By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
For over two decades, America’s relations with its most important Arab ally were primarily mediated by just one man: Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. But on June 26, 2005, Bandar, a personal friend of the Bush family, submitted his diplomatic resignation, after being recalled to Riyadh by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. Almost immediately, Bandar, known for years in Washington’s diplomatic circles as a flamboyant socialite, disappeared from public view. It is said that he faced serious health problems, going in and out of hospitals. Others claim that he fell out of favor with Saudi Arabia’s autocratic ruling elite, and in 2009 there were even unconfirmed reports that he was under house arrest after allegedly trying to organize a military coup against King Abdullah. Last week, however, Bandar returned to the limelight in spectacular fashion: in a plainly worded statement, Saudi authorities announced that the Prince had been appointed Director General of the Mukhabarat Al A’amah, the Kingdom’s main intelligence agency. Read the rest of this entry »
International Olympic Committee rules require that countries allow both men and women to compete as a prerequisite for their participation in the Olympic Games. Saudia Arabia, a country that has never sent a female athlete to the games, has been warned of this, promised to correct the situation, and then sort of did nothing for awhile and hoped that no one would notice.
Now, one human rights group says enough is enough and is encouraging the IOC to bar the Middle Eastern Kingdom from the Games, on account of the fact that they’re clearly dragging their feet on this. In a letter to the IOC on Wednesday, the organization demanded Saudi Arabia be barred from the upcoming London Olympic Games if they fail to send a lady to compete.
A Saudi court sentenced a local man and his girl friend to 50 lashes each and ordered him to wash 10 dead people after they were caught in a car parked in a deserted place under the cover of night.
There are no national teams for women, and physical education for girls does not exist in state schools (although it does in private schools). Fitness clubs open to women are few and costly. Many of the swimming pools and running tracks that did exist for women were closed by the government in 2009 for being unlicensed, leaving women to search out gyms operating under the radar or to exercise at home.
Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.
It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.
Although baad (also known as baadi) is illegal under Afghan and, most religious scholars say, Islamic law, the taking of girls as payment for misdeeds committed by their elders still appears to be flourishing. Shakila, because one of her uncles had run away with the wife of a district strongman, was taken and held for about a year. It was the district leader, furious at the dishonor that had been done to him, who sent his men to abduct her.
[ . . .]
“Despite being denounced by the United Nations as a “harmful traditional practice,” baad is pervasive in rural southern and eastern Afghanistan, areas that are heavily Pashtun, according to human rights workers, women’s advocates and aid experts. Baad involves giving away a young woman, often a child, into slavery and forced marriage. It is largely hidden because the girls are given to compensate for “shameful” crimes like murder and adultery and acts forbidden by custom, like elopement, say elders and women’s rights advocates.
Read the rest here.
The honor/shame belief system of the mid-East is the engine that drives the oppression of women in these cultures. Islam is the fuel that provides the machine with its power.
Born in Tehran, Raboudan danced at parties and birthdays as a child. Her family fled Iran in 1989, 10 years after the Islamic revolution.
“Among other rules, women had to wear much more conservative clothing after the revolution and there has been no public belly dancing since then,” she says.
[ . . .]
Just back from Egypt — considered by many to be the longtime centre of belly dancing — Raboudan says the Muslim Brotherhood is dropping the curtain on belly dancing.
“It’s sad,” she says. “I fear Egypt will go the way of Iran. Fortunately, there are many Muslims in Edmonton who understand and enjoy belly dancing.”
Read the article here.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing a belly dance, here is a video of the best belly dancer in the world, Tito Seif, who happens to be a man, dancing with one of his students! Here is another video of the Classical Egyptian style belly dance by Zaheea.
Singing and dancing are disputed by various Islamic sects. However, even some of the most fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allow dancing at celebrations when it is gender specific and men dance with men, and women dance with women. Also, some Muslims say that it is permissible for wives to dance for their husbands. Here’s a typical discussion about these arts.
Several years after the little-known procedure became a topic of political debate, doctors are reporting that demand for hymenoplasty operations has not decreased.
Doctors who perform these operations have come under sharp criticism for legitimising the procedure and thereby protecting what critics say is the chauvinism and oppression that underlies the demand that new brides must be verified virgins.
“I don’t have any scruples about helping. The important thing is that these girls have good lives moving forward. You could call it my form of foreign aid,” Dr Christine Felding, who performs 30 to 40 hymenoplasty procedures each year, told Berlingske newspaper.
The procedure involves reconstructing the hymen – the membrane that partially covers the opening to the vagina, and which is presumed to tear and bleed the first time a woman has sexual intercourse. The doctor literally sews bits of the vaginal lining together to narrow the opening. It takes a little over an hour and is done under local anaesthesia. Felding charges 5,000 kroner. Other doctors charge as much as 12,000 kroner.
Felding estimates that three or four women with immigrant backgrounds call her each week asking about the procedure. Most of them, she said, are frightened about what will happen if their fiancés or their families find out that they are not virgins.
Women have been known to suffer rejection, public shaming and even violent retribution at the hands of men in their own families if there is a lack of ‘proof’, in the form of a bloody bed sheet, on the wedding night.
It is more cultural than religious. If the bride is not a virgin and does not bleed on the wedding night, it is a big shame on the family. There have been honour killings in extreme cases,” Dr Magdy Hend, a UK surgeon who performs several hymenoplasties a week, told the UK tabloid Daily Mail.
Doctors in the UK, France, Germany and Belgium also report that the procedure is highly sought after in Muslim communities. The irony, as Time magazine’s Bruce Crumley writes, is that “the increase in the procedure reflects the growing emancipation of women from tradition-rooted communities, but also the ongoing male oppression signified by the obsession with female virginity.”
Read the rest here.
(h/t to NewEnglishReview)
Deaf Mute Girl Kept as a Sex Slave in Britain
A woman allegedly imprisoned in a cellar, raped and kept as a virtual slave while a child was stabbed in the stomach for smiling, a jury was told.
The woman, who is deaf and unable to speak, is said to have been subjected to years of abuse after being trafficked into Britain from Pakistan. It is alleged that she was locked in a cellar by Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 66, at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, and forced to sew, wash, cook and clean without pay.
Deaf mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar in Eccles was raped and treated as slave, court told. A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told she slept on the cellar’s concrete floor without access to a toilet until she was rescued by police in June 2009.
She is also said to have been regularly beaten, repeatedly raped and assaulted. The couple are on trial and deny any mistreatment.
Read more here.
Afghan woman burnt to death in Iran
The charred body of an Afghan refugee, allegedly killed by her in-laws in neighbouring Iran, was brought to southwestern Nimroz province, the victim’s father said on Monday.
Abdul Basir told Pajhwok Afghan News his daughter was burnt by her mother-in-law and husband in Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province five days ago. She had been sprinkled with gasoline before being set on fire, the father alleged.
Basir, who is currently living in Iran, said her daughter was married to a young boy of an Afghan refugee family a year ago. But her mother-in-law would always encourage her son to rough up his wife.
Read more here.
(h/t to the thereligionofpeace.com)
What links these stories? The answer is: the ideology of Islam.
The Meir Amit
Intelligence and Terrorism
February 19, 2012
Iranian and Hezbollah Terrorist Attacks against Israeli Targets Abroad
The Situation on the Ground and Background Information 1
(February 15, 2012)
1. For the past half year (May 2011-February 2012) Iran and Hezbollah have organized and carried out a terrorist campaign against Israeli targets abroad. So far six attacks have been attempted in five Asian countries, four in sequence (Turkey, Azerbaijan, twice in Thailand) and two simultaneously (India and Georgia). Several methods were employed, the most conspicuous of which, according to information made public so far, was the attaching of a magnetic explosive device to a vehicle (or vehicles) mainly used, in our assessment, by representatives of the State of Israel.
2. Iran (through the Quds Force and other apparatuses linked to the regime) conducts a global terrorist campaign against countries and individuals it perceives as its enemies: the United States and the West, Israel and the Jewish people, Saudi Arabia and other pro-Western Arab countries, and Iranian and foreign figures who oppose the Iranian regime. Hezbollah and foreign operations apparatus serve as the main Iranian proxy, handled by the Iranians for subversion and terrorism in the Middle East and around the globe. Both the Iranians and Hezbollah repeatedly and strongly deny involvement in terrorism and subversion around the globe.
Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
The historical Radda castle, above, was overtaken by al-Qaida militants on Sunday.
SANAA, Yemen — Islamist militants have seized full control of a town southeast of Yemen’s capital, raising their flag over the citadel, overrunning army positions, storming the local prison and pledging allegiance to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, residents said Monday.
The capture of Radda in Bayda province, some 100 miles south of capital Sanaa, underscores the growing strength of al-Qaida in Yemen as it continues to take advantage of the weakness of a central government struggling to contain nearly a year of massive political unrest.
Jan 5, 2012
The organisers, led by Mohammed Miftah, said the party was not be restricted to any particular sect or a group. Most of the people who attended Al Omah party’s inaugural ceremony were supporters of the Houthis.
by Florian Flade
Just two days before Christmas numerous bomb explosion hit the predominately Shiite districts of Iraq´s capital Baghdad killing at least 69 people, wounding 180 others – most of them Shiite civilians. The sixteen different attacks took place only about two weeks after U.S. forces officially withdrew from the country.
Immediately blame was on Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaida. Today the “Islamic State of Iraq”, an umbrella organization which de facto represents Al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the December 22th Baghdad bombings. A written statement was released and posted in several Jihadi Internet forums.
The multiple attacks, Al-Qaida claims, were carried out “to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed by the Safavid (Persian) government”. “Special operations”, as Al-Qaida calls the attacks, have allegedly targeted headquarters of the Al-Sadr Militia (Al-Qaida calls them “Army of the Devil”). Read the rest of this entry »
Majlis Speaker sends condolence message to North Korean government, nation over “the tragic news” – Ali Larijani, in a message to his North Korean counterpart, expressed condolences over the death of Comerade Kim Jong Il. The message reads: “I have received with great sorrow the tragic news of the demise of His Excellency Kim Jon Il, the supreme Leader of the brotherly Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Minister of Defense: “We must spread the values of Islam and pure Islamic culture around the world” – Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated that the leaders’ most important role today is maintaining “pure Islam” and added that if Islam is weakened, there will be no need for leaders and heads of state. Therefore, everyone is obliged to be careful and remain alert. He contended that cultural activity is the main underpinning of Iran’s activity and added, “If we want to establish Islamic culture and distinguish ourselves from the West, we must spread Islam around the world, together with the pure Islamic culture.” He further noted that there have been attempts to resolve the tension with the US and establish ties, but relations with the US would contradict pure Islam.
Basij Commander: Days of capitalism are numbered, and a new world order relying on Islam as its foundation is now emerging – Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi said while referring to the popular uprisings in the Islamic Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe and the US against their tyrant leaders that capitalism is on the verge of collapse. Recent developments in the world prove that tyrannical systems have no room in the hearts of people. Islam and its lofty teachings would be a good option in the absence of capitalism.
Iran remains unequivocally on the side of Syria, but stresses the need for reform; Secretary of the Expediency Council: “Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas are a red line for Iran” – In a live interview with Hezbollah’s Al Manar network, Secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, said that Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas are a red line for Iran. Furthermore, “No problem could possibly be created for them. They are the frontline of the Islamic world against Israel.” He related to US accusations that Iran intended to assassinate the Saudi ambassador and said that the US and Zionist regime are currently facing dead-ends created by both the Islamic Awakening and internal events, and they will do anything to escape. Therefore, they contrived a new plot against Iran, in order to save themselves and create tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He advised the Saudi government not to fall into the trap, which might have unforeseen results. “The best thing would be for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to join forces to find solutions for issues facing the Islamic world.” In response to a question about possible US or Zionist military action against Iran, Rezaei answered that any action taken against the national security of Iran would be met with a serious, decisive response. Our response to the US and Zionists will be severe, and they know very well what we will do to them. Read the rest of this entry »
Call the religious police’s Anti-Witchcraft Unit and get them to set up a sting operation.
BY URI FRIEDMAN | DECEMBER 13, 2011
In yet another reminder that the phrase “witch hunts” isn’t only used figuratively these days, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Monday that it had beheaded a woman named
Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser for practicing “witchcraft and sorcery.” The London-based al-Hayat newspaper, citing the chief of the religious police who arrested the woman after a report from a female investigator, claimsNasser was tricking people into paying $800 per session to have their illnesses cured.
So, how did Saudi authorities prove Nasser was a witch? The government hasn’t gone into detail, but a look at the kingdom’s past witchcraft cases suggests the bar for proving someone guilty isn’t very high. Witch hunting is fairly institutionalized in Saudi Arabia, with the country’s religious police running an Anti-Witchcraft Unit and a sorcery hotline to combat practices like astrology and fortune telling that are considered un-Islamic.
But institutionalized is not the same thing as codified.
A top official in the kingdom’s Ministry of Justice told Human Rights Watchin 2008 that there is no legal definition for witchcraft (Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a penal code) or specific body of evidence that has probative value in witchcraft trials.
Qatar’s Sources of Strength
The liberal, Saudi-owned online daily Elaph, in an article published on November 15th titled “Arab Diplomatic Vacuum Opens the Field to Qatari Influence,” gathered three distinguished Arab political analysts and published their insight to Qatar’s recent successes. In short, Qatari foreign policy can be characterized as having two arms: one is “dynamic diplomacy” and the other is “the long arm of the al-Jazeera (satellite) channel.” Furthermore, Qatar’s “strong support for the Arab revolutions, while a number of Arab countries have been absent diplomatically, has presented Qatar an opportunity.”
Abdullah al-Shamri, a Saudi researcher in international relations, noted that in 1995 Qatar’s GDP doubled, bringing about new political and economic power. It was against this strong economy that Al Thani deposed his father, and less than a year later in 1996 al-Jazeera was founded. Ever since, the satellite station has “surpassed the abilities of Gulf embassies.” Read the rest of this entry »