Category Archives: Muslims

Silly Iranians, a Politicized End of Ramadan, and the Age of Aquarius……….

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The Jeddah Astronomy Society’s mistake in sighting of the new moon in Saudi Arabia has angered the many Muslim nations who followed suit and pronounced Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr wrongly.
The society had said that people actually saw the planet Saturn and not the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal. Hatem Auda, director of the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research, had said that astronomical calculations by scientists of the institute noted that the first day of the Eid was Wednesday, August 31, making Tuesday, August 30 the last day of Ramadan for the Hijri year of 1432. Various news agencies such as Al-Arabiya and Aljazeera have also reported that the planet Saturn has been mistaken for the Hilal (crescent moon), and this means that what was announced as the first day of Eid al-Fitr was supposed to be a day of fasting, rather than celebrations…………Thus, those Muslim nations who have followed the Saudi suit as usual and celebrated the last Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr are now angry with the Saudis as Eid al-Fitr is the biggest eve for the worldwide Muslim community………..Fars News Agency

All this talk of the moon, Saturn, Jovian planets, Terrestrial planets, and the Age of Aquarius is meaningless to most people. I think the Iranians are being silly here, nearly childish. They are politicizing the end of Ramadan and beginning of Eid al-Fitr. I don’t know if the Saudis made a mistake or not, but I can tell an Iranian attempt to score political points. The mullahs ought to lighten up.
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Young Qaddafi Playing Poker with the West………..

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A high-profile son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said Wednesday his family had forged an alliance with Islamist rebels to drive out the secular opposition to his father’s 40-year rule. Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, who along with his father had long branded the entire opposition as radical extremists, told The New York Times: “The liberals will escape or be killed… We will do it together.” “Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?” he added, in what the Times described as an hour-long interview that stretched past midnight in a nearly deserted Tripoli hotel..…….”

Is young Qaddafi trying his hand at poker? Trying to bluff the West with this “Islamist” threat? Arab leaders have been doing that, raising the threat of a theocracy, for a couple of decades now, just as African and Asian leaders raised the threat of Communism in the old Cold War days.He is no different from the rulers of Bahrain or Syria or Yemen who also raise the threat of Salafi al-Qaeda or pro-Iranian Islamists to explain their peoples’ uprisings against oppression. Or is he also addressing the Libyan rebels in Benghazi? Most likely he is addressing both, but he is not subtle enough for a good game of poker.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Real Battle for Iran and Arabia: Tribe and Nation and Islam……….

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The people of the ancient Persian Empire, which in 500 BC stretched from the Indus as far as Libya and the Black Sea, are believed to have celebrated the Persian New Year festival at Persepolis with their ruler. In recent years, modern Iranian families have also started to gather here to celebrate Nowruz, the festival that marks the start of spring, camping on the roadside for miles around. Some 100,000 people visit Persepolis every year. Twenty years ago it was around 8,000…….. “My son,” Darius wrote in his testament, “pray always to God, but never force anyone to follow your faith. Always bear in mind that all people should be free and may follow their own faith and conviction.”……. However, what is more significant than the bad economic situation is the lack of exciting new ideas, the inability of the clerical nomenklatura to propose new objectives, ones for which people would be prepared to be patient and make sacrifices. Instead, the orthodoxy is fighting a paralysing battle to maintain its hard-won position. One man has realised how dangerous this intellectual wasteland could be for the regime, and he has now become one of the figures most hated and feared by the conservatives: Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s friend and chief of staff. Should a theocracy, of all forms of government, be permitted to rely solely on practical power – in this case, armed troops and the secret service – and do without spirituality and visions for the future? At present, the Green Movement is seen as representing people’s dreams of a better future, and the Sufis, who are also combated by the orthodoxy, as the locus of spirituality. Mashaei is feeling his way towards filling the ideological gap with a mixture of rationality and re-ideologisation. He has declared political Islam to be obsolete and its most important symbol, the hijab or veiling of the female body, to be a woman’s free decision. Statements like these are taboo……….

This is not just an Iranian issue, this dichotomy between ethnicity/nationalism and Islam. Islamists across the Middle East have been pushing the idea that “national” identity does not matter, that Islam rules supreme. It is almost a throwback to the European pre-nationalism days a few centuries ago. Yet in reality people identify themselves by other things first: nation, ethnicity, even tribe (as in Africa and Saudi Arabia). In some ‘special’ places like Lebanon people are identified by their faith and sect: Shi’a, Sunni, Maronite, Orthodox, Armenian, etc. Yet there are so many sects that people always identify themselves as Lebanese in the end, especially vis-à-vis the outside world. The ongoing Arab uprisings, from North Africa to the Gulf have tended to strengthen this “national” identity: be it Tunisian, Egyptian, Syrian, Bahraini, etc or just “Arab”. The revolutions of 2011 are called “Arab” revolutions all across the region, never the “Islamic” revolutions. The Iranian mullahs and Arab Salafis (of the Saudi school of thought) have tried to push an Islamic “identity” on the uprisings, each for their own purposes, but it is not working.
Iranians will always be Iranians first and Muslims (or Zaroastrians or Christians) afterwards. Egyptians will always be Egyptians first and Muslims or Copts afterwards. Saudis, somewhat like the Lebanese, are different: they still identify themselves with their individual tribes first, before being “Saudi” or even “Arab” or Muslim. Even the Taliban consider themselves Pushtun first, then Afghans, (or Pakistani?), then Muslims. Most, nay all, Salafis of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula identify themselves with their tribes first, even as they outwardly push an “Islamist” agenda.
The issue may look somewhat different in Europe, with the growing racism and the difficulties of assimilation and the mosque becoming a spiritual and social refuge in “exile”. Besides, to use a cliche, all Muslims may look the same to many Europeans.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sarkozy Loses an Ally over Muslim Hearings: my Suggestion………

        

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy fired an adviser he had hired to promote “diversity” after the appointee attacked his allies’ approach to Islam and secularism, the former aide told AFP on Friday. “He has just set me free. I am going to campaign to defend the dignity of Muslims in this country,” said Abderrahmane Dahmane, who had served as Sarkozy’s adviser on “diversity.” The sacking came after Dahmane spoke out against a plan by Sarkozy’s UMP party to hold a “debate” on secularism and Islam, at a time of sensitivities over the government’s treatment of France’s six million Muslims. “I have no intention of being fodder for Sarkozy and Cope,” he said, referring to Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the right-wing ruling UMP party and a strong backer of policies that Muslims have said stigmatise them…………”

Hey, Sarko: you can always hire Peter King or Newt Gingrich as you “diversity” adviser to Muslims. They have some experience in dealing with us. The kind of experience you may prefer while you are looking for a way to weasel your way into another term at the Élysée Palace.
Then there is Brigitte Bardot……..
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com