Thursday, November 22, 2007

Algeria: close Al-Qaeda ring leader followers, ready to surrender

by A. Oussam and K. Sonia, translated by Hakim. A from Echorouk Online (Algeria)

According to corroborating sources, the elimination of the right- hand man of the “Islamic Maghreb Al Qaeda” ring leader, Abdelmalek Droudkel killed by Algerian security forces, reshuffled the cards inside this organization, and resulted in a severe hemorrhage of its elements ... Leaked news revealed deep dissentions appeared to daylight among close followers of the ring leader known, Abu Mousaab Abdelouaddoud, refusing any kind of dialogue and standing firm on their position meaning no to ( dialogue, reconciliation, solidarity). Experts in anti-terrorist struggle stated that these hard-liners were behind the last terror attacks that hit “Kabylia” regions recently such as the spectacular “tour de force” in the quiet town of Yakouren where a gendarmerie barracks was targeted by the barbarous hordes. The same experts added that it is quite likely that “Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb” will proceed to, a series of executions against “rebellious” elements within its organization, who expressed their will to depart from terror activities and join the reconciliation ranks. This unexpected U-Turn in this organization is essentially due to the refusal of a lot of terrorists to commit kamikaze attacks against innocent civilians following the latest “Fatwa” issued by repentant prominent figures who denounced such acts.

'I deny the allegations made against me'

by Dawn Walton from The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Sohail Qureshi, a 24-year-old University of Calgary computer-science graduate, was was held in an Afghan prison for five months this year but never charged with any terror-related crimes. In an e-mail exchange - the only way he would agree to talk - he explained the challenge of abiding by Islamic values in Calgary, "[Muslims] are ruled in their everyday lives by secular, democratic law, which is in opposition to the values of Islamic sharia." He talks about Islam as historically being "spread by the sword." He urges the removal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and other Muslim lands. He lauds the period when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. He speaks of the Western world, even some members of the Muslim world, as being "brainwashed" by the so-called war on terror ... Qureshi's father spoke to local imam Sheik Alaa Elsayed about his son's extreme religious views, including an announced intention to become a jihadist in Afghanistan. The imam, in turn, reminded the young man the Koran prohibited such actions. "I told him I had an obligation to notify the authorities, because I don't want to be an accomplice, nor did I want it to go further than this." Sohail Qureshi said the imam is spreading false interpretations of the Koran. "The reason is because he and others following his path wish to please the Christians and Jews by creating an image of Islam and Muslims which they will accept, instead of trying to please Allah by spreading the true Message of Islam."

Young Brothers in Cyberspace

by Marc Lynch from MERIP (US: Washington, DC)

One troubled, reform-minded Society of Muslim Brothers’ member claimed in an interview that reformist bloggers make up only about 15% of the youth. The rest are mostly salafis from the provinces with little interest in politics. Such salafi youth care more deeply about the expression of faith and austere personal behavior, and seem to hold much more conservative social and political views. Their relations with Coptic Christians have often been tense, especially in Alexandria and in the south, in stark distinction to the more forthcoming attitudes of the bloggers. Where the bloggers think nothing of discussing movies or music, the salafis cultivate a spartan aesthetic that radiates disdain for popular culture. And despite the urban-rural presentation of the divide by many of the blogger-activists, the retrograde cultural politics of the salafists can be seen at the universities ... The bloggers of the Muslim Brothers represent a growing intellectual and political force within the movement that could, over time, help tip it in a reformist direction. But they face considerable challenges: a leadership wary of change, a regime increasingly prone to arresting troublesome Internet activists, and a salafi counter-trend that could well take the Muslim Brothers in another direction entirely.

The Media and Youth in the Arab World

by Fouad Al-Obaid from The Kuwait Times (Kuwait)

Today, restraints are barring the youth from getting married at a young age, pushing of the average marriage age to the mid-twenties at least. Without going into details, the question that society should ask itself is; can we seriously expect that people will remain virgins till their mid-twenties? ... The evolution of the notions of boyfriend and girlfriend is a bizarre phenomenon of double standards in the region. I had a conversation with friends where it was asked? "What would you do if you discovered that your wife had a previous relationship?" The unanimously answer was divorce her, because her actions belittled the husband and tarnished his honor. But when asked, "How would you feel if you saw one of your ex's married?" Many replied it would be awkward but inconsequential because, after all, a man carries his past regardless and in no way can he be blamed when the girl accepted his advances! ... I think we need to look at things the way they are and craft a brave new world for our youth. Failing to do so will only but create a huge base of disciples who would choose a road between two extremes; join the ranks of the Salafi extremist and would work towards destruction, or become revolutionaries that will lead to a complete and utter fragmentation of our collective Arab societies where people will say what they mean and as galvanized youths will take protests to the streets.

In The Name Of Allah

from The Times of India (India)

It is impractical to expect countries which subscribe to liberal and secular values to stop doing business with Saudi Arabia. But it is imperative that they — this includes India — condemn such outrageous instances. This is not just an internal Saudi affair. The Saudi interpretation of Islam sets a retrogressive example for the rest of the Muslim world. Already, the kingdom funds madrassas and mosques globally as part of its agenda to popularise the ultraconservative Wahhabi branch of Islam. Above all, it is important that moderate Muslim voices from the Muslim as well as secular world speak out against those who hijack Islam and distort its teachings to serve their own interests. A primitive attitudes towards human rights — as evidenced in this case — is a stigma not just on Saudi Arabia but also on the entire Islamic world at large.

Azerbaijan arrests last member of radical Wahhabi group plotting attack on US embassy

from Azeri-Press Agency (Azerbaijan)

Bakhtiyar Orujov admitted attacking Lukoil filling station, plotting a terror attack on the US embassy in Azerbaijan, stealing ammunition from the military unit to release their “religious brothers”, who planned to commit terrorist actions in our country, but were neutralized by National Security Ministry and are now held in Gobustan jail of Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service. All the members of the 11-men armed group, accused of committing grave crimes were neutralized ... On October 27, secret agents carried out an operation in suburban Baku when several members were arrested and another who put up armed resistance was killed. On October 30, Bakhtiyar Orujov along with fellow members Kamran Asadov and Farid Jabbarov robbed a Lukoil filling station in Baku and fired at employees. They were later arrested on November 9 with Vugar Aliyev and Elshan Mammadov.

The anti-jihadi debate

from The Spectator (UK)

There was a riveting discussion in London yesterday evening, hosted by the Centre for Social Cohesion, between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ed Husain. Both of these courageous people have been warning the world about the dangers of Islamic extremism, but there is a crucial division between them. Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch MP who has lived in fear since speaking, violent and indistinct from poltical Islamism. Ed HusainM, who chronicled his embrace and subsequent repudiation of Islamic extremism in his book "The Islamist", believes the Islamic world can and must have a ‘renaissance’ in which it rediscovers its own religious traditions of peaceful co-existence which have been all but buried by the recent dominance of Wahabbism and other extremist interpretations ... I find Ed Husain’s arguments more persuasive. Although last night Ayaan Hirsi Ali acknowledged the distinction between Muslims and Islam and accepted that Muslims can achieve reform, the logic of her position is surely that there can be no space for Muslims like Ed Husain. But we know that there are and always have been Muslim individuals and communities who live peaceful and unthreatening lives and derive only spiritual sustenance from their faith ... It is vital that both Ed Husain and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, along with both Muslims and ex-Muslims who take their lives in their hands to fight this fearsome threat that we all face, are properly supported, promoted and protected -- and actually listened to. We have a duty towards such people no less than towards dissidents in the former Soviet Union.