Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Headscarf case for the US Supreme Court, Court to consider accommodations for religiously devout employees: In Plain English

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015   No comments
Samantha Elauf
Religion has been a hot topic at the Supreme Court recently.  Last year, the Justices ruled that a town council could start its meetings with a prayer and also that a corporation owned by a devoutly religious family cannot be required to provide its female employees with health insurance that includes access to birth control that the employer equated with abortion.  And earlier this year, it ruled that Arkansas cannot bar a Muslim inmate from growing the short beard that he believes his religion requires.  The latest chapter on the role of religion in our daily lives comes tomorrow, when the Court hears oral arguments in the case of a Muslim woman whom the retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch declined to hire because she wore a headscarf.  Let’s talk about EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch in Plain English.

Monday, February 23, 2015

New documents suggest that NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran

    Monday, February 23, 2015   No comments

New documents suggest that NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran

An NSA document newly published today suggests two interesting facts that haven’t previously been reported.

The Intercept, which published the document, highlighted that in it the NSA expresses fear that it may be teaching Iran how to hack, but there are two other points in the document that merit attention.

One concerns the spy tool known as Flame; the other refers to concerns the NSA had about partnering with the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters and Israeli intelligence in surveillance operations.

Full story: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/uks-spy-agency-partner-nsa-cyberattacks-iran/
...

Report: Leaked intelligence document shows Mossad didn't think Iran sought nuclear weapon
Al Jazeera says one of hundreds of intelligence documents it has obtained shows that Mossad assessment of Iranian nuclear threat differed with Netanyahu's statements on the issue.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ali al-Hussani al-Sistani: Advice and Guidance to the Fighters on the Battlefields

    Saturday, February 21, 2015   No comments
In the Name of God, Ever-Merciful, Ever-Compassionate 
In the Name of God, Ever-Merciful, Ever-Compassionate


Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Cosmos, and ever-lasting peace be upon the best of His creation, Muhammad and his noble and pure progeny.

I call your attention to the following:

Let the dear fighters know, the ones who have been given the honour to be present in the battlefield against the transgressors, that:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saudi cleric says Earth doesn’t revolve around itself

    Thursday, February 19, 2015   No comments
Founder of Salafism
A Saudi cleric has appeared in a video rejecting that Earth revolves around the sun, claiming instead that it is “stationary.” His statements have incited a fiery response on social media.

When questioned by a student about whether the Earth was stationary or moving, Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari responded with “stationary and does not move,” Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabia reported.

 He then attempted to support his theory with a strange blend of logic and clerical statements.

“First of all, where are we now? We’re going to Sharjah Airport to travel to China by plane, [is that] clear? Focus with me, this is the Earth,” he said while holding up a sealed water cup.

Gulf States side with Qatar in its dispute with Egypt; Is the new Saudi King charting a new path?

    Thursday, February 19, 2015   No comments
Qatar recalls ambassador from Egypt in dispute over Libya strikes

Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Egypt, the state news agency QNA said late on Wednesday, in a dispute over Egyptian air strikes on Islamic State targets in Libya.

The diplomatic row came just two months after a thaw began in relations between the two.

Egyptian jets bombed sites in Libya on Monday hours after Islamic State militants there released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, drawing Cairo directly into the conflict across its border.

U.S. officials, in blunt language, say Israel is distorting reality of Iran talks

    Thursday, February 19, 2015   No comments
The Obama administration on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of misleading the public over the Iran nuclear negotiations, using unusually blunt and terse language that once again highlighted the rift between the two sides.

In briefings with reporters, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Israeli officials were not being truthful about how the United States is handling the secretive talks.

“I think it is safe to say not everything you are hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks,” said Psaki, who acknowledged that the State Department is withholding some details from the Israelis out of concern they will share them more broadly.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letter: UK artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel

    Sunday, February 15, 2015   No comments
Along with more than 600 other fellow artists, we are announcing today that we will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel. We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government. Since the summer war on Gaza, Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence. “2014,” says the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, was “one of the cruellest and deadliest in the history of the occupation.” The Palestinian catastrophe goes on.
Israel’s wars are fought on the cultural front too. Its army targets Palestinian cultural institutions for attack, and prevents the free movement of cultural workers. Its own theatre companies perform to settler audiences on the West Bank – and those same companies tour the globe as cultural diplomats, in support of “Brand Israel”. During South African apartheid, musicians announced they weren’t going to “play Sun City”. Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won’t play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run masterclasses or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians. To see the full list of supporters, go to artistsforpalestine.org.uk.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Slow progress: Legacy of racism claims new victims in the U.S.

    Friday, February 13, 2015   No comments

U.S. gunman kills three young Muslims; motive disputed

A gunman who had posted anti-religious messages on Facebook and quarreled with neighbors was charged with killing three young Muslims in what police said on Wednesday was a dispute over parking and possibly a hate crime.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, a full-time paralegal student from Chapel Hill, was charged with first-degree murder in Tuesday's shootings around 5 p.m. two miles (three km) from the University of North Carolina campus.

Syrian rebels call on Israel to bomb Hezbollah, Iran, Syria positions in southern Syria

    Friday, February 13, 2015   No comments
Israeli officials meeting Syrian opposition figures
Mendi Safadi, who served as former Likud deputy minister Ayoub Kara’s chief of staff, has independently met with members of the liberal and democratic Syrian opposition who oppose the Islamists and want friendly relations with Israel.

Safadi met a week and a half ago with Syrian rebel leaders in Bulgaria and has traveled in the region, met with activists, and relayed messages from them to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Security Council approves resolution targeting sources of financing for ISIL

    Thursday, February 12, 2015   No comments
Urging global cooperation “to impair, isolate and incapacitate” terrorist threats, the United Nations Security Council today approved measures targeting sources of funding for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), condemning those buying oil from the groups, banning all trade in looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria, and calling on States to end ransom payments.

Unanimously adopting a Russian-led resolution, the Council reiterated its deep concern that oilfields, as well as other infrastructure such as dams and power plants, controlled by ISIL, ANF and other Al-Qaida-associated groups, “are generating a significant portion of the groups' income, alongside extortion, private foreign donations, kidnap ransoms and stolen money from the territory they control.”

Friday, February 6, 2015

Erdoğan wants more power, so he asks for 400 deputies for his former AKP at Turkish elections -- Fethullah Gulen: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy

    Friday, February 06, 2015   No comments
Erdoğan wants 400 deputies for his former AKP at Turkish elections
Disregarding opposition criticism of his direct involvement in politics, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again appealed for votes for his former Justice and Development Party (AKP) without explicitly giving the party’s name, declaring that “400 lawmakers” are needed for a “new Turkey.” 

“If we want a new Turkey at the June 7 elections, we will give it 400 lawmakers,” Erdoğan said, speaking at a public rally in the northwestern province of Bursa on Feb. 6.

He linked several key issues to this newly set goal, including his desired shift to the presidential system.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

At Prayer Breakfast, Obama Decries 'Distortions' of Faith to Justify Violence

    Thursday, February 05, 2015   No comments
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington Thursday, President Barack Obama decried groups like ISIS that commit violence in the name of religion and warned that such "distortions" are not unique to any one group of people.

"We see faith driving us to do right," he said. "But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, being used as a wedge - or worse, sometimes used as a weapon."

ISIL kills 3 of its Chinese members who attempted to leave

    Thursday, February 05, 2015   No comments
The Islamic State (IS) has killed three Chinese militants who tried to leave the group, an official from the Kurdish security force in Iraq told the Global Times.

The Kurdish security official  said Wednesday that in the past six months, IS has executed 120 of its members who attempted to escape from the group and leave Iraq and Syria. Among the 120, three were Chinese citizens and were members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization that is also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More evidence about Saudi connections to terror organizations emerging at an increased rate

    Wednesday, February 04, 2015   No comments
There has long been evidence that wealthy Saudis provided support for bin Laden, the son of a Saudi construction magnate, and Al Qaeda before the 2001 attacks. Saudi Arabia had worked closely with the United States to finance Islamic militants fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and Al Qaeda drew its members from those militant fighters.

“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” wrote Mr. Graham, who has long demanded the release of 28 pages of the congressional report on the attacks that explore Saudi connections and remain classified.

No limits to ISIL cruelty: Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia facilited the funding and arming of fighters who eventually joined ISIL

    Wednesday, February 04, 2015   No comments
Just when its cruel and degrading ways is thought to have peak, ISIL finds ways to shock even its own supporters: Jordanian Salafis and others react.
Safi al-Kasasbeh, the pilot's father, called for the Jordanian government to do "more than just executing prisoners".

"I call for [IS] to be eliminated completely," he told reporters on Wednesday.

An official Saudi Arabian source quoted by the country's SPA news agency described the killing as a "barbaric, cowardly act, which is not sanctioned by the principles of tolerant Islam... and cannot be perpetrated except by the bitterest enemies of Islam".

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jordan to Execute al-Qaeda Prisoners After ISIL Burns Pilot Taken Hostage

    Tuesday, February 03, 2015   No comments
Jordanian pilot taken hostage by ISIL in December has been killed by the militant group. Jordan will execute al-Qaeda prisoners: Sajida al-Rishawi, Ziad al-Karbouli and four other militants.

The Jordanian pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in December after his plane crashed on the terrorist-controlled territory in Syria, has reportedly been burned alive on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How Americans really feel about Netanyahu and why it matters

    Sunday, February 01, 2015   No comments
 By Shibley Telhami January 30

 The controversy over an invitation to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address Congress shortly before Israeli elections has polarized the U.S. political scene. Netanyahu has been here before, of course. His transparent support for the Republican candidate for president in 2012, Mitt Romney, generated much resentment in the Democratic Party hierarchy, and certainly in the Obama administration. But this time – together with House Speaker John Boehner – he is a central player in a highly charged national political environment pitting a Republican-controlled Congress against a Democratic president; public and media attention is much greater, and the consequences potentially higher.

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