Wednesday, September 26, 2007

To the extreme

by Joshua Sinai from The Washington Times

The threat radical Islamists pose is not merely terrorist warfare but cultural warfare, as well. What makes their cultural aggression dangerous is that it is directed against Western values as well as mainstream Muslim tendencies. Salafi Islam id their primary religious identity and it is anti-modern and nihilistic ... In Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism, Neil J. Kressel, a professor of psychology at William Paterson University, incisively addresses these issues. What are the characteristics of religious beliefs that lead to extremist militancy and terrorism? According to Mr. Kressel, such beliefs assert that non-believers are destined for eternal damnation, non-believers are hated by God, non-believers must not blaspheme against God, faith should be spread by military means, people cannot freely convert out of their religion, non-believers are not allowed to live in geographical locations controlled by members of the dominant religion, any method is justified if it is used to implement God's will, and God prefers men to women, with women living in a subjugated role

Happy Birthday, Saudi Arabia

by Mona Eltahawy from Middle East Online

The nation of Saudi Arabia is 77 years old -- richer and more internationally prominent than ever. But there are still many rights denied to women ... When my family moved from the UK to Saudi Arabia in 1982, my mother -- a physician who like my father had just earned her Ph.D. from a British university -- said she felt she had been rendered a cripple by her inability to drive in what can only be described as gender apartheid. While wealthier women who can afford to hire drivers can circumvent the driving ban’s restriction on their mobility, no amount of money shields them from the requirement that women produce a male guardian’s permission to do the most basic things, including traveling and receiving medical care. The personal costs of speaking out have always been high. The women who staged the first public challenge to the driving ban in 1990 were denounced as whores in mosque sermons, were banned from working for two years and had their passports temporarily confiscated.

Normalizing Evil

by Phyllis Chesler from Israel Insider

Like Hitler, Amadinejad must be totally defeated and eliminated. We are only talking to ourselves, making ourselves feel "better," superior perhaps, when we "talk" to tyrants using fine words only. We are essentially delaying taking necessary action against Iran whether that action includes arresting and trying Amadinejad as a war criminal; vigorously supporting the millions of Iranians who wish to vote him and the other mullahs out of office; sending black ops into Iran over and over again to do the equivalent of what Israel did on September 6th in Syria; launching an all-out war against Iran, which, together with Saudi Arabia, comprise the largest state sponsors of terrorism in the world.

The coming three-way partition of Iraq

by Charles Krauthammer from The Kankakee Daily Journal

Iraq is being partitioned -- and, like everything else in Iraq today, it is happening from the ground up. 1. The Sunni provinces. The essence of our deal with the Anbar tribes and those in Diyala, Salahuddin and elsewhere is this: You end the insurgency and drive out al-Qaeda and we assist you in arming and policing yourselves. We'd like you to have an official relationship with the Maliki government, but we're not waiting on Baghdad. 2. The Shiite south. This week the British pulled out of Basra, retired to their air base and essentially left the southern Shiites to their own devices -- meaning domination by the Shiite militias now fighting each other for control. 3. The Kurdish north. Kurdistan has been independent in all but name for a decade and a half ... The Iraqi state may be a shell, but it is a necessary one because de jure partition into separate states would invite military intervention by the neighbors -- Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Israel Lobby's Pull Pales Next to Evil Saudi Input

by Youssef Ibrahim from The New York Sun

To be sure, maybe a handful of Saudis have dual citizenship, but a genuine lobby they do not make. But the noise made on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon, and inside the White House on behalf of the desert kingdom can be deafening ... What gives? The mighty Saudi lobby is made up of concentric circles that emanate from a Saudi Embassy in Washington that acts as a checking account. The dollars flow to Saudi-funded mosques and theological enterprises, to America's academic institutions, which are panting for Saudi dollars, to the American oil and arms industries, and to Arab-Americans in need. Whether those communities of interest have any familial, social, or immigrant ties to Saudi Arabia is totally beside the point. This is how a lobby is built from the top down.

Tension between Sunnis, Shiites emerging in USA

By Cathy Lynn Grossman from USA Today

Shiite mosques and businesses in the Detroit area were vandalized in January, and a Shiite restaurant owner said he'd received a threatening call mentioning his sect. Meanwhile, a small Sunni group known as the Islamic Thinkers Society has gone online to urge its followers to "avoid" contact with a range of Islamic studies scholars and theologians, several at U.S. colleges. Muslim Student Associations on a few campuses, such as Rutgers University and the University of Michigan at Dearborn, have disagreed so vehemently over which sect could lead prayers that students sometimes have refused to pray together ... Muslim sociologist Eboo Patel does note assimilation is happening. "The bulk of the American Muslim community is overwhelmingly young, under age 40. And they are experiencing a huge momentum toward 'big-tent Islam.' " Salim Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is a Shiite who married to a Sunni who calls himself "Sushi." Once a glib nickname for children of intermarried couples, it has become popular shorthand for Muslims who blur sectarian lines.