Archive for Islamists

Women in Parliament: Islamists in Tunisia Field More Women as Candidates than the Percentage of Women in the US Congress

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by loonwatch
TUNISIA_Women_ParliamentTunisian Parliament–Nov 23, 2011

Whenever a Western power wants to invade and or bomb a Muslim nation one invariably hears about how the “women are oppressed in ________(insert Muslim nation of choice)” and “we must liberate them from the clutches of those evil, backward, misogynistic Muslim men.” That is one of the reasons we’ve termed the bombing, invasion and occupation of Muslim lands, the Greater Islamophobia.

Interestingly, when one analyzes say…the number of women in positions of power in countries across the world, we see the percentages of women in parliament to be higher in many majority Muslim nations than in parts of the West. [These statistics also buttress the fact that more Muslim nations have had female leaders, (Presidents, Prime Ministers) than the USA!]

Below we have a list of countries whose percentages of women in parliament is higher than the USA, which ranks a dismal 71st.

*Afghanistan (I have added an asterisk here because this nation is under foreign occupation and the results for many are not considered legitimate. However it is still interesting that Afghanis, some of the most vilified people in the world today when it comes to views of women vote for them at a higher percentage than Americans.)

Rank Country Lower or single House Upper House or Senate
Elections Seats* Women % W Elections Seats* Women % W
30 Afghanistan 9 2010 249 69 27.7% 1 2011 102 28 27.5%

Tunisia is not a surprise to many who know the country, but lets put these numbers into perspective. The Islamist party Ennahda won elections, they are known as “moderates,” but within the media, especially the Right we see an effort to translate Ennahda’s victory into a harbinger for the repression of women’s rights and other usual hoopla associated with Right-wing anti-Islam rhetoric. As the Angry Arab, As’ad Abu Khalil remarks, “I just figured that Tunisian Islamists fielded more women as candidates than the percentage of women in the US Congress.”

32 Tunisia 10 2011 217 57 26.3%

*Iraq

36 Iraq 3 2010 325 82 25.2%

Sudan

37 Sudan 4 2010 346 87 25.1% 5 2010 28 5 17.9%

Kyrgyzstan

45 Kyrgyzstan 10 2010 120 28 23.3%

Senegal

46 Senegal 6 2007 150 34 22.7% 8 2007 100 40 40.0%

Pakistan

47 Pakistan 2 2008 342 76 22.2% 3 2009 100 17 17.0%

Mauritania

48 Mauritania 11 2006 95 21 22.1% 11 2009 56 8 14.3%

Uzbekistan

49 Uzbekistan 12 2009 150 33 22.0% 1 2010 100 15 15.0%

Tajikistan

60 Tajikistan 2 2010 63 12 19.0% 3 2010 34 5 14.7%

Bangladesh

63 Bangladesh 12 2008 345 64 18.6%

Indonesia

65 Indonesia 4 2009 560 101 18.0%

Kazakhstan

66 Kazakhstan 8 2007 107 19 17.8% 8 2011 47 ? ?

United Arab Emirates

67 United Arab Emirates 9 2011 40 7 17.5%

All of the above nations did better than the USA.

Here are two Western nations who you’d think would have done better in the numbers and who wax eloquent about “women’s rights,” even using it as a pretext to bomb and invade nations:

61 France 6 2007 577 109 18.9% 9 2011 348 77 22.1%
71 United States of America 2 11 2010 434 73 16.8% 11 2010 100 17 17.0%

Of course some of the above Muslim nations still have low percentages, however my purpose here is not to draw conclusions but to add to the empirical evidence when it comes to the discussion of women, women’s role in Muslim societies and women’s rights.

As the battle over birth control, invasive procedures before abortion, etc. rages on in the USA, the above stats provide a healthy if sobering perspective to the belligerent discussion in the looniverse about Muslim women.

Rep. King’s Fourth Muslim-American Radicalization Hearing to Focus on Military

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by loonwatch
Peter KingPeter King

The former IRA Terrorist supporter, Peter King is holding his fourth hearing on “Muslim-American Radicalization,” this time focusing on the “military.” Expect it to be an Islamophobiapalooza.

Rep. King’s fourth Muslim-American radicalization hearing to focus on military

By Jordy Yager

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is hoping his panel’s hearing on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. military will reveal how the armed services can better protect itself against homegrown attacks.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) is holding a joint hearing on Wednesday, along with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), as the next stage in his series of efforts to address the radicalization of American Muslims.  Pointing to the 2009 shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas and at a military recruiting station in Arkansas, which killed a total of 14 people and wounded more than two dozen, King said the issue of radicalization within military communities is one that is grossly under the radar.

“There is an attempt by Islamists to join the military and infiltrate the military, and it’s more of a threat than the average American is aware of right now,” said King in an interview with The Hill on Monday.

Lieberman said his committee has held 13 hearings over the past five years on the issue of violent Islamic extremism and, based on what he has learned, the military is an increasingly large target for attacks.

“Clearly, the threat of homegrown terrorism has increased dramatically, and clearly, members of the armed services are a high-value target,” Lieberman said in a statement.

The issue was brought to the front burner for King after it was raised by Paul Stockton, the assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs. King said he feels the Obama administration is just as concerned with the issue as he is, and hopes to develop a working partnership to address some of the inadequacies that will come up at Wednesday’s hearing.

“I think more can be done,” he said. “But this is not going to be any attempt to bash the administration, necessarily. From my perspective it’s going to be a productive hearing and it’s not going to turn into a partisan fight.”

King gave several examples of issues that need more attention, such as whether the military needs to provide more security for recruiting centers and bases in the U.S. or whether local and state law enforcement should play a larger role in coordinating security with the military.

He said he also hopes to address the minutiae of radicalization on military bases. He used an example of how he has heard of at least one instance in which a copy of the radical Islamic magazine Inspire — which has been used as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups — was found in a barracks and allowed to remain. But Confederate flags are rightfully banned, he said.

“I’m using that as an example about whether or not we need to be more aggressive in facing up to the reality. It’s Islamic terrorism. It’s not just a nondescript, anonymous type of terrorism.”

King has held three hearings so far this year on the issue of radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. The first one drew the most scrutiny, as nearly 100 members of Congress asked him to cancel it or widen the breadth of the radicalized groups he was probing. King lauded the hearing as a success, saying that it brought attention to a taboo subject that is a serious and growing security concern.

The other two hearings focused on the terrorist group al-Shabbab’s influence within the U.S., and the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within U.S. prisons.

Carlos Bledsoe is serving life in prison for waging a shooting spree in 2009 at an Arkansas military recruiting center that killed Army Pvt. William Long.

Bledsoe’s father — who testified before King at a previous hearing, saying that his son was influenced by radicalized Muslim ideals — is planning to be at Wednesday’s hearing, where the slain soldier’s father, Daris Long, is slated to testify. King said each knows the other will be at the hearing and that Bledsoe is attending to show his support for Long.

Also expected to testify are Jim Stuteville, an Army senior adviser for counterintelligence operations and liaison to the FBI, and Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, the director of Combating Terrorism Center at the West Point military academy.

King is planning to unveil a committee report on the issue at Wednesday’s hearing and another joint report with the Senate panel afterward.

He said his next hearing will likely be next year and focus on the use of certain mosques by al Qaeda and Iran in their efforts to radicalize people within the U.S.

Haroon Moghul on Why the Egyptian Revolution is not Islamist

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Via the Huffington Post, an insightful and nuanced analyses from Haroon Moghul. Hopefully people will start to listen.

4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic

The following is reprinted with permission from Religion Dispatches. You can sign up for their free daily newsletterhere.

Just as in the case of Tunisia, we’ve been caught off guard by the rapid pace of events in Egypt. Commentators are having a difficult time understanding the dynamics of the Arab world and especially the role of religion in this latest apparent revolution. Many wonder why this isn’t an Islamic Revolution, and are audibly breathing a sigh of relief that it isn’t — assuming that somehow Egypt would follow Iran’s rather unique trajectory in 1979 and thereafter.

So why isn’t Egypt’s revolution an Islamic one? And what sets Tunisia and Egypt apart from Iran? Due to the quickly shifting nature of events, I’ve recorded four reasons why Egypt’s uprising isn’t an explicitly Islamic one.

1) The political Islamism that ended up triumphing in Iran was a much more authoritarian interpretation of Islam. It specifically embraced political power and preached a narrative of resistance, though its victory in Iran paradoxically ended any chance of victory elsewhere. That’s because when elites and other, non-religious ideological forces in neighboring Muslim countries saw the purges of prior elites taking place in Iran, they immediately became skeptical of working alongside Islamists in their own country.

Islamic challenges to regimes in Tajikistan, Algeria and Tunisia, among others, were violently supressed even though they pursued their goals democratically. Most Islamists learned from this brutal experience and grew from it; Egypt’s most powerful Muslim group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was one such group. It’s probably safe to say that Iran was the only victory for this style of Islamism, and now, some 30-plus years later, its moment has largely passed. The geopolitical, economic and social reasons for its emergence have disappeared.

2) Iran’s Islamist opposition to the Shah was shaped by the peculiarities of Shi’a Islam and Iranian history. Shi’as have a more organized and powerful clergy than Sunnis, and Iran’s clergy, unlike Egypt’s, were much more independent of the state. In Egypt today, among the main trends in Islamic practice are a quietist Salafism, which seeks a rigorous but non-political personal morality, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

And while the Brotherhood is an incredibly large and powerful organization, it is today a product of years of suppression, torture, and intimidation. While it seeks to change society, it does not pursue an explicitly political agenda. Rather, it believes that an ideal politics will be achieved once society is Islamized — in other words, enough introduction of Muslim values into popular culture, and society will simply reform itself — and that includes the state. So while they have political ideals, they certainly don’t have an explicit political program.

That said, it’s no surprise that the Brotherhood weren’t out ahead in the recent protests: They’ve largely eschewed street politics (it ends with their members electrocuted in jails). It’s also worth considering, although this is still conjectural, whether the Brotherhood declined to play a more public role even after they caught up to events on the street precisely because they know a more prominent role for themselves could draw negative attention. I’m sure the Brotherhood knows that Mubarak would love to have Islamists to blame for the uprising. It would make our government support for his crackdown that much easier to obtain.

3) People who study Iran know how vexed the relationship is, and has been, between Persian cultural identity and Islam. While many Iranians before the revolution were religious in a non-political way, the country’s elite tended to see Islam and Persianness as mutually incompatible. On the other hand, Egypt is a proudly Arab society (hint: the Arab Republic of Egypt) which has never seen Islam as incompatible with their specific ethnic and national project.

Arabness and Islam are hard to pull apart, such that the late Michel Aflaq, the founder of the Arab nationalist Ba’ath Party — he was a Christian — praised Islam as an achievement of the Arab cultural genius. (Many Muslims wouldn’t take too kindly to such a reading, but there you have it.) That difference in dynamics between Egypt and Iran needs to be stressed.

While Iran’s Shah campaigned against Islam and sought to erase its role in Persian history and culture, Mubarak never attacked Islam with anywhere near the same vehemence. He’s far more concerned with preserving power for himself than he is with rewriting Egyptian history (unfortunately for his prospects of remaining in power, he’s concerned with himself–and not even for Egypt’s advancement, unlike other Third World dictatorships, which do emphasize and achieve real economic growth). And this brings us to the most important point…

4) Egypt’s revolution doesn’t have to be Islamic because Islam isn’t at the heart of the problem on the ground. In fact, the non-political Egyptian Islam of the last few decades has succeeded in deeply Islamizing Egyptian culture, making Muslim piety interwoven with the everyday rhythms of Egyptian life. We saw this in the protests after the Friday prayers today, in the spontaneous congregational prayers that took place in the heat of demonstrations–and we can see it in the number of Egyptian women who veil (though many don’t and still strongly identify with Islam, whether culturally or religiously, personally or publicly).

Egypt’s society is a deeply Muslim one, and the very success of this non-political religious project has negated the need for a confrontational Islam. Egyptians know their religious identity is not under threat. ElBaradei, for example, joined in Friday prayers today before going out into the streets. Whether Egyptians identify with political Islam or secular democracy, their Arabness and Islam tend to be mutually supportive, and certainly not incompatible.

Where there is a danger is that if the United States does not come out explicitly in favor of the people, subsequent events will become more confrontational, and may even see the introduction of a more cultural and civilizational rhetoric. The Shah monopolized power and sought to erase a culture. Mubarak, for all his brutality, has had no such grandiose presumption.

As an aside, I might also add that Muslim societies often have flourishing religious institutions and practices, organic and varied. But in the case of Iran, the regime paradoxically undermined that popular and organic religiosity when they sought to enforce faith through the state. This is an argument for keeping religion and politics separate in the Muslim world: in the interest of defending both from the negative effects of the other. Egypt’s “secular” dictator, who didn’t meddle too far into his people’s religious life — he was no Shah, and no Ben Ali — hasn’t created a sharp cultural divide in his country (the economic one is something else altogether). So why would Egyptians need, want, or stress, an Islamic Revolution?

 

Terror Attacks Decrease in Europe

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by loonwatch

We did a piece on the statistics of European terrorism quite some time ago, and now more evidence that “terror” from Muslims in Europe is an overblown threat. (hat tip: iSherif)

Terror attacks decrease in Europe

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Fewer than 300 acts of terrorism were registered in Europe last year and only one was an attack from an Islamist group, with most of them committed by separatist organisations in Spain and France, EU’s police agency Europol reports.

A total of 294 terrorist acts were reported in EU member states in 2009, representing a 33 percent drop compared to the previous year and half the number of attacks registered in 2007, Europol said Wednesday (28 April).

Fewer attacks should not translate in less police vigilance, Europol warns (Photo: digitaledinges) 

 

 

“While the number of terrorist incidents is declining in Europe, terrorism remains a significant security threat to our society and citizens. Despite the overall trend, we should not drop our guard in the fight against terrorism,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said in a statement.

Europol defines a terrorist offence as any act, planned or executed, that may seriously damage a country or an international organisation if committed to intimidate a population, put pressure on a government or destabilise political, constitutional, economic or social structures.

The statistics do not include the United Kingdom, however, because its record-keeping differs with that of the other member states. An additional 124 attacks carried out by dissident republican groups were reported in Northern Ireland.

Most of the attacks in mainland Europe were committed by separatist groups such as Basque separatists ETA in Spain and the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) in France.

“Islamist terrorism is still perceived as the biggest threat to most member states, despite the fact that only one Islamist terrorist attack – a bomb attack in Italy – took place in the EU in 2009,” Europol said.

One Libyan national tried to detonate a home-made explosive device when entering a military compound in Milan. He slightly wounded one of the guards and suffered severe burns himself.

The agency also mentions the Nigerian bomber who boarded a US flight in Amsterdam and failed his explosive device on 25 December 2009.

“The attack on the US airliner showed how the EU can be used as a platform for launching attacks on the US, and demonstrated the ability of terrorist groups to employ explosives that are not detected by conventional scanning equipment,” the report notes.

In a separate case, two men were arrested in the US in October 2009 and charged with preparing attacks against the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as other targets in Denmark. “They are an illustration of terrorists from abroad focusing on Member States of the EU,” Europol says.

Tracking international bank data is relevant in the fight against terrorism, as “substantial amounts of money are transferred, using a variety of means, from Europe to conflict areas in which terrorist groups are active,” the police agency argues.

Besides Islamist and separatist attacks, left-wing extremism is on the rise in EU, with 40 attacks carried out, representing a 43 pecent increase compared to 2008.

In Greece, Epanastatikos Agonas continued its violent actions and claimed responsibility for an attack on police officers, which caused serious injuries to one officer. Sekta Epanastaton, a newly–active organisation in Greece, claimed another attack which killed a police officer.

The far right meanwhile has intensified its terrorist attacks, especially in Hungary, where four such incidents were reported.

So-called single-issue terrorism, on behalf of animal rights, are also mentioned in the report. “Some violent Animal Rights Extremism attacks in 2009 used modi operandi similar to those used by terrorists, such as improvised explosive devices and improvised incendiary devices.”