Friday, July 20, 2007

Will New Government Offer Relief to Bangladeshi Minorities?

by Dr. Richard L. Benkin from The Bangladesh Weekly Blitz

The government’s record on combating radicals is somewhat spotty. To its credit, it carrier out the previously handed down death sentences of radicals who set off terrorist bombs throughout the country. It also told Islamist NGOs, thinly veiled as Saudi and Kuwaiti charities, that they could no longer operate in Bangladesh. On the other hand, it has not moved against radicals in the police, judiciary, and other areas; nor has it stopped incitement to terrorism and jihad. Shoaib’s continued persecution is being taken as a sign that the government still places radical appeasement over justice.

UK: The real fight against terror

by Ben Judah from ISN Security Watch

On a basic level another look should be taken at British hate crime laws, and adjustments should be made where necessary . The government's recent anti-religious hatred bill may need to be reinforced to protect the Muslim community. This community feels anxious and threatened, and deserves greater legal protection. Jihadi preachers, purveyors of hate-filled literature and anti-Semitic bile must be identified and there should be a cultural crack down on white supremacist groups. Society at large should help transform the British Muslim community. More imams should be trained in the UK - and be implored to preach in English - and steps should be taken to ensure that those coming in from Saudi Arabia are not arriving to speak of murder and the Caliphate ... What is needed is a new and intelligent foreign policy, one that does whatever it can to undermine political Islam in the Middle East and elsewhere by promoting stability, development, human rights and secular regimes. This may mean making peace with Syria and dropping much of the privileges accorded to Saudi Arabia.

Important Sects in Muslim History

from The PakTribune

During the middle of the eighteenth-century a resurgence of Kharijite thinking surfaced in the Arabian Peninsula. Known as the Wahhabi movement after its founder Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, it swept over the lands of Arabia, laying waste shrines, tombs, minarets and other edifices considered incompatible with orthodox Islam as taught by Ibn Taymiya and, before him, the arch-conservative Ahmad ibn Hanbal. In 1806 the Wahhabis conquered Mecca and soon terrorised the Muslim peoples as the Kharijites had done more than a thousand years earlier. There were few limits to their extremism ... Although they were subdued in due course by the Turks the Wahhabis exercised a fearful influence over the Muslim world around Arabia until the end of the nineteenth-century and the effects of this influence are felt to this day in the ultra-strict formalism of Saudi-Arabian Islam. (The ruling house of Saud, descended from the great Arabian ruler Ibn Saud, is Wahhabite in doctrine and origin) ... The Wahhabis were hardly a sect in Islam but rather a puritanical reformist-movement, determined to rid the faith of quasi-Islamic practices and innovations introduced over the centuries and not sanctioned by Muhammad.

Five protesting women, reformist held in Saudi

from Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Abdullah al-Hamed, one of three reformists who spent 17 months in jail before being pardoned by King Abdullah in August 2005, was detained along with the five women and his brother, Issa, in the city of Buraida in Al-Qassim region, some 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of Riyadh, writer Mohammad bin Hudeijan al-Harbi said ... Hamed and Harbi were both among 99 signatories to a petition sent to King Abdullah in April calling for the establishment of an Islam-based constitutional monarchy in the oil-rich conservative kingdom. Hamed was among the three prominent reformists sentenced to jail after demanding a constitutional monarchy.

State Sponsors of Jihadism: Learning the Hard Way

from Stratfor

The attacks against the United States completely altered the global geopolitical landscape and forced governments in Islamabad, Riyadh, Sanaa and elsewhere to act against their jihadist allies. That said, the break between the jihadists and their patron governments was neither quick nor absolute, which explains why it took some time before the jihadists redirected their actions against the states that were responsible for their initial rise ... In many cases, intelligence operatives and security officers who had managed the jihadist groups sympathized with the newly shunned nonstate actors, giving the jihadists significant access to resources that helped them continue to operate -- even under the global counterjihadist regime being imposed by the United States. Although some of these officials were purged and others were transferred, still others managed to balance their official duties with their sympathies to the jihadists ... Even though the official policy in these states now is based on the conviction that Islamist extremists and terrorists represent a grave national security threat -- and the governments are mobilizing resources to counter the threat -- to varying degrees, the jihadists have sufficiently penetrated the state systems to the point that they still can conduct business. The fatal mistake governments make is that they try to distinguish between "good" and "bad" jihadists.