Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Essential Primer on Political Islam

Noted expert Peter Mandaville has published a new essential primer on the phenomenon of Muslim political movements which moves beyond the stereotypes and shallow work which has polluted the post-September 11, 2001 world. Mandaville, an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University, is an individual whom I am proud to call an academic mentor of mine. I am also proud to have assisted Professor Mandaville with some of the associated research for this book.
If you want to understand political Islam in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world, buy this book....NOW.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Israeli Chief Rabbi: Transfer Gaza Palestinians to Sinai; Muslims Have No Connection to Jerusalem

Report: Chief Rabbi says move Gazans to a Palestine in Sinai
By Saul Sadka
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has been quoted as calling for Gazans to be transferred to the Sinai Peninsula, to a Palestinian state which he said could be constructed for them in the desert. In an interview in English with the British weekly The Jewish News, the chief rabbi also said that while peaceable Muslims should be allowed to pray in Jerusalem mosques, they should recognize that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. Muslims have Mecca and Medina, he was quoted as saying, adding that "you don't need a third place."
Metzger called for Britain, the European Union and the United States to assist in the construction of a Palestinian state in Egypt's Sinai Desert. According to Metzger, the plan would be to "take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains buses cars, like in Arizona - we are now in a generation where you can take a desert and build a city. This will be a solution for the poor people - they will have a nice county, and we shall have our country and we shall live in peace."
Metzger was quoted as telling the paper that the plan was new and he had not presented it to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "I have thought about it with some wise people only in the last two weeks, and I think it is a great idea - nobody spoke about it before." He expressed his intent to discuss the matter with Olmert and anticipated that the idea would find popularity among Israelis. He prefaced his comments by pointing out that he could not advise on political matters as he is a religious leader in Israel, noting that according to the law he "cannot be involved in political situations."
Metzger also called for Muslims to have the freedom to return to pray in mosques on condition that they do so peaceably: "We will welcome every Palestinian man who wants to pray in his mosque. Every Friday they can come, but with one condition, without violence. We have the same feeling about prayers, we want to give you respect but let us live and believe our land is the Holy Land and Jerusalem belongs to us. You have another place, Mecca and Medina, you don't need a third place." In the interview Metzger also described Jerusalem as "the capital city forever to the Jewish nation."
He argued that Muslims have no connection to Jerusalem commenting that "behind the Kotel we have a mosque. But when they pray even though they are in our holiest place, they face Mecca. Their back is to Jerusalem. So you can see from only one sign that it does not belong to them. They have nothing - no connection." [What a f**king idiot...This proves nothing save for the Chief Ashkenazi cleric is ignorant of other religions]
The tenure of Metzger, 54, appointed as chief rabbi in 2003 for a ten-year term, has been marked by controversy. In 2006 Attorney General Menachem Mazuz called on him to resign his post in a report which alleged that he had accepted discounted hospitality at a number of Israeli hotels - a call that Metzger rejected. Metzger has also proposed the establishment of a "religious United Nations" comprised of religious leaders from around the world, and was named one of the 12 most influential international religious figures in a recent CBS documentary entitled In God's Name.

Metzger also called for Muslims to have the freedom to return to pray in mosques on condition that they do so peaceably: "We will welcome every Palestinian man who wants to pray in his mosque. Every Friday they can come, but with one condition, without violence. We have the same feeling about prayers, we want to give you respect but let us live and believe our land is the Holy Land and Jerusalem belongs to us. You have another place, Mecca and Medina, you don't need a third place."

In the interview Metzger also described Jerusalem as "the capital city forever to the Jewish nation." He argued that Muslims have no connection to Jerusalem commenting that "behind the Kotel we have a mosque. But when they pray even though they are in our holiest place, they face Mecca. Their back is to Jerusalem. So you can see from only one sign that it does not belong to them. They have nothing - no connection." [Read Arabic historiographical manuscripts and books, you idiot. Actually, from experience, if one if praying inside al-Aqsa Mosque, your back is facing the Old City of Jerusalem and East Jerusalem....Wrong again.]

The tenure of Metzger, 54, appointed as chief rabbi in 2003 for a ten-year term, has been marked by controversy. In 2006 Attorney General Menachem Mazuz called on him to resign his post in a report which alleged that he had accepted discounted hospitality at a number of Israeli hotels - a call that Metzger rejected.

Metzger has also proposed the establishment of a "religious United Nations" comprised of religious leaders from around the world, and was named one of the 12 most influential international religious figures in a recent CBS documentary entitled In God's Name.
[Comment: Official Israeli cleric calls for what is at its heart population transfer...Classic...]
For those who think that many Israeli Jews are not bigots go to the story and read some of the comments left by readers. Below are some examples:
Genuine Tosefta: "Arabs refusing to accept Israel`s Chief Rabbi Peace [sic] Plan...offering them a State and Peace. What miserable creatures are these Arabs!"
David: "Arabs can`t accept any proposal that leads to peace! Having long since expelled Jews from the lands Arabs conquered and occupy, they now insist on this tiny sliver of land of Israel. Of course they must accept their brothers and sisters back to their lands of origin. They hate this idea because it would lead to peace and their culture of death dreams only of war and violence." Oh, to forget history... Where did the Spanish Jews go in 1492 after they were expelled from Spain? Replace the word "Arab" with the word "Jew" to see how bigoted this statement is.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Rise of Sunni Militancy in Lebanon

By Nir Rosen

Just before 4:30 one afternoon last July, calls to prayer echoed from all the mosques in Ayn al Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in the city of Sidon, south of Beirut. First built in 1948 for refugees from northern Palestine, the camp has grown into a ramshackle ghetto. Concrete and cinderblock line tight alleys with cobwebs of low-hung electrical cables. On the walls are layers of faded political posters—some for Hamas, some for Fatah, and still others for Saddam and even Hezbollah leader Seyid Hassan Nasrallah—marking the divisions among Palestinian resistance factions.

At the Shuhada, or martyrs’ mosque, a dozen men stood in paramilitary uniforms with walkie talkies, M4 Carbines, AK-47s, scopes, pistols, combat boots, long beards, and sunglasses. Unlike the hundreds of familiar, unkempt militiamen slinging old weapons in the camp, these men were professionals. They joined about two hundred others on the mosque’s second floor for a special prayer. They were burying Daghagh Rifai, a comrade in Usbat al Ansar, shot that morning by members of their rival faction, Fatah, after a string of attacks and retaliations. The men lined up with the others in orderly rows, placing their weapons on the floor between their legs. Some wore the salwar kameez typical in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a jihadist fashion statement. Following the prayer they gathered to gaze briefly at the corpse, wrapped in the green flag of Islam, not the Palestinian flag.

His comrades carried Daghagh’s body on an olive-colored military gurney; a procession of hundreds followed them around the corner and up an incline as camp residents watched from their doors or windows. When the silent marchers approached Lebanese soldiers at the camp’s gate on the way to the cemetery, the armed men stayed behind. They let relatives carry the body.

[Note: The tendency to label all Sunni militant groups as "al Qai'da" is inaccurate and not particularly useful in my view.]

Sunday, January 27, 2008

George Habash (1926-2008)

Born in Lydda (now Lod) in British Transjordan/Palestine in 1926, the Palestinian Christian Habash founded the Marxist Palestinian nationalist guerilla group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Israeli & the Pharaoh

The Israeli [prime minister] and the decrepit Pharaoh

Friday, January 25, 2008

Iraqi 'Awakening Councils' Formed to Block Iran, Not Aid U.S. as Neocons Claim

President George W. Bush meets with Shaykh 'Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the al-Anbar Salvation Council, one of the first Awakening Councils, who was assassinated by a massive car bomb outside of his home last September.
Middle East politics and media expert Marc Lynch, an associate professor of political science at The George Washington University and founder of the Abu Aardvark blog, reports on a program on the Arabic satellite channel al-'Arabiyya in which an alleged former leader of the Iraqi Islamic Army insurgent-nationalist movement challenges Bush Administration and Neoconservative claims that the formation of the "Majalis al-Sahwa" or Councils of the Awakening are signs of real "progress" in Iraq. Instead, this individual says that these councils, particularly the Sunni Arab ones in al-Anbar and central-northern Iraq, and their neighborhood militias were primarily formed by coalitions of powerful tribal shaykhs in response to the increasing influence of Iran. Sunni Arabs are increasingly skeptical and hostile to Iranian meddling and Iraqi Shi'i Arab political intransigence/triumphalism (for good reason.)
Most of Iraq's large Shi'i political parties are allied with Iran while, ironically, also being allied to the U.S. These parties include the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Hizb al-Da'wa al-Islamiyyah (Party of Islamic 'Call;" the word da'wa in Arabic refers to an "invitation" or in this case, missionary "calling".) The current Iraqi prime minister, the sectarian incompetent Nuri al-Maliki, is a member of the latter party. There are, however, other smaller Shi'i Arab parties which vehemently oppose Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.
It seems pretty clear that Iran is funneling money to its Iraqi allies, who, while still clearly Iraqi, are not opposed to a closer alliance with Iran, the largest Shi'i-run state in the world and a regional power. Iran's attempts to influence the political and social processes in Iraq are part and parcel of the so-called "Islamic" regime's attempts to dominate Twelver Shi'i religious discourse in order to establish the "Islamic Republic" as the premier Shi'i center.
In related news, Iran's conservative authorian establishment, dubbed in an excellent new book as the country's "neoconservatives," have reportedly blocked thousands of reformist candidates from seeking political office. The hardline regime headed by the "Supreme Jurisprudent" Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei and nominally represented by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who, under the Iranian system, has very little actual power and has his own blog) continues to ensure its short-term survival by squashing dissent.
Note: For the first time I have used in-text hyperlinks in order to, well, link to related items on what President Bush would call "the Internets." Hopefully, they will prove to be of some use.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

'Abu Aardvark' on the Middle East



Marc Lynch, associate professor of political science at The George Washington University in D.C. (Ph.D., Political Science; Cornell) speaks at the World Affairs Council of Northern California on the rise of Arabic satellite television stations. His blog, http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/, is a must-read for those interested in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. His latest book, http://www.amazon.com/Voices-New-Arab-Public-al-Jazeera/dp/0231134487, is also highly recommended reading.
"The Sunni World," in The American Prospect:
"Power Ploy," Arab States v. Hizb'ullah & Iran, in The American Prospect:

CLICK BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW OR GO TO http://occident.blogspot.com/ TO VIEW THE VIDEO.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Breaking Out of Gaza (Prison)

Egypt 'won't force Gazans back'
Egypt has said it will not use force to send back Palestinians who crossed from the Gaza Strip in large numbers after parts of the border were breached. Foreign ministry spokesman Hosan Zeki said the border would be closed again when all the Palestinians had returned.

Earlier Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he had let the Gazans in. Tens of thousands have surged in to buy food and other supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade - aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza. Egyptian police took no action to stop people crossing but Israel urged Egypt to restore security.

The blockade imposed last week eased slightly on Tuesday to allow some fuel and medicines through, but Israel has now reimposed the fuel restrictions. "We want to buy rice and sugar, milk and wheat and some cheese," said Ibrahim Abu Taha, Gaza resident.

Israel and the US have expressed concern about the events at the Egyptian border, and Israel fears weapons could be smuggled into Gaza. Mr Zeki said Egypt was trying to contain the situation but had "great understanding" of the people of Gaza and their need for basic supplies. People had packed into cars and donkey carts or crossed the border on foot when it was breached.

President Mubarak said he had told his troops to "let them come to eat and buy food and go back, as long as they are not carrying weapons". Palestinians have broken through the border before, in 2005, and it was quickly resealed with barbed wire, but reports say that on this occasion two-thirds of the border wall was destroyed.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has called for urgent talks with Egypt and his Palestinian rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, on border crossings. "We do not want to control everything, we are part of the Palestinian people," Mr Haniya said, apparently in response to an offer from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad to control Gaza's borders - so far rejected by Israel. Hamas has controlled Gaza since last June. In recent months the border has been mostly sealed, in an understanding between Israel and Egypt.

[Source: Al Jazeera English]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Iraqi Shi'a Divided by Sectarianism, Nationalism, and 'Mahdist' Messianism

Iraqi Shi'i cleric Dia Abdul-Zahra Kadhim Krimawi, former leader of the messianic Shi'i group Junud al-Janah (Soldiers of Heaven), who battled Iraqi security forces in January 2007. The group, which has been called a "cult" by Iraq's Shi'i Islamist*-dominated government, allegedly was planning to assassinate the five grand ayatullahs (senior Twelver Shi'i clerics) in the southern city of Najaf. Over 260 members of the group were killed in gun battles.

The current leader of the group, Ahmad Hassan al-Yamani, reportedly claims to be a deputy (na'ib) of the Twelfth Imam, a messianic religious leader who Twelver Shi'a believe to be in a mystical "occultation" from which he will return at an appointed time.

The following essay, written by a top-notch Norwegian Middle Eastern and Iraq specialist, provides an excellent, succinct analysis of the present state of Iraq's Shi'a today: http://www.historiae.org/Ashura.asp


Iraq Link of the Day: The Association of Muslim Scholars, Main Sunni Socio-Political Organization

The Association of Muslim Scholars, headed by the al-Azhar University-educated Shaykh Harith Sulayman al-Dhari, is the most influential Sunni socio-political organization in Iraq made up off Sunni religious leaders. Allegedly the AMS maintains ties to various Sunni insurgent groups though the organization itself has not participated in violence.

For an excellent article on the AMS, see: http://www.merip.org/mer/mer237/meijer.html

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Banshee Coulter: Most U.S. Military Bases Named after 'Confederate' Officers, Like 'Eisenhower, Nimitz'

Conservative pundit and banshee Ann Coulter claims in this "debate" broadcast on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes that most U.S. military bases are named after "Confederate officers." She uses two examples, President/General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Both were born after the end of the American Civil War and served in World War II, not the Civil War. This statement occurs around the 4:50 mark.

Around the 1:30 mark she claims that the "brilliant" thing about our Civil War was that "it ended," unlike civil wars in the Balkans and Iraq. Although sectarian tensions still exist in the Balkans, the last time I checked the wars had ended in the 1990s. As for Iraq, its civil war has been fully waged since February 2006. The American Civil War lasted from 1861-1865 and ended after the deaths of 620,000-700,000 soldiers on both sides.

CLICK BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW OR GO TO: HTTP://OCCIDENT.BLOGSPOT.COM TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLIP

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Facebook, MySpace, & Class Differences

[An interesting piece by Dana Boyd, a doctoral student in the School of Information at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society on class differences between Facebook and MySpace users.]

Over the last six months, I've noticed an increasing number of press articles about how high school teens are leaving MySpace for Facebook. That's only partially true. There is indeed a change taking place, but it's not a shift so much as a fragmentation. Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some teens are flocking to Facebook. Who goes where gets kinda sticky... probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.

I want to take a moment to make a meta point here. I have been traipsing through the country talking to teens and I've been seeing this transition for the past 6-9 months but I'm having a hard time putting into words. Americans aren't so good at talking about class and I'm definitely feeling that discomfort. It's sticky, it's uncomfortable, and to top it off, we don't have the language for marking class in a meaningful way. So this piece is intentionally descriptive, but in being so, it's also hugely problematic. I don't have the language to get at what I want to say, but I decided it needed to be said anyhow. I wish I could just put numbers in front of it all and be done with it, but instead, I'm going to face the stickiness and see if I can get my thoughts across. Hopefully it works.

For the academics reading this, I want to highlight that this is not an academic article. It is not trying to be. It is based on my observations in the field, but I'm not trying to situate or theorize what is going on. I've chosen terms meant to convey impressions, but I know that they are not precise uses of these terms. Hopefully, one day, I can get the words together to actually write an academic article about this topic, but I felt as though this is too important of an issue to sit on while I find the words. So I wrote it knowing that it would piss many off. The academic side of me feels extremely guilty about this; the activist side of me finds it too critical to go unacknowledged.

To Read the Full Article and Associated Materials, see: http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yas: Iranian Hip-Hop


YAS

Born In 1982 – Tehran, YAS first began to listen to rap music at the age of 16, when his father would return from his business trips in Germany and bring him the latest Tupac CD and other hip hop music. After the sudden and untimely death of his father, YAS was faced with the responsibility of becoming the primary care taker of his household. With his father's debts mounting and hardly being able to make ends meet, YAS at the age of 18 was forced to leave his college ambitions behind and begin to work and support his entire family (his mother, younger brother and triplet sisters). It was at this time that he began to write poetry which soon turned into text lyrics for his music. It was also his way of staying close to his father's memory.

After the Bam earthquake in Iran, YAS was devastated at the number of lives lost (nearly 50,000 people) in the disaster, it was then, that he wrote his first song "Bam". This was the beginning of his singing career. He realized that through rap music he had the ability to reach people by telling full stories that he thought was not easy to do through other forms of music which only consisted of a few versus and a chorus. Realizing that through his music, he had the ability to inspire people and reach millions of other young people in Iran, he decided to present his songs to the government and request a permission to release an album. Many years of hearing "NO!" from the officials, and being ridiculed countless times for his singing style (rap) resembling that of "reading a newspaper", his efforts, finally paid off. To date, in an unprecedented move, six of his ten songs have been granted permission to be released, and soon, YAS will be the first rapper in Iran to legally release an album. "I don't use fowl language in my music or sing about sex and violence. I want to be able to proudly sing my music in front of my family. My music usually begins with a complaint -- but it ends with hope. It's important to inspire the younger generations to be their best potential." Indeed, in a short amount of time, YAS went from singing in front of small groups to now being one of Iran's most popular rap artists. His music is now being listened to and downloaded by hundreds of thousands across the world through various websites and Persian blogs.

YAS' latest song, "Hoviate Man" (My Identity) sings of his pride in his Persian heritage and a mention of the controversial movie "300". The song has become sort of a national anthem for the younger generations especially the Iranian Diaspora that are eager to connect to their rich culture and history. His music has set a new standard for Persian rap and has inspired many up and coming rappers to follow his lead and sing of more meaningful and positive messages in their own music and when he is not recording himself, you will find him collaborating with other musicians to help "introduce Persian rap to the world".

YAS is currently in the studio finishing his latest highly anticipated album -- covering social topics as he takes the listener through a journey of his personal life. His proudest moment was being able to enroll his triplet sisters (all honor students) through college -- a privilege he wasn't able to fulfill for himself.

[Source: Musician's MySpace Artist Page]

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=103981964

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sarkozy: Arabs Have 'Right' to Nuclear Power, but Not Iran


Sarkozy: Bearer of the 'White Man's (Nuclear) Burden'
Nicolas Sarkozy has said that Arab countries should have the right to develop nuclear energy. However, the French president said that right should not be extended to Iran until the government in Tehran has proved definitively that it does not intend to acquire nuclear weapons. Sarkozy told Al Jazeera in the Qatari capital Doha on Monday: "In 40 years from now there will be no oil left and in 100 years no more gas, nuclear power will replace those energy sources ... It is the energy of the future. So, [why] should Arab countries be banned from using this energy? That's why we say there is no reason to prevent Arab countries from using nuclear energy for civilian and peaceful purposes."

Sarkozy is currently on a tour of Gulf countries as he attempts to consolidate French political and economic ties in the region.Distribution deal"It would be giving credit to the current Iranian regime if civilian nuclear energy is only used by western democracies," he said. "France tells Iran 'give up your race for a nuclear weapon - it's a risk and you don't really need it'. And, if you [Iran] stop the race for a nuclear weapon, you would have access to civilian nuclear power." Sarkozy's latest comments came as officials revealed Areva, the French nuclear reactor manufacturer, has signed a $700 million electricity distribution and transmission deal with Qatar. French power firm EDF also signed a memorandum with Qatar "to engage discussions on co-operations in the areas of nuclear power production and renewable energy generation," the Reuters news agency reported.

Sarkozy is also due to sign a nuclear co-operation deal with the UAE, the next stop of his tour, on Tuesday. France generates the majority of its own energy from nuclear reactors and has been actively seeking deals with Arab countries such as Libya and Egypt. Several Gulf countries are exploring the option of nuclear energy despite having large oil and gas reserves.

In another possible sign of France expanding its presence in the Gulf, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that Sarkozy may also sign an agreement that would allow the French navy to station vessels in the Arab emirate across the Gulf from Iran. A source familiar with the issue told Reuters that France and Abu Dhabi would sign an agreement on "the possibility of stationing several naval units in Abu Dhabi" as part of a deal on "improved military co-operation".

The French president also used his visit in Qatar to urge for progress in the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. "The only way to put an end to their [the Palestinians'] suffering is to create - right now - the conditions for a viable Palestinian state," he told Al Jazeera."As you can see, it is possible to be the friend of Israel and the friend of the Palestinians. And let me say this: both peoples are condemned to live together, side by side. "We must put an end to hatred and division. We need to talk more about love, friendship and reconciliation."

[Source: Al Jazeera English]

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yes, They're Back....Back in Ba'th

Bush praises Iraqi Ba'athist law
U.S. President George W Bush has praised a new law in Iraq that will allow former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to return to public life. Mr. Bush called it an important step towards national reconciliation. The Baath party, formed mainly from Iraq's Sunni minority, was declared illegal after the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.
The U.S.had been urging Iraq's Shia-led government to approve the move in a bid to reach out to minority Sunni Arabs. The new law will allow thousands of former party members to apply for reinstatement in the civil service and military. "It's an important step toward reconciliation, it's an important sign that the leaders of that country understand that they must work together to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people," said Mr. Bush.

Friday, January 11, 2008

How 'Democratic?' Benazir Bhutto's Successor: Another Bhutto

Bhutto heir takes centre stage
By Nik Gowing
BBC World
Twelve days ago, Bilawal Zardari was a young man of 19 contemplating the academic and social uncertainties of his second term as a student at Oxford University.
The bullets and bombs that caused his mother's death as she left her Rawalpindi election rally created an instant new reality for him.

In her will, she anointed him eventual heir to the Bhutto political dynasty. As part of the post assassination re-ordering, he became co-chair with his father of her dynastic Pakistan People's Party.

In the sweaty heat of Sindh province, he acquired the name Bhutto and became Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The heir to the Bhutto name who hurried through the torrential rain of west London to the basement of a modest boutique hotel within sight of Kensington Gardens was technically en route from the family home in Larkana to his rooms at Christ Church College, Oxford.
But such is the media pressure for insight and access to understand more about Bilawal that his mother's London-based political advisers urged that he start understanding the realities of public life - like it or not.
Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7177402.stm

Note: Beyond the ignorance, idiocy, and overall shallowness of most American media coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in which the slain was described as "democratic" and in some cases an individual just short of the Second Coming, few news outlets (save for a handful such as NPR) thoroughly examined her past. How democratic was she when prime minister of Pakistan? Not very. What is her record in regards to the Taliban? Ties between Pakistan and the Taliban were strong during her tenure.
A simple question: How "democratic" is a party, such as Benazir's Pakistan People's Party, when all of its leaders from her father Zulfiqar through herself and now her son are from the same family and were chosen without real internal elections?
Answer: Not very.

CIA Knew in 1974 about Israel's Now Not-so-Secret Nuclear Arsenal

Israel's Dimona nuclear facilities, long described by the Israeli government as a desalinization plant. People fooled=Zero.

CIA: We said back in 1974 that Israel had nuclear weapons
By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent

The Central Intelligence Agency, backed by bodies including the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Defense Intelligence Agency, determined in August 1974 that Israel had nuclear "weapons in being," a "small number" of which it "produced and stockpiled." Israel was also suspected of providing nuclear materials, equipment or technology to Iran [ironic since the Pahlavi nuclear project, which was discontinued on the orders of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ruhollah Khumayni who considered them religiously prohibited, is the basis of the program which was restarted after his death in 1989], South Africa [Israel did not observe the largely world-wide trade embargo on apartheid South Africa] and other then-friendly countries.

Note: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remarked in 2006 that Iran wanted wanted nuclear weapons because many of its neighbors, such as Pakistan and Israel, did, clumsily breaking the state's long-standing ambiguity on the issue of whether Israel possessed nuclear weapons.

To Read the Entire Story, go to: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/943902.html

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chief Israeli Ashkenazi Rabbi Thanks Bush for 'War against Iraq'


Chief rabbi thanks Bush for 'war against Iraq'
Matthew Wagner , THE JERUSALEM POST
Jan. 10, 2008
During a short verbal exchange Wednesday at the Ben-Gurion Airport Terminal, Chief (official) Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger thanked President George W. Bush for the US's military intervention in Iraq. "I want to thank you for your support of Israel and in particular for waging a war against Iraq," Metzger told Bush, according to the chief rabbi's spokesman. Bush reportedly answered that the chief rabbi's words "warmed his heart."
Metzger's stand on the Iraqi war, while reflecting the Israeli majority and Orthodox Jewry, is not shared with most US Jews. The American Jewish Committee's annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, published last year, found that 70 percent of US Jews disapprove of the Iraq war, with 28% backing it.

In a related story, Metzger was chosen as one of the 12 most influential religious figures in the world for a CBS documentary called In God's Name that appeared at the end of December.
Newsweek also devoted a story to the documentary complete with pictures of Metzger and the other religious leaders. Metzger was chosen along with figures such as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and heads of the Sikh and Muslim religions.
The Jerusalem Post is a right-leaning newspaper.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Lebanon's Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah's Revolutionary Ruling on Women's Rights

[Lebanon's Fadlallah, controversial among segments of the Twelver Shi'i world, is by far the most progressive on social issues of that group's religious scholars, the 'ulama. This statement on the grand ayatullah's juridical views of the rights of women is by far one of the most "liberal"/progressive opinions of which I am aware amongst either Sunni or Shi'i 'ulama. He has addressed issues such as "honor killings," which are not a serious issue in his native Lebanon, when other senior scholars such as Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, grand rector of the famed Sunni al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, and Grand Ayatullah Sayyid 'Ali al-Sistani in Iraq have remained largely silent, despite the fact that "honor killings" are not infrequent in both countries.]
Celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,

Sayyid Fadlullah: The women have the right to defend themselves against Men's violence. (27-11-2007 A.D., 17 Zul Kaada 1428 H.)


The Religious Authority, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, issued a jurisprudential communiqué on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in which he said:

Despite all the progress that the human view towards women has witnessed, and despite all the honouring that women have gained in comparison with their previous states in most eastern and western countries, and although women have climbed the social and political ladder reaching the highest governmental posts, and taking part in the struggle movements side by side with men and even outdoing them, women still suffer from the violence against them that takes several forms.

Moreover, violence against women is not restricted to the east alone, but it is rather universal, although its forms and degrees may vary between one place and another.

Women, whether sisters, daughters or wives, are still subjected to men's domination whether brothers, fathers or husbands, whose violence takes several forms: We have firstly the physical violence in which women are beaten. This form represents the most degrading human practice, since it shows that men are incapable of resorting to reason and logic to prove their viewpoint. It also does not prove that men are strong. On the contrary, it proves that they are weak, for only the weak are in need of unjust violence. This violence could reach its most severe and harsh form when women are subjected to rape which sometimes might lead to death.

Physical violence in which women are beaten, proves that men are weak, for only the weak are in need of unjust violence. It also shows that they are incapable of restoring to reason and logic power to prove their viewpoint.

Then we have the social violence or the so-called "crimes of honour", whereby the community relies on circumstantial appearances to issue a sentence of death or exile. In addition to this, the society does not have the right to issue such sentences or executing them, except through the proper judicially institutions and through the legitimate mechanisms. Another form of social violence would be to impose on women husbands they do not want.

Another kind of violence is the psychological violence which occurs when husbands threaten their wives with divorce, or when they do not treat their wives as such, or when the divorce is used as an element of intimidation and extortion, which makes women live a state of instability in their marriages and hurt their psychological and even physical wellbeing.

Then there is the economic violence, which occurs when fathers or husbands do not shoulder their economic responsibilities towards their husbands and children, or when they pressurize their wives to forgo their dowry which represents – according to Islam a symbolic gift and a token of love and not a commercial exchange.

The educational violence is also another form of violence against women. This form takes place when women are deprived of their right of education reaching to post graduate levels, thus, depriving them of raising their cultural and scientific levels and keeping them in the circle of backwardness and ignorance. To add insult to injury, they would then be responsible for the mistakes they commit as a result of the inexperience that is imposed by violence.

We also have the violence in work, which is represented by not giving women equal pay for equal work. This kind of discriminating violence is practised by the entire society when the laws it sets do not take into consideration maternity or similar rights. Then there are the various kinds of exploitation of the employers to their employees.

The violence against women in work, is represented by not giving women equal pay for equal work. There are also the various kinds of exploitation of the employers to their employees.
Faced by all these forms of violence, we would like to highlight and stress on the following points.

Firstly: In Islam, lenience is the norm that takes priority over violence which should only be resorted to in exceptional cases, as in self-defence or the need for educational punishment. The Messenger of God has said: Whenever leniency has been put on something it would improve it, while it would discredit anything it is removed form. This rule is universal and includes all human relations, with no difference between men and women, old or young.

Secondly: The fact that men maintain women does not mean that they have the authority over them. It merely means that they run their families but not in a tyrannical way, they have to confer with their wives in all the things they both have in common.

Thirdly: The fact that women perform the household work which Islam did not commission them to, but even proposed a salary for such a work, should lead men to appreciate the sacrifices women offer in taking care of their families, and refrain from any act of violence against them.

The fact that men maintain women does not mean that they have the authority over them
Fourthly: Islam has laid a fixed rule for the relations between husbands and wives, as well as the families in general; the rule of equity and kindness. He says in the Glorious Qur'an and treat them kindly, and then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness. This rule could well serve as a guide for the religious authorities to end marriages if they violate the rule of kindness.

Fifthly: Islam considers that married women are lawfully independent financial entities. Husbands are not allowed to control their wives’ wealth, or to interfere in their private business and financial interests that are not related to them as husbands or the families they run.

Sixthly: Islam did not allow men to practice any violence against women, whether regarding their lawful rights attained through the marriage contract, kicking them out of the house or even using harsh words or cursing, which is sin that God will hold men responsible for and the Islamic law defined certain punishments for such actions.

Islam considers that married women are lawfully independent financial entities. Husbands are not allowed to control their wives’ wealth, or to interfere in their private business and financial interests that are not related to them as husbands or the families they run

Seventhly: If men practice physical violence against women, and the latter have no means to defend themselves except through exchanging violence. This would be permissible as an act of self-defence. It is also permissible for women who are denied of their legal rights such as providing for them or fulfilling their sexual needs, to deny their husbands the rights that the marriage contract stipulates for them.

Eighthly: Islam emphasises that there is no guardianship over physically and mentally mature women who are independent in running their own affairs.

If men practice physical violence against women, and the latter have no means to defend themselves except through exchanging violence. This would be permissible as an act of self-defence. It is also permissible for women who are denied of their legal rights such as providing for them or fulfilling their sexual needs, to deny their husbands the rights that the marriage contract stipulates for them.

No one can impose on these women any husbands they do not want. And any contract convened without their consent is considered null and void.

Ninthly: In the framework of our concern to preserve the family, we maintain that the law that governs women's work should coordinate between women's jobs and the family needs. Any neglect of such a responsibility could destabilize the family, which means that the society would be practicing multiple violence against its own social structures and values.

Tenthly: Islam has emphasized that the women's position goes side by side to men, whether in being human or being rational or in holding responsibility. It instituted familial life on the basis of love and mercy, giving the family a humane dimension in which its members interact away from the legal terms that are emotionally and spiritually dry.

No one can impose on these women any husbands they do not want. And any contract convened without their consent is considered null and void.

Thus giving man as a whole spiritual richness, psychological stability and intellectual progress, be he a man or a woman, an individual or a community.


More information at:
http://www.politicalislam.org/Articles/PI%20525%20-%20Fadlallah-s%20fatwa.pdf

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My Favorite National Anthem

The perfect blend of music and vocals.....Even though I don't know one word of the language, I still find it inspiring...The new post-USSR national anthem kept the music and changed the lyrics.

TO VIEW VIDEO, CLICK THE BLUE HYPERLINK BELOW IN THE E-MAIL