All posts filed under: Middle East

Human rights groups: Britain’s support of Egypt’s Sisi ‘is pushing Muslims towards al-Qaeda’

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لاَ يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالاً وَدُّواْ مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاء مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

“You who have iman! do not take any outside yourselves as intimates. They will do anything to harm you. They love what causes you distress. Hatred has appeared out of their mouths, but what their breasts hide is far worse. We have made the Signs clear to you if you use your intellect.”

(Ali-Imran: 118)


IBT

By Orlando Crowcroft

Britain’s support for Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi is pushing more young Muslims towards al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, while damaging the country’s credibility in the Arab world, according to human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch director Sarah Leah Whitson criticised Western support of the military leader who overthrew Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and held “sham” elections which he later won.

Israeli settlers are using archaeological digs as cover to take Palestinian land, British government says

وَقَضَيْنَا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ فِي الْكِتَابِ لَتُفْسِدُنَّ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَّتَيْنِ وَلَتَعْلُنَّ عُلُوًّا كَبِيرًا

فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ أُولَاهُمَا بَعَثْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ عِبَادًا لَنَا أُولِي بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ فَجَاسُوا خِلَالَ الدِّيَارِ ۚ وَكَانَ وَعْدًا مَفْعُولًا

ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَا لَكُمُ الْكَرَّةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَمْدَدْنَاكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ أَكْثَرَ نَفِيرًا

إِنْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا ۚ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ الْآخِرَةِ لِيَسُوءُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُوا الْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَلِيُتَبِّرُوا مَا عَلَوْا تَتْبِيرًا

عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَنْ يَرْحَمَكُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ عُدْتُمْ عُدْنَا ۘ وَجَعَلْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ حَصِيرًا

We decreed in the Book for the tribe of Israel: ‘You will twice cause corruption on the earth and you will rise to a great height. When the promised first time came, We sent against you slaves of Ours possessing great force, and they ransacked your houses, rampaging right through them. It was a promise which was fulfilled. Then once again We gave you the upper hand over them and supplied you with more wealth and children and made you the most numerous group. If you do good, you do it to yourselves. If you do evil, you do it to your detriment. When the next promised time arrived, it was so that they could injure you and enter the Temple as they had entered it the first time, and in order to completely destroy what they had conquered. It may well be that your Lord will have mercy on you. But if you revert to what you did, We also will revert. We have made Hell a prison for the kafirun.’

(Al-Israa, 4-8)


Independent

Excavations undermining Palestinian homes are said to have led to building collapses

JON STONE

Isareli settlers are colonising Palestinian territory under the guise of moving in to areas to protect historic archaeological sites, the British government has said.

Ministers say they are concerned that the Israeli government agency in charge of preserving historic artefacts is undermining efforts for peace in the region by working with a group of “radical” settlers.

Israel election: Obama criticises Netanyahu’s ‘deeply divisive rhetoric’ – as US takes Iran and Hezbollah off terror threat list

Independent

US President has yet to call the Israeli PM to congratulate him on his election victory

VICTORIA RICHARDS

Barack Obama has criticised the “divisive rhetoric” used by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the closing stages of the country’s parliamentary election, shortly before he swept to victory ahead of the Zionist Union party.

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party returned 30 seats in the Knesset to the Zionist Union’s 24 – and is now likely to form the next coalition government with partners on the right and the centre.

Study: Government forces responsible for majority of rapes in Syria

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الْأَبْصَارُ

مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لَا يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ ۖ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاءٌ

“Do not consider Allah to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed, rushing headlong – heads back, eyes vacant, hearts hollow.”

(Ibrahim, 14:42-43)


FP

BY MARYA HANNUNAPRIL

Rape has played a devastating role in Syria’s two-year-long civil war, but data about how prevalent the practice is in the murky conflict have been hard to come by. In one of the most ambitious efforts yet to nail down statistics, a study released Wednesday indicates that Syrian government forces have committed most acts of sexual violence.

Is the UK punishing a Briton for Syria relief work?

الَّذِينَ يَلْمِزُونَ الْمُطَّوِّعِينَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ إِلَّا جُهْدَهُمْ فَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنْهُمْ ۙ سَخِرَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

As for the people who find fault with those muminun who give sadaqa spontaneously, and with those who can find nothing to give but their own effort, and deride them, Allah derides them. They will have a painful punishment.

(At-Tawba, 79)


Al-Jazeera

Unable to obtain a passport for his newborn daughter, British aid worker alleges harassment by UK security services.

London, United Kingdom – A British aid worker based in northern Syria says he has been denied a UK passport for his baby daughter and sustained harassment by the security services has left him feeling he has “no home to go to”.

Tauqir Sharif, who works with his British wife in a refugee camp near the Turkish border, says British officials’ failure to grant his 17-month-old daughter a passport has effectively stranded her in Syria, and potentially placed the family in greater danger by making it harder for them to escape if fighting breaks out.

US Muslim tortured in UAE for 106 days struggles to prove FBI hand

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الْأَبْصَارُ

مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لَا يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ ۖ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاءٌ

“Do not consider Allah to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed, rushing headlong – heads back, eyes vacant, hearts hollow.”

(Ibrahim, 14:42-43)


RT

A US citizen, who was put on a no-fly list, declared a threat to national security and tortured in an UAE prison after refusing to become an FBI informant, is having a hard time proving it happened at the behest of the US authorities, his lawyer told RT.

Yonas Fikre is an Eritrean born American citizen who immigrated as a refugee to the US when he was 13 from neighboring Sudan. He became a US citizen and in 2006 settled in Portland, Oregon. His problems began soon after 2010 when he went back to Khartoum, where he still had relatives, to start an electronics import business.

Saudi prince: Iran deal could prompt nuclear fuel race

Al-Arabiya

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal warned on Monday that a possible deal on Iran’s nuclear program will prompt Saudi Arabia and other states to seek the development of atomic technology.

“I’ve always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same,” he told the BBC in an interview.

“So if Iran has the ability to enrich uranium to whatever level, it’s not just Saudi Arabia that’s going to ask for that,” he added.

Assad shuns Kerry’s call for negotiations

Al-Arabiya

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News

The Syrian President has dismissed comments made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Bashar al-Assad should be included in any dialogue aimed at reaching a political transitions “declarations from outside do not concern us.”

Kerry made his comments in an interview that aired Sunday as the civil war in Syria entered its fifth year.

A new New Cairo: Egypt plans £30bn purpose-built capital in desert

Guardian

The currently nameless city of five million would be home to 660 hospitals, 1,250 mosques and churches, and a theme park four times the size of Disneyland – all to be completed within seven years. Could it happen?

A scale-model of Egypt’s planned new capital, on display at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference at Sharm el-Sheikh

‘Governments think they can just move people to new areas’ … a scale model of Egypt’s planned new capital

Patrick Kingsley in Cairo

Egypt’s capital has moved two-dozen times in the country’s 5,000-year history, but its current seat of power has remained unchanged since AD 969. That was the year when Fatimid invaders began to build a grand enclosure to house their new mosques and palaces – a private city known to its residents as al-Qahera, and eventually to the world as Cairo.

Iran’s advances create alarm in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf

Guardian

Arabs believe Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana’a are in effect under Iranian control – and power may shift further if US sanctions are eased

Ian Black Middle East editor

The commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been working overtime recently, flaunting their achievements across the Middle East and flexing muscles as international negotiations over the country’s nuclear programme enter their critical and perhaps final phase.

Swiss citizen arrested for fighting Islamic State

swissinfo.ch

By swissinfo.ch and agencies

Johan Cosar, a Swiss citizen who has been fighting against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria, was arrested in Basel upon his return to Switzerland, accused of illegally fighting for a foreign army.

The 32-year-old Cosar, who was born in St Gallen and grew up in Locarno, is currently free on bail but faces up to three years in prison if convicted of fighting for a foreign military force without permission, according to Swiss Public Television, RSI.

Military justice proceedings against Cosar were launched last autumn while he was still in Syria. In December 2014, Cosar told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps that his intention in travelling to Syria was never to fight – instead, he first worked as a journalist for Italian-language Swiss media.

Images of Syrian torture on display at UN: ‘It is imperative we do not look away’

وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الْأَبْصَارُ

مُهْطِعِينَ مُقْنِعِي رُءُوسِهِمْ لَا يَرْتَدُّ إِلَيْهِمْ طَرْفُهُمْ ۖ وَأَفْئِدَتُهُمْ هَوَاءٌ

“Do not consider Allah to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed, rushing headlong – heads back, eyes vacant, hearts hollow.”

(Ibrahim, 14:42-43)


Guardian

Graphic exhibition of photographs showing the victims of atrocities carried out by Assad regime goes on display at UN headquarters

Raya Jalabi in New York

Images of tortured, bloodied and bruised bodies go on display in the glittering halls of the UN in New York for the next 10 days, to remind staff “not to look away” from the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

A long way from home: Syrians find unlikely refuge in Brazil

Guardian

Since 2013 Brazil has resettled more Syrian refugees than any other country in the region, but Latin America can come as a culture shock after life in a war zone

Dana al-Balkhi who was among the first Syrian refugees to reach Brazil.

Jonathan Watts in São Paulo

Brazil did not loom large in the life of Humam Debas before the war in Syria. As a business manager from the city of Hama with a comfortable income, he had thought about taking his wife to Rio de Janeiro for a holiday. But all he really knew about the distant country was that it had beautiful beaches and a great football team. He assumed everyone there spoke English because it was close to the US.

UN plan to resettle Syrian refugees in northern Europe

Guardian

UNHCR proposes one-year pilot programme for ‘orderly relocation’ from overstretched southern countries

Harriet Grant

The UN has drawn up radical plans for an “orderly relocation” of thousands of Syrian refugees from southern Europe to richer countries in the north, and is pressing the EU to agree to a year-long pilot programme.

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the start of the Syrian conflict, and with ever greater numbers of refugees arriving in southern European countries, the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, has approached senior EU figures to get backing for its pilot programme.

Saudi king vows to defend Muslim, Arab causes

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

“It is deeply abhorrent to Allah that you should say what you do not do.”

(As-Saff, 3)


AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — In his first major policy speech since assuming the throne in January, Saudi King Salman has vowed that the kingdom will defend Arab and Muslim causes.

Israeli companies operate in the Gulf

الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِنْدَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا

“Do those who take the kafirun as protectors, rather than the believers, hope to find power and strength with them? Power and strength belong entirely to Allah.”

(An-Nisaa, 4:139)


MEM

Several Israeli or Jewish owned companies have been operating in the heart of several Gulf States, Rai Al-Youm reported Israeli analyst for security and military affairs Yossi Melman as saying.

Melman, who is very close to many senior Israeli military and security officials, recently revealed that the Swiss-based Asian Global Technology (AGT), which is owned by an Israeli Jew based in US called Mati Kochavi, won its first contract in a Gulf country in 2008.

HR‎W chief under fire for tweeting ‘fabricated’ picture of Saudi Arabia

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِين

“You who have iman! If a deviator brings you a report, scrutinize it carefully in case you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you have done.”

(Al-Hujuraat, 6)


Al-Arabiya

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News

The executive director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth has come under fire for tweeting a picture as if it was from Saudi Arabia when in fact it had nothing to do with the kingdom and a spokesperson for the rights group confirmed the picture shouldn’t have been used because it was potentially confusing.

Syria air strike kills al-Nusra Islamist leaders including top commander

وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

إِنْ يَمْسَسْكُمْ قَرْحٌ فَقَدْ مَسَّ الْقَوْمَ قَرْحٌ مِثْلُهُ ۚ وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنْكُمْ شُهَدَاءَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ

وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَمْحَقَ الْكَافِرِينَ

“Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers. If you have received a wound, they have already received a similar wound. We deal out such days to people turn by turn, so that Allah will know those who have iman and can gather martyrs from among you – Allah does not love wrongdoers – and so that Allah can purge those who believe and wipe out the kafirun.”

(Al-Imran, 3:139-141)


IBT

By Vasudevan Sridharan

An air strike is believed to have killed at least four leaders including the top frontline commander of the al-Qaeda-affiliate group al-Nusra in Syria.

The extremist group has confirmed Abu Hommam al-Shami was killed along with three others as they were holding a meeting in Syria’s northern Idlib province.

Will Syria’s Nusra Front split from al-Qaeda?

Al-Arabiya

By Mariam Karouny | Reuters Beirut

Leaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al-Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, sources said.

Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding.

Disintegration of Syria rebel group hampers fight against IS

وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

“They were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the Best of Plotters.”

(Al-Anfaal, 8:30)


France 24

The apparent disintegration of a key Syrian rebel group has dealt a major blow to US efforts to build up a force of moderate fighters to take on the Islamic State group.

The Hazm movement was seen as a cornerstone of the train-and-equip programme Washington hopes will bring thousands of non-extremist fighters to bear against IS in Syria.

But after suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate at the weekend, Hazm appears to have disbanded, with many of its fighters reported to have joined an Islamist coalition.

“The collapse of… Hazm means that, in effect, there is no substantial and credible Western-backed ‘moderate’ opposition throughout most of Syria,” intelligence consultancy The Soufan Group said in a brief.

Britain’s Problem With Islam

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ

وَإِذَا انْقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انْقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ

وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ

وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ

فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ

عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ

هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ

“Those who did evil used to laugh at those who had iman. When they passed by them, they would wink at one another. When they returned to their families, they would make a joke of them. When they saw them, they would say, ‘Those people are misguided.’ But they were not sent as guardians over them. So today those who have iman are laughing at the kuffar, on couches, gazing in wonder. Have the kuffar been rewarded for what they did?”

(Al-Mutaffifin, 83:29-36)


Huffington Post

Oliver Carter-Esdale

Classics and English at Bristol University. Student and Activist. Shortlisted for Guardian Student Columnist 2014

Modern Britain has a problem with Islam. This may not come as much of a surprise to some readers. For many in Britain, Islam is considered an isolating force, and its followers are somehow externalised from British identity, regardless of their birthplace or what passport they hold. Indeed, being both British and Muslim is now being painted as a potentially impossible identity. If Britain First, the spawn of the far-right hate group, the English Defence League, and their propaganda are to be believed, perhaps the two identities are mutually exclusive, and thus there can be no such thing as British Muslims.