Friday, March 31, 2006
M. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, calls for a counter-movement within Islam. Only this movement can save us. He also criticizes a number of American Muslim organizations like CAIR.
It makes me hope and pray for some counter-movement within my faith which will push back all this darkness. And I know that it must start with what is most basic -- the common truth that binds all religions: "Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you." The Golden Rule.
The question I ask myself in the darkness of my own night is, "How did my beautiful faith become so linked with such ugliness." To me, the answer is both deep and simple. A spiritual path must be only about the spiritual while a worldly path must be about this world. When the two get mixed together, it brings out the very worst in both.
I have argued the same point here.
If the below report was true, I think I owe Jill Carroll an apology for second guessing her. However, I am still awaiting what she has to say when she returns home, but if the below turned out to be true, then Carroll is definitely not from the likes of former German hostage Susanne Osthoff.
Nevertheless, I still want to hear it from Carroll's mouth. So I'm withholding my apology at the moment.
Jill Carroll's kidnappers reportedly warned her before her release that she might be killed if she cooperated with the Americans or went to the Green Zone, saying it was infiltrated by insurgents.
The freelance writer for The Christian Science Monitor, who was freed by her captors Thursday and dropped off at a branch office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was later escorted to the Green Zone by the U.S. military, the newspaper said Friday.
At first, she was reluctant to go, but a Monitor writer in Baghdad Scott Peterson, convinced her it was safe, the newspaper said.
The Monitor's editor, Richard Bergenheim, also said no money had been exchanged for Carroll's release. "We simply know she was dropped off at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters," he said.
Also on the Internet video, Carroll is shown answering questions, presumably from her captors, and saying that Iraqi insurgents were "only trying to defend their country ... to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation."
Bergenheim said Friday that Carroll's parents, who spoke to her about the video, told him it was "conducted under duress."
"When you're making a video and having to recite certain things with three men with machine guns standing over you, you're probably going to say exactly what you're told to say," Bergenheim added.
So we're all waiting for Jill to explain that herself.
That's Jill's picture taken in the Green Zone after she was released. Notice that she took the hijab off.
After she said that "it makes very clear that the mujahedeen are the ones that will win in the end" during an interview Jill Carroll had with her kidnappers, The Sandmonkey is waiting to hear what she has to say when she heads home.
I will be trying really hard to keep my mouth shut until she leaves Iraq and heads back to the US. I am willing to say that she said what she said because she had a gun to her head, and had to say whatever was necessary to get out. I will give her a break to collect her thoughts, relax and figure her stuff out, and see what she has to say. But honestly, if she turns out being another Giuliana Sgrena or Susanne Osthoff, I swear by all the gods in heaven that I will not join a single campaign to free a single person, especially a journalist, kidnapped in Iraq ever again, especially ones who are sympathethic to the Jihadis.
At first glance, men seem to hold all the jobs in the crowded city of Cairo: They drive taxis, direct traffic, and iron clothing in steamy laundry shops. But behind the scenes, a quiet revolution is taking place.
Record numbers of Egyptian women are holding jobs, and the variety of careers open to them is rising. Women serve as bank CEOs, newspaper editors, university deans, and government ministers. One has been appointed a judge.
The former president of Germany's "Union of Muslim Women" decided to remove her head cover or hijab and donate it to a museum. Amal Abdeen Aljan stated that she "is free to do whatever she wants to do with her head" and she wished the people to know her personally and not just as the daughter of Youssef Abdeen. Her father, a leader of a fundamentalist turkish organization, made Aljan wear the head cover ever since she reached puberty. Her head cover will be placed in a section dedicated to "integration and immigration".
I got this story from Al Arabiya website. You can't imagine what people said in their comments on this story. The majority treated this trivial thing as if the lady had burned the Quran right in downtown Berlin. I just feel so sorry for Allah. He created the entire universe with all its complexities and yet people still think he is stupid enough to get pissed off at a girl who walks down the street with her head uncovered. I mean, do these people really think Allah is that stupid.
It is worth mentioning that the first Egyptian woman to remove the hijab was called Huda Sharaawi in 1923. The hijab back then was not the head cover of today but a complete covering of the entire body, including the face. Sharaawi took the cover off her face as she stepped out of the ship that brought her from a women rights conference she attended in Italy. By the 30s and the 40s, all forms of covering for women virtually disappeared from Egypt especially within the upper and middle classes. The covering started to pop out its ugly face once again by the 70s, when the region was hit by a nasty wave of politicized Islam and religion fundamentalism.
Today the vast majority of Egyptian girls in all segments of the society cover their hair. They were told that Allah would have a bad day if someone, especially a male stranger, saw their hair. I believe we need to wait for 2 generations for us to return back to 1923.
It's so funny. Here I am hoping that in the future we would go "backwards".
Source: Al Arabiya (Arabic)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Canada suspended aid to the Hamas-led government. It's now the first country, besides Israel, to do so. I am suprised. I mean, this is Canada! Does that have to do with the removal of Paul Martin?
Hamas and new Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insist they won't soften the militant group's violent ideology or formally recognize its longtime nemesis.
OK Mr. Haniyeh. You believe in whatever ideology you want to believe in, but just please don't ask for money afterwards. No change in ideology, no moolahs. Fair enough huh.
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the new Hamas Cabinet.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister actually said that??!!
"I think the Canadian position is hasty and shows obvious bias," newly installed Palestinian Information Minister Youssef Rizka told The Associated Press in Gaza City. "What we need from the Canadian government is that it ask the Israeli authorities to admit that they are occupying Palestinian land."
Well, I am sure Canada respects the will of the Palestinian people. But does that mean to give Hamas Canadian taxpayers' money? I don't think so.
However, Ottawa emphasized Wednesday that it would continue giving
humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through U.N. and nongovernment
That's the option I recomment. International donors should continue helping the Palestinian people through NGOs and the UN, bypassing the Palestinian government. If they were smart, they would use the money to empower young reform minded members of Fatah (Mahmoud Dahlan is a perfect example) in an attempt to regain Fatah's influence once again.
The Islamic "scholars" attending a conference in Bahrain issued a statement calling for the Muslim world to end their boycott of products made by the Danish company Arla Foods, the manufacturer of Lurpak butter. The diary products giant received the biggest blow from the boycott. In addition to its extensive business in the region, Arla foods product are easily found and can be replaced by various alternatives, and hence the boycott had a significant negative effect on the company's global sales.
The "scholars" pardoned Arla because the latter published print ads across 52 newspapers and aired a TV commercial condemning J-Posten and stating that freedom of expression does not include what the Danish newspaper did. The company then expressed its willingness to find a possible solution with the "scholars" in Bahrain. Arla's PR campaign drew criticism from the Danish government that viewed the company to have gone too far.
(Source: Al Arabiya (Arabic))
Update: A group of Danish feminists, disapproving of Arla's PR campaign in the Arab/Muslim world, have decided to launch a boycotting campaign of Arla foods! They even have their own website (Danish).
Poor lurpak butter. It faced a boycott in the Middle East, now it's facing a boycott in its homeland.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A couple of weeks ago I saw an Al Hurra interview with a Yemeni lady called Elham Manea. The lady amazed me with her common sense and intellect. Unlike Wafa Sultan, Manea is a professing Muslim with a reform mind we are all in dire need of.
Manea, who lives in Switzerland, talked about religious reform and how Islamic jurisdiction didn't witness any change from over a thousand years.
I googled up Elham Manea's name and found a number of her articles. One article really grabbed my attention. It was a very controversial article (Arabic)yet she made perfect sense. Manea was describing her feelings when she once decided to pray while still having her monthly period! She said she was very apprehensive at the beginning, yet when she finished she felt God was no so angry with her. Makes sense huh.
Monday, March 27, 2006
The Christian reformation was bloody and messy, the Islamic reformation will take generations before it bears any fruit. There are 2 reasons why.
First, currently, we are not even in stage one. We are below the zero level. The debate of whether a convert out of islam should be killed or not didn't even commense. If such a simple crystal clear thing, the right to change religion, is still not being discussed, then when do you think will the Islamic world start discussing issues such as women rights, freedom of speech, and the seperation of politics and religion?
Second, Muslims are busy blaming the Jooooooz and America. When you are busy blaming others for your ills, you have no time to look at the mirror.
So ladies and gentlement, we're in this for the long haul. Don't forget to tell that to your grandchildren.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
ROME (Reuters) - An Afghan man who faces a possible death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity has told an Italian newspaper he is ready to die for his new faith.Words of a madman? I don't think so.
Rahman said he would defend himself in court as no lawyer would want to. He also said he did not want to leave Afghanistan, a possible option if he is allowed to go free.
When asked if he would go abroad, he said: "Perhaps, but if I flee again that would mean my country hasn't changed. It would mean that they have won, our enemies. Without human rights, without respect for all religions, the Taliban have won."
Now that's a true "martydom operation" he's talking about. I dream of the day when the Muslim martyr is someone who is ready to die for his religion like this guy and not the one who died in an Israeli mall or cafe while taking other lives with him.
The Afghan court dropped the case against Abdul Rahman because of a lack of evidence. The supreme court also said that several of his family members testified that he has mental problems.
Ummmmm, it was his family who told the police about him. They're now saying he's crazy! Anyway, Abdul Rahman, dude, when you get out of this prison tomorrow make sure to catch the nearest flight, car, donkey, whatever and get the hell out.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
In Egypt, when a person is forced to say something s/he wouldn't have normally said, we say the person's "words came from under his/her molar". Rescued hostage Norman Kember struggled as he pulled the words "thank you" from under his molar - yet he managed to pull them at the end.
Freed hostage Norman Kember has thanked the soldiers who rescued him from kidnappers in Iraq as he arrived home.
He had faced criticism after apparently failing to thank the men who freed him.
But, in a statement released as he was reunited with wife Pat at Heathrow airport, he said he did not believe armed force achieved lasting peace.
Well, sorry to disappoint you Mr. Kember, but the truth is that without this "armed force" your a.s would have still been with the kidnappers who might have been thinking about how to do to you what they did to Tom Fox. And in case you're not happy sir, I bet you can easily find your way back to your prison cell.
I don't have a problem whatsoever with what Kember was doing in Baghdad. In fact, I respect him for doing what he did. However, pulling the "thank you" from under his molar just disgusts me because I hate it when people don't appreciate what others did to them.
I have said before that Russia wants to return to its soviet era glory when it had immense influence in the region. They are doing so by siding with Iran, inviting Hamas, and lately by inviting the radical Iraqi cleric Harith al-Dari to Moscow. And now we learn that Russia was actually supplying Saddam Hussein with intelligence on the American military before the Iraq war.
Russia is searching for its lost significance and in doing so it is turning into an enemy of the "Western camp". But are we going to witness a comeback of the cold war era? I don't think so. Russia is too weak today especially after it lost its satellite states. It just wants the world to recognize its "significance" and manifest its influence through states such as Iran and Saddam's Iraq. Apparently Putin doesn't mind playing with fire to achieve that.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Some 300 Muslim "scholars" have begun meeting in Bahrain to discuss the cartoons issue - yet again.
The scholars are hoping to come up with a strategy to mobilise Muslims in defence of the Prophet.
I find it ironic that they are still discussing the cartoons issue while there is an innocent man who might face execution in Afghanistan for the mere fact that he chose a religion other than Islam. Don't these "scholars" know that the best way to defend the prophet is by calling for the Afghan man's release and standing for his freedom to choose whatever religion he wants?
Do you remember the American aid workers who were arrested by the Taliban in 2001? And of course you all know by now that Yale university has a student who was once an official in the Taliban's foreign ministry. Well it seems that this poor Yale student won't find peace in the "land of the infidels" because his past will continue to haunt him. Here is Yale student Syed Rahmatullah Hashmi participating in the arrest of the aid workers (who could have been executed back then) and showing very dangerous stuff the Taliban found with the girls.
I am not sure though but I guess Yale, supposedly a beacon of liberal arts education in the US, was against the arrest of the aid workers and what happened to them afterwards. Will it ask its student to explain where he stands now?
(The picture Courtesy of the September 19, 2001 edition of the New York Times)
Agora reports that Naser Khader is considering resigning from politics as a result of the pressure he and his family suffered from radical Imams in Denmark.
France has already started deporting its radicals. Why can't Denmark follow suit?
People in the UK, don't forget the march for free expression tomorrow March 25th in Trafalgar Square between 2:00pm and 4:00pm.
From what I've read so far on the organizers' blog, it seems the march got a lot of recognition and it seems Saturday will be a big day.
The march was endorsed by Baroness Cox of Queensbury as well as by a decendent of the prophet Muhammed, Sayyida Rend Shakir Al-Hadithi.
What really caught my attention was the organizer's frantic effort to seperate the march from any anti-Muslim entities as well as their attempt to draw as many Muslims as possible to Trafalgar Square on Saturday. This is the reason why they are urging people not to bring the J-Posten cartoons with them.
At the very start of this campaign, we said this is a march in support of freedom of expression, not a march against Muslims. We meant it. But there has been a lot of mistrust about this from Muslims, and some disappointment from those who would like to use it to attack all followers of Islam. The latter is of no consequence to us; the former is a great concern.
Comments here have been illuminating. Particularly striking has been the use of the "First they came for..." motif both by people who feel under attack by Muslims, and by Muslims who feel under attack in Britain and Europe. Let's ignore whether these sentiments have reflected reality. The fact is they do represent the way people feel. People feel under attack from each other, there is vast mistrust and misunderstanding.
At the outset, we said that displays of the Danish cartoons would be welcome on Saturday. No, let me rephrase that: At the outset, I, Peter Risdon, said the cartoons would be welcome. I am going to take full responsibility for this. I now think that was a mistake.
In practice, Muslims who wholeheartedly endorse our statement of principle, as quoted below by Peter Tatchell in his superb essay, who abhor the threats made against Danish cartoonists and believe people should have the right to publish things they themselves find offensive or abhorrent would be UNABLE to come to our rally on Saturday, because to be surrounded by these cartoons, now, in the present context when the BNP are using them as a rallying point, would be intolerable.
So I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.
Instead, because the principle of free expression must be upheld in this context as well, we will arrange a forum in which they can be seen and debated without this being, in context, intimidating to anyone.
The principle of freedom of expression is used, by some, as a trojan horse, as a proxy for racism and islamophobia. Not by me. Not by us. Not by this campaign.
Of course groups such as the Muslim Action Committee condemned the march and will organize their own counter marches. My biggest fear is that British Muslims will blindly join the counter marches without paying much attention at how the Trafalgar march people are doing everything they can to accomodate Muslims and encourage them to join. And by siding with the counter marches, it will only be another missed opportunity by the Muslims and another time to be on the wrong side.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
From: Christian Peacemaker Teams
Re: The freeing of CPT members in Baghdad
The Christian Peacemaker Teams strongly condemn the barbaric military operation conducted by the occupation and imperialist forces to free CPT members Norman Kember, James Loney, and Hermeet Singh Sooden. The occupation forces acted irresponsibly and disturbed the peace in the neighborhood where the 3 hostages were held. We as a peace organization strongly condemn such abhorrent acts.
The 3 CPT members were held by patriotic Iraqis whom we sympathize with. These poor souls were so distressed by the occupation of their country and they had no other way to voice their opinion except by kidnapping hostages and chopping their heads off. They have done so in the most humane way.
“They killed Tom Fox because they wanted to tell the world that they wanted hospitals, schools, and Starbucks in the Sunni areas. We fully understand what motivated them to do so” said CPT head Dough Pritchard. “Nobody asked the occupation forces to free our members”.
Even though we are glad the 3 hostages were released, we all hoped it could have been done in a way that didn’t involve the occupation imperialist forces in Iraq. As a result, we’re offering to send our 3 members back to the patriotic Iraqi resistance.
N.B. Above post is tongue in cheek
The 3 western peace activists, 2 Canadian and 1 British, were freed after a military operation by US and Iraqi forces. It's a pity the operation didn't happen when Tom Fox was alive.
Now, peace activists, for God's sake stay where you are.
This is a classic. Look who wants Abdul Rahman dead. Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission.
An Afghan man facing a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity may be mentally unfit to stand trial, a state prosecutor said Wednesday amid growing international condemnation of the case.
The state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called for Rahman to be punished, arguing he clearly violated Islamic law.
No Comment. No comment at all.
Television footage of Rahman at last week's hearing shows him leafing through a Bible before saying, "They want to sentence me to death and I accept it, but I am not a deserter and not an infidel. I am a Christian, which means I believe in the Trinity."
Ummmm, he doesn't sound like a mad man to me!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Remember how we "liberated" Afghanistan and transformed it into a freedom-loving democracy before turning our attention to Iraq? Well, take a look at this.
A 41-year-old man is facing possible execution for converting to Christianity.
The Egyptian blogger called Big Pharaoh (who writes one of the best blogs in the Middle East) has been reading comments about the case posted on the website of al-Arabiya, one of the leading TV news channels in the region, and has translated a selection of them into English.
"I included the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very ugly," he writes. "Many of the comments I read made me want to vomit, others were breezes of rationality."
The post he is referring to is here.
A school which was told it unlawfully excluded a Muslim pupil for wearing a traditional gown has won its appeal at the House of Lords.
The Court of Appeal had said Denbigh High School had denied Shabina Begum the right to manifest her religion in refusing to allow her to wear a jilbab.
But in a unanimous ruling, judges at the House of Lords overturned that.
They said the school had "taken immense pains to devise a uniform policy which respected Muslim beliefs".
It had done so "in an inclusive, unthreatening and uncompetitive way".
If you remember, Shabina wanted to go to school in a jilbab which is completely different than the head cover that Muslim girls wear. The jilbab is a burqa without the face cover. The school went to great length in order to device a uniform policy which respected Muslim beliefs, yet when Shabina showed up one day wearing the jilbab, the school simply said "enough is enough".
Shabina's case was what motivated me to sue the British government remember. I wanted to go to a London school wearing clothing that my new religion required. Ohhhh, praise Nudenus!
It seems Afghanistan found an excuse to release the convert to Christianity after its government was put under immense pressure from the international community. They're now saying that Abdul Rahman is crazy so he's unfit to stand for trial. The Afghan government found itself sandwiched between those who want to see Abdul Rahman killed and the international community. My guess is that they reached a deal with Afghanistan's crazy judges in which they would release him and at the same time save face.
KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan man facing the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity may be mentally unfit to stand trial, a state prosecutor and presidential adviser said Wednesday.
"We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn't talk like a normal person," he told The Associated Press.
If that what will take to release the guy then yes, the guy is crazy, he's nuts, now release the poor soul.
Monday, March 20, 2006
One of the things I really like to do is visit Al Arabiya website everyday and read the comments that people leave after they read a controversial news story. It gives me an idea of how people think about various topics.
Today I was reading what Al Arabiya visitors wrote about the story of Afghan man who might be executed for converting to Christianity. Many of the comments I read made me want to vomit, others were breezes of rationality.
I chose a few of these comments. I included the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very ugly.
"We hope that rationality supercedes the implementation of laws that contradict innate human traits. There is no other option besides freedom of religion for all. Only then will the religion be for God"
"The missionaries use the poverty of the people to spread their faith. By the way, the power of their religion is short lasting because it is abrogated" (BP: Idiot, the guy converted 16 years ago and he was outside Afghanistan)
"There is no compulsion in religion...you have your religion, I have mine" (BP: That's a verse in the Quran)
"I am a female medical student. Converting out of Islam is forbidden" (BP: a medical student and she think that way! God help us!)
"I hope other Islamic nations will learn from this nation (Afghanistan) how to apply Islamic law"
"Fear God Al Arabiya..and cease such useless news stories" (BP: yea yea, the life of an innocent man is useless to you idiot! Ops, I forgot, he's a dirty apostate!)
"If I were in his shoes, I would have pretended that I returned to islam then escaped and practiced my faith somewhere else"
"I was not surprised when I read that. Bush and his ilk are waging a crusade and this is an expected outcome. Coverting people to Christianity occurs in poor areas....I hope Muslim youth will rise up and carry out charity work in order to fight Christian missionaries."
"Once again Islam is being portrait as the religion of sword. Let Allah judge him. Show mercy and many many others will join our religion. Kill him and many many more will resent being Muslims and the enemy of Islam will have the most effective ammunition to attack our religion." (BP: thank you for having a good mind)
"This is the reason why America invaded Afghanistan"
"I applaud this man for his courage and for how he spoke the truth. Don't worry, Christ will protect you. I've converted to Christianity and I hope that no one will crucify me. These people are destroying everything, may God forgive them and lead them to the right path."
"These things constitute a priority for the occupiers (i.e. US). The first thing they did is kick out all the Muslim charity organizations on the pretense that they are support terrorism, and this is a war from a long period of time. But now Muslim countries are the ones assisting these missionaries by putting pressure on the Islamists. In our law, a person who forsakes the religion should be killed and there is no freedom in this regard. And may God guide this apostate back to Islam"
"Where is justice?"
"To my secular Muslim brothers who are expressing their sympathy towards this man: these are the teachings of Islam, no negotiations in them. Allah's laws should be applied and let the secularists say whatever they want" (BP: oh no, this guy is dangerous)
"Islam doesn't need people who are not convinced by it. Where is the problem then?" (BP: good point, any religion doesn't need people who are not convinced by it. It's a simple fact"
"This man didn't find correct guidance in his life from religious leaders and he didn't know what Islam is. This is why he moved towards Christianity. Bad parenting also led to this"
"for all the people in Arabic country try to understand the lord created us free and he just want the things which make us happy and we are free"
"The law of apostasy must be taken within its historical context, when the Muslim nation was still at its birth stage. During this time there were people who pretended to be Muslims in order to spy on the Muslim community and make it vulnerable. Therefore such a law was instituted to foil the plans of such people. However, today the situation is different. A Muslim becomes a Muslim because his parents are adherents of Islam, in other words, he is Muslim by "hereditary". And he was not given the chance to choose his religion. As a result, it is unfair to force a certain ideology on a person and kill him if he didn't accept it. This also is against the humane nature of religion." (BP: excellent reasoning)
"Where is the justice? Everyone is free to do whatever he sees right with his life. Islam is a religion of tolerance"
"i think they must tell him about islaam before they kill him coz he knew nothing about islaam and about Christianity. May god show him the right way (the way of islaam) (BP: hehehehe, preach to the guy before you kill him!)
"Lies" (BP: now, don't be surprised, that's why favorite comment! Lies...it didn't happen, no no, it didn't happen, I can't see a thing, my head is buried in the sand. LOL)
The head of the Coptic orthodox church, Pope Shenouda, warned the judicial court that "no power on earth can force on the Church anything against the teachings of gospels." A court recently ruled in favor of a divorced man who wishes to get married in church. In Egypt, religion is a huge social thing, and even atheists would want to involve it in their marriages.
OK, your holiness. So based upon your own interpretation of something written 2000 years ago (that is definitely subject to interpretation and re-interpretation), you are simply denying the basic right of getting married to thousands of human beings called divorced people. So a woman who passed through hell in order to get divorced from her abusive husband won't be able to marry the decent man she hopes will help her forget the bad days of her ex. And this poor Christian woman wants to get married in church because that's the only thing her society accepts since civil marriages are some sort of a taboo here.
So Pope, just because you're not married and you've never experienced the agony of making a mistake in choosing your partner doesn't mean you deny the right of divorced people to have a new start. The last time I checked, I found out that God is a God of second chances.
The Taliban regime ended in Afghanistan but it seems their legacy is still there. An Afghan man might face the death penalty after he committed a "henious" crime. He converted to Christianity - 16 years ago. Abdul Rahman appeared in court last week and his case is being widely monitored by the local media in Afghanistan.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I meant when I said that ballot boxes and happy voters casting ballots are not reminiscent with democracy. A country that doesn't adopt the values of liberal democracy can never be called democratic even if it held 365 elections in a year. I'll give anyone a million dollars if s/he dug in my blog archives and came up with a post where I labeled what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several other countries in the Middle East as "democracy". I have used other terms such as "better state" and "better condition".
I have something that might help you understand the ground we're standing on. Whenever you think of our part of the world, please think of Europe's dark ages. We are still living in the dark ages in spite of previous attempts by some of our bravest intellectuals to snatch us out of it during the first half of the last century.
Now will human rights organizations, the Red Cross, and the UN do something about Abdul Rahman's case besides issuing press releases, or they're busy with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I just got this via email. Abdel Karim Suliman, the Egyptian blogger who was arrested then released for his controversial views, was expelled from his university Al Azhar.
Abdel Karim Nabil Suliman [AKA: Kareem Amer] is a 22 year-old Egyptian student of law at the Azhar University in Egypt (Largest Islamic University in Egypt and the Islamic world), Damanhour Campus, and a women-rights activist. He also maintains his own blog where he posts articles expressing his views on the need for political reform as well as reforming Islam.
On Wednesday March 15th, 2006 Karim wrote on his blog under the "Events of Al Azhar Inquisition" saying:"Yesterday, I went to my college in Damanhour to attend the disciplinary council I was referred to because of my views and articles that I post online, the accusations ranged from defaming Islam to atheism to libel against the grand Imam of Al Azhar and some of the university scholarsKarim adds: (They simply turned criticism into libel and defamation, they considered the criticism of terrorist teachings as a derogatory act against religion), Karim went on to say "
" I did not try to deny the writing of these articles that they took as an incriminating evidence, but rather I insisted that they are my personal product despite their warnings that by admitting so, I might face many consequences"
On March 17th, 2006 the semi- official Algomhuria Egyptian newspaper published the following:"Professor Hamdi Shalany, PHD., Dean of the School of Islamic Sharia and Law in Damanhour decided to expel the student Abdel Karim Nabil Suliman for perpetrating acts and writings that defames religion in addition to defamation and libel against the grand Imam of Al Azhar The disciplinary council has submitted a copy of the investigation documents for public prosecution".
Abdel karim's writing was very critical of his university. Besides, some of what he wrote during the sectarian tensions in Alexandria was very controversial. I thought he would be tried for "blaspheming religion" when he got arrested. I believe he should be glad this didn't happen.
The rest of the story is here.
Several Arab/Islamic countries will witness rallies marking the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war. And thousands of neocommunists and other leftists will take to the streets in European countries. All will denounce the US and call for an end to the "US occupation" without giving a dead stinky rat's ass about what will happen to Iraq next.
Question: Will they denounce the headchoppers and the car/vest suicide bombers? You know, the people who killed Tom Fox.
Answer: No they won't.
Why? It's naked hypocrisy baby....hypocrisy.
Egypt announced that a woman has died of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu, marking the first reported human case in the country.
It said woman, Amal Mohammed Ismail, had died as a result of the virus and that authorities had sent samples to Britain for further tests.
The woman, who hails from Nawa village in the governorate of Qaliubiya just north of Cairo, died of a fever at the main hospital in the capital district of Abassiya, nearly two weeks after she was admitted with flu-like symptoms.
Is it just one woman so far?
Rep. Curt Weldon, who broke the Able Danger story last year revealing that military intelligence had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a terrorist threat before the 9/11 attacks, now says that Osama bin Laden has died.
Weldon made the stunning claim during an interview Wednesday with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported: "Weldon is making explosive new allegations. He says a high-level source has told him that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has died in Iran, where he has been in hiding."
Weldon cited as his source an Iranian exile code-named Ali, telling the paper: "Ali's told me that Osama bin Laden is dead. He died in Iran."
Iran did have contacts with Bin Laden before. The 911 commission report stated that a number of the hijackers passed through Iran.
It seems they have very few things to do over there. The Islamist parties are still protesting the cartoons. *sigh*
and exhibiting a huge dose of stupidity as well.
In a protest against cartoons published in a Danish paper, they chant down with US and Jews. *deep sigh*
Thursday, March 16, 2006
If you can't tolerate gay kissing and a topless woman running on a beach then please don't apply for citizenship in Holland. The Dutch just came up with a new idea to keep the radicals away from their small country: expose the immigration applicants to nudity and 2 men kissing each other.
The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal Dutch culture.The interesting part is that the leader of the Muslim organization Islam and Citizenship supports the initiative.
Despite whether they find the film offensive, applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they hope to pass the Netherlands’ new entrance examination.
Both praise and scorn have been poured on Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, the architect of the new test and other policies that have reduced immigration by at least a third.
“If you pass, you’re more than welcome,” Verdonk said. “It is in the interest of Dutch society and those concerned.”
But Mohammed Sini, the chairman of Islam and Citizenship, a national Muslim organization, defended the film, saying that homosexuality is “a reality.”OK..a German state will make applicants take a test to know their views about homosexuality and stuff. And now Holland will show them a movie. What will Sweden do? Make a topless woman sit on the applicants lap?
Sini urged all immigrants “to embrace modernity.”
(H/T The Sandmonkey)
US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad (right) just discovered a new diplomatic tool: the sebha (prayer beads). He was carrying a sebha during a meeting with Iraqi leaders today. The sebha might be a way to appeal to ordinary Iraqis who might view him as another fellow Muslim with a sebha instead of the US ambassador.
Smart move from an excellent diplomat.
So what's next? A beard?
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
All those in the UK, don't forget the march for free expression on March 25th. The organizing blog is here.
Interestingly, the organizers banned the British National Party from participating in the rally. "We have never at any time suggested that their freedom of expression should be denied but we do assert our right to refuse to allow our campaign to be associated with their racist outlook. " they said.
What??! ACLU Board!.......Florida!.....CAIR!.....How?!
That was my reaction when I read that the chairman of CAIR was elected to the Florida board of the ............hold your horses..............ACLU. (H/t The Sandmonkey)
Can someone please tell me how can both organizations sleep in the same bed? An anti-CAIR Muslim American once told me that CAIR members are obvious sympathizers with the worldwide movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. A number of their members were MB in their native countries before emigrating to the US.
Is ACLU sympathizing with the MB now?? I mean, the MB are anti-gay, anti-total freedom of speech, anti-women rights that are based on western principles, and the list goes on..Or is the ACLU just hypocrites?
I am not passing judgments here, I'm just asking an innocent question.
An Egyptian court obliged the Coptic Church to remarry divorced people. The ruling came after a divorced man sued the Coptic Orthodox pope after the church refused to marry him one more time.
Thousands of divorced Christians stay single because the orthodox church refuses to marry them. Some of them marry in civil courts yet they face excommunication from the church. Religion is a huge huge thing here and so nobody wants to get married outside his/her religious establishment even if s/he is not religious.
I am not sure though if the ruling will be effective or the church will appeal. Marrying divorced people is totally unacceptable to the Egyptian church that still holds on ancient traditions.
Can someone please remind them that divorced people are human beings and not walking bacteria.
Source: Al Arabiya (Arabic)
To all those English speakers who are tormented by Western mainstream media: Your agony will finally end this spring because Al Jazeera is coming to you very soon - and in English. Congratulations!!
A former BBC (of all channels) journalist who will join AJ said something that really caught my attention.
"Before I joined it felt like a big risk but there's actually not a lot of money being thrown about and I've not discerned any possible Qatari influence in terms of the channel's politics."
Well, I hope this journalist asks his new employers why the Arabic AJ said nothing about the entire Qatari tribe that had its citizenship stripped off by the Emir due to their allegiance to his father, whom he deposed in a 1995 bloodless coup. I'm also interested to know why AJ talks about historical coups in Egypt, Syria, Bolivia, Namibia, and the South Pole yet never said anything about the coup in Qatar.
Yes right, Qatar has no control over the channel's politics.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I wrote before about how we never manage to keep friends. The Palestinians are our experts in losing any friends they have. I don't know why I have the feeling I wouldn't be very upset if all international aid agencies were to leave Palestine. I would feel much better. Learning a lesson sometimes hurts.
What did the Palestinians do? Well, Israel made the stupid decision to raid a prison in Jericho right after American and British monitors withdrew from the premise. What did the Palestinians militants do? They kidnapped 2 French! That's classic. And what were the French doing in the hell zone which is called Gaza? Working for a medical charity. Look at the situation we're in. Americans and British monitors withdraw from a jail, Israel raids it, and the Palestinian militants kidnap French people! How smart.
Not only did they kidnap 2 French doctors, they also kidnapped the director of International Red Cross and they threatened Americans and Brits who also do charity work in Gaza.
Well, the majority of Palestinians are against such kidnappings. Bullshit. This thing happened countless times, it seems it is rooted in Palestinian stupidity.
Palestinians, you are MORONS. Excuse me, I just can't find any other word.
JERICHO, West Bank - Palestinian prisoners surrendered to Israeli forces after the soldiers burst into their jail in the West Bank town of Jericho on Tuesday in a deadly bid to gain custody of militants convicted of killing an Israeli Cabinet minister. But the targets of the siege apparently refused to come out despite
Israel's threats to kill them.
The operation was the most high-profile Israeli incursion into a Palestinian town in months and came just two weeks before Israel holds hard-fought national elections. Palestinians condemned the raid as a campaign stunt, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the United States and British governments.
U.S. and British observers who had monitored the jail for the past four years withdrew early Tuesday morning — just before the raid — citing security concerns. The Israeli government ordered the raid because the monitors were withdrawn, the army said, blaming the Palestinians for violating the agreement regarding the prisoners.
Sometimes Israel does very stupid things. Stupid to the extent of inexplicability.
Wafa Sultan is an Arab American psychiatrist living in Los Angeles. She appeared on Al Jazeera 2 weeks ago to debate a professor at Al Azhar university, the world's main Sunni Islam school.
The debate was posted on MEMRI which stated that over a million people downloaded the Al Jazeera program. She was also profiled in the New York Times.
I admit that what Wafa Sultan said on the program was unusual given the fact that she was being interviewed on Al Jazeera, a propaganda channel with an Islamist twist. However, I am not so excited about Sultan and I believe she and others who share her line of thought are very counterproductive to our region.
It was apparent from the interview that Wafa Sultan has stopped being a Muslim for reasons that she alone can tell. This fact alone will discourage even the most moderate Muslims from listening to her. She is exactly like Irshad Manji. Western readers can get excited as they want over Sultan and Manji, but don't expect Muslims nowadays to heed the call of a former Muslim (Sultan) or a lesbian (Manji)*.
In addition, I believe the Sultan vs the Al Azhar professor debate was an attempt by Al Jazeera to discredit anyone who thinks differently about Islam. By putting these 2 together, Al Jazeera was forcing its viewers to choose between Sultan and the professor. 99.9999% of viewers had no option but to side with their fellow Muslim the professor.
We don't need former Muslims, we don't need atheists, we don't need lesbians, what we need are reform minded Muslim thinkers. Only these people have the necessary legitimacy to pull us from the dark abyss we're in now.
*I have nothing against lesbians. I just wanted to say that her sexual orientation will discredit her in the eyes of most people here. Even Muslim wakeup do not endorse her.
Monday, March 13, 2006
I have a message for the Europeans as they discuss the issue of "protecting religion". My message can be summarized as follows: the man above is watching you, don't let fear and appeasement make you pee on his grave.
A law "protecting religion" any religion, against insult, will open up a Pandora's box. Any book, novel, intellectual research, satirical comic script could be deemed as an insult by the adherents of the concerned religion and banned in Europe. A free society does not include the freedom of not being offended.
There was an interesting article today in the BBC about a Turkish town that managed to merge religious principles with sound economics. Those responsible for this call it "Islamic Calvinism". German economist Max Weber argued that the strong work ethics of the Protestant movement gave birth of capitalism and free market.
Kayseri is one of a handful of cities industrialising at an astonishing rate in Anatolia, Turkey's central province and the country's Islamic heartland.
Unlike the big urban centres of Ankara and Istanbul, the population is made up of devout, conservative Muslims.
Critics say it's a Western conspiracy to Christianise Islam, but others have passionately argued in its favour, holding it up as a model for how Islam and modernity can co-exist.
I strongly believe the reason why Turkey is different from many Muslim countries is a man called Kamal Ataturk. Regardless of his mistakes and regardless of your opinion of how he imposed secularism, Ataturk's early secularist agenda is what stopped those who use religion in order to stifle the values of liberal democracy and rendered them ineffective. One of the main reasons why we don't enjoy these values is our interpretation of religion. Over the period of 80 years, the Turks learned and got used to seperating religion and politics, and above all, they are starting to find new interpretations of religion in a way that matches it with modern values.
Turkey might not be up to the European standards of liberal democracy, but it's definitely much better than our sorry states.
If the tragic death of Tom Fox teaches anything it is the fact that you can't argue, negotiate, nor rationalize with terrorists. And no matter what you do, you cannot appease. Appeasement is not an option in the war against terror. Here was a man who protested against the West Bank fence, supported Palestine, risked his life to help Iraqis in Iraq and he ended up being killed in such a terrible way.
There is something else on my mind that I just feel like sharing. I am in no way equating the entire Arab/Muslim world with the terrorists who killed Tom Fox. In fact, the Arab/Muslim world joined the rest of the world in grieving over Mr. Fox, someone who did whatever he thought was the right thing to do. However, I can't help but think about how similar this murder is to the Danish cartoons affair.
Here is Mr. Fox, a peace activist who traveled to Iraq and ended up being killed by those who claim they are fighting for the "liberation of Iraq". And here is Denmark a country that is (or was) supportive of Arab causes and gave its Muslim citizens rights Christians in Egypt and Kurds in Syria would have wet dreams about, yet the Arab/Muslim world didn't fail in creating a huge illusional enemy out of this Scandinavian, liberal, open, tolerant, peaceful, etc, etc nation.
What's wrong with us? Can't we keep friends?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Al Masry Al Youm is an indepent newspaper in Egypt that rose to unprecendented prominence and kind of reflects the improvement in press freedom in the past year.
Even though one of their reporters was sentenced to 1 year in jail for libel, this paper is among a number of very daring newspapers that appeared in the past year or so.
The latest Forbes list of world billionaires included 2 Egyptians: Onsi Sawiris and his son telecom tycoon Naguib Sawiris.
Onsi has appeared before on the list but this is the first time Naguib gets his own spot on the list. It seems his business empire grew so much that he had to be named seperately.
Onsi Sawiris' networth is $4.8 billion and the kid has $2.6 billion.
The richest person in the Middle East is Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal with a networth of $20 billion. He is the world's 8th richest man.
The world's youngest billionaire is Hind Hariri, the 22 year old daughter of late former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. She inherited $1.4 billion.
I am not planning to get married soon. I just love the singles' life. I know that one day I'll get bored and embark on a search for my other half. However, Hind Hariri can make me reconsider my plans though. I hope you're reading this Hind.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader who orchestrated the Balkan wars of the 1990s and was on trial for war crimes, was found dead in his prison cell at the U.N. detention center near The Hague, the U.N. tribunal said Saturday. He was 65.
It seems this is another suicide of an imprisoned Serb leader. Milan Babic, the Serb leader of a rebel republic in Croatia and one of the key figures in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, committed suicide in prison a few days ago. Was there a suicide agreement?
Update: UN tribunal says he died of natural causes.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
And this is my favorite!
Why is terrorism a favorite hobby to many of our young men? Ian Buruma thinks it's because they are sexually deprived!
Sexual deprivation may be a factor in the current wave of suicidal violence, unleashed by the Palestinian cause as well as revolutionary Islamism. The tantalising prospect of having one's pick of the loveliest virgins in paradise is deliberately dangled in front of young men trained for violent death. And even those who are not trained to kill and die often live in authoritarian societies in which sex before marriage is strictly forbidden, in which women outside the family home are not only supposed to be untouchable, but invisible. Access to MTV, the internet, DVDs and global advertising reinforces the notion that westerners live in a degenerate garden of sinful delights. This makes the lot of millions of young Arab men even harder to bear, and can provoke a mixture of rage and envy.
Once in a while, this rage will explode in carefully orchestrated orgies of violence. It is said that Mohammed Atta visited a striptease bar before crashing a plane into the Twin Towers. Perhaps he craved one nibble at the forbidden fruit before his earthly extinction. The fact that it was forbidden - repulsive but also terribly seductive - marked his view of women in general. He made it clear in his will that he did not want any women to defile his grave with their presence.
Read the whole thing. It's a must read!!
The war on terror's new slogan: Don't Blow Up, Get a Blow ...
The Egyptian government arrested a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and closed down the organization's newspaper "Afaq Arabiya".
These actions are aimed at tightening the rein that the government loosed during last year's parliamentary elections. I believe the government just aims at reminding the MB that it is still "the boss" and to prevent them from presuming that life has changed after they enjoyed considerable freedoms during the elections.
Once again, our regime fails to understand the simple fact that arresting the MB will only portrays them as the regime's main victim and thus enhancing their appeal. Jailing MB members and banning their newspaper will do nothing to curb their influence because it is apparent now that they have more much more support in the street than any political entity in Egypt including the government itself. These measures worked well with former president Gamal Abdul Nasser simply because the majority of Egyptians back then were not so geared towards the MB ideology as they are now. So the government must come up with a new approach to deal with the MB.
So instead of jailing the MB, the regime could work on improving the standard of living or ending the massive corruption we're in. The MB use the frustration many people are feeling in order to promulgate their influence. The regime could encourage and finance reform minded religious leaders and fill the media with reformed Islam. Nasser fed us socialism and Pan-Arabism, Sadat fed us Islamic fundamentalism, why can't Mubarak feed us reformed Islam? or is it too late?
A powerful committee of the US House of Representatives has voted to block a deal that would give a Dubai-based company control over six US ports.
Opinion polls have shown an overwhelming majority of Americans think the White House is wrong to back the deal.
This thing is so upsetting. Now Bush is up against congress and the public! Both parties in congress are raising this issue for political gains this November. The Democrats started this whole thing to pull the national security rug from under the Republicans, and the Republicans decided that no one will beat them on their home turf. And the American public inhaled more and more Arabophobia as a result of this debate.
President Bush is in a very awkward situtation. His decision to use the veto for the first time will not go well domestically and it won't really earn him new friends in the Middle East.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
In the midst of the cartoons craziness, voices of progressive Muslims, Islam adherers who want to combine their faith with the values of liberal democracy, is often unheard both in the West and in the Islamic world. These voices are the saviors and they deserve to be heard by us.
The Christian Science Monitor had an interesting piece on these progressive Muslims and how they reacted to the cartoons affair.
"The middle ground in Muslim communities is between a rock and a hard place," says Omar Shah, an Afghan-Danish commentator on Muslim affairs. "The moderate majority is having to decide where they stand."Today, these voices are like someone singing Old McDonald Had a Farm right in the middle of a packed football stadium. Let's hope that one day their voices will prevail over the forces of stupidity.
In Denmark, where the cartoons were first published, Muslims who want to live in a pluralistic, secular, and tolerant Danish society have formed a new group to publicize their ideals.
In Britain, meanwhile, the new Progressive British Muslims group defended newspapers' right to publish drawings of the prophet. "Although it is forbidden for Muslims to pictorially display the Prophet Mohammed, it should be remembered that living in a pluralistic and secular society Muslims cannot expect those who do not follow Islam to respect its boundaries," said their spokesman, Dr. Shaaz Mahboob, in a statement.
"All these groups who call themselves progressive are just marginal at the moment," concludes Malik. "But they are a voice that needs to be heard ... only time will tell if they turn out to be significant."
The picture you are all seeing above is of an 18 year old young man who was removed from his grave 3 days after he was buried. His horrible looks are the result of him being tormented in hell during his 3 days stay at Satan’s.
No, I didn’t lose my mind. That’s the exact word that have been going around the Arab world via zillions of emails, text messages, and video messages. All urging people to become religious in order to avoid the fate of this young man.
Whenever I hear those urging us to become religious, I always ask myself: how can we get more religious than we already are? The vast majority of our girls cover their hair, mosques are packed during the 5 prayers, and we have managed to infuse religion in every, and I swear every, aspect of our lives regardless of how trivial it is. You can even find mosques in the middle of Egypt’s deserts. The same is true with the Christian population. Surprised by the sudden religiosity of their Muslims compatriots and alienated from the country’s sociopolitical life for the past 54 years, they have reciprocated with their own religiosity and confined their lives between their families, close friends, and the walls of their churches.
Now, am I against people becoming religious and spiritual? Not at all. All what I am trying to do is ask the question: did it make us better people? Are we better off now?
The answer to the above 2 questions is a blunt no. No, we are not better people today and we are definitely not better off than we were 40 or 50 years ago. The people urging us to become more religious know this very well. They know that even though religion is now a huge thing in our lives, we are still far behind other countries. As a result, they now think the reason for our backwardness is that we are still not religious enough and they are trying to change that.
Ummmm, why am I saying all this. That’s not what I really intended to say when I posted the picture above.
The picture above is an indication of a serious development, that we as a nation are returning back to superstitions and religiously inspired fantasies as a result of us allowing religion to invade every material aspect of our life. In the past, during the golden liberal age, the educated upper and middle class used to mock the superstitions that the poorer peasants engaged in. Now we’ve got educated middle class people using modern inventions such as e-mail or mobile multimedia messages to disseminate fantasies and other unrealities.
To conclude, we will only develop and move forward when we split the material and the spiritual world. In the spiritual world we pray, we fast, and we strive to be good people. In the material world, we work, become creative, and understand that there is little room for the religious in the material.
You mix the religious with the material, you get stupid things.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Now this is literally unbelievable. I got an email with a link to the story of a Christian man who was arrested by Egypt's National Security police after eating Danish cheese!
At first I didn't believe the story especially that the link brought me to a partisan Coptic Christian website whose stories cannot be taken at face value. However, the website's correspondent in Egypt interviewed the man's family and posted the interview on the site.
The man, who owns a shop, was seen by neighbors while eating Danish cheese. They asked him why he's not boycotting Denmark and he answered that he's just not boycotting it. Later members of Egypt's notorious National Security police arrived at his place and asked him to go with them.
Now, provided that this story is in fact true, I believe he was most probably arrested after arguing with his Muslim neighbors about Denmark. Afraid of religiously motivated communal tensions, the police just arrested the guy. He has been locked up for over 2 weeks, and according to the interview, his family are urging Christians in the diaspora to intervene and secure his release.
This is classic. Bad bad Danish cows, they send people to jail!
A laptop would definitely change my blogging life as it would allow me to blog from different locations. The one I'm currently using is borrowed and I do need one of my own.
So if you would like to pay tribute to The Pharaoh both in this life and in the afterlife, you can give your offerings by clicking on the Paypal button right below the archives on the right.
Thank you all.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Q: Which country allows you to call it "organ of the devil" and declare your contempt for it yet still gives you a house in the suburb as well as unemployment benefits?
You don't know? The answer is here
Whether we care to admit it or not, we’re slowly evolving into a people so consumed with self righteousness; rage, indiscipline, and intolerance, we cannot admit that we also make mistakes. Let’s grow up folks. Even Adam (AS) admitted his mistake and performed a healthy self assessment. To say that we overreacted to the cartoons is not only an understatement, it also raises questions about who we are and what we stand for. Let me see if I got this right. A three month old negative caricature of the Prophet (SAWS) and we take to the streets by the thousands, protest, throw rocks, issue death threats, tear down buildings, blame whole nations and make our angriest and most menacing facial expressions for the cameras. In the process, scores of Muslims are killed, hundreds more injured, countless man hours are expended, and after the dust settles, there is no measurable tangible gain we can claim from the experience.
Let's grow up folks! I have been saying this for the past 3 weeks now. Well said Imam. Read the whole thing here.
50,000 in Pakistan and 20,000 in Turkey held protests today to denounce the.......................................hold you horses........................................................are you holding them??........................the cartoons!
Ladies and gentlement, I threw in the towel. I just can't explain it anymore.
Tens of thousands of people massed in Pakistan and Turkey on Sunday to protest cartoons of Islam's Prophet, Muhammad, that have fired anger throughout the Muslim world.
About 50,000 people, many chanting "Hang those who insulted the prophet," rallied Sunday in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. The protesters burned the Danish flag, hit an effigy of
President Bush with a stick and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Musharraf." Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf welcomed Bush to Pakistan on Saturday.
In Turkey, some 20,000 protesters chanting anti-Danish slogans gathered in the eastern city of Erzurum, reports said.
First it was "Death to Denmark", then it became "Death to America", and finally it evolved to "Death to Musharraf".
God save us!
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Check out the interview Sandmonkey and I had with the Pittsburg Tribune Review.
Saudi born Taliban fighter says he likes Americans after spending time in.....Gitmo.
Abdul Hakim Bukhary was once ready to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But the former holy warrior has told his American captors he now loves democracy — and that hardline Taliban fighters prompted his conversion.
Bukhary said that as he waited in a guest house in Afghanistan for the U.S. invasion to begin, he told his Taliban hosts that he admired Ahmed Shah Massood, a veteran of the war against the Soviet occupation and a rebel commander revered by many Afghans.
But Massood was an enemy of the Taliban who was killed days before the Sept. 11 attacks by a Taliban assassination squad posing as journalists. The Taliban disapproved of Bukhary's idle comment.
For saying that, they punished me. They bothered me. They beat me. They hit me very badly," Bukhary said at his hearing, according to the transcripts, released to The Associated Press late Friday.
The Taliban accused Bukhary of being a spy and threw him into prison in Kandahar, along with 1,600 other prisoners.
He said Guantanamo was better than the prison in Kandahar. He could eat. He could talk.
"Prisoners here are in paradise," he exclaimed. "American people are very good. Really. They give us three meals. Fruit juice and everything!"
Bukhary told the tribunal that, unlike the Taliban, the U.S. guards did not care if he talked.
"Prisoners here are in paradise," he exclaimed. "American people are very good. Really. They give us three meals. Fruit juice and everything!"
"I like to talk because I found that nobody bothers me. Nobody beats me. Nobody hits me," he said, adding: "About democracy. It is really good."
Arab and international MSM have a habit of interviewing prisoners who were released from Guantanamo, they treat them as if they just came back from the lowest pit in hell. Will they interview this man?
Al-Qaida deputy leader blasts West for insulting prophet in Al-Jazeera video
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri criticized the West for insulting Islam's prophet, in a video broadcast Sunday on Al-Jazeera Arab satellite network.
"The Prophet Mohammed, prayers be upon him, and Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, are not sacred anymore, while Semites and the Holocaust and homosexuality have become sacred."
I'm glad al-Zawahri mentioned that people in the West don't consider Jesus Christ sacred anymore. In other words, they don't burn down embassies, burn flags, and kill people if someone insulted Jesus. The vast majority here think that the cartoons issue is just one face of the alleged war against Islam waged by the West. By including Jesus, al-Zawahri might have just weakened this thought. I saying "might" here.
WASHINGTON - Democrats used their weekly radio address Saturday to scold the Bush administration over the Dubai ports management deal.
OK I don't get it. I thought Democrats were angry at Bush because they thought he damaged US reputation in the Middle East and around the world. And now look at them. They are fanning the flames of anti-Arab sentiments in the US just to appear strong on the national security level.
I know several high profile Republicans have raised the issue as well. But it's very clear the Democrats are exacerbating it for political gains. And they say Bush made Arabs hate America more.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
NAZARETH, Israel - Thousands of Israeli Arab protesters marched through the streets of this biblical town Saturday demanding better protection for holy sites after a troubled family set off firecrackers inside a major Christian shrine.
While it is very true that minorities in Israel are in a much better state than minorities in Arab countries, Israel still has a long way to go before making 20% of its citizens feel they're being treated in a fair way. The Arab poplation of Israel do not look at Christians in Egypt or Kurds in Syria, they look at Jews in Israel. Israel should definitely get its acts together in this regard.
CAIRO (AFP) - The Arab League is to vow support for the radical Islamist movement Hamas amid "unjust conditions" on the Palestinians at its summit planned for the end of March, the 22-member body revealed.
The Arab League "calls on the international community, particularly the quartet (the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States), to respect the will of the Palestinian people," said a draft resolution decided on Saturday by Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
The quartet should "not intervene in their internal affairs... and not impose unjust conditions on (the Palestinian people's) elected leadership," the statement added.
OK. I respect the will of the Palestinian people, but does that mean I should give Hamas money?
Pakistan telecom authorities have blocked several websites inviting people to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, it has emerged.
I simply can't understand this blocking thing. If someone doesn't want to see these websites, s/he can do something very simple: order his computer mouse not to go these sites. Case closed.
Bloggers in Pakistan became first became aware of the ban on 28 February when they were unable to access a popular blog hosting site, Blogspot.
One of the blocked sites is hosted on Blogspot, which led to the blocking of all web journals hosted on the site.
A round of applause please for the idiots at Pakistan's telecom authorities!!
Many are using anonymizers - a service which allows people to surf sites without being identified - to access their sites, while the US blogging community has sent out suggestions for ways in which Blogspot can be accessed.
May God bless American bloggers.
Pakistani bloggers agree the blocking of Blogspot cannot be intentional, but are hoping the authorities realise the problem soon and rectify it.
I'm hoping that too.
Pakistan, meanwhile, is seeking an internationally applicable law against blasphemy.
Ummmm, well, I just hope it's not the blasphemy law Pakistan applies.
The Muslim Brotherhood can't allow itself to be left out in the midst of the cartoons issue. They organized a protest today in front of the lawyers syndicate.
One can't help but wonder why they didn't protest when an Egyptian newspaper published the cartoons last October.
And can someone tell this idiot that Nido is a Nestle product and Nestle is a Swiss company. (look at the powder milk carton at the bottom left of the placard.
Pro-Denmark Demo in NY
There was a pro-Denmark demo in New York today.
I love this poster. "A free society does not guarantee freedom from being offended." Very true.
A curtain of fear has descended on the intelligentsia of the West, including Canada. The fear of being misunderstood as Islamophobic has sealed their lips, dried their pens and locked their keyboards.
With hundreds dead around the world in the aftermath of the now infamous Danish cartoons, Canada's writers, politicians and media have imposed a frightening censorship on themselves, refusing to speak their minds, thus ensuring that the only voices being heard are that of the Muslim extremists and the racist right.
Quite Interesting. Read it all here.
My 82 years old grandma has 2 nannies who take care of her. One of the nannies is a Muslim, the other is Christian.
I went to visit grandma today and met the Christian nanny's brother who came asking for money from his sister. I promised him that I would help him find a job. I asked for his name and he answered with an obvious Muslim name. When he left, curiosity got the better of me and I asked the sister how can her brother have a Muslim name and she's Christian.
"My 4 brothers converted to Islam years ago. Some people offered them jobs and money on the condition that they convert. I take this one with me to church though." she said.
Christians in Egypt complain of organized attemps by radical Muslim groups to convert poor Christians. Muslims also say that Western missionaries use economic incentives to convert Africans to Christianity.
I always believed Christians in Egypt were exaggerating about these "we pay after you convert" groups. I now know I was wrong.
Friday, March 03, 2006
And what does Hamas make of the lifestyles of more secular women - those who might like to go unveiled and spend an evening talking to friends of the opposite sex in cafes?
Among them is a young civil servant called Hayeh, who is one of the tiny minority of women who go unveiled in Gaza.
"Where do I fit in this society as a Palestinian who comes from a liberal background?" she asks.
"Hamas people say that they're not going to harass anyone - that they're not going to impose anything, that they're not going to impose a certain dress code or veils or whatever. "But it will come indirectly. Discrimination doesn't have to be direct - it can be indirect.
"For instance if I'm working in a ministry where my boss is from a conservative background he might not allow me to be promoted.
"At university I might be discriminated against because I'm not wearing the cover."
This Palestinian lady is right. Groups such as Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood might talk about being "moderate", yet they are only trying to coate their poison with sugar.
Members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have begun talks in Moscow at the highest level since their surprise election win in January.
The six-member delegation is meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but not President Vladimir Putin.
For Russia, the talks are an opportunity to become a key player in the region as well as help restore its position as a global player, our (BBC) correspondent adds.
I also said the same thing about Russia in a post a few days ago.
(hattip: Martin Kramer)
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Then it was
Now it is
That's the new domain name of the blog.
Iran's reformist former president Mohammad Khatami has described the Holocaust as a "historical reality" - a stinging attack on his controversial and revisionist successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We should speak out if even a single Jew is killed. Don't forget that one of the crimes of Hitler, Nazism and German national socialism was the massacre of innocent people, among them many Jews," the cleric said in comments carried in the Iranian press yesterday.
Khatami is a sensible man, this is the reason why over 70% of Iranians voted for him when he first ran for president. However, Khatami and the rest of the reformists have failed drastically. The president of Iran doesn't enjoy real powers and I believe that no solution can be acceptable for Iran except a secular constitution that clearly draws a line between religion and politics. Half answers such as Khatami won't work.
One day at kindergarten, the teacher said to the class of 5-year-olds,I'll give $2 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man mentionedin the Bible".
An Irish boy put his hand up "It was St. Patrick".The teacher said "Sorry Sean, that's incorrect".
Then a Scottish boy put his hand up and said "It was St Andrew".The teacher replied "I'm sorry, Hamish, that's also incorrect".
Finally, a Jewish boy raised his hand and said "It was Jesus Christ".The teacher said "That's absolutely right, Sheldon, come up here and I'llgive you your $2".
As she gave him the money, she said "You know, Sheldon, since you are Jewish, I was very surprised that you answered Jesus Christ"."Yes, in my heart I know it's Moses, but business is business."
Salman Rushdie is among a dozen writers to have put their names to a statement in a French weekly paper warning against Islamic "totalitarianism".
The writers say the violence sparked by the publication of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad shows the need to fight for secular values and freedom.
I do agree with the statement regardless of who wrote it. I do agree that we need to fight for secular values and freedom no matter what. However, I just hate to use the word "Islamism" because it still connects Islam with the totalitarian ideology we should be fighting. What is needed is to sever Islam from this ideology and this could only be done by Muslims themselves.