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Dagelijks archief 19 juli 2013

Ken jouw profeet!

Deel 1

Het is niet gepast om als moslim niets tot weinig te weten over onze nobele profeet Mohammed salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem. Dit terwijl wij van andere ‘persoonlijkheden’ alle details kennen.

Van de grootste gunsten die de mensheid heeft gekend is de zending van deze edele profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem.

Allah zegt:

“Voorzeker, Allah gaf een grote gunst aan de gelovigen, toen Hij tot hen een boodschapper uit hun midden stuurde.” [3:163]

De profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem is geboren in de stad Mekka, 15 eeuwen geleden en stamt af van Quraish. Één van de meest vooraanstaande stammen van de Arabieren.

Zijn moeder heet Aminah en zijn vader heet ‘Abdullah.

Zijn vader stierf toen de profeet nog baby was in de buik van zijn moeder, of niet lang na zijn geboorte. Hij groeide dus op als weeskind.

Tot zijn vierde levensjaar verbleef hij bij zijn zoogmoeder genaamd Halima op het platteland. Het was de gewoonte van de Arabieren om hun kinderen te laten zogen buiten de stad, om zo in een gezonde omgeving op te groeien. Toen het voorval met de engel Jibriel gebeurde waarbij zijn hart werd gereinigd, bracht Halima hem terug naar zijn moeder.

En twee jaar later overleed zijn moeder Aminah, dus toen de profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem zes jaar oud was.

Daarna kwam hij onder de hoede van zijn opa ‘Abdulmottalib en werd hij verzorgd door een vrouw genaamd Um Aymen.

Zijn opa stierf twee jaar later, toen de profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem acht jaar oud was. En vlak voor zijn overlijden vroeg hij zijn zoon – Abu Taalib – om de profeet na zijn overlijden onder zijn hoede te nemen.

Dus toen kwam hij onder de hoede van zijn oom Abu Taalib terecht, die erg veel van de profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem hield. En de profeet continu in bescherming nam toen hij de boodschap begon te verkondigen en zijn volk hem daarvan wou belemmeren.

Op zijn 25e trouwde hij met Khadija -radia Allaho ‘anhaa- . De profeet reisde naar waar nu het huidige Syrië is om handelswaar voor haar te verkopen, en de jongen die hem daarin vergezelde vertelde Khadija daarna over wat hij zag van zijn vrome manieren. Hierop wenste zij met hem te trouwen.

Al zijn kinderen zijn afkomstig van Khadija, behalve zijn zoon Ibrahim. Hij had met Khadija vier dochters en twee zoons. Zijn dochters waren: Zayneb, Roqayah, Um Keltoem en Fatima. Zijn zoons met haar waren: al-Qaasim en ‘Abdullah.

De profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem stond vóór het profeetschap al bekend bij zijn volk om zijn vrome manieren. Zijn bijnaam was ‘de betrouwbare’.

Allah had hem vóór het profeetschap behoed van al het slechte; hij deed niet mee met de gewoontes van zijn volk, zoals veelgoderij en het drinken van alcohol. Maar was ver verwijderd daarvan.

Dit is in beknopte woorden onze profeet salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem vóór het profeetschap.

Wordt vervolgd …
Abulfadl, student aan de Universiteit van Medina. Saudi Arabië.

10 Ramadan

Allah belast ons niet boven ons vermogen

By Marianna Laarif

Een korte herinnering aan de Barmhartigheid van Allah. Allah zegt in de Koran: “Voor een zeker aantal dagen (geldt het vasten), maar wie onder jullie ziek is of op reis is, vast een aantal andere dagen.” In dit Koran vers spreekt Allah over de plicht van het vasten en Hij verbindt aan deze plicht een termijn, namelijk: voor een zeker aantal dagen. Ook maakt Hij een uitzondering voor degenen die ziek zijn of op reis zijn. Zij mogen een ander aantal dagen vasten, zij mogen het vasten later inhalen, wanneer ze terug zijn van hun reis of weer beter zijn.

Deze woorden tonen ons de Barmhartigheid van Allah en laten zien dat Allah ons niet boven ons vermogen belast. Allah heeft ons niet opgelegd om het hele jaar door te vasten. Integendeel zelfs: van de 12 maanden die de islamitisch jaarkalender telt, heeft Allah slechts één maand verplicht om te vasten: tijdens de islamitische maand Ramadan. En degenen die door ziekte of reizen niet kunnen vasten, worden tijdelijk vrijgesteld van het vasten.
Allah heeft het beste met ons voor en Hij weet wat goed voor ons is, want zelfs tijdens de maand Ramadan hoeven we niet voortdurend te vasten. Nee, we vasten vanaf zonsopgang tot zonsondergang en tussen zonsondergang tot zonsopgang mogen we eten en drinken.
Allah is Barmhartig en dat zien we ook terug in de Koran. Allah zegt: “Allah wenst gemak voor jullie en geen ongemak. Allah wenst voor jullie het gemakkelijke en niet het moeilijke.” Deze woorden laten zien dat Allah ons niet boven ons vermogen belast, want deze woorden zijn van toepassing op alle islamitische regels. Geen van de regels van Allah wordt gekenmerkt door moeilijkheid, last of hinder, zelfs al beweren veel mensen van wel. Verheven is Hij, wenst altijd gemak voor zijn dienaar.
Toen Allah ons het gebed voorschreef, was dit als gemak bedoeld en niet als een moeilijke zaak. Om die reden werd het aantal gebeden van 50 naar 5 verminderd, omdat Allah wist dat wij geen 50 gebeden per dag zouden kunnen verrichten. Hoewel Allah recht zou hebben op 50 of zelfs meer gebeden per dag, heeft Hij vanuit Zijn Barmhartigheid het aantal gebeden verminderd tot 5 per dag, op bepaalde momenten.
Ook als we kijken naar de Zakat, dan zien we dat het gekenmerkt wordt door gemak. Slechts één keer per jaar hoeven we maar een klein deel van ons bezit af staan. Waarom? Om gemak te brengen voor degenen die geen of weinig geld hebben, die weinig bezit hebben. En zo vinden we allemal gemak, want het deel wat we af moeten staan, dient ook ter reiniging van ons vermogen en van onszelf. Het reinigt ons van hebberigheid en gierigheid en het laat ons denken aan ons medemens.
En ook in het geval van de Hadj zien we dat Allah het ons makkelijk maakt en niet moeilijk. Alleen degenen die financieel en fysiek in staat zijn om op hadj te gaan hoeven te gaan. Degene die het niet kan opbrengen, door ziekte of door een tekort aan geld, wordt niet verplicht om te gaan.
Hoe kunnen we de Barmhartigheid van Allah nog ontkennen?

Lapid: EU Ban Will Promote Terrorism, Not Peace

Finance Minister Yair Lapid

Finance Minister Yair Lapid
The European Union’s new ban on areas located beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines will do nothing to advance peace talks, Finance MinisterYair Lapid wrote on Friday.

In fact, said Lapid in an op-ed which appeared in the New York Times, the ban will simply encourage terrorist groups.

“As the American secretary of state, John Kerry, leads new efforts to reinvigorate peace talks among Israelis and Palestinians, one of the obstacles — if not the main one — is the presence of extremist Palestinians and their supporters,” he wrote. “I’m referring to a diverse group of thugs with automatic weapons: Hamas, Hizbullah, Al Qaeda and fighters backed by Iran. They are all demanding the same thing of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority: Stall. From their perspective, as long as the Palestinians steer clear of the negotiating table, their situation will improve.

“The premise of this militant Palestinian rejectionism is rather simple: As the years pass, the international isolation of Israel will increase,” wrote Lapid. “Indeed, the campaign of delegitimizing the Jewish state — a campaign financed primarily by Arab oil — has gained momentum in recent years. The only thing that can stop it is the resumption of peace negotiations.

“Each time Israel makes a gesture or undertakes a confidence-building measure, the automatic rifles in Ramallah are loaded and cocked. ‘If you agree to sit with the Israelis,’ they warn Mr. Abbas, ‘you will be betraying us and betraying Allah.’

“These enemies are powerful, but their argument has recently weakened,” according to Lapid. “The determination of Mr. Kerry, coupled with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s explicit endorsement of a two-state solution, have opened, for the first time in a long time, a window of opportunity for the resumption of talks.

“It won’t be easy or quick, but for the time being the stranglehold of the extremists has been impaired. One example: I have been able, over the past few months, to publicly conduct meetings with my Palestinian counterpart, Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, to transfer tax monies for the Palestinian Authority (some of which were collected inside Israel proper) and to begin open discussions on joint Israeli-Palestinian economic ventures.

“However, this nascent cooperation is in jeopardy now, because of the well-intentioned but misguided folks in Brussels who do not appreciate the nuances of our region,” wrote Lapid. “In one fell swoop, they have emboldened the extremists, allowing them to triumphantly claim to Mr. Abbas. ‘You see, we were right all along. You must not negotiate. We don’t have to do anything. The international community will do our job for us.’

According to Lapid, “The world shouldn’t make things easier for extremists. It’s challenging enough to remain sane and pursue peace in this crowded, problematic neighborhood of ours. We do not need our friends overseas to make it even more difficult. The EU would do well to revoke its decision.”

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Al-Qaeda commander charged in U.S. over Algeria gas plant attack

Mokhtar Belmokhtar was charged in an eight-count complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a commander of al Qaeda’s North African operations with participating in an attack on Algeria’s Tiguentourine gas plant in January that killed dozens of workers, including three Americans.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar was charged in an eight-count complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, hostage-taking conspiracy, kidnapping of internationally protected persons and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges.

“Belmokhtar brought terror and blood to these innocent people and now we intend to bring Belmokhtar to justice,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Belmokhtar remains at large, according to the statement.

Belmokhtar is associated with two groups, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, and the Al-Mulathamin Brigade and its recently formed battalion called “The Signers in Blood,” the indictment said.

The gas plant, operated by BP in partnership with Norway’s Statoil and Algeria’s Sonatrach, resumed some production in February.

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Israeli banks may lose access to large loans under new EU rule on occupied lands

An Israeli soldier shoots towards Palestinians demonstrating against the expansion of the settlement of Halamish, in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, in February.

Israeli banks, businesses and public bodies will lose access to hundreds of millions of euros in European Investment Bank loans, under new European Union guidelines on Israeli settlements, Palestinian campaigners said today.

This could be the most serious impact of the EU’s decision to ban future subsidies to Israel unless agreements explicitly exclude the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967.

Effect on Israel’s leading banks

The Boycott National Committee (BNC), the Palestinian steering group for the global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctionspublished an interpretation of the new guidelines which found that:

The new guidelines exclude any Israeli entity with activity in occupied Palestinian territory from participating in EU financial instruments such as loans. Among those excluded from receiving loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) will be major Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and Bank Leumi because they all operate illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), including by having branches in illegal Israeli settlements. Bank Hapoalim received a €75m credit line from the EIB in 2006 and is likely to have put some of that credit towards its wide-ranging settlement financing operations.

Recent EIB loans such as the €120m lent to national Israeli water company Mekorot in 2011 or the €40m lent to electric car company Better Place in 2012would not have been granted under the new rules as both companies have sizeable illegal settlement activities. The EIB has provided finance amounting to almost €1 billion to Israeli entities since 1981.

The EIB describes itself as “the European Union’s bank,” owned by the 28 member states. It provides financing for projects inside and beyond the EU on favorable terms.

“Virtually all Israeli ministries and national authorities, major Israeli banks and other private businesses participate in the discrimination and oppression of our people and the colonization of our country,” said Zaid Shuaibi, spokesperson for the BNC. “Many of them play a key role in maintaining and expanding illegal Israeli settlements and infrastructure of the occupation regime. These new guidelines should all but end Israeli eligibility for EIB loans.”

The EIB did not respond to a written request for comment from The Electronic Intifada asking how it will implement the new EU guidelines.

Bigger impact than thought?

While Israeli officials and commentators have termed the EU’s move an “earthquake,” other observers, including The Electronic Intifada’s David Cronin, have cautioned that it may be less significant than thought and that the European Union has a long and ongoing record of complicity with Israeli colonization and other crimes.

The BNC’s Shuaibi added, “Although these guidelines are an important step in the right direction, they do not absolve the EU from the legal responsibility to not recognize and support Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid in many other areas.”

Nevertheless, if the guidelines do indeed restrict access to financing for major Israeli companies and banks, that is likely to set off further alarm bells among Israelis who fear the days of freely colonizing Palestinians while enjoying fully normal relations with the rest of the world are coming to an end.

The US State Department, which has long opposed any practical steps to rein in Israeli colonization and land theft, declined to issue a rebuke to the EU over the new regulations.

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Three killed as militants attack Egypt’s army post in Sinai

An Egyptian military tank is deployed in the northern Sinai town of Al-Arish on July 16, 2013.

Three civilians were killed on Friday when suspected Islamist militants fired RPG rockets at an army checkpoint in el-Arish in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, Al Arabiya correspondent reported from Sinai.

The assailants hit a residential house by mistake, and one of those killed had his legs and head blown off in the attack, hospital sources told AFP.

Military helicopters engaged the assailants and the fighting was ongoing, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

(Source / 19.07.2013)

#FreeBarghouti | Sit-in in Ramallah in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners

images_News_2013_07_19_jordan-prisoners-poster_300_0[1]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Families of Palestinian prisoners organized, with participation of several national and Islamic factions and liberated prisoners, a sit-in on Thursday in the center of Ramallah city in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners in the Israeli jails.

The protestors demanded the Palestinian and Jordanian official authorities and all the humanitarian and human rights bodies to intervene immediately to save the lives of hunger striking prisoners before it is too late, and called for continuing the activities in support of detainees in the occupation jails.

Amin Shuman, coordinator of the High follow up Commission on the prisoners affairs in the occupation prisons, announced that the commission, in collaboration with other institutions and national and Islamic forces, will organize a series of events to activate the prisoners’ cause.

He noted that the events and activities in solidarity with prisoners in occupation jails staged in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the West Bank will be moved to the city centers, “especially in light of the Jordanian and Palestinian captives’ ongoing hunger strike.”

For his part, liberated captive Fakhri Barghouti, who served dozens of years in the occupation prisons, called for taking serious steps to support the prisoners until they achieve their fair and legitimate demands.

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Syrians use Ramadan humor to ease the pain of war

People eat a charity iftar meal in Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo on July 11.

DAMASCUS (AFP) — As Syria’s Muslims observe the fasting month of Ramadan at a time of war for a third year running, many people are turning to black humor to help them cope.

Jokes are a way to weather the difficulties of food shortages, violence and death that mar the sense of community and celebration supposed to accompany the religious month.

One popular joke plays off the traditional cannon fire that marks the end of the fasting day and the beginning of the iftar evening meal.

“Watch out! Just because you hear the sound of cannon fire doesn’t mean it’s time to break your fast,” the joke goes, a sad testament to the frequent sound of warfare across the country.

In areas less affected by violence, residents might each night still be able to hear the msaharati, a man who walks the streets before dawn, waking people to eat before the fast begins.

But in areas ravaged by snipers and shelling, upholding such a tradition has become impossible.

A text message joke picture doing the rounds shows a tank topped with the traditional fez hat worn by the msaharati, rumbling through the streets to waken the faithful instead.

In Homs, where regime forces are pressing an assault against several rebel-held areas, residents have been able to maintain an edgy sense of humor, despite the tough times.

“Breaking news!” reads a text message forwarded among residents of the city in central Syria.

“The msaharati spent hours beating his drum, trying to get people to wake up. But when they didn’t listen, he decided to blow himself up!”

Much of the humor is dark, playing on the chronic food shortages experienced by many people across the country.

“It’s not hard to fast in Ramadan… What’s hard is to find food with which to break the fast,” one young Syrian writes on Facebook.

Even those relatively insulated from the violence that has ravaged Syria, killing more than 100,000 people according to one watchdog, struggle to observe Ramadan in the usual way.

Burdened by inflation and security problems on the roads, housewives are now making more food at home and relying less on buying special Ramadan sweets from the shops.

“The crisis will not stop me from keeping our traditions alive,” said Damascus resident Umm Mazen.

She is resorting to recipes she inherited from her mother to feed her family during the holy month.

Damascus is known across the Middle East for its varied confectionery tradition. The city’s sweet makers use pistachios, pine nuts, honey, lemon and rosewater for their mouthwatering recipes.

Because of soaring prices, Abu Adnan’s liquorice and tamarind drinks shop has far fewer customers than other years, when it was a Ramadan favorite.

“The situation is getting worse… Most people who used to come to the store now prefer to make their own drinks at home,” the elderly Abu Adnan told AFP.

In response to the severe shortages, the government decided in July to ban the export of food, saying it would charge anyone caught smuggling.

The conflict is also testing the country’s charities, which are working to give out more food to the needy during Ramadan, including to thousands of families displaced by violence.

Social networking sites are abuzz with initiatives and campaigns urging Syrians to help the worse-off.

Activist group “Help” has organized charity drives including a “Let’s defeat hunger” campaign.

Restaurant and shop owners are also trying to do good by advertising “cost price meals” — dinners offered for the price of the ingredients without a profit, to the needy.

After more than two years of war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions, many Syrians are eager to take a moment to reflect and pray for their country.

“It’s no longer about being pro- or anti-regime,” says 32-year-old Abdullah, who works as an accountant in the capital.

“People just want to live now.”

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Hamas Strikes Just the Wrong Note

 

Assaf visiting the UN offices in Gaza. He has been appointed UN Ambassador of Goodwill. Credit: Mohammed Omer/IPS.Assaf visiting the UN offices in Gaza. He has been appointed UN Ambassador of Goodwill.

GAZA CITY, Jul 16 2013 (IPS) – Mohammed Assaf is on to a winning track with recordings in Dubai and performances scheduled across Arab countries after winning the Arab Idol contest. But the 23-year-old who has become Gaza’s pride is virtually disowned by the government in Gaza.

This winning Arab Idol sang out from a refugee camp – Assaf grew up in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the south of Gaza strip. When he returned to Gaza after winning the contest last month, he brought rare joy to a besieged people. Thousands gathered at the border to receive him. But officials of the de facto-government in Gaza were absent, and silent.

The two Palestinian parties, Hamas which rules Gaza, and Fatah which rules the West Bank through the Palestinian Authority offered obviously split responses to Assaf’s win.

What many, and of the Islamist kind particularly, dislike about him is that he also sang love songs.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas named Assaf Goodwill Ambassador for Palestine, a position with diplomatic standing. TheUnited Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) appointed him Youth Ambassador of Goodwill.

Within the Hamas government Assaf received some attention from the ministry of culture. Some political leaders from outside of Hamas also held a small reception for him. It did not seem to help that Fatah “adopted” Assaf with gusto, as a Palestinian, even though he is from Gaza.

At the annual graduation ceremony for about 500 students from Palestine University – where Assaf is a student – a university board member celebrated this year’s graduate group as “Assaf’s batch”. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who attended the ceremony spoke of the graduates as “Palestine’s batch”.

Haniyeh seemed out of tune with the mood. Minutes after his departure, the crowds went wild singing Assaf’s award-winning songs.

The controversial Islamist agenda of Hamas surfaced unexpectedly but prominently over the Arab Idol. The strongly Islamist Hamas leadership mostly consider music itself un-Islamic.

Speaking out through the silence of the Hamas government, member of the legislative council Dr. Yahya Mussa seemed to challenge Hamas’s official position by declaring that Assaf is indeed an ambassador to the world.

“I see the rise of promising Palestinian star Mohammed Assaf as adding quality to the defenders of the cause and as a bearer of the flame of Palestinian culture,” he said.

His nationalistic songs too have become a problem for Hamas. Locally and internationally, audiences have particularly enjoyed Assaf’s rendition of the uplifting song “Ali el Koffeyeh” (“Raise Your Keffiyeh…”). His new popularity is making his songs a symbol of hope and unity for Palestinians.

But many Hamas supporters see that song more associated with rival Fatah, and the Keffiyeh as reminiscent of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s favoured head-dress. Hamas is seeing the popularity of Assaf boosting the popularity of rival Fatah.

Among Arabs, Assaf is emphatically the voice of Palestine, for his distinct Palestinian accent, and for the many nationalistic Palestinian songs he sings. Everyone heard the lament and national longing for Palestine in his voice. But what many, and of the Islamist kind particularly, dislike about him is that he also sang love songs, such as the Backstreet Boys hit, “I want it that way”.

Mohammed Abed, Gaza-based journalist told IPS that the Hamas government kept silent because it believes such songs are too profligate. “The government could have given him the chance to sing national songs, but only provided him police escort and security.”

For Assaf, his music will always be more than just music – it is a message. “The media has always attempted to ignore our art and music, as if Gaza is only a war zone,” Assaf told IPS. “If this success shows something, it shows we are a peace-loving nation. And we can be very creative, if only we are given the chance.”

Arab Idol jury member and popular Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama described Assaf as “the best rocket”. Headlines continue to chase Assaf – accompanied by an emphatic silence from Hamas.

Dr. Ahmed Yousef, former advisor to the Hamas Prime Minister, said Hamas cannot deny the fact that Assaf has become a phenomenon. “Art unites Palestinians while politics divides them. This in itself is a certificate of failure for Palestinian politicians,” he told IPS.

To a people starved of success and recognition, Assaf is now a legend. On the Arab Idol talent show on MBC television featuring young singers from the Middle East he simply captivated audiences – and judges.

Assaf’s success was hard won. Before being crowned Arab Idol he was virtually unknown to the wider Palestinian population. Assaf began singing as a boy at weddings in Gaza to earn a little money. He later studied journalism.

It is legend also that he came close to not winning the contest, and close to not being there to win. It took time to get permission to leave Gaza. Even with permission, Assaf almost missed his big chance by getting stuck at Rafah border crossing and roadblocks in between home and the hall in Cairo.

It seemed he would never reach his first audition, but he risked his life by jumping a wall at a roadblock to get through to Cairo. He still arrived late. But then fate and a friend stepped in – a fellow Palestinian singer gave up his slot to give Assaf a chance.

Assaf is now set for the big stage. He is scheduled to sing together with Columbia’s superstar Shakira at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in Brazil next year.

Meanwhile, Assaf has won a 10-year contract with Dubai-based Platinum Records.

Among the prizes he has received is a Chevrolet Camaro. It’s unlikely Assaf will be able to drive his new car in Gaza, as Israel continues to ban entry of eight-cylinder engine vehicles. Israel is of course not on his side, but nor, it seems, is his own government.

(Source / 19.07.2013)

Turkey’s Erdogan slams world’s ‘double standards’ on Egypt

Pro-Islamic Turks take part in a demonstration supporting deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi after Friday prayers in Istanbul July 19, 2013. REUTERS-Osman Orsal

Pro-Islamic Turks take part in a demonstration supporting deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi after Friday prayers in Istanbul July 19, 2013. REUTERS-Osman Orsal
Pro-Islamic Turks take part in a demonstration supporting deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi after Friday prayers in Istanbul July 19, 2013. REUTERS-Osman Orsal

(Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Western and Arab nations of “double standards” for failing to condemn the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood like Erdogan has Islamist roots.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of what it has called an “unacceptable coup” after Egypt’s powerful military shunted the country’s elected leader from office earlier this month.

Although the United States has expressed concern at Mursi’s removal and called for a swift return to democracy, as has the European Union, it has stopped short of calling it a coup, which might have led to sanctions.

Gulf Arab states, which see Egypt as a strategic ally against any threat from non-Arab Iran, celebrated his departure with palpable relief.

“Countries which embrace and care about democracy should not behave with double standards towards these kinds of events and should say something is wrong when it is wrong,” Erdogan told Western, Arab and other ambassadors late on Thursday.

“Those who extol democracy when they meet with us, saying ‘one must not compromise on democracy’, we want to see their backbone,” Erdogan told his guests at a dinner to break the Muslim Ramadan fast.

Erdogan asked why the world stayed silent over the at least 99 people who have died since Mursi was ousted, more than half of them when troops fired on Islamist protesters on July 8.

“Why aren’t you speaking up? Come on, speak up against this. There’s no point in being ambivalent,” he told the diplomats seated around the room at party headquarters in Ankara.

“If you are not going to speak up here, where are you going you to speak?”

REGIONAL INFLUENCE

Erdogan was feted by adoring crowds in Arab capitals only two years ago when Turkey seemed set to expand its trade and influence across the region on the back of his support for the protesters of the Arab Spring.

Egyptians hailed the Turkish leader as a hero on Tahrir Square in 2011, when he was among the first world leaders to tell Hosni Mubarak his time was up.

But Erdogan’s popularity at home and in the region took a dent after a crackdown on nationwide anti-government protests last month in which five people died and thousands were injured.

Egypt’s new interim government has warned Ankara not to meddle in its internal affairs and last week summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Cairo. Egypt’s ambassador in Ankara was not present at Thursday’s dinner.

Turkey’s response to Egypt is at least partly shaped by its own history of having experienced three military coups since 1960, and the removal of its first Islamist government in 1997, events which Erdogan referred to in his speech.

It is a history not lost on Mursi’s supporters.

“Because it has a history of coups, Turkey understands us better and does not want us to go through the same suffering that it has gone through,” Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a former MP from Mursi’s Freedom & Justice Party, told Reuters this week.

“Erdogan is still a hero in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world … If Erdogan ran for election in Egypt he would most likely win the presidency.”

(Source / 19.07.2013)