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Obama promises new tack on Iran January 11, 2009

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, Israel, News Commentry, USA.
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According to the BBC, Obama is promising a new tack on Iran once he begins his presidency on January 20th 2009:

President-elect Barack Obama says the US will take a new approach to dealings with Iran under his leadership.

Mr Obama said in a US TV interview screened on Sunday that “Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges”.

He said he was concerned about Iran’s support for Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah and Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme.

The incoming president told ABC’s This Week presenter George Stephanopoulos he would break away from President George W Bush’s policy on Iran and seek a much broader approach with the Islamic state.

“We are going to have to take a new approach. And I’ve outlined my belief that engagement is the place to start,” Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama, who won the US presidential election in November, takes office on 20 January.

In the interview, he promised “a new emphasis on respect and a new emphasis on being willing to talk, but also a clarity about what our bottom lines are.”

He added he believed his administration would “move swiftly” in its new approach with Tehran.

Mr Obama had earlier said there should be no pre-conditions in discussions with the Iranian leadership.

“Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges and as I said during the campaign we have a situation in which not only is Iran exporting terrorism through Hamas, through Hezbollah but they are pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race,” Mr Obama said.

I’m amazed and disappointed that president-elect Obama feels compelled to speak about Iran and say they are exporting terrorism, while failing to say anything about Israel’s terrorist actions against the Palestinians, and their on-going violence against Gaza.

However, he does say:

“What I am doing right now is putting together the team so that on 20 January, starting on day one, we have the best possible people who are going to be immediately engaged in the Middle East peace process as a whole,” Mr Obama said.

Let’s hope this team has some people who have the common sense to speak out against injustice and inhumanity, and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes against Palestine.


Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask January 9, 2009

Posted by Some Muslim in Israel, News Commentry.
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Excellent article by Robert Fisk from the UK’s Independent newspaper.

So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night’s work in Gaza by the army that believes in “purity of arms”. But why should we be surprised?

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

It outlines some of the atrocities Israel has committed against Palestine, and the lies they tell to cover them up.

Read the full article: Why do they hate the west so much, we will ask.

Israel brings Gaza airstrikes to the Web January 6, 2009

Posted by Some Muslim in Israel, News Commentry.
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As reported by CNET:

The Israel Defense Forces this week extended its airstrikes on Gaza to the Web, posting video footage of its air assault against Hamas militants on YouTube and using Twitter to spread its message.

According to various news reports, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) created its own YouTube channel carrying videos that include black-and-white aerial footage of attacks on Hamas weapon sites, and clips of Hamas terrorists loading rockets into trucks.

An IDF spokesperson said it is using the platform to “help us bring our message to the world,” by offering “exclusive footage showing the IDF’s operation success” in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces YouTube channel has 34 videos so far, and with over 13,000 subscribers and 970,000 channel views, seems to be a popular channel.

However, it’s important to note that what Israel says they are doing is not always the case, as highlighted in the BBC news article, Propaganda war: trusting what we see?

Israel released video of an air attack on 28 December, which appeared to show rockets being loaded onto a lorry. The truck and those close to it were then destroyed by a missile.

This was clear evidence, the Israelis said, of how accurate their strikes were and how well justified. A special unit it has set up to coordinate its informational plan put the video onto YouTube as part of its effort to use modern means of communications to get Israel’s case across.

The YouTube video has a large caption on it saying “Grad missiles being loaded onto the Hamas vehicle.” As of Saturday morning UK time, more than 260,000 people had watched it.

It turned out, however, that a 55-year-old Gaza resident named Ahmed Sanur, or Samur, claimed that the truck was his and that he and members of his family and his workers were moving oxygen cylinders from his workshop.

This workshop had been damaged when a building next door was bombed by the Israelis and he was afraid of looters, he said.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem put Mr Sanur’s account on its website, together with a photograph of burned out oxygen cylinders.

Mr Sanur said that eight people, one of them his son, had been killed. He subsequently told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “These were not Hamas, they were our children… They were not Grad missiles.”.

It seems like Israel is also using Twitter to justify it’s attack against Gaza, with the Israel Consulate in New York recently signing up and holding a Twitter conference.

With Israel banning international media from Gaza, despite the supreme court ordering the government to allow foreign reporters in, it’s hard to get the real truth, and there’s little incentive for Israel to tell us what’s really going on.

Fortunately, Al-Jazeera were in Gaza already and have been reporting from the inside.  Track updates on the AJGaza Twitter account, and the AlJazeeraEnglish channel on YouTube (which has footage you won’t see on US television, as US companies refuse to carry AlJazeera, depriving Americans the right to see what’s really going on).

Hopefully we’ll see an end to these attacks soon.  Various organizations have online petitions (such as CAIR), and are holding protests around the US, and around the world, calling for Israel to stop it’s bombardment of Gaza and embrace a ceasefire.

The time to speak up for justice and humanity is now.

Israel to destroy attacker’s home July 4, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in Israel, News Commentry.

The BBC reports:

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the army to prepare to demolish the home of the Palestinian who killed three Israelis in Jerusalem.

The order follows advice by Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz that the proposed demolition could create legal difficulties, but would not be illegal.

This looks like it is going to be yet another case of Israel breaking international human rights law while the world stands by and does nothing.

Israel are probably going to get away this by labelling this incident a terrorist attack, though as security expert Bruce Schneier points out, there’s so much stupidity in the name of terrrorism nowadays:

Is everything illegal and damaging now terrorism?

Israeli authorities are investigating why a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem rammed his bulldozer into several cars and buses Wednesday, killing three people before Israeli police shot him dead.

Israeli authorities are labeling it a terrorist attack, although they say there is no clear motive and the man — a construction worker — acted alone. It is not known if he had links to any terrorist organization.

It seems like any government can do anything to anyone in the name of terrorism nowadays, from bulldozing their homes down, locking them up without evidence or trial, stopping them from travelling on an airplane, etc.

Pakistan blocks YouTube website February 24, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in Islam, News Commentry.
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The BBC reports that Pakistan has blocked access to YouTube:

Pakistan has blocked access to the popular YouTube website because of content deemed offensive to Islam.

Its telecommunications authority ordered internet service providers to block the site until further notice.

Although YouTube does have a lot of offensive content, it’s not only Islam on the receiving end of such things. There’s also a lot of excellent videos on YouTube, like the excellent 14 part series by Ahmad Deedat on how Salman Rushdie fooled the west.

More interesting in the BBC article:

Other countries that have temporarily blocked access to YouTube include Turkey and Thailand.

I’m amazed that Turkey has blocked access to YouTube, considering as a country, they have a ban in place stopping Muslim women from wearing the hijab in universities, and when there were talks of removing the ban, thousands of Turks protested to stop the government allowing this.

Voting for Barack Obama? February 8, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA.
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Came across this post from a fellow voting in California, where he quoted a phrase from Barack as one of his reasons for voting:

When I am this party’s nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq; or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; or that I supported Bush-Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don’t like. And he will not be able to say that I wavered on something as fundamental as whether or not it is ok for America to torture — because it is never ok… I will end the war in Iraq… I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus. I will finish the fight against Al Qaeda. And I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century: nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. And I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, “You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.

He also quoted Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.

Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.

The phrase “knifework in the dark” is a perfect summary of the Clinton years. Bill Clinton was doing the same things as George Bush, except it wasn’t emphasized in the public as much. Being first lady, there’s no doubt Hillary was aware of such on-goings, and there’s no reason to believe she’s going to do anything drastically different to pave the way for a better future if she does become president.

I’m all for Barack and hope he does win. After 8 years with the Bush administration, it’s time for changes. Big changes and new faces.

Turks protest over headscarf ban February 2, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in General Islam, Islam, News Commentry.
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The BBC reports:

Thousands of Turks have rallied in Ankara to protest against a government plan to allow women to wear the Islamic headscarf in Turkish universities.

Such behaviour from a supposedly Muslim country puzzles me. I’ve blogged about this in the past, when talks to remove the ban first began.

Whatever happened to free choice? If a woman wants to wear the hijab, she should be allowed to do so.  Forcing her to go one way or the other is just ridiculous, and if people have a problem with someone who wears hijab, then that’s their problem.

The government argues the ban deprives thousands of women of a higher education.

But Turkey’s powerful, secular establishment sees the headscarf as a symbol of political Islam – a threat to their secular way of life, and to the political system here.

Those opposed to the reform include the military, Turkey’s judges and university rectors.

They fear it is just the first step to allowing religious symbols into all aspects of public life.

It seems like Turkey’s biggest worry is that it will bring Islam into the open, though if they are so scared of this, one must question why they are called a Muslim country (if they do not want to follow the rules of Islam).

No more charges over Iraqi death January 25, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, News Commentry.
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The BBC reports:

No further criminal charges are likely against individuals involved in the death of Iraqi prisoner Baha Mousa, the government is expected to announce.

Mr Mousa died from asphyxiation in British army custody in Basra in 2003, and suffered 93 injuries to his body.

A court martial acquitted six out of seven servicemen, while another was jailed for a year for mistreatment.

Whilst being detained by the British Army, Mr Mousa suffered 93 injuries to his body, but only one soldier was jailed for one for year for mistreatment?

Although the report is believed to conclude there were serious shortcomings in the training of British troops for dealing with Iraqi prisoners at the time, it is expected to say there was no evidence of systemic [sp] abuse.

Lawyers for the family of Mr Mousa won access at the High Court in October last year to British military files into his death.

They believe the documents will contain the evidence needed for a full public inquiry to be called.

Let’s hope there is a full public enquiry and justice is served.

New move to lift Turkey scarf ban January 24, 2008

Posted by Some Muslim in General Islam, News Commentry.

The BBC reports:

The governing party in Turkey and a key opposition party have agreed to work together to lift a ban on the Islamic headscarf in universities.

The Islamist-rooted ruling AK Party and the nationalist MHP said it was an issue of human rights and freedoms.

I’m amazed at how Turkey – a country that proclaims itself to be Muslim – can ban the wearing of hijab in universities. I’m surprised that France went ahead and passed a law banning wearing of hijab (and other religious clothing).

What is it about the hijab that these nations find so threatening?

There was a funny story about a girl who was nearly denied boarding on a Southwest flight for dressing too provocatively. Clearly, society’s moral compass hasn’t been abandoned completely, though it’s close.

Shoot UK teacher?! November 30, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry.
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I’ve been following the story of British teacher Gillian Gibbons who was arrested in Sudan after mistakenly allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammed.

The whole thing seems like a mistake on her part, and although it is disrespectful, a punishment of 6 months in jail or 40 lashes seems like a harsh punishment for what is most probably an innocent mistake.

I’m shocked that thousands of people in Sudan have marched in the capital Khartoum to a call for Ms Gibbons to be shot. Being jailed for 15 days and deportation is enough punishment, and for people – Muslims – to demand that her life be taken is beyond belief. This is not Islamic behaviour, which calls for peace, tolerance, forgiveness and mercy.

Let’s look at the humanity of our Holy Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him And His Family:

Every day, before the Prophet SAW left his house to go to the Kabah, this elderly woman would throw trash in front of the path of the Prophet SAW out of disrespect and because she didn’t like the message that the Prophet SAW was preaching. One day, the Prophet SAW was leaving his house and he didn’t notice any garbage in his path and so he thought that maybe the old lady was sick, and that is why she was unable to throw her garbage this particular day, and so he went and visited her.

When this elderly lady first saw the Prophet SAW, she was scared, because she knew what she had been doing. She asked why he had come. The Prophet SAW responded by saying that he knew that everyday she would throw garbage in his path, and today he didn’t find any garbage in his path, so he thought she might’ve been sick and that’s why he came to visit her. This response of the Prophet SAW softened the heart of this non-muslim lady and she was convinced that the Prophet SAW is truly a messenger of Allah, and she uttered the shahadah.

Let’s hope and pray that the Sudanese government express a little more humanity and let this poor lady return home to the UK soon.