A few day's worth...
✪ Orientalism’s Wake: The Ongoing Politics of a Polemic | Very nice collection of essays on Edward Said's "Orientalism" from a variety of supporters, critics, academics including Daniel Varisco, Robert Irwin, Roger Owen, etc.
✪ The Sources of Islamic Revolutionary Conduct | I have not read in detail this small book by a US Air Force analyst, but scanning through it I see rather odd choices. For instance there are long chapters comparing Christianity and modern secularism to the Islamist outlook, except that it's never quite clear whether the latter means the outlook of engaged Islamist activists or ordinary Muslims. There is also copious quoting from Sayyid Qutb's "Milestones" as if it was representative of all Islamic thinking. Someone should give this a detailed look (and I'd be happy to post the result.) [PDF]
✪ Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | A clean break | On Cairo's garbage collection crisis.
✪ Irving Kristol, Godfather of Conservatism, Dies - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com | Leaving behind a disastrous intellectual, social, economic and political legacy: alleged liberalism on social issues that shirks from real change, supply-side economics, and of course an imperial war doctrine.
✪ Are Morocco And Algeria Gearing Up For Arms Race? « A Moroccan About the world around him
✪ Big mouth - The National Newspaper | Bernard Heykal on how the strength of al-Qaeda is impossible. Which makes sense, at least if you try to do it from the Bin Laden tapes as all the silly pseudo-analysis of last week showed.
✪ Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website | Very much like the new look of the Muslim Brothers' English website, which I hadn't checked in a while. They have a very useful "today's news" feature that can also be used for archives by date.
✪ Al-Ahram Weekly | Economy | Depleting Egypt's reserves | A good article with details on the Egypt-Israel gas deal and why it may be a bad idea in terms of resource management, never mind political and financial sense.
✪ Al-Qaradawi's Fatwa Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English) | The alleged liberal paid by intolerant Islamists in Riyadh attacks the alleged moderate Islamist paid by Doha:
A news item reported in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper revealed that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi had issued a fatwa prohibiting Iraqis from acquiring US citizenship on the grounds that this is the nationality of an occupier nation. However this fatwa has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, and contains more political absurdity then it does religious guidance. Sheikh al-Qaradawi himself is an Egyptian who possesses Qatari nationality, which was given to him after he opposed the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. However when an Israeli office was opened in Doha, al-Qaradawi did not renounce his Qatari nationality.
| "His brother Uday told Reuters: "Thanks be to God that Muntazer has seen the light of day. I wish Bush could see our happiness. When President Bush looks back and turns the pages of his life, he will see the shoes of Muntazer al-Zaidi on every page.""
✪ BAE to axe 1,100 jobs and close site | Business | guardian.co.uk | So Tony Blair quashed the Yamama inquiry to save jobs (or so he says) but BAe still carries out layoffs?
✪ Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman slam Toronto Film Festival protest - Haaretz - Israel News| Some stars come to Israel's side in the tiff over TIFF.
✪ GDC | Economist Conferences| Economist infographic shows public debt around the world.
✪ FT.com / Middle East / Politics & Society - Investors seek to revive faded glory of Cairo | On investment in Downtown Cairo properties and plans for gentrification. Look out for another article on this soon.
✪ No concrete proof that Iran has or has had nuclear programme – UN atomic watchdog | Just a reminder that the press reports have spinned things wrongly - this comes straight from the UN: "17 September 2009 – Refuting a recent media report, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today reiterated that the body has no concrete proof that Iran has or has ever had a nuclear weapons programme."
✪ Egypt Islamic Authority Says Women Can Wear Trousers - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com | The world is going to hell -- what next, capris?
✪ BBC NEWS | Middle East | 'Many killed' in Yemen air raid | Serious turn in Yemen's trouble -- bombing a refugee camp!?
The 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza affected Egypt more than any other country. While there is a possibility that Americans or Europeans would tolerate a Palestinian consensus including loosely-worded formulas that allow Hamas to participate, it is the Egyptians who are taking a hard-line approach and pressing Hamas into an unequivocal stance. Egypt wants to minimize the chances of Hamas winning future Palestinian elections. Egypt’s delicate domestic situation cannot withstand the emergence of a successful or partly successful Muslim Brotherhood-inspired experiment anywhere in the Arab world, and certainly not on its very doorstep. The situation is all the more sensitive because Hamas is confronting the Israeli occupation, deeply unpopular with most Egyptians, which provides a tool for Egyptian Islamists to use in mobilizing the street against the government. But Cairo is aware that Hamas’ position is awkward and its choices are limited, especially with escalating resentment against some of Hamas’ policies within Gaza before, during, and after the recent war, which is pushing Hamas to adopt a more flexible attitude.Iman Baibars on Ramifications of Women’s Rights Initiatives:
While the NDP appears serious about increasing the number of women in parliament, it is not clear yet exactly which seats will be designated for women or how they will be selected. Will it be, for example, by means of an individual candidacy system, in which two women from each governorate are nominated (one a professional and another a laborer), a party list system, or some combination of the two? The quota is thus part of a larger discussion of overall reform of the oft-revised Egyptian electoral system. But in any case, it seems likely that a quota for women will be in place in time for the 2010 parliamentary elections. The question is no longer whether more women will enter parliament, but rather how this will be accomplished.Also: Intissar Fakir Western Sahara and Regional Security (IMHO overstates the security issues in the Sahel region from a US perspective, ignores political expediency of creating a "jihadist situation" in that sub-region for both local and external powers.) Josh Landis on The Nexus of Economy, Diplomacy, and Reform (I like Landis but fear he's rather too sanguine about this: "President Assad has also promised to put political liberalization back on his agenda because he no longer believes Western powers seek to destabilize Syria." Forget liberalization, Assad will never do it!)
Egyptian police announced Wedneday they had arrested more than 550 teenagers suspected of sexually harassing girls outside schools in several Cairo districts in a single day. The culprits were awaiting interrogation and trial Thursday. The police launched an extensive clampdown targeting stores and internet cafes near schools. Security forces raided six internet cafes that did not have permits, and another five that played pornographic videos for truants, according to a statement issued by the Cairo Security Department on the day of the crackdown. After many families complained about girls being targeted outside schools in several neighborhods the head of the Cairo Investigations Bureau, General Farouk Lashin, launched a campaign against sexual harassment, an interior Ministry source told AlArabiya.net. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that most of the harassers were between 16 and 18 years old. According to the source police launched an earlier campaign that resulted in the arrest of almost 300 people for harassment in Cairo streets.And I'm sure these arrests have nothing to do with the fact that Egypt has become so synonymous with sexual harassment that it's become a major topic of discussion in newspapers, the topic of travel warnings in foreign newspapers, and of course that it's reached the ears of a certain First Lady. The authorities are serious about making sure that boys behave themselves? Great. But this looks like the random arrest of the first youths that came across zealous officers, probably many of them the usual suspects who get arrested every time there's a crime in their neighborhood, and this will be a one-off action on the part of authorities that won't ever be followed through with awareness campaigns and a more consistent to preventing and punishing harassment. I hope to be proved wrong on this, but I won't be holding my breath.
CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak has played down allegations of rampant sexual harassment in her country, accusing the media, and implicitly Islamist militants, of exaggerating the reports. "Egyptian men always respect Egyptian women," the pro-government Al-Ahram newspaper on Friday quoted the wife of President Hosni Mubarak as saying in remarks aired on Thursday by Al-Arabiya television. The Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR) released a survey earlier this year showing that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women in Egypt are sexually harassed. "This gives the impression that the streets in Egypt are not safe. That is not true... The media have exaggerated," Mubarak said. "Maybe one, two or even 10 incidents occurred. Egypt is home to 80 million people. We can't talk of a phenomenon. Maybe a few scatterbrained youths are behind this crime. "And maybe some people wanted to make it seem as though the streets of Egypt are not safe so girls and women stay at home. This could be their agenda," she said in a reference to Islamist militants.Of course, in her own experience, when she goes out on the street in her motorcode surrounded by bodyguards and soldiers, no one EVER gropes her. So it must apply to all other women in Egypt.
Yet though they are allies on one level, their approaches to Islam are strikingly different, with one working outside the religion and one within. Neither one can be considered a spokeswoman for a significant Muslim constituency in the Middle East. (Indeed, their most sympathetic audiences are probably Western.) But their differences have implications for all the big issues the West grapples with in considering the Muslim world. How much popular support do terrorists have? Is a secular Middle East possible, and whatâ€™s the best way to promote it? Is Islam itself an enemy of the West?But then this conclusion:
Is there anything more puerile, more annoying, more navel-gazing, more incredibly stupid than comparisons between modern Islam and European Christianity? This is the New York Times: the best way to understand its approach to the Muslim world may be to translate it into the language of American television: a combination of the faux-earnestness of 1950s family comedy and the fixation on the travails of minor celebrities seen in contemporary reality shows. It's as if "Leave it to Beaver" and "American Idol" were being watched at the same time. [From Muslim Rebel Sisters: At Odds With Islam and Each Other - New York Times]
Clearly, this is a debate of importance not only to Muslims but to non-Muslims as well, and for a Westerner listening in, the best way to understand it may be to translate it into the language of European history. Irshad Manji sees herself as moving Islam into the 16th century; Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants to move it into the 18th. Itâ€™s as if Luther and Voltaire were living at the same time.
Hannah has a great post about a very coquette (and courageous) Shia Tikriti woman:
How on earth, I asked her, does a Shiite Tikriti living under control of the Mahdi Army get away with dressing as she does when these days even Christian women have begun to cover their hair to deflect attention?
K replied that she is simply tired of the fundamentalists who now rule Iraq, both in the government and in the streets, both Shiite and Sunni. The Mahdi Army doesn't mind if she drives, K said, but she has been warned by "concerned friends" about her exposed hair. Before the sectarian cleansing of her neighborhood, it was actually Sunni militants who were worse in their targeting of women, K said.
The threats got so numerous that one day she stopped caring. She went on about her daily routine, driving and dressing and praying as she wished, crediting only God with allowing her to survive each day.
"Remember when Zarqawi wrote that if you see a woman driving, kill her? Well, they might kill two or three to teach a lesson, but they can't kill all the women," K said casually, popping a pistachio candy in her mouth. She began to laugh triumphantly.
"And now what?" she asked. "Zarqawi is dead and I'm alive. I'm still here."
Automatically posted links for January 14th:
- Daily Kos: Bush fawns over the U.A.E. - Great takedown of Bush's appraisal of UAE as "model society"
- Total, Suez, Areva to build two nuclear plants in Abu Dhabi - The Middle East nuclear race that really matters
- Bush Nudges Mideast on Democracy - Story number 129747247 on Bush abandoning democracy talk
- Official Version of Naval Incident Starts to Unravel - Tiny Iranian boats not aggressive and posed no threat
- Pursuing happiness behind the veil - The LAT's Jeffrey Fleishman: king of the mixed metaphor
- Islamists emerge in stifled Tunisia - Returnee mujahideen spell trouble
- Kuwait set to invest as Merrill seeks $4bn - Another big Gulfie investment in top Western financial firm
- EGYPT HOLDS ARMY OFFICERS FOR 'PLOTTING ISRAEL ATTACKS' - Now, if you were an Egyptian Islamist in the army, would it be Israel that's your target?
- EGYPT: Iraqi refugee return driven by lack of money IRIN Middle East | Middle East | Egypt | EGYPT: Iraqi refugee return driven by lack of money | Early Warning Refugees/IDPs | News Item - Iraqis fleeing death find poverty in Egypt
Automatically posted links for December 19th through January 5th:
- Fashion and Faith Meet, on Foreheads of the Pious - NYT article from Dec 2007 on that bizarre Egyptian fetish, the zebibah
- Al Jazeera appelée à présenter ses excuses - Al Jazeera called on by its Algerian staff to apologize for poll about Algiers attacks
- Le Monde.fr : Le Dakar 2008 a été annulé - Paris-Dakar race cancelled for first time because of "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" threats
- Benazir Bhutto | Economist.com - A good obituary
- AFP: Egyptian woman in legal test of SMS divorce: report - Woman argues third divorce SMS makes it legal
- Guardian's Tehran correspondent expelled without explanation - Robert Tait kicked out of Iran
- Anti-Zionist author kicks off speaking tour of Lebanon - Norman Finkelstein tour
- Du Nil à la Seine, l'étrange destin des Badraouis - Unusual story about an Egyptian village that specializes in emigrating to France
- U.S. envoy Jones starts Mideast security push - New American governor of Palestine arrives
Automatically posted links for November 26th:
- Ø£ÙˆÙ„ ØµØÙ�ÙŠ Ù…Ø³ÙŠØÙŠ Ù…ØµØ±ÙŠ ÙŠØ¬Ø±ÙŠ ØÙˆØ§Ø±Ù‹Ø§ Ù…Ø¹ Ù…Ø±Ø´Ø¯ Ø§Ù„Ø¥Ø®ÙˆØ§Ù† Ø§Ù„Ù…Ø³Ù„Ù…ÙŠÙ† Ù…Ù‡Ø¯ÙŠ Ø¹Ø§ÙƒÙ� - The first interview of MB Guide Mahdi Akef by an Egyptian Christian, apparently
- Foul times ahead for Egypt's bean staple - Alarmist predictions for fuul. Actually a lot comes from China nowadays, like everything else
- Why the Arab street? Ã‚ - Rami Khouri says the Arab street has changed, is essentially a mixture of nationalism and islamism, and counts for something
- International Crisis Group - Darfur?s New Security Reality - Report says Darfur situation getting worse, blames all parties, calls for sanctions all-round
- Building barriers - Great email forward about muhagaba/munaqaba-only cafÃƒÂ© - "no Xian girls allowed"
- Ghassan Charbel on Lebanon - Al Hayat - "The Lebanese formula is by all means unique. It is a Tabbouleh plate whose ingredients have to be carefully weighed. Too much bulgur and it is an indigestion. Foreign parsley ruins its pleasure. The oil and onions have to be carefully handled, and the to
- The Alliance of Egyptian Americans - New group seeks to foster democratic change
Gender Apartheid by Mona Eltahawy NEW YORK -- Once upon a time, in a country called South Africa the color of your skin determined where you lived, what jobs you were allowed, and whether you could vote or not. Decent countries around the world fought the evil of racial apartheid by turning South Africa into a pariah state. They barred it from global events such as the Olympics. Businesses and universities boycotted South Africa, decimating its economy and adding to the isolation of the white-minority government, which finally repealed apartheid laws in 1991. Today in a country called Saudi Arabia it is gender rather than racial apartheid that is the evil but the international community watches quietly and does nothing. Saudi women cannot vote, cannot drive, cannot be treated in a hospital or travel without the written permission of a male guardian, cannot study the same things men do, and are barred from certain professions. Saudi women are denied many of the same rights that “Blacks” and “Coloreds” were denied in apartheid South Africa and yet the kingdom still belongs to the very same international community that kicked Pretoria out of its club.She rightly points out that, aside from the oil reason, Saudi Arabia has been enabled by the collapse of any alternative ideology in the Arab world, with the Saudis having bought the silence (or enthusiastic support) of most other Arab regimes. As they say, RTWT.
To understand the heinous double standards at play, look no further than the case of a 19-year-old Saudi woman who was gang-raped last year. Despite being abducted and raped by seven men, a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced her to 90 lashes because she was in a car with an unrelated man before she was abducted. Saudi Arabia’s ultra-orthodox interpretation of Islamic law preaches a strict segregation of the sexes. The young woman had the temerity to appeal -- and publicize her story in the media. And so, earlier this month, the court increased her punishment to <i>200 lashes and six months in jail</i>. Her lawyer, a prominent human rights defender, was suspended and faces a disciplinary hearing. And the actual abductors and rapists? They got between two and nine years in jail. A rape conviction in the kingdom usually carries the death penalty, but the court said it did not impose it due to the "lack of witnesses" and the "absence of confessions.” Farida Deif, a researcher at Human Rights Watch women’s rights division, who interviewed the young woman and her lawyer extensively, told me that one of the rapists had filmed the assault with his mobile phone but the judges refused to allow the clip as evidence. Compare that to the use of such mobile phone footage to convict two police officers in Egypt on November 5, on charges of torturing and sodomizing a bus driver. A few governments here and there have condemned the Saudi court’s behavior but you can be sure that Saudi Arabia will be there at the next Olympics -- even though it bars women from the national team -- and the world will continue to fete the kingdom’s representatives without a word of chastisement. Just by agreeing to attend next week’s Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Annapolis Saudi Arabia merited headline news. The easy explanation of the world’s apathy to the plight of Saudi women is that the kingdom sits on the world’s largest oil reserves. True. The more difficult explanation -- and the one that too many avoid -- is that the Saudis have succeeded in pulling a fast one on the world by claiming their religion is the reason they treat women so badly. I am a Muslim who is constantly wondering how it is that I worship the same God as the Saudis. Islam may have been born in Mecca -- in what is today Saudi Arabia -- but the warped interpretation of my religion prevalent in that country is like a perverse attempt to undo any good that Muslims believe was revealed in Prophet Mohammed’s message in 7th century Arabia. What kind of God would punish a woman for rape? That is a question that Muslims must ask of Saudi Arabia because unless it is we who challenge the determinedly anti-women teachings of Islam in Saudi Arabia, that kingdom will always get a free pass. It is easy to dismantle the Saudi clerical claim that it is Islam that justifies their outrageous treatment of girls and women. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, a place where women enjoy rights a Saudi woman could only dream of, where they recite the verses of the Quran on television for all to see and hear. In Saudi Arabia, a woman’s voice is considered sinful. Saudi Arabia’s neighbors -- Egypt, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates -- are all Muslim-majority countries: Women drive, vote, are judges, and hold ministerial portfolios. The international community must not forget the many brave Saudis such as the gang-rape victim, her lawyer, and the activists who continue to question this oppression by their government and clerics. Their courage deserves the same kind of support the world offered anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. Nor should the victims of Saudi atrocities be forgotten: In 2002, 15 schoolgirls died when officers of the morality police would not let them out of their burning school building -- and barred firefighters from saving them -- because the girls weren’t wearing the headscarve and the black cloak that all women must wear in public. How many more girls must die and women suffer rape before the international community names this gender apartheid and condemns it appropriately? Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning New York-based journalist and commentator, and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Copyright ©2007 Mona Eltahawy / Agence Global
Automatically posted links for November 22nd:
- Le Monde.fr : Le patriarche maronite libanais, Nasrallah Sfeir, politique malgrÃ© lui - What a ridiculous headline... poor Sfeir, pushed into politics!
- Women in Muslim Brotherhood ..Towards More Political Participation - MB article on growing role for women in political activism
- Report: Syria has decided not to attend Annapolis peace conference - Syria snubs Condi's party
- Ù…Ø´ Ù‡Ù†Ø¨Ø·Ù„: I will still stand up for him - Hudaiby answers Sandmonkey allegation
- "â€˜Fall of the House of Bush:â€™ Six Questions for Craig Unger" by Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine) - Unger on how neocons met Bush, etc.