Monthly Archive: July 2016

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Turkey: Who Is Fethullalh Gulen?

Believers say he preaches a new, modern form of Islam. Critics charge he is a power hungry wolf in sheep’s clothing preparing to convert secular Turkey into an Islamic republic; a conspirator who has created a state within the state and attempted this weekend to topple democratically elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed military coup.

Can Lebanon ever rid itself of Hezbollah? Image ©: The World Bank

Can Lebanon Ever Rid Itself of Hezbollah?

In about 1980 – the exact date is disputed – Hezbollah descended like an incubus­ on Lebanon’s body politic, fastening itself onto a sleeping victim. Subsequently, while it has been taking its pleasure from its unhappy prey, all attempts to shake it off have failed. Hezbollah is a creature of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. It drew its inspiration from the extremist Shia-based philosophy expounded by Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomenei. Its aims were to resist Western influences in general and Israel’s existence in particular. Responsible for a string of notorious terrorist actions, such as the suicide car bombing…
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Lost Generation in Conflict Zones Image©: GETTY IMAGES

Lost Generation in Conflict Zones

  A catastrophic by-product of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East is a lost generation of unschooled children. These children find themselves, through no fault of their own, not only displaced but lacking the opportunity for proper schooling and thus, denied a chance to learn and develop the necessary skills to become fully functional members of society. This lost generation is the tragedy of our time. According to a 2015 report by UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has driven 13 million children out of schools. Unschooled children are not only a…
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The Nexus Between Radicalisation and Integration Image©MV Media mpc-journal.org

The Nexus Between Radicalisation and Integration

″Radicalisation cannot be blamed on failed integration″ After the attacks in Brussels, Olivier Roy cautions against rashly linking Islam with terrorism. In interview with Michaela Wiegel, the Islam researcher explains the real problem with jihadism Mr. Roy, do you see a connection between terrorism and failed integration in European immigration societies? Olivier Roy: I don’t think that Islamic radicalisation is the result of a failure to integrate. That’s only a pseudo-problem. Many of the young people who take up the banner of jihad are well integrated. They speak French, English and German. Islamic State (IS) has established a French-speaking battalion precisely…
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Arab Queers Do Exist

Years ago, in one of the many social groups that coalesce around shared interests and social affiliations of LGBT people in Egypt, we used to gather at a friend’s place and watch old shows of Sherihan’s. My friends compared her to Lady Gaga and many of us believed that in fact Sherihan anticipated Lady Gaga by a decade or more. In many of her performances, costumes and makeup, she actually outdid Lady Gaga. We were proud of an Egyptian artist who was fearless, bold in her choices and so extreme in what she could get away with, but at the same time remained irresistibly…
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Netanyahu’s Alliance of the African Periphery

Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had an acute mind and the capacity to think strategically, a capacity demonstrated time and again during his two periods in office. The foreign policy strategy most closely connected with Ben Gurion has become known as the Alliance of the Periphery, or the Periphery Doctrine.  This concept called for Israel to develop close strategic alliances with non-Arab Muslim states in order to counteract the then united opposition of Arab states to Israel’s very existence.

Jihad Versus Soccer: Islamic State’s Convoluted Love-Hate Relationship

If the Islamic State (IS) was serious about attacking Euro 2016, its plans clearly never materialized. Leaked transcripts of the interrogation of one of the attackers of Brussels Airport in March leave little doubt however that soccer figures prominently on the group’s target list. So does this month’s beheading in Raqqa of four Syrian players. Yet, what emerges from analysis of IS’s policies is a convoluted love-hate relationship with the world’s most widespread expression of popular culture. Mohammed Abrini, a Belgian of Moroccan, descent, gained notoriety as the man with a white hat, after he was seen walking away in…
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Al-Sisi Seizes the Lead in the Peace Process

President Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt is a man of vision.   In addition to his ambitions for his own country, there is mounting evidence that he aims to build a positive legacy for himself in the wider Middle East. He seems to have set his sights on promoting not only a new peace-making initiative between Israel and the Palestinians, but a further effort to bridge the apparently irreconcilable differences between the two wings of the Palestinian body politic, Hamas and Fatah. It was in a determined counter-attack on the terror-based Islamism represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates that Sisi…
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Religious Conservatism Redefines Symbolism of National Sports Teams

Religious Conservatism Redefines Symbolism of National Sports Teams

Over the past decade, religiosity and religious intolerance have seeped into national sports teams in Pakistan and Egypt, societies that have been wracked by faith-based narrow-mindedness and political fanaticism. The trend is exemplified by two national team managers, a controversial Pakistani cricket captain and a storied Egyptian midfielder-turned-glorified-soccer coach. The trend reflects the devastating impact of religious and/or political intolerance in Pakistan and Egypt. It has redefined the symbolism of Pakistan’s national cricket team and Egypt’s national soccer squad. Governments as well as national and international sports associations have encouraged the trend by failing to enforce good governance. Both managers,…
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Jordan Removes Religion From New ID Cards

Jordan’s new smart IDs will no longer indicate the cardholder’s religion. Smart IDs that don’t indicate the holder’s religion are now replacing traditional IDs in Jordan as part of the government’s digitisation program, reports Al Bawaba. Jordanian smart IDs will include data chips containing background information about holder for security purposes. The move drew criticism from the country’s conservatives who argue that ditching religion from national IDs violates article one of the Jordanian constitution, which declares Islam the state religion – most notably Former MP Zakaria El Sheikh who called the decision an attempt to “strip the country of its Muslim identity.”

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