Friday, September 28, 2007

Charlie Rose interviews Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal

Transcript of the Charlie Rose Show from The International Herald Tribune

Q: You have said that the worst two things you can think about are, one, a nuclear Iran, and, two, an attack on Iran to prevent a nuclear Iran. Both bad options.
Saud al-Faisal: Indeed. And that is why we are at a quandary about this in the Middle East. They've promised that they are not going to build atomic weapons. We hope that it comes true ... because of the threat of conflict with atomic weapons, which is so destructive, but because of the fears that they would fall into the wrong hands, into terrorist hands.

Q: Same thing is true of Pakistan.
Saud al-Faisal: Everywhere. Remember, the original sin was in Israel and not in Pakistan. Once you turn a blind eye to proliferation, then you have let the genie out of the bottle. Everybody will -- you have created the incentive, because everybody is threatened by somebody who owns it. Because the incentive goes to whom? It is either somebody who wants to intimidate, or somebody who has a neighbor that is trying to intimidate him and wants to protect themselves.

Al-Qaeda's Forerunner

by Michael Young from Reason

Yaroslav Trofimov, journalist and author of The Siege of Mecca: "Al-Qaeda is really a global movement born out of a union between Saudi Wahhabi zeal, personified by Osama bin Laden, and the Egyptian jihadist tradition, personified by Ayman al-Zawahiri. These two currents came together in a joint operation for the first time in Mecca in 1979. Though Juhayman himself was a Saudi, the gunmen who followed him into the mosque came from dozens of countries—they even included converted African Americans. Most prominent among these foreigners were the Egyptians. They included personalities such as Mohammed Elias, a religious scholar who was one of the leaders of Egypt's Gamaat Islamiyya (Islamic Groups) and who had taught Islam to men like Zawahiri. There had been Islamic movements before, but this was the first transnational group carrying out an attack in modern times."

`Morality police' detains Ramadan fast-breakers in West Bank

from The Associated Press

New "morality police" has begun detaining Palestinians who eat or drink in public during the fasting month of Ramadan, a first in the West Bank where Muslim custom was always widely observed, but never before imposed. The 12-member squad with special red badges appears to be an attempt by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's West Bank government to challenge the claim of rival Hamas, the ruler of Gaza, to a monopoly on religious righteousness. Islamic custom demands that believers fast and refrain from self-indulgence between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan, which this year began Sept. 13. Across the Muslim world, the fast is largely observed, though in some countries compliance is voluntary and in others, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, it's strictly enforced.

Aceh deputy governor upbeat on sharia law

by Nani Afrida from The Jakarta Post

Deputy Governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Muhammad Nazar is upbeat regarding the implementation of sharia law in Aceh, denying it hindered reconstruction efforts and development in the region. "The ratio of Muslim and non-Muslim investors in Aceh is about 50:50. This underlines the fact that Aceh is open to anybody," said Nazar ... Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, chairman of the Agency of the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for Aceh and Nias (BRR), said many heads of government and donor states and international businesspeople questioned the implementation of sharia law in Aceh when the province has been unable to help solve unemployment and poverty ... Rahmad Djailani, an activist from the Aceh People's Party, said "historically, sharia law involved political bribes from the military during Aceh's period of fierce conflict." Student Riqki Salam said Aceh had implemented a politicized sharia law. "Many things have been forcefully applied in the implementation of sharia law in Aceh."

Dentist guilty over Muslim veil row

from Dentistry

Dr Omer Butt was found to have discriminated against the woman, known as Mrs A, and received an admonition following a three-day disciplinary hearing of the General Dental Council in London. The Council’s professional conduct committee ruled that Dr Butt was guilty of telling Mrs A words to the effect that, in order to receive treatment from him, she needed to wear appropriate Islamic dress, and that he had told Mrs A that if she did not wear a Muslim headscarf she would need to register with another dentist. The patient, a non-practising Muslim, said she was ‘humiliated and upset’ after the encounter at the surgery in Bury, Greater Manchester, in April 2005 ... The dentist had denied the charges, but admitted he would ask Muslim women to cover up in accordance with Islamic law before he treated them. The hearing was told the dentist later quoted Islamic Sharia law on appropriate relationships between men and women.

Muslim Women in India Seek Secular Justice

by Aditi Bhaduri from The Pakistan Christian Post

Imrana, a 28-year-old mother of five from the village of Charthawal, was raped by her father-in-law while her husband was absent in June 2005. Even though India is a secular country, Muslim leaders insist on following Sharia, or Islamic law, in such personal affairs as marriage, divorce and inheritance. It was to this system of justice that Imrana first turned. The village council--composed of five male village elders--ruled that her marriage be dissolved because Imrana had become haram (sinful). The Darul ul Uloom Madrasa, an Islamic seminary with an influence among South Asian Muslims, upheld the verdict and issued a fatwa echoing the ruling ... Since Imrana's case became public, women`s groups across the country have organized protests, demonstrations and petitions. Under pressure, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which advocates for greater rights for Muslim women, began distancing itself from the ruling of the Sharia court and the fatwa-issuing Deoband seminary.

Nigeria: I Have No Grouse With Kure

by Aideloje Ojo from Abuja (The Daily Trust)

Q: Do you have interest in implementing Sharia in the state?
Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State: We have no problem with Sharia. I told people that if anybody should be interested in Sharia , I should be the one because I am a grand son of a Sharia Judge and a son of a Sharia Judge. I went to an Arabic school ... But we must not be hypocritical. I think we should be able to look at issues as they are. There are processes. If you have not put a matter in your manifesto, I think you should be bold enough not to run it on the people. So, as far as I am concerned, there is the Sharia commission in Niger state. There is the Liquor Control Commission in Niger State and they are all working. I have not seen the problem of any body saying he has been prevented from doing his work. I have seen people write nonsense because they want to pounce on other people. But I have not seen any body who said as a Sharia person, he has gone to do his work but he was not allowed to. I have not heard of anybody caught drinking alcohol. So what is the problem? Why should I go around shouting about Sharia?

Heidrick & Struggles survey shows Middle East must do more to bridge talent gap


Saudi Arabia and Egypt rank in the bottom five of the Global Talent Index, a new 30-country survey conducted by leading executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Worse still, their position in the table is forecast to remain static over the next five years ... 7 separate measures were used to assess each country: demographics, quality of compulsory education, quality of universities and business schools, quality of the environment to nurture talent, mobility and relative openness of the labour market, trends in foreign direct investment, and propensity to attract talent. The Index shows that it is not the size of the potential talent pool that matters but how it is nurtured. With its young and rapidly growing workforce, this is an important lesson for the Middle East."