The Muslim Brotherhood is the world's oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization. It is also the most controversial, condemned by both conventional opinion in the West and radical opinion in the Middle East. American commentators have called the Muslim Brothers "radical Islamists" and "a vital component of the enemy's assault force ... deeply hostile to the United States." Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for "lur[ing] thousands of young Muslim men into lines for elections ... instead of into the lines of jihad." Jihadists loathe the Muslim Brotherhood (known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) for rejecting global jihad and embracing democracy. These positions seem to make them moderates, the very thing the United States, short on allies in the Muslim world, seeks. But the Ikhwan also assails U.S. foreign policy, especially Washington's support for Israel, and questions linger about its actual commitment to the democratic process. Over the past year, we have met with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and activists from Egypt, France, Jordan, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. In long and sometimes heated discussions, we explored the Brotherhood's stance on democracy and jihad, Israel and Iraq, the United States, and what sort of society the group seeks to create. The Brotherhood is a collection of national groups with differing outlooks, and the various factions disagree about how best to advance its mission. But all reject global jihad while embracing elections and other features of democracy. There is also a current within the Brotherhood willing to engage with the United States. In the past several decades, this current -- along with the realities of practical politics -- has pushed much of the Brotherhood toward moderation.It's an important topic, it's nice to see someone looking at the moderate side of the MB transnationally. Will comment on paper regarding Egypt, as I have been working on this issue a little bit recently.
Syriaâ€”well, Damascusâ€”doesnâ€™t feel like a place ready to come apart at the seams just yet. The mess of swish new cafes and expensive clothing stores, the shiny new cars and a general air of confidence belie the rumors of fraying domestic security and an unhappy economy. Maybe the feeling is deceptive. The flash is largely restricted to Abu Roumani and Shalaan and is mostly fueled, they say, by an influx of unclean money from Lebanon and Iraq. It was raining yesterday when I went out to Jaramana, where many of the million or so Iraqi refugees have ended up. Taxies splashing through the pothole-lakes and vegetable dealers huddled unhappily on the sidewalk. A few big 4X4 taxies with Iraqi plates, piled high with plastic wrapped bags. Nobody had heard of Hajji Husseinâ€™s, which was apparently Zarqaouiâ€™s favorite kebab stop in Falluja until the Americans flattened it and itâ€™s proprietor relocated to somewhere in Damascus. Not that I spent a hell of a lot of time asking after it. Between the rain and the serious looking men in cheap leather jackets and white socks, my sense of adventure was damped. So back to the very civil pleasures of Bab Touma and Abu George. Iâ€™ve posted a few pics on my flickr site.
Egyptian authorities have made a mistake in prosecuting Soliman. It is Egypt that will be hurt if he is convicted and sent to prison. That's why sincere friends of Egypt call on the government to drop the charges against him. It is the right thing to do, and it is the best thing for Egypt's standing in the modern world.Unfortunately, Kareem is unlikely to get off without being sentenced. He will be lucky to get less than 2-3 years. We'll see tomorrow -- I hope I'm wrong.
An Egyptian policeman has been referred to a military court because he refused to guard the Israeli embassy in Cairo . Major general Adel Al Helali, a senior aid of the Interior Minister and Giza security manager, ordered policeman Mohamed Khalaf Hassan Ibrahim who is serving in the force guarding the Israeli embassy in Anas Bin Malek st. in Giza to appear before a military prosecution to investigate with him over the incident of a sit-in and hunger strike that he staged in protest at transferring him from Bab Sharq police station, Alexandria, to Giza security department, in the force entrusted with guarding the building of the Israeli embassy . The policeman filed several complaints to the presidency, calling for returning him back to his work in Alexandria because he refuses to guard the headquarters of the Israeli embassy in Cairo due to the crimes Israel is committing in the Middle East , in addition being unable to afford the expenses of traveling and living away from his family . The military prosecution jailed him for 15 days pending trial, and was sent to Um Al-Misriyeen hospital to receive treatment and artificial feeding after he insisted on maintaining the hunger strike till his demands are met .The regime is rather trigger happy on military tribunals these days...
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Right-wing Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak has said he planned to create a new political party to focus exclusively on socio-economic issues. "I intend to create a new party within one month after having examined all the bureaucratic procedures," Gaydamak told AFP. "The state of Israel is passing through a major crisis because it is being managed by some inefficient people." "As an Israeli citizen I consider this my duty," he added. "I have certain experience in political, economic and social affairs." Gaydamak, a long time ally of right-wing Likud party leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said his own polling showed he had broad support from Israel's large Russian minority and could count on between 25 and 30 percent support in a nationwide vote.The AFP story doesn't say that Gaydamak is wanted in France and under investigation in Israel.
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria has translated the Koran into the Berber language, Tamazight, for the first time, to promote Islam among a community that has long campaigned for more language and cultural rights, an official said on Monday. Religious Affairs Ministry spokesman Abdellah Tamine said the ministry had funded the printing this year of 6,000 copies of a full translation carried out by its experts. Saudi Arabia financed the printing of 5,000 copies of a partial translation last year, he said. All 11,000 copies were distributed free and the ministry planned to print more.I'm rather curious about how many Algerian or Moroccan Berbers actually read Tamazight. I must admit (and this is awkward to say as an ethnically Arab Moroccan) that I have always been rather skeptical about the need to push for Tamazight text in cultures that are already at least bilingual. Does anyone know exactly how many Tamazight readers there are? Or is it a political issue being driven by a small intellectual elite? In any case, this particular project seems quite worthy. It's a surprise it didn't happen earlier considering the many top Islamist leaders in the Maghreb who are Berbers.
doesn't this report shoot holes in all those claims made by the IDF in the aftermath of the summer's war about how this wasn't a Hizbollah victory on account of all the damage Israel did to Hizbollah's infrastructure? If Hizbollah can build itself back up to pre-war capabilities after just six months, then really, what does that say about what the IDF did and didn't accomplish in the summer's war?