From Arab Spring to Arab Winter

I’ve never liked Bill Maher. He hosts a smarmy show called Real Time on HBO (and used to have a show called Politically Incorrect on ABC.) But every now and then, he hits the nail on the head:

True Story- A Novel by Bill Maher

True Story- A Novel by Bill Maher

HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher asked female Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al Mansour about the obstacles she encountered as a female filmmaker on Friday and spoke out against the nation’s governing religion of Islam.

Maher noted that some nations in the Middle East are becoming more conservative in regards to Islam after the Arab Spring, which, in his view, isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“The problem is, the Arab Spring kind of turned into the Arab Winter,” Maher said. “And Saudi Arabia, I mean, is the most conservative of all. As people criticize me for what I say about the Muslims. I love all people. And it’s funny because the people that come up to me privately say, ‘Bill, I’m with you about the Muslims.’ It’s the American Muslims. It’s the liberals here who don’t quite get it. We’re not criticizing people. We’re criticizing a belief system that turns people into something we wish they wouldn’t be.”

Very interesting. That I find myself in agreement with Bill Maher. In other funnyman news, Bassem Youssef (host of the show Al-Bernameg), kidnapped John Stewart. (Stewart is in the Middle East, directing and producing ‘Rosewater,’ based on a memoir by Maziar Bahari.)

Ashin Wirathu, Warrior

“You can be full of kindness and love. . .

In this June 13 2013 photo, Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, gestures as he talks with fellow Buddhist monks during an assembly of Myanmar’s powerful Buddhist clergy in Hmawbi, outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Upon seeing his photo splashed across the cover of Time magazine with the words "Face of Buddhist Terror," Myanmar's most-talked-about monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt him. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

In this June 13 2013 photo, Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, gestures as he talks with fellow Buddhist monks during an assembly of Myanmar’s powerful Buddhist clergy in Hmawbi, outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Upon seeing his photo splashed across the cover of Time magazine with the words “Face of Buddhist Terror,” Myanmar’s most-talked-about monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt him.

. . . but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog,” Ashin Wirathu, a spiritual leader of the movement and very popular figure in Burma, said of the country’s Muslims, whom he called “the enemy.”

Muslims 2-Child Limit?

I’ve previously chatted about Burma’s challenge with religious strife. The country has 60 million people living there and is seeking to limit Muslim births:

Authorities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state have imposed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the area and comes amid accusations of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of sectarian violence.

Local officials said Saturday that the new measure would be applied to two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state. The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95 percent Muslim.

This is a very interesting development, I wonder if they have a Supreme Court?

Another Morning Attack

Among men, it seems, historically at any rate, the processes of coordination and disintegration follow each other with great regularity, and the index of the coordination is the measure of the disintegration which follows. There is no mob like a group of well-drilled soldiers when they have thrown off their discipline. And there is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him. There is no hater like one who has greatly loved.
–John Steinbeck

Burma and 969, Buddhist Versus Muslim

At the edges of Southeast Asia sit countries with an Islamic minority. And each of them deal with this particular group in different ways. Thailand and the Philippines handle it one way. And Burma’s (Myanmar’s) Buddhist leaders have handled it in another fashion:

Brightly-coloured posters and stickers bearing the number “969” are popping up in cities all over Burma. These look innocuous enough at first glance. However, “969” actually denotes an anti-Islam campaign led by hardliner Buddhist monks. Burmese Muslims say it has stirred up hatred and paranoia, resulting in a string of bloody anti-Muslim riots across the country over the past weeks.

Burma 969 campaign, led by Wirathu, has paired Buddhist versus Muslim

Burma 969 campaign, led by Wirathu, has paired Buddhist, 969, versus Muslim, 786.

The three digits ‘969’ originally refer to the Buddha’s “three jewels” , but they are now being used as a brand name for a nationalist, anti-Muslim campaign led by a prominent monk based in Mandalay. Wirathu, who likes to refer to himself as the “Burmese Bin Laden”, was jailed in 2003 for inciting riots against Muslims, but was released as part of a general amnesty in 2012. Since then, he’s spearheaded the fast-growing ‘969’ movement, making numerous speeches calling on Buddhists to “buy 969” and boycott Muslim-owned stores.

As is usual with such articles, there are gems in the comments:

-Intolerance in any shape or form should not be tolerated. But bear in mind what is provoking this anger: Many Muslims support a movement to settle in and control the southern portions of Southeast Asian countries. Perhaps the folks in Myanmar do not want bombings, death and destruction that radical Muslims have inflicted on the Thais and the Filipinos.

-Moderate Muslims have revealed themselves as a feckless lot. By refusing to criticise and isolate radical Muslims, moderate Muslims are seen as giving their tacit approval to Islamic terrorists. It is only right that cowardly moderate Muslims incur the wrath of their neighbours.

-As I understand it, the situation originated with Muslim destruction of Buddhist Temples and archeology sites. Then flared when a Muslim shop owner cheated a Buddhist customer, and laughed at the couple when the Muslims broke an item the Buddhists brought in. I’m in sympathy with the Buddhists. Enough is enough.

-Islam. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The Umma won’t happen.

There goes that stereotype of Buddhists. . .

Jihad as a Business

Richard Nielsen argues that the Jihadi Radicalization of Muslim Clerics is actually a savvy career move. One clerical student told Rich: That’s how you get appointed to teach, how you get a position in the Dar al-Ifta [Egyptian Fatwa Ministry], which gets you a nice car.

Jihad as career strategy

Climbing the ladder to success, jihad style.
In other jihadi news, Ziya T was arrested in Turkey for the murder of Sarai Sierra.

The Camouflage of an Enemy

What they had both thought was safety proved to have been the camouflage of an enemy who works in terms of friendship, trust and pity.
–Graham Greene

Ali Damache and the Hustle

Let’s talk Hustle. You know that disco boogie wonderland dance. This one:

Ali Damache

Ali Damache?

Do you think Ali Damache was going for that look when he was busted out of jail for threatening Majed Moughni, a Muslim American who condemned undie-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab?

Ali Damache threatens Majed Moughni

Ali Damache

Don’t worry, our boy Ali is heading to Ireland to answer to the wee folks about his jihadic activity. With American jihadas Colleen LaRose and Jamie Paulin Ramirez.

The Patois of Haole and Gaalos

A linguist keeps an eye peeled for interesting words, words that are slangy and can be translated into the patois of other languages. The Hawaiian term haole translates as whitey and the Somali term gaalos translates as non-muslim. I am not looking gaalos up, just basing my translation on this conversation on SomaliNet:

TeAmo: Girls dudessss I’m finding it so hard to wear my Hijab and Abaya. I just feel like I want to take it off but then I feel bad if I take it off. I miss the wind blowing through my hair and I feel like it limits me from doing things like going out with certain ppl and going certain places and I feel happy when I’m not wearing it coz I can act how I like then, I’m not representing anything. Life is so complicated. I cnt even do my activities anymore I rly liked playing football in my spare time but I cnt anymore coz some of our coaches are male. I can’t relate to my friends anymore coz I feel like their not like me And I cnt hang around with religious ppl either coz I feel like I’m not on their level.

Substance:  think girls that were hijab is the most beautiful thing that exist and maybe u should try and hangout with muslim friends instead of gaalos? And you dont need to compare yourself to other religious people, you are only putting extra weight on yourself for no reason.Be strong and have faith

Hmm, I may lack self-control. The complex linguistic picture (with fariinji and cadaan) is laid out here.

Muslim Farmers vs. Muslim Cattlemen

Generally, belonging to a group breeds harmony. Here is a case where two groups,  Muslim farmers and Muslim cattlemen, are fighting amongst each other: 

Activist Shehu Sani, who leads the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, said it appeared the attack was between Muslim farmers and Muslim nomadic cattlemen who graze in the area. Tensions and violence spring up between the two groups, though not often with such an intensity.

 Can’t we all just get along?

Around the World

While they are celebrating Ramadan in the Muslim world:

A Muslim man sleeps along the streets of historic centre of Stone Town in Zanzibar.

 Two Soldiers are mid-air and one facedown in the mud in China:

Soldiers jump as they take part during a military training session in muddy water at a military base in Jinan, Shandong province.

And Zombies are countering Westboro Baptist Church protestors in America.

Fort Hood Purple Hearts

Is this not a no-brainer? That the victims of the Fort Hood attack should most certainly receive Purple Hearts. The circumstances regarding that assault – a Muslim “Army” shrink who committed jihad – all point towards terrorism. Regardless of the fact that it occurred in the continental United States. The facts:

Federal lawmakers have proposed making the victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage eligible for the Purple Heart.

A bill introduced in Congress would remove the distinction between international and domestic terrorism, making any military victims of terrorist attacks in the U.S. eligible for the Purple Heart. It’s now awarded only to troops attacked in a combat zone.

The bill is sponsored by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Republican Rep. Peter King of New York.

Shakila Naderi, a Great Afghani Woman

When I was deployed to Bahrain, Thursdays had an interesting flavor all their own. The Saudis would invade Manama. Which meant women drivers who did not drive a whole lot in their native Saudi Arabia. And they wore head coverings which impeded both their peripheral vision and the ability for other drivers to see which way they were looking.

Here is Kabul’s only female driving instructor. Nevermind her student’s head covering, she deserves our support:

First They Came for the Clowns

Egyptian film actor and comedian Adel Imam, right, walks with Egyptian actress Laila Elwi, left, during the Second Dubai International Film Festival.

<<<<<——Do you recognize this gentleman?


Then you must enjoy the emotional roller coaster that is an Egyptian movie. His name is Adel Imam and he is one of the most famous comedic actors in the Middle East. And he is going to jail:

An Egyptian court on Tuesday upheld a conviction against one of the Arab world’s most famous comedians, sentencing him to jail for offending Islam in some of his most popular films.

The case against Adel Imam and others like it have raised concerns among some Egyptians that ultraconservative Muslims who made gains in recent elections after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year are trying to foist their religious views on the entire country. Critics say the trend threatens to curb Egypt’s vibrant film industry and freedom of speech.

Imam was sentenced to three months in jail and fined around $170 for insulting Islam in roles he played in movies such as “The Terrorist”, in which he acted the role of a wanted terrorist who found refuge with a middle class, moderate family, and the film “Terrorism and Kabab. ”

The actor was also found guilty for his 2007 role in “Morgan Ahmed Morgan,” in which Imam played a corrupt businessman who tries to buy a university diploma.

First they came for the clowns. . .