Friday, December 30, 2011

Religious Radicalism Strikes Again

I have previously written about problems between ultra-Orthodox Jews and moderate Jews in Israel.  Here's a further look at what's going on.  Everything from pepper-spray attacks to throwing stones at women.

So, if I extrapolate this according to the Muslim Judging Scale, that means that all Jews are violent extremists who want to impose Torah law on the West and we must fight them and kick them out of our country.  Right?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And More Islamophobia in America

You've probably seen the news about Lowe's pulling their advertising from a reality show on TLC.  The reality show follows Muslims in Michigan as they go through their everyday lives.  Apparently that counts as "propaganda" to some wacko Christians out there.  The wackos raised a fuss and Lowe's caved in.  And they're getting a lot of backlash!  Sign the petition against Islamophobia here.

Saturday Night Live did a skit involving Jesus talking to Tim Tebow (the American football player).  That offended people like Pat Roberston who felt it was attacking Christianity.  He claimed that if Saturday Night Live had done a similar skit about Islam, there would be a huge outcry.  His co-host said there would be "bodies on the street."  I guess Christians are nice people and Muslims are violent crazies who go around killing everyone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Stories December 19, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Transport system in 6 Saudi cities set for major overhaul - The Kingdom wants to set up a good public transportation system.  Apparently they spend billions of dollars on road accidents every year.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Tensions high in Ain al-Hilweh after shooting - There have been several assassination attempts by various factions in this Palestinian refugee camp.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel court rules against evicting two East Jerusalem Palestinian families - There have been a number of cases of Palestinian families being forced out of their homes, as neighborhoods try to become more Jewish.

Turkish Daily News:  Iraqi politics crack as last US troops withdraw - Iraq is already having (more) problems.  Personally, I'm not sure if the country will survive.  It was never a country to begin with, but a group of 3 provinces.  It would not surprise me at all if the Kurds decide to leave, and the Shi'ite and Sunni sections also separate.  Let's just hope it's not too bloody.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Sorry about the dearth of postings.  I'm a little bogged down with the approaching Christmas holiday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top Stories December 12, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Iranians blame 'unplanned' UK embassy raid on rage - In case you missed it, there was an assault on the embassy, evoking memories of 1979.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Detained Syrian blogger charged with three crimes - Razzan Ghazzawi faces 3 to 15 years in prison.

Haaretz (Israel):  Obama asks Iran to return downed U.S. surveillance drone - Yes, apparently Iran does have a US drone.  We'll see where this heads next.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey shelters nearly 10,000 Somali people in Mogadishu - The Turkish Red Crescent has 1,700 tents set up and is increasing that number.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Top Stories December 5, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Kingdom denounces Israeli intransigence - The Saudis consider the Israelis "isolationist" and are concerned about the Palestine issue

Lebanon Daily Star:  Jumblatt warns Syria unrest could spark sectarian strife in Lebanon - Jumblatt leads the Progressive Socialist Party.  So far, most politicians seem to be fighting over the STL (Special Tribunal for Lebanon, re: Rafik Hariri assassination).

Haaretz (Israel):  U.S. says 'no indication' Iran shot down reconnaissance drone - Iran says it shot down the drone, US says it didn't.

Turkish Daily News:  'Israel knows what to do to normalize ties' - The United States wants Turkey and Israel to make up.  Turkey wants Israel to apologize for killing 9 Turkish activists on the Gaza Flotilla last year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reverse Honor Killing

When it comes to honor killings, usually you hear about some poor woman who has been killed for daring to date a man, or not get engaged to whomever her father chose, etc.  This is more of a reverse one.  An Indonesian man in Australia killed his mom's lover because he felt it dishonored his family.  Honestly, I am a bit surprised he didn't kill his mother.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top Stories November 28, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Shoura demands Qatif troublemakers be tried - There were riots in Qatif (eastern SA), and the Shoura Council wants action taken against whomever started them

Lebanon Daily Star:  Arab League agrees sanctions on Syria - The Arab League is trying to exert pressure on President Assad of Syria.  I'm not sure how much power he actually has.  I've heard from some people that some of the military may still be in charge.  Here's an old article on the subject.

Haaretz (Israel):  Ruling military, opposition, urge Egyptians to vote ahead of parliamentary election - Let's hope the elections are peaceful and successful.

Turkish Daily News:  Arab League joins sanctions on Syria - Turkey has already come up with its own sanctions for Syria.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Madness

If you're in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day.  It mainly involves eating lots of turkey with family and friends, and watching football on TV.  It's sort of a religious holiday, depending upon how religious your family is.  But in the latest Islamophobia, the crazies are worried about Islam taking over Thanksgiving.  Why?  Because Butterball has Halal turkeys.

Whole Butterball turkeys are being processed according to Halal methods.  Apparently some people consider this an attack upon America because they are forced to eat "stealth halal turkeys."  First of all, how come these crazies are not attacking Kosher turkeys?  Secondly, here's my favorite quote:
Across this great country, on Thanksgiving tables nationwide, infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. Turkeys that are halal certified -- who wants that, especially on a day on which we are giving thanks to G-d for our freedom?
So, you're giving thanks to God for your freedom.  Then wouldn't you WANT to eat a turkey that's been consecrated to God?

Here's more from a blogger for the Houston Chronicle.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top Stories November 21, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Hail road crash kills 14, including 12 women students - The women were students at Hail University in Hail.

Lebanon Daily Star:  11 killed in Egypt's Tahrir Square: AFP - Security forces are fighting the protesters.

Haaretz (Israel):  Jordan King to visit Ramallah, discuss Palestinian unity government with Abbas - This will be King Abdallah's first visit in 5 years.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey can be EU's growth engine: Gul - President Gul is visiting the UK Monday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Saudi Craziness

If it isn't bad enough that women have to cover their whole body in Saudi Arabia, now they may have to cover their eyes!  Apparently some women have "tempting" eyes and the religious police in Ha'il may force them to cover those eyes.

I have an idea.  Maybe the men of Ha'il should learn to control themselves.  Or if looking at a woman's eyes is enough to cause them discomfort, maybe they should wear blindfolds.  Perhaps one day the Kingdom will enter the 20th century (I've given up on the 21st).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lingerie Shops in Saudia Arabia

Apparently they do exist.  And the Kingdom has decided that only women should work or shop in those stores.  The shops will be exclusively female, and should have mostly Saudi workers in them.  This law takes effect at the beginning of 2012.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Stories November 14, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Transparency, frankness: Prince Salman's focus - Prince Salman is the new Defense Minister.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Jordan deepens Assad's isolation - King Abdullah II of Jordan has called for Assad to step down as the President of Syria.

Haaretz (Israel):  Knesset passes controversial bills amid criticism of an 'assault on Israeli democracy' - Two new bills may strengthen the Israeli right's power in the judicial system.

Turkish Daily News:  Germany: Worst days since 2nd World War - German Chancellor Merkel says that the current economic crisis is the worst time for Europe since World War II.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I've been ill and without Internet for a few days.  Should be back by Monday.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Top Stories November 7, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Salman, Sattam take the oath - The new Defense Minister is Prince Salman, and the Governor of Riyadh is Prince Sattam.  Also, the Hajj is going on.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Pilgrims stone Satan in most dangerous rite of Hajj - There are so many pilgrims that sometimes people get trampled.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel government denies cyber-attack, says malfunction brought down websites - Anonymous threatened to attack Israeli government websites in response to the stopping of the Gaza Flotilla.  The websites went down, but Israel says it was a "malfunction."  The downed sites include IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet and some government ministries.  Thank you Anonymous.

Turkish Daily News:  Parliament the key to solving Kurdish issue - Masoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (northern Iraq), had a good meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Gaza Flotilla! Update II

Israel has intercepted the two ships of the flotilla.  Some of the activists have already been deported.  According to the article
On Thursday, the Obama administration warned U.S.citizens on the boats that they may face legal action for violating Israeli and American law. The activists include Americans and citizens of eight other countries.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was renewing its warning to Americans "not to involve themselves in this activity."
The U.S., like Israel and the European Union, considers Hamas a terrorist organization. 
 Wow.  So if you're trying to right a wrong, but it's illegal, you can go to jail.  Reminds me of all the attacks that happened in the South during the Civil Rights Movement.  As for Hamas being a terrorist organization.  Yes, it's a terrorist organization.  It's also a political organization and an aid/charity organization.

I don't understand how the United States can condone all of its dealings with Yasser Arafat, the former leader of the Palestinian National Authority, leader of the PLO (terrorist organization), founder of Fatah (political organization that carried out terror attacks), but then get upset when Hamas wins a democratic election and threaten Americans with legal action for helping Palestinians.  What hypocrisy!

And why haven't I heard anything about this Gaza Flotilla on American news?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Women's News November 3, 2011

Women in Tunisia are demonstrating for women's rights.  They are concerned because an Islamist party won the election.

Apparently there are few women pictured in advertisements in Jerusalem.  A group is trying to change that by hanging up posters of volunteer women.  The group thinks that advertisers are self-censoring ads because they're worried the ultra-Orthodox Jews will complain and cause problems.

You may remember the Iranian women's soccer team had to forfeit their Olympic bid because FIFA would not let them wear headscarves.  It looks like FIFA has finally changed its mind and will now allow women to wear headscarves.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Gaza Flotilla! Update I

Another flotilla is now underway, heading towards Gaza.  The organizers kept it secret until they reached international waters, because they were worried about being stopped before they left Turkey.  Israel is tracking the ships and plans to stop them from reaching Gaza.

Democracy Now! (a US radio/TV program) has a correspondent on board one of the ships.  See photos here.

Israel vs. Iran?

Apparently Israeli PM Netanyahu and Defence Minister Barak are trying to persuade their government to make a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear program.  See Yahoo! articleIran says that would cause a lot of damage to Israel and the US.  Meanwhile, a UK report says that Israel is trying to upgrade its nuclear capability.  And The Guardian (UK) reports that the UK is getting ready to help the US in a possible military attack against Iran.

Several Haaretz bloggers are speaking out against an attack:
I'm a bit concerned about this situation.  This wouldn't be the first time Israel has bombed another country's nuclear reactor.  Israel wants to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear capability and I don't know how far they will go to ensure that.  I understand that they don't trust Iran, but the general idea behind having nuclear weapons is not to actually use them, but to use them as a deterrent.  Like the Cold War between the US and the USSR. 

Yes, there are some crazy individuals out there.  People often don't realize that Ahmadinejad is NOT the Iranian government.  But I don't think even the real Iranian government would actually nuke Israel because Israel would respond in kind.  It's called Mutually Assured Destruction, and it's why the US and USSR generally fought each other through proxy wars. 

Maybe if more countries in the Middle East had nuclear weapons, Israel would actually sit down at the negotiation table and be willing to negotiate instead of demand.  And maybe then there would be peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Palestinians Get UNESCO Membership

UNESCO, the UN cultural organization, voted to admit Palestine as a member, 107 to 14.  This was followed by the United States cutting US funding to UNESCO.  According to the BBC article:
A US law passed in the 1990s bars giving funding to any UN body that admits the Palestinians as full members before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.
My question is: then why does the US fund Israel when there is no peace deal?

Internet service and some phone service was down in Gaza and the West Bank today, thanks to hackers.

BBC News has a guide to the Palestinian membership bid.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Top Stories October 31, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Governors receive citizens' pledge of allegiance to crown prince - Prince Naif is set to become the next king.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Egypt-brokered truce falters as Israel strikes on Gaza kill 10 -  Egypt was trying to create a ceasefire, but it didn't work.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel to open Gaza crossing amid reports of new ceasefire - Haaretz is still reporting that Egypt is trying to get a ceasefire working.

Turkish Daily News:  More democracy to finish PKK: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan - "Erdo─čan says more democracy and freedom is the antidote to the terrorism problem as Davuto─člu urges neighbors to pick a side."  PKK is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Women's News October 15, 2011: Update

The Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in jail has been released.  Her sentenced was reduced to the 3 months she has already spent in prison.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Muslim Drivers Fired by Hertz

Hertz, a rental car company, suspended 34 Muslim drivers on September 30th.  It said these drivers were "abusing break times."  The drivers said they were praying, and held a protest with their union.  Hertz says the drivers are required to clock out for prayer time, and that the rule was agreed to 2 years ago; the union says that Hertz just recently started that rule, and that last year Hertz said Muslims did not have to clock out.

Last week, 8 of the drivers agreed to clock out for prayer time, and the other 26 were fired.  The union is upset and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.  It will also file a complaint of religious discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Stories October 24, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Tunisia's Ennahda wins poll - Ennahda, described as a "moderate Islamic party" has won the majority of votes in the new Tunisian elections and will have a lot of sway with the new constitution and parliament.

Lebanon Daily Star:  U.S. warns Lebanon could face serious consequences over failure to fund STL - STL is the UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the Rafik Hariri assassination.  The STL indicted 4 members of Hizbollah in June, but since Hizbollah has more power in the cabinet now, they're trying to de-fund the STL.

Haaretz (Israel):  Netanyahu offers condolences, earthquake relief in phone call with Erdogan - Relations between Turkey and Israel have been deteriorating since the Gaza Flotilla incident.  Turkey is turning down international assistance while it sees what is needed in the earthquake zone.  Netanyahu and Erdogan had not spoken since December of last year.

Turkish Daily News:  Toll rises as aid pours in for quake survivors - Almost 300 people are dead after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Van province of Turkey.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quick News Roundup

A lot of stuff has happened over the past few days:

Big earthquake in Turkey.  Magnitude 7.2  It's been a while since the last one.

The Saudi crown prince died.  So far all the kings have been the sons of Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom.  Call me crazy, but maybe they should try having a ruler who isn't over 80 years old?  Or maybe even less than 60?

Qaddafi is dead and Libya is "officially" free now.

The United States is leaving Iraq.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday October 20, 2011

Earlier this week Yemeni women held a sit-in in Sana'a, against the Yemeni foreign minister.  And the first woman has died, in the protests, prompting a lot of anger.

Shelling is going on in Aden.

There are US drones in Shabwa province, where AQAP and its affiliates are hiding out.  AQAP is vowing retaliation against the US and Yemen governments for the death of Al-Awlaki.  Three French hostages are still being held too.

President Saleh is saying he will sign the GCC proposal, on certain conditions.  He is also blaming the protestors and everyone else for "hindering political solutions."

Saleh is blaming the Islamic party al-Islah for some of Yemen's problems, and now there are conspiracy theories about them.  Who knows what the truth is?

Displace families in southern Yemen are living in schools.  As many as 100,000 people may have fled Abyan province because of fighting and AQAP.

Life in Yemen is getting more and more difficult as food prices rise and humanitarian relief falls short.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top Stories October 17, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  King arrives at hospital for surgery - King Abdullah is having more back problems.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Cabinet won't approve tribunal funding - The cabinet, with a Hizbollah majority, does not want to pay for the STL, which is investigating the Rafik Hariri assassination.  It's a big mess.

Haaretz (Israel):  Shalit family: High Court must not delay 'delicate' Israel-Hamas deal - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is being exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.  But some Israelis do not want a swap that releases Palestinians (I don't know what these prisoners have been jailed for, it may be for terrorism).  Here's the timetable of what is supposed to happen.

Turkish Daily News:  Kurdish education brings questions on employment - Artuklu University is starting Turkey's first Kurdish program.  But can you find a job afterwards?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Women's News October 15, 2011

An Iranian actress, who appeared in a movie criticizing Iran, may get a year in jail and 90 lashes.  The movie is also banned in Iran.

Nice opinion column by a female Saudi journalist, on The role of women in the Shoura Council.

Information about female genital mutilation.  Several Islamic countries have issued fatwas banning it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Iranian Plot Against Saudi Arabia: Update I

More about this confusing plot, which Iran says it is "an American-Zionist plot."  The US has put sanctions on Mahan Air (an Iranian airline that flew operatives), and wants to sanction the Central Bank of Iran.

One of my friends initially wondered if this was another US entrapment-style capture of an alleged terrorist (like too many of the "terrorist plots" have turned out to be).  According to Juan Cole, that may be what happened. 

Let the Iran-bashing ramp up, just like the Iraq-bashing did before we invaded.  After all, the US is moving troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Iranian Plot Against Saudi Arabia

Weird news yesterday about a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, and maybe even bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.  Iran is supposedly behind the plot.  Considering the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it doesn't really surprise me.  But to actually do this on US soil seems a bit bold, maybe even an act of war to some politicians.

Juan Cole has more on the situation - that the Iranians behind it may be running a drug cartel.  And the evidence he cites is convincing: if it was government sanctioned, then it was pretty sloppy work.

Of course, that brings up the topic of why is the US government claiming it's Iran if it's really a rogue agent?  Because of US friendship with the Saudis?  The Saudi's are very upset and want some kind of action taken.  So is this just another rung on the ladder of "We really need to do something about Iran?"  Will it be easier for the Israelis to possibly bomb Iranian nuclear plants after this?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top Stories October 10, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Syrian activists say at least 31 killed on Sunday - Protests and fighting are still going on across Syria.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Cassese resigns, Judge Baragwanath elected STL president - Cassese resigned for health reasons.  The STL is the UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon, that is still investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

Haaretz (Israel):  France FM: Palestinian statehood bid starting to create cracks in European unity - The European Union is having trouble reaching a unanimous decision on the Palestinian question.

Turkish Daily News:  Turk convicted of Sivas massacre had German passport, report says - The massacre happened in 1993, and this man was recently captured by Polish police.  He had managed to get political asylum in Germany, hence the German passport.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday October 6, 2011

Interesting article in The Week about how Yemen may be turning into a "Somalia."  IRIN is also reporting similar problems for Yemen.

Yemeni-Americans in the US state of Michigan are holding a solidarity rally tomorrow for a free Yemen.

Ta'iz is under attack by government forces, and 8 people were killed.

Government forces in Sana'a seem to be preparing for the next protest and shelling killed a child.

More fighting in Abyan province between the military and the AQAP-linked group.  US drones killed 5 members of either them or AQAP itself.

A Yemeni general is saying that Western nations have cut counter terrorism aid to Yemen, as the protests have progressed.

And, of course, AQAP is claiming that Al-Awlaki is alive.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Women's News October 3, 2011

Women in the eastern Turkish province of Van are committing suicide.  There have been 22 deaths so far in 2011.  Women's associations are very alarmed and worried about reports of incest.  And some of the deaths may not be suicides, but homicides.  Most of these women were only 18 or 19 years old.

Bahrain has 3 newly elected women MPs, bringing the total up to 4 out of 40 in Parliament, and 11 out of 40 in the Shura council.  This is a big step for female equality:  10% of Parliament and 27% of Shura.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saudi Arabia Craziness: Update I

Remember the Saudi woman sentenced to 10 lashes?  King Abdullah has decided to overturn that sentence.  Maybe one day women will be able to freely drive in Saudi Arabia.

Top Stories October 3, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Assad opponents unite, ask world for help - The National Council is asking for humanitarian help from the rest of the world.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Syrian opposition forms united front - The new National Council of Syrian opposition leaders announced their plans in Istanbul.

Haaretz (Israel):  Peres: Galilee mosque arson shameful for the State of Israel - I was very happy to see this article.  A mosque in Galilee was burned and Peres and Netanyahu are condemning the action.  I'm actually surprised by that.  More from Yahoo!

Turkish Daily News:  One PKK member killed in clashes in east Turkey - PKK is the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is illegal.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Al-Awlaki Dead!

Terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen.  His convoy in Al-Jawf province was targeted by drones.  So far I haven't found any articles on the Yemen news sites (and I can't connect to Twitter).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saudi Arabia Craziness

At first I was excited because the King decided to allow women to vote!  How 21st century of him.  They can even run for office.  And even join the Shura council.  Of course, this doesn't start until 2015, so there's plenty of time to backtrack on it.

So first I'm excited, then disappointed.  Because a woman has been sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip, for breaking the law - the driving law!  I guess if a woman can drive on her own, then it's harder to keep an eye on her.  And we all know that if you don't keep an eye on a woman, she'll get into all sorts of trouble (yes, this is sarcasm). 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top Stories September 26, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia): trouble loading page

Lebanon Daily Star:  Abbas rules out talks until settlements stop -  Gee, imagine that.  Abbas wants the Israelis to stop settlers from taking over Palestinian lands before they talk about peace.  It's much harder to kick them out once they're there.

Haaretz (Israel):  UN Security Council to begin informal debate on Palestinian statehood - This starts on Monday.

Turkish Daily News:  Erdogan: PKK talks over, fight to go on - That's what he said.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ground Zero Mosque Opens!

The mosque at "Ground Zero" has finally opened.  Of course, it's not only a mosque - it's a multi-religious center.  Everyone is welcome.  The current photographic exhibit is by a Jewish photographer.  Maybe now that it is open, its detractors will realize that all Muslims are not terrorists.  That the Islamic Center is actually good for the neighborhood.  We'll see.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UAE Detains Activists

Several political activists in the United Arab Emirates are being detained, after signing a petition for free elections and other changes to the UAE.  The UAE is having national elections on September 24th, and Human Rights Watch and other organizations are asking for the release of the activists before that.

Hikers Freed!

After almost two years in an Iranian prison, the two American hikers have been freed.  They were flown to Oman today, and will then continue their journey home.  Their release comes after paying bail money of $500,000 each, provided by the state of Oman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Palestinian Statehood

This week Palestinians will ask the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a state.  And everybody is freaking out.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is asking Palestinian Authority President Abbas for talks, instead of the UN bid.  But Abbas is determined to go through with the bid.  Some Israeli settlers are already protesting against any Palestinian state.  Israeli President Peres is talking to the leaders of various countries, asking them to oppose the bid, and Netanyahu is on his way to New York.

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue.  On the one hand, declaring a new state could seriously undermine any peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.  Some Israelis are worried about an "ethnic cleansing" removing Jews from a new Palestine (I guess they've forgotten about the "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians).

On the other hand, the peace process hasn't really worked so far anyway.  And maybe if there was a Palestinian state, it would be harder for Israel to continue illegally blockading parts of it.  I wonder if that is part of the problem.  Right now, Israel can claim to fight evil Palestinian terrorists who live nearby.  But if Palestine becomes a state, then Israel would be fighting another nation.  In some ways it would legitimize Palestinian attacks on Israel and delegitimize Israel "responses."  It will be interesting to see what happens this week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top Stories September 19, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Blood flows in the streets of Sanaa - Over two dozen people were killed and hundreds wounded when government forces fired on protesters in Sana'a.  And the US news still seems to be ignoring Yemen.

Lebanon Daily Star:  West races to scupper Palestine bid - The Palestinians may ask the UN to recognize Palestine this week.  The US plans to veto it and is supported by several other nations.

Haaretz (Israel):  U.S. to Netanyahu: Don't sanction Palestinians following statehood bid at UN - The US will veto the  Palestinian state bid, but is trying to keep Israel from destabilizing the situation even further.

Turkish Daily News:  Cyprus drilling rig to be blocked - Turkey and Turkish Cyprus are at odds with Greek Cyprus over drilling in the seas around Cyprus.  Let's hope this situation doesn't blow up, as Turkey is sending a warship into the area.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday September 15, 2011

The UN is worried about civil war in Yemen, as well as human rights abuses.  They should be worried.

According to the Yemen Post, Saudi Arabia is sending tanks into Yemen to help President Saleh's regime.

More fighting in Sana'a as republican guards shelled the Hassaba district, home to Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmer, a leader of the tribal confederation fighting Saleh. 

Military strikes at Arhab, outside Sana'a, killed civilians.

Protesters in Taiz were fired upon, and gassed.

There were explosions in Aden, resulting in at least one death, and another explosion in Dhamar province.

Yemeni forces freed Zinjubar and Ja'ar from AQAP control. (These were two of the cities declared Islamic emirates by AQAP militias.)  Saleh and the army general who defected (Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar) are both claiming the victory and blaming the other for supporting AQAP.

The Yemeni rights group HOOD is calling for an arms embargo against Yemen, especially for Russia to stop supplying weapons.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Islamophobia in Oklahoma

Trust Oklahoma to be near the front of this.  Last year voters in Oklahoma passed a law that would prohibit Oklahoma judges from recognizing international law, and specifically, Islamic law, in their rulings.  A lawsuit was filed against it, and a federal court is currently looking into the matter.

Here are some of the problems.  First of all, Shariah is not taking over the USA!!!  But a lot of people think it is.  Secondly, if Muslims try to make a contract or something according to Islamic law, maybe even their wills, then that could be in jeopardy.

And for Americans who think this couldn't possible affect them?  Well, what if two Jews wanted a contract that followed Jewish law?  Right now it would be legal.  But if Shariah is "banned" then what about Judaic law?  I've even heard radio advertisements for investment houses that follow biblical (Christian) law.  How can you allow some religious law, but not ALL religious law?  I know - maybe we should just go ahead and ban all religious law!  Because I don't want "those kinds of people" taking over my country.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Terrorism Paranoia

Let the paranoia begin!  Two different planes had to be escorted to their cities by military jets.  Apparently there were suspicious people in the bathrooms.  It turns out, some people have stomach problems.  So far, no terrorism.

Edit: More information about the plane escorted to Detroit.  One of the "suspicious" people was a woman with Muslim-colored skin.

Edit2: And even more info about the incident, and a little about the other planes with problems.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Top Stories September 12, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Morocco, Jordan inch closer to GCC - Morocco and Jordan want to join the GCC, and are in the Kingdom to discuss 5-year economic development plans.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Hamadeh says he believes STL to include more cases in probe - Hamadeh is an MP for the March 14 coalition.  He thinks the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would like to investigate other assassinations, possibly linked to Rafik Hariri's.

Haaretz (Israel):  Iran inaugurates first nuclear power plant, vows full UN access - Russia has been helping Iran.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey says flotilla raid was 'cause for war' - The Turkish PM says that Turkey has been very patient, considering that the flotilla was attacked in international waters last year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Great article from Wired:  How to Beat Terrorism: Refuse to Be Terrorized.

Looks like I'm not the only one saying it.  Now if the American people would just realize what's happening.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So, tomorrow is September 11th . . .

The American media seems to have decided to make this a 9-11 Weekend.  It's a little disturbing.  There are 9-11 programs on television and even a website where you can write down what you will be doing to commemorate the event.  I have to say, I find it a bit bizarre. 

Do you want to know what I will be doing to "commemorate" 9-11?  Absolutely nothing.  While I am sad for the people who died, I refuse to commemorate a terrorist attack.  I will go about my business, as usual, because otherwise, the terrorists have won.  America has gone from an open and free country to a country that fears Muslims and takes away civil liberties with the Patriot Act.  We've gone from a country with admittedly lax air security to a country that makes you take off your shoes and practically get molested to board an airplane.

Maybe I'm different from most Americans because I grew up in the Middle East.  I remember flying during the heyday of plane bombings and hijackings in Europe.  I even remember dates other than 9-11 such as February 26, 1993.  That's the date the World Trade Center was bombed, by foreign terrorists, with backing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.  But very few people died, so we don't remember that day.  I remember.  I remember because after that, I kept expecting another foreign terrorist attack.  I was surprised it didn't happen until 2001.
I have a few more dates I'd like to throw out here.  Let's start with the big one, which most Americans under the age of 50 don't remember anymore. "A day that will live in infamy," December 7, 1941.  That's when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the US entered World War II.

Or, how about April 19, 1995.  That was domestic terrorism - the Oklahoma City bombing.  But less than 200 people died and the terrorist was quickly tried and executed, so I guess we can forget about that.

How about something more recent?  August 23, 2005.  That's Hurricane Katrina.  Almost 2,000 people died.  But that was just a natural disaster, not a planned terror attack.

The Middle East Institute blog has a good post that explains some of the reasons behind the 9-11 commemorations.  I guess the major point is that America has seen terrorism as something that happens "over there."  It certainly doesn't happen on our shores.  And if it does, it's one of us who did it.  Not those foreigners.  So 9-11 was a major shock to most Americans.

Anyway, I hope this post doesn't come across as bashing the 9-11 commemorations.  I may disagree with them, but I do agree that the attacks were horrible and I feel sad for those who lost family and friends in them.  But this huge commemorative weekend just strikes me as wrong.  You can go online to see the 9/11 Memorial.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Free Press in Libya

This article is a few weeks old, but encouraging.  As rebels take over Libya, a free press is emerging there.  Let's hope is lasts.  (h/t @jessradio)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday September 8, 2011

If you read nothing else in this post, please check out Wal al-Waq's Yemen Update to see what's going.

Interesting article on media coverage of Yemen.  Are the protestors being forgotten as the US focuses on AQAP?  Journalists in Yemen are still being attackedCPJ Report 1, Report 2. RSF Report.

It looks like the GCC-sponsored plan for Yemen may be working.  I guess it's hard to rule a country when AQAP is running around undermining everything and everyone.

The French ambassador in Yemen has left, but supposedly it's only because his time was up.

More fighting in Abyan province, in which a hospital and mosque were hit.  AQAP militants took over a town in Shabwa province.  These militants appear to be calling themselves Ansar al Shariah.

Also fighting and looting in Aden.  Fighting in Taiz.

The Minister of Trade and Industry is denying reports that Yemen is running low on food supplies.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Women's News September 7, 2011

Several articles out of Jordan:

A Jordanian woman was killed by her father after she gave birth in the hospital.  He killed her because she was a widow, and therefore shouldn't have been pregnant.  Yes, honor killings still happen.

A Bangladeshi woman is accusing her boss of rape, at a garment plant in Jordan.  He is claiming that she's lying, and a company director said it's a plot to send jobs to America.

Some female Nobel Laureates are asking the president of South Africa to appoint a different chief justice of the Constitutional Court.  They say his current pick would be bad for women, citing his rulings in rape cases.

It's very disturbing to see how many parts of the world still don't see women as equals.  And I specifically mean that in regards to rape.  Even in the United States, there is a stigma attached to rape, and women who have been raped may feel like they did something wrong. 

If I am robbed and beaten up while walking home, everyone is on my side, and I can talk about it.  But if a women is raped while walking home, she may be too ashamed to mention it.  And if she does, some people will blame her for not taking better precautions or for wearing the wrong clothes.  In some countries she could even face death from an honor killing, because she had sex before marriage - even though it's rape!  At some point, men must realize that their honor is not tied to a woman's sexuality.  Maybe then women will be equal to men.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top Stories September 5, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Libya talks for loyalists' surrender collapse - These talks were to end the standoff at Bani Walid.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Hezbollah: Patience running out - Hezbollah is upset with the March 14 parties, who have been running a campaign against the government of Prime Minister Mikati.

Haaretz (Israel):  Palestinian Authority official: some 140 countries expected to vote for Palestinian statehood bid at UN - Palestinian officials have been visiting countries worldwide to get support for a state.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey sends Israeli diplomats back home - Turkey is downgrading diplomatic ties with Israel.  This is part of the Turkish response to the deaths of 9 Turks on board the ship that was headed to Gaza last year.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

American Islamic Websites

I found a few websites that I like, so here they are:

My Fellow American - This website is devoted to showing how Muslims in America are just as American as anyone else. (Facebook)

Islamophobia Today - This site is a project of Americans Against Islamophobia.  It discusses news and blog stories that have an anti-Muslim bias.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Profiling in America

Profiling in America has become a huge mess.  On the one hand, you have people who think that it should be okay to profile someone because of their race or religion.  For example: subjecting young Muslim men to more scrutiny in regards to terrorism.  On the other hand, you have people who say it's counter-productive and unconstitutional.  I stand in the middle on this subject.  It does violate the US Constitution.  But does it work?

I worked with a former police officer, who told me about staking out the airport to look for people who had outstanding warrants.  They looked for a specific type of person with certain tattoos and manner of dress.  And they picked up a lot of people who had warrants that way.  The problem comes in when you stop looking at tattoos or clothes, which can be chosen, and look at skin color or religion.  If you want to profile a gang member in some areas, it may be a young black man wearing certain colors or types of clothes.  In other areas it may be Hispanic men.  And that is considered racial profiling.  And it's illegal.  If you want to profile a terrorist, it's probably young Muslim men, with brown skin.  And that is also racial/religious profiling.

The Constitution guarantees equality for all men, but sometimes that's not how it really works out.  If you're a young black man in baggy pants, there are people who will automatically think you're in a gang or selling drugs.  Even if you're really just a student.  If you have brown skin and a name like Muhammad, there are people who think you're a terrorist or at the very least trying to impose Sharia law on Americans.

Slate has a very interesting article on the subject of profiling terrorists.  It seems as though the American Muslims most likely to lean towards terrorism are actually black.  So what does this do to the profiling situation?  In 2008 Juan Cole wrote a very good article about how profiling actually doesn't work.  He also mentions several of the supposed terror plots that were not really terror plots, but got hyped up by profiling.

So where does this leave us?  How do we reconcile our belief in civil liberties, with our need for safety and security?  Does it make sense to have actual computerized random searches at the airports, when guards end up searching 5-year-olds, or Amish women, when you're looking for Muslim terrorists?  In my mind, it doesn't.  But I don't like the alternative of just searching Muslims either.  Surely there is some kind of middle ground where we don't violate people's rights just because of their skin color or religion?  Because it's hard enough to be a Muslim in America these days. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not Islamophobia in America

I generally point out instances of Islamophobia in the United States, but this is a case where it wasn't Islamophobia.  Several Muslims were arrested at an amusement park in New York, because they wanted to go on rides, but no head scarves were allowed.  This started a big confrontation and police were called in.  Now, this is not an anti-hijab rule.  This is a rule that the amusement park passed that covers hats, scarves, head scarves, whatever is on your head.  Because on certain rides they can fly off or maybe even get caught somewhere.  Unfortunately, several of the women involved seemed to think this was about their hijab.  The newspaper covering the situation also phrased it as a "head scarf ban," further inflaming the situation.

This is a secondary problem that I haven't really talked about before.  After being discriminated against for a while, some people will start to view any kind of problem as discrimination.  For instance, if you ask someone the time and they ignore you, it's not necessarily because you have a different skin color or religion.  It could be something as simple as the person didn't hear you, or was having a really bad day.  But if you face discrimination all the time, then that is the first thing you think of.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turkish Government Returns Property

In 1936, the Turkish government issued a proclamation that ended up with the government claiming property that belonged to minority foundations in Turkey.  Now the government is returning property that was "registered as public or foundation property."  Any foundations that lost property have 12 months to apply for a return of their property.  According to the article:
Some of the property set to be returned to Armenian, Greek and Syriac foundations include schools, churches, stores, hundreds of houses, buildings and apartments, cemeteries, factories, and even nightclubs.
I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.  Addressing past wrongs will only help Turkey's future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Top Stories August 29, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Mataf expansion to accommodate 130,000 pilgrims - The Kingdom is expanding the area around the Kaaba, so that more pilgrims can walk around it during the tawaf.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Syria snubs friends' advice - Syria is at odds with the Arab League, which wants the violence to stop.

Haaretz (Israel):  Terror attack in Tel Aviv leaves seven wounded - A West Bank man stole a taxi, ran over 2 people, then stabbed 5 more.  It's being called a "terror attack," but it's unclear at this point if perhaps the Palestinian man responsible is simply a common criminal.

Turkish Daily News:  Gul: We all lost trust in the Syrian regime - The Turkish president is calling for an end to authoritarian rule.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Clamp on violence - The security forces will "deal firmly" with "saboteurs" creating fear in Bahrain.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Women's News August 25, 2011

More problems with women being forced to work in the Middle East.  See previous posts.  This time the woman was from Madagascar.  She spent 15 years as basically a slave in Lebanon, before a welfare agency tracked her down.  And for anybody out there who thinks this is a Middle Eastern problem, or a problem for "dark-skinned" people, it even happens in the United States of America (see report).

A Muslim woman is suing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.  She claims she was fired because she wouldn't take off her hijab at work.  Another Muslim woman filed a lawsuit against them in 2009, for a similar reason.

In July, several women reporters had to remove their bras for a security check, so they could meet with the Israeli prime minister.  The Foreign Press Association (FPA) denounced the incident.  The same thing happened to a pregnant Al-Jazeera reporter in January.  The FPA is concerned about sending correspondents to events where this could happen to them.  Unfortunately, that may be precisely why it is happening.  It's degrading and humiliating but if you give in to it, then they've won.  Maybe at the next press event, the reporters should ALL be women.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

YemenWatch: Wednesday August 24, 2010

AQAP is still causing problems in Yemen.  Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Abyan province, and a military camp was attacked too.  You may remember that AQAP and possibly another group took over part of Abyan and are calling it an Islamic emirate now.  The Yemeni military is fighting back, near Zinjubar.

The Yemeni PM just returned from Saudi Arabia, where he had medical treatment.  He was injured during an assassination attempt on President Saleh, when the presidential palace was bombed in June.  Also, the head of the Shura Council just died from injuries from that June bombing.  The government is now blaming the attack on two of the opposition leaders.

The Yemen Observer reports that the FBI may be re-opening 9/11 investigations to see what part Anwar Al-Awlaki played in them.  They cite a Fox News article which says that the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee is interested in Al-Awlaki.  In May of this year, Fox News reported that Al-Awlaki was a key player in 9/11.  This is interesting.  I haven't really heard anything about this, except on Fox News, which is a right-wing, conservative news source.  If I was a conspiracy nut, I'd say that someone is laying the ground work for a US invasion of Yemen.  Since I'm not a conspiracy nut, I'll just say that it makes me suspicious.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out that Al-Awlaki was involved in 9/11.  But the timing, as Yemen is disintegrating, and AQAP is going strong, and we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, is suspicious to me.

Tribesmen stopped a military shipment of Russian tanks from reaching Sana'a over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ramadan in America

You may have seen this already, but I thought it worth mentioning.  A Muslim teenager in Florida is observing Ramadan while he practices football.  And it is very hot and humid in Florida.  It would be really easy to either give up football or simply not observe Ramadan, but he's choosing to do both.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Top Stories August 22, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Libya rebels in Tripoli, Qaddafi defenses collapse - Looks like the rebels have finally gotten into Tripoli.  Here's hoping for a Free Libya!

Lebanon Daily Star:  Libyan rebels enter Tripoli, arrest Gadhafi's son - Hopefully Qaddafi is next, inshallah.

Haaretz (Israel):  Libya rebels: Two of Gadhafi's sons captured, presidential guard surrenders - Everyone is watching Libya tonight!

Turkish Daily News:  Libya rebels launch final push to oust Gadhafi - More news on Libya.

Good luck to the people of Libya, and to their future.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Hello everyone.  I'm still here, just incredibly busy.  I've barely been keeping up with Monday Top Stories (and obviously missed this week).  I'm taking a break now, before school starts at the end of August, but I should be back then.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Top Stories July 25, 2011

ArabNew (Saudi Arabia):  King orders best service for pilgrims in Ramadan - Government will be operating at its best for the pilgrimage.  Also other news about food aid to Somalia, etc.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Sleiman endorses civil personal status laws - Sleiman wants to legalize civil marriages, as well as issues on adoption and inheritance.

Haaretz (Israel):  Some 200 housing protestors block road opposite Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem - Looks like everybody is upset in Israel over housing prices, etc.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkish court sentences Dink murderer to over 22 years in prison - Hrant Dink was a journalist assassinated in 2007.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top Stories July 18, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Government forces try to retake Yemeni city - They're trying to retake Zinjibar, which is the capital of Abyan province.  The government lost the city in May.  Over 50,000 people have fled the region because of fighting.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Sleiman seeks Lebanese reconciliation - The president of Lebanon wants a national dialogue.

Haaretz (Israel):  Erekat: PA planning 'massive' diplomatic push for recognition - The push has started, with officials visiting nations all over the world.

Turkish Daily News:  US supports Turkey while urging reforms -  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited, and discussed freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Islamophobia in America

Most of you probably haven't heard of Herman Cain.  He's a republican, and a black man, who is running for President of the USA.  And the more I find out about him, the less I like him.  Now he's saying that communities in the US should be able to ban mosques if they want to.  He claims it's because Islam is not just a religion, but a set of laws as well.  Although, so is Christianity and Judaism.  He claims it's different in Christianity.  However, since there are Orthodox Jews in this country, would he be alright with communities banning synagogues?  Or is that different too?  Is it only Islam that qualifies?  What about Pentecostal Christians?  They have different rules they follow too, like women wearing skirts and not cutting their hair.  Does that qualify for banning?  Who gets to decide what gets banned?

This kind of bullshit really ticks me off.  Yes, there are terrorists out there.  Yes, some of them are Muslim.  Banning mosques gives the terrorists even more fodder - "Look at the Americans - they hate Islam, they ban mosques, yadda yadda yadda." 

If we're going to ban mosques because some Muslims are terrorists, then why don't we allow communities to ban churches, because some Christians are terrorists?  There are extreme Christians who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors who perform abortions.  Or is that not true Christianity?  The same way terrorism is not true Islam.

There's a reason we have Freedom of Religion in America.  That way no one gets to choose who to ban.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turkey Helps Kids Stay Healthy

I'm in the United States, and sometimes I watch a show called Food Revolution (by Jamie Oliver).  He's a British chef who is trying to improve children's lunch menus at schools.  He's already done that in the UK, and now he's trying it in the US.  People from outside of the US probably won't believe what often passes for food in school cafeterias here!

Anyway, the Turkish government wants to stop childhood obesity, so they are making it illegal to sell sodas, fast food, and potato chips at schools.  They'll sell yogurt instead.  They also have new menus.  I think that's great!

Top Stories July 11, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Unholy price rise before holy month hits consumers hard - Consumers in Jeddah are complaining that prices have risen 20 to 30% and that it happens every year around this time (before Ramadan).

Lebanon Daily Star:  Lebanon to fight Israel at U.N. - This has to do with offshore oil rights for both countries.  They have both submitted plans to the UN.

Haaretz (Israel):  Katsav's private investigators suspected of harassing witnesses in his rape trial - This former president was convicted of rape and sexual assault in December.

Turkish Daily News:  Former head of Turkey's TV watchdog arrested - He and several TV executives are accused of embezzling money from a German charity and using it to buy a TV station.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anti-Muslim Law in Australia

Anti-Muslim prejudice is on the move again, this time to Australia.  The state of New South Wales wants to pass a law requiring a Muslim woman to show her face to police, when requested.  If she doesn't, there's a $5,500 fine (AUD) and a year in jail.

Great.  So much for religious freedom in Australia.  This is the same old tune that other countries have used:  "it's for security" or "it's because women are forced to wear a veil."  There are very few woman in Australia who wear a niqab or other face covering, and while some of those may be forced, it wouldn't surprise me if most of them were not.  And if you are wearing a niqab for religious reasons, then showing your face to some random policeman is going to be very distressing.  To use an analogy, how would you feel if a policeman pulled your wife over for speeding, then asked her to take off her blouse.  I know some of you think that's a bad analogy (it has some faults) but for some Muslim women I've met, the idea of letting a man see their face is about on par with that.  And who are we to force them to act differently?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Stories July 4, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Turkey recognizes Libya rebels, promises more aid - Turkey has recognized the rebels and wants to help them.

Lebanon Daily Star:  March 14 to Mikati: Commit to STL or go - The STL is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN council investigating Rafik Hariri's assassination.  March 14 is the opposition members of parliament now, since Mikati became PM with Hizbollah's majority.

Haaretz (Israel):  Saboteurs blow up Egypt gas pipeline to Israel - Israel gets most of its natural gas from this pipeline, which runs through the Sinai Peninsula.

Turkish Daily News:  US Senators deliver message to PM Erdogan: 'Turkey can convince Hamas to reconcile' - The senators hope that Turkey can get Hamas to join peace talks with the Israelis.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) - Probe Vow - An "independent fact-finding mission" is supposed to investigate the protests and unrest that occurred earlier this year.  The commission was appointed by the king, and the PM wants everyone to cooperate.  The National Dialogue started on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Women's News June 24, 2011 - UPDATE

The American Muslim woman weightlifter who wanted to compete in hijab has won her appeal.  The International Weighlifting Federation decided than she can compete in hijab and full unitard.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Gaza Flotilla!

A flotilla has been preparing in Greece for a trip to Gaza.  Israel, of course, is trying to stop it.  The latest news is that some of the ships have been sabotaged.

Check out this quote:

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said yesterday the flotilla was reinforcing the fiction that there was hunger in the Strip, while in fact this was not the case. "The flotilla we're supposed to meet is creating a story that doesn't exist to maintain an actual story," Gantz said. "Anyone reading the papers will see that, at the end of the day, the situation reflected in Gaza is that of water parks and the beach, and the distance between that and a humanitarian problem is so great there isn't any connection."

Apparently the UK disagrees with that, although they don't recommend a flotilla.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Top Stories June 27, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Intl court orders arrest of Qaddafi, son, key aide - The ICC is finally after Qaddafi.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Dissidents openly call for democracy at Damascus meeting - Syrian dissidents held a public meeting for democracy.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel detains Palestinian terror cell suspected of planning attacks in Jerusalem - A group belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was arrested.  They were planning some attacks in Jerusalem and were going to kidnap a soldier.

Turkish Daily News:  International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Gadhafi - More info on the ICC's decision.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Women's News June 24, 2011

I've posted before about the plight of Asian workers in the Middle East (and elsewhere) who are mistreated.  You may remember that Saudi Arabia has really had some problems with mistreating house maids.  Well, now they've executed a house maid from Indonesia, who killed her abusive employer.  Indonesia is livid and recalled their ambassador, because they were not informed, and have decided not to allow any more workers to go to Saudi Arabia.  The suspension starts August 1st.  There are currently 28 Indonesians on death row in Saudi Arabia.

The Women2Drive campaign is under way in Saudi Arabia.  Women are driving and posting photos of it online.  You can support them at their Facebook page.

The first woman priest in the Middle East was ordained in Bahrain this month.  She's an Anglican who used to work in Yemen, but is currently posted in Dubai.  Apparently Bahrain is the "cathedral of the Gulf," which is why the ceremony was there.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top Stories June 20, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Syrian president blames crisis on 'saboteurs' - President Assad gave a speech warning about "no reform through vandalism."

Lebanon Daily Star:  Assad outlines roadmap to Syria reform - There may be elections in August.

Haaretz (Israel):  Assad promises elections, complete reform package in Syria within months - Yes, more on the Assad speech.

Turkish Daily News:  Assad announces 'national dialogue' in Syria - And it's officially an all-Assad news day!  Protesters are using "illegal means" for their demands.  Assad offered condolences for the deaths that have occurred.  I guess these deaths were spontaneous and not caused by his army.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Women's News June 14, 2011

Quite a bit has been happening lately.

Bahraini woman Ayat al-Qurmezi has been sentenced to jail time for writing and reading poetry that "incited hatred against the regime."

A Kuwaiti woman who burned down her husband's wedding tent when he tried to marry a second wife, which killed 57 women and children, has been sentenced to death.  

A Pakistani-American who became a weight-lifter is trying to get permission to compete in the hijab.  Weight-lifters usually wear form-fitting clothing, but she can't, for religious reasons.

In a previous post I discussed how Muslim women are trying to compete in beauty pageants and I mentioned Miss Turkey and a woman who hopes to be Miss UK.  I just wanted to point out that the current Miss USA is a Muslim woman originally from Lebanon.

Women's News May 23, 2011 - UPDATE

One of the articles I linked to was about a lesbian woman from Syria and her blog, called A Gay Girl in Damascus.  As is often the way of the Internet, it's a fake.  The real blogger is 40, American, male, and lives in Scotland.  Personally, I'm really let down by this.  The man claims he was trying to raise awareness for the Middle East, but in the process he's hurt the LGBT community.  Now the next homosexual Middle East blogger will be treated with much more suspicion and people will wonder if it's really that bad over there.

Top Stories June 13, 2011

Arab News (Saudi Arabia): As Libya burns, Qaddafi plays chess - with the head of the World Chess Federation, who is Russian.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Mikati forms 30-member Lebanon Cabinet -  The majority is held by the March 8 coalition, fronted by Hizbollah.

Haaretz (Israel):  Father of alleged Israeli spy in Egypt says son entered country legally - The 28-year-old man is a student at Emory University in the US, studying law.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkish PM Erdogan rolls up sleeves for new term - In elections yesterday, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) won a majority of votes.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Dialogue Roadmap - A "multi-party national dialogue" is supposed to start on July 1st.  Very little news on the protest that took place over the weekend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top Stories June 6, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  We are laboratory of knowledge, not gas station of world: Alireza - The Commerce and Industry Minister doesn't want the Kingdom to simply be a gas station.  He was at a meeting of the Saudi-British Joint Business Council.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Israeli Carnage in Golan Heights - Pro-Palestinian protesters from Syria tried to cross the border and were stopped by Israel.  Israel blames Syria, while Syria says it was not responsible.

Haaretz (Israel):  IDF: Only a few live bullets fired during Naksa Day protest on Syria border - Syria says 23 protesters were killed.  The IDF says Molotov cocktails from the protesters set off a mine.

Turkish Daily News:  Bootlegged alcohol claims fourth victim - A fourth Russian tourist has died after drinking bootlegged alcohol.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saleh in Saudi

President Saleh of Yemen was injured yesterday, and is now in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) for treatment.  Some of his relatives went with him, which is causing rumors that maybe he won't be going back.

The Yemen Post website appears to be suspended, and many of the other news sites haven't updated in a few days.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yemen Fighting Still

Yemen is really disintegrating.  Things were a bit on edge before the "Arab Spring" started, and now it seems to be civil war between Saleh's tribe/clan and the Al-Ahmer clan (Hashid confederation).  There's fighting in Sana'a (which briefly shut down the airport) and in Ta'iz.  Apparently the military is using tanks and cannon in Sana'a, trying to take back government offices taken by the Al-Ahmer group.

And, of course, all the "infighting" helps AQAP.  They just took the seaport of Maqateen, in Shoqra city, Abyan province.  Parts of Abyan have been taken over by Islamists, and a city in Shabwa province was declared an "Islamic emirate."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Top Stories May 30, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Yemeni troops fire on protesters, kill at least 20 - Government forces attacked a protest camp with tanks and bulldozers.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Sleiman orders Justice Ministry to take legal action against Rifi - Sleiman is the president, Rifi is chief of the Internal Security Forces.  The issue at hand involves the Telecom Minister, who was barred from one of his own buildings.  I'm not sure of the political background to this.

Haaretz (Israel):  Turkey FM: We can't stop upcoming aid flotilla to Gaza - According to the foreign minister "Democratic governments cannot stop their citizens launching another aid flotilla to Gaza."  It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey's 1980 coup leaders called to testify - Turkey passed a constitutional amendment last year so that they can prosecute the coup leaders.  Huge numbers of people were arrested during the coup and many more fled Turkey as well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday May 26, 2011 (in brief)

BBC News has a good overview about the problems Yemen is facing.  And the US is pulling most of its diplomats from Yemen.

And of course, more fighting means more deaths, many of them in Sana'a, leading many to wonder if this is basically turning into a civil war now.

President Saleh is trying to arrest Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmer of the Hashid tribe, who are opposing him.

The Yemeni government attacked and shut down the Suhail TV channel, owned by al-Ahmer's brother, last night.  They also attacked al-Sahwa newspaper, owned by the Islah party.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yemen Fighting

Yemen is still in limbo.  President Saleh is refusing to step down, and his supporters trapped some foreign ambassadors at an embassy in Sana'a.  That set off fighting with anti-Saleh forces, and it's a real mess right now.  I'll try to have a real YemenWatch update soon.