Friday, September 21, 2007

Why We Should Not Arm Saudi Arabia

by Gamaliel Isaac from American Thinker

Saudi influence leads to immoral and self destructive U.S. policy. In 1994, after a State Department official had the audacity to say at a press conference that the United States had "serious concerns about human rights" in Saudi Arabia, the Clinton Administration apologized to Riyadh. An investigation by journalist Joel Mowbray. revealed that several of the perpetrators of 9/11 would not have been able to enter the country without special U.S. immigration favors toward the Saudis ... The main argument given by the Bush Administration for arming Saudi Arabia is that we need to strengthen Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis Iran because Iran is on the verge of mass producing nuclear weapons. What is ignored in this argument is that the Saudis pose a nuclear threat as well. Saudi money funded Pakistan's nuclear program. Pakistani nuclear technology helped make Iran the nuclear threat it has become, and Saudis, with Pakistani help, are developing their own nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia joins UN atomic agency board

from AFP

Saudi Arabia and other US allies were among 11 countries named to the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors on Thursday. This could make things easier for the United States on the IAEA board, which rules on Iranian compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), diplomats said. The United States is worried the deal could help Iran avoid new UN Security Council sanctions for its refusal to stop enriching uranium, a process that makes nuclear power reactor fuel but also atom bomb material. Its members are Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russian, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.

Saudi prince plays down pledge to create political party

from The Daily Star

Media reports suggested that Prince Talal bin Abdel-Aziz's plan to form a political party was not well received inside the family and that it may have been triggered by a fight he had with his brothers over certain privileges. It was not clear whether Thursday's statement came as a result of pressure from Talal's powerful brothers. The prince said he issued it to respond to queries he received from the media and Arab citizens ... In his statement, Talal stressed that his sense of belonging to his family is so deep that "if anyone sprinkles the family with water, I will strike him with fire." The prince said he brought up the issue of political parties "for the sake of discussion only, and we have conditioned it on the king's approval. If he rejects it, we will obey," said Talal. Talal has called for reforms in the past, including the election of an assembly to enact legislation, question officials and protect public wealth. He has also called on the kingdom's powerful Wahhabi religious establishment to make changes, including on women's rights ... Talal is believed to be closer to King Abdullah than the rest of his brothers.

U.S. loses ground as Afghanistan erodes

by James Rupert from Newsday

The government and its foreign backers have failed to establish schools, clinics, police forces and other services to meet even basic needs of people scattered in Nuristan's roughly 300 mountain villages ... While the government operates almost no schools in Nuristan, the Saudi-based World Muslim League and other Arab religious foundations pay salaries for hundreds of mullahs, missionaries and madrassa teachers, said Abdulhai Warshan, a Nuristani journalist for the Afghan service of Voice of America radio. This Islamist network has been rooting itself in every district of Nuristan since the 1980s, when Arabs (and the U.S. government) helped fund the Afghan guerrilla war. With Nuristanis increasingly eager to educate their children, and without government schools, "the Arab madrassas have offered free religious teaching" according to the Saudis' fundamentalist Wahhabi doctrine, Warshan said. For a quarter-century, "it has been the only way ordinary people could educate their sons, and now Wahhabism and extremism have penetrated our area."

Reading Islam's holy book

by Eric Walberg from Al-Ahram Weekly

In 1989, Saudi Arabia's Ar-Rajhi banking company financed the US-based Amana Corporation's project to revise the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation to reflect an interpretation more in line with Wahhabi thought. Ar-Rahji offered the resulting version free to mosques, schools, and libraries throughout the world. The footnoted commentary about Jews raised hackles in Zionist circles, and in April 2002 the Los Angeles school district banned its use at local schools; however, Yusuf Ali's translation has not suffered and is still #8321 at Amazon. In Pakistan, India and Indonesia, where copyright laws are ignored and cheap editions are snapped up by the huge English-reading Muslim population...

...Muhammad Taqiyuddin Al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan published their Explanatory English Translation of the Holy Quran in Chicago in 1977. Now the most widely disseminated Quran in Islamic bookstores and Sunni mosques throughout the English-speaking world, again with Saudi backing (approved by both the University of Medina and the Saudi Dar al-Ifta), this new translation is meant to replace the Abdullah Yusuf Ali edition. In the Middle East Quarterly (Spring 2005), Mohammed Khaleel dismisses the commentaries of Ibn Kathir and Al-Bukhari as being "medievalists who knew nothing of modern concepts of pluralism", and also blasts Hilali's translation as "a supremacist Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian polemic."

Web Chat to Give Insight About American Muslims

by Sarah Abdullah from Arab News

The web chat will feature Seema Matin, a public diplomacy officer for the US Department of State. Matin will discuss what life is like in America for Muslim women, who choose to wear the hijab, and how she and others are marking the festive season. Matin’s focus as a public diplomacy officer is on Muslim outreach efforts. Currently working for Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes, Matin has been recognized for her contributions to one of Hughes’ “War of Ideas” initiatives, which focuses on countering ideological support for terrorism.

Tirana on the Mississippi

by Christopher Orlet from The American Spectator

Albania is Europe's only predominately Muslim country, with a population that is about 50% Sunni Muslim and 20% Bektashi (a tolerant, alcohol-guzzling Sufi sect) ... There is a line from a poem by Pashko Vasa (1825-1892) that has become something of a modern proverb: "Churches and mosques you shall not heed / The religion of Albanians is Albanism," or as one Albanian-American put it to me, "Religion and Albania do not belong in the same sentence." Unlike peoples elsewhere Albanians see themselves as Albanians first and Muslim or Christian a distant second. Hopefully this will not change, but as one young Albanian wrote me, the formerly sleepy villages and towns of Albania are today crowded with Christian revivalists and Wahhabi recruiters flush with cash and a sincere hope of reviving their brand of jihad. So far radical Islam has met with little success. Apparently some religious leaders will not be satisfied until Albania is a rat's nest of sectarian discord. Here at the Arber no one is throwing his money around, and perhaps because of this every one gets along fine. Besides its fine cuisine, Albania has a great deal to offer the rest of the world.