should replace capitalism. Call it “financial replacement theology,” if you wish.

In July, Hizb Ut Tahrir plans to launch its U.S. arm with a huge Chicago “Khalifah conference” heralding the coming Caliphate and global Islamic supremacism. After 9/11, Germany and Sweden outlawed Hizb Ut Tahrir. In July 2005, Pakistan's then-president Pervez Musharaf warned Britain not to tolerate its continued U.K. presence. But in the U.S., Hizb Ut Tahrir has proudly announced intentions to replace capitalism with Islam. Read more ...

Source: FPM

For Radical Islam, the End Begins

By Joshua Muravchik | June 27

Is history ending yet again?

Much as the hammers that leveled the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of the Cold War, so might the protests rocking Iran signal the death of radical Islam and the challenges it poses to the West.

No, that doesn't mean we'll be removing the metal detectors from our airports anytime soon. Al-Qaeda and its ilk, even diminished in strength, will retain the ability to stage terrorist strikes. But the danger brought home on Sept. 11, 2001, was always greater than the possibility of murderous attacks. It was the threat that a hostile ideology might come to dominate large swaths of the Muslim world.

Not all versions of this ideology -- variously called Islamism or radical Islam -- are violent.

But at the core of even the peaceful ones, such as that espoused by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, is the idea that the Islamic world has been victimized by the West and must defend itself. Even before the United States invaded Iraq, stoking rage, polls in Muslim countries revealed support for Osama bin Laden and for al-Qaeda's aims, if not its methods. If such thinking were to triumph in major Muslim countries beyond Iran -- say, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- violent extremists would command vast new stores of personnel, explosives and funds.

This is precisely the nightmare scenario that is now receding.

Even if the Iranian regime succeeds in suppressing the protests and imposes the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by force of bullets, mass arrests and hired thugs, it will have forfeited its legitimacy, which has always rested on an element of consent as well as coercion. Most Iranians revered Ayatollah Khomeini, but when his successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, declared the election results settled, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets, deriding his anointed candidate with chants of "Death to the dictator!"

"Even if they manage to hang on for a month or a couple of years, they've shed the blood of their people," says Egyptian publisher and columnist Hisham Kassem. "It's over."

Read more here,,,

Source: Washington Post

Conspiracy Theories in Iran's Unrest

'Meddling' embassy staff released


From correspondents in Tehran, Iran | June 29

IRAN says it has freed five of the local British embassy staff it arrested on accusations of stoking post-election unrest, a move that further threatened tense ties with London.

"Eight people were arrested. Five were freed and three are still being interrogated,'' ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said at a press conference in Tehran today.

Earlier, English-language state television Press TV had spoken of a total of nine arrests.

Mr Ghashghavi also said that Iran, which has accused Western nations, particularly Britain and the US of "meddling,'' has no current plans to close embassies or downgrade diplomatic ties with foreign nations.

"There is no plan at the moment to close any embassy or downgrade ties with them,'' Mr Ghashghavi said when asked if Tehran planned to close the British embassy.

The Fars news agency, announcing the arrests yesterday, said the British embassy staffers were accused of playing a "considerable role'' in the unrest that swept Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie accused the British embassy of sending local staff "undercover among rioters in order to push its own agenda,'' the official IRNA news agency reported.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said yesterday that London had protested strongly over the arrests, which he described as "harassment and intimidation'' and dismissed claims the embassy was behind the demonstrations.

EU nations also vowed to respond to any harassment of diplomats in Iran with a "strong and collective response'', Mr Miliband said at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Corfu.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki - who has previously said Tehran was considering downgrading its ties with London - urged Britain and the EU not to take rash action over the arrests.

"Don't continue with this losing game because this is neither in the interests of the British people nor the two countries' relations that have (already) been damaged because of the British Government's behaviour,'' he said.

He also called for European countries and officials to "revise their stand'' towards Iran, after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused European and American officials of making "idiotic comments'' about the country.

Britain and Iran have already expelled diplomats in tit-for-tat moves last week.

Source: The Australian

Britain has 85 sharia courts: The astonishing spread of the Islamic justice behind closed doors

By Steve Doughty | 29th June

At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday.

The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted.

The tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles. They lay down judgments which can be given full legal status if approved in national law courts.

sharia law meeting

Disputes: Islamic leaders rule on disagreements

However, they operate behind doors that are closed to independent observers and their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, a report by independent think-tank Civitas said.

Commentators on the influence of sharia law often count only the five courts in London, Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham and Nuneaton that are run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, a body whose rulings are enforced through the state courts under the 1996 Arbitration Act.

But the study by academic and Islamic specialist Denis MacEoin estimates there are at least 85 working tribunals.

The spread of sharia law has become increasingly controversial since its role was backed last year by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice who stepped down last October.

Dr Williams said a recognised role for sharia law seemed 'unavoidable' and Lord Phillips said there was no reason why decisions made on sharia principles should not be recognised by the national courts.

But the Civitas report said the principles on which sharia courts work are indicated by the fatwas - religious decrees - set out on websites run by British mosques. Read more here...

Source: Daily Mail

Obama tells Jews to stop building homes – in Israel!

'The positions of the U.S. and Palestinian Authority are closer than ever'
June 28

By Aaron Klein


JERUSALEM – The Obama administration told the Palestinian Authority the "golden era" of Israeli construction in sections of Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank will soon come to an end, a top PA negotiator told WND.

"The U.S. assured us that for the first time since 1967, we are going into a period where there will not be allowed a single construction effort on the part of the Israelis in the settlements, including in Gush Etzion, Maale Adumum and eastern Jerusalem," said the negotiator, speaking from Ramallah on condition his name be withheld.

Maale Adumim is located in eastern Jerusalem. Israel reunited the eastern and western sections of Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Six Day War. Eastern Jerusalem, claimed by the PA for a future state, includes the Temple Mount.

The negotiator told WND the positions of the PA and U.S. regarding ongoing Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem "are closer than ever."

"The U.S. used to differentiate between natural grown and adding new communities. Not anymore. No construction will be allowed, not even natural growth," the PA negotiator said.

"Natural growth" means adding additional housing to existing communities to accommodate the needs of a growing population.

The negotiator spoke yesterday just before Defense Minister Ehud Barak took off for Washington, D.C., for meetings with the Obama administration.

The negotiator claimed that while Barak might reach an understanding with the U.S. regarding possible West Bank movements, such a deal would be for Israeli political purposes and wouldn't translate into actual Jewish construction on the ground.

The Obama administration recently demanded Israel halt all settlement activity, including natural growth, in apparent abrogation of a deal made by President Bush to allow for natural growth.

The deal was forged just prior to Israel's 2005 retreat from the Gaza Strip. It was confirmed by Sharon aide Dov Weissglas in 2005, and in a Wall Street Journal column last week by Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser to Bush who reportedly negotiated the arrangement. The deal was in line with an official letter from Bush the year before stating Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the entire West Bank and that the Jewish state would retain major settlement blocs there.

The West Bank borders major Israeli cities and is within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport.

Military strategists long have estimated Israel must maintain the West Bank to defend itself from any ground invasion. Terrorist groups have warned if Israel withdraws, they will launch rockets from the West Bank into Israeli cities.

Many villages in the West Bank, which Israelis commonly refer to as the "biblical heartland," are mentioned throughout the Torah:

The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at Shechem (Nablus) and received God's promise of land for his offspring. He later was buried in Hebron.

The nearby town of Beit El, anciently called Bethel, meaning "house of God," is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In that dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory.

And in Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested in Shiloh, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

Source: WorldNetDaily

Shalit 'to Egypt' in plan to lift Gaza siege


Abraham Rabinovich in Jerusalem | June 29

CAPTURED Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will shortly be transferred by Hamas to Egyptian custody as the first step of an ambitious plan to lift Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip, restore Palestinian unity and free about 1100 Palestinian prisoners, Arabic reports say.

The report in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper comes in the wake of similar claims last week from European diplomatic sources, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority and other sources.

Israeli security officials said they were unaware of any progress on the matter and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said yesterday that the reports did "not reflect reality".

Despite these reservations, the sense that something major is afoot is widespread in the region.

According to the Asharq al-Awsat report, Corporal Shalit, who has been held in Gaza for three years without any visits by the Red Cross, will be visited by his family once he is transferred to Egypt. He will be held on "deposit" until Israel releases Palestinian prisoners.

The number of prisoners to be released has been the main point of contention since Corporal Shalit's capture. Hamas has demanded the release of 450 hard-core prisoners, some of them serving multiple death sentences for involvement in the detonation of buses and other terror attacks.

Israel has reportedly agreed to release only 175 persons on Hamas' list. Egyptian intermediaries have proposed a compromise figure of 325. The newspaper said Israel would release 400. In addition, Israel has already agreed to release about 600 other prisoners of lesser security weight, including women and youths.

Under the mooted deal, Israel would ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has permitted entry of little more than food and humanitarian aid to the area's 1.5million residents for two years and paralysed the economy.

The Egyptian-brokered initiative, which reportedly has the blessings of Washington, goes well beyond a prisoner exchange and the lifting of the blockade.

The release of Corporal Shalit would be the first step in a process aiming at achieving Palestinian unity as well as an overall peace agreement between Israel and the Arab world.

Talks planned in Cairo between the Gaza-based Hamas movement and the Fatah movement, which dominates the West Bank, will focus on forming a unity government in the Gaza Strip until overall Palestinian elections will be held in January.

As a first step, the Egyptians are attempting to promote a prisoner swap between Hamas, which holds about 200 Fatah prisoners in Gaza, and Fatah, which holds about 800 Hamas prisoners on the West Bank.

If the Palestinians are able to resolve their internal differences sufficiently to establish a stable government, the way will be open to the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel.

The US and moderate Arab states, mainly Egypt, would play key roles in this process.

The international community advocates bilateral Israeli negotiations with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.

Source: The Ausralian

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