Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fundamentalism no benefit to Syria

by Rime Allaf from the Middle East Times

In fact, the attempted "Syrianization" of all regional trouble-making elements is experiencing such a surge of its own, that known journalists, writing in Saudi media, are now even trying to re-brand international enemy number one, Osama Bin Laden, as not really Saudi, since his mother is Syrian ... Some observers have presented theories conflicting with the anti-Syrian narrative. Whether to gather support during election time or to challenge Shiite groups, the Hariri movement - with the blessing of Saudi Arabia and the US - has allegedly courted Sunni Islamists in northern Lebanon, and directly financed groups in Tripoli and Akkar. If true, it is not clear why the whole scheme backfired, but financing problems have been mentioned as issues of contention, in addition to the unforeseen radicalization of the groups.

COHA Report: Drugs, Terror and Criminality

by Benjamin K. Smith from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

The possible expansion of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda in the Caribbean came to the attention of U.S. intelligence in June 2004, when the aforementioned Adnan G. El-Shukrijumah, was seen in Honduras. Born in Saudi Arabia, Shukrijumah has since been described by the FBI as becoming al-Qaeda’s next Muhamed Atta, one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 hijackings. Educated in the United States, Shukrijumah is said to have been trained by some of al-Qaeda’s top operatives. At the time of his sighting in Central America, U.S. intelligence believed that he had been involved with two of South America’s premier gangs, Mara Salvatrucha, and Mara 18th St. (M18) which are represented heavily throughout Central America, and permeate Trinidad’s relatively large Muslim population. This finding is compounded by the fact that al-Qaeda has acknowledged success in efforts to recruit Caribbean Muslims.

The tragic showdown at Lal Masjid

by Irshad Abdul Kadir from The Times of India

The government's ineptitude in handling the situation was exacerbated by lapses, all of which came to roost in the Lal Masjid crisis. For instance, the failure of successive administrations to provide countrywide public schooling has left the underprivileged children with no option for education other than the madressas. Additionally, failure to control madressa proliferation during the last two decades has led to the proliferation of seedbeds of terrorism. Inaction in imposing a broader education programme on the madressahs (until recently) has facilitated the dissemination of extremist Salafi teachings and militant propaganda. Treating the clergy as nobility has given rise to a new class with vested interests. Handling charlatans posing as bonafide ulema with kid gloves has contributed to the criminality displayed in the Lal Masjid scenario.

Moderate Muslims need help in speaking out

by Terry Paulson from the Ventura County Star

We must back politicians who work with our allies to find and strike existing terrorist cells, but military interventions alone are not the answer. We must help responsible Muslims wage ideological warfare against the Wahhabi and other radicalized Muslims. We need more than the government-funded Al-Hurra network waging the Mideast war of ideas. Countering radicals means providing an effective mouthpiece for moderate Muslims like Muhammad Abdul Bari, head of the Muslim Council of Britain: "Let us be absolutely clear about this, that those who seek to kill or maim innocent people are the enemies of all of us. There is no cause whatsoever that could possibly justify such barbarity."

Mauritania's Vulnerability to al-Qaeda Influence

by Anouar Boukhars from The Jamestown Foundation

For now, however, Mauritania does not represent a hotbed for terror recruits. Several elements have helped to stem the rise of extremism in the country, including tribalism, Sufi brotherhoods and Mauritanians' resistance to imported Islamist ideas. Of course, Wahhabi Islam has made some inroads in the country, but it is not Wahhabism alone that produces terrorists or contributes to the spread of radical political Islam. It is the mixture of political, social, economic and ideological factors that give fodder to extremism, religious or otherwise. In Mauritania, social injustice feeds terrorism. As in other parts of the region, the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict act as other boosters for the spread of extremism in Mauritania.

Blame the Victims

by Daniel Johnson from

The London Markaz project is a statement of Islamist triumphalism, intended to send out a signal to the billions watching the Olympic Games. While Mayor Livingstone has expressed support, there has been local opposition to the Markaz from the start. After it emerged that some of the terrorists involved in recent incidents in Britain and elsewhere were linked to Tablighi Jamaat (which is often described as the “antechamber” to terrorism), many Abbey Mills residents of all faiths became seriously concerned about the prospect of a vast Islamist fortress in their neighborhood. The concern about the Markaz is shared by many British Muslims, as well, most of whom are from South Asia, and have no sympathy for the Wahhabi fundamentalism that the new mosque undoubtedly will propagate.