Monday, August 31, 2009

The Burqa: Ultimate Feminist Choice?
Naomi Wolf Discovers That Shrouds Are Sexy

By Phyllis Chesler

Women in chadors are really feminist ninja warriors. Rather than allow themselves to be gawked at by male strangers, they choose to defeat the “male gaze” by hiding from it in plain view.

But don’t you worry: Beneath that chador, abaya, burqa, or veil, there is a sexy courtesan wearing “Victoria Secret, elegant fashion, and skin care lotion,” just waiting for her husband to come home for a night of wild and sensuous marital lovemaking.

Obviously, these are not my ideas. I am quoting from a piece by Naomi Wolf that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago. Yes, Wolf is the bubbly, feminist author who once advised Vice President Al “The Climate” Gore on what colors he should wear while campaigning and who is or was friendly with Gore’s daughter. Full disclosure: I have casually known Wolf and her parents for more than a quarter-century.

Wolf recently traveled to Morocco, Jordan, and Eygpt, where she found the women “as interested in allure, seduction, and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.” Whew! What a relief. She writes:

“Many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualizing Western gaze. … Many women said something like this: …’how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.’ This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognizably Western feminist set of feelings.” Read more ...

Source: PJM

The Real Root Cause of Terrorism

bin Laden
By Sultan Knish

In the conventional political narrative the root causes of Islamic terrorism usually run the class warfare gamut from the generic oppression to outrage at Western foreign policy or more esoteric issues of globalism. And naturally like most people who look into a mirror to find the cause of someone else's anger, their reflection only repeats back to their own agenda.

Surprisingly enough the root cause of Islamic terrorism has very little to do with any of these things, though they are moderately handy talking points when it comes to recruiting future terrorists or touching base with idiot leftist reporters. To understand the root cause, requires understanding the function which terrorism serves in the Arab-Muslim world.

While Western liberals insist on viewing terrorism as a form of political or social activism, within the Muslim world terrorism is a two-sided tool, a way to create friction with an enemy without going to war while promoting the political standing of its leaders and backers. This two-sided concept of terrorism goes back to the nomadic days of bandit raiders that would carry out hit and run attacks that would bring in loot while raising the status of the tribal sheikh and the head of the raiding parties. Given enough time probing the enemy's weakness and raising the stature of the sheikh, such attacks might escalate into all out wars. And while such tactics may seem primitive, Mohammed was able to leverage them to turn his newly created Islamic cult into a major player in the region.

In modern times, the driving ideological force behind Arab-Muslim terrorism has been to recreate a single great state to replace the splintered colonial entities left behind by the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. It was an ancient tribal goal, and one that Mohammed's followers had come closest to achieving in the Arab version of the Thousand Year Reich. Modern versions of this might vary from the Islamic Caliphate to the secular Arab Nationalist version that would be a Socialist dictatorship run by someone like Nasser or Saddam. So while the ideology might vary, the underlying idea was always the same. One great state under one great ruler, who would demonstrate his fitness to rule by subjugating the enemy and thereby bring all of the region under his rule.

Under the ancient raiding codes, showing the most boldness and inflicting the most damage by striking at the enemy demonstrates that fitness to rule. This form of Arab-Muslim internal rivalry routinely spills over into external wars and terrorism, as both sides seek to prove their superiority by killing as many infidels as possible.

So Osama bin Laden's tribal religious conflict with the Saudi rulers was fought with the Soviets and then with America and Europe, more than with the House of Saud itself. Using the pretext of the US troops that the House of Saud had brought in to protect themselves from Saddam, Bin Laden was able to gain religious imprimatur for a war on America to build status for his claim to rule over the holiest place in Islam. The Saudis in turn had been funding a covert war on America for the same reason, as well as to divert wannabe Bin Ladens from trying to seize power. Read more here ...

Source: Sultan Knish
H/T Gramfan

Madonna to meet with PM and Livni

Madonna came to Israel for two concerts at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon, but she will also find time to meet with both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

The queen of pop arrived with her children at 1 a.m. on Sunday. She is staying in Tel Aviv ahead of her performances on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Late Sunday, she headed to Jerusalem's Old City, where she toured an ancient tunnel near the Western Wall. The 51-year-old pop star arrived in a black Mercedes van and was escorted into the tunnel by police. She made no comment to reporters and was whisked away about a half hour later.

The promoters of Madonna's shows have kept her schedule under wraps to prevent paparazzi from bothering her during her Kotel visit, and a tour of the graves of Talmudic sages in Safed. She was also set to attend a Kabbalah Center event, and make other personal visits. But the meetings with the politicians were leaked to the press.

She will meet with Livni at an unidentified restaurant on Monday night and with Netanyahu on Friday, apparently at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.

According to one account, Madonna made a personal request to meet with Livni, and when Netanyahu heard about it, he insisted on meeting with her too. Another version is that she wanted to meet with both of them from the beginning.

Read more here,,,,,

Source: JPost

Is the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur'an? Yes it is, sweet little Rifqa

 Fathima Rifqa Bary

By Robert Spencer

Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a thoroughly unpleasant character with whom I have appeared on many radio shows (on which he invariably likens me to Osama bin Laden, although I have never flown any planes into buildings, beheaded anyone, or exhorted anyone to do so), attacks Rifqa Bary, the seventeen-year-old girl who converted from Islam to Christianity and fled from her home and father after he threatened to kill her (as she explains here), and her supporters in a contemptuous, dishonest, condescending and arrogant piece at the Huffington Post, "Rifqa, the Reverand [sic] and Apostasy" (August 18).

Hugh Fitzgerald and Andy Bostom have already weighed in on this utterly contemptible article, but I have a few things to add.

Al-Marayati is intent on impugning Rifqa's own testimony in favor of her father's protestations that he does not intend to kill her -- and indeed, it is her word against his, and the only price we will have to pay if al-Marayati turns out to be wrong is a murdered teenage girl. To support his case, al-Marayati makes essentially two points, both encapsulated in this sentence: "Mohamed Bary allowed his daughter to become a cheerleader and says she can practice any faith she wants -- clearly, he is not a fundamentalist."

His first point is thus that Mohamed Bary, by allowing his daughter to prance around in skimpy cheerleader costumes, clearly was not the sort to insist on the finer points of Islamic law like the death penalty for apostasy (which al-Marayati implies does not exist anyway, so it's hard to see why it would be a feature of "fundamentalism" in the first place). However, honor killing victims in the West have invariably been girls who have been Westernized, adopting Western non-Muslim mores to the growing dismay of their male relatives. Al-Marayati's point is that if Mohamed Bary were a "fundamentalist," he would not have allowed Rifqa to become Westernized in the first place. Real life, however, is not always that simple. Honor killing victims like Amina and Sarah Said in Texas and Aqsa Parvez in Canada appear to been quite Westernized for a considerable period before their relationships with their fathers reached a tipping point, and they were murdered. Rifqa Bary fled before that could happen, but the fact that she was a hijab-less cheerleader indicates nothing.

Pamela Geller explains further in responding to the same claim from Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel. Read more here ...

Source: JihadWatch

Iran media: Officials to probe secret burial claim

City officials in Tehran have agreed to investigate claims that bodies of protesters killed in the unrest that followed Iran's disputed presidential election were secretly buried in the nation's largest cemetery, Iranian media reported Sunday.

The city council has formed a committee to look into the allegations reported last week by a reformist news site, said council spokesman Khosrow Daneshjou, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency.

The charges against Iran's government are the latest by reformists who claim protesters arrested in the aftermath of the June 12 election were raped and tortured. The government rejected such reports, but still pledged to investigate them if there was evidence.

Last week, Norooz News reported that at least 28 people who died in the violence that followed the June 12 election were buried anonymously in Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

The Web site said the secret after-hours burials were done in July at section 302 of the cemetery.

A parliamentary committee also was formed to investigate the reports, lawmaker Hamid-Reza Katouzian said in response to the allegations of the secret burials.

Daneshjou, of the Tehran city council, denied any wrongdoing at the cemetery, saying: "Every day there are deaths of individuals in Tehran, whose bodies are unidentified ... "

However, the accusations specifically focus on the bodies of those involved in the protests, who may have died in the streets or in prison. The government has put the post-election death toll at about 30, though reformists say it is more than twice that figure.

On Sunday, both Norooz News and Parleman News -- a newsgathering arm for the Path of the Imam (Khomeini) faction in parliament -- reported the identity of one woman, Saeida Agahpour, whose family said she was secretly buried in section 302 after authorities took her from her home.

Both sites reported that services were held for Agahpour at the cemetery Saturday, with opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi present.

Moussavi was the chief political rival to hardline incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was declared the overwhelming winner of the election.

Source: CNN

Afghanistan is now Obama’s war

By Clive Crook

Except for a pause to honour Senator Edward Kennedy, healthcare reform has dominated US news and comment for weeks. It is seen as the make-or-break challenge for Barack Obama’s administration. Yet soon it may look unimportant in comparison with an issue that the US public has barely seemed to notice: the war in Afghanistan.

Casualties there are mounting – this has been the deadliest month for US forces since the fighting began in 2001. The losses have attracted less attention in the US than British losses have in Britain, and pressure on the administration to pull out has been mild.

But this will change. When it does, Mr Obama will longingly recall those carefree months debating healthcare.

Quietly, public opinion has already turned against the war. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 51 per cent now say the war is not worth fighting. Among Democrats, seven out of 10 say that.

Read more here,,,,

Source: Financial Times

Hamas slams UN over Holocaust lessons

Hamas slammed the United Nations Sunday, saying the organization planned to teach Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust, but the UN agency which runs schools in the enclave would not confirm any change, Reuters reported.

Calling the Nazi genocide of the Jews "a lie invented by the Zionists," Hamas wrote in an open letter to a senior UN official that he should withdraw plans for a new history book in the UN schools.

A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which educates some 200,000 refugee children in Gaza, said the Holocaust was not on its current curriculum. He would not comment on Hamas's statement that it was about to change, Reuters said.

Hamas said it believed UNRWA was about to start using a text for 13-year-olds that included a chapter on the Holocaust.

In an open letter to local UNRWA chief John Ging, the movement's Popular Committees for Refugees said: "We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists."

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said: "There is no mention of the Holocaust in the current syllabus." Asked if UNRWA planned to change that, he declined to comment.

Hamas's official spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said he did not want to discuss the history of the Holocaust but said: "Regardless of the controversy, we oppose forcing the issue of the so-called Holocaust onto the syllabus, because it aims to reinforce acceptance of the occupation of Palestinian land."

Source: JPost

Stormy debate tipped over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cabinet


August 31

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appealed to parliament to approve his new cabinet, insisting voters had backed him in the June election that unleashed the Islamic republic's greatest crisis.

The conservative-dominated assembly yesterday began a three-day debate on the ministerial nominees chosen by Mr Ahmadinejad before a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

"I hope the majlis (parliament) will firmly approve all ministers and with a decisive vote it will turn the hopes of ill-wishers into despair," Mr Ahmadinejad said as he introduced his cabinet line-up to the assembly.

He said his victory in the June 12 election was confirmation that the Iranian people wanted his government to "continue on the same path" of his first four-year term.

"We are committed to spreading justice, preserving the national dignity, achieve progress and confront the bullying powers.

We will continue to support oppressed nations and co-operate constructively with all nations except the Zionist regime," he said, referring to Israel.

The debate is expected to be stormy, with Mr Ahmadinejad facing a battle to secure a mandate for his line-up, which includes several new faces, among them three women - a first in the Islamic republic.

The vote of confidence comes as Iran is gripped in turmoil after the election triggered massive protests, which left at least 30 people dead. Read more here ...

Source: The Australian

Hamas: Shalit deal remains elusive

Hamas has denied reports that the group is close to finalising a deal with Israel over the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian fighters more than three years ago.

Speaking on Al Jazeera on Sunday, Osama al-Mzainy, a senior Hamas leader who is responsible for the negotiations on Shalit, said that speculation over a deal was premature.

"All statements about the optimism and expectations - and that the deal will soon be sealed - all these statements are exaggerated," he said.

"We still need some time in order to overcome the obstacles placed by the Israelis."

Hamas has demanded the release of of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for Shalit.

"They will be released in two stages, al-Mzainy said.

"The first group will comprise 450 prisoners, whose names are determined by Hamas... In the second stage, 550 prisoners will be released. Hamas is attached to this plan.

"We will not accept any deal unless this request is accepted."

Among those that Hamas wants freed is Marwan Barghouti, a popular leader from the rival Fatah movement, a demand that is thought to be one of the stumbling blocks in negotiations.

Barghouti was arrested in the West Bank in April 2002, and is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail.

In recent days, media reports had suggested the two sides were close to agreement.

Read more here,,,,

Source: Al Jazeera (English)

UK: No trade link to Libyan release

The UK government has denied that the release of Adbelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, had any connection to trade ties with Libya.

A report in The Sunday Times, a British newspaper, alleged that an oil deal had influenced the decision to transfer al-Megrahi from prison in Scotland to his home in Libya last week.

The newspaper said that it had ascertained leaked letters written by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, in 2007 in which he said that it was "in the overwhelming interest of the United Kingdom" not to exclude al-Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.

Straw had written to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who made the formal decision to release al-Megrahi.

Six weeks after the letter was written an oil deal between Libya and BP, a UK oil firm, was formalised.

Following The Sunday Times' article Straw said that the prisoner transfer agreement was part of an attempt to end Libya's international isolation following Tripoli's abandonment of a nuclear weapons programme.

"What is totally untrue is that any part of these negotiations with the Libyans was that at some stage Mr Megrahi would be released," Straw said.

He said that the Scottish government maintained veto power over any prisoner transfer and had rejected such a move for al-Megrahi, rather choosing a compassionate release.

"The implication that, somehow or other, we have done some backdoor deal in order to release Mr Megrahi is simply nonsense," Straw said.

Al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing a Pan Am flight over the Scotish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people.

He was freed on compassionate grounds, as he is said to be suffering from terminal cancer.

Al-Megrahi was admitted to a Tripoli hospital on Sunday after his condition deteriorated rapidly.

Read more here,,,,

Source: Al Jazeera (English)

Homicide Bomb Kills at Least 14 in Pakistan

MINGORA, Pakistan — A homicide bomber killed at least 14 police recruits Sunday in Pakistan's Swat Valley in the deadliest attack since the army regained control over the northwestern valley from the Taliban, an official said.

The blast in the yard of the main police station in Mingora, Swat's main town, came one day after the army said it had destroyed a major training camp for homicide bombers. It indicated the Taliban is still able to sow destruction and fear even though their hard-line Islamist rule in the valley is over.

Members of a new community police force were training to patrol the region when the attacker sneaked up and detonated his explosives, provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told local television Geo by telephone.

Television footage showed officers gathering up mutilated bodies outside the police station, which had already been bombed twice before in recent months.

At least 14 bodies of police volunteers in uniform were brought to the local hospital and eight wounded recruits were being treated, hospital official Ikram Khan told The Associated Press.

Local police chief Idrees Khan said at least 20 were wounded and a dozen killed.

Khan denied rumors that the attacker was in uniform and might have been one of the police volunteers.

"No, we don't have any such report, but yes, a homicide bomber sneaked into the training for recruits," he told reporters at the scene in footage broadcast on local television.

Read more here,,,,

Source: FoxNews

Iraq: Suspected Bomber Recently Released From U.S. Custody

BAGHDAD — The homicide truck bomber who targeted Iraq's Foreign Ministry in one of the most deadly attacks this year had recently been freed from U.S. custody, an Iraqi investigator said Sunday, raising fresh concerns that former detainees will return to violence.

The revelation came as the government added more fodder to its allegations that Syria has been used as a launching pad for violence in Iraq, broadcasting a confession from a man who said he received militant training in the neighboring country.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken the Aug. 19 bombings that devastated the foreign and finance ministries and killed about 100 people personally as they dealt a major blow to confidence in his administration and security forces just two months after most U.S. forces pulled back from urban areas.

The attacks have undermined his efforts to portray himself as a champion of security and restore a sense of normalcy in the capital ahead of January's parliamentary elections.

A senior Iraqi investigator said the man who carried out the attack against the Foreign Ministry was a former detainee at the U.S. detention camp known as Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.

The bomber left his identification card at a checkpoint in order to be allowed to approach the Foreign Ministry and police were able to track down his background from the information, according to the investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

Read more here,,,

Source: FoxNews

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Muslims Against Sharia in the Media - August '09

Latter-day Saints Focusing on Jesus Christ: 2009: Suggestions for LDS Interactions with People in Middle East & their Descendants & Followers in U.S. & Orange County / Steve St.Clair
The Lobster Pot: Feminists are deafeningly silent about "honorcide"
Parhain maa: Shariaa vastustavat muslimit
My Doubts: Poll On Muslims Against Sharia
My Doubts: Featured Blog
Slant Right: Islam: Reform and Transform


Iran: Women ruling against Human Rights of Women

Meet the Islamist Hardeline Women of Iran Who Ahmedinejad wants in his Cabinet
August 30, 2009 - Tarek Fatah

Meet the Islamist hardline women of Iran who Ahmedinejad wants in his cabinet


Much has been made by Leftist supporters of the Islamic regime in Iran about the decision by Ahmedinejad to have female ministers in his next cabinet. On paper, this seems a like a hopeful sign, but like all things Islamist, this move fits the adage, “one step forward, two steps backward.”

Massoumeh Torfeh is a research associate at the Centre for Media and Film at SOAS and a former BBC World Service senior producer. In an article for the UK Guardian, she says:
“Both women, as members of Iran's parliament, have been advocating draconian changes to family laws and women's rights laws making it even more difficult for women to benefit from equal rights, get divorced, have custody of their children, or have an abortion if they so choose. They are both strong supporters of the role of women as pious mothers devoted to Islam, to their duties to their husbands, and to the Islamic republic.”

Read and reflect.



Monday 17 August 2009
Hardline women won't help Iran

I wish I could feel proud about the proposal for female cabinet members in Iran – but they will do nothing for equal rights

Massoumeh Torfeh
The Guardian, UK

It is difficult to know how to react to the decision by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran to propose three women in his new cabinet, two of whom he has already named. Should I be proud, as an Iranian woman, that for the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic women will be proposed for cabinet posts? Well, I wish I could feel proud. The reality is that if Ahmadinejad had chosen two ultra-hardline conservative men for the same posts it would have made no difference in terms of policy and vision.

He has proposed Fatemeh Ajorlou for the welfare and social security ministry and Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi for the health ministry. Both women, as members of Iran's majlis or parliament, have been advocating draconian changes to family laws and women's rights laws making it even more difficult for women to benefit from equal rights, get divorced, have custody of their children, or have an abortion if they so choose. They are both strong supporters of the role of women as pious mothers devoted to Islam, to their duties to their husbands, and to the Islamic republic.
Ajorlou, who is an MP in the present parliament, is a notorious advocate of punishment of women who ignore the dress code. She is an outspoken supporter of the chador – the head-to-toe black Islamic cover – as the protector of women's chastity and modesty.

Her professional career has been in serving the Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia. She worked as a nurse in the Revolutionary Guards and later was influential in setting up the Basij Sisters militia, which has been involved in brutal attacks and arrests of women's rights activists. More recently she advocated the controversial draft law for positive discrimination for men in attending universities. That had become necessary, according to Ajorlou, because girls had won 70% of university places, thereby causing an "imbalance" in society. More generally she believes that western societies have lost their morality because women have given priority to their jobs rather than their families.

Vahid-Dastjerdi, who was an MP in two previous parliaments, is perhaps, professionally, a suitable candidate for the ministry of health as she has spent most of her career in medical practice and research specialising in women's infertility. However, she is another clear hardliner. During her days as an MP, Vahid-Dastjerdi opposed the bill that could have facilitated Iran joining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The most intriguing question is why Ahmadinejad has chosen to propose women in his cabinet when he knows full well that the Islamic establishment does not allow women to be "leaders". While women can work as deputy ministers or as advisers to ministers, there is a serious debate between the reformists and conservatives on whether women can be "allowed" to lead an entire ministry.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad is hoping that he would be a winner whatever the outcome. If the parliament or the Islamic establishment does not approve his choice of women ministers, he could still claim he had tried to raise the status of women. If they do accept his nominations, then he could champion the cause of womenwhile still having two hardliners in his cabinet.

Ahmadinejad, who has recently witnessed thousands of women marching against his presidency in the streets of Tehran and other major cities, may be wishing to appease women by his cabinet selection. He tried once before to make it legal for girls to attend football stadiums. Young girls keen on football welcomed the decision but the Islamic authorities vetoed it. This time the scenario may be even harsher. Both women and the Islamic establishment could reject his choice. With the increasing number of women arrested, imprisoned and killed during his presidency – accused of advocating women's equal rights – Ahmadinejad will find it hard to convince women that this latest move is anything but another political show.


Hamas cautions against 'excessive optimism'

A Hamas delegation headed by Mahmoud Zahar returned to the Gaza Strip over the weekend after holding talks in Cairo and Syria on a possible prisoner agreement exchange with Israel.

Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel cautioned against "excessive optimism," saying only limited progress has been achieved so far.

The Islamist movement's leader, Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal, is scheduled to travel to Cairo late this week for additional talks on the case of kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit. On Friday, Mashaal arrived in Amman to attend the funeral of his 91-year-old father, who died last week.

Mashaal was expelled from Jordan and the Hamas offices in the kingdom were closed down 10 years ago. Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Mashaal permission to visit the kingdom for only 48 hours to attend the funeral.

He was barred from talking to reporters or making public statements during his stay in the kingdom.

The Hamas delegation that returned to Gaza had met in Cairo with German security officials who were mediating between the Islamist movement and Israel, a Hamas representative in the Strip said on Saturday.

Read more here,,,,

Source: JPost

Iran wants talks with Muslim states on Iraq

by Robert Spencer

"I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the Five Families. This war stops now."

Oh, the Sunnis hate the Shi'ites,
And the Iranians hate the Saudis,
And the Syrians hate the Iraqis,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Umma Week, National Umma Week,
It's National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-while-our-hearts-curse-them-umma Week.
Be nice to Nasbis and Rafidite dogs who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

(Apologies to Tom Lehrer)

"Iran calls for regional meeting on Iraq security," from Reuters, August 29

BAGHDAD, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The Iranian foreign minister on Saturday called for Iraq's neighbours to hold a meeting to discuss Iraqi security after Baghdad accused Syria of harbouring the planners of two massive bomb attacks.

Separately, Turkey's foreign minister is to visit Iraq and Syria on Monday to try to soothe relations between the two.

Since 2003, tensions -- prone to flare-ups since around the time Saddam came to power in 1979 -- have centred on charges from Iraq's U.S.-backed government that Syria, estranged from Washington, has allowed insurgents to stream into Iraq.

Iraqi politicians have also lashed out at Saudi Arabia for inciting Sunni Islamist insurgents, a charge the kingdom denies. And while Baghdad's relations with Tehran are cordial, the U.S. military complains that Iran arms and trains Shi'ite militia.

Meanwhile, Iraq's relations with Kuwait to the south are strained as Baghdad chafes at Kuwait's insistence it continue to pay billions of dollars in reparations for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion.

Relations with western neighbour Jordan have been on the mend, and ties with Turkey have taken a noticeable turn for the better in the past year.

"We hope to get the cooperation and approval of all neighbouring countries for this meeting," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters through a translator during a visit to Iraq.

There have been several regional meetings on the conflict in Iraq since the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam in 2003, but Iraq's ties with its neighbours are fragile.

Iraqi officials frequently blame neighbouring countries for the violence that continues to rock the country more than six years after the U.S.-led invasion.

"Maintaining security and stability in Iraq, or losing it, has a direct impact on all of Iraq's neighbouring countries," Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a statement.

While sectarian slaughter between majority Shi'ites and once dominant Sunnis in Iraq has subsided, bombings attributed to Sunni Islamist groups such as al Qaeda continue as U.S. forces begin to gradually withdraw ahead of an end-2011 deadline. Many in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam which follows a strict brand of the Sunni faith called Wahhabism, see Persian Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim country, as their arch enemy.

Clerics of Saudi Arabia's official hardline school of Islam view Shi'ites as heretics and the government fears Iraq is becoming a satellite of Shi'ite power Iran....

Source: JihadWatch

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Virgin boss Richard Branson play on the Holocaust to advance case against Israel

It is a sign of the corrosiveness of the anti-Zionist agenda that even some of the most admirable and well-regarded of international luminaries feel no compunction these days about using the greatest crime against the Jewish people as a convenient weapon against the Jewish state. Holocaust inversion has now entered the mainstream. No-one, it seems, is immune from its temptations.

Enter former anti-apartheid campaigner, Nobel laureate, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who has used an interview with the liberal-Left Israeli newspaper Haaretz today to make some typically ill considered remarks of his own:

"The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns,” he was quoted by the paper as saying. "... in South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected."

This is crass even by Tutu’s standards when talking about Israel. But it was nothing compared to the truly disturbing comments made earlier this week by Virgin Atlantic boss and international NGO financier Richard Branson.

Asked to draw on his business and public relations skills to advise Israel on how to improve its image, he said:

"I think it’s something similar to what happened after 9/11. You know after 9/11 the world had enormous sympathy for America, and you know that sympathy was somehow lost. And obviously after the Second World War, the world had enormous sympathy for the Jewish people. Over a number of decades, that sympathy has been lost ... You’ve got a great country, but you’ve just got to hold the hands of your neighbors, and then you’ll get back on top again."

I have remarked on a number of occasions on how submersion in the anti-Zionist agenda leads otherwise reasonable and sane individuals to say things which make them look ridiculous. But “you’ve just got to hold the hands of your neighbours, and then you’ll get back on top again.”? Don’t these people ever think about what they are saying? The mind boggles. Read more here ...

Source: Robin Shepherd

Desmond Tutu
Latest recipient of the Demented Priest Award

Demented Priest Award

Richard Branson
Latest recipient of The Dhimmi Award

The Dhimmi Award

Chechen rebels put fatwa on separatist leader living in London for abandoning Islam

Akhmed Zakayev

Chechen rebels have today called for prominent separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev to be killed, saying he has abandoned Islam.

Zakayev, who lives in , represents the moderate wing of the separatist movement and has clashed with radical Islamic insurgents in 's southern republic of Chechnya.

An Islamic rebel website said Zakayav had recognised the authority of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of the region.

'Public remarks show that he (Zakayev) has fallen away from Islam,' the website said, adding that Doku Umarov, Chechnya's most wanted separatist leader, was behind the order.

'The court has ruled that the killing of this apostate is a duty for Muslims.' It did not say what court had issued the ruling.

Zakayev, 50, fought against Russia as a senior rebel commander in two wars with Moscow from 1994 to 2000.

After Russia regained control of the province, he fled to and acted as an official rebel envoy until 2007.

Russia has tried to extradite Zakayev for 13 alleged crimes including kidnapping and murder, but a British court rejected the request in 2003, causing a diplomatic row.

Kadyrov said last month that he would welcome Zakayev's return and possibly offer him a job in the regional culture ministry. But there were no indications Russia was ready to drop charges against him.

Kadyrov faces strong criticism from human rights bodies after kidnappings and killings of human rights and charity activists in Chechnya.

He denies any link to the killings.

Source: Mail Online
H/T: JihadWatch

How a Detainee Became An Asset

Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding

After enduring the CIA's harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency's secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called "terrorist tutorials."

In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.

Speaking in English, Mohammed "seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group's plans, ideology and operatives," said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. "He'd even use a chalkboard at times."

Read more here,,,

Source: Washington Post

UAE 'seizes N Korea arms shipment'

The United Arab Emirates has seized a cargo of North Korean weapons being shipped to Iran, which would have violated a UN embargo on arms exports from the communist state, Western diplomats say.

The UAE reported the incident, which occurred two weeks ago, to the Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea, diplomats said on Friday.

The committee sent letters to Tehran and Pyongyang on August 25 informing them of the seizure and demanding a response within 15 days.

The weapons seized on August 14 included rocket launchers, detonators, munitions and ammunition for rocket-propelled grenades, it said.

The ship, called the ANL-Australia, was Australian-owned and flying a Bahamas flag.

"Based on past experience ... we don't expect a very detailed response," one of the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

The diplomats said the Australian firm whose ship was seized is controlled by a French conglomerate and the actual export was arranged by the Shanghai office of an Italian company.

The diplomats did not name any of the firms involved.

"The cargo was deceptively labelled," said a diplomat "The cargo manifest said that the ship contained oil boring machines. But then you opened it up and you found these arms."

The UAE mission to the UN declined comment on the case.

Read more here,,,

Source: Al Jazeera (English)

Ethiopian troops enter Somali town

Ethiopian troops have crossed into neighbouring Somalia and seized control of a town from Islamist fighters, witnesses say.

Hundreds of troops reportedly entered the strategically important town of Beledweyne on Saturday.

Abdinur Ahmed Maow, a local resident, told The Associated Press news agency that the armed opposition fighters had left "without a single shot".

Abdulahi Faramiliq, another resident of Beledweyne, said that the troops were cordoning off residential areas and going from house to house searching for weapons.

However, General Muqtar Hassan Afrah, the Somali military commander in the region, denied that any Ethiopian troops were in the region.

Ethiopian forces withdrew from Somalia in January as part of a peace deal, more than two years after moving in to help the UN-backed interim government battle the Islamic Courts' Union, which had seized control of much of the south and centre of the country.

Their presence was unpopular with the majority of Somalis and was used by local Islamist groups as a recruiting tool.

Rashid Abdi, a Kenya-based Somalia analyst with the International Crisis Group, said that it is unlikely that Ethiopia is planning to send a larger force across the border.

"It's a strategic town for them," he said, referring to the Beledweyne's location near the border.

"They want a buffer zone and they won't allow it to be in hostile hands."

There have been several reports of Ethiopian troops crossing the border in recent months, but the Somali government has not confirmed their presence.

Somalia's government is struggling to control the country, despite including several factions of the Islamic Courts' Union.

Fighters from al-Shabaab and Hizb ul-Islam groups have seized control of large areas of the country and have vowed to topple the administration of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the current president and former Islamic Courts leader.

Source: Al Jazeera (English)

Karzai Increases Lead in Afghan Election Amid Fraud Claims

KABUL — President Hamid Karzai widened his lead in Afghanistan's presidential race as new vote tallies were released Saturday, inching closer to the 50 percent threshold of votes he needs to avoid a run-off.

As Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission slowly releases partial results from the Aug. 20 presidential election, accusations of fraud have poured into the Electoral Complaint Commission. Videos of alleged fraud have been posted on the Internet, and Karzai's top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, has made multiple complaints of cheating.

The allegations from Abdullah and other presidential candidates, along with low turnout in the violent south because of Taliban threats of violence, could strip the election of legitimacy in Afghan eyes. Security officials are monitoring tensions among Abdullah supporters for any signs that the election turmoil could ignite violence.

The latest results show Karzai ahead with 46.2 percent of the votes already counted against Abdullah's 31.4 percent. The results are based on 35 percent of the country's polling stations, meaning they could still change dramatically. Karzai must win 50 percent of ballots cast to avoid a runoff.

Final results will not be released until late September after the allegations of fraud have been investigated.

Read more here,,,,

Source: FoxNews

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rifqa's Apostasy
Will Shari’a law take the life of an American girl in America?

Rifqa Bary
By Pamela Geller

The leftist/Islamic alliance is pulling out all the stops to blunt the impact of the word of a 17-year-old girl, Rifqa Bary -- who converted from Islam to Christianity and fled from her family after her father threatened to kill her.

In Islam, apostasy carries the sentence of death. And -- according to Bary -- her father was intent on carrying it out. The Leftist/Islamic spin machine was slow on the uptake. They assumed that Rifqa would be sent back to Ohio at her jurisdiction hearing last Friday.

But she wasn’t. The candor and integrity of this girl’s desperate plea set freedom-loving people alight. Emails, faxes, and phone calls from blog readers, talk radio listeners, etc., pleaded for this brave girl’s life. And thank G-d, she was saved.

But now, the cultural jihadists are at work. The Orlando Sentinel is busy propagating the statements of Rifqa Bary’s devout Muslim family and the family’s lawyers. CAIR, according to the Jawa Report blog, has “instructed supporters to circulate rumors that Rifqa had been carousing with infidel boys and engaged in acts of immorality.” But it looks awfully bad to keep going after a little girl. So they’re also blaming the American people’s alleged “ignorance of Islam.”

Ahmed M. Rehab, executive director of CAIR, wrote to the Sentinel complaining about the “public’s ignorance of Islamic history, culture and contemporary affairs,” and charging that “Rifqa’s parents are judged not by who they are but by what the pundits say they are.” Read more ...

Source: Human Events

Tawfik Hamid on Saudi Arabia: Progressives, Regressive and Terrorists

Strong Royal Family Vital to Keeping Saudi Arabia Progressive
Friday, August 28, 2009 11:21 AM - Tawfik Hamid

Since 9/11, the role played by, and the link between, Saudi Arabia and radical Islam were topics of discussion among many intellectuals. Some voices blamed Saudi Arabia for all problems of radical Islam and demanded a weakening of its ruling regime or the royal family. Careful examination of the interplay of powers in Saudi Arabia reveals three fundamental forces: the progressives, the regressives, and the terrorists.

The first power — the progressives — want to bring the country to the path of modernity. This group draws predominantly from the royal family and some progressive intellectuals. The progressives managed to allow women to reach the highest levels in education, to allow non-Shariah-compliant Western banking systems to work in the country, and to permit the installation of the Internet and satellite dishes that bring TV news and movies from all over the world directly to Saudi houses.

This group was supported as a political power by the Wahhabi system, yet managed to bring those elements of modernity. But the progressives could not bring more change in the society, as they were resisted by the second group, the regressives.

The regressives are primarily the Wahhabis and their allies. This group controls many areas in the education and legal systems, and promotes the following:

· Subjugation of women to men.
· Suppression of religious freedom (which manifests itself as the killing of apostates).
· Prevention of non-Muslims from having their religious books or temples in the country.
· Cruel punishments, such as stoning to death, for having extramarital sexual relations.
· Violent jihad on the part of the Muslim nation against non-Muslim nations

This group considers wars to spread Islam a responsibility of the Islamic umma (nation), rather than an individual responsibility. It does not condone terrorist acts, but teaches violent theological foundations.

The third power-wielding group are the terrorists, who consider declaring war against non-Muslims as a personal responsibility, and thus conduct violent acts such as explosions and suicide bombings. This group — if it were to take power — will make Saudi Arabia like Afghanistan under the Taliban.

It is fair to say that the Saudi royal family is not the Taliban. The Taliban does not allow women to have education, does not permit satellite TVs or any other sign of modernity. This difference between the Saudis and the Taliban is mainly due to the relentless efforts of the progressives, who managed to make progress in certain areas of Saudi society but could not make the same in other.

The complexity of the issue makes solving this problem delicate.

Weakening the royal family could deprive the country of the progressive voices that managed to take some positive steps to modernize the country. Weakening the current Saudi regime could simply allow the second and third groups to take over the country and make it more like a Taliban and al-Qaida model. On the contrary, supporting the enlightened elements within the royal family is pivotal to avoid a collapse into such a system.

The progressives are not currently in full control and are opposed by the other two.

mplementing uncalculated changes in Saudi Arabia could be disastrous.

One issue is that Saudi Arabia is seen by its population and many other Muslims as the leader of the Islamic world. This puts the progressives in a difficult situation, as any change in the Saudi society toward modernity must be justified by the religion. This could be seen as bad news by many, but as good news by those who know how to give religious justification to values of liberty and modernity. Islamic texts can be understood in many ways.

For example: The second Islamic ruler (or Caliph), Umar Ibn Al-Khatab (who is considered one of the closest disciples to Prophet Muhammad and one of the top 10 righteous people in Islam, who were given a “guarantee to enter the paradise”) banned the Islamic law of amputating the hands of thieves. This happened in the early history of Islam (“Aam Al-Ramada”) when poverty exceeded certain limits. Umar simply looked at the spirit of the religion of having mercy and justice, and gave this a priority over applying the literal text of the Quran. The progressive elements of the Saudi royal family can use such an approach (and others) as a model to bring religious justifications for changing the country gradually toward more modernity.

The power interplay within Saudi Arabia necessitates a wise approach to bring the country toward modernity without creating instability. The enlightened elements in the royal family and in Saudi society managed to educate women, allow TV and Internet, and are starting interfaith dialogue via the outreach of king Abdullah. In addition, the progressives were recently trying to stop underage marriage, allow women to drive, and supported a Saudi TV Program (“Tash Ma Tash”) that is critical of some aspects within the Saudi society. One of the most controversial phrases used in this program to critique traditional education was “We speak about the Saudi person and you speak about the Muslim person.”

The change in Saudi Arabia needs to be gradual to avoid instability, but progressive. It must have some element of religious justification in order to be effective. Islamic texts and history can allow this to happen.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." He was a former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida) and currently he is a reformer of Islam. To know more about Hamid please visit Hamid's writings in this blog represent only his thoughts and not the views of the institute where he works.
© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Lockerbie bomber backs call for inquiry

August 29

THE man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people said he would co-operate with a fresh public inquiry and provide documents he has.

Former Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the bombing, told Scotland's Herald daily the victims' families deserved to know the truth about Pan Am flight 103, which crashed into the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.

Scotland freed Megrahi, 57, last week on compassionate grounds after eight years in jail because he is dying of cancer.

His release, and his rapturous reception on his return to Tripoli, has dismayed the US Government which lost 189 citizens in the bombing.

"I support the issue of a public inquiry if it can be agreed," Megrahi told the newspaper.

"In my view, it is unfair to the victims' families that this has not been heard. It would help them to know the truth. As I said, the truth never dies.

"If the UK guaranteed it, I would be very supportive. I would want to help Dr Swire and the others with the documents I hold." Read more here ...

When Will Westerners Stop Westernizing Islamic Concepts?

By Raymond Ibrahim | August 25

Recently, Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today wrote an article about Muslim zakat, wherein I was referenced as a "critic of Islam." She then followed up with another article titled "Critic questions the aims and ends of Islamic charity," dedicated to examining my views on zakat.

While I appreciate Ms. Grossman's initiative, what especially interests me is that her response exemplifies the problems originally highlighted in my article, "The Dark Side of Zakat: Islamic Charity in Context," which Ms. Grossman takes to task.

I had written: "From what American schoolchildren are being taught by their teachers to what Americans are being told by their presidents, concepts unique to Islam are nowadays almost always 'Westernized.'… [T]his phenomenon has resulted in epistemic (and thus endemic) failures, crippling Americans from objectively understanding some of Islam's more troublesome doctrines."

It is, therefore, a bit ironic that Ms. Grossman's entire article is a testimony to this phenomenon. For starters, even though I indicated Muslims are actually forbidden from bestowing zakat onto non-Muslims, her opening sentence stubbornly describes zakat as a "mandate to be charitable." Surely "charity" that discriminates according to religion cannot be deemed all that "charitable," a word that, in a Western context, is connotative of universal beneficence.

Ms. Grossman is also decided that Muslims engaged in that timeless Islamic phrase fi sabil Allah—most literally, "the path of Allah"—include "anyone from seminary students to imams to missionaries"; conversely, I supposedly read it "as a straight pipeline to violent jihadists."

Fair enough. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to the significance of Islamic terminology, neither her opinion nor mine matters much; how Islam's authoritative schools of jurisprudence (specifically, the four madhahib) have interpreted fi sabil Allah is all that matters. And Islam's juridical rulings are such that fi sabil Allah is synonymous with the concept of violent jihad.

For example, in its section on zakat, the Arabic-English edition of the standard legal text, 'Umdat as-Salik, translates fi sabil Allah as "those fighting for Allah." Next to the index entry for fi sabil Allah, it simply says "see jihad."

The following zakat-related anecdote from Islamic history is further illuminating: After Muhammad's death in 632, several Arab tribes, while still identifying themselves as Muslims, refused to pay zakat, much of which was being used to fund ongoing military operations. Abu Bakr, the first "righteous" caliph, responded by launching the Apostasy Wars, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Arabs. In this context, neither the uses of zakat, nor Abu Bakr's murderous response, seem very "charitable." (Who ever heard of killing people for not being "charitable" enough?) Read more here ...

Source: Middle East Forum

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