This Blog contains articles of interest to me.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Peace in the Middle East and the South African Experience

Umrabulo No 21, October 2004

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Tsunami of Iraq-Jamail

Jihad Unspun - News Archive

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Groups gather to fight Bush's faith initiatives - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - January 16, 2005

Groups gather to fight Bush's faith initiatives - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - January 16, 2005

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Saudi reverse Id decision


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Majlis Qada al-Aa'li-Riyad Statement on Dhul Hijjah dates


JAS: Visibility of Thul Hijjah Crescent 1425 AH.

JAS: Visibility of Thul Hijjah Crescent 1425 AH.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Eid al-Adha-Moon Sighted in South Africa on Tuesday 11 January at sunset. Id on Friday 21 Insha Allah

Omar Afzal wrote:
Please post to your group.
Eid al-Adha 2005 is on Jan. 21, 2005
************Please note and inform your local Imam****************
D. Hijjah crescent moon was NOT SEEN in N. American on Monday, Jan. 10, 2005 evening. Insha-Allah it will be seen everywhere on Tuesday, and Eid al-Adha in the USA and Canada (like most other countries in the world) is on Friday, Jan. 21, 2005
In Makkah Mukarramah, the moon set two minutes BEFORE the sunset on Jan. 10, 2005. Nobody could see a crescent moon in Saudi Arabia or anywhere in world on Jan. 10, 2005.
Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Hajj?
ISNA Fiqh Council and some others have been enforcing a BID'AHon the Muslims in N. America. No Fiqh ever said that Eid al-Adha is actually Eid al-Hajj. There is no Daleelin the Quran or the Sunnah that Muslim must fast on the Day of Arafah in Makkah (determined by the official Saudi Hajj date, even if it is always wrong). .
Muslims everywhere in the world always celebrate it on the 10th D. Hijja. ISNA asks you to celebrate Eid al-Adha on the 9th day of D. Hijja.
Qur'an: (The Crescent moons) are the Mawaqeet&and for (determining the date of) Hajj. (2:189).
The only correct date of Eid al-Adha all over the world is 10th Day of D. Hijja, counted from the evening D. Hijja Hilaal is seen where you live, and NOTwhen Saudis say they saw it. (It is well-known that NONE of the 6 official committees in S. Arabia ever see the Hilal on the officially announced dates. It is always SEEN in S. Arabia a day later.)
Hadith: Eid al-Adha is on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijja. (Hilal D. Hijja kal-Fitr. (FatH al-Bari ))
All Ahadith mention only the 10th as the day of Eid al-Adha. (No Hadith mentions: the day after Hajj or Eid al-Adha as a celebration of Hajj.)
If Eid al-Adha is a celebration of the completion of Hajj then why do the Hujjaj NOT pray Eid; and why did the Messenger (S) pray it regularly in Medina for 9 years when there was no Hajj for the Muslims?
Fiqh: Eid al-Adha date, like Eid al-Fitr, must be fixed by the crescent moon.
* Eid prayer on the 9th day of D. Hijja is meaningless. * A Sacrifice on 9th does not fulfill your obligatory (Wajib) sacrificeof Eid al-Adha.
-- Moh'd Best Regards ********************************************************************** Mohammad Shawkat Odeh Jordanian Astronomical Society (JAS) P.O. Box 224, Blue Tower Building Khalifa Street, Abu-Dabi, UAE Mobile: (00971) 50-8215336 modeh@jas.org.jo JAS URL: http://www.jas.org.jo/ JAS WAP: http://www.jas.org.jo/wap/ **********************************************************************
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Voice of America Arabic Section : Comment by Dr Godlas

This message is a bit of a stretch as far as its remote connection to Islam, but since the Voice of America, Arabic section, does represent to a certain degree American's outreach to the Arab world, I thought it might be of interest to some of you.
I was appalled at the poor quality of the current home page for the Arabic edition of the Voice of America page.
But I suppose one reason for its poor quality was the launch of Radio Sawa http://www.radiosawa.com/ , which appears to be VOA Arabic, according to the article title "Voice of America?"
in *Accuracy in the Media* by Paul Weyrich (August 2004) http://www.aim.org/guest_column/1899_0_6_0_C .
(Note that the main VOA page does not lead to Radio Sawa but rather to the miserable VOA Arabic url that I noted originally.)
Speaking of VOA, does anyone besides myself and certain al-Qaeda members see the ominous connections between three of the cute banner icons (gifs) on the old version of the Voice of America Arabic website?
The icons to which I am referring are "Tasrihat al-bayt al-abyad," "Tasrihat al-bintajun," and especially "Visiting the USA." The only icon missing is the twin towers. (I breathed a paranoiac's sigh of relief when
after a quick look on the internet archive http://web.archive.org --i.e. the "Wayback machine," which by
the way is the best tool for finding webpages that have gone offline-- I saw that the icon for "Visiting the USA" does not appear to have been used before Sept. 11; and furthermore, since its url http://www.voanews.com/mediastore/voa_visitusa_220_17june03.gif
, that seems to indicate it was made in June 03.) So the conjunction of those three icons appears to be just one of life's wierd coincidences.
I just realized that the tone of this message really makes it more suitable for a BLOG. So I will probably start one for myself and would like to provide links to other BLOGS of Islamic Studies profs (and those of Islamic Studies grad. students as well), of which Juan Cole's is the best example I know. So if you have your own BLOG, please email me the url. Or if you would like to start your own BLOG and don't know how to do it, please feel free to email me. It is simple, free, and much easier than creating your own web site.
Dr. Alan Godlas
Dept. of Religion
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-1625

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Rand Corporation: The Muslim World After 9/11 (Executive Summary)

The Muslim World
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing
objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges
facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND’s
publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients
and sponsors.
R® is a registered trademark.
© Copyright 2004 RAND Corporation
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any
form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying,
recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in
writing from RAND.
Published 2004 by the RAND Corporation
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201 North Craig Street, Suite 202, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1516
RAND URL: http://www.rand.org/
To order RAND documents or to obtain additional information, contact
Distribution Services: Telephone: (310) 451-7002;
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The Muslim world after 9/11 / Angel M. Rabasa ... [et al.].
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-8330-3534-7 (paperback : alk. paper)
ISBN 0-8330-3712-9 (clothbound)
1. Islamic countries—Relations—United States. 2. United States—Relations—
Islamic countries. 3. September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001—Influence. 4. Islam and
politics—Islamic countries. 5. Islamic fundamentalism. 6. National security—United
States. I. Rabasa, Angel.
DS35.74.U6M875 2004
Cover design by Pete Soriano
The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air
Force under Contract F49642-01-C-0003. Further information may be
obtained from the Strategic Planning Division, Directorate of Plans, Hq
Events since September 11, 2001 have dramatically altered the political environment
in the Muslim world, a vast and diverse region comprising the band of countries with
significant Muslim populations that stretches from West Africa to the southern
Philippines, as well as Muslim communities and diasporas scattered throughout the
world. In the Muslim world, as in others, religion, politics, and culture are intertwined
in complicated ways. The purpose of this study is to examine the dynamics
that are driving changes in the religio-political landscape of the Muslim world. Our
goal is to provide policymakers and the broader academic and policy community
with a general overview of events and trends in the Muslim world that are most likely
to affect U.S. interests and security.
First, we develop a typology of ideological tendencies or orientations in the
various regions of the Muslim world. The world’s Muslims differ substantially not
only in their religious views but also in their political and social orientation, including
their conceptions of government, law, and human rights; their social agenda (in
particular, women’s rights and the content of education); and their propensity for
violence. The defining characteristics of the main tendencies in Islam are summarized
in a typology that we apply on a region-by-region basis. This methodology allows for
a more precise classification of groups and for comparisons across regions and allows
us to identify in a systematic way the sectors with which the United States and its
allies can find common ground to promote democracy and stability and counter the
influence of extremist and violent groups.
Having begun to lay the foundations for what could be called a “religio-political
map,” we explore the main cleavages in the Muslim world, primarily those between
the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam and between the Arab and the non-Arab Muslim
worlds and those deriving from membership in subnational communities, tribes,
and clans.
The majority of the world’s Muslims are Sunni, but a significant minority,
about 15 percent of the global Muslim population, are Shi’ites. Shi’ites are the
dominant group in Iran, and they form a politically excluded majority in Iraq (until
xviii The Muslim World After 9/11
the fall of Saddam), Bahrain, and possibly also in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia,
where the dominant Wahhabi ideology stigmatizes them as “polytheists.”
The expectations of Iraqi Shi’ites for a greater say in the governance of their
country presents an opportunity for the United States to align its policy with Shi’ite
aspirations for greater freedom of religious and political expression, in Iraq and elsewhere.
If this alignment can be brought about, it could be a powerful barrier to radical
Iranian influence and a foundation for a stable U.S. position in the region. Of
course, this alignment would not come about easily. A reversal of the U.S. commitment
to de-Ba’athification in Iraq or a U.S. policy that is perceived as pro-Sunni
would erode trust in the U.S. commitment to democracy and drive otherwise moderate
Shi’ites into the arms of Iran.
The second major cleavage is between the Arab and the non-Arab worlds. Arabs
constitute only about 20 percent of the world’s Muslims, yet interpretations of Islam,
political and otherwise, are often filtered through an Arab lens. A great deal of the
discourse on Muslim issues and grievances is actually discourse on Arab issues and
grievances. For reasons that have more to do with historical and cultural development
than religion, the Arab world exhibits a higher incidence of economic, social,
and political disorders than other regions of the so-called developing world.
By contrast, the non-Arab parts of the Muslim world are politically more inclusive,
boast the majority of the democratic or partially democratic governments, and
are more secular in outlook. Although the Arab Middle East has long been regarded
(and certainly views itself) as the core of the Muslim world, the most innovative and
sophisticated contemporary work in Islam is being done on the “periphery”—in
countries such as Indonesia and in Muslim communities in the West, leading some
scholars to ask whether Islam’s center of gravity is now shifting to more dynamic regions
of the Muslim world.
Ethnic communities, tribes, and clans often constitute the principal basis of individual
and group identity and the primary engine of political behavior. The failure
to fully understand tribal politics was one of the underlying causes of the catastrophic
U.S. involvement in the Somali conflict in the early 1990s. Ten years later, the U.S.
government still knows little about tribal dynamics in areas where U.S. forces are or
may be operating. As the United States pursues an activist policy in disturbed areas of
the world, it will be critical to understand and to learn to manage subnational and
tribal issues.
The third goal of this study is to examine the sources of Islamic radicalism. We
break these sources into three classes: conditions, processes, and catalytic events.
Conditions are factors that have a permanent, or quasi-permanent, character. They
are the result of processes, which are developments that occur over an extended period
of time and have a particular outcome. Catalytic events are major developments
—wars or revolutions—that changed the political dynamics in a region or
Summary xix
country in a fundamental way. Table S.1 gives examples of conditions, processes, and
catalytic events relevant to our study.
The condition that perhaps more than any other has shaped the political environment
of the Muslim world, and the Arab world in particular, is the widespread
failure of the postindependence political and economic models. Arguably, many of
the ills and pathologies that afflict many countries in this part of the world and that
generate much of the extremism we are concerned about derive from—and contribute
to—economic and political failure. This situation leads to the concept of structural
anti-Westernism (or anti-Americanism). This concept holds that that Muslim
anger has deep roots in the political and social structures of some Muslim countries
and that opposition to certain U.S. policies merely provides the content and opportunity
for the expression of this anger. It differs fundamentally from the type of anti-
Americanism that may result from objections to specific U.S. policies in that it is not
amenable to amelioration through policy or public diplomacy means. The third condition
discussed is the decentralization of religious authority in Sunni Islam, which
makes it vulnerable to manipulation by extremists with scant religious credentials.
Processes include the Islamic resurgence experienced by much of the Muslim
world over the past three decades. Outside the Arab Middle East, Islamization has
involved the importation of Arab-origin ideology and religious and social practices
—a phenomenon that we refer to as Arabization. This process has had a polarizing
effect outside the Middle East, creating greater distance between Muslims who
have chosen to adopt elements of the Arab religious culture as a way of manifesting
greater piety and those Muslims who continue to adhere to local customs and religious
Table S.1
Sources of Islamic Radicalism
Conditions Failed political and economic models
Structural anti-Westernism
Decentralization of religious authority in Sunni Islam
Processes The Islamic resurgence
Arabization of the non-Arab Muslim world
External funding of religious fundamentalism and extremism
The convergence of Islamism and tribalism
Growth of radical Islamic networks
Emergence of the mass media
The Palestinian-Israeli and Kashmir conflicts
Catalytic events The Iranian revolution
The Afghan war
The Gulf War of 1991
September 11 and the global war on terrorism
The Iraq war
xx The Muslim World After 9/11
Much has been written about Saudi funding and the export of its fundamentalist
version of Islam as a factor in the spread of radical and violent movements. The
funds that finance the propagation of Wahhabi ideology throughout the world come
from public and private sources and are channeled through a variety of foundations
and middlemen to recipients around the world. Until recently, efforts to establish
accountability have been weak or nonexistent, either because it has had low priority
for donors or because the mechanisms to monitor the disposition and use of the
money are lacking.
Although the literature on the relationship between tribalism and radicalism is
not yet well developed, interviews in the region and anecdotal evidence suggest that
extremist tendencies seem to find fertile ground in areas with segmentary lineal tribal
societies. Tribal conservatism—a cultural and not a religious feature—and religious
extremism can be mutually reinforcing. In the absence of countervailing forces—for
instance, a strong central authority—they produce a mix that, in the words of a Kuwaiti
interlocutor, “leads to bin Laden.”
We cannot overemphasize the importance of the development of networks in
the growth of Islamic extremist and terrorist movements, and we devote a chapter of
this study to analyzing their structure and influence. These networks may be explicitly
Muslim in nature or simply collections of individuals who share a common religious
background. They can be diasporic (that is, related to Muslim communities
outside the Muslim world), humanitarian, or financial. As we now know, support
networks have been key nodes in the funding and operations of extremist and terrorist
Another important process is the emergence of the satellite regional media,
whose most visible manifestation is the well-known Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera,
whose political line reflects that of the Qatari Muslim Brotherhood. These new media
reinforce existing stereotypes and narratives of Arab victimization that play into
the radicals’ agendas.
Beyond those factors, the specific modalities that radical political Islam has
taken are the product of a number of critical or catalytic events that have altered the
political environment in the Muslim world in fundamental ways. Catalytic events
include the Iranian revolution, the Afghan war, the Gulf War of 1991, the global war
on terrorism that followed the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Iraq war of
2003. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Kashmir conflict are not catalytic
events per se but rather chronic conditions that have shaped political discourse in the
Middle East and South Asia for over half a century. Arguably, they have retarded the
political maturation of the Arab world and Pakistan by diverting scarce material, political,
and psychic resources from pressing internal problems.
The aftermath of September 11, particularly Operation Enduring Freedom and
expanded U.S. counterterrorism operations across the Muslim world, brought about
a strategic realignment, as a number of countries in the Muslim world sided openly
Summary xxi
with the United States in the global war on terrorism or quietly expanded their counterterrorism
cooperation. The most dramatic change was in Pakistan, where President
Musharraf presented himself as a bulwark against Islamic extremism. After Afghanistan,
Southeast Asia was regarded as the “second front” in the war on terrorism,
and the United States stepped up counterterrorist cooperation with regional governments.
In Central Asia, the de facto alliance with the United States removed the
Taliban threat to the Central Asian republics and brought money, opportunities,
stature, and unprecedented international attention to the region. It is in the context
of this geopolitical realignment that the war in Iraq brought U.S. power into the
heart of the Middle East.
The war in Iraq and its aftermath can be regarded as the most potentially significant
event in the U.S. relationship with the countries of the Greater Middle East
in the past half-century. For the first time since the withdrawal of the European colonial
powers from the Middle East, a Western-led coalition assumed responsibility
for the governance and political reconstruction of a Muslim country, pending the
establishment of a permanent constitution and government. In the short run, the
major threat to Iraq’s stability is posed by the increasingly organized Sunni-based insurgency.
The long-term threat, however, is not popular support for the extremists
but the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalist forces, both Sunni and Shi’a, and the
manipulation of Shi’ite movements by Iran.
Over the medium to long term, the impact of Iraq on the political evolution of
the Greater Middle East will depend on whether the new Iraq emerges as a pluralistic
and reasonably democratic and stable state or whether it reverts to authoritarianism
or fragments into ethnic enclaves. The first outcome would challenge current negative
perceptions of the United States’ role in the region, demonstrate that some form
of democracy—what we call “democracy with Iraqi characteristics”—is possible in
the Middle East, and undermine extremists and autocrats alike. However, any of the
unfavorable outcomes would further destabilize the Middle East, diminish U.S.
credibility and influence, discredit democracy-based policies, and open opportunities
for encroachment by U.S. adversaries in a vital region of the world.
The impact of the war in Iraq and the removal of the Saddam regime was more
attenuated in the geographically and culturally distant regions of the Muslim world.
The war in Iraq did not strongly resonate in Central Asia. For the Central Asian republics,
the key event of the post–September 11 period was the regional governments’
partnership with the United States and the overthrow of the Taliban government
in Afghanistan. For the most part, mainstream Muslim sectors in South and
Southeast Asia opposed the war in Iraq, but the war does not appear to have had
lasting effects on the evolution of political Islam or on U.S. relations with South and
Southeast Asian states. This is not to say that the war in Iraq did not introduce a new
and complicating factor into the war on terrorism in those regions or that it did not
have an adverse effect on perceptions of the United States.
xxii The Muslim World After 9/11
Thus, while outside the Middle East the war and subsequent developments have
not altered trend lines or the fundamentals of the U.S. relationship with countries in
those regions, it can and is being used by radicals to gain influence. Nevertheless, a
liberal minority shares the U.S. expectation that the removal of Saddam opens the
prospect of democratic evolution in Iraq and in the Muslim world at large.
Radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam have gained ground in many
Muslim societies, for reasons that we explore in this volume. The outcome of the
“war of ideas” under way throughout the Muslim world is likely to have great consequences
for U.S. interests in the region, but it is also the most difficult for the United
States to influence. How can the United States respond to the challenges and opportunities
that current conditions in the Muslim world pose to U.S. interests? We suggest
a number of social, political, and military options (see pages 60–67).
Promote Moderate Network Creation
The radicals are a minority, but in many areas they hold the advantage because they
have developed extensive networks spanning the Muslim world and sometimes
reaching beyond it. Liberal and moderate Muslims, although a majority in almost all
countries, have not created similar networks. Their voices are often fractured or silenced.
The battle for Islam will require the creation of liberal groups to retrieve Islam
from the hijackers of the religion. Creation of an international network is critical
because such a network would provide a platform to amplify the message of moderates
and also to provide them some protection. However, moderates do not have the
resources to create this network themselves. The initial impulse may require an external
Disrupt Radical Networks
Most of the networks described in this study perform socially useful functions. A key
question is how the United States can identify hostile use of these networks. There
are several approaches to consider. One is to examine the profiles of communities
that sustain violent Islamic networks and the nodal and communicative characteristics
of these networks. Once the characteristics of these networks are known and their
recruitment patterns and weaknesses identified, a strategy of nodal disruption could
be implemented to break up these networks and to empower Muslim moderates to
take over the transmission belts that sustain the networks.
Summary xxiii
Foster Madrassa and Mosque Reform
Radical madrassas (Islamic boarding schools) from Pakistan to Southeast Asia have
been one of the main sources of personnel for radical movements and terrorist
groups. Despite the importance of madrassa reform, few concrete plans have emerged
to design and implement specific changes in these schools, and little consideration
has been given to how they fit within the broader reform of public education systems,
which can help produce more desirable economic, political, and social outcomes.
There is an urgent need for the United States and other concerned countries
and international institutions to support the reform of Islamic schools, to ensure that
these schools are able to provide a broad modern education and marketable skills.
This reform is key to breaking the cycle of radicalized madrassas producing cannon
fodder for radical and terrorist groups. In some countries, the United States could
help to establish or strengthen higher education accreditation boards that monitor
and review curricula in both state and private schools.
Although the United States may be reluctant to involve itself in ostensibly religious
affairs, it should find ways to support the efforts of governments and moderate
Muslim organizations to ensure that mosques, and the social services affiliated
with them, serve their communities and do not serve as platforms for the spread of
radical ideologies.
Expand Economic Opportunities
“Youth bulges” and high rates of population growth in many Muslim countries will
create educational, economic, and social needs that are being met in many places
only by radical Islamist organizations. Lack of economic growth and employment
opportunities could push still more individuals and communities to support radical
organizations and initiatives and could ultimately pose a threat to U.S. security interests.
Provision of alternative social services in many places might help to indirectly
undercut the appeal of radical organizations. In particular, the United States should
be most concerned with initiatives that would improve the economic prospects of the
young. Assistance from U.S. and international sources needs to be channeled in ways
that are appropriate to local circumstances and, to the extent possible, rely on nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) with existing relationships in the recipient
countries. Funding for education and cultural programs run by secular or moderate
Muslim organizations should be a priority to counter the influence of radical groups.
Assistance programs in the Muslim world that promote economic expansion
and self-sufficiency can help reduce the perception that the United States has only
military interests in the region, a perception that likely contributes to opposition to
all U.S. interests there. Improving economic, political, and social conditions will not
xxiv The Muslim World After 9/11
guarantee an end to terrorism or extremism, but it could reduce the potential for
popular support of extremist movements. To succeed, these programs would have to
be accountable and transparent—otherwise they simply foster corruption among
administrators. And they need to be linked to economic and fiscal policies on the
part of the recipient countries that promote economic rationality, productivity, and
Support “Civil Islam”
Support of or stronger links with “civil Islam”—Muslim civil society groups that advocate
moderation and modernity—is an essential component of an effective U.S.
policy toward the Muslim world. Moderate political Islam in a democratic context
could offset the appeal of theocratic movements or of those favoring exclusively Islamic
states. Funding of educational and cultural activities by secular or moderate
Muslim organizations should be a priority. The United States may also have to assist
in the development of democratic and civil society institutions where they do not
currently exist. Ensuring that these institutions are transparent and protective of minority
rights—including, of course, the rights of Muslims where they are a minority
—can have long-term benefits for perceptions of the United States in the Muslim
Deny Resources to Extremists
A complementary element of the strategy of supporting secular or moderate Muslim
organizations is to deny resources to extremists. This effort needs to be undertaken at
both ends of the funding cycle. The point of origin of the funding is Saudi Arabia
and other countries in the Gulf. The Saudis have begun to take steps to monitor
their funding activities more closely and to close down the branches of some suspect
charities, but it is unclear that there are adequate safeguards to ensure that funds are
not diverted to extremist or terrorist organizations. The technical capabilities of the
recipient countries also need to be strengthened to give them the capability to monitor
and, when necessary, to interdict suspect financial flows.
Balance the Requirements of the War on Terrorism and of Stability
and Democracy in Moderate Muslim Countries
Radicals will continue to present U.S. actions as a war against Islam and will attempt
to use them to destabilize moderate governments. The United States, therefore,
should calibrate carefully its next steps in the war on terrorism with a view to avoid-
Summary xxv
ing destabilizing effects. This is not to say that the United States should soft-pedal
antiterrorist actions or condone inaction by these governments. However, it is also
important for the United States to demonstrate that its efforts are meant not to
strengthen authoritarian or repressive regimes but to promote democratic change in
the Muslim world.
Seek to Engage Islamists in Normal Politics
A difficult issue in the development of Muslim democracy is whether or how Islamist
groups that may not have fully credible democratic credentials—for instance, the
Muslim Brotherhood—may be engaged in the democratic process. While there is
always a danger that an Islamist party, once in power, may move against democratic
freedoms, the inclusion of such groups within existing, open democratic institutions
may have the effect over time of taming the threat they pose to the system. This is
particularly the case in parts of the Muslim world that have stronger democratic traditions
in which public opinion can be expressed through the ballot box and whose
governments have ties to broad international alliances. An unequivocal commitment
to nonviolence and democratic processes should be a prerequisite for inclusion. For
its part, the United States should register its opposition to electoral machinations designed
to marginalize legitimate opposition parties.
Engage Muslim Diasporas
Engagement of diaspora Muslim communities can also help the United States advance
its interests in the Muslim world. The U.S. Muslim communities are a unique
source of cultural information that can be harnessed to the promotion of democracy
and pluralism in the Muslim world. One possibility is working with Muslim NGOs
in responding to humanitarian crises in the Muslim world. Needless to say, any effort
to incorporate transnational Islamic organizations in development should be undertaken
cautiously. At the same time, the U.S. military has proven itself adept at
meeting ad hoc needs of Islamist groups, as, for example, its civil affairs officers did
in assisting those in need of short-term care during massive international pilgrimages
to Shi’ite shrines in Iraq after the fall of Saddam.
Rebuild Close Military-to-Military Relations with Key Countries
The military will continue to be an influential political actor across the Muslim
world. In some countries—Pakistan, for instance—the military will likely control the
state for the policy-relevant future. More often than not, the military is on the fore-
xxvi The Muslim World After 9/11
front of the war on terrorism. In Turkey and Indonesia, the military establishments
are also pillars of their respective countries’ secular political institutions. Therefore,
military-to-military relations will be of particular importance to any U.S. shaping
strategy in the Muslim world.
U.S. legislative restrictions on military-to-military relations—for instance, the
Pressler amendment and its sequelae in Pakistan and the Leahy amendments in Indonesia
—precipitated a serious disconnect between the United States and the military
establishments in two of the most important countries in the Muslim world, a
breach that will take years to repair. Rebuilding a core of U.S.-trained officers in key
Muslim countries is therefore a critical need. Programs such as International Military
Education and Training (IMET) not only ensure that future military leaders are exposed
to American military values and practices but can also translate into increased
U.S. influence and access.
Build Appropriate Military Capabilities
Militarily, the United States faces a need to reduce the more obvious aspects of its
presence while working to increase different types of presence, e.g., intelligence, psychological
operations, civil affairs. In some places in the Muslim world, this will
mean continuing to reduce a heavy (and politically sensitive) forward presence and
instead seeking to support operations from consolidated regional locations. Islamists,
particularly in the Middle East, have often used the U.S. military presence as a reason
for violence. A lower U.S. military profile may reduce targets for such violence. In
Iraq, it would certainly be desirable for U.S. forces to lower their presence in populated
areas as soon as operationally feasible, reducing U.S. visibility as an “occupying
power” and promoting rapid development of Iraqi military and security forces.
Likewise, establishing main operating airbases in Iraq is not politically desirable
in the foreseeable future. However, the United States should not foreclose the option
of access to Iraqi military facilities, if welcomed by a sovereign Iraqi government,
which could be necessary to respond to future military contingencies in the Gulf.
Civil affairs are a promising area for military cooperation in countering the influence
of radical Islamic networks. The interaction of U.S. and other countries’ militaries
in the area of military medicine could be an excellent model for engagement in
responding to the effects of conflict and natural disasters.
Ungoverned areas throughout the Muslim world, from isolated portions of Indonesia
and the Philippines to large tracks of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, can
become havens for extremist and terrorist groups. Political and economic stabilization
in such areas will reduce opportunities for extremism and terrorism to take root.
Not only can greater government presence, supported as necessary by the United
Summary xxvii
States, help reduce the immediate threat of Islamist terrorism, it can also foster a
greater sense of national integration, thus helping to increase long-term security.
Better cultural intelligence is needed. While the relative lack of Arab specialists
in military and intelligence positions is well known, the need for specialists in, among
other matters, Persian and African regions and languages is less well known but
nearly as urgent. Some U.S. intelligence and diplomatic capabilities in parts of the
Muslim world have atrophied in the past two years as a result of redeployment to
other areas of this region. A transnational approach will also be needed to address
what are often transnational rather than isolated national phenomena. This may include
working with regional alliances to root out militant Islamist organizations that
operate across international boundaries.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Guantanamo Briton 'in handcuff torture'

Guantanamo Briton 'in handcuff torture'

Guantanamo Briton 'in handcuff torture'
Date: January 01, 2005 20 Dhu-l-Qidah 1425 Hijriah
A British detainee at Guantanamo Bay has told his lawyer he was tortured using the 'strappado', a technique common in Latin American dictatorships in which a prisoner is left suspended from a bar with handcuffs until they cut deeply into his wrists. The reason, the prisoner says, was that he was caught reciting the Koran at a time when talking was banned. He says he has also been repeatedly shaved against his will. In one such incident, a guard told him: 'This is the part that really gets to you Muslims, isn't it?' The strappado allegation was one among many made about treatment at both Guantanamo and the US base at Bagram in Afghanistan made to the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith when he visited his clients Moazzam Begg and Richard Belmar at the Cuban prison six weeks ago, having tried for the previous 14 months to obtain the necessary security clearance. But it is clear the disturbing claim is only the tip of the iceberg. Under the rules the United States military has imposed for defence lawyers who visit Guantanamo, Stafford Smith has not been allowed to keep his notes of meetings with prisoners, and will not be able to read them again until they have been examined and de-classified by a government censor. He cannot disclose in public anything the men have told him until it too has been been de-classified, on pain of likely imprisonment in the US. Stafford Smith has drawn up a 30-page report on the tortures which Begg and Belmar say they have endured, and sent it as an annexe with a letter to the Prime Minister which Downing Street received shortly before Christmas. For the time being - possibly forever - the report cannot be published, because the Americans claim that the torture allegations amount to descriptions of classified interrogation methods. (link)Is this American?

Complete text of the article, Guantanamo Briton 'in handcuff torture', by David RoseA British detainee at Guantanamo Bay has told his lawyer he was tortured using the 'strappado', a technique common in Latin American dictatorships in which a prisoner is left suspended from a bar with handcuffs until they cut deeply into his wrists. The reason, the prisoner says, was that he was caught reciting the Koran at a time when talking was banned. He says he has also been repeatedly shaved against his will. In one such incident, a guard told him: 'This is the part that really gets to you Muslims, isn't it?' The strappado allegation was one among many made about treatment at both Guantanamo and the US base at Bagram in Afghanistan made to the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith when he visited his clients Moazzam Begg and Richard Belmar at the Cuban prison six weeks ago, having tried for the previous 14 months to obtain the necessary security clearance. But it is clear the disturbing claim is only the tip of the iceberg. Under the rules the United States military has imposed for defence lawyers who visit Guantanamo, Stafford Smith has not been allowed to keep his notes of meetings with prisoners, and will not be able to read them again until they have been examined and de-classified by a government censor. He cannot disclose in public anything the men have told him until it too has been been de-classified, on pain of likely imprisonment in the US. Stafford Smith has drawn up a 30-page report on the tortures which Begg and Belmar say they have endured, and sent it as an annexe with a letter to the Prime Minister which Downing Street received shortly before Christmas. For the time being - possibly forever - the report cannot be published, because the Americans claim that the torture allegations amount to descriptions of classified interrogation methods. However, Stafford Smith's letter to Tony Blair - which has been declassified - says that on his visit to the Guantanamo prisoners, he heard 'credible and consistent evidence that both men have been savagely tortured at the hands of the United States' with Begg having suffered not only physical but 'sexual abuse' which has had 'mental health consequences'. Thousands of documents obtained last month under the US Freedom of Information Act by the American Civil Liberties Union support the claims of torture at Guantanamo, which has apparently continued long after the publication last April of photographs of detainees being abused at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They include memos and emails to superiors by FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency officers, who say they were appalled by the methods being used by the young military interrogators at Guantanamo. According to the memos, the abuse was 'systematic', with frequent beatings, chokings, and sleep deprivation for days on end. Religious humiliation was also routine, with one agent reporting a case in which a prisoner was wrapped in an Israeli flag. 'On a couple of occasions I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a foetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water,' an anonymous FBI agent wrote on 2 August. 'Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18 to 24 hours or more.' Reports of identical treatment were first published by The Observer last March, in interviews with three British detainees who had been released - Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed. They were then strenuously denied by the Pentagon. But according to another FBI memo dated 10 May, when an agent asked Guantanamo's former commander, Major General Geoffrey Miller, about techniques the FBI regarded as illegal, he was told that the interrogators 'had their marching orders from the Sec[retary] Def[ense]', Donald Rumsfeld. General Miller told the US Congress under oath that although Rumsfeld had authorised the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners at Guantanamo, this had never happened. According to the memos, this was inaccurate. Stafford Smith asks Blair in his letter 'to approach the plight of my clients with renewed vigour'. Asked by The Observer whether he planned to do this last week, a Downing Street spokesman declined to comment. In a second letter, to the Foreign Office minister Baroness Symons, Stafford Smith suggests that Britain's complicity in abusive techniques at both Guantanamo and Afghanistan, where Begg and Belmar were held before being taken to Cuba, is wider than previously thought. Begg and Belmar, he writes, were both questioned by an MI5 officer who gave his name as 'Andrew', while they were being abused by Americans both in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. According to the letter, 'he was the one who told Mr Begg that the more Mr Begg (falsely) said he was guilty of something, the quicker he would get home. Andrew was also the one who said that he would not comply with both of my clients' requests for consular notification, as well as Mr Begg's requests to learn whether his pregnant wife, Sally, and their three children were safe in Pakistan.' Stafford Smith is asking for Andrew's full name and access to him, to assist his client's defence. Having fled Afghanistan where he had been trying to set up a school before the war against the Taliban began in October 2001, Begg was abducted by American agents from the house the family was renting in Islamabad. Belmar was captured after attending a religious school for a few weeks before the 11 September terrorist attacks. An FBI source who personally questioned him before he was sent to Guantanamo has told The Observer he recommended his immediate release because he had 'no involvement' with terrorism, but was overruled by MI5. Stafford Smith says in his letter to Baroness Symons that Begg made a false written confession after being tortured in February 2003, when two agents who had abused him at Bagram - where Begg witnessed the deaths of two prisoners officially classed as homicide - came to Guantanamo. But neither he nor Stafford Smith have been allowed to see this statement, which apparently forms the main grounds for his continued incarceration. Stafford Smith asks the Foreign Office for help in obtaining a copy, and asks: 'What kind of civilised legal system does not allow the suspect to see his own statements? How can the prisoner's statement be said to be classified information when, if it were true, the prisoner would already know it?' Last night the Foreign Office said 'we are trying to do our utmost' for the four British detainees while 'we take every allegation of torture seriously'. The request for information about the MI5 man would be considered. Azmatt Begg, Moazzam's father, said he had given up hope the British government would intervene in a meaningful way to help his son. 'They are not protecting their own citizens, but merely falling in with whatever the Americans want to do.'reference=http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1382033,00.html?gusrc=rss

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Significance of Eid al-Fitr

The Significance of Eid al-Fitr