Is Erdogan rewriting history?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently come under fire for statements he made on the role of Muslims in history that have been widely construed as blatant – even clumsy – revisionism. On November 15, at a conference with Latin American politicians and scholars, Erdogan claimed that “Muslim seafarers” had discovered the Americas three centuries before Italian explorer Christopher Columbus had done.

He added: “Columbus recalls seeing a mosque at the top of a hill [on] the shores of Cuba in his memoirs… A mosque will be fitting for that hill today. All we need is permission. Islam had developed and spread on the continent even before Columbus arrived.”

Erdogan has always enjoyed challenging common narratives. In doing so, he appeals to Muslim public opinion both domestically and internationally. Despite recent setbacks, he still believes that he represents the Muslim world. In Turkey, his remarks were widely discussed in the pro-Erdogan media where some overzealous journalists even tried to substantiate his claims. Aksam newspaper, for instance, went further by detailing “evidence” of the presence of Islam in the Americas well before Columbus. As for the average man on the street, he certainly relished the idea of a Muslim at the forefront of American history – as revised by Erdogan.    

Stands by his claim

A few days later, following a flood of sarcastic commentaries in media outlets across the globe, Erdogan – rather than retract, spin or clarify his bizarre assertion – insisted he was right.

I told them that Muslims discovered the American continent 300 years before Columbus. This is no new assumption; it was mentioned in the books of [Turkish] professor Fuat Sezgin who lives in Germany, as well as in other academic works. As for the proofs, several scientists have already produced them. And something interesting happened: Before the foreigners, our own youngsters have started to challenge this fact. Even grownups: We have columnists writing, cartoonists drawing against [this assertion]. Why? Because they don’t believe a Muslim can achieve such a deed… This is lack of self-confidence,” he told journalists, adding that he instructed the Ministry of Education to revise history textbooks accordingly.

And with these words, Erdogan defied the critics and satirists, and stood by his assertion that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century.

What a conversion for a politician who, in 2005, was the initiator, together with then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, of the so-called Alliance of Civilisations as an interfaith initiative to counter Samuel Huntington’s theory on the “Clash of Civilisations” in the post-September 11 era. At the time, relations between Muslims and Christians – as well as Jews – were tense. Erdogan was the thriving prime minister of a Turkey that was touted as the model of nascent “Muslim democracy”. He was negotiating with the European Union for full membership.

What country other than Turkey could have been the architect of such an initiative? The project was later adopted by the United Nations as a UN initiative called the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC). Within this framework, Erdogan and Zapatero co-sponsored several meetings around the world putting the emphasis on a common understanding between Islam and other religions on both humanitarian and social matters. Intercultural dialogue was the catchphrase of the hour.

Muslim proselytiser

Let’s fast forward to today: Erdogan is now president, but he appears to act more like a Muslim proselytiser, proposing to build mosques wherever he goes, boasting about achievements by Muslims in our day and in the past and adopting a style with patent religious undertones. As he puts it, he has become a kind of “missionary” of the Muslim world, constantly instilling confidence, but often at the expense of the facts and of the other faiths: “Our duty is to inform about the Almighty until our last dying breath and invite people to the path of Allah.”

This shift in Erdogan’s policy (and behaviour) has already been noticed by the successors of Zapatero, who left power in 2011, a date which also corresponds to the beginning of Erdogan’s openly authoritarian way of ruling domestically. The successor government in Spain has put on hold its participation in the UNAOC, while the project continues under UN auspices but with less and less impact, especially given the recent chaos and bloodshed in the Middle East.

With Erdogan’s recent shenanigans, international public opinion received a confirmation of this shift as extensively reported by Spanish media along with other media outlets in Europe and the Americas. It is highly significant that a respected Spanish newspaper like El Pais has bluntly challenged his views by writing that Erdogan was a leader cut off from reality and recalling his recommendations to the Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen during a visit there on the need for Finnish families to have at least three children as he recommends the Turks.

The Washington Post also challenges Erdogan’s interpretation of history: “Most scholars insist the ‘mosque’ mentioned was a metaphorical allusion to a striking land feature. There have been no archaeological discoveries of Islamic structures pre-dating Columbus’ arrival in the New World.”

Rewriting history according to one’s own religious beliefs, no matter the new narrative, is a highly controversial and perilous enterprise, particularly when the very politician is already under suspicion for his sectarian policies at home and abroad. Erdogan would have done better to recall the anti-Islamic zeal of Spanish conquerors of America when they considered the indigenous people on par with the Moors that they chased out during the Reconquista in Spain. 

Cengiz Aktar is Senior Scholar at Istanbul Policy Center. As a former director at the United Nations where he spent 22 years of his professional life, Aktar is one of the leading advocates of Turkey’s integration into the EU.

Article source: https://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/erdogan-rewriting-history-104132154.html

Muslim Prayer in Schools: CAIR’s Push Sends Twitter Into Tizzy

When various news reports began surfacing in June 2013 of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) making statements of public school policies concerning Muslim prayer in schools, users on social media were abuzz with commentary.

CAIR, a lobbying organization that describes itself as presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public, has, at times, drawn scrutiny and criticism because of perceived extreme views.

ALERT: Should Prayer Be Allowed in Public Schools? Vote Now

When officials in the Roseville School District in metro Detroit adopted a policy that empowered teachers to hand out permission slips for Bible classes at a local Baptist church, CAIR jumped into the fray and issued a news release, decrying the decision, according to EAGnews.org.

In a letter sent to Roseville district leaders, CAIR Executive Director Dawus Walid wrote, “School staff and teachers are not to serve as advocates for one particular religion or congregation within a religion by passing out slips, inviting parents to give permission for their children to attend religious instruction.”

EAG News cited another action taken around the same time period by CAIR organizers. In Dearborn, another Detroit suburb near Roseville, CAIR worked with Dearborn district leaders to make accommodations for Muslim prayers in its schools.

Dearborn officials have reportedly adopted a policy that allows for student-led Muslim prayers in all schools and gives accommodations for students to leave early on Fridays for a special prayer service. About 40,000 of Dearborn’s 96,000 residents are of Arab descent.

“So Muslims can conduct religious activities within a public school, but Christians can’t go off-site to receive voluntary Bible lessons?” Trevor Tenbrink, website administrator of EAG, wrote in a brief commentary. “What’s wrong with this picture? Is political correctness accommodating such hypocrisy?”

Twitter users quickly took to the platform to opine on the report of EAG and similar outlets.

“Don’t read this, unless you want to see your head explode,” one poster wrote, linking to the EAG article. 

Another user tweeted, “CAIR Demands #Muslim prayer in schools, but attacks optional Bible lesson? Disgusting!!”

VOTE NOW: Do You Support Prayer in Public Schools?

Related Stories:

Article source: http://www.newsmax.com/fastfeatures/muslim-prayer-schools-cair/2014/11/24/id/609285/

Can Jews and Muslims get along? 60 imams and rabbis meet in Washington to try

Frustrated by dangerously high tensions between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land, 60 imams and rabbis gathered Sunday to hatch concrete plans to bridge the gulf between their communities, minus the kumbaya.

The “2014 Summit of Washington Area Imams and Rabbis,” its organizers hope, will be the first of many such gatherings of Jewish and Muslim clergy in cities across the U.S.

After prayers and a kosher-halal lunch at a Washington synagogue, the clergy resolved to limit the feel-good dialogue and spent the afternoon trading ideas both tried and novel. Among them: joint projects to feed the homeless, basketball games between Muslim and Jewish teens, Judaism 101 courses for Muslims and Islam 101 for Jews.

“Host a Seder in a mosque and hold an iftar dinner at a synagogue,” suggested Rizwan Jaka, who chairs the board at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia.

They threw out tough questions: “Do you invite people in your community who are particularly closed-minded to participate in interfaith dialogue?” asked Dan Spiro, co-founder of the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society. “Something to think about.”

And when Jews and Muslims meet, several imams and rabbis advised, do not sidestep the focal point of their mutual pain: the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Rage over the ability of both faiths to worship at Temple Mount — a site holy to Muslims and Jews, has heightened tensions with the violence culminating last week in a Palestinian attack on Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue that killed four worshippers and a Druze police officer.

“Discuss things from a spiritual narrative as opposed to a political narrative,” suggested Imam Sultan Abdullah of the New Africa Islamic Community Center in Washington, D.C.

Along spiritual lines, both Jews and Muslims believe they are descended from the sons of Abraham — Jews from Isaac and Muslims from Ishmael — a point both rabbis and imams repeated. In practice, they noted, similarities between the faiths abound. Both face toward the Middle East at prayer, for example, and share similar dietary laws.

“In my view we are the closest two religions in the world,” said Rabbi Gerry Serotta, executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, who sees healing between Muslims and Jews as a blessing that will resonate.

“There is something about a Jewish-Muslim rapprochement that is very important for the rest of the world,” Serotta said. “The perception is that Jews and Muslims are irreconcilable, and when people see that we’re not, it gives them hope.”

The event was sponsored by the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and Washington Hebrew Congregation, the synagogue where the meeting was held.

Article source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865616318/Can-Jews-and-Muslims-get-along-60-imams-and-rabbis-meet-in-Washington-to-try.html

Rights group boosts fund-raising after helping Muslim beating victim

— The images were horrifying, sparking international outcry — Israeli police stomping, punching and kicking a 15-year-old Tampa boy as he lay on a Jerusalem street.

Now, the ordeal of Tariq Khdeir appears to have sparked interest in protecting civil rights. The Council on American-Islamic Relations-Florida, the group that came to Khdeir’s aid in July and arranged his release from jail and return to Tampa, reported this week that it had raised more than a half-million dollars through a pair of banquets in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale this month.

“I think it sends a very clear message that the Florida community strongly believes in investing to protect civil rights and is interested in tolerance, respect and understanding at a time when many people in the world are working to promote division and disunity,” said Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of CAIR-Florida.

The banquets, held Nov. 15 in Fort Lauderdale and Saturday in Tampa, netted $575,000 in cash, pledges and stock. Shibly called to total a “historic milestone” for the group. Khdeir spoke at the Tampa banquet and is featured prominently in CAIR-Florida’s 2014 annual video.

“The most effective way of fund-raising is not asking for money, it is giving service to the community,” Shibly said. “When the community saw the tremendous impact we were able to have on someone whose civil rights were violated, that translated into donations.”

The proceeds from the banquets alone exceeded the $440,000 CAIR-Florida raised in all of 2013.

Khdeir, a sophomore at Universal Academy of Florida in Tampa, was in Israel visiting family this summer when his cousin was kidnapped and slain. He was arrested during a protest before the cousin’s funeral.

When footage of the beating and photos of Khdeir’s severely battered face circulated, his parents turned to CAIR-Florida. The group contacted government officials in Israel and at the White House, eventually securing his release and safe return to Tampa. He was met by family members, supporters and a horde of national media at Tampa International Airport.

The incident may have been CAIR-Florida’s most high-profile case, but it is among many situations it addresses on civil rights, immigration, and educational initiatives to promote understanding and mutual respect. The group has helped more than 630 individuals this year on a range of issues, from persuading the Hillsborough County School Board to close-caption broadcasts of its meetings for the benefit of the hearing-impaired to representing a student barred from participating in trampoline exercises because she wore a traditional hijab.

This year, CAIR’s Tampa and South Florida offices were united as a statewide organization and new office space was secured in Tampa. The group intends to open an Orlando office and have 15 full-time staff members by the end of the year.

jstockfisch@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7834

Article source: http://tbo.com/news/politics/rights-group-boosts-fund-raising-after-helping-muslim-beating-victim-20141124/

Microsoft certifies five-year-old Muslim kid as expert

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Taroudant – Microsoft, the American multinational corporation, has certified a five-year-old Muslim kid as an expert.

Ayan Qureshi has become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), after passing successfully through “rigorous, industry-proven and industry-recognised exams.”

The little kid has scored 700 points out of 1000, enough to enable him to win the IT certification.

Quoted by Ajib, Ayan Qureshi said that the exam was “difficult but manageable.”

Ayan was first introduced to the computer at the age of three by his father, an IT man.

“He sat next to me and looked at me very carefully,” said his father.

Ayan told the Independent of his interests other than computer science.

“I like compasses and telescopes, but what I love most is the prisms.”

By passing the (MCP) exam, the little Muslim kid becomes the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world.

According to Microsoft, when someone passes the first qualifying MCP exam, which “cover a wide range of Microsoft products, technologies, and solutions,” s/he “automatically becomes a Microsoft Certified Professional and gain access to MCP benefits.”


Comment!

Join the Conversation. What do you think?

Article source: http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/11/145027/microsoft-certifies-five-year-old-muslim-kid-as-expert/

Jennifer Lopez tones down her sexy outfits and suggestive dance moves for …

Jennifer Lopez performed in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, on Friday. JEFTA/AFP/Getty Images Jennifer Lopez performed in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, on Friday.

 

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Jennifer Lopez wowed thousands of fans in Indonesia, but they didn’t see as much of her as concertgoers in other countries – the American pop star toned down both her sexy outfits and her dance moves during her show in the world’s most populous Muslim country, promoters said Saturday.

Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/lo-tones-sex-appeal-indonesia-concert-article-1.1211884

My Turn: Islam is perfect, Muslims are not

Last week Robert Lancaster saw fit to write a hate-filled and heavily opinionated scathing review of his perception of Islam. Unfortunately Mr. Lancaster’s grievances were either completely false, misrepresentations of fact or were grievances with the actions of Muslims which are already prohibited by Islam.

Robert starts out his opinion with the thesis that “Islam is not a religion of peace but one of tragedy, bitterness, envy, evil and hate” then goes on to say “Keep in mind I said this about Islam and not Muslims.” This is an inherent logical fallacy since a Muslim is exclusively someone who practices Islam. Therefore, if you make a sweeping statement about Islam then you are, by proxy, making that statement apply to all Muslims.

So what Robert is saying is that all Muslims are tragic, bitter, envious, evil and hateful people. The article goes on to say “There are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, about 10 percent believe in their violent, radical tendencies.” There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, it is estimated that 23-25 percent of the entire world population is Muslim. The idea that 10 percent are radical is pure conjecture but it’s a fair number to work with since it is 10 percent of any population would be prone to violence and radical behavior.

Lancaster’s article then makes an attempt to fear-monger by illustrating that the 10 percent of Muslims is 150 million people, half the US population. Such a comparison is sensationalistic since it really only amounts to about 2 percent of the world’s population. Consequently, numbers also show us that there are anywhere from 8-14 million Muslims in the United States as of 2014. If Robert’s 10 percent figure was accurate then we should have had 800,000 – 1.4 million terrorists running around the USA.

Why then, do we have terrorism among the Muslims outside the United States while Muslims within the USA are peaceful? So much of the land that these people live in have been victims of colonialism and interference from external forces as dictators have been propped up, maps drawn without consulting the local people and other forms of meddling by other nations.

The second major point that Robert Lancaster likes to make in his article is the cliché fear over “Sharia Law.” Sharia is simply the application of Islamic teachings into the lives of Muslims. It shapes how a Muslim conducts business, washes up, prays, and conducts religious and social matters. To order a Muslim to stop living according to sharia would be like demanding that the Ten Commandments be banned from use.

America was founded upon the principles of interfaith cooperation; Benjamin Franklin worked to establish an interfaith meeting house in 1739 where he declared it had been established “so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” It was in this established tradition that the National Cathedral was constructed and this weekend saw the first use of the cathedral as a Muslim house of worship.

Many of those who protested the event did so out of ignorance but should be encouraged by the long history that Islam has had in America. There are three soldiers that fought in the Revolutionary War alongside George Washington who have been identified as Muslims.

The first treaty to be signed and the first nation to recognize the independence of America was the Muslim-majority nation of Morocco.

The first known mosque constructed from the ground up as a Muslim prayer center was in the city of Manhattan in the early 1890s by Alexander Russell Webb, the first known Caucasian-American convert to Islam.

In our mosque every year we take time on Veterans’ Day to honor the many veterans among our community going as far back as WWII. Currently the best Department of Defense estimates place a little over 15,000 Muslims in active duty.

Instead of taking the word of people who are not Muslim and have never practiced Islam, doesn’t it make sense to educate yourself by talking to Muslims and directly asking about their beliefs? In the greater Charlotte Metro area there are over a dozen mosques.

I challenge you, my fellow Americans, reach out to Muslims in your own communities and talk to the people who are practicing Islam daily. Use the mosque directory at www.carolinamuslims.com if you need help locating a mosque near you.

As for Mr. Robert Lancaster; we at Carolina Muslims welcome an open forum event to discuss the misconceptions that he holds about Islam; we welcome him to contact us directly and we will facilitate the event.

Barto is a resident of Lincoln County and is the editor of Carolina Muslims magazine. He can be reached at duston@carolinamuslims.com 

Article source: http://www.gastongazette.com/opinion/columns/my-turn-islam-is-perfect-muslims-are-not-1.404649

Husband Got Drunk & Had Sex with Another Woman

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

 The feeling of falling madly and deeply “in-love” can be such a wonderful experience that one never wants it to end. It almost seems as if it will not end when one marries on the tide of such emotions, but it does end. The question is though, is the “end” tantamount to divorce, or is the “end” the beginning of a more mature part of the marriage.

Your husband is a human being, and like all human-beings has flaws. His relationship with Allah (SWT), is just that, his! While you are measuring his bad deeds, Allah (SWT) measures our good deeds and our bad deeds. In other words, Allah (SWT) is more merciful than what you have described.

You made your husband swear to undying devotion, to keep the marriage as it, in the same momentum with no surprises, challenges, and lessons to learn from. You not only made him swear once, but repeatedly. From his point of view, it could be that he felt as if you did not trust him, and trust is a valuable quality to a husband. Only Allah (SWT) can say why your husband felt tempted to take that first glass of alcohol, and why he had that relationship, and why he spoke to the girl, knowing that you would find out. Do you think your husband was trying or is trying to tell you something?

Any one you may come across, regardless of how they portray themselves, wants to be accepted as they are. You swore undying love, yet in the rapture of that love, could it be there was only room for the feeling and expression of that love, leaving no room for your husband as a man or a human being who has strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, and goals? Could it be that you only accepted him for what he was offering you, but not taking enough care of what he needed?

Be mindful of concluding here that his need was that girl. Your fear might have handed over to your husband the devil’s advocate to him, seemingly turning everything upside down. Your husband got drunk, fornicated, and seems to refuse asking Allah’s forgiveness. Somewhere along the line, the journey became just that, a line, and maybe, just maybe, your husband is bored with that line.

Sister, if you cannot trust him for the sake of Allah, it is because from where your husband might be standing, you never really did. You say you love him, but how much of that love is for the sake of Allah? Guess what, the next step in your marital life is just that!

It may be time for you to get to know one another as human beings, as friends, as sister and brother, and as lovers who committed to one another in the bonds of matrimony. You both should learn to have compassion, understanding, trust, and sacrifices for one another. Maybe, the lake of your marital relationship is too placid and requires the ebb and flow of a tide, or a white-water to generate the flow of life back into the veins of you marriage. For instance:

  • When was the last time you did anything different?
  • When have you done anything which was not just about you and him?
  • When was the last time that you did anything apart to only return to each with something new to add to the marriage?
  • When did you last enquire as to what is going on for him?
  • When did you last learn something Islamically that can strengthen your marriage?

 

These are the questions you must ask yourself in order to turn your marriage from a placid lake to a flowing river that gives life to you, to him, and others, for marriage is never just about the husband and the wife!

Prophet Muhammad said: “Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the gravest lie in talk and do not be inquisitive about one another, and do not spy upon one another, and do not feel envy with the other, and nurse no malice, and nurse no aversion and hostility against one another. And be fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.” (Muslim 32:6214)

For your further guidance, please try the following links:

I Became Emotionally Vulnerable
I Would Like a Bit More to Our Marriage
She Wont Forgive Me
Am I Asking Too Much?
Countless Accusations

Article source: http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-counselor/extramarital-affairs/165385-husband-got-drunk-aamp-had-sex-with-another-woman.html

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

I’m not at all sure about this. The Shah of Iran was himself a bad investment – certainly for the Americans after the Islamic revolution of 1979 – and Iran is now an avowedly Shia country, allied with Iraq and Syria and the Hezbollah, rather than the ally of Israel and pro-Western friendly monarchy which ferociously suppressed its own people (usually a sure sign of safe investment possibilities). And when I reached the Sunni Muslim Gulf, it was the same old story: Sunnis versus Shia, Iran the evildoer which only wished to crush Sunni power in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Egypt and Jordan. Did I really think that Israel and the US Republican party – pretty much the same thing, when you come to think of it – would let Obama do a nuclear deal with Iran today?

Besides, there’s Syria to be rebuilt – current cost $260bn (£166bn) and rising by the day – and maybe only Qatar could, or might, foot the bill to spite the Saudis and to extend territorial power beyond its little English county council-size emirate. Some say Qatar’s greatest investment is not liquid gas but its stake in Volkswagen. All this dwarfs the puny $7bn sanctions’ relief to Iran promised last January after the P5+1 deal to curb its nuclear activities.

But I’ve long suspected that this is not about nukes or the Hitlerite Revolutionary Guard or Iranian expansionism, especially when the biggest local invader has been a Sunni Muslim called Saddam Hussein – who was, at the time (1980), a chum of the West. No, Iran’s crisis – our crisis with Iran, if you like – is about that great and historic nation’s future geo-strategic role in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In a world of sclerotic Saudi bullying and Israeli right-wing ministers, who mimic Iranian ex-president Ahmadinejad in their madness, and American Republicans set on destroying what’s left of the Obama legend, there’s another creature called Isis – a vicious Sunni cult  or a legion of lost souls, take your pick –  which makes Iran look a bit like the Legion of Mary (or, to save its Islamic soul, the gentlest of Sufis).

 

As Lebanese economist Dr Nasser Saidi, the former chief economist at Dubai International Financial Centre, says, “Only a pax-Americana-Irania can lead to a stabilisation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and prevent Syria from turning into a failed state…”

This may be pushing it a bit. But the first advantage of a détente with Iran would surely be a substantial cut in the risk-premium built into world oil prices because of tensions around the Strait of Hormuz, a massive reduction in Gulf arms expenditure – Middle East countries spent $132bn on their armies and weapons in 2012, just half what it would currently cost to rebuild Syria – which is the highest percentage of GDP in the world. Dr Saidi’s thesis is that Iran, with the second largest gas reserves and the fourth largest oil reserves in the world (though I grant we do not know the undiscovered reserves beneath the Sunni central deserts of Iraq), could become a “New Energy Silk Road”.

Not only would the removal of sanctions lead to higher oil and gas production, it would allow further exploration and the energy infrastructure of a “new” Iran (I draw in my breath at the word “new”, which is now used by an awful lot of optimistic Middle East economists), with links to China’s and India’s energy infrastructure. A further lowering of oil prices would be inevitable. But if you want a single example of just how the West would benefit from Iran’s “de-purging” – my own expression – just look at its decrepit fleet of 243 civilian airliners. They regularly crash (and since I fly on them, I do bear this in mind), and 100 are grounded through lack  of spare parts. It needs 400 new aircraft, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation.

Read more: ‘Volleyball woman’ released from Tehran jail
Blogger released after six-year jail term
Ayatollah Khamenei outlines plan to ‘eliminate’ Israel

China, the superpower importer of the world, has always disapproved of sanctions. Despite this, its trade with Iran rose from $400m in 1994 to $11bn in 2008 and $50bn two years ago. Dr Saidi believes that Iran’s energy infrastructure needs to be fully integrated into central Asia and China and even talks about a “surge” (not my favourite word) in tourism; two years ago, it turns out, Iran was the number one source of Muslim  tourist expenditure – thanks, no doubt, to  the great shrines of Qom, Isfahan, Shiraz  and Mashhad.

The ultimate dream – of Iran and indeed many Sunni Gulf nations who remain grotesquely suspicious of it – would be the kind of “Gulf zone of peace and prosperity” of which George Bush Snr spoke so preposterously when he demanded a nuclear-free Middle East after the 1991 liberation of Kuwait. Unfortunately, Israel’s nuclear weapons were not included in Bush’s meanderings and America went back to being the weapons-selling Santa Claus of the Gulf.

So the dream is impossible, you may say. And you may be right. But the head-choppers of Isis and their crazed Wahhabi nightmares – which have all too much in common with Saudi Arabia and its former Taliban protégés – have reset the bloody narrative of the region.

After all, in 1939, who would have believed that the dictator of the Soviet murder machine would become our ally Uncle Joe just two years later? But then again, look what happened after 1945…

Take the metro – and then a taxi to where you want to go

Dubai never ceases to amaze me. Drive into town on the highway from Abu Dhabi and there is the world’s tallest building and, alongside the road, one of the world’s very latest and shortest metro railways. Everyone praises the new track. The smart five-carriage trains zip along at high speed, stop at every station and even – this being Dubai – have first and second-class carriages.

The only problem, as one Dubai citizen explained to me on the plane home to Beirut, is that “The trains go between airports but apart from that, they don’t actually take you to anywhere you want to go – they take you to somewhere where you can get a taxi to where you want to go.”

Well, that’s rapid transit for you.

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iran-is-shifting-from-pariah-to-possible-future-policeman-of-the-gulf-9878695.html

Arab ban on Muslim Brotherhood death knell for CAIR?

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Bans on the radical Muslim Brotherhood abroad combined with a historically large GOP majority in Washington could provide the impetus to pass the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act introduced earlier this year by Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., congressional sources say.

The bill, which would effectively outlaw the radical Muslim Brotherhood in America, has attracted 19 Republican co-sponsors but has languished since being introduced in the House in July by Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Since then, however, the Republicans have gained the largest majority in the House since World War II, while taking control of the Senate.

And earlier this week, the United Arab Emirates joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia in outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood and many of its subsidiary organizations.

UAE took the additional step of designating two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front groups — the Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and the Muslim American Society, or MAS – as terrorist organizations on par with ISIS and al-Qaida.

CAIR is cited several times in the text of the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act as a Brotherhood-controlled entity.

Pressure to blacklist the Brotherhood and its U.S. front groups is building both internationally and domestically, U.S. officials say. With Republicans now controlling the legislative agenda in Washington, the anti-Brotherhood bill – H.R. 5159 – is expected to move on a faster track when the new Congress is seated in January.

“It will certainly get more attention and more sponsors now,” a senior Republican legislative aide on the Hill said.

However, if the bill passes through Congress, Muslim Brotherhood-friendly President Obama would more than likely veto it. No final action likely could be taken against the jihadist support network – which controls most of the Islamic nonprofit groups, charities and mosques in America – until Obama leaves office.

The bill would not only add the Muslim Brotherhood and its U.S. subsidiaries to the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, it would also crack down on anyone in America who provides material support or funding to the Brotherhood or its front groups. At the same time, the bill proposes denying visas to any Brotherhood members seeking to enter the U.S., while deporting any foreign nationals associated with the Brotherhood already living in the U.S.

Additionally, the bill states: “Any United States financial institution that knowingly has possession of or control over funds in which the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliates, associated groups, or agents have an interest shall retain possession of or control over the funds and report the funds to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury.”

In effect, the law would freeze Muslim Brotherhood assets and dry up funding and recruiting for Brotherhood groups operating in the U.S. If aggressively enforced, the law would go a long way toward shutting down the subversive infrastructure the Egypt-based Brotherhood has spent the past 40 years building in America.

The Obama administration does not support such action, because it views the Brotherhood as a nonviolent political group and has engaged its leaders at home and abroad.

But former FBI agent John Guandolo, who helped draft the anti-Brotherhood bill, says the administration’s view is ill-informed.

The bureau’s foremost expert on the Brotherhood network, Guandolo helped uncover a Brotherhood conspiracy to overthrow the United States by “civilization jihad” following a raid last decade on a suspected terrorist’s home in Northern Virginia.

Author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America,” the veteran agent warns that “America faces an insurgency inside our homeland” from the Brotherhood.

“This is an enemy who is cunning, patient, well-supported and well-organized,” he said.

Guandolo said he is pleased to see other countries recognizing the threat from the Brotherhood and its front groups, such as CAIR, which the Justice Department in 2007 implicated as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a terror plot to raise millions of dollars for Hamas terrorists.

“Since [CAIR leaders] are Hamas,” he said, “it is nice to see that at least the UAE recognizes the implications that this makes CAIR a terrorist organization.”

Guandolo said the Muslim American Society, or MAS, moreover, was founded by three senior Muslim Brotherhood members in the U.S. in the early 1990s, including the leader of the Brotherhood in America at the time, Ahmed Elkadi. MAS also runs jihad camps for Muslim youth throughout the U.S.

He says there is overwhelming documentary and testimonial evidence proving “CAIR and MAS are jihadi organizations – they are terrorists.”

However, he says Attorney General Eric Holder pulled the plug on FBI investigations into the groups for “political reasons.”

CAIR described its terrorist designation by the UAE as “shocking and bizarre.”

CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor said CAIR is calling on the UAE to reconsider adding the group to the terror list. The group has not yet communicated with the UAE’s government but is seeking clarification on why the designation was approved.

“The message the UAE is sending is that people who engage in peaceful political activism will be designated as terrorists,” Saylor complained. “I think that’s a terrible message.”

Saylor, who also serves as director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, has routinely called non-Muslim critics of CAIR “Islamophobic.” Apparently even Islamic nations can be “Islamophobic.”

The following members of the House of Representatives have sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act along with Bachmann: Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.; Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.; Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Rep. Steve, King, R-Iowa; Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.; Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.; Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.; Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C.; Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.; Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.; Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.; Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.; Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio; Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.; and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas.

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Article source: http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/arab-ban-on-muslim-brotherhood-death-knell-for-cair/