Gulf politicians: Our regimes are putting our countries in danger


Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf's logo

Gulf politicians have condemned the policies and practices carried out by the Gulf regimes, which “resulted in the region being subject to foreign dangers such as the intervention of the US and Iran, and internal dangers including the political tyranny, financial corruption and absence of justice.”The Gulf politicians, who fall under the name of “Al-Ummah parties in the Gulf States”, stressed their rejection of the recent Gulf security agreement that was designed to protect the ruling regimes at the expense of the freedom and security of the peoples of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, calling for the release of political prisoners.

The general coordinator of Al-Ummah conference, who is the head of Al-Ummah Party in Kuwait, has posted on the social networking website Twitter saying: “Al-Ummah parties in the Gulf refuse the Gulf security agreement and call for the release of the political prisoners.”

In a statement that was released on Saturday, the parties also warned of the danger of “the Gulf interference to thwart the revolution of the Arab people against their corrupt regimes to serve the American-Western presence and tamper with the money and resources of the Gulf in political adventures and conspiracies in order to support the military regimes, as in Egypt, Yemen and Algeria, and sectarian regimes, such as those of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, which reflected negatively on the situation of these Arab states and put them at risk of collapse.”

The statement said US, British and French military presence as well as their military bases should be rejected as they “deprived the region of its independence and sovereignty and put it at risk of international piracy and American interests,” the statement said.

Al-Ummah parties called for: “The political unity of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, setting up rational governance as stated by Islam, including the right of the nation to choose its authority through satisfaction, Shura and elections. They also called for relying on the Islamic law as a reference in governance and legislation, setting justice and equality for all with no difference applied between governors and governed, strong and weak, rich and poor. Defending the nation’s sovereignty and independence against any foreign influence and protecting the nation’s wealth, funds and distributing them equally,” are also vital.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Methods of Islamophobic Propaganda

Ancient Quran on Display

By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah has informed us that there will always be people who intend to misrepresent Islam and make it appear evil. Our modern term for this is “Islamophobia,” which means spreading fear and hatred of Islam. Most people who are against Islam have simply been given misinformation and we should help to provide them with an accurate view of Islam, while others deliberately slander the religion even after they know the truth.

Allah said:

الَّذِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَيَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ كَافِرُونَ

They are those who prevent people from the path of Allah, seeking to make it seem deviant, while they disbelieve in the Hereafter.

Surah Al-A’raf 7:45

And Allah said:

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَحِبُّونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى الْآخِرَةِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَيَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا أُولَٰئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ بَعِيدٍ

They are those who prefer the worldly life over the Hereafter and they prevent people from the path of Allah, seeking to make it seem deviant. Those have been led far astray.

Surah Ibrahim 14:3

We should respond to these allegations with knowledge, good character, and wisdom in order to minimize their harmful impact and to correct the understanding of those who have been intentionally misled.

Anti-Muslim propagandists employ some dishonest methods to achieve their goal. They often cite from apocryphal Islamic writings, such as the works of history by At-Tabari and Ibn Ishaq. These books contain some strange or awkward narrations which are not considered authentic, even by those who narrated them. Anti-Muslim propagandists will cite these stories as if they were authentic in order to undermine Islam. However, these books are not authoritative because they contain many reports with incomplete chains of narration.

At-Tabari, for example, states clearly in the introduction to his history that he mentions narrations which are likely false, sometimes reprehensibly so, and he attributes these solely to their narrators. As a historian, he intended to document what people were narrating and, unlike Al-Bukhari and Muslim, his work was never intended to be a collection of authentic reports.

At-Tabari writes:

وليعلم الناظر في كتابنا هذا أن اعتمادي في كل ما أحضرت ذكره فيه مما شرطت أني راسمه فيه إنما هو على ما رويت من الأخبار التي أنا ذاكرها فيه والآثار التي أنا مسندها إلى رواتها فيه دون ما أدرك بحجج العقول واستنبط بفكر النفوس إلا اليسير القليل منه إذ كان العلم بما كان من أخبار الماضين وما هو كائن من أنباء الحادثين غير واصل إلى من لم يشاهدهم ولم يدرك زمانهم إلا بأخبار المخبرين ونقل الناقلين دون الاستخراج بالعقول والاستنباط بفكر النفوس فما يكن في كتابي هذا من خبر ذكرناه عن بعض الماضين مما يستنكره قارئه أو يستشنعه سامعه من أجل أنه لم يعرف له وجها في الصحة ولا معنى في الحقيقة فليعلم أنه لم يؤت ذلك من قبلنا وإنما أتى من قبل بعض ناقليه إلينا وإنا إنما أدينا ذلك على نحو ما أدي إلينا

The reader should know that with respect to all I have mentioned and made it a condition to set down  in this writing of ours, I rely upon traditions and reports which I have transmitted and which I attribute to their transmitters. I rely only very exceptionally upon what is learned through rational arguments and deduced by internal thought processes. For no knowledge of history of men of the past and of recent men and events is attainable by those who were not able to observe them and did not live in their time, except through information  and transmission provided by  informants and transmitters. This cannot be brought out by reason or deduced by internal thought processes. This writing of mine may be found to contain some information, mentioned by us on the authority of certain men of the past, which the reader may disapprove of and the listener may find detestable, because he can find nothing sound and no real meaning in it. In such cases, he should know that such information has come not from us, but from those who transmitted it to us. We have merely reported it as it was reported to us.

Source: Tareekh At-Tabari 3

Likewise, Imam Ahmad warned us about what is narrated in the books of history and exegesis (tafseer). Many of these books contain inauthentic apocryphal material that anti-Muslim writers use against Islam.

Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

قَدْ نَصَبَ اللَّهُ الْأَدِلَّةَ عَلَى بَيَانِ مَا فِيهَا مِنْ صَحِيحٍ وَغَيْرِهِ وَمَعْلُومٌ أَنَّ الْمَنْقُولَ فِي التَّفْسِيرِ أَكْثَرُهُ كَالْمَنْقُولِ فِي الْمَغَازِي وَالْمَلَاحِمِ وَلِهَذَا قَالَ الْإِمَامُ أَحْمَد ثَلَاثَةُ أُمُورٍ لَيْسَ لَهَا إسْنَادٌ التَّفْسِيرُ وَالْمَلَاحِمُ وَالْمَغَازِي وَيُرْوَى لَيْسَ لَهَا أَصْلٌ أَيْ إسْنَادٌ لِأَنَّ الْغَالِبَ عَلَيْهَا الْمَرَاسِيلُ مِثْلُ مَا يَذْكُرُهُ عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ وَالشَّعْبِيُّ وَالزُّهْرِيُّ وَمُوسَى بْنُ عُقْبَةَ وَابْنُ إسْحَاقَ

Allah has provided evidence establishing the authenticity or lack thereof for the narrations that are necessary in matters of the religion. It is well-known that most of what is reported in books of exegesis is similar to what is reported in books of history and battles. For this reason, Imam Ahmad said that three matters are not reliable: exegesis, stories of battles, and history. These matters are narrated without a basis or chain of narration from those who omit narrators such as what is mentioned from Urwah ibn Az-Zubair, Ash-Sha’bi, Az-Zuhri, Musa ibn Uqbah, and Ibn Ishaq.

Source: Majmu’ Al-Fatawa 13/346

Aside from apocryphal writings, anti-Muslim propagandists will cite what is authentic from the Quran and Sunnah but without its proper context and interpretation, giving it a meaning other than its intended meaning.

Allah said:

أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُوا لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Do you hope they will believe in you while a group among them hear the word of Allah, then they distorted its meaning after they understood while they were knowing?

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:75

This verse is criticizing some of the Jews who would change the meaning of the Torah even after they understood the intention of its verses. Yet, it is a general phenomenon that many people who are against the religion of Allah intend to change it with various methods of dishonest interpretation. In our case, many times the Quran and Sunnah are mistranslated or cited without proper context.

For example, perhaps the most misunderstood verses in the Quran are the verses that permit warfare. Some classical scholars referred to these as the “sword verses” by which they meant the sword as a symbol of justice, but anti-Muslim propagandists reinterpret the sword as a symbol of aggression instead. They cite the saying of Allah:

فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ

When the sacred months have passed, then kill the idolaters wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.

Surah At-Tawba 9:5

From this half of the verse, they determine that Islam prescribes killing all non-Muslims simply for being non-Muslims, but they omit the remainder of the verse:

فَإِن تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give charity, let them go on their way. Verily, Allah is forgiving and merciful.

Surah At-Tawba 9:5

The verse is referring to those who initiated aggression against the Muslim community, which is why they are called to repent and, if they do so, the war would be over. In the following verse, all they are required to do to end the war is to cease their aggression:

وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ

If any one of the idolaters seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.

Surah At-Tawba 9:6

It is only by disregarding this context and the broader meaning of the passage that anti-Muslim propagandists can derive their distorted meaning.

M.A.S. Abdul Haleem, Professor of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, writes:

The main clause of the sentence, “kill the polytheists,” is singled out by some non-Muslims as representing the Islamic attitude to war. Even some Muslims takes this view and allege that this verse abrogated many other verses including, “There is no compulsion in religion,” (2:256) and even according to one solitary extremist, “God is forgiving and merciful.”

This far-fetched interpretation isolates and decontextualizes a small part of a sentence and of a passage which gives many reasons for the order to fight such polytheists: they continually broke their agreements and aided others against the Muslims, they started hostilities against the Muslims, barred others from becoming Muslims, expelled them from the Holy Mosque and even from their own homes. At least eight times the passage mentions the misdeeds of these people against the Muslims.

Moreover, consistent with the restriction of war elsewhere in the Quran, the immediate context of this “sword verse” exempts such polytheists who do not break their agreements and who keep peace with Muslims. It orders that those enemies seeking safe conduct should be protected and delivered to the place of safety they seek. The whole of this context to verse 9:5, with all its restrictions, is ignored by those who simply isolate one part of a sentence to build on it their theory of violence in Islam.

Source: The Qur’an, English translation and parallel Arabic text. p. xxiii

In a similar manner, anti-Muslim propagandists cite some verses of the Quran in order make Islam appear as if it is cruel to women. They cite the saying of Allah:

وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا

But those wives from whom you fear arrogance, first advise them, then if they persist forsake them in bed, and finally strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them.

Surah An-Nisa 4:34

They will translate the word “strike” as “beat” as if the verse gives men permission to harm their wives, but the commentators of the Quran agreed that the “striking” here should be without severity (ghayru mubarrih). This striking is not meant to harm the wife, but rather it is a teaching mechanism intended to direct her attention to the severity of her misdeeds. For this reason, Ar-Razi said:

أن يكون الضرب بمنديل ملفوف أو بيده ولا يضربها بالسياط ولا بالعصا

It should be a striking with a folded handkerchief or his palm, and he should not strike her with whips or clubs.

Source: Tafseer Ar-Razi 4:34

These two issues, warfare and women, are commonly used to demonize Islam and Muslims. As a result, we need to respond with what the Quran and Sunnah really teach about warfare and women.

Regarding warfare, Allah has prescribed it as a means of self-defense and only as a last resort when all peaceful measures have failed.

Allah said:

وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

If they incline to peace, then incline to it also and trust in Allah. Verily, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

Surah Al-Anfal 8:61

Ali ibn Abu Talib reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ بَعْدِي اخْتِلَافٌ أَوْ أَمْرٌ فَإِنْ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ تَكُونَ السِّلْمَ فَافْعَل

Verily, after me there will be conflicts or affairs, so if you are able to end them in peace then do so.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 697, Grade: Sahih

Regarding women, Allah has commanded men to treat them with kindness and the Prophet said the best men are those who are best to women.

Allah said:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

Live with them in kindness.

Surah An-Nisa 4:19

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَكْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَخِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ خُلُقًا

The most complete of the believers in faith are those with the best character, and the best of you are the best in behavior to their women.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1162, Grade: Sahih

Finally, anti-Muslim propagandists will attempt to perform publicity stunts in hopes that Muslims will react negatively with bad behavior or even violence. We witnessed such events when some people publicized their intention to burn the Quran or to produce an anti-Muslim film slandering the Prophet.

Indeed, it is the plot of Satan to incite the believers to commit injustice. Satan has given up that those who pray will ever worship him, so instead he intends to exploit their anger.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَدْ يَئِسَ أَنْ يَعْبُدَهُ الْمُصَلُّونَ وَلَكِنْ فِي التَّحْرِيشِ بَيْنَهُمْ ‏

Verily, Satan has despaired of getting those who perform prayer to worship him, but rather he incites discord between them.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1937, Grade: Sahih

When Muslims react negatively to such events, they are in fact being used by Satan. Such misbehavior by Muslims will give them a powerful weapon to use against Islam. Rather, in such cases, Allah has called upon us to be patient with those who abuse us and our religion.

Allah said:

وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

You will surely hear much abuse from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah. But if you are patient and fear Allah, verily, that is of the matters worthy of determination.

Surah Ali Imran 3:186

Likewise, Allah has called upon us to forgive those who misrepresent our religion and not to seek revenge against them.

Allah said:

قُل لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَغْفِرُوا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ أَيَّامَ اللَّهِ لِيَجْزِيَ قَوْمًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

Say to those who believe that they should forgive those who expect not the days of Allah, as it is for Him to recompense people for what they have earned.

Surah Al-Jathiyah 45:14

Therefore, the best way to respond to anti-Muslim propaganda is with knowledge of our scriptures and the good character of the prophets. If we can respond positively in this way, we can minimize their harmful impact and further increase ourselves in good deeds.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Israel’s chief negotiator hints of possible Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state


Tzipi LivniOrbach is reported to have told Livni that, ‘While it is clear to us that Israel is a Jewish state, the Palestinians will never accept this fact.’

Israel’s chief negotiator Justice Minister Tzipi Livni hinted on Sunday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas might agree to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that Livni made the remarks during a heated debate with the Minister of Pensioner Affairs, Uri Orbach of the extremist Jewish Home Party, at the ministerial committee discussing legislation dealing with a new amendment to the Education Act aiming “to assert and strengthen the values of the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s national home.”

Orbach is reported to have told Livni that, “While it is clear to us that Israel is a Jewish state, the Palestinians will never accept this fact.” In turn Livni responded, “Wait, you’re in for a surprise.”

She continued: “What if [the Palestinians] would be willing to acknowledge us as the national state for the Jews, would you be willing to divide the land then?” To which Orbach cynically replied, “Even without recognition I would be willing to do that.”

(Source / 10.02.2014)

9/11 pretext to wage crusade war on Muslims: Academic

The photo shows the Twin Towers in New York on fire after planes hit them on September 11, 2001.

The photo shows the Twin Towers in New York on fire after planes hit them on September 11, 2001.

The US Machiavellian maneuvering in the 9/11 saga has been aimed at launching a “crusade war” on Muslims and disintegrating the strategic governments across the Middle East, an academic writes for the Press TV website.

In a Saturday article, Iranian author and Middle East expert Dr. Ismail Salami described 9/11 as an incident that polarized the global politics into two distinct junctures, with the post-9/11 era “wreaking havoc on the entire world, particularly on the Muslim world.”

“The post-9/11 era provided the US government with a pretext to wage a war on terror or to put it more precisely, to wage a crusade against the Muslim world and to accelerate and vindicate their efforts in destabilizing regional strategic governments, thereby drawing nigh to their monstrous objectives,” Salami wrote.

The analyst described 9/11 as a US-choreographed tragedy explicitly aimed at spearheading a sinister agenda of massive-scale ‘regime change’ in the Middle East.

Salami elaborated on US efforts to overthrow the Iranian governments in the post-9/11 era, including the 2007 allocation of USD-400 million to CIA-led operations against Iran which ranged from spying on the country’s nuclear energy program to supporting rebel groups opposing the Islamic establishment.

The analyst also alluded to Washington’s regime change agenda in Syria following the outbreak of popular movements in the Arab world in 2011, arguing that the US dream of installing a puppet regime in Syria within six months is now “shattered to smithereens.”

“Washington’s agenda on regime change in Syria and Iran has hit the brick and any such efforts are indicators of desperately muddled policies of the intelligence think-tanks in Washington in retaining their dominance in the region and counteracting the mounting political sway of the Islamic Republic,” Salami pointed out.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Israel demolishes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir on Monday, the owner told Ma’an.

Israeli military and police officers blockaded the al-Jisr neighbor early Monday to allow bulldozers to move in and destroy the apartment building, owner Muhammad Hasan Mousa Jaafira said.

The building was constructed 18 years ago and Jaafira said he has been “trying in vain” to obtain a construction license from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality.

The demolition took place without any prior warning, although in the past he was forced to pay a fine of 30,000 shekels ($8,516) for unlicensed construction.

Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1,101 people, according to UNOCHA.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Algerian military guards shoot a Moroccan citizen in the border region

Algerian military guards shoot a Moroccan citizen in the border region

Algerian border guards on Sunday evening shot a Moroccan citizen in the border region, according to a security source cited by Anadolo agency.

The source explained that the injured person called Al Mashti Hussein, a smuggler of goods on both sides of the Moroccan-Algerian border, was hit by Algerian border guards in the region of Bani Khalid, about 30 km from the Moroccan city of Ouejda.

The 47- year-old was evacuated to Al-Farabi hospital in Ouejda to receive the necessary care, the same source added.

An employee from the hospital said that “the patient was in stable condition after being hit by a bullet in the right side of his stomach.”

Neither the Algerian nor the Moroccan authorities have issued any communiqué regarding the incident.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Egypt’s ousted president says protests “useless”


FILE – In this Friday, June 29, 2012 file photo, Egypt’s President-elect Mohammed Morsi talks to his supporters at Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, during his speech in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian officials say security authorities leaked a recording of a private conversation between ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his lawyer on the sidelines of his trial, in which Morsi says protests by his supporters and the crackdown on them are “useless.”

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi says protests by his supporters and the violent crackdown against them are “useless” in a recording of a private conversation with one of his lawyers that was leaked by security authorities eager to show the Islamist leader in a less defiant posture.

Morsi also asked his lawyer, Mohammed Salim el-Awah, for money to be deposited in his prison account for living expenses since he is not allowed visits by friends and family, according to excerpts of the recording published in the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper.

Another member of Morsi’s defense team, Mohammed el-Damati, denounced the recording, calling it a violation of privacy and the Islamist leader’s constitutional rights, and threatened to file a lawsuit.

Morsi was ousted by the military on July 3 following repeated demonstrations calling on him to leave office. He is now held at a high security prison near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. His incarceration there followed four months of detention at an undisclosed location.

The leaked conversation reportedly took place on the sidelines of Morsi’s trial earlier this month as he faced charges of inciting the murder of protesters during his year in power. Two security officials told The Associated Press the recording was released to show the public that Morsi knows protests will not bring him back to power. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Demonstrations led by the Muslim Brotherhood calling for Morsi’s reinstatement have frequently led to violent clashes between his supporters and security forces. While the protests have waned as hundreds have been killed and thousands of Brotherhood leaders and supporters detained, violence has been on the rise, with an increasing number of suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, and assassinations targeting mainly security forces.

An Islamic militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis — Champions of Jerusalem in Arabic — has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. But the Egyptian government accuses the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating a campaign of violence and branded it a terrorist organization. The group denies the allegations.

In the recording, made during the week of Feb. 1-5, Morsi asks his lawyer what is happening on the streets. The lawyer tells him that protests and clashes continue but are not productive and negotiations should be held.

“This is all without a result,” el-Awah said. “People must sit and talk and find a solution.”

“It’s useless for the two sides, “Morsi agreed, referring to the protests and the crackdown against them. “How will we stop all the deaths? Enough deaths.”

Since his ouster, Morsi has largely been kept out of the public eye, appearing only in carefully managed court sessions in which he has frequently shouted defiantly, insisting he is still Egypt’s president.

The country’s first freely elected president after autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising in February 2011, Morsi drew the ire of liberals, secular-leaning youth groups and a large sector of Egyptians who accused the Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood of trying to monopolize power and failing to implement much-needed reforms.

Providing some insight into his life behind bars, Morsi asked his lawyer to deposit money in his prison account for living expenses.

“I need money in my account so I can live,” he said, proposing that the attorney ask the judge for permission to make deposits. It’s not clear if el-Awah made the request in court.

Although inmates are not allowed to carry cash, their families usually deposit money in prison accounts to be exchanged for coupons to pay for their expenses. Visitors are also allowed to bring in food and clothes, but Morsi has been barred from receiving visitors since he leaked a message through his lawyers calling on supporters to challenge his ouster.

“It doesn’t work that the money runs out. … We have expenses,” Morsi said as the lawyer promised to find a solution, adding with a laugh: “They will not spend money on a detainee.”

One security official said that Morsi has been under constant surveillance and releasing the tape allowed the public to “see and become witness to what the lawyer and Morsi are saying.” A second official said that Morsi knew he was being taped and wanted it leaked to the authorities to show that he is open for talks.

In another part of the recording, Morsi asked if army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi will be Egypt’s next president. “God willing, he will be,” El-Awah answered, to which Morsi responded: “Is he not afraid of a coup?”

El-Sissi, who led Morsi’s ouster, has yet to announce an official presidential bid, but the military has thrown its weight behind him. Presidential elections are expected in the spring.

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Pakistan Taliban Has 500 Suicide Bombers, Cleric Says

TTP Press Conference

The Pakistani Taliban has as many as 500 female suicide bombers ready to act, a representative of the group involved in peace negotiations said, underscoring the risk of further violence if talks fail.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan — known as the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP — sees no urgency to reach an agreement with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government, Maulana Abdul Aziz, one of three negotiators representing the TTP, said in a Feb. 7 interview at his Islamabad seminary. The two sides started talks last week.

“You should know that at the moment they have at least 400 to 500 female suicide bombers in Waziristan and other tribal areas,” said Aziz, former head cleric of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, referring to the TTP. “The government should realize the situation and their demands.”

Sharif revived peace talks with the group as pressure grows for a military strike after attacks last month killed more than two dozen soldiers, part of violence that caused the deaths of 40,000 Pakistanis since 2001. Failure to reach a deal would threaten Sharif’s efforts to bolster the $225 billion economy as the U.S. reduces troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Imran Khan, whose party runs a province bordering Afghanistan, predicted in an interview last week that terrorist attacks would prompt the talks to fail, and a military operation would start soon afterward. Khan turned down an offer from the TTP to sit on the same committee as Aziz.

‘Exaggerated Figure’

Aziz said the Taliban is most interested in implementing Sharia law in Pakistan. The U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is “a very small factor” in the fight, he said, disputing statements by Khan and others.

“They are fighting for the implementation of Sharia,” Aziz said at the seminary, where some 1,300 female students are studying. “It’s the law of nature that when people don’t get their rights, they pick up arms.”

The Pakistani Taliban has demanded the withdrawal of troops from tribal areas and the release of prisoners, Dawn newspaper reported today, citing officials it did not identify. The demands stemmed from a meeting of TTP clerics over the weekend, the report said.

The number of female suicide bombers mentioned by Aziz “is a very exaggerated figure,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. “The Taliban are way ahead in the propaganda war, and they have given a tough time to the state,” he said. “Female suicide bombers have been used, but not too many.”

‘No Hurry’

Aziz’s brother died in 2007 along with at least 100 others when former President Pervez Musharraf ordered troops to storm the Red Mosque to end a challenge by pro-Taliban clerics seeking to impose Islamic law in the capital. The move sparked demonstrations and reprisal attacks.

Aziz, who was jailed for two years after the Red Mosque raid, last week temporarily withdrew himself from the talks because the government insisted the negotiations be held under the constitution and avoid including the imposition of Islamic Sharia law, a key TTP demand. He will remain on the TTP’s committee, he said.

“The Taliban are in no hurry,” Aziz said, when asked whether the group wanted a deal soon to avoid a military strike. “They say they are not worried about it. They have been in a state of war for the past 10 years.”

Suicide Bombers

Sharif won an election last year after pledging negotiations with the TTP, a loose group of militants operating along the Afghan border. While Sharif received the backing of all political parties in September to begin talks, the two sides had postponed meeting amid a series of suicide bombings and a U.S. drone strike that killed the TTP’s leader.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who leads the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, has called on Sharif to take a tougher line against the militants. He said in a Jan. 28 Twitter post that Sharif was following a “policy of appeasement.”

In 2009, Taliban militants took control of Swat district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and imposed their strict interpretation of Islamic law, which forbade girls to attend schools. They beheaded local officials and burned schools in a two-year fight that uprooted 2 million people from their homes before a 10-week army offensive ended their rule.

Suicide bombers have been used frequently in the conflict, including two that killed more than 80 people at a Christian church in Peshawar in September. Aziz justified the use of suicide bombers, saying that they believed in the cause and were willing to sacrifice.

“If the military has weapons and air power, they have suicide bombers,” Aziz said of the Taliban. “You cannot match them. Suicide bombers even destroyed the power of America in Afghanistan.”

(Source / 10.02.2014)

Border Police detain, humiliate and arrest men trying to go to Friday prayers; CPTer’s camera taken.

On 7 February 2014, CPTers went to the routine Friday mosque patrol IMG_9874around prayer time.  Often during Friday prayers, Israeli Border police will take the IDs of young Palestinian men while they going into the Ibrahimi Mosque, check to see if they have any outstanding warrants and then return the IDs when the men come out of the mosque.  This Friday, however, Border Police were not allowing the men to go to the mosque while they were checking the IDs.

When CPTers called members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), TIPH personnel told them that Border Police were detaining men at several H-2 checkpoints.  The CPTers decided to look at Checkpoint 29 and found Border Police detaining twenty to thirty men there.  Several of them were quite angry because of the way the Border Police had been treating them.  Other men were trying to calm the situation.  When one man, after realizing he was going to miss prayers at the mosque, began to lay his prayer rug on the ground to pray at the checkpoint, one of the Border Police shoved him against a wall, which really enraged several people in the crowd.

Soldiers pepper-sprayed a boy who appeared to be about eleven or twelve and an older man, who was later hospitalized.  The boy passed out and was taken down the hill to a shop.  Additional soldiers arrived and began deploying sound bombs and teargas.  Police arrested eight men.

Video of Border Police pepperspraying man

After the police took away the men they had arrested, CPTers remained in the area because of the heavy soldier and Border police presence.  Civilian police approached one and asked for his passport and his camera.  They insisted on taking his camera to the police station and he accompanied it.  While he was at the police station, they asked him questions about what he had witnessed, periodically coming out of a room and telling another CPTer that “your friend isn’t arrested; he is just giving testimony.”

As of this writing, six of the men arrested on Friday have been released, while two are still in custody.

(Source / 10.02.2014)


By Peter Clifford                   ©              (

On Friday, the UN in conjunction with the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent, managed to get 83 individuals out of besieged Homs and the first aid supplies in.

On Saturday, while attempting to deliver further aid parcels a Red Crescent convoy came under attack with mortars coming down in the Qarabis district on those waiting to depart and sniper fire.

Finally Some Food Arrives in Besieged Homs

Opposition activists blamed pro-Assad militia opposed to the truce as the culprits, while the Assad regime blamed “terrorists who wanted to prevent people from leaving”.

5 civilians were killed in the attack and 20 wounded. In the event only 2 lorries got through and some of the aid workers were trapped for hours, one of them wounded. Most of those in besieged Homs have been trapped there for almost 2 years.

Video footage of refugees fleeing Homs can be see, HERE: and from another angle,HERE:

On Sunday, yesterday, aid workers were more successful and brought out several hundred exhausted people, bringing the total for 3 days to 611. Of these 210 were women, 180 were children, 91 were men over 55 years old, and 130 were young men who “surrendered to Syrian authorities under UN supervision”.

Authorities said the young men “will be released soon”, though this is not certain as there remains confusion over what happened to young men released previously under truce conditions in Damascus.

So far the Red Crescent says that it was able to get in 60 food parcels and 1500 kilos of flour, though this is relatively little for the remaining 2,000 people thought to be still in Homs Old City. The truce, which was due to end on Sunday, has now been extended for another 72 hours and the UN and aid agencies hope to get more people out today, Monday.

LATEST UPDATE: Another 300 people were brought out from Homs Old City today, Monday, bringing to over 1,000 those rescued.

Both the BBC and CNN have video reports of events in Homs over the weekend, HERE: and HERE:


The relief of the siege of Homs is perhaps one of the better things that has come out of the Geneva 2 talks, which resumed in Switzerland this morning.

The Assad regime reappeared yesterday still led by the Syrian Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, while the Opposition negotiators were headed by Hadi al-Bahra, the whereabouts of Ahmed Jabar unknown.

Terrified Civilians Look Skyward as Unexploded Barrel-Bomb Lies at Their Feet

The Syrian Government wants to talk about “violence and terrorism backed by the Gulf States”, while the Opposition wants to discuss starving civilians in Opposition districts and the 1800 people it says have been killed by barrel-bombs since the start of the talks on January 22nd.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy chairing the Geneva talks, intends to have separate discussions with both sides for the first 3 days and both Russia and the US have offered to get involved.

France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said today that his country would propose a new UN Security Council resolution demanding the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors to besieged cities like Homs, saying, “It is absolutely scandalous that we have been discussing this for some time but the people are still starving”.

A third chemical weapons shipment is also reported to have left Latakia today, Monday, on a Norwegian cargo vessel, escorted by ships from 4 nations.  The removal of the chemicals is weeks behind schedule and Syria has been urged by the UN Security Council to “speed things up”.

On the ground in Aleppo, information is still thin on the result of the Opposition assault on Aleppo Central Prison, but Government artillery shelling on the periphery of the compound was reported this morning, Monday, suggesting that Opposition fighters are still in place.

Another report today says that a further 25 detainees inside the prison have died of starvation and over the weekend there was a unconfirmed report that Assad’s troops guarding what little of the prison they have left, opened a hole in the roof of the political wing and fired in live bullets.  Clearly the story of this battle has yet to be told.

Elsewhere in Aleppo, barrel-bombs continue to rain down. At least 90 barrel-bombs have fallen on Aleppo’s civilian neighbourhoods in recent days and another 12 were dropped on Opposition-held areas this morning, 3 of them on the Hanano housing complex.

A Government missile attack on a Syrian/American aid run hospital in Aleppo killed 2 critically ill patients over the weekend and destroyed most of the unit.

Fighting between more moderate Islamic Opposition brigades and the extreme Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues, with a report that an ISIL unit tried to sneak back into the north-west Aleppo district of Maarath Alertik, but 6 of them were killed and their weapons taken.

At the same time, video has emerged of a number of Tawhid Brigade commanders who appear to heave been shot in the head while asleep in the Sheikh Saeed district by assailants using silenced hand-guns.  ISIL agents are suspected.

In northern rural Aleppo ISIL is reported to have bombarded Akhtareen with mortar shells and to have taken control of a large part of the Quweiq Plain.


In Deir Ez Zour province ISIL forces are yesterday and overnight into Monday reported to have withdrawn completely, abandoning checkpoints and the Al-Jafro and Konku oilfields after 25 of their fighters were arrested, 20 killed and one of their commanders, known as Abu Zahar al-Iraqi, captured.

Two ISIL convoys were seen departing for Hasakah and Raqqah provinces, leaving this checkpoint free, HERE: 

However, in Raqqah itself clashes were reported between ISIL and its former ally, the Al Nusra Front (ANF) near Al-Rasheed Park in the city centre.

In Damascus there are reports that the ANF has agreed to hand-over control of the Yarmouk camp, where another 21 people are reported to have starved to death this week, to the Palestinians.  Aid is trickling in but few of the besieged civilians have managed to leave.

In Jobar district Opposition fighters blew up a building being used as a pro-Assad headquarters (wait for the building to collapse), HERE: 

And the Greek Orthodox nuns from the convent in Malalou, who have been held since December by Opposition fighters, have apparently asked to be used a “bargaining chip” for the release of women prisoners by the Assad regime, HERE: 

In Hama province, Opposition fighters from the hardline Jund al-Aqsa brigade are reported to have killed 20 Assad soldiers and between 21 and 25 civilians in an attack on the Alawite village of Ma’an, due north of Hama city. If true, then the massacre of civilians is a war crime.

The fighters are seen in control of the village, HERE:  and tearing down the Assad flag, HERE: 

Nearby at Morek, Opposition fighters also destroyed a regime tank, HERE:

In Deraa province to the far south, Opposition fighters are reported to have captured part of the Government base Brigade 61 near Nawa and a large contingent of Syrian soldiers fleeing is seen hit by mortar fire, HERE:

Finally, (EDITOR: Though Rap is not normally my cup of tea) this video aptly puts much of the world’s reaction, or lack of it, to “music”:

Getting A Helping Hand to Escape Besieged Homs

Getting A Helping Hand to Escape Besieged Homs