Category Archives: Muslims

Post-Mosul Future of MENA Wars: Our Week of Escalated Bombings in Islamistan….

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Recent events of this past week point to the possible future of political developments in the Middle East and North Africa:

  • In Turkey, we saw Yet another huge terrorist bombing in the largest historic city of the country. More fallout from Mr. Erdogan’s Syrian and Iraqi adventures. Another terrorist bombing in Istanbul: at least 39 dead, many more wounded.
  • In Egypt, the terror campaign has dramatically escalated, and well beyond the Sinai Peninsula. First a group of security officers were bombed yesterday. Then today, Sunday, a new first: the largest Church of the country, the Orthodox Coptic headquarters of their Pope was bombed, killing more than 25, wounding more. A serious and dangerous escalation in a country on the brink of confessional and sectarian breakdown. Just imagine a Syria or an Iraq with three times the population.
  • In Yemen, a terrorist bombing attack in Aden reportedly killed at least 50. Reportedly the “victims” mostly soldiers and security of the deposed Hadi regime.
  • In Syria and Iraq the killing just goes on. Daily bombings of civilian targets in Iraqi towns continue. Mostly Shi’a targets, but not exclusively so (twin bombings in mostly-Sunni Fallujah today). Thus feeding the Salafist Wahhabi goal of fanning sectarian flames.

Further away from the MENA region: More killings in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Pakistan.

This seems like a harbinger of an escalation of acts of terrorism well beyond Iraq and Syria and Sinai. Now almost any Muslim country is a target. Possibly an indication of a strategic shift among Jihadis from holding territory back to more spectacular violent acts of terrorism. A sign of a post-Mosul and post-Raqqa strategy of the Jihadis?
Very likly….
Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

 

Beards and Zeitgeist: Leftist Beards, Zayed Beards, Islamist Fuzz, Lice and Orangutan……….

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It seems that the fate of the facial hair we call the “beard” is often tied to the political atmosphere of the period. Part of the Zeitgeist.
Decades ago, a young man with a beard in the Americas or in Europe was considered a radical, a suspected follower or admirer of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, (or even Dobie Gillis and Bob Denver). In fascist-ruled places like Chile, Argentina, and Greece they were thrown into prison or just disappeared on suspicion of radicalism or impiety or non-conformity. In some West European airports, bearded youth were often questioned more carefully. That was then, long before the world ever heard of Radical Islam.
At the same time, in Saudi Arabia any man who was ambitious grew a goatee beard (like the one Bob Denver and Dobie Gillis sported). From the king on down, they all flaunted the goatee (some Arabs called it saksooka). But that beard was not a radical political statement: just a show of solidarity with the eternal Saudi conformity rules.

FYI: I suspect that “goatee” drives from “goat“, which means these guys admired something about their goats. Maybe just the looks.

Then two events happened in 1979 that altered the history and shape of the beard for a generation to come:
First: the Afghan war erupted, with the Western secular governments and Arab Wahhabis aligned with the reactionary Afghan tribes against the God-less Communists. That war created a whole new generation of Islamic guerrillas. Al Qaeda started in Afghanistan, with Saudi money and Arab volunteers and American (Reagan) weapons. We can also say that it was the genesis of the Taliban and ISIS and Al Nusra and other cutthroat groups. The first Afghan war gave us the shaggy unruly lice-infested Wahhabi beard so loved by our Persian Gulf Salafists. One more complication: many Salafi elders, to show that they are among the top elite, tend to die their beards, often a bright red (Orangutan) color, as rusty as their brains. Maybe it is to appeal to their wives. A few let them let it go gray.
Second: the Iranian Revolution succeeded in February 1979. Mullahs with shaggy beards and heir followers with trimmed beards took over in Tehran, replacing the clean shaven men of the Shah, King of Kings, Light of the Aryans, etc, etc. An Iranian form of conformity has spread since then: all men of importance in the regime sport a short beard. Not the shaggy lice-inviting type the Salafis have, but a more trimmed grizzly beard. Long enough to be noticeable but too short to invite the lice or particles of food.

Other Muslim countries have their own variation of these two extremes of beards. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) many influential officials now sport the trimmed neat Zayed-Brothers beard. So named after the seven or dozen (or more) brothers who own Abu Dhabi and rule the UAE. In Egypt a beard is okay if it is the shaggy lice-inviting type, for it indicates the man is an ordinary Salafist who can be bought and not a Muslim Brother. In Syria, well, no matter what kind of beard you have in Syria, it can get you killed, or worse, by any group of armed Jihadis, liberators, invited foreign guests, un-invited foreign guests, cutthroats, or just plain regime forces. You can also get bombed by Syrians, Russians, Americans, British, or Israelis.
Who was it who said: “Hands Off Syria“?

So, in any struggle in our Middle East region today, even in my native Gulf region, you need to scrutinize the beard carefully. You also need to understand the nuances and differences between the various kinds of beards and if they are dyed and what color. Your career, fortune, and life could depend on it.

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Do They Really Hate “US”? Rudyard Kipling and Misplaced American Phobia……..

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Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need

To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror      Rudyard Kipling (on America)

CNN network has been pushing a documentary show with a totally silly but sensational attention-grabbing title Why Do They Hate Us. Complete with a couple of the usual well-worn “Islamic” or “terror” experts from the Indian Sub-Continent.

I saw only parts of the show (or program). It gives the impression that Americans are agonizing over Islamic terrorism, which is real, and over why they are not loved over there. I got some news for all Americans: it is true that many of the Salafi Wahhabi Muslims hate Americans (and Europeans as well); but not nearly as much as they hate other Muslims of different sects.

Almost on any single day, the Muslim victims (Shi’a and Sunni) of terror bombings in Baghdad exceed the total the number of Americans killed by “terrorism” since after September 11; that is fifteen years of American agony and Islamic phobia. The same goes for most European countries. Last June, a Saudi ISIS agent blew himself up inside a crowded Muslim Shi’a mosque in Kuwait City. The total dead were 27, plus hundreds wounded and crippled. That is probably more than the number of Americans killed by Muslim terrorists in the USA since September 11, 2001.

If you could read Arabic, a beautiful one of the most expressive of languages, you’d know that most of the vitriol and hatred is usually directed at Shi’a Muslims, and maybe Alawites and other Muslim minorities. Not at Americans. Most of the exhortation in Arabic Wahhabi social media is to kill Shi’as or the Magi (Persians). Or Arabs of another faith. Most of the complaints about America are mainly that this country is helping “the enemy” or the “other” with bombing terrorist hideouts.

It is true that many in “allied” countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and surprisingly many in Egypt, either hate or dislike some vague identity called “America”. But that is the product of Wahhabi ideology, a once-small Islamic sect that has spread from Central Saudi Arabia and across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Fed with oil money and Salafi clerics from the Arab world and South Asia.

Across the Arab and Muslim worlds there is a kind of love-hate attitude toward America. A large part of the people wish to evolve civil societies where institutions rule rather than entitled dictators or clerics or a handful of tribal families. That is an American ideal, at least that was the American trajectory for a long time, although this has become debatable now.

And the fact is, many Arabs also seek (some even yearn) to be recognized by the West (America) as moving toward some local version of that ideal, be it real or illusory. I know, I know, some Arabs would complain that this is pandering to the “white man”.

But facts are what they are: facts.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Inshallah: a United States of Political Paranoia on Social Media?……..

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“An Iraqi student at UC Berkeley was removed from his Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Oakland earlier this month when a woman overheard him speaking in Arabic and reported him to a Southwest employee…..

UPDATED: Adds new @SouthwestAir claim eavesdropping passenger said she spoke Arabic – not yet clear that’s true.
The Intercept @theintercept
Iraqi refugee kicked off plane for speaking Arabic says Islamophobia boosts ISIS http://interc.pt/1SgOIQB by @RobertMackey

Wajahat Ali Verified account ‏@WajahatAli Apr 17
I explain “inshallah”after this #SouthwestAirlines fiasco where a Muslim kid was kicked off for speaking Arabic……….”

And so it went. But the fact can’t be denied: a young man, apparently an Arab, was kicked off a flight because a fellow passenger heard him speak what she thought was Arabic and “reported him” to the crew. The kind of stuff you’d read in old thrillers of Nazi Germany (no exaggeration here).

Inshallah: God Willing……… Every Muslim and Arab  says this when asked to do something or when asked if he/she will pass her exam or succeed or….. I suspect even some Arab Christians say it, since it means God Willing.

All this precedes the current poisonous Republican election campaign of 2016. Many times people, families, Arab and/or Muslim, some of them possibly Christian, have been reported removed from flights across the USA for suspicion of speaking Arabic (it could be Hindu for all the other passengers know). Since when is the suspicion of a language grounds for serious discrimination?

And does that make everyone who speaks Spanish an illegal? Or anyone who speaks Chinese (Mandarin…..) a spy? Or any unarmed black teenager who speaks and dresses a certain style a life-threatening thug that should be shot immediately?

This is not about one airline. I must add that I and my family here in the USA have had dealings with Southwest Airlines in the past three years with no problem. No signs of prejudice whatsoever. Nor have I experienced any form of prejudice in other venues or with other institutions and businesses. Even with my first name which is the most Muslim of names.

No, I am not blaming the social media for rapidly spreading, embellishing, or  magnifying the news. Not yet.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Wahhabi Coming of Age in Indonesia and Malaysia?……

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“FOR decades, South-East Asia has had two lucky bulwarks against militant Islam: the peaceful, tolerant form of their faith practised by most South-East Asian Muslims; and the relative incompetence of local jihadists. But South-East Asia’s tradition of syncretic Islam has been threatened by stricter forms imported from the Middle East, seen as more modern and correct. Violent jihadism seems to be following the same pattern, if the bloody violence in central Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, on January 14th, is anything to go by…………  In Malaysia, however, the government itself has thoroughly politicised Islam, leaving little room for dissent from its harshest rules. A study last year found more than 70% of Malaysia’s ethnic-Malay, Muslim, majority support hudud laws such as stoning for adultery…………….”

Southeast Asia has been largely under the radar as far as Wahhabism and Jihadi terrorism is concerned. Saudi madrassas (meaning schools but here ones that stress Wahhabi ideology, manned by Saudi clerics-teachers) have been around for a couple of decades, and a new crop of young terrorists are coming of age.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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The March of Violent Fundamentalism in Southeast Asia………..

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“Islam in Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, is taking a more conservative turn. The Muslim faith, brought here by Arab traders hundreds of years ago, has coexisted for generations with Malay customs such as shamanism, other forms of traditional medicine and the country’s sizable Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities. But more recently, conservative Wahhabi doctrines, often spread by Saudi-financed imams, are redefining the way Islam is practiced and, for some, eroding the tolerance for which the country has been known………. Politicians, meanwhile, are now competing with each other to show off their Islamist credentials. The opposition Pan-Islamic Party strict adherence to Shariah has helped build its support in rural areas. And a government investment fund—under the control of the Muslim-oriented ruling party…………”

In the West they/you talk of Islam and Muslims as if they/we are a monolithic thing. They/we are not. When they say Muslim and terrorism in the same sentence in the West they mean Wahhabi, a small but expanding puritan sect of Sunni Islam. These are the ones engaged in worldwide terrorism as represented by Al Qaeda, AQAP, and ISIS (DAESH).

But there is an even more violent campaign of terror among Muslims, a sectarian war, most of it committed by Al Qaeda and ISIS and their ilk against all Shi’a Muslims and against many Sunni Muslims as well. It now spans the globe.

For years Malaysia has banned the practices of Shi’ism, even as the regime and its clerics moved deeper into the realm of Wahhabi intolerance. Local Shi’as have to practice their rites in secret, otherwise they risk persecution and prosecution. As the article says, the Saudi Wahhabis have been spreading their intolerant sect for decades, by sending Imams and establishing and financing schools. Stoning of women and public flogging is more common now in Malaysia and a few other places than it ever was in the past.

The same applies to Indonesia, which also persecutes its non-Wahhabi Islamic minorities. But that has been the trend through all Sunni Islam: a Wahhabi-ization of the mainstream. Egypt is now quasi-Wahhabi, and that includes Al-Azhar. The trend toward Wahhabi-ization and intolerance among Muslims and toward other muslims, in both Arab and South Asian countries, has accelerated in the past decade. It is now sweeping North and West Africa. Even among European Muslims it is very common, much more common than you think.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Islamic Hypocrisy, Islamic Phobia: Guess Who Hates (Other) Muslims the Most…….

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اذا لم تستحى فافعل ما شئت
“If You Have No Shame, then You can do what you like……….” Arab saying

Al Jazeera (the news network owned by Qatari sheikhs) was complaining about the treatment of Muslims in Europe. Other media have been complaining about the unwelcome and hostility the Arab refugees face in the West. These dominant Arab media are mostly owned by Saudi princes, and Qatari and Emirati (UAE) potentates. All these three Arab countries, so much responsible for the carnage in Syria and Iraq and Libya and Egypt, have refused to accept Arab refugees. Yet they complain about the European reception of them.

Wahhabi terrorists (who claim to be Muslims) are busy killing and massacring thousands of other Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. Wahhabis are also known to turn away other Muslims from mosques in Europe and America and to fight tooth and nail against the establishment of “other” mosques in Europe. Even as many Muslims demand understanding and equality in the West.

The fact is that nobody hates Muslims more than other Muslims of a different sect or nationality or tribe. Nobody kills more Muslims than other Muslims of a different sect or nationality or tribe. Nobody shows more Islamophobia than some Muslims toward “other” Muslims. Shouldn’t the Muslim house be put in order first, before whining about the Western bigotry?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Muslims and the West: Nigeria’s Other Sectarian Terrorist Army……..

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Another mass atrocity was committed in Nigeria last week. But it did not get much world media coverage. No, it was not committed by Boko Haram gangs, but by the Nigerian Army. Hundreds of Muslim Shi’as were killed and wounded during a religious ceremony by the army. Two days later the Saudi King cabled the Nigerian regime expressing his support of its “war against terrorism”. Hard to believe the Wahhabi king was congratulating the Nigerian army on the massacre of civilians. So, it must have been a strange coincidence. Did I tell you I don’t believe in strange coincidences?

This no doubt means that the Wahhabi sectarian message has reached Nigeria in West Africa. That it is not only limited to bands of Salafi killers like the Boko Haram, but that it has infiltrated the corrupt and possibly Wahhabi-ized halls of government and army.

So, Wahhabis (who claim to be Muslims) are busy killing and massacring thousands of other Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. Wahhabis are also known to turn away other Muslims from mosques in Europe and America and to fight tooth and nail against the establishment of “other” mosques in Europe. Even as many Muslims demand understanding and equality in the West.
Shouldn’t the Muslim house be put in order first, before whining about the Western bigotry?
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Lesson of the Jews: Should Muslims Cower after Every Wahhabi Act of Terrorism?……..

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Personally, I see that Muslims have been cowering these past few days in the face of public bigotry. I must add that I have noticed this “bigotry” only through the media, which tend to magnify the importance of every unusual position and statement. After all, the crimes of terrorism have been committed by a Wahhabi minority, and they have targeted Muslims and others. The Wahhabi terrorists no more represent Islam than the Trump bigots represent a majority of the American people.
We should remember what happened to the Jews of Europe, who also cowered as they faced open popular and official bigotry and were easily shipped like cattle to their deaths across a bigoted Europe. Bigotry needs to be condemned loudly and publicly, especially by its victims.

Cowering in the face of bigots gets you nowhere, just ask American blacks who have lived through the Old South (and much of the North). Muslims in the United States should condemn this Wahhabi terrorism, as they have mostly done, but they should also confront the noisy minority of bigots forcefully and publicly. While keeping in mind that this is an election season, and that is when the mutants come out…………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Daesh or ISIS after the Fire: How the West Should Win?………

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It is the moment of truth for the United States…….

  • Forget this silly select incomplete coalition that basically caters to the whims and desires of some repressive Arab allies.
  • Forget self-serving sectarian Arab allies who keep on urging more wars and their strategies that serve their own goals.
  • Forget the Turks whose Islamist government has done so much to enable the ISIS Caliphate and other Jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq. Remember the Erdogan Trail?
  • Forget doddering John McCain and his pals in the Senate who seem to live in the bygone era of jingoistic gunboat diplomacy and colonialism.
  • Forget about the various Jihadis, overt and covert, who claim to want to liberate Syria for their own image of freedom and justice and the American way of life.
  • It is time to realize that there is no viable alternative to a shift on Syria. Forget the nonsense about Sunni Crescent or Shi’a Crescent. The real threat now is the Wahhabi Crescent stretching across Iraq and Syria, and beyond that to its financiers and supporters across the Middle East and Europe.
  • Do a reset if you will. Redraw this coalition to make it wider and more effective and not based on the whims of impotent allied regimes that effectively created ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
    Cheers
    Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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