Egyptian military regime steps up repression as food becomes unaffordable

Sisi2

Two years ago General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, defence minister in Mohamed Mursi’s government, became president of Egypt. He had led a military coup that toppled the Mursi government in July 2013, drowning the military’s Islamist opponents in blood.

Since then, there has been no let-up in the state-organised repression of the el-Sisi regime’s bourgeois political opponents, liberal activists and the working class and repression is increasing as the cost of basic commodities soar.

The judge in yet another kangaroo court sentenced former Muslim Brotherhood President Mursi to 40 years in prison following his conviction on charges of spying for Qatar by allegedly passing on classified Egyptian documents to the petro-state. He sentenced to death six other defendants, including two Al-Jazeera news service employees in absentia. Mursi is currently appealing a previous death sentence and another two sentences—life in prison and 20 years in prison—in separate cases.

El-Sisi banned the Brotherhood after his takeover, declaring it a terrorist organisation. Since then, he has mounted a vicious crackdown against all opponents of the military elite that has dominated Egyptian political and economic life since the 1952 Free Officers’ coup.

The government declared a three-month state of emergency in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, which it has illegally extended across the entire Peninsula ever since. It was aimed ostensibly against the Bedouin and Islamist fighters in the impoverished desert region who have killed dozens of security personnel. But the curfews, detention without trial or even charges, shutdown of cell phone and internet networks, and routine abuse by the army and police have only inflamed tensions.

The Egyptian state has outlawed protests, imprisoned tens of thousands, sentenced hundreds to death and introduced a sweeping counterterrorism law that vastly expanded the authorities’ powers. Mass trials, mostly of Brotherhood supporters, failed to establish individual guilt. Several thousand have been tried in military courts. Torture and enforced disappearances are commonplace, with many detainees dying in custody from mistreatment.

The junta harasses and investigates independent NGOs and prosecutes journalists who dare to criticise its actions. Three leading members of the journalists’ union face trial for harbouring “fugitive” colleagues and publishing false news, after the police stormed their headquarters to arrest two reporters hiding inside the union’s offices on May 1. The media were banned from covering the preliminary proceedings.

The regime has also targeted the universities, amending the law to allow the state to appoint senior university personnel and university heads in order to expel students. It has deployed security forces on campuses, arresting at least 790, mainly for protesting against the government, many of whom were tortured or abused. At least 89 were referred to military tribunals where some were sentenced to death or life imprisonment. According to officials from Egypt’s two largest universities, 819 students have been expelled since 2013. Some were Brotherhood supporters, while many others were protesting against abuses by the security forces.

In February this year, Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni, who had been writing his thesis about independent trade unions, was found tortured to death after disappearing on the January 25 anniversary of the 2011 revolution that toppled long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak, when security forces were out in force in central Cairo.

All the indications are that the top echelons of the regime were involved in the murder as it prepares to legislate against “independent” unions, with the official state unions filing a lawsuit to criminalise unofficial unions, many of them connected to Washington. The government is also seeking to shut down NGOs that receive overseas funding.

Despite the crackdown on political protests, including a ban on a march on International Workers Day last month organized by independent trade unions, rising prices, low wages and delays in paying wages and bonuses are fuelling social and economic tensions.

In the wake the 2008 global financial crisis and the political upheavals following Mubarak’s ouster, Egypt’s economy has gone into free fall. With its main foreign currency earners, the Suez Canal hit by falling trade and tourism by security fears, the Egyptian pound has plummeted. This, along with the price hikes resulting from the taxes and cuts in subsidies on basic goods imposed in 2014, new import duties on several products, including nuts and fruits, and restrictions on others, has sent prices, particularly foodstuffs, medications and fuel sky high.

Inflation is now running at 13 percent a year and rising in a country where 40 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day and wages have not kept up with inflation. Prices are soaring in Egypt despite a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report showing global commodity prices falling to their lowest since June 2010.

So great is the fear that rising prices may lead to widespread protests that the government announced government stores would offer basic commodities at discounted prices.

Egypt’s Central Bank has raised interest rates twice this year, to around 12 percent, to bolster the pound. This move threatens the already limited capital investment in Egypt, following its 14 percent devaluation of the pound, which set exchange rate at 8.85 pounds to the US dollar, compared to 7.73 previously. On the black market, traders are paying up to 11 pounds per dollar. Another devaluation is expected later this year.

Egypt’s budget deficit rose to 9.2 percent of GDP in first nine months of this fiscal year, up from 9.0 percent in the same period last year.

The el-Sisi regime is dependent on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States for its economic and political survival, with Washington providing at least $1.3 billion a year in direct aid. It was Egypt’s dire financial situation that led el-Sisi to transfer sovereignty of two strategic Red Sea islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia as part of an economic deal to stimulate Egypt’s economy, although the courts have unexpectedly nullified the transfer. Under the deal, Riyadh is to provide Cairo with a $22 billion oil and aid deal, including loans of $1.5 billion to develop the Sinai Peninsula, $1.2 billion to finance Egypt’s oil purchases and a $500 million grant to buy Saudi exports and products.

According to Egyptian NGO Democracy Meter, in the first four months of 2016 thousands have defied the ban on protests to take part in a total of 493 actions, ranging from work stoppages to peaceful marches and pickets. This represents a 25 percent increase from the same period last year. In the last month, workers have held sit-ins over unpaid wages in Cairo and at the port of Alexandria, Egypt’s second city. Security forces broke up the protests, arresting 13 workers and engineers who face the possibility of military trials since the Alexandria facility belongs to the navy.

Heightening the political and economic crisis engulfing el-Sisi’s dictatorship is the scandal surrounding the leaking of the school-leaving examinations on which entry to university depends. The revelation has led to the cancellation of one of the examinations and protests by high school students, highlighting the deteriorating conditions of public education in Egypt where teachers routinely take charge of at least 60 students in a class and schools operate daily on a double-shift basis.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Zo veel afleiding!

Velen van ons proberen al jaren vooruitgang te boeken in het geloof, maar toch schijnt het maar niet te lukken. Ieder goed voornemen dat we hebben, loopt al gauw uit op niets. Het onderhouden van het gebed is daar een geschikt voorbeeld van.

Om aan een oplossing voor dit probleem te werken, moeten we allereerst begrijpen dat ons lichaam het hart volgt, zoals de profeet vrede zij met hem zei:

“Voorwaar, er bevindt zich in het lichaam een ‘vleesklomp’, als die goed is, is het hele lichaam goed en als die slecht is, is het hele lichaam slecht. Voorwaar, dat is het hart.”  [Bukhari]

Onze daden zijn de vruchten van het hart. Wanneer het hart gezond en schoon is, brengt het gezonde en mooie vruchten voort en anders brengt het niet veel goeds voort.

En net zoals het hart invloed heeft op onze daden, hebben de daden omgekeerd ook invloed op het hart. Allah zegt:

“…wat zij plachten te doen (aan zonden) heeft hun harten bedekt.” [83:14]

De profeet vrede zij met hem heeft dit vers uitgelegd met het feit dat iedere keer wanneer de dienaar een zonde begaat, deze een spoor nalaat op het hart en dat deze door het vragen van vergeving weer verdwijnt. Maar wanneer de ene zonde de ander dan opvolgt, zonder het tonen van berouw, dan zal dit zo’n groot effect hebben, dat het hele hart beslaat.

In een andere overlevering vergelijkt de profeet vrede zij met hem het hart dat erg beïnvloed is door zondes met een scheefstaand glas. Een scheefstaand glas kan je blijven vullen, maar het houdt het water niet vast.

Dit is de situatie van velen van ons, beste broeders en zusters. Wij willen verbetering en vooruitgang maar doordat we ons hart onrecht aandoen met slechte daden, weigert dit mee te werken.

Stoorzenders
Een factor waar het hart dagelijks last aan ondervindt is het zicht. Het zicht waar wij het gevaar van onderschatten. Een poëzieschrijver zei:

“Alle gebeurtenissen beginnen met het zicht”

Ibn al-Qayyim – moge Allah hem genadig zijn – verduidelijkt dit en zegt:

“Het zien wekt een gedachte op, de gedachte wekt een begeerte op, de begeerte wekt een wil op. En de wil wordt steeds sterker totdat er een daad plaatsvindt.”

Velen van ons geven hun ogen vrij zicht, niet beseffende hoe groot haar effect op het hart is.

Op straat lijkt het bijna alsof alles wat voorbijloopt gekeurd moet worden. Wanneer we achter een scherm zitten, en dat doen we veel, wordt alles wat voorbijkomt aandachtig bekeken, ongeacht of datgene gepast is of niet.

Vanwege het gevaar van deze twee ogen spreekt Allah de mannen aan en zegt:

“Zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige mannen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …” [24:30]

En vervolgens spreekt Allah de vrouwen aan:

“En zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige vrouwen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …” [24:31]

Het gehoor
Een andere factor die direct effect heeft op het hart is ons gehoor. Het luisteren naar zaken als muziek, roddel en vulgair taalgebruik komen het hart niet ten goede.

De tong
De tong en de zondes die daarmee worden voortgebracht, hebben ook effect op het hart. Er zijn dan ook vele overleveringen die waarschuwen voor het gevaar van de tong.

Verboden relatie’s
Niet te vergeten de verboden relatie’s die vandaag de dag gemakkelijk tot stand komen. Wiens hart verbonden is aan een persoon middels een verboden (buitenechtelijke) relatie, heeft een aanslag gepleegd op zijn eigen hart.

Slecht gezelschap
Het verkeren in slecht gezelschap is zeer schadelijk voor het hart, aangezien je in slecht gezelschap: het slechte ziet, hoort en spreekt. Alleen al het laten van slecht gezelschap kan een keerpunt zijn in het leven.

Onzinnig tijdverdrijf
Naast de verboden zaken, zijn er ook heel wat onzinnige zaken die ons vandaag de dag afleiden, bezighouden en ons belemmeren van het goed benutten van onze tijd, of zeg maar: van het goed benutten van ons leven, want het leven bestaat uit tijd.

Als er een applicatie was voor de smartphone (en die zal er vast wel zijn) die bijhoudt hoeveel we dagelijks met de smartphone bezig zijn, dan zouden we daarvan schrikken. Hetzelfde gaat op voor andere elektronica zoals de tv en spelcomputers. Heeft het leven niets anders te bieden dan bezig zijn met dit elektronische ‘vermaak’?

Degene die zijn smartphone in deze gezegende maand af en toe uitzet (niet enkel op stil) om te genieten van rust en aanbidding, heeft zich ontdaan van een hele grote stoorzender.

Verzwakt hart
Kortom beste broeders en zusters, zoveel slechts en afleiding voor het hart, dat het hart zo erg verzwakt raakt dat het geen zin heeft in het verrichten van goede daden. Zoals ibn al-Qayyim zei:

“Wanneer het hart gevuld is met onzin en het houden ervan, is er geen ruimte meer over voor de waarheid en het houden ervan …”

Beste broeders en zusters

Degene die oprecht zijn band met Allah wil verbeteren, en daar is deze gezegende maand ideaal voor, moet als eerste beginnen met het afstand nemen van al datgene wat schadelijk is voor zijn hart, want dan pas zal er ruimte zijn voor het goede.

Net zoals degene die een tuin wil beplanten met rozen eerst het onkruid verwijdert, dienen wij ook het onkruid om ons heen te ‘verwijderen’ en weg te houden om vervolgens mooie vruchten voort te brengen en te behouden. 

Stuur het door; “Wie aanspoort tot het goede, heeft dezelfde beloning als degene die ernaar handelt.” [Sahih Muslim]

Abulfadl / Student aan de Universiteit van Medina, Saudi Arabië.

21 Ramadan 1437 / – 26 juni 2016 –

Kuwait Divests From G4S

26 JUN
11:39 PM

The Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in Kuwait has decided, as reported in the Kuwaiti media, to divest its funds from G4S, a company that is profiting from the Israeli occupation and has a notorious record of human rights abuses. The decision comes following calls from BDS Kuwait and the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society, on PIFSS to divest from G4S.

Earlier in May, a parliamentary inquiry by Kuwaiti MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan directed to the Ministry of Finance was submitted raising questions about the nature of the shares that PIFSS held in G4S, a company that is profiting from Israeli international law violations committed against the Palestinian people. In his response to the parliamentary inquiry, the Kuwaiti Minister of Finance, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the PIFSS, confirmed that PIFSS has sold all its shares in G4S.

Guman Mussa, BDS Campaigns Coordinator in the Arab World, welcomed the new victory against G4S saying: “The decision of PIFSS in Kuwait to respond to a call made by Palestinian civil society and BDS Kuwait affirms that the Palestinian cause is part and parcel of the consciousness of the Kuwaiti people. Kuwait shines a glimmer of hope against normalization with Israel’s regime of occupation and settler-colonialism”.

G4S, a British-Danish security company that operates in more than 125 countries around the world, had announced in March its intention to exit the Israeli market following mounting global pressure and financial losses incurred as a result of BDS campaigns. Nonetheless, the company has gained an ill-famed reputation not only due to the human rights abuses in which it is involved but also for repeatedly contradicting its promises to divest from the Israeli occupation. This has led BDS campaigners to accuse the company of dishonesty and deception. Since the March announcement, BDS campaigns against G4S have been escalating globally, not least in the Arab world.

Mussa added: “We shall continue with our campaigns against G4S both globally and in the Arab world due to its complicity in crimes committed by the occupation, knowing that BDS activists – from Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan to Egypt and Morocco – are escalating the pressure against the company.”

“G4S clients in the region are responding positively to the campaign. Many have assured us that they are seriously exploring the possibility of severing their relationship with G4S due to its role in Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.”

Commenting on the news, BDS Kuwait stated: “Kuwait has always been and still is at the forefront of supporting the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom, justice and self-determination. The decision by PIFSS rightly distances Kuwait from any suspicion of involvement with companies profiting from occupation and reaffirms Kuwait’s commitment to the rights of the Palestinian people as well as our responsibility as Kuwaitis to combat normalization”.

Mussa concluded: “G4S claimed it was withdrawing from Israel ‘for entirely commercial reasons’, but that is the very logic of the BDS campaigns for corporate accountability. As was the case at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure, as this latest success in Kuwait shows, is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israel’s regime of oppression is becoming commercially untenable”.

Background Information

– G4S announced in March 2016 that it will end all its contracts with the Israeli military, prison services, police and settlements. The Financial Times reported that G4S was “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”

– If BDS compels G4S to follow through with its announcement by ending all forms of complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, G4S would become the fourth multinational to abandon the Israeli market, in less than a year, due to heavy losses and/or reputational risk.

– In September 2015, French corporate giant Veolia set the trend by selling off all of its businesses in Israel after losing tenders and contracts worth billions of dollars following a seven-year BDS campaign against its role in illegal Israeli settlement projects.

– Irish building materials corporation CRH has more recently exited the Israeli market, selling off its 25% stake in the Israeli occupation-profiteer Nesher Cement.

– French telecommunications giant Orange announced earlier this year the termination of its franchise relationship with Israeli Partner Communications, after intense BDS pressure in France and Egypt.

– In a related major development, the $20-billion pension fund of the United Methodist Churchdeclared in January 2016 the five largest Israeli banks off limits for investment and divested from the two that it held in its portfolios.

– The Israel Export Institute has revealed that Israel’s exports in 2015 have dropped by 7% over 2014.

Foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 46% in 2014 as compared to 2013, according to a UN report. One of the report’s authors admitted that BDS played a key role in this sharp drop.

Moody’s, a leading credit ratings agency, warns: “the Israeli economy could suffer should BDS gain greater traction.”

– In addition to abandoning its Israeli contracts, G4S announced in March it was selling its mass incarceration businesses that operate youth detention centers in the UK and the US. It is accused by campaigners of involvement in racist and abusive practices.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Erdogan to Betray Gaza for Israeli Gas

Israeli and world media have featured screaming headlines over the past few days that Turkey and Israel are about to resume diplomatic relations broken off after Israeli naval commandos murdered 10 Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 (including one U.S. citizen).  The freeze between the two countries cut off Israeli trade and military coöperation with one of the largest and most influential Muslim nations in the region.  Prior to the massacre, Turkey and Israel’s militaries conducted joint military exercises, intelligence agencies freely shared information, and bilateral trade flourished.

I should add that much of the ISIS oil pumped in Iraq ends up purchased by Israel via Turkish ports.  So in this illicit trade, both appear allied.

Since 2010, Turkey has had three key demands in order to resume ties: financial compensation to the victims, an Israeli apology, and lifting Israel’s siege of Gaza.  As outlined in the press, Turkey will have two of those three conditions met.  Israel will pay $20-million to the families of the victims.  It has already apologized.  But Israel adamantly refused to lift the siege.  Instead of holding fast until his demands were met, Erdogan caved.

Israel has only agreed to permit Turkey and Germany to build a new hospital in Gaza and to build a new sewage treatment and power plant there.  Turkey will also be permitted to aid in reconstruction of the 20,000 homes destroyed in the 2014.  But it will be forced to unload all shipments at the Israeli port of Ashdod.  This is ironic because the entire purpose of the Mavi Marmara trip was to break the Israeli blockade.  After Israel hijacked the ship and kidnapped the passengers it forced them to Ashdod, where Israeli authorities promptly stole millions of dollars worth of electronic equipment and personal belongings of the victims.  Meaning that Turkey has acceded to the very conditions which the Mavi Marmara sought to end.

A further dark irony of the Turkey-Israel agreement is that as soon as the next war between Israel and Gaza breaks out, these Turkish projects will be among the first Israel will destroy.  Just as it did during Operation Protective Edge when it destroyed every government building, the Islamic University and infrastructure like power and sewage plants.  In an earlier conflict it destroyed a nascent project to rebuild the Gaza seaport funded by the Dutch and French.

turkey israel oil gas fields

Oil and gas fields in eastern Mediterranean

So what exactly has Turkey won and Gaza lost?  Most importantly for Turkey, Israel plans to extract massive amounts of oil and gas off its seacoast from the Mediterranean.  A number of nations and militant groups dispute Israel’s plans.  Both Gaza and Lebanon claim portions of these fields are in their territory.  Hezbollah, no doubt, looks forward to attempting to sabotage any resource production off the Lebanese coast.

Israel is hard at work attempting to ensure the security of these new oil platforms.  When Turkey was out of the picture, Israel negotiated with Cyprus and Greece to ship its product to Europe.  But Turkey, with its powerful military forces, was a wildcard.  Now, with Turkey back on the team, Israel not only has one less enemy to worry about, it could conceivably receive assistance from the Turkish military in protecting the facilities.

What’s in it for Turkey?  A significant portion of the likely $2-billion cost of the project along with a percentage of the tens of billion in revenue generated by transshipment through Turkish territory.  You can easily see when faced with a choice between loyalty to Gaza and a financial bonanza, which outcome Erdogan preferred.

Israel’s new Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, was reported to have made a secret visit to Turkey in recent days.  Though Israeli media says he went to ask Turkey to shut down Hamas activities inside the country, Turkish media said he came to discuss oil. Haaretz reports that Turkey agreed to shut down all military activities of Hamas on its soil (I’d only heard Israel claim once during this period that a Hamas operative planned a terror attack from Turkey). Hamas political activity will continue there.  Though both oil and Hamas may’ve been subjects on the table, my guess is that Cohen came primarily with barrels of oil and dollar signs flickering in his eyes.

Though this subject hasn’t been mentioned in the media, Israel and Turkey also have common interests in Syria, where the Muslim nation supports Sunni rebels (some say ISIS itself) fighting the Assad regime on the northern front; and Israel supports al-Nura rebels on the southern front.  What form such cooperation may take isn’t clear.  But you can be sure that both will be exploring their options.

Israeli media also report another visitor to Turkey’s Ottoman-style presidential palace: Hamas chief, Khaled Meshal.  This visit can’t be a happy one for the Hamas leader.  He’ll essentially be told by Erdogan that Turkey’s commitment to Gaza has evaporated.  Hamas will have little or nothing to show for it.  And all Erdogan’s bluster over the past few years about how he remained steadfast for Gaza in the face of Israeli barbarity–all that will be for naught.

The two groups shut out of the benefits of the oil-gas revenue are Gazans and Israelis.  You read that right.  Oh, a few Israeli oligarchs, IDF ex-generals and intelligence chiefs who transformed themselves into consultants will reap almost all the billions.  Bibi and the Likud will take some of the spoils as well.  But the average Israeli?  Not a hope in hell that this will benefit him or her.  Remember that Israel is the poorest of 32 OECD countries and has the fifth most striated economy.  It has 18 families which own 60% of the country’s corporate equity.  There will be no trickle-down benefit to the poor in Israel.  So if you’re counting winners and losers, the result is a given.

(Source / 26.06.2016 )

Muslims injured in police attack at Aqsa Mosque

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation police on Sunday morning assaulted Muslim worshipers at the Aqsa Mosque and injured a number of them. In a provocative step, the Israeli police allowed in the morning a group of Jewish settlers to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque under security guard, which provoked angry reactions from the Muslims there and prompted them to chant religious slogans to protest their presence. Afterwards, Israeli police forces stormed the Mosque, fired tear gas grenades and bullets at the worshipers and attacked some of them with clubs. According to the Red Crescent, at least five Muslim worshipers were badly injured during the police attack. Some of them suffered bullet injuries. Four Muslim worshipers, including three from South Africa, were arrested during the events. “The Israeli police opened al-Maghariba Gate [of the Aqsa Mosque] for the entry of settlers, and this was not a usual scene during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Al-Maghariba Gate was supposed to be completely closed,” a senior official of the Islamic waqf authority said. The Israeli police had claimed a few days ago that all settlers would be prevented from entering the Aqsa Mosque during the last 10 days of Ramadan, when the Muslims observe “I’tikaaf” (an act of religious seclusion inside mosques). An official source from the waqf authority told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the Israeli police decided to prevent all Muslim worshipers under age 30 from entering the Aqsa Mosque following these violent events.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Sabri: Israeli attack on Aqsa worshipers crime

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Head of the Supreme Islamic Council, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, slammed on Sunday an Israeli police attack on the Muslim worshipers at the holy al-Aqsa Mosque earlier in the day. Talking to a PIC journalist, Sheikh Sabri denounced the break-in carried out by the Israeli occupation police into the plazas of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning and the violence perpetrated against the peaceful Muslim worshipers. He further spoke out against the break-ins launched by Israeli settler gangs at al-Aqsa during Ramadan in a barefaced violation of national and international laws. “The Muslim worshipers were attacked while they have been maintaining vigil at al-Aqsa as has always been the case during the last ten days of Ramadan,” said Sabri. “The Israeli occupation police targeted the peaceful Muslim worshipers, who kept chanting ‘Allah is the Greatest’ in protest at the assault, with randomly-shot spates of rubber bullets and teargas canisters,” he added. A number of Muslim worshipers sustained injuries while others were arrested following the assault. Sources at the Islamic Awqaf Department said the Israeli forces prevented Muslims aged below 30 from entering the Mosque, sparking further tension at and around the holy site.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

ISIS: The brainchild of Wahhabism

ISIS Wahhabism 04e54

Like the Ikhwan before, ISIS represents a rebellion against the official Wahhabism of modern Saudi Arabia. And yet ironically its roots are firmly anchored in Wahhabism.

ISIS’ swords, covered faces and cut-throat executions all recall the original Brotherhood. But it is unlikely that the ISIS hordes consist entirely of diehard jihadists. A substantial number are probably secularists who resent the status quo in Iraq – Baathists from Saddam Hussein’s regime and former soldiers of his disbanded army.

This would actually explain ISIS’s strong performance against professional military forces. In all likelihood, few of the young recruits are motivated either by Wahhabism or by more traditional Muslim ideals. In 2008, MI5’s behavioural science unit noted that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could be regarded as religious novices.”

A significant proportion of those convicted of terrorism offences since the 9/11 attacks have been non-observant, or are self-taught. Misguided or disguised ISIS militants are certainly not looking for religious enlightenment; rather they have been sold to a violence which speaks to their own pain and sense of loss.

Two wannabe jihadists who set out from Birmingham for Syria in May 2014 had ordered Islam for Dummies from Amazon. ISIS militants are no Muslim devouts, only sociopathic begots.

It would be a mistake to see ISIS as a throwback; it is a thoroughly modern movement which has drawn its inspiration from the Ikhwan crusades. It has become an efficient, self-financing business with assets estimated at $2bn. Its looting, theft of gold bullion from banks, kidnapping, siphoning of oil in the conquered territories and extortion have made it the wealthiest jihadist group in the world. There is nothing random or irrational about ISIS violence. The execution videos are carefully and strategically planned to inspire terror, deter dissent and sow chaos in the greater population.

ISIS is not just a terror army, it is a terror movement with imperialistic ambitions. And if its methods are terrifying and bloody, they are hardly an innovation. There too ISIS drew from past examples – Mass killing is after all a thoroughly modern phenomenon, one which western powers gave into many times over.

During the French Revolution, which led to the emergence of the first secular state in Europe, the Jacobins publicly beheaded about 17,000 men, women and children. In the 1990s, Armenia slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of Azeris in a grand scale flash ethnic cleansing campaign.

Similarly, ISIS uses violence to achieve a single, limited and clearly defined objective that would be impossible without such slaughter. As such, it is another expression of the dark side of modernity – industrial killing to achieve politico-strategic goals.

Above all, ISIS wants rebuild the caliphate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkey declared null and void in 1925.

The caliphate had long been a dead letter politically, but because it symbolised the unity of the ummah and its link with the Prophet, Sunni Muslims mourned its loss as a spiritual and cultural trauma. Yet ISIS’s projected caliphate has no support among ulema internationally and is derided throughout the Muslim world.

That said, the limitations of the nation state are becoming increasingly apparent in our world; this is especially true in the Middle East, which has no tradition of nationalism, and where the frontiers drawn by invaders were so arbitrary that it was well nigh impossible to create a truly national spirit. Here, too, ISIS is not simply harking back to a bygone age but is, however eccentrically, enunciating a modern concern.

The liberal-democratic nation state developed in Europe in part to serve the Industrial Revolution, which made the ideals of the Enlightenment no longer noble aspirations but practical necessities. It is not ideal: its Achilles heel has always been an inability to tolerate ethnic minorities – a failing responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In other parts of the world where modernisation has developed differently, other polities may be more appropriate. So the liberal state is not an inevitable consequence of modernity; the attempt to produce democracy in Iraq using the colo­nial methods of invasion, subjugation and occupation could only result in an unnatural birth – and so ISIS emerged from the resulting mayhem.

ISIS has declared war against all — Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Yazidis — there is no escaping this reactionary band of Godless criminals and murderers.

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has now become the designated target of ISIS militants. As if playing out a Greek tragedy, ISIS seeks now to strike at its creator, intent on pushing the boundary of the acceptable to reinvent itself not a religion but a radical atheist movement which stands in negation of the Holy, in all its forms and all its manifestations.
It was ibn Abdul Wahhab who declared it incumbent upon his followers to wage “Jihad” against all the Muslims, and that it was permitted for them to enslave their women and children. ISIS clearly heard its father’s calling.

This approach was derived from the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, who remains to this day an important influence guiding the principles of Islamic terrorism. It is strange that, of all the Muslim scholars throughout history that he could have chosen from, that Wahhab, and all modern Muslim “reformers” after him, emphasize the importance of Ibn Taymiyyah, whose orthodoxy was questionable, and who in his own time was repeatedly in conflict with the leading scholars and the ruling establishment.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Journalist Abu Arafa detained by PA intelligence

NABLUS, (PIC)– The Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence agents on Saturday evening arrested the correspondent of the Shihab news agency Amer Abu Arafa during a photo shooting tour in the Old City of Nablus. Abu Arafa’s wife, Safa Al-Hroub, said the PA intelligence officers chased down her husband as he was taking live pictures of the Old City and dragged him to the Juneid lock-up. Abu Arafa, an ex-prisoner, was released by the PA intelligence hours later, after he had been subjected to exhaustive questioning.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Two Palestinian prisoners tortured during arrest by the IOF

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee revealed on Saturday that two Palestinian prisoners were subjected to torture during their arrest at the hands of Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) few days ago.  The committee’s lawyer Hassan al-Sheikh said, in a statement, that captive Mahmoud Ibrahim, 19, from Beit Fujjar town near Bethlehem, was subjected to a brutal attack by the IOF soldiers at the time of arrest on June, 20, 2016. He was left with injuries and bruises.  For his part, captive Ali Dairiyeh, 22, from the same town, was subjected as well to severe beating during his arrest. He suffered from bruises and injuries all over his body especially on the face. He was arrested on June, 21, 2016 and held captive in Etzion Israeli jail, the lawyer said.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

20 Sick prisoners in critical health conditions in Ramleh hospital

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Lawyer of Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee, Hanan al-Khatib, warned of the critical health conditions of 22 Palestinian sick captives in the Israeli Ramleh prison hospital. “Their lives are in danger … they are dying inside jail”, she said and called for serious work for their release.  Lawyer al-Khatib on Saturday documented the cases of those sick prisoners. She revealed that the injured captive Daoud Rayyan, 34, has been suffering from anxiety disorder before his arrest. His condition has worsened after the arrest and the injury,  she said.  Detainee Yousuf Nawaja, 50, from Yatta town in al-Khalil suffers from ceaseless bleeding and amnesia after he had fallen on the ground in Ashkelon jail. He also struggles with partial paralysis, epilepsy as well as worsening of his overall health condition, Khatib said.  She also mentioned the condition of the sick detainee Sami Abu Diyak, 33, from Jenin, who is suffering from infections and tumors in the guts. He underwent a surgery to remove 80 centimeters of his intestines in Israeli Soroka Hospital.

(Source / 26.06.2016)