I've been descending deep into the MSJ archive, and have pulled out a few book reviews from over the years.
In no particular order:
I've been descending deep into the MSJ archive, and have pulled out a few book reviews from over the years.
In no particular order:
While I was researching something else today, I came across this little LA Times article (1978) announcing the opening of the very same mosque I discuss here.
Now this has got the data-geek in me thinking about all the other squibs out there that can be used as excellent data points for a graph showing the spread of the MB in Europe.
I came across this October 23 article today...
Bhutto receives new death threat, will avoid mass rallies in Pakistan campaign.
Source: Canadian Press, (BFFI), 23 October 2007.
KARACHI, Pakistan _ Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said Tuesday she had received a new death threat but will start campaigning in Pakistani cities in the next couple days, avoiding mass rallies.
Five days after the suicide bombing that killed at least 136 at her homecoming procession in Karachi, Bhutto said her lawyer received a letter from an unidentified ``friend of al−Qaida'' threatening to slaughter her "like a goat."
Bhutto said the letter was addressed to her lawyer, Farooq Naik, and had been left for him at the Supreme Court in Islamabad. She said Naik was alerting the chief justice of the threat.
"There are elements who want who to kill us," Bhutto said at her heavily guarded residence in this southern city. "They are petrified that the Pakistan People's Party will return (to power) and that democracy will return."
"They are trying to derail the democratic process because they know if the people are employed and educated the forces of extremism and terrorism will be weakened," she said.
The authenticity of the letter could not be confirmed. Bhutto said the writer claimed to be the "head of the suicide bombers and a friend of al−Qaida and Osama bin Laden."
Bhutto returned Thursday from eight years in exile to campaign for parliamentary elections due in January, after months of talks with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that could see them working side−by−side in the next government.
She said that after discussions, her party had decided she should avoid staging mass rallies because of the risk of suicide and roadside bombings, but would still address public meetings.
"The party decided I should go from Karachi to Islamabad, Lahore or Larkana (Bhutto's hometown) in the next couple of days. We will be not be holding public rallies but will be travelling to meet the people in other provinces," she said.
Bhutto has blamed alleged extremist elements in the government and the security apparatus for the bombing that ripped through Thursday's rally in Karachi _ claims the government denies.
She alleges they include remnants of the regime of former military leader Gen. Zia−ul Haq, who oversaw mujahedeen groups that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, then became Taliban and al−Qaida. She alleges some members of the ruling party, including its chief, were behind Thursday's attack.
That has raised questions about how the parties could form a coalition in support of Musharraf after the elections. Although Bhutto and Musharraf are rivals, both are moderates keen to combat religious extremism. And Musharraf has signed an amnesty to quash graft cases against Bhutto.
Bhutto's party has said she is on a list of people who are not allowed to leave the country, but local media reports say that is not the case.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a close Musharraf aide, predicted Tuesday that the People's Party would be part of the next government. "There is good understanding between Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto," he said.
Bhutto also escalated her scathing criticism of ruling party leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who in an apparently sarcastic response to her claim that he is plotting to kill her, on Monday accused Bhutto's husband of arranging the blasts to stir up public sympathy.
Bhutto called that a "lunatic statement" and claimed Hussain objected to Pakistan seeking international assistance in the investigation because he wanted to "cover up this heinous terrorist attack."
Sindh provincial Gov. Ishrat Ul−Ebad Khan said Tuesday that two suicide bombers _ not one as earlier believed _ carried out the attack. He said the state agency that oversees Pakistan's national identity cards was helping to try to identify the bombers, one of whose pictures has been made public.
Accession number & update: 17UA3775 20071024.
While I was doing research on the takfiri movement, I came across a remarkable February 1982 article on Egypt's Islamist movements in the journal of the (leftist) Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) -- MERIP Reports. The author, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, interviewed imprisoned members of Takfir wal- Hijra and the "Military Academy" group during 1978- early 1979 time frame. Being that the bulk of the research for the article was completed before the dramatic events of 1979 or Anwar Sadat's assassination in October 1981, the insights gained from the interviews are untainted by the repercussions of those years.
It's a snap-shot into the jihadist mindset before it became a self- consciously global movement. What's surprising is how consistent that message has been since the 1970s:
Even more surprising is how stable the profile of the "average" Islamic militant since their emergence on the international scene in the 1970s. Long before Marc Sageman's ground-breaking work on militant Islamist profiles, Ibrahim described the "typical social profile" of the militants he interviewed:
It makes me wonder why our analytical institutions have been so bad at recognizing and understanding the threat from militant Islam, decade after decade. It's not like this enemy has changed much since the 1970s. As a matter of fact, its very lack of change is a testament to the enduring power of the message.
In September 1998, British officials arrested key members of Egypt's radical movements (here called the "fundamentalist trend") who were operating out of the country. A galaxy of radical Islamist leaders came to their defense soon after. As this FBIS translation of a contemporary report from Al-Sharq al-Awsat shows that long before the United States' GWOT, Western-based Islamists were actively pursuing their goals of fomenting violent jihad:
Report by Muhammad al-Shafi'i: "Fundamentalists Forget Their Differences and Unite in Demonstration Outside 10 Downing Street"
(FBIS Translated Text) London -- The fundamentalist leaders in the capital, London, have forgotten their basic differences and have temporarily united in the demonstration scheduled outside 10 Downing Street -- the British prime minister's office -- for Friday 12 March, in protest against the continued detention of five fundamentalists (believed to be members of the armed Jihad organization) in the Belmarsh jail in southeast London, following the 28 September 1998 raids carried out by Scotland Yard in conjunction with British intelligence as part of Operation Challenge. These are Sayyid Ahmad 'Abd-al-Maqsud, Ibrahim 'Aydarus, Hani al-Siba'i, Sayyid 'Ajami Mu'awwad, and Usamah Hasan.
The five are also being tried in absentia in the "returnees from Albania" trial which began 1 February and which involves 107 suspects in total, 63 of whom are being tried in absentia.
A statement, of which Al-Sharq al-Awsat received a copy yesterday and which is signed by 'Abd-al-Mun'im Mustafa Halimah (Abu-Busayr)(not identified further); Muhammad Mustafa al Muqri' (Abu-Ithar), official of the Followers of the Book and the Sunnah; 'Abd-al-Rahim Abu-Muntasir, (an Iranian) and a director and official of Ahl-al-Sunnah (Followers of the Sunnah) in Iran; Dr. Muhammad al- Khalidi from the Islamic League of the Followers of the Book and the Sunnah; Umar Bin-Muhammad (Abu-Qatadah), a Mosque imam and preacher; Khalid Bin-Fathi (Abu-al-Walid al-Ansari), a Palestinian; Yasir al-Sirri (director of the London-based Islamic Observation Center), Mustafa Kamil (Abu-Hamzah al-Masri), official of the London-based Supporters of Shari'ah organization; and Muhammad al-Mas'ari, a Saudi (chairman of the Saudi opposition Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights -- CDLR) revealed (as published; sentence incomplete).
Sources close to the fundamentalist trend in London said that although some of the statement's signatories "belong to Jihad group, and others to the armed Islamic Group" -- which are the two main Egyptian fundamentalist organizations -- in addition to other independent fundamentalist organizations (some of which have not yet announced their participation), they have nevertheless all forgotten their ideological differences -- which is a step in the right direction -- for the sake of (easing) the plight of the fundamentalists "who are being held for no reason at the Belmarsh jail."
added that "in order to keep them in custody, they were informed that they had breached the immigration laws despite the fact that they are all political asylum seekers, and some of them had spent five years in Britain without getting any response to their application for asylum."
The statement urged the human rights organizations and the members of the Muslim community in Britain to take part in the fundamentalists' protest.
Doing research on Sayyid Qutb's influence on Islamist movements, I came across a remarkable interview with Talat Fuad Qasim, then head of Gama'a Islamiyya. Al-Qasim was imprisoned along with other members of Gama'a Islamiyya and Islamic Jihad, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, after the assassination of Sadat in 1981.
The interview happened in November 1993 after Qasim fled Afghanistan for Copenhagen, but was published in Middle East Report in January 1996. Not only does Qasim discuss his opinion of Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheik, and spiritual leader of Qasim's group, but he talks about his relationship with Zawahiri:
While I was trolling university press sites for anything interesting, I came across this book:
Who knew? Well, several months back I had come across an article Alexander Russell (Mohammed) Webb wrote for Current Literature in 1893. It's a conversion story, not unlike Adam Gadahn's. Though written in a late-Victorian idiom, its supremacist declarations and defensive tone are instantly recognizable:
As soon as I reached maturity I began the study of the various religions, and of the mysteries of life and death. The possession of some knowledge created a thirst for more. Desiring to personally investigate the workings of the Mohammedan religion, I secured, through the kindness of President Cleveland, in 1885, the Consulship of Manila, in the Philippine Islands. The little time I had to spare outside my official duties I spent in the pursuit of further enlightenment. There could be but one result. My investigations made me a thorough Mussulman.
Why? Because I found the morals of the followers of Allah were better than those of the people of our own Christian America. Because there is nothing about the traditions or precepts of Mohammedanism incapable of proof. Because its higher philosophy is the most perfect in the world. Because there is nothing of superstition, bigotry or intolerance about it. And because I believe it can accomplish in America what Christianity has so long attempted and so signally failed in doing. I am here to teach its beauties, its philosophy, and its salvation.
I am often asked who furnishes the money to carry on this work in America. There are rich and devout Mohammedans as well as rich and devout Christians. Wealthy Indian merchants have pledged themselves to support the mission for a period of five years. At the end of that time I have no doubt but that funds for the future will be forthcoming.
The four months I spent in Indian form the pleasantest memory of my life. I lived among Mohammedans all of this time. I found a richer, better, higher civilization among these so-called "barbarians" than I can find in the great metropolis of the new world to-day...
One has no right to condemn what he does not understand. However many of those who have called me an "audacious fanatic" because I believe in the Koran, have ever read the Koran? How many of those who condemn its followers as "barbarians" have ever met or converse with an intelligent Mohammedan? We of the West judge Mohammedanism by the Arabians of the desert. Mohammedanism satisfies the soul; Christianity does not. But I will not burden you with missionary pleading...
Far from being a new phenomenon, Islam has survived and thrived in the US for more than a century (and that's a good thing). We need to look deep into our past, deeper than the 1960s in order to build a better understanding and a more accurate picture of Islam in America. Without a better view of the "threat landscape," we'll continue to stumble.
U.S. Arabs, Muslims allege bias They say NY bombing intensifies hostility, suspicion they encounter
Betty Liu Ebron
New York Daily News
14 March 1993
NEW YORK -- When Osama Husseini turned 18 and became a U.S. citizen, he changed his name to Samuel Hennessy so he could "pass as an American.'
As a kid growing up in Queens, he avoided questions about his ethnicity. His father, a Palestinian, and his mother, a Jordanian, came to the United States when he was 5. Like many Palestinian-Americans, they are Christians.
Today, at 27, he goes by Sam Husseini, and has made peace with his heritage. He is the Middle East expert at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
Since the Feb. 26 World Trade Center bombing, Mr. Husseini has been monitoring television, newspapers and magazines for anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bias.
"The perception is that all Arabs are Muslim, all Muslims are fundamentalists and all fundamentalists are terrorists,' he said. "And none of those links is correct.'
But talk to Arab-Americans, Arab immigrants, Muslims of all persuasions, anyone wearing turbans: They say they've become targets for abuse because the suspects in the World Trade bombing are Muslim Arabs.
Muhammed, an Arab immigrant cab driver in New York, had a hat covering the identification card and photo on his taxi's dashboard. "The customers are yelling and cursing. They even spit at me,' he said. "Some got in my cab, saw my name and got out.'
He's not alone. Nassar, an Egyptian, said he picked up a couple at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and drove them all the way to Brooklyn Heights. It was a big fare. But he heard them whispering about the "Arab.' They tipped him 25 cents.
"The way the customers talk, the eye contact -- they call me terrorist all the time,' Nassar shrugged. "I'm used to it. I take it.'
Even before last month's blast at the World Trade Center, many Muslims had a sense of dread. "For years, Communists were our chief villains,' said Cedric McClester, an African-American Muslim. "But with the fall of communism, Islam became a convenient target.'
Even The New York Times could not resist describing bombing suspect Mohammed Salameh's "beakish nose.'
Then there was the New York magazine cover: "The Arab Connection.'
"I don't think New York magazine would ever do a cover "The Jewish Connection,' "The Israeli Connection' or "The Christian Connection,' ' said Mona Aboelnaga, who leads the New York chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "This is exactly the kind of backlash we fear most. The bombing was an act committed by men who happened to be Muslims, not an act by Muslims.'
She noted that the news media refer to David Koresh, the Waco man who claims to be the messiah, as a "cult leader,' not a Christian extremist.
New York City's Muslims, who say they are 800,000 strong, are outraged over the protest that Bronx Rabbi Avi Weiss held at the Jersey City, N.J., mosque where Mr. Salameh worshiped. Muslims liken it to picketing St. Patrick's Cathedral because Irish Republican Army members prayed there.
"When Mr. Michael Milken stole millions of dollars from Wall Street, no one said, "Ah! A Jewish connection,' ' said Ghazi Khankan, an Arab-American radio personality in New York. "No one went to his synagogue to find out who was his spiritual rabbi who taught him to steal and lie. Now, Muslims are afraid that someone is going to bomb their home, their mosque or business.'
The number of hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims jumped 800 percent during the Persian Gulf war, according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which fears a new outbreak. (The committee urges victims to call it at (202) 244-2990.)
"We also don't want to see the government use this as a pretext to begin unwarranted investigations into the Arab community, as was done during the gulf war,' said Albert Mokhiber, president of the committee.