What About The Arab Apartheid? Part II
The Palestinian Authority and most of the Arab governments have not missed a chance since US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel to remind us that construction of 1,600 new apartments in the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, as well as the renovation of an ancient synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, would trigger a "third intifada" or, even worse, an all-out war in the Middle East -- and is the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East.
It is funny to see countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Egypt condemn Israel for being an "apartheid" state and for restricting freedom of religion. These countries, along with the Palestinian Authority and predominantly Islamic countries, should be the last to talk about "apartheid," freedom of religion bad persecution of minorities.
Of all Arab and Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia is often described as a "glaring example of religious apartheid."
Although Saudi authorities allow Christians to enter the country as temporary workers, they dont permit them to practice their faith. Items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam are prohibited. Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death. Saudi Arabia does not allow non-Muslim clergy to enter the kingdom country for the purpose of conducting religious services. Christians, and other non-Muslims, are prohibited from entering the cities of Mecca and Medina.
In Riyadh, the death sentence against a Lebanese charged with "sorcery" has just been re-confirmed. The man, Ali Hussein Sibat, a father of five, is a former host of a popular call-in-show that aired on a Lebanese satellite TV channel. H was arrested by Saudi Arabias religious police and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. According to his lawyer, Sibats only crime was the he used to predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.
The real threat to peace in the Middle East is the absence of freedom, democracy and transparency in the Arab and Islamic world.
But the medias obsession with Israel has diverted attention from other news that could also be seen as a threat to stability and peace:
In Cairo earlier this week, a court postponed the trial of three Egyptian Muslims accused of murdering six Coptic Christians and a police officer in southern Egypt last January. The murderers sprayed worshippers with bullets as they emerged from services on the eve of the Coptic Orthodox Christmas in the village of Nagga Hammadi. Egypts Copts are an endangered minority. Over the past few decades, hundreds of thousands have emigrated, while many of those who are left behind are forced to convert to Islam every year to escape persecution.
In Baghdad earlier this week, Iraqi Christians took to the streets to protest against increased attacks and to demand government protection. The demonstration was held after nine Christians were killed in the past two weeks in the city of Mosul. The United Nations says more than 600 Christian families have fled the city since the recent attacks. Attacks on Christians in Iraq are not a new phenomenon. In 2004, five churches in Baghdad were bombed, and any Christians have since been kidnapped, murdered and maimed.
Earlier this month, more than 200 villagers, most of them Christians, were slaughtered by Muslims in a Nigerian town called Jos. The perpetrators were reported to have set homes on fire and slashed peoplke with knives and machetes.
In Rabat, Moroccan authorities last week expelled some 70 foreign Christian aid workers for allegedly trying to convert local Muslims. Many of those targeted in the nationwide crackdown cared for 33 Moroccan orphans at the Christian orphanage Village of Hope in the town of Ain Leuh. Moroccos government defended the decision by claiming that the Christians had violated the Islamic countrys religious traditions and legislation banning proselytizing.
Earlier this month, more than 200 villagers, most of them Christians, were slaughtered by Muslims in a Nigerian a town called Jos. The perpetrators were reported to have set homes on fire and slashed people with knives and machetes.
In Sudan, Christians, especially those living in the southern part of the country continue to complain about persecution and murder.
In Lebanon, Christians continue to flee the country in search of a better life in North America and Europe.
In Bethlehem last week, the Palestinian Authority closed down the only Palestinian Christian TV station in the West Bank. The station, called Al-Mahed (Nativity) TV, had been operating for the past 14 years and was known as the only mouthpiece for the Christian minority in the Holy Land. The Palestinian Authority claimed that the station was shut because it did not have a proper license.
The Egyptians and Jordanian authorities who in the past few days denounced Israels measures and policies have also been arresting activists who collected donations for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Many newspaper readers and TV viewers in the US, Canada and Europe by now know where Ramat Shlomo is, although many Jews and Arabs had not heard about this relatively small and neighborhood until the announcement that was made during Bidens visit.
Ironically, the protests that followed have thus far led to a fresh wave of violence in Jerusalem and some parts of the West Bank, prompting Israel to impose temporary security restrictions on Palestinians wishing to pray at the Aqsa Mosque or visit Jerusalem.
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by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.
by Yaakov Lappin
Hamas's long-term ambitions are indistinguishable from those of Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Hamas will now focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank and eventually toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would certainly find such a goal easier to accomplish.
Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas's popularity secure, like frequent wars.