Thursday, February 15, 2007

Maryam Namazie: Nazanin Fatehi has been Released!

Sometimes petititions work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rev Sam Trambone on Reagan, George Will, and John P. Diggens

This is interesting,
As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I must write to strongly object to George Will’s misrepresentation of nineteenth century Unitarianism and the theology of Emerson as “that God is good, therefore so are God-given desires” when discussing Diggins book on Reagan’s theology.
George Will's reviewing a book by a favorite Historian of mine, John P. Diggens and his new book, Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History.

My first experience with Diggens was reading Up from Communism back in College.

I think Trambone misreading Will a bit about God-given desireds but I have to think about this a bit. Reagan did live for a time awfully close to Lombard College.

The Economist: An odd marriage of Muslims and secular socialists, united against America

The Economist on Islamic-leftist compact and it's critics.
This leftist-Muslim partnership exists not just on the streets, but in the protest movement's heart. Britain's Stop the War coalition, which has organised more than 15 nationwide protests and hundreds of smaller events, was largely forged by two small, intensely committed bodies—the far-left Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Muslim Association of Britain, which is close to the international Muslim Brotherhood. These tiny groups have co-ordinated street protests by up to 1m people.

With its combination of an American-aligned foreign policy and a large, angry Muslim population, Britain is an unusual case among Western countries. But in many other places, too, Muslim grievance has been yoked to a broader anti-capitalist or anti-globalist movement whose leitmotif is loathing of the Bush administration and all its works.

An Italian Marxist involved in the “Social Forum” movement, which organises large, disparate gatherings of groups opposed to the existing world order, puts it this way. Almost everybody in the movement shares the belief that “capitalism and militarism” (both epitomised by America) are the main challenges to human welfare. If political Islam can blunt American triumphalism, then so much the better—even from the viewpoint of those who would never dream of donning a headscarf or upsetting a sexual minority.
And some references to Nick Cohen and Paul Berman,
Nick Cohen, a peppery writer for Britain's centre-left media, has put flesh on the Euston manifesto's bones by listing the sins of the Islamic-leftist compact. Political Islam, he says, is not just a disaster for many causes (like feminism and gay rights) that the left cherishes; it also overturns the Enlightenment idea that diversity of opinion is desirable.

Paul Berman, a professor at New York University, is one of several Americans of liberal background who have joined the British denunciation of Islamofascism. He says the left's refusal to take sides in the internal battles of Muslim countries (between dissidents and oppressors) reflects an “angelic blindness” which mistakes violent reactionaries for charming exotica.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mithal al-Alusi: Can There Be a Liberal Iraq?

In OPJ today.
Spend an afternoon in his company and you might yet be persuaded that many Iraqis do, or at least might. Mr. Alusi is in Washington, D.C., to impress his views on administration officials and observe the debate in Congress over additional troop commitments in Iraq. What does he make of that debate? "To be honest, we enjoy how beautiful this democratic system of yours can be, and we might learn from it," he says. Beyond additional U.S. soldiers, economic aid and the equipping and training of Iraq's military, what he most wants from America is intangible: "We need to transfer the values from your society to ours."

More easily said than done, you might think, given the general drift of Iraq's politics over the past four years. Yet the polling data bear him out. Between 2004 and 2006 the number of Iraqis who supported the idea of an Islamic state fell to 22% from 30%, while those agreeing that religion and politics ought to be separated rose to 41% from 27%, according to surveys conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Even in Baghdad, site of so much of the sectarian killing, the number of respondents who put their Iraqi identity ahead of their Muslim one doubled to 60%. (By contrast, only 11% of Cairenes saw themselves as Egyptian first, Muslim second.) And 65% of Iraqis agreed that it was "very important" for Iraq to be a democracy, up from 59% two years before.
What a shame if we let this man and others like him down.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hadi Said Al-Matif: defaming Prophet Muhammad

A petition from The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Too many liberals ignore Arab liberals.
Arab human rights organisations, journalists, and activists call upon Saudi King to release a Saudi citizen in jail since 15 years ago

Cairo - 3 February 2007

Arab human rights organisations, journalists, bloggers, and activists who participated in the training workshop "blogging and human rights" in Sana'a, Yemen on 26-28 January 2007, call upon King Abdullah Ben Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia to release the prisoner Hadi Said Al-Matif who was Jailed in Negran since 1992 for being accused of "defaming Prophet Muhammad".

The undersigned urge the king to find the fifteen years he spent in prison sufficient, especially that his health and psychological status are deteriorating to the extent that Al-Matif has frequently attempted to commit suicide.

The petition filed by human rights organizations, journalists, and activists is below:

His Majesty, King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz Al Saud
King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Royal Diwan
Riyadh 11111
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Your Majesty,
Human rights organizations, journalists, and activists meeting in Sana'a, Yemen urge your majesty to release the Saudi prisoner Hadi Said Al Matif. Al-Matif was charged for a statement that was misunderstood to be defaming the Prophet Muhammad in 1992. He was 18 years-old, then. This case is marked by significant violations against the accused in respect with his basic human right to have a fair trial. We urge you to employ your power to release him and find the fifteen years he served in prison to be satisfactory. Such respectable action by your majesty shall be a continuation of the role you played when you declined to approve the retribution ruling in 1999.

The undersigned while calling for releasing Hadi, confirm that the basic standard of justice is the principle of proportionality between penalty and crime. In Al-Matif's case, saying one sentence- regardless of its grossness - can never lead to accusing him of apostasy. The fifteen years which Al-Matif served in prison is thus a cruel punishment and should be eliminated.

His imprisonment for so many long years has led to the deterioration of Al-Matif's psychological state, necessitating his release, especially according to witnesses he has attempted suicide four times. With the deterioration of his health conditions, the undersigned believe that his ongoing imprisonment may discredit the Suadi Justice, particularly that reports confirmed the absence of neutrality and fair trial regulations during the trial of Al-Matif at the end of the last century.

Your Majesty,
The signatories on this petition urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately take the following measures:
Release Hadi Said Al Matif immediately by ordering your satisfaction of the term Al-Matif served in prison
Provide Hadi Al Matif with necessary health care and respect his right to life.
Allow his family members and lawyers to visit him
Not to broaden the use of apostasy charge to any person according to mere interpretive judgments away from clear legal stipulations.
We would like to thank you in advance for showing interest in this important case.

Sincerely, Signatories:


1- Nabil Abdul Rab Al-Ewidy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom Yemen
2- Samia Al-Aghiry Journalist from Al-Wahdawy Newspaper Yemen
3- Mohamed Sadek Al-Oudainy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom
4- Radia Al-Motokel Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Democratic Rights and Freedoms Yemen
5- Waleed Abdul Hafeez Majed Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights Bahrain
Marwa Yousif Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rasha Ali Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rabab Mansour Human Rights Activist Bahrian
Rehab Abdul Rahman Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Al-Othman Journalist Bahrain
Mastoor Mohamed Ali Al-Gerady Shura-Net newspaper Yemen
Mohamed Mosed El-Saleh Mareb Press Yemen
Said Hary Al-Mansour Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Saada Ghalaya Journalist Yemen
Ghida'a El-Sabry Journalist Yemen
Shaimaa Mahmoud Awad Journalist Yemen
Nawal Mousa Al-Yousif Editor-in-chef of Saudi-Net newspaper Saudi Arabia
Gamal Eid The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Egypt
Saleh Ali Amer Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Ali Mohamed Al Hilla Human Rights Activist Saudi Arabia
Ali Mahdi Khattab Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Morad El-Gharatty Civil Observatory of Human Rights Yemen

CC: His Excellency, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Cairo/ Hisham Mohey El-din Nazer