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Showing posts from April, 2010

Iraq and Democracy

Iraq is a test case for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s dictum that “the central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” Ironically, though, it was the conservative Bush team that argued that culture didn’t matter in Iraq, and that the prospect of democracy and self-rule would automatically bring Iraqis together to bury the past. That is, democracy can be implanted to change Iraq from what was tyranny of the few - a totalitarian regime, to the rule of the majority - a democratic regime. Well, since the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hossein, including his hanging for the crime against his people, two major elections have taken place, the last one being held last March – all in the name of democracy. But the cherished rule of law has simply not returned. As a matter of fact, Iraq was more secure

Connecting the dots in Sarkozy's anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Iran zeal

Two years ago, I mentioned about Sarkozy's religious heritage and family connection which makes him a very hostile person when it comes to Islam and the Muslim world. Although I was aware back then about his grandfather Aron Mallah, born in a Jewish family, who had later half-heartedly converted to Catholicism to marry a French Christian girl named Adele Bouvier, I was not aware that his grandfather had actually migrated from Salonika in today's Greece. The region was once part of the Ottoman empire and became the homeland of many Donmehs that lived there since the time of Sabbatai Zevi, a 17th-century Jewish kabbalist who claimed to be the Messiah and was eventually forced by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV to become a Muslim. After Zevi's conversion, a number of Jews followed him into Islam and became the Dönmeh. Since the 20th century, many Dönmeh have intermarried with other groups and most have assimilated into Turkish society. Donmeh people were the pioneers of the Young

Obama Needs to Dump Netanyahu

At the end of President Obama’s news conference on April 13, President Obama said something that we hardly heard before. He declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States.” This shift in White House’s apparent urgency to help broker a Middle East peace deal should not come as a surprise. Mr. Obama’s words echoed those of General David H. Petraeus, the military commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East, including America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent Congressional testimony, the general said that the lack of progress in the Middle East created a hostile environment for the United States. It is worth recalling here that when on January 16 a team of senior military officers from the CENTCOM arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen the briefers reported that there was a growing

The Children of Gaza - a must-see video

I just came across a highly moving, must-see video that first aired on Channel 4 (UK)’s Dispatches on 15 March. BAFTA-winning filmmaker Jezza Neumann follows the lives of three children for over a year. The children are amazing: well-spoken, reflective, resilient, understandably vengeful and fearful, but very endearing. The toll this inhumanity has taken is also clear. Words can’t explain the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. It is simply too painful to watch the plight of this unfortunate people. Who would have thought that some 65 years after World War II humanity will see the crimes of the children and grand-children of the Jewish holocaust? The current events show that these latter people have simply perfected the art of genocide and elimination. Adolf Hitler must be having his last laugh at the monsters and bastardly two-legged beasts he helped to create amongst the Israelis. Surely, World War II has failed to stop genocidal acts. And yet, how many western J

American War Crimes: The WikiLeaks Video

The past week has been anything but ordinary with news of nuclear arms reduction, coal mine disaster in West Virginia and a newly released video showing US forces indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. On Monday, the website WikiLeaks.org posted footage taken from a US military helicopter in July 2007 as it killed twelve unarmed civilians and wounded two children. The voices on the tape appear to believe their targets are carrying weapons, but the footage unmistakably shows some of the victims holding camera equipment. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh. It was a blatant case of trigger-happy gunners shooting indiscriminately at unarmed civilians. Even a van that came to rescue the wounded civilians was attacked by the Apache helicopter killing the owner-driver while severely injuring his two children seated in the front seat. A US soldier in the Apache helicopter was heard in the video saying, “We h

Brief History of Soviet Muslims

The history of the Muslims in the former Soviet Union is largely but not entirely the history of the Muslim descendants of Genghis Khan, the Mongol conqueror. Daghestan was the gate through which Islam entered the territory of Russia. The first Muslims were the envoys of Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (R) who came to Daghestan in 23 AH. Bodies of forty followers and companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) are buried in Daghestan, and a Qurayshite descendant of the Prophet still live in the republic today. After the death of Umar (R), the Byzantines invaded Syria. Uthman (R), the third Caliph, sent two columns of forces to repel them. In counter attack, the Muslim force penetrated deep into the Asia Minor, reaching the shores of the Black Sea. In 674 CE, during Mu’awiyah’s rule, a Muslim army crossed the Oxus River and defeated the Turks. In 675 CE Bukhara was captured becoming a vassal state. Thereafter, Jaxartes was crossed and Samarkand and Tirmiz came under Muslim rule in 677 CE. During

Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis in Bangladesh

[Written in collaboration with Dr. Nora Rowley] When a widely circulated newspaper like the New York Times picks up the matter of ill-treatment of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, it is no small matter. It is a matter of grievous concern and shame to tens of thousands of Bangladeshi-Americans who live in and around the Big Apple state. In its February 20 publication the headline read, “Burmese Refugees Persecuted in Bangladesh.” It said, “Stateless refugees from Myanmar are suffering beatings and deportation in Bangladesh, according to aid workers and rights groups who say thousands are crowding into a squalid camp where they face starvation and disease.” It described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. The NY Times report should come as no surprise to many of us who have been following the inhuman condition of the Rohingyas around the world for a number of years. In its Special Report, dated February 18, “Bangladesh: Violent Crackdown Fuels Humanitarian Crisis for Unrecogniz