Category Archives: Muslim

Street Reacts to Obama’s Speech

Mideast Bahrain ObamaIf headlines and reaction of news organizations and at least one terror group is any indication of who feels the most slighted by Obama’s trip and speech today, then we might conclude that Israelis were the ones left somewhat disillusioned.

 Planted boldly atop the Jerusalem Post’s site reads, “It’s time for these settlements to stop.” Instead, Haaretz Daily News, focused its headlines on the positive reaction from Israeli politicians. Underneath its “Obama: I’ll personally pursue a two state solution,” however, the writer begins by noting that Washington views the west bank settlements as “illegal.”

 The Palestinian Authority and Hamas offered praise, both sensing a changing policy and a new beginning.

 The Arab press was mixed. One Egyptian editor refused an invitation to attend the speech explaining (from al-Arabiya):

 “If I went to the speech it would mean that the problem was just with (Obama’s predecessor) George W. Bush, but the problem is with U.S. policies in the world and in the Muslim world which haven’t yet changed.”

“We have seen a vast public relations campaign from Obama but we haven’t seen any radical differences, not on an Iraq withdrawal or on Afghanistan, or the war in (Pakistan’s) Swat. He has even gone backwards on promising to close Guantanamo.”

 So attempts to rid the Swat valley of Taliban running around shooting, beating and blowing up innocents are unjustified? If this editor of the independent al-Doustur newspaper, Ibrahim Eissa, views ridding the swat valley of primitive bearded thugs isn’t a good thing, then I’m not sure how Obama’s speech could have changed his mind. Perhaps if he’d announced his intention to convert to Islam and join the Muslim Brotherhood, he might have stood a chance.

 More response from the region as reported by al-Arabiya:

 The Jordan Times said Obama would have to exert himself as he “attempts to clean up the mess his predecessor created in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

“Muslims and Arabs would like to hear much from Obama, starting with Palestine, Iraq and the U.S. military presence in the Gulf.

“While foreign policy is crucial, a sincere show of respect and attempt to rebuild trust are more important.”

Saudi newspaper al-Ryadh said Obama’s decision to address the Muslim world and “in visiting the two most important Arab capitals, is breaking with former American presidents and wants to attack the most important front of the challenges (Western misunderstandings with Muslims.”)

UAE newspaper Akhbar al-Saa referred to “a new era in relations between the United States and the Muslim world” with Obama’s move into the White House.

But Dubai’s al-Bayan stressed that “the region wants to hear from Obama’s mouth that he is conscious of the imbalance in relations (between America) and the Muslim world and that he wants to remedy it.”

In other words, bend over Mr. President. Like all the Presidents who’ve come before you, it’s never going to be enough. As’salaamu alaykums, a smoother than smooth personality and a super-prompter won’t garner applause from those who eschew introspection in favor of blaming Jews and westerners.

Pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel

Judging by the clashes and protests since Israel began it’s most recent war against Hamas, Europeans have chosen sides, and once again, it’s not Israel’s. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has expressed concern about the current wave of anti-Semitic attacks in various parts of the world.

“We have received with great concern and revulsion many reports of physical, moral, verbal and other manifestations of anti-Semitic attacks towards Jews and Israeli citizens in many parts of the world,” Whatever one’s opinion may be of this operation, it should never be used to legitimize hate and anti-Semitic incitement.”

Every day, a new protest occurs, and every day, the press coverage demonstrates an antagonism to Israel.

El Pais highlights an interview with the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Spain who condemned Israel’s operation in Gaza. “The Jews suffered the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis and Israel now wants to repeat history against our people.”

Le Monde led with a story about a ‘new type of weapon’ being used in Gaza. Unfortunately, the story relied on well-established Hamas propagandists to make outrageous claims. Israel was using the war to experiment with weapons. One of the doctors happens to be an active Norwegian communist who sympathized with al-Qaeda after 9/11.

Anti-Semitism in Europe might not be a sexy topic for the American press, but it’s something that should be explored. When bands of anti-Semites desecrate graves in France, the story doesn’t seem to make our 6 o’clock news. Maybe, it should.

False Israeli Casualty Numbers?

gazaMore Israeli casualties in Gaza than what is being reported? According to al-Jazeera’s Arabic site, yes.  Citing separate ‘resistance’ fighters, the story follows a familiar modus operandi employed by the Arab media for years. If the truth hurts, simply alter it or at least propagandize it.

Abu Alsagd of Gaza indicated that, “Israel does not want the losses to raise the morale of the resistance and the citizens in the Gaza strip.” …Abu Mujahid of resistant Nasser Saladin Brigades, stated that at the beginning of the incursion, “dozens of improvised explosive devices planted in the ground went off and we heard screams and watched as soldiers rushed to their aid, but the occupation has not been injured and killed in these operations?”

Further down in the article, an expert on Israeli affairs in Gaza added that Israel, “does not announce its losses because it would lead to internal pressures on the Israeli government and the occupation army.”

‘Resistance Missiles’ in Gaza

gaza_massacre1Now in its fourth day, Israel’s assault on Gaza remains a top story from China and Russia to the United States. The coverage and characterization of the story, however, varies according to the region and language doing the reporting.

Tuesday, Al-Arabiya’s top story (English), written from ‘occupied Jerusalem,’ is entitled ‘Gaza children die as Israel rejects truce.’

Also today, Al-Jazeera (Arabic) headlined with ‘364 martyrs of aggression in Gaza and the resistance missiles in Beersheba.’ We can all feel better knowing that those hundreds of missiles bombarding Israel for the past several months were merely ‘resistance’ missiles.

Yesterday, Al-Jazeera’s Arabic version referred to a leader of the Jerusalem Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, as a martyr when his house was bombed by the Israelis in a raid.

In another Aljazeera piece from Arabic ‘Angry demonstrations will force Arab cities to hold an emergency summit,’ Israel’s assault is called the ‘Israeli massacre on the Gaza strip.’

Why should Hamas stop firing its missiles when so many, especially in the Middle East, view them as ‘resistance’ against an occupation? Until Arabs and Muslims accept the right of Israel to exist, peace talks will continue to be an exercise in futility. And until the ‘right of return’ is abandoned, Palestinians will continue to lack privileges inherent to citizens belonging to a nation.

Who Attacked India? Terrorists or Insurgents

India ShootingDuring the last few days, newspapers from around the world have been headlining with the tragic story unfolding in India. Beyond the details of the story, newspapers from the Middle East have characterized the attackers as ‘insurgents’ and ‘gunmen’. Al Jazeera’s Arabic edition left out the word ‘terrorist’ altogether, unless quoting an Indian source, and their English version repeated the same non-indicting labels. The English version of Al Arabiya described how ‘gunmen’ and ‘attackers’ were terrorizing Mumbai, without using the dreaded ‘t’ word, even in a verb capacity.

To the Arab world, the perpetrators are ‘gunmen’, ‘attackers’ and ‘insurgents’, all labels which could be positive, depending on whose side you’re on; ‘terrorist’ carries only negative connotations. In the west, these innocuous attackers are terrorists. From France’s Le Monde and Le Figaro to the leftist newspapers in Italy (Corriere della Sera), the UK (the Guardian) and, gulp, the New York Times, these ‘attackers’ are ‘terrorists.’

Until Muslims in the Middle East and around the world believe that the men currently hunting British and American innocents are terrorists, not simply valiant insurgents, tragedies like Mumbai are doomed to recur.

Afghanistan’s Hope and Terror’s Enemy: Education

afghan_girl

For hardliners in Afghanistan, the enemy isn’t the United States—it’s culture. In this year alone, the Taliban have bulldozed and razed 115 schools, and last week, they adopted a new tactic to handle Afghani girls seeking education. Acid-filled water pistols.

From the AFP:

Men on motorbikes used a water pistol to spray acid into the faces of Shamsia and around dozen other girls as they arrived at school wearing all-covering burqas in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday.

Shamsia, 17, was the most badly wounded and had some acid enter her eyes. She was transferred to a military hospital in Kabul where she was visited Saturday by other schoolgirls, accompanied by media.

“I will go to my school even if they kill me,” she told reporters. “My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”

America’s ‘me’ generation of students willing to shoot fellow classmates for their sneakers should be forced to learn from young people like Shamsia who risk everything for the opportunity to learn.

I also hope that military and political leaders, now considering a troop surge in Afghanistan, will recognize the need for a culture overhaul. If Afghanis can’t access alternatives to poppy crops and religious fanaticism, in the form of knowledge and opportunity, they are destined to continue down the medieval road they’ve set out for themselves. And the United States is doomed to fail in their effort to root out al-Qaeda.

Education and modernity remain the greatest threats to Islamic terrorists and Muslim despots.

Obama: a Plant?


A friend forwarded me an e-mail detailing the possibility that Obama could be a plant, by going back through his past and examining various inconsistencies and troubling questions which have gone unanswered. Perhaps many of you have received these viral e-mails, like the one claiming Obama is a Muslim.

Come on. Conservatives need to stop investigating Obama, start looking at the polls and wake up. However entertaining, none of these viral e-mails addresses the real problem: the poll respondents who have him in the lead. Therein lies the problem.

Americans don’t care that Obama is a socialist; why should they care who planted him? Just this weekend, while greeting voters, Obama was confronted by a plumber who said, ‘you’re going to raise my taxes, aren’t you,’ to which Obama replied, ‘I just want to spread it around.’ That’s codespeak for socialism, Marxism and all the other redistribution ideologies that have failed over the last century or so.

The bottom line is this: Americans are ignorant and ill-informed. They believe Obama will be powerless to harm the country or their bank accounts, even though he will have both houses of Congress in his pocket to enact any tax increase he wishes.

Voters will get exactly what they deserve when they elect an anti-American socialist on November 4. Despite the complete and utter failure of the Bush administration, the polls shouldn’t be close. Voters should look at the impressive characters supporting Obama (Chavez, Castro and Ahmadinejad), at his background and philosophies, his past as a street thug intimidating banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them and his involvement with Acorn, Ayers and Rezko. And most importantly, they should examine his ideology.

That this election is close is a testament one of two realities: the stupidity of Americans, or their sudden embrace of Marx and wealth redistribution. Neither of the two conclusions is comforting.

In response to the financial crisis of last week, Russia’s communist newspaper Pravda headlined with ‘The triumphant return to the teachings of Marx and Engels.’  Perhaps on November 5, we’ll be staring at a similar headline in The New York Times.

Multiculturalism Hits a Snag in Venice

Recently, an incident at the prestigious Venetian museum, Ca Rezzonico, caused a stir when one of their guards asked an Arab tourist to remove her niqab, a veil concealing all but her eyes. After she had purchased a ticket to the museum, she made her way to the second floor with her family and was advised to remove her veil. She refused, and a political firestorm ensued.

The museum director apologized. “It was a decision taken by the guard who has committed a serious error.” But was it really a mistake? According to their own guidelines for immigrants issued in 2007, it wasn’t. Instituted  under the previous center-left government, the law prevents niqabs and burqas because, “they prevent the identification of the person and are an obstacle to the interaction with others.”

Member of the anti-illegal immigrant Northern League, Sen. Castelli requested that the justice minister ensure the safety of the guard’s position at the museum. “He should be given an award, not punished,” cautioned the deputy mayor of nearby Treviso.

Whether the guard was justified in his action, at least the concerning parties are in an environment where they can speak openly and candidly without being labeled racists.

The Forbidden City? Saudi Women Protest Olympic Absence

The Global Scelto: Barack Obama

Like I explain in my book, The Absentee Ballot, recognizing traits unique to the United States and Americans became easier after I had been abroad for a while. I didn’t notice our idiosyncrasies because they bombarded me daily.

One of the most glaring American deficiencies is our obsession with acceptance. We are consumed by wearing the latest trend, living in the most beautiful house and driving the best car. I was reminded yesterday when I parked outside of a golf shop and sat in the car while my husband went inside. I watched a man exit the store and open the car door of a late model black Mercedes, with shiny rims and windows with a gangster tint, sitting in the spot adjacent mine. His hair was perfectly coiffed, his clothes spiffy and a diamond encrusted Rolex sparkled on his wrist. My mind then drifted to a Milanese Rolex dealer who once told me that Rolex only makes the diamond face for the American market; Europeans would never wear them. Sure, they might buy a watch costing five-hundred thousand Euros, but it wouldn’t contain diamonds and no one would ever know.

This story does have a point, apart from materialism. The diamonds we wear, the Guccis we carry, and the BMWs we drive aren’t for our benefit. They are for the benefit of the guy at work and everyone else we come in contact with. Like this psychological need to impress, we have become unhinged in our recent desire to re-curry favor in the international community. It’s like there are three hundred million Sally Fields standing on the world stage demanding “like me, really really like me.”

Barack Obama isn’t just the first black American to receive a major party nomination; apparently he’s the only one who can make the world like us again. A Washington Post article starts out by pointing to our tattered reputation abroad. It goes on to explore the global reaction of Obama’s nomination.

From India: Sunila Patel “A black president of the U.S. will mean that there will be more American tolerance for people around the world who are different.”

It’s nice that Ms Patel is concerned about our racial tolerance, but maybe she should worry about the fissures within her own community. Just how tolerant are the Hindus toward the Muslims and vice-versa. And how evolved is a society based on a caste system and one in which males having more value than females.

From Britain. “Obama is the exciting image of what we always hoped America was,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a British foreign policy institute.

What were you hoping America was? Tolerant? Racially diverse? Multicultural? Compassionate? One question. Who was the last black, or nominee of Indian or Pakistani descent to become Prime Minister of Britain? Maybe I missed him or her in my history books. Perhaps Mr. Niblett is simply excited at the possibility of having a fellow socialist in the Oval Office.

From Germany: Obama also has strong support in Europe, the heartland of anti-Bush sentiment. “Germany is Obama country,” said Karsten Voight, the German government’s coordinator for German-North American cooperation. “He seems to strike a chord with average Germans.”

Which average Germans would those be? Is she referring to “evolved” citizens like herself who work in think tanks and universities, or the ones desecrating Jewish graves and inciting racial violence throughout the Fatherland?

I voted twice for Bush, and he has proven worthy of a spot in a ‘who is the worst President in the last hundred years?’ debate. The dollar is a shadow of its former self, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, gas prices have ballooned, relations with our allies have suffered, wages have stagnated, and our federal budget has expanded to unprecedented levels. And for all of the Bush apologists who point to an increase in security, try traveling internationally. While machine gun toting and profiling Italian police roam Malpensa airport in Milan, our security asks us to take off our shoes. I’ve smuggled cheese each and every trip and until they catch my cheese, I won’t admit that the country is safer.

Bush’s poor performance aside, when did a President become a reason to celebrate or despise a country? Do we hate Venezuelans because of Chavez? Are Iranians evil because of Ahmadinejad?

It is too simplistic to characterize a nation based on the election of its President. It is also unhealthy for Americans to elect a President based on a desire to be liked.