The Odd Religious ‘Freedom’ of Malaysia………..

    

 

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“I consider myself the new generation of Malaysian Shia,” said Mr. Mohammad, 33. “My father is Sunni, my mother is Sunni. They are aware that I’m practicing a different school of thought. It’s no problem at all.” But such acceptance does not extend to Malaysia’s religious authorities. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but when it comes to Islam, the country’s official religion, only the Sunni denomination is permitted. Other forms, including Shiite Islam, are considered deviant and are not allowed to be spread. Mr. Mohammad was one of 130 Shiites detained by the religious authorities in December as they observed Ashura, the Shiite holy day commemorating the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein, in their prayer room in an outer suburb of Kuala Lumpur. There are no official figures on the number of Shiites in Malaysia, but Shiite leaders estimate that there could be as many as 40,000, many of whom practice their faith secretly……While sectarian divisions are associated more with countries like Iraq and Pakistan, Islamic experts say Malaysia is an example of a Muslim-majority country where the Shiite branch is banned…….
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

UAE: a Salary Hike, More Window-Dressing……….

        
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that the United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that all salaries of the military, including retirement salaries, will be raised by a whopping 70%. The reports say the motive is to avoid the wave of uprisings that are sweeping the region, uprisings that have reached wealthy Gulf petroleum producers who had thought they were immune from political disturbances. Authorities also said they will hold an election for the “Advisory Council” in September (it is just that, a toothless advisory council, a window dressing). In the last election 0m 2006 only 6,600 votes were cast, less than 1% of the population of the country. The main reason is that up to about 85% of the population of the UAE are estimated to be temporary foreigners: laborers, housemaids, and others that make the place work. Unemployment among citizens was officially put at 13% early this year.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi King: ‘I’m Just an Average Joe’, Al-Shaikh & Fermi…….

  
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Bahraini Child               High flying king            Thoroughly moderrn Shaikh Al
Alarabiya network, owned by a royal in-law and headed by a Saudi prince, reports that Saudi King Abdullah has requested that he not be killed ‘King of Hearts’ or ‘King of Humanity’. In fact he requested that people stop calling him ‘king’ altogether, saying that God (Allah not Yahweh) is the only king. This breakthrough apparently occurred during a meeting with the big banana of the Council of Senior Ulema (clergy) and Department of Scientific Research and Fatwa Shaikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Shaikh, a gaggle of other shaikhs, the Secretary General of the GCC, ministers, and the elite of Saudi society (such as it is).
Now this Scientific Research and Fatwa business can be confusing to a heathen (that would be most of you, and probably even me by Wahhabi standards). They obviously don’t mean the Einstein or Oppenheimer or Teller or Fermi kind of science (not even Luis Alvarez who taught me Physics 101 years ago). They mean Shaikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Shaikh and his merry group of state-appointed clergy, the guys who fatwa banning protests in all Arab countries except in Libya and Iraq and Syria.
I have noted before that this Shaikh Al Al-Shaikh, and all the other Shaikhs Al Al-Shaikh, are direct descendant of Shaikh Mohammed Abdulwahhab, after whom the term ‘Wahhabi’ was coined. He is not to be confused with the late great Egyptian singer and musician Mohammed Abdelwahhab, who was not a Wahhbai and never issued fatwas. Skaikh al is not entertaining.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Egyptian Army and Female Virginity………

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

“Amnesty International
has today called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month.
After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges. ‘Virginity tests’ are a form of torture when they are forced or coerced…..


Does this mean all the Egyptian army officers, from NCOs to generals are all virgins? Do they test all their soldiers for virginity, and how is that done? Or were they just ‘probing’ the national mood in this new age of quasi-military quasi-Arab League type of democracy?
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Solution for Bahrain? Forget About It……..

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?
The path to such a solution can be achieved in two steps: firstly by establishing a truce based on the ending of opposition protests, the release of all opposition leaders and activists, and the withdrawal from Bahrain of all GCC forces. Secondly, a time-bound national dialogue of two months should be possible based on the principles of enhancing political representation and accountability and the sharing of power. This dialogue should also serve as the basis for talks aimed at achieving the far-reaching goal of a “constitutional or parliamentary monarchy” in the country. It is a goal that King Hamad has previously set and which the mainstream opposition parties are demanding. It is now time to put aside sectarian concerns and deep seated existential fears and get on with the job of achieving this for the future of Bahrain, the Gulf region, and the entire Middle East.……..

A reasonable idea, but it is not gonna happen. A constitutional monarchy is exactly what the Saudis, and their Emirati sidekicks, went into Bahrain to prevent. The opposition wants this type of solution, has called for it (in spite of some noisy emotional and unrealistic minority demands that are being exploited by the regime and its Salafi allies around the Gulf). There is also a hardline wing of the al-Khalifa clan that wants a Saudi style absolute monarchy. This group is lead by the powerful and highly unpopular old prime minister Shaikh Khalia Al Khalifa (try reading it backwards) who has been in power 40 years. He is no sweetheart: maybe his mom didn’t love him enough as a child (just speculation). He is determined to die in office, in the true fashion of Arab leaders. Besides, Bahrain is unique in the world in another respect: most of the land is now in private hands, mainly al-Khalifa and their cronies (estimates range up to over 80%). This could only have happened through extra-legal means or some funny creative means that any true parliament worth its name would want to investigate. We are talking major medieval-style corruption here.
They may eventually come back to something like this proposal, but it will take some more agony and bloodshed for the people of Bahrain, and probably for the occupation forces as well. Unless the outside world, what is called the international community, gets some courage, finally decides to put its foot down and impose an solution. How about a special UN mediator?
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Iranian Illusions of Power, Arab Advise………

     

 

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“The new potentials created by the recent developments can reinvigorate and promote Iran’s regional power in political, cultural and social dimensions,” Deputy Head of the General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Gholam Ali Rashid said. He described the new developments in the region as the beginning of a new era which will serve Muslims’ interests and will endanger the interests of the western countries. Decreasing enemies’ concentration on devising and hatching new political, security and military plots against Iran is the least benefit of the recent developments for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the commander continued……..Fars News (Iran)

This Iranian commander seems to agree with some Arabs in the Gulf region who claim fear of the mullahs. I doubt his claim that regional uprisings against dictators and absolute monarchies will strengthen the Iranian regime. On the contrary, if more of the Arab regimes are overthrown by popular uprisings, this will increase the likelihood of an Iranian spillover, especially now with many Iranians restless about their government and the economic crisis of the country. Arab revolts will encourage the Iranian youth to demand real change.
Which means, if you want change in Iran and reduced power for the theocracy, then you should wholeheartedly support Arab revolutions from North Africa to the Gulf. Does this mean that, say, the kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia or the oligarchs of Abu Dhabi should support Arab revolutions (and not only in Libya and Syria)? Well, yes: if’n they ever ask me, I’d advise them to go for it and scream “er7l, er7l, depart, depart” as they look in the mirror.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Did the King of Bahrain Just Save the World?…………..

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?


Bahrain announced on Sunday that it had foiled a plot to subvert security and stability in the Gulf region. “An external plot has been fomented for 20 to 23 years for the ground to be ripe for subversive designs,” His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Supreme Commander, said. He pointed out that if this subversive plot succeeded in one GCC country it might then spill over. “I here announce the failure of the fomented subversive plot,” the king said during a meeting with the Peninsula Shield Commander and officers. The king paid tribute to GCC leaders for their keenness to deter dangers jeopardising Bahrain, reflecting strong fraternal historic relations, common destiny and firm commitment to the joint defence agreements………

Okay, this king (former emir) of Bahrain may have saved the Arab world, nay the whole world, from some ‘external threat’. The Angry Arab blogger commented earlier, perhaps half-seriously or maybe just half sarcastically, that al-Khalifa may have saved the world from a Martian invasion. But the king did not mention an “extraterrestrial” threat, just an “external one”. But you never know, he may have got his words mixed up, busy as he is doing ‘kingly’ things to his poor people. Besides, a plot that is in the making for 20 or 30 years (the king couldn’t make up his kingly mind) reeks of something out of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, the B/W version. It takes long for the ‘pods’ to mature and hatch, as I recall. Which reminds me, the king’s security and military (probably with occupation forces) have been busy snatching bodies around the country.
No, don’t even think about a Nobel, certainly not for “peace”.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

After Lulu: Will Salmaniya Hospital be Destroyed?………….

        
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AL KHARJIYA, Bahrain (AP) — It was just after midnight when armed men in military uniforms came to the hospital bed of Ali Mansour Abdel-Karim Nasser, who was injured by pellets fired during a clash with riot police. He said what came next was worse: he was bound, beaten and mocked in the hallway of Bahrain’s main state-run hospital. “I did not talk. I did not argue with them. I just cried,” he told The Associated Press in his mostly Shiite village, Al Kharjiya, about 20 miles (15 kilometers) from the capital Manama. The Salmaniya medical complex — now under military rule — appears to be one of the last main targets of Bahrain’s Sunni rulers trying to crush a pro-democracy uprising by the country’s Shiite majority. The hospital treated hundreds of injured demonstrators and its morgue held some of the dead since the revolt began last month in the strategically important Gulf country, the home of U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. For many Shiites, the sprawling complex — sitting between fancy shopping malls and Western-style cafes in central Manama — is as much a symbol of the rebellion as the city’s Pearl Square, which protesters occupied for a month. Authorities regained control last week and destroyed its landmark 300-foot (90-meter) pearl monument to wipe out what Bahrain’s foreign minister called “bad memories.”…….”


It is not inconceivable that some clever al-Khalifa will hit on the brilliant idea that Salmaniya Hospital represents “bad memories” and should be torn down. I have read a few tweets (in Arabic) from Salafi Wahhabi kooks that it may be better if “they” can also be turned into bad memories. I suspect I know who these people are, the “they” the Salafis are tweeting about. None of these tweets were from Bahrain: all from other GCC states, from two countries only. I wonder wtf the Iranians are tweeting about all this: nothing of interest from Khamenei’s tweets, and Ahmadinejad thinks tweeting is a waste of time. King Abdullah probably thinks it is unmanly for someone with a goatee to go around “tweeting”
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudis, Go Home! Al Khalifa & Al Qaddafi…..

        
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  • (Tweet) Winnipeg Free Press: Bahrainis abandoned in their time of trial…..
  • (Tweet) Bahrain Online: Isa Radhis body retained by authorities after family refused to sign that he passed away in a car accident……
  • (Tweet) Bahrainis call for civil disobedience……
  • (Tweet) In Karzakan #Bahrain now. Banner says “Their weapon is violence, Our weapon is civil disobedience……
  • (Tweet) Bahrain: Journalists Denied Entry at the Airport…..
  • (Tweet) Kuwait medical volunteers denied Bahrain entry because many of them were Shi’as…..
  • (Tweet) #Bahrain police car chases unarmed men, shoots them, leaves them to die…..
  • (Tweet) #14feb #bahrain #lulu Isa Radhis body retained by authorities after family refused to sign that he passed away in a car accident……
  • (Tweet) Isa Radhi Al Radhi confirmed dead.Authorities request family sign that death was car accident,they refuse……
  • (Tweet) #14Feb #Bahrain #lulu :Isa Radhi Al Radhi from Sitra confirmed dead…….
  • (Tweet) @Wefaqsociety: we will not forget him forever………
  • (Tweet) LiveBahrain: Nasrallah: what is the difference between Al Khalifa and Al Qaddafi?….

  • (Tweet) JustAmira: The Allah Akbar (God is Greater) chants have started. Let’s hope they aren’t followed by BOOM BOOM BOOM #Bahrain…

  • (Tweet) draddee: #Bahrain funeral turns into defiant protest. Demolishing the #Lulu monument is idiotic & desperate

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Qardhawi as a Saudi Hero of Egypt’s Revolution!………

        
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Al-Qaradawi, who is the president of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars, was vocal in amassing Egyptians against the ousted Egypt President Husni Mubarak, and egged on other revolutions that took place or are taking place elsewhere in the Arab World, but kept quiet for Bahrain…….

Qardhawi is certainly not silent about Bahrain anymore: he is siding with the oppressive al-Khalifa and the Saudi invaders.
Now Alarabiya (Saudi owned and managed by some little prince) is building up this Qardhawi dude, and this always makes me suspicious. It is now making Qardhawi the hero of the Egyptian revolution. He hung around in Qatar, then flew in and tried to claim a role in sending Mubarak to Sharm el-Shaikh. Maybe he fancied himself another Khomeini.
Now the Saudis are using him as a tool to justify their invasion and occupation of Bahrain. I have never cared for “television clergy”, be they Sunni, Shi’a, Episcopalians, Baptists, or other Evangelicals (I have never seen any Jewish TV rabbis, but no doubt they have them too). There is always something “oily” and hypocritical about most of the television clergy, whatever faith. There is also something of a different kind of “oil” about this Qardhawi guy. Normally I don’t pay attention to him, but when a royal Saudi network builds him up I perk up, get suspicious.

(
Qardawi’s son converted to Shi’ism a couple of years ago, but he has not ‘come out’ yet, presumably at the request of his father who would lose his position. I am not sure HTF one converts from one Islamic sect to another: I mean it is not like converting to something like Catholicism).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Multidisciplinary: Middle East, North Africa, Gulf, GCC, World, Cosmos…..