Monday, June 4, 2007

Gaza: 'Immodest' women to be beheaded

From the Associated Press

Swords of Truth, a fanatical group that has previously claimed responsibility for bombing Internet cafes and music shops, threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they don't don strict Islamic dress ... In many parts of the Muslim world, religious conservative policies keep women out of TV anchoring positions or only let them take the jobs if they wear headscarves. Most of the 15 women broadcasters on government-run Palestine TV wear headscarves. But they also wear makeup and Western clothing, which is not considered strictly observant by the extremists. The Swords of Truth stated Friday in an e-mail, "We will cut throats, and from vein to vein, if needed to protect the spirit and moral of this nation."

‘Open tent’ at Amherst Middle School

from the Cabinent

For one night, on May 9, the quaint colonial town of Amherst, New Hampshire, was transformed into a Saudi Arabian Bedouin tent community, with the help of 80 seventh-graders at the Amherst Middle School. More than 250 guests arrived at the open tent and were welcomed with an Arabic greeting of “Marhaba” by students at a Saudi customs desk ... Only the seventh-grade boys were allowed to host the food stations and the Arabic dancing, as the traditions of Saudi Arabia at this time prevent women from participating in these public roles. Seventh-grade girls hosted the hijab and veil stations, where other female guests learned how to wear the required head covering and veils. An antique trunk full of black abayas worn by women, and white thobes worn by the men, were available for guests to try on.

Pakistan frees two Qaeda suspects after four years in jail

from Internews

A Pakistani court has released two Arab nationals from the Peshawar central prison yesterday. Abdul Kareem of Jordan and Syed Abdullah Hashmi of Saudi Arabia were arrested four years ago on suspicion of having links with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden ... Denying the existence of Al Qaeda, they said the acts of terrorism were being carried out by the Americans and their allies. “There is no room for terrorism in Islam and killing innocent people is un-Islamic.”

This terror plot was homegrown

by Carol Eisenberg from New York Newsday

Two of the defendants in the alleged plot -- Abdul Kadir, a former member of parliament in Guyana, and Abdel Nur -- were longtime associates of the Sunni Muslim group that has thrived on issues of racism in the Caribbean ... "They certainly have some connections to global Salafi jihad but they are more or less a localized group," said Andrew Black with Thistle Intelligence Group. But there were at least nominal contacts with groups from the Middle East. Black said that Adnan El Shukrijumah, a suspected al-Qaida operative, had traveled around the Caribbean in 2004 and was believed to hold a Guyanese passport.

U.S. plans airbase at Kleiaat, Lebanon

by Franklin Lamb from The Arab American News

As residents of Bibnin Akkar, less than two miles from the site of the proposed U.S. base, and the Lebanese daily newspaper "Aldiyar" speculate, construction of a U.S. airbase on the grounds of the largely abandoned airbase at Klieaat in northern Lebanon may begin late this year. To make the project more palatable, it is being promoted as a "US/NATO" base that will serve as the headquarters of a NATO rapid deployment force, helicopter squadrons, and Special Forces units. The base will provide training for the Lebanese army and security forces fighting Salafi Islamist fundamentalists and for other needs.

Author examines history between US, Middle East

by David Hardaker from Correspondents Report

DAVID HARDAKER: We hear a lot of talk now about the United States wanting to put together a coalition of the moderate Arab regimes against radical Islam, for want of a better term. In the context of history, is this an approach that is going to work?

MICHAEL OREN: I wouldn't think so. First of all some of the so-called moderate Arab regimes, the Saudi regime are actively supporting Wahhabi extreme Islam. The coalition is really against Iran and I think it's going to take a lot more than the Saudis and other Gulf Emirates to hold off the Iranians.

When progress is against the law

by Chan Akya from Asia Times

The difference between the economic performance of South Asian states highlights this view, and emphatically so. As an example, Wahhabi notions of restricting the economic participation of women simply do not work in resource-poor states and thus cause the maternalistic societies of Bangladesh significantly to outperform Talibanized parts of Afghanistan. Going back to Arab societies, we can see the rampant failure of such countries in generating employment for their citizens, despite billions of dollars secured in oil revenues. Because of the disconnect between economic realities and political organization, Arab states have had to focus on keeping alive external threats purely for their own sustenance.