Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some Israelis Understand

There's a blogger on Haaretz who has a very good post this week.  It's called Confessions of an Israeli anti-settler bigot.  I highly recommend reading it.  Yet another reason to hate the government and not necessarily the people.

Islam is a Religion

Alright, what are these people smoking?  The mosque in Tennessee has been overshadowed by the "Ground Zero Mosque," but it is running into problems too.  The latest incident is over whether or not Islam is actually a religion.  And opponents also claim that Muslims want to take over with Sharia law.

These people are so delusional that it's really hard to argue with them.  They will not listen to common sense or the simple facts of the situation.  They have literally been brainwashed into believing that Muslims are evil and out to take over the world and that Sharia law will magically take over America if they are not stopped.  Really, what can you say to someone like that?

Yemen fights Al-Qa'eda Update II

The governor of Shabwa province was ambushed by al-Qa'eda.  He wasn't injured, but a soldier guarding his convoy was killed.  If you remember, Shabwa province was where the big shootout was (link1, link2).

Jewish Boat Heading to Gaza: Update I

You are correct, the boat did not reach Gaza.  The Israeli navy stopped the boat and boarded it.  The Israelis claim that it was very peaceful, but the activists on the boat say that's not exactly true.  They claim some were tasered for no reason, and the elderly captain was knocked over.  Of course, since the Israelis confiscated all of the cameras, again, there is no proof of what really happened.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jewish Boat Heading to Gaza

A boat filled with Jewish activists has left Cyprus, and is on its way to Gaza (Note: Bahrain Tribune requires free registration).  Some of the activists are from Israel, and organizers expect their boat to be stopped by the Israeli navy before it reaches Gaza.  Let's hope they get a better boarding than the last flotilla.

Top Stories September 27, 2010

Lebanon Daily Star:  Political deadlock in Beirut at Tribunal row drags on - Yes, the tribunal looking into the assassination of Rafik Hariri is still controversial and causing a political split.

Haaretz (Israel):  Lieberman: Palestinians to blame for absence of peace deal - This Lieberman is the Israeli foreign minister.  According to him, the Palestinians did not do enough during the settlement moratorium.

Turkish Daily News:  Kurdish issue reaches new threshold in Turkey - There's been a "calm period" between the Turkish government and the PKK, which is about to run out. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pro-Islamic Textbooks

Alright, this really ticks me off:
The Texas State Board of Education today passed a resolution warning textbook publishers to scrub their books of "gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian" bias.
Proponents of the measure, including board members and witnesses, argued that world history textbooks spend too much space discussing Islam, and in too positive a light, when compared with Christianity. 
One of the board's most conservative members, Don McLeroy, who is serving the last months of his term, said textbook publishers have been biased in favor of Islam for years. He argued that "one of the greatest gifts to the world was medieval Christendom," citing an essay he had written in 2002 titled "The Gift of Medieval Christendom to the World."
The only gift medieval Christendom ever gave to the world was the crusades.  While Europe was going through the dark ages and trying to recuperate from barbarian invasions, the Islamic world was at the height of mathematical and scientific discovery.  It wasn't until the late middle ages that Europe finally got its act together and began achieving on its own - thanks to material they got from the Islamic world.  For hundreds of years the church held back science, and women, all in the name of God.  It's kind of hard to spin that into a positive light.

So why do I care what a bunch of Texans say?  Because that board is one of the most influential, among textbook makers.  I'm not sure if it's because of the size and population of Texas, or because they talk really loudly.  They say everything's bigger in Texas.  Even their stupidity.

Blogging License

Saudi Arabia seems intent on going backwards in the civil rights arena by requiring all online media (web sites, blogs, forums) to have an official license.  Considering their past history of arresting bloggers they don't like, this is definitely a scary prospect.  The intimidation factor alone will inhibit the number of bloggers, and those who do get a license will be even more concerned that they might get arrested.

Yemen fights Al-Qa'eda Update I

I missed this, but apparently last week al-Qa'eda in Yemen attacked a natural gas pipeline.  That's what set off the whole battle in Shabwa province, which just ended.  According to tribal chiefs, they negotiated to get the terrorists out of the town, although the military says the terrorists fled.  The Yemeni troops have been getting training from US special forces, and should be improving.

A Primer on Palestine and Israel - Update I

First of all, yes, I decided to go ahead and allow advertising on my blog.  I figure it can't really hurt, and maybe I'll even make a few cents here and there.  Also, if you go to my previous post on Palestine and Israel, you can actually see the book I was talking about, and there's a link to it on  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yemen fights Al-Qa'eda

Yemeni troops are fighting al-Qa'eda in the village of Hawta in the southern province of Shabwa.  They are trying to destroy a 120-man cell there.  I wish them good luck. Yemen is at the forefront in the fight against al-Qa'eda.  Al-Qa'eda has been trying to make Yemen its main base on the Arabian Peninsula and has been somewhat successful.

Flotilla Investigation Update III: UN Decides Against Israel

Yes, the UN group set up to investigate Israel's actions in the Flotilla Attack has decided that Israel violated international law and could be prosecuted.  The Israelis, of course, are saying that the findings are biased.  This is fairly typical of how Israel responds to anything it doesn't like.  If you're not with Israel, then you're an anti-Semite.  Forget those pesky facts, they don't matter.  Israel is the perpetual victim in any actions affecting that nation.  Even when they invade Lebanon or kill Palestinian children:  they had to do it to protect themselves.

Obama and the Middle East

There's a great guest commentary on Juan Cole's site, by Professor Ussama Makdisi.  Here's an excerpt.
The same dynamic that was at work during the failed Camp David Summit of 2000 is again evident: an Israeli leadership openly unwilling to make peace on the basis of genuine reciprocity, let alone justice or equality is meeting a Palestinian leadership utterly dependent on an American ability to pressure Israel into significant concessions, under the aegis of an American administration with the same kind of pro-Israel mentality and frame of reference that oversaw the last failed round.

Canadian Freed from Libya

A Canadian man has been stuck in Libya for a while, and is finally able to leave.  It doesn't sound like he was imprisoned, just not able to leave the country.  He was suspected of spying on a planned BP project (but from what I've seen, BP needs somebody to keep an eye on it).

More Burka Bans?

Australia is the latest country thinking of a possible burka ban.  There was a rally against it with Muslim speakers, although some of them came across as pretty conservative.  Let's hope Australia does not go the way of France.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top Stories September 20, 2010

Al Azzaman (Iraq):  Post-U.S. invasion economic policy 'complete shambles', says Iraq Central Bank official - Iraq's resources were misused which has led to economic troubles.

Haaretz (Israel):  Olmert: Bush offered to absorb 100,000 Palestinian refugees if peace deal reached - Former PM Olmert says that Bush offered to take in 100,000 refugees as US citizens if Israel reached a permanent solution with the Palestinian Authority.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey braces for political reforms, speedier EU talks after Sept. 12 vote - The vote on Sept. 12th approved constitutional changes that should help Turkey in its plans to join the EU.

Times of Oman:  Japan mulls drilling near disputed gas field -  China and Japan are disputing the ownership of gas fields in the East China Sea.  If China starts drilling there, Japan will follow suit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Primer on Palestine and Israel

Dr. Charles Smith is considered one of the best scholars on the situation between Israel and Palestine.  Check out his excellent book on the subject.

Free Ali Abdulemam

Bahrain blogger Ali Abdulemam has been detained and possibly tortured. Please visit the Free Ali website to find out who you can e-mail or tweet to help Ali.

As a blogger, and an American, I firmly believe in freedom of speech, especially on the internet. I have a great deal of respect for bloggers from countries like Saudi Arabia, who face real persecution for speaking the truth. Please keep Ali in your prayers.

Muslim Conference in NYC

American Muslims are gathering at a conference this weekend in New York City. With all the backlash against Muslims over the "Ground Zero Mosque" and increasing violence against Muslims (the defunct Qur'an burning, the arson at the mosque in Tennessee) Muslims in America are getting rather concerned. I think it's a good thing that they are getting together in a show of solidarity. In the past, new immigrants and beliefs have had a rough start in America. It's disturbing to think that that is still the case.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hubris for Hosni

You just have to love how Egypt revolves around Hosni Mubarak. Al-Ahram printed a photo of the peace talks, that showed Obama leading the other rulers down a carpet. Except that Al-Ahram Photoshopped it so that Mubarak was in the lead. Nothing like propping up an aging ruler, or currying favor with him. Maybe one day Egypt will actually have real democratic elections.

[Note: Alright, I've been a little alliterative lately. Sorry.]

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homosexuality Happens

A Saudi man is seeking asylum in America, because he is gay. He's a diplomat, and says the Saudi government recently found out and revoked his papers so that he will have to return to Saudi Arabia. He has a good case. Like mainstream Christianity, Islam does not look well upon homosexuality. And Saudi Arabia is the homeland of Islam, the country that contains the two holiest Islamic cities, and it has an extremely "fundamental" version of Islam in place (often referred to as Wahhabism). If I was a gay Saudi man, I would terrified of returning home.

French Freedom Falls

The French Senate passed the burka-banning bill. Although it's not worded that way. The people who wrote this bill went to great lengths so that the words "Muslim" and "veil" and even the word "women" are not in the bill. Of course, in the US, Congress has been known to pass bills that make air pollution worse and call it a "Clean Air Act." Do they really think people don't know what they are doing?

The French bill was designed to stop women from wearing full body coverings, specifically, Islamic ones. So they come up with a bill that doesn't mention Islam so they can claim that they are not racist or prejudiced. Apparently the French do not believe in freedom of religion.

More on the subject from Yahoo!

Monday, September 13, 2010

9/11 and Islam

There's a great post by Juan Cole about how the terrorist attacks on 9/11 are actually against Islamic law. Here are a few of his remarks:

1. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

2. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

3. In Islamic war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state.

4. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, ‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

5. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice. Sneak attacks are forbidden.

The World Trade Center had a mosque in it, which Bin Laden destroyed, and he killed dozens of innocent Muslims in the attack along with thousands of others. All of this is an abomination in Islamic law

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anti-Muslim Sentiment IV

I am happy to say that the Qur'an burning did not happen! I do want to link to a few articles here though. First, an article via Yahoo!: Fellow Americans' suspicions frustrate US Muslims. Really, how often do you have to explain that Islam is peaceful, and you are American?

Slate had a very good article about the Qur'an burning situation: We didn't start the fire. As the author says "You, your country, and your faith are being held accountable for the deeds of these people." The Islamic world holds US responsible for the Qur'an burners. Doesn't sound fair? Well how about holding THEM responsible for the actions of the 9-11 hijackers? It's the same thing.

I also enjoyed the Slate article: Nobody owns 9/11, and the World Trade Center site is not hallowed ground.

Top Stories September 13, 2010

Al-Ahram (Egypt): The price of peace - Commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Daily Star (Lebanon): Sayyed accuses Hariri of backing false STL witnesses - Hariri's father (Rafik) was assassinated several years ago, and the STL is the commission investigating it.

Haaretz (Israel): Israel official: Netanyahu to offer Palestinians partial settlement freeze - The settlement freeze that is in place ends September 30th, and the Palestinians want the freeze to continue.

Turkish Daily News: Turkey says 'yes' in referendum, hands AKP major triumph - Twenty-six constitutional amendments passed by national voting. Apparently some of these are necessary to help Turkey join the EU.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Anti-Muslim Sentiment III

The Qur'an burning may be cancelled! I'm not entirely sure. The pastor in charge said he is cancelling it, in return for the "Ground Zero Mosque" being moved. Which it isn't. So hopefully, the Qur'an burning is still cancelled. I must say, I was really moved by the number of people coming out against the burning. Even Sarah Palin was against it. Thank goodness so many people seem to understand the significance of a religious book.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Top Stories September 6, 2010

A day late, because of Labor Day.

Arabian Business: Eid Al Fitr holiday for UAE's private sector announced - Eid al Fitr holiday will be September 8 - 12th.

Haaretz (Israel): UN report: Iran has enough uranium for three nuclear devices - The IAEA report is in.

Turkish Daily News: Turkish charity pitches in to help Pakistan - The charity Support to Life is helping Pakistan. One of their workers said this disaster is worse than the tsunami.

Tehran Times: Iran to launch IFILM to entertain Arab viewers - Iran is launching a new 24-hour TV channel, dubbed into Arabic.

Anti-Muslim Sentiment in America II

By now, I'm sure you have heard about the "reverend" who wants to burn Qur'ans on September 11th. I find this really disgusting. If I suggested burning Bibles, I'd practically be lynched for being some kind of religious nut. But burning the Qur'an? I guess this should not surprise me. There are too many Americans who believe the lies being perpetrated about Islam. I don't even know what to say about it. How can you change the beliefs of people who have never read the Qur'an and are simply parroting what they have heard from their minister or on the radio or through e-mail. Why do they refuse to even learn about Islam, to learn whether or not their beliefs are true? I really do not know what to say.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Palestine and Israel

Alright, I will admit to being a bit melancholy when I wrote my last post about the peace process. I stand by my conclusions though. A friend of mine even said "Why is Obama doing this? It's an automatic fail."

I also received a link to a site I had not heard of before: Apparently they are some sort of multi-source video news site. Here's their take on the peace process:

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ground Zero Hate-Church

There is a new church being built two blocks from Ground Zero, and this is the first time I have heard of it. Why am I bothered by a church? Because the pastor at this church preaches hate. Hatred of Muslims, hatred of gays, hatred of Mormons. He has even called Obama "Hitler."

The author of this article makes a good point: The new church has a legitimate right to be built. But if the Mosque protesters are legitimate, not just anti-Muslim, they will also protest the Ground Zero Hate-Church.

Hamas and I.R.A.

A few weeks ago I made some comments about how the IRA bombings did not make everyone hate the Irish. I must be prescient. There was an op-ed in the NY Times and International Herald Tribune about that same scenario. Ali Abunimah explains how the US Middle East mediator is the former mediator for Ireland's woes, and how differently the situation has been treated by the US. The British wanted to shut out Sinn Fein, the political branch of the IRA, but the US wouldn't do that. However, in Palestine, the US has no trouble shutting out Hamas.

There will never be peace in Palestine/Israel until ALL sides agree upon it. That means everyone: the governments, the terrorists, the army, the extremists on both sides. If the Israeli religious far-right continues to insist upon "colonizing" Palestinian land with illegal settlements, even when their own government says not to, how can you expect the Palestinians to believe anything Israel says? When the US and Israel insist that the Palestinians must give up their arms before peace talks can truly take place, how can you expect them to intentionally leave themselves defenseless when Israel has a well-trained army that could strike at any time, and has in the past?

My opinion: There will never be peace in Palestine/Israel until one side is dead. And it looks like it will probably be the Palestinians who die. There will always be a group of Palestinians who want their land back and want Israel gone. There will always be Israelis who believe that biblically, the entire region belongs to the Jews. Neither of those groups will agree to a lasting peace, and if one is forced upon them, they will still continue to fight, physically, for what they believe. The United States does not understand the situation, and most Americans never will. There will never be peace.