Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mosques being 'hijacked'

from Asian Image

A new report by the Policy Exchange entitled, The Hijacking of British Islam: How extremist literature is subverting Britain's mosques, says most of the extremist literature is published and distributed by agencies linked to the Saudi Arabian government. The report is the most comprehensive academic survey of its kind ever produced in the UK and is based on a year-long investigation into the availability of extremist literature in more than a hundred mosques and Islamic centres. Some of the most high-profile and prestigious mosques in Britain are among the worst offenders; in many of them, it is openly available. Pamphlets, books and leaflets obtained from mosques and Islamic centres contain an assortment of shocking statements including: "Jihad against a tyrant, oppressors, people of bid'ah Muslim innovators, or wrongdoers. This type of jihad is best done through force if possible."; "The Jews and the Christians are the enemies of the Muslim."; and "Whoever changes his religion, kill him." ... Anthony Browne, Director of Policy Exchange said, "The fact that the Saudi regime is producing extremist propaganda and targeting it at British Muslims must also be challenged by our own government."

Oil matters more than my suffering, says torture victim

by Alan Weston from The Liverpool Echo

Torture victim Les Walker last night spoke of his anger over the “red carpet treatment” being given to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on his state visit to Britain. Mr Walker claims he was tortured to make him confess to a series of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. He was sentenced to 12 years but was freed along with three other British captives after they were pardoned in August 2003 ... Mr Walker, 61, said: “I still get flashbacks and nightmares over the torture I endured in Saudi Arabia ... I have been physically and mentally unable to work since I came back and I now live off benefits.” Last year Mr Walker, along with the three other former captives, failed in their bid to sue Saudi officials. They are now bringing their case to the European Court of Human Rights, but they may have to wait at least another two years. Mr Walker added: “We shall continue to fight, as long as torture is going on.”

Our World: Laura Bush's embrace of tyranny

by Caroline Glick from The Jerusalem Post

For people around the world, the U.S. is not merely a country, or a superpower, but a symbol of human freedom. Consequently, the way that American officials behave is rarely taken at face value. Rather, their behavior is interpreted and reinterpreted by friend and foe alike. So the symbolic message from the First Lady's visit to the Persian Gulf to promote breast cancer awareness was a deeply disturbing one ... When Mrs. Bush went to Saudi Arabia she donned an abaya herself and had her picture taken with other abaya-clad women -- symbolically accepting the legitimacy of the system that subjugates women. Understanding this, conservative media outlets in the US criticized her angrily ... Sunday morning, Mrs. Bush sought to answer her critics in an interview with Fox News. Unfortunately, her remarks compounded the damage. Mrs. Bush said, "These women do not see covering as some sort of subjugation of women, this group of women that I was with. That's their culture. That's their tradition. That's a religious choice of theirs." It is true that this is their culture. And it is also their tradition. But it is not their choice.

‘We Want Rights Not Concessions’

by Khaled Almaeena from Arab News

King Abdullah said yesterday that Arabs want their legitimate rights, rather than concessions from Israel. “We don’t want concessions. We are people with rights and we demand our rights,” the king told the BBC when asked whether he expected any Israeli concessions in order to reach a Middle East peace settlement. Saudi Ambassador Prince Muhammad emphasized that the withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories was inevitable to achieve peace ... In the interview, King Abdullah also spoke about the political, social and economic reforms taking place in the Kingdom and the growing role of Saudi women in society. “Islam has given the most rights to women in the world and they are strong and important participants in our society,” he said when asked about the condition of women in Saudi Arabia. He also said the Kingdom would not deviate from its Islamic faith and solid principles while making progress in worldly affairs.

Egypt launches nuclear power programme

from AFP

The most populous Arab country now joins Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have all announced peaceful nuclear ambitions. "It's a right for all Arabs," said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a 2006 Arab summit in Riyadh. Egyptian Electriciy Minister Hassan Younes then said that Egypt wanted to build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast to the east of Alexandria at a cost 1.5 billion dollars - requiring foreign investment ... When asked on Monday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, "I don't know a lot about it. In general, we are supportive of countries pursuing civil nuclear energy. It's clean burning. It provides electricity in a clean-burning and affordable way for citizens." ... Egypt and Syria in September urged the IAEA to pass a resolution condemning Israel for possessing nuclear weapons. Cairo and other Muslim capitals see Israel as the main nuclear threat in the region, while the West views Iran as the greatest threat to peace.

Seismic shift

by Shakir Husain from The News

From my own personal experiences as an entrepreneur who meets a lot of young people who are fresh out of university, the only thing which is clear is their spark. But the educational institutions from which they graduate are failing to provide them with key “real” world skills. There are exceptions, but on the whole they are coming from a flawed primary and secondary educational system based on rote learning. This saps any critical thinking skills that a child possesses, which is hardly the basis for innovation or critical analysis in later years ... What we need are teachers and professors not huge concrete buildings and “mega” projects. If we are to roll back the increasing influence of madressahs churning out half-baked madaris with little academic knowledge, creating intelligent and free thinking young minds should be the priority of the day. This century is about science and knowledge, and Pakistan will have to overhaul its education system to be able to stay relevant.

Madrasas and Charges of ‘Terrorism’: Interview with Maulana Salman Nadwi

Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi interviewed by Yoginder Sikand from The American Muslim

[NOTE: This is a glimpse into the mind of a Muslim skeptical of the West]

There is no doubt that much of this has to do with the powerful Zionist lobby in America. Today, America is in the grasp of the pro-Zionist lobby, which controls its current administration, its politics, its economics and its media. America has consistently backed Israeli aggression and has always vetoed any UN resolutions that are critical of Israel. This, and the greed for cheap West Asian oil, accounts largely for the anti-madrasa propaganda emanating from America. To add to this is the power of the right-wing pro-Zionist Christian lobby, which dreams of the imminent arrival of Jesus Christ, who they believe will establish a global Christian empire with his capital in Jerusalem. Obviously, in the current context, the only forces that can stand up to and resist this religious aggression and these hegemonic designs of America and Israel are the Muslims. The ulema of the madrasas, who are well-versed with the history of the Muslims and of Islam, play a crucial role in shaping the mentality of the Muslim masses and to give them a certain direction. America knows that this class of people can effectively mobilize opposition to its imperialistic policies and designs, and so it is seeking to undermine them. In order to legitimize its imperialist aggression against many Muslim countries, it constantly claims that the ulema are ‘terrorists’, ‘extremists’, ‘obscurantists’, and so on. Often, these anti-Muslim forces commit certain heinous crimes through their paid agents and place the blame on the ulema or on madrasa students. This is part of their larger strategy of seeking to delegitimise the ulema so as to weaken resistance to Western and Zionist imperialism.

British resolve stronger than American Will

by R Hampton

A new report by the centre-right Policy Exchange (UK) entitled, The Hijacking of British Islam: How extremist literature is subverting Britain's mosques, says most of the extremist literature is published and distributed by agencies linked to the Saudi Arabian government. Anthony Browne, Director of Policy Exchange said, "The fact that the Saudi regime is producing extremist propaganda and targeting it at British Muslims must also be challenged by our own government."

Meanwhile Nick Griffin, the British National Party chairman, is on a U.S. speaking tour presenting a speech titled "Terror and Western Civilisation." He says the House of Saud financed the radicals and that that a free society and the radical Muslim community are incompatible.

On the other end of the spectrum, Labour leftwinger John McDonnell questioned: "Why is it that in the same breath the prime minister condemns the lack of democracy in Burma and the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe, but remains silent when it comes to the Saudi dictatorship?" And Vince Cable, acting Liberal Democrat leader, greeted the Saudi royalty with an angry demonstration by the British public. Even the BBC presented the documentary Clash of Worlds that linked India's Deobandi Muslims to Osama bin Laden, Wahhabism, and extremists from around the world.

Such pointed criticism comes as the Saudi King and his five-jet entourage are staying at Buckingham Palace to work out trade negotiations with the Prime Minister. At least the King had the good sense to tell the Wahhabi clerics back home to be on their best behavior (no ursing-cay the ews-jay).

Perhaps to deflect the heated criticism, King Abdullah asserted that his government had warned the British of the 2005 London bombings, but that his advice went unheeded. But even this tactic backfired as MI5 issued an immediate denial claiming the intel was too vague to be actionable. So it appears that our British allies have found the will to use their big brass ones - at least rhetorically - to pursue the one-half of the War on Terror left unchallenged by the current White House administration.

[NOTE: Due to an error on my part, Wednesday's stories will not be posted until 1:00pm EST]