Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Whitehall told to reveal ID of arms sales staff

by David Leigh and Rob Evans from The Guardian

The information tribunal said there was "strong public concern" about the arms industry and a "continuing public debate over allegations regarding the payment of bribes by or on behalf of BAE in favour of Saudi officials". Deso is headed by a former BAE executive, Alan Garwood, who was interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office over long-running government-authorised £1bn payments to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Both BAE and Prince Bandar say the payments were legitimate. Tony Blair as prime minister halted the SFO inquiry, again citing "national security". The US department of justice has now launched its own investigation. The Ministry of Defence fought a two and a half year campaign to conceal the names of the 466 civil servants at Deso.

Losing My Jihadism

by Mansour al-Nogaidan from The Washington Times

I joined a hard-line Salafi group. I abandoned modern life and lived in a mud hut, apart from my family. Viewing modern education as corrupt and immoral, I joined a circle of scholars who taught the Islamic sciences in the classical way, just as they had been taught 1,200 years ago. My involvement with this group led me to violence, and landed me in prison. In 1991, I took part in firebombing video stores in Riyadh and a women's center in my home town of Buraidah, seeing them as symbols of sin in a society that was marching rapidly toward modernization.

Beijing’s 'war on terror' hides brutal crackdown on Muslims

from The Sunday Times

Today China is waging a propaganda and security battle to guarantee its control over Xinjiang, its name for the vast province rich in minerals and strategic supplies of oil and gas which are vital to the expanding Chinese economy. China claims that Al-Qaeda has trained more than 1,000 members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, classified as a terrorist group by America and the United Nations ... Chinese intelligence woke up late to the fact that Hui Muslims were being financed by extremists from the Middle East. Their clerics, influenced by Saudi Arabia’s purist Salafi doctrine, often fulminated against Israel and the West. “The Hui are much more radical than the Uighurs,” said Bequelin. Such radicalisation is fuelled by injustices endured by many Chinese but all the more potent when suffered by an angry minority. South of Kashgar, an almost medieval system of forced labour, known as the hasha, continues to exist on plantations, where local Muslims are ordered to pick almonds and fruit for sale to the thriving markets of China.

Pakistan at a crossroads

by Praful Bidwai from The International News

India has a big stake in a Pakistan that pursues political and religious moderation, is strongly pluralist and inclusive, and is firmly committed to subordinating its military to civilian control. Contrary to what India's Right-wing "security experts" never tire of saying, Pakistan is not destined to be a military dictatorship, nor a wahabi-salafist society. Pakistan's Islam, like all South Asian Islam, is marked by Sufi influences and diversity. It's eminently amenable to moderation and the idea that different religions and non-religious traditions can coexist and enrich one another. Pakistani Islam's literalist Wahabi reinterpretation is recent and must be combated -- even as enlightened rationalism is promoted and the scientific temper fostered. Ultimately, we must remember, Pakistan's and India's destinies are bound together.

Saudis has ability to counter divisive religious statements

from Mehr News Agency

Iran announced on Sunday that the Saudi Arabian government has the ability to counter those deviant Salafi and Wahabbi clerics who have called for the demolition of Shia shrines. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said such statements will cause a “schism in the Islamic world.” Such statements are far from the declared position of Saudi officials, and Iran is certain that Saudi officials have the power to prevent such statements from being disseminated, Hosseini told reporters at his weekly press briefing. Some Saudi Wahabbi clerics have stated that the Shia shrines in Iraq are a manifestation of polytheism and should be destroyed.

Halting terrorism

by Fouad Al-Obaid from Kuwait Times

It is funny that many (Islamic extremists) use the Israeli occupation of Palestine as a pretext, and yet, instead of targeting Israel - target all the countries except it! Many of these so called terrorist organizations are rational in their actions; they use propaganda to its fullest, and promise a rather big disinherited bunch of individuals in the Arab-Islamic world a so-called hope for revenge against what they see as the cause of their poverty and misery. They often state that the West is out there to get them, and that they are falling prey to Western ideals - not realizing that they are falling prey to their own living environment that are brought around by such individuals that don't want Islamic societies to progress. The entire Salafi branch of Islam highly believes in a return to basics where all novelties are associated with darkness, and that such darkness is then associated with hell!