Thursday, June 14, 2007
Voices From the Middle East: Part II: Grand Ayatullah al-Sistani Statement on Second Samarra Bombing
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Voices from the Middle East-Part I: Friday Sermon of Lebanese Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah
*Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah
Friday Sermon; May 25, 2007
Article on Fadlallah's library, reportedly destroyed by the Israelis last summer: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/27/AR2006032701355.html
"There is no censorship over any of the titles," Fadlallah said in his office a few blocks away. His thin eyebrows arched under his black turban, which framed his ascetic face and snowy beard. "You can't silence an idea by imprisoning it."
Fadlallah has long been alleged (falsely) to be or have been Hizbu'llah's "spiritual leader." Both the party and the grand ayatullah have consistently refuted this. The party's adherence, at least formally, to the false-ayatullah and Supreme Leader of Iran, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, disproves allegations that Fadlallah is its "spiritual leader." Recent scholarly works by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh and Jamal Sankari have done much to show the falsity of these often-repeated claims. Nonetheless, Israel bombed Fadlallah's house, offices, and library last summer.
At that time relations between the grand ayatullah and Hizbu'llah leader Shaykh Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah were tense due to criticisms Fadlallah had of some of the party's political stances. Fadlallah was also one of the first major Muslim leaders to condemn the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the non-partisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has been formally charged with espionage and "endangering Iranian security" according to Iranian judiciary spokesman 'Ali Reza Jamshidi. Esfandiari, a U.S. and Iranian dual-citizen, has been held without charges f0r three weeks.
In late December her passports were seized. She has been interrogated without proper legal representation for months. The Iranian government was/is reportedly interested in the activities of the Wilson Center regarding Iran. According to Lee Hamilton, the center's director, most of this information is available to the public via the center's web site: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/.
"Esfandiari has been formally charged with endangering national security through propaganda against the system and espionage for foreigners. ... The complainant is the Intelligence Ministry," said Jamshidi.
"We are extremely disheartened to receive this news," said Hamilton. "Haleh is a scholar. The work she does at the Wilson Center is open, non-partisan, and includes a broad range of views. At the Wilson Center, we do not take positions on issues, but rather, we bring all sides of an issue together for dialogue. As director of the Middle East Program, Haleh ensured that there was an open dialogue and that she convened meetings which allowed participants and attendees to discuss all views. We do not engage in propaganda. The Wilson Center receives zero funding from the U.S. government's fund to promote democracy in Iran. Her detention is an affront to the rule of law and common decency. The Wilson Center's message to the Iranian government is simple: Let Haleh go."
Haleh Esfandiari’s husband and Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University, said “these charges against Haleh are totally without foundation; there is not a scrap of evidence to support them. She should be set free and allowed to rejoin her family.”
Last 2 paragraphs taken verbatim from Woodrow Wilson Center press release.
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