Saturday, December 31, 2005
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
My wishes for 2006 (not ranked).
-Violence ends in Iraq. Iraqis manage to form a working government.
-Seculars and liberals move their asses to salvage whatever remaining to be salvaged and try to reach the Egyptian people. Government would be kind enough to back off and leave them alone.
-Revolution in Iran. Secular state established.
-Bin Laden caught or pronounced dead. Zawahri dies from a hellfire missile fired towards his anus.
-Condoleezza Rice announces she is running for president if Hillary stated she will run in 2008.
-Internal coup in Syria. Sensible figures within the Baath party take control without a collapse in the Syrian regime. They stop car bombs from going to Iraq and they leave Lebanon alone.
-Religious reformists find a voice across the Arab/Muslim world.
Last but not least,
-The Big Pharaoh gets a new template and continues his role within the blogosphere.
I am not wishing for much huh?
Friday, December 30, 2005
Breaking News: 10 Sudanese killed in Cairo clash
CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) — Ten Sudanese refugees died and 30 others were injured in clashes with Egyptian security forces Friday, an Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Three Egyptian police officers and 20 Egyptian soldiers were also injured in the clashes, which took place in an upscale Cairo neighborhood.
Hundreds of Sudanese had been living in the camp since it was set up September 29 as a protest against the U.N. refugee agency, whose offices are nearby, AP reported.
Their protest had been going on for over 3 months. I have seen their protest camp. Men, women, and children refused to abandon their camping area unless they know their final status as refugees. They just stayed there in the open air for 3 whole months! Thousands of Sudanese fled to Egypt during the civil war and the current Darfour crisis.
Update: Over 20 Sudanese refugees were killed, many of them children. It’s so sad that their ordeal ended this way.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Iraq rebels threaten to kill French hostage
DUBAI (AFP) – An Iraqi rebel group claimed the kidnapping of French engineer Bernard Planche, threatening to kill him if France did not “end its illegitimate presence in
Iraq” in a video broadcast by Al-Arabiya television.
The group, calling itself the Battalion of the Look-out for Iraq, claimed the kidnapping and “threatened to kill him if France does not end its illegitimate presence in Iraq,” said the channel’s presenter.
French troops should end their occupation of Iraq NOW!
See, opposing the Iraq war brought France protection from terrorists and peace in its Paris suburbs!
Egypt Unarmed Civil War
There is an underground unarmed civil war between Muslims and Christians in Egypt. The tension and misunderstanding between the 2 communities are increasing at an alarming rate. I have mentioned before that the social fabric of the country has already been torn apart. As Muslims get more religious, Christians reciprocate with the same religiosity leading them to be cocooned within their community and religious establishment.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interesting to note that harmony existed between the 2 communities when they both concentrated their efforts on a common enemy (British colonials and later Israel) and when religious was not such a huge opium as it is today.
Egypt current civil war has manifested itself in the recent issue of what came to be known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Islamization of Coptic girlsÃ¢â‚¬?. There has been a number of cases where Christian girls left their homes and converted to Islam without notifying their parents. A male was involved in most of those cases. Muslims claim that the girls found the Ã¢â‚¬Å“light of IslamÃ¢â‚¬? and they applaud the men for Ã¢â‚¬Å“showing them the true religionÃ¢â‚¬?. They also call for government protection over these girls that will prevent their handing over to their parents or the church. Christians, on the other hand, claim that there are organized and well financed attempts by some groups to kidnap/coerce/blackmail young Christian girls into marrying Muslim men and thus converting to Islam.
While not ruling out the fact that there might be an organized effort by Muslim groups to convert young girls, the current 2 well known cases involve 3 Christian females who willingly left their home and converted to Islam with the help of their male partners. The latest among those cases involve 2 teenage girls who ran away from their abusive parents two and half years ago. Christine and Marian were 15 and 17 when they converted to Islam and married Muslim men.
The girlsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ mother appeared on a TV show claiming that her daughters were kidnapped and coerced into converting. She stated that it is against the law for an underage girl to change her religion and marry without her parents consent. The case of Christine and Marian caused a massive controversy that forced President Mubarak himself to order the search for the 2 girls. When found, the girls announced that they willfully converted and got married. They asked to be left alone and not returned to their parents.
Well, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel sorry for the girlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s abusive parents but I do feel pity towards the Christian community that lives in the girlsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ poor rural town. In these areas, females resemble the familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and the communityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s honor. A girl would bring shame and dishonor to her family if she had sex before marriage or ran away with her lover. Girls in these areas are expected to stay virgins until their first day in bed with their husbands. Many, if not most, newly wed Egyptian girls would freak out if no blood came out on their first marriage day lest their husbands think they took a broken hymen. As a result, the Christians in this areas must be feeling so humiliated, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“other campÃ¢â‚¬? took 2 of their vaginas.
The funniest thing is the way many Muslims are reacting. I talked to a number of my friends about this case. Suddenly, they all turned into fervent believers of the values of liberal democracy. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The girls are free to become MuslimsÃ¢â‚¬?, Ã¢â‚¬Å“they have the freedom to chose the religion they want to followÃ¢â‚¬?, Ã¢â‚¬Å“they should be protected and not handed over to the monastery. They will torture them in the monasteryÃ¢â‚¬? they all said.
I took the discussion a little further. Ã¢â‚¬Å“OK, great, well, what if an underage 15 years old Muslim girl ran away with her Christian lover and converted to Christianity? Should she be left alone as well? And why is it so easy for a Christian to become a Muslim and its impossible for the other way round?Ã¢â‚¬?.
All what I got were stammering tongues.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Three Britons kidnapped in Gaza
AZA CITY (AFP) – Several gunmen have kidnapped three Britons in the southern
Gaza Strip town of Rafah, local security sources and witnesses said.
Witnesses said Wednesday that gunmen snatched the woman, her father and mother, and bundled them into a white Mercedes near the border with Egypt.
I blame Israel. I blame Bush. I blame Karl Rove!!
How the Government Stifles Religious Reform
I have stated countless times on this blog that I consider religious reform to be the most crucial element in our development as nations. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve said that just like other faiths, Islam should undergo reform in order for it to sign a peace agreement with the principles and values of the 21st century. By reform I mean a reinterpretation of historical texts that is based upon the historical context of those texts.
I believe religious reform supercedes the importance of democracy. Without religious reform, democracy would be like a nice carpet on a heap of dust. Take a look at Europe, it only progressed after it reformed religiously. It started with the protestant reformation and ended with the development of the notion of separation of church and state.
Now we do have a huge problem in our region. The established religious order and leadership stand in the way of any serious attempt of reforming Islam. Islamic thinkers who dare to cross their established Ã¢â‚¬Å“red linesÃ¢â‚¬? were persecuted and libeled. A number of them were even called Ã¢â‚¬Å“KufaarÃ¢â‚¬? or Ã¢â‚¬Å“infidelsÃ¢â‚¬? by the religious establishment.
What makes matter worse is that our Ã¢â‚¬Å“secularÃ¢â‚¬? government, in its attempt to portray itself as the guardian of our faith, joins the religious establishment in silencing and intimidating Islamic reformists. A good example is the case of Dr. Ahmed Sobhi Mansour.
Dr. Mansour was a professor at Al Azhar University, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading Sunni Islam institute. He Ã¢â‚¬Å“fell from graceÃ¢â‚¬? when he stated that the Muslim world need a serious reconsideration of the authenticity of the Hadith, collections of the sayings and doings of the prophet Muhammad written many years after his death. He said that Hadiths that contradict the Quran and do not have a sufficient Ã¢â‚¬Å“QuranicÃ¢â‚¬? basis should be disregarded.
As a result of his research, Dr. Mansour was fired from his job and got arrested in 1988. The official media smeared his reputation and terrorists organization threatened to kill him. We are yearning for Islamic reformers and free thinkers yet our Ã¢â‚¬Å“secularÃ¢â‚¬? government joins the stagnant religious establishment in silencing those people. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really matter whether Mansour was correct in his thesis or not, reform will only come when thinkers have the freedom to think and present their findings freely.
Ahmed Sobhi Mansour is currently living in the US and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a member of Free Muslims Against Terrorism.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Freed German hostage says Iraq captors not criminals
DUBAI (AFP) – A former German hostage who spent 24 days in the hands of unknown captors in Iraq said her kidnappers were not criminals and had demanded humanitarian aid for Sunni Arab regions.
I thought they wanted the German government to stop training Iraqi soldiers outside Iraq. I personally didn’t hear of any “humanitarian” demands..did anyone hear such demands ladies and gentlemen?
Speaking to Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera
Yea who else!
Susanne Osthoff said her captors told her not to be afraid as her kidnapping was “politically motivated.”
OK Mrs. Osthoff, now I’m a little confused here. I thought they demanded “humanitarian aid”!
“Do not be afraid. We do not harm women or children and you are a Muslim,” she quoted them as saying.
Yes yes, they harm no Muslim, only non-Muslims.
“I was so happy to know that I had not fallen into the hands of criminals,” she said.
Ummmm, let me get this here. A group kidnapped you, threatened to kill you, scared the sh*t out of you and they are still not criminals. What are they then I really wish to know?
Osthoff, a Muslim convert and fluent Arabic speaker, said her captors demanded German humanitarian aid for Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and stated clearly that they did not want a ransom.
Right. That’s why the Hezbollah guy was freed days before your release!
“They said we don’t want money… Maybe we want from Germany … hospitals and schools in the Sunni triangle (area northwest of Baghdad), and they would like to get money in the form of humanitarian aid,” she said.
Again Mrs. Osthoff. I don’t recall them asking for hospitals and schools at all! Their public demand was crystal clear. I don’t give a rat’s ass about what they told you in private. Their public demand included no schools nor hospitals. Besides, don’t you agree that this wasn’t a good way to say “thank you” to Germany for opposing the war?
She described her captors as “poor people” and that she “cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter (Baghdad’s heavily fortified) Green Zone to kidnap Americans.”
So, if I can’t kidnap Americans, I kidnap German war opposing people like yourself. Ummm, interesting!
You know something Mrs. Osthoff. I really hate to say it but I can’t help saying: I really wished you stayed with your “poor” friends.
Ruby’s New Look
Ruby, Egypt’s top pop star, shows off her new looks.
Ruby expressed her concern at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood during the parliamentary elections and the possible repercussions on art and artists. You’re not the only one concerned here Ruby!
I hate you Bin Laden so much and so I’m going to post pics of your HOT niece
Jokes 4 the Season:
A cabbie picks up a Nun.She gets into the cab and the cab driver won’tstop staring at her.She asks him why he is staring. He replies ” I have a question toask you, but I dont want to offend you”.She answers, ” My son, you cannot offend me.When you’re as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have , youget a chance to see and hear just about everything. I’m sure thatthere’s nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.”"Well, I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nunkiss me.”
She responds, “Well, lets see what we can doabout that:1. you have to be single and2. you must be Catholic.”The cab driver is very excited and says ” Yes, I’msingle and Catholic!”
“Okay” the nun says. “Pull into the next alley”The nun fulfils his fantasy with a kiss thatwould make a hooker blush.But when they get back on the road, the cabdriver starts crying.”My dear child” said the nun, “Why are you crying?”"Forgive me, but I have sinned.” sobbed the cab driver, “I liedand I must confess, I’m married and I’m Jewish.”The nun said “That’s okay, my name is Kevin andI’m going to a Halloween Party.”
The Cab Driver
A woman and her son were taking a cab in New York City.
It was raining and all the prostitutes were standing under the awnings.
“Mommy,” said the little boy, “what are all those ladies doing?”
“They’re waiting for their husbands to get off of work,” she replied.
The cabbie turns around and says, “Geez lady, why don’t you tell him the truth? They’re prostitutes. They have sex with men for money.”
The little boy’s eyes get wide and he says, “Is that true, mommy?”
His mother, glaring at the cabbie, answers in the affirmative.
After a few minutes, the kid asks, “Mommy what happens to the babies those ladies have?”
“They mostly become cab drivers,” she replied.
Saturday, December 24, 2005