From Khaled Amayreh of Al-Ahram
The group had earlier publicly warned the school, run by the UN, against holding the event, on the grounds that the celebration involved the "mixing of adolescent boys and girls which is forbidden in Islam". School and other local officials apparently didn't take the warnings seriously, and didn't implement the necessary security precautions to prevent any possible attack, thinking that the Salafis (ultra- orthodox Sunni Muslims) wouldn't actually carry out the attack. The attack was condemned throughout the occupied Palestinian territories as a totally unjustified crime ... The attack in Rafah, along with other recent sporadic incidents, including the yet-to-be-resolved kidnapping of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston, are being seen as ominous signs for the future.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
From Khaled Amayreh of Al-Ahram
From Laila El-Haddad at The Guardian
On Wednesday, a shadowy group calling themselves the Army of Islam took official responsibility for the first time in a yet-to-be-aired video for the kidnapping of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston. The group is the second in a month to claim responsibility for Johnston's kidnapping, but this is the first time demands have been made, including the release of Abu Qatada and other Muslim prisoners in Britain. That has prompted discussion of whether al-Qaida has made inroads into Gaza. Hamas leaders themselves, as well as others, have warned that its continued isolation and marginalisation from the decision-making process will inevitably result in the growth of Salafi and al-Qaida-type organisations in Gaza "who will make Hamas look like cupcakes".
From Andrew McGregor at The Jamestown Foundation
Apart from the military, Yemen’s security is handled by three civilian agencies, at least two of which are believed to include Salafi and Baathist sympathizers at the highest levels. Most important of these is the PSO. A number of PSO officials have been dismissed in the last few years in an attempt to eliminate corruption and Islamist sympathizers from the organization as it is reshaped to take the lead in Yemen’s counter-terrorism effort.... U.S. diplomats in Yemen have frequently been targeted by Salafi extremists, although Yemen’s security services have preempted several such operations. Typical of the “revolving door” approach to terrorism prosecutions that irks the United States is the case of two Yemenis convicted of trying to assassinate U.S. Ambassador Edmund James Hull (an important official in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts) in 2004. Only days after Saleh’s return from Washington, the two convicts had their sentences reduced from five years to three on appeal (AFP, May 7).
From Walid Phares of National Review
Since the 1970s, France has been a target for terrorist activities. Left-wing, right-wing, and Middle Eastern-rooted groups attacked the country and were fought fiercely by the government. As of the early 1990s, French urban centers began to witness the rise of radical Islamist networks. Migrating from the Maghreb (northwest Africa) and other regions, Salafi clerics and militants promoted jihadism around Paris and many other cities. By the end of the decade, many suburban zones were practically ruled by powers parallel to the state.
From Pepe Escobar of Asia Times
Members of a well-to-do family tell how they received the infamous "letter under the door". The whole family left Dora, Iraq for Shi'ite Kadhimiya - site of a revered shrine - and left the house empty; it has been noted by "scouts", and is now probably occupied by Salafi-jihadis ... Mizar Yalda, a 48-year-old priest, says that according to his calculations, 190 Dora residents have been kidnapped since the 2003 invasion, and have paid a collective ransom of more than $480,000. If you are a Christian and you want to keep living in Dora, you must convert to Islam. Not only that, you must also cooperate with al-Qaeda in Iraq, and must accept al-Qaeda refugees into your house when they are trying to escape hot pursuit. If you refuse, you will be killed.
From Patrick Poole of FrontPage Magazine
One who is not at all convinced of their evolution is Daniel Pipes, a leader in the campaign against the American branch of the Brotherhood, the Council on American Islamic Relations. "They want to impose an Islamist international order but not through violence. This has rendered them more ‘acceptable', but their objectives are still the same. That is the totalitarian hegemony, the brutal destruction of human rights and the submission non-Muslims and women. There has not been some ‘evolution’. The Islamist ideas do not represent a departure from Islam as it has been alleged, originating from a long tradition of extreme intolerance that traces from centuries past into the recent age, and is associated with Wahhabism, the Brothers and Qutb. The Brothers deceive us as being an acceptable political force, ‘moderates'.
From Stephen Schwartz of Family Security Matters
If the agenda of the Stalinists and Wahhabis in America seems identical, so has the camouflage. For decades the American Communists claimed to be the only consistent defenders of civil rights for Blacks and other minorities. However, when support for African Americans conflicted with Soviet orders, the Communists denounced civil rights advocates – as late as the 1960s they tried to turn Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. against the long-serving but anti-Communist Black leaders and intellectuals, A Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and James Baldwin. Today, I believe, CAIR poses as a civil-liberties agency when its real task is to exclude and suppress moderate Sunni and other non-Wahhabi Muslims, keeping them out of mosques, academia, and other public institutions.
From Patrick Poole of American Thinker
Most Albanians, while identified as “Muslims”, are in most cases only nominally so. Your average Albanian has never seen the inside of a mosque and has never read the Koran, let alone observes the proscribed daily Islamic rituals. In that article, I noted the difficultly that Albanians are having with the rise of radical Islam of the imported Saudi Wahhabi variety in the Balkans, despite the fact that most Albanians are very well-educated and largely secularized (Albanians have one of the highest literacy rates in the world). Even many “Muslim” Albanians have expressed those same concerns. But to try to characterize the whole of the Albanians on that basis as a seething cauldron of jihadist sympathizers is to hold them to a standard that we as Americans could never meet ourselves.