What Effect will Turkey’s Switch to Israeli Opponent have on Syria and the Regional Balance of Power?

What Effect will Turkey’s switch from Israeli ally to Israeli opponent have on Syria and the Regional Balance of Power?

How and when Turkey’s switch from Israeli ally to Israeli opponent will effect the balance of power in the Middle East is disputed. But most analysts agree that it will have profound consequences in time. George Friedman of Stratfor argues that there is no greater likelihood of “significant military threat to Israel” today than there was before the flotilla fiasco. World condemnation is a nuance but it does not alter the basic balance of power which is very favorable to Israel. He continues:

Israel’s regional enemies are so profoundly divided among themselves and have such divergent relations with Israel that an effective coalition against Israel does not exist — and is unlikely to arise in the near future. Given this, the probability of an effective, as opposed to rhetorical, shift in the behavior of powers outside the region is unlikely. At every level, Israel’s Arab neighbors are incapable of forming even a partial coalition against Israel. Israel is not forced to calibrate its actions with an eye toward regional consequences, explaining Israel’s willingness to accept broad international condemnation.

All the same, he ends his article with a note of warning, suggesting that even within an environment as dysfunctional and riven with factionalism and enmity as the Arab World, things can change. In particular, he cautions against pushing Egypt so far that it changes course to once again make common cause with Syria and reverts to resistance. He concludes:

Where there is no balance of power, the dominant nation can act freely. The problem with this is that doing so tends to force neighbors to try to create a balance of power. Egypt and Syria were not a negligible threat to Israel in the past. It is in Israel’s interest to keep them passive. The Israelis can’t dismiss the threat that its actions could trigger political processes that cause these countries to revert to prior behavior. They still remember what underestimating Egypt and Syria cost them in 1973. It is remarkable how rapidly military capabilities can revive: Recall that the Egyptian army was shattered in 1967, but by 1973 was able to mount an offensive that frightened Israel quite a bit.

The Israelis have the upper hand in the short term. What they must calculate is whether they will retain the upper hand if they continue on their course. Division in the Arab world, including among the Palestinians, cannot disappear overnight, nor can it quickly generate a strategic military threat. But the current configuration of the Arab world is not fixed. Therefore, defusing the current crisis would seem to be a long-term strategic necessity for Israel.

Patrick Seale, by contrast, argues that the emergence of a norther alliance of Turkey, Iran and Syria shifts the balance of power in the region decisively. He does not spell out how if might translate into a military threat but does suggest that it offers the Palestinians a window of political opportunity if they “end their internal quarrels,… form a government of national unity, and seek recognition of it from the United States and the European Union. He writes that,

“Israel now faces a formidable combination of adversaries, consisting of Turkey and Iran, the two regional heavyweights, as well as Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. Rarely has Israel’s strategic environment been so unfavourable — largely as a result of its own aggressive policies. ….

Turkey has since consolidated its position as a regional power by developing a vast network of relations in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Among Arab states, its relations with Syria have become particularly close. In contrast, Turkey has decided to review all its military and economic agreements with Israel, and to reduce its relations to a minimum, according to its deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc.

Only two short years ago, Iran and Syria stood alone against Israel. When Israel F16s bombed Syria’s alleged nuclear reactor in 2007, they dodged Syrian efforts to block their way home by veering to safety over Turkey. That airspace is now closed to Israel. More importantly, the supreme effort made by the Bush administration to legitimize this seemingly authoritarian “Shiite Axis”  by championing a counter bloc of Middle Eastern states — Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel —  has collapsed. This axis – termed “the moderate states” – presumably represented a great Sunni consensus of the Arab world, at least that was the hope – and it was on Israel’s side against Iran.

This improbable coalition justified its existence with two strategic goals: containing Iran and solving the Arab Israeli conflict. President Bush’s foreign policy team spent much energy pushing together its two most important regional allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. The foundation of this agreement was a grand bargain: Saudi Arabia would support Israel’s drive to rally the world against Iran and Israel would engaged the Palestinians and moved ahead with the Fahd Plan. This deal was particularly attractive to Washington because it promised harmony between America’s two main interests – oil and Israel, not to mention stanching the terrible damage done to the US by the Jazeera effect and on-going Palestinian suffering.

Bush’s peace plan for the Palestinians was even worse. In theory, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were to throw their weight behind Israel’s efforts to destroy Hizbullah, promote the PLO, and bringing down Hamas in return for Washington’s promise to convince Israeli authorities to accept the two state solution and King Fahd plan. The only problem was that Israel had no intention of stopping its galloping expansion of settlements, and Washington had no intention or ability to make it do so. What is more, Israel failed to crush Hizbullah and Hamas, leaving them wounded but all the more determined to make a comeback and seek revenge. Israel has calculated that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will help Israel and the US contain Iran even if there is no resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Jerusalem is convinced that it can have its cake and eat it too. Of course, Israel will have to be tough and put its chin down in the face of World griping and US criticism, but it is convinced that in the end, the danger posed by Iran to Arabs in the Gulf will prevail over Saudi concerns about Palestinian welfare.

Most Arabs were not fooled by the Bush administrations promises of peace. They understood that his objective was to extend US power in the region. They witnessed that his soaring rhetoric about Democracy and human rights was empty when it came to Iraq, which they watched descend into chaos and misery.  There was a time when Washington could simply say “trust us,” America has high goals and the power to succeed.  Those days a long gone.

Unfortunately, President Obama has failed to revise the Bush strategy. His rhetoric of extended hands, engagement and real peace was convincing for a brief moment. Many believed that Obama, unlike Bush, really meant what he said about the two-state solution and stopping settlements. Disappointment was quick.  When Obama punted on the settlement freeze, it was clear that he would be as powerless to change Israel’s behavior. Netanyahu stared him down in a New York minute, leaving no doubt about his intention to retain the West Bank and the Golan for Israel.

So where does this leave Obama? It leaves him with a watered down Bush plan, the foundation of which is a grand bargain — one based on a compromise between Israeli and US interests in the Middle East.  America will support Israel in stopping Iran if Israel supports America in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict based on the two state solution and 242. The problem with this elegant deal is that no one is taking it. Israel will only pretend to make progress on the Palestine issue and Obama will pretend to stop Iran’s progress toward nuclear capability.

The Islamic world, in the mean time, is cheering for Iran. This is for two reasons. It is because of US and Israeli injustice on the Palestine issue and because the world wants Iran’s oil and improved economic prospects in their region. Few are convinced that Iran poses a true threat. They don’t want to see a protracted conflict between the US and Iran, that will further impoverish and destabilize their region.

The US is getting mired in an unachievable policy. Iran cannot be contained for ever. Israel will not give the Palestinians a viable state. All the same, the US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to enforce very strict economic sanctions on institutions that do business with Iran. The US is trapped in its bad decisions. This will eventually damage the US -Israel relationship, but not before the US loses more influence and business in the Middle East. Middle powers, such as Turkey, will increasingly be joined by China, Russia and other emerging states, it is turn away from the US and its ill conceived policy in the region.

[End of Commentary]

Exploiting the Mideast power vacuum
The leaderships of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel would serve their shared strategic interests best by creating a new relationship, which would also include a regional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
By Tommy Steiner, Haaretz

…..The power vacuum created by dwindling Western influence in the Middle East, far more than its realization that EU membership is not on the cards, is guiding Turkey in shaping a neo-Ottoman regional strategy. To be sure, this strategy has not emerged overnight; it was, rather, based on an incremental build-up of Turkey’s own economic power and a warming of relations with two states it previously regarded as adversaries, Iran and Syria. Turkey and Iran now share extensive commercial ties. For instance, Iran accounts for 30 percent of energy-resource imports to Turkey, while the latter is becoming a major investor in the former’s gas sector. Turkey has also sought to cultivate closer relations with Syria, marked by a high-profile joint military exercise in 2009.

Furthermore, the future of Iraq appears to have solidified this triangular relationship into a strategic partnership: With the upcoming departure of U.S. troops, Iran’s, Turkey’s and Syria’s complementary interests and aspired-to spheres of influence in Iraq are encouraging the formation of a political crescent of allies, stretching across the northern periphery of the Middle East, with Iraq’s future to be determined. Emboldened, the two more powerful partners seek to jointly enhance their projection of power across the Middle East – hence their respective involvement in allegedly supporting the Palestinian cause. However, the Iranian and Turkish pro-Palestinian campaigns are at odds with the Palestinian Authority, and are, rather, aimed at supporting Hamas, an Iranian proxy backed by Syria…..

As the U.S. is viewed in the neighborhood as incapable of containing the expanding power of the northern crescent, the two main Arab regional powers, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are forming a southern crescent to protect their vital interests – from Iraq, through the Arabian Peninsula to Gaza – and to contain a potentially nuclear-backed northern alliance. … The leaderships of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel would serve their shared strategic interests best by creating a new relationship, which would also include a regional approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. From the Israeli perspective, this strategy is not risk-free, but Israel, as the rest of the Western world, has a vested interest in preserving political stability – among and within – the countries comprising the southern periphery of the Middle East.

70% of all supplies for US troops in Iraq go through the Incirlik base in Turkey.

Suppose Turkey Transfers U.S. Technology and Tactics to Iran and Syria
Written by JINSA
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

As a member of NATO, Turkey has access to a wide array of American technology that, if compromised, could spell real danger for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and threaten allies that rely on American equipment and training. Turkey’s increasingly close relations with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and, recently, Russia, should cause the United States to monitor Turkey closely with an eye toward the damage that could be done to American interests…. The big risk is that the intelligence services, conflating their very strong hatred of Israel with their support of Israel’s – and America’s – enemies, will grab equipment and information from the Turkish military and share it with those enemies…. Turkey has the third largest air force in NATO… Turkey also has four AWACS aircraft that can be used to direct air battles – their own or those of their new allies.

The Gaza Flotilla Incident: Impact on Three Key Arab Actors
By Robert Satloff, June 22, 2010, WINEP

Syria: Increasing Irrelevance
One obvious implication of Turkey’s decisions to side with Iran against Washington in the nuclear standoff and to dismantle its strategic partnership with Israel is that any role for Ankara as a mediator on the Israeli-Syrian peace track is now over, at least as long as Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is in power. Of course, there is more talk of war than diplomacy on this front in recent days. Just last week, for example, Syrian president Bashar al-Asad told the BBC that war was likely. Whether Asad has the savvy to manage this sensitive moment is unclear.

Recent events have also fueled talk about the emergence of a full-fledged “northern alliance” that would include Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Ironically, such a development would almost certainly limit Asad’s strategic options and come at Syria’s expense. Until now, Damascus has viewed its improving relations with Ankara as a strategic alternative to its growing dependence on Iran. But it would not be to Asad’s advantage to find himself as the junior partner in an alliance between regional heavyweights Turkey and Iran. Indeed, the way regional politics are shifting, he may even find himself as a less important player than the fourth leg of the “northern alliance” table, Hassan Nasrallah’s Hizballah.

If Asad were a shrewd leader, now would be the moment for him to test the diplomatic waters with Israel; he may find the Israelis willing to pay handsomely in a peace deal that would effectively sever the link between Ankara and Tehran. But Asad has shown remarkably little strategic creativity during his years in power, other than a penchant for ceding his independent decisionmaking to lesser powers in Lebanon. Accordingly, the end result for Syria of Erdogan’s emergence as a modern-day Nasser is much the same as the emergence of the original Nasser a half-century ago — it heralds further decline in relevance for the rulers in Damascus.

Soner Cagaptay: “On the diplomatic front, the AKP has withdrawn its ambassador from Israel and is refusing to send him back, despite Israeli attempts to salvage the relationship. At best, relations will remain where they are for the foreseeable future: at rock bottom.”

BYE BYE ISRAEL, WELCOME SYRIA!
Trade flourishes as Syria befriends old foe Turkey
by Khaled Yacoub Oweis

ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – Turkish delicacies are unashamedly on display in Syria’s culinary capital. Aleppo merchants are switching to imports from Turkey, and buses ferry shoppers to an upscale mall across the border.

A warming of once-chilly Turkish-Syrian ties has unleashed a one-way trade boom. A trade deal activated two years ago has cut tariffs and reduced smuggling. Visa requirements were abolished.

Turkey’s popularity in Syria soared after an Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships in which nine Turks were killed on May 31.

“Turkey now has a stake in the Palestinian cause, and Syria stands to gain,” a diplomat said. “It will be more difficult for Israel to launch any military action against Syria.”

The furor over the flotilla interception has also deflected attention from Israeli and U.S. pressure on Damascus over its alleged arms supplies to the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group.

Syrians have traditionally looked askance at their powerful northern neighbor, which ruled them during the Ottoman Empire, but many are now seeing secular Muslim Turkey, a NATO member with an Islamist-leaning government, in a new light.

“It’s time to shed the stigma we have had about Turkey. They’re no longer Ottoman, but a development model for the Arab East,” said Abdelqader al-Deiri, a Syrian businessman who now buys restaurant equipment from Turkey instead of Europe.

“Transport costs are lower, but Turkish goods do not compete on price alone. They make high quality,” added Deiri, who often vacations in Turkey. His eight-year-old son is learning Turkish.

“We have to admit that the Turks make better sweets than us. The pistachios and butter are better, so is the workmanship,” he said, munching on a baklava slice from Gaziantep.

Viewing Syria as a gateway to the Middle East, Turkey has moved in recent years to solve old disputes with Arab governments while becoming more critical toward Israel.

Ankara mediated indirect Syria-Israel peace talks that were broken off when Israel attacked the Gaza Strip in 2008.

“Syria is an important country as a growing market, a promising economic partner, plus it has an important place in regional issues,” Turkish ambassador Omer Onhon told Reuters. “So it’s only natural that our relations have improved.”

Israel as a Strategic Liability?
Anthony H. Cordesman, CSIS June 2, 2010

America’s ties to Israel are not based primarily on U.S. strategic interests. At the best of times, an Israeli government that pursues the path to peace provides some intelligence, some minor advances in military technology, and a potential source of stabilizing military power that could help Arab states like Jordan. Even then, however, any actual Israeli military intervention in an Arab state could prove as destabilizing as beneficial. The fact is that the real motives behind America’s commitment to Israel are moral and ethical. They are a reaction to the horrors of the Holocaust, to the entire history of Western anti-Semitism, and to the United States’ failure to help German and European Jews during the period before it entered World War II. They are a product of the fact that Israel is a democracy that shares virtually all of the same values as the United States.

The U.S. commitment to Israel is not one that will be abandoned. The United States has made this repeatedly clear since it first recognized Israel as a state, and it has steadily strengthened the scale of its commitments since 1967. The United States has provided Israel with massive amounts of economic aid and still provides enough military assistance to preserve Israel’s military superiority over its neighbors. The United States has made it clear that any U.S. support for Arab-Israeli peace efforts must be based on options that preserve Israel’s security, and its recent announcements that it will consider “extended regional deterrence” are code words for a U.S. commitment that could guard Israel, as well as its neighbors, against an Iranian nuclear threat.

At the same time, the depth of America’s moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbors. It does not mean that the United States has the slightest interest in supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or that the United States should take a hard-line position on Jerusalem that would effectively make it a Jewish rather than a mixed city. It does not mean that the United States should be passive when Israel makes a series of major strategic blunders–such as persisting in the strategic bombing of Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, escalating its attack on Gaza long after it had achieved its key objectives, embarrassing the U.S. president by announcing the expansion of Israeli building programs in east Jerusalem at a critical moment in U.S. efforts to put Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, or sending commandos to seize a Turkish ship in a horribly mismanaged effort to halt the “peace flotilla” going to Gaza.

It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews. This does not mean taking a single action that undercuts Israeli security, but it does mean realizing that Israel should show enough discretion to reflect the fact that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world…..

The Return of the Ottomans
By Lee Smith, The Weekly Standard, 28 June 2010

A few months back, I was dining with a friend at an Armenian restaurant in Beirut, and at the end of the meal he gracefully sidestepped the Turkish question by ordering a “Byzantine” coffee. The waiter laughed grimly. “Aside from coffee and waterpipes,” asked my friend, “what did the Turks leave us? They were here for 500 years, and they didn’t even leave us their language. We speak Arabic, French, and English. No one speaks Turkish. Their most important political institutions were baksheesh and the khazouk.”

Baksheesh is bribery, and the khazouk is a spike driven through its victim’s rectum, which the Ottomans used to terrify locals and deter potential insurgents. The Ottomans were hated here and throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East, not only by the regional minorities (Christians, Jews, Shia, etc.) but also by their Sunni Arab coreligionists. All felt the heavy yoke of the Sublime Porte.

In the last few weeks, however, half a millennium’s worth of history has been conveniently forgotten, perhaps even forgiven, as Turkey has emerged as a regional power and the guarantor of Arab interests—against Israel, to be sure, but more importantly against Iran.

Syria, Jordan slam Israel over blocked peace efforts
(AFP)

DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II on Thursday blamed Israel for blocking peace efforts in the Middle East, the official SANA news agency reported.

Assad, on the eve of his first Latin American tour, and Abdullah also demanded that Israel lift “the inhuman blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip,” the agency said.

It said the two leaders called for “a common international position to face up to the policies of the Israeli government which is blocking peace efforts and any chance of reaching a comprehensive peace” in the region.

Israel’s Isolation Deepens
Netanyahu Decries ‘Offensive of Hypocrisy’; New Strains on Trade, Cultural Ties
By CHARLES LEVINSON And JAY SOLOMON in the WSJ

JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his nation’s critics Wednesday of an “international offensive of hypocrisy,” as the growing diplomatic crisis over the raid on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists threatened to deepen Israel’s isolation from much of the rest of the world.

Israel’s Indefensible Behavior
Don’t blame the commandos for the flotilla disaster. Blame Israel’s leaders, who enforce the cruel and corrupt Gaza embargo, and their supporters in America.
Peter Beinart – the Daily Beast

“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness.” In the late 1960s, when America’s cities burned, Martin Luther King often quoted that line, which he borrowed from Victor Hugo. But it applies equally well to the catastrophe that occurred yesterday in international waters off the Gaza Strip.

It is not the Israeli naval commandos who should be judged guilty. Upon dismounting their helicopter onto the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, they found themselves, unexpectedly, in the belly of an armed mob. Anyone who thinks American troops would have acted with greater restraint should cast their mind back to October 1993, when U.S. Special Forces rappelled down from their Black Hawk helicopters into a sea of Somali militiamen, and killed or wounded perhaps a thousand of them as they shot their way to safety.

In the name of solidarity, we have practiced denial. In the name of anti-terrorism, we have justified the brutalization of innocents.

No, the guilt lies with the Israeli leaders who oversee the Gaza embargo, and with Israel’s American supporters, who have averted their eyes. Yesterday’s events are the most dramatic example yet of why the epidemic of not watching must end.

Comments (110)


MONTAGNARD said:

If it is true that America’s support to Israel is unquestionable, the commitment to its strategic superiority is a given, the strength of the alliance is above any disagreement, the values that shape each of the two societies/countries are so similar, the interests of both countries are in harmony, then why are these supposed unshakable truths being emphasized and prefaced in every comment, article or analysis written by Americans criticizing Israel lately? Could it be that Americans that never questioned these unshakable truths before are beginning to question there validity. Are we witnessing an American Renaissance vis a vis the so called “special relationship” between the USA and Israel? My gut feeling is that we are. Any opinions?

June 25th, 2010, 6:54 pm

 

almasri said:

Your gut feeling is wrong MONTAGNARD.

Without exception, every US President since John Quincy Adams pledged allegiance to zionism while in office. And every one of them presidents delivered on his words. That even beats Balfour’s declaration by a full century. Nixon, while fatally wounded, ordered immediate compensation of Israel’s losses in 73 two to one.

Intellectuals do not change politics in America even if they wish. Obama was their last hope and he just blew it.

June 25th, 2010, 7:32 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

In the USA the congress has to change before the president change
The Arab population in USA will make the difference,to change the congress,but our population has to increase ,it will take another 15 years,at least.The Arab American will defeat Israel.
I think Egypt is ready for the collapse of the regime there.

June 25th, 2010, 11:15 pm

 

Jim Reilly said:

As always, Joshua, thank you for drawing together these various Syria-relevant commentaries (and adding your own) in one convenient spot. Today I was struck by the Lee Smith contribution. Yes, it is the Weekly Standard, and yes, we know what its general policy line is. But isn’t it interesting that its presentation of a viewpoint that is critical of Hizballah, Hamas, and Erdogan’s foreign policy reaches *immediately* for reductionist ethnic and religious stereotypes as a principle analytic tool?

June 26th, 2010, 12:34 pm

 

Shami said:

This is weak journalism ,there can not be guenine alliance between a democracy and selfish totalitarian and personalized dictatorships.
for example ,the reality says that Iran and Israel are the most hated regimes in Turkey according to public opinion survey that you can find easily on internet.
Majed ,despite all ,in Egypt there is a guenine public debate on the fate of their regime ,the civil society owns newspapers and institutions ,so they have an active civil society,the egyptians go on street when a civilian is tortured to death ,is that possible in today Syria?
When Egypt changes towards democracy ,the other arab countries will follow .It’s democratic Egypt that’s entitled to become the conductor of the Arab World.Not this Egypt or AbdulNasser’s Egypt nor that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

June 26th, 2010, 3:40 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Shami;
You are too optomistic

June 27th, 2010, 12:06 am

 

Shami said:

Majed it’s you who repeat that this regime is near to its end.
Am i optimistic because i believe that the things will go from bad to better?

June 27th, 2010, 8:52 am

 

Shami said:

http://archives.tsr.ch/player/perspectives-syrie

A rare documentary on the after UAR Syria from the archive of the Suisse romande Tv.

June 27th, 2010, 1:00 pm

 
 

majedkhaldoun said:

Shami
I was co,commenting about
When Egypt changes towards democracy ,the other arab countries will follow .

June 27th, 2010, 4:57 pm

 

Firas Azmeh said:

A comment on the negative campaign against Turkey’s new direction, in US media:

http://currenteventually.blogspot.com/2010/06/campaign-against-turkey.html

June 28th, 2010, 5:59 am

 
 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Lee Smith’s article is worth reading, although some Neo-Ottomans and Pro-Northern-Alliance wont like it.
It’s true that the Turks left neither legacy nor mark in HolyLand, during their 600 years of occupation.
It was a deserted piece of land, that they never really cared about. It’s unbelievable that until 1870, there was no road to Jerusalem.!!
Only horse and camel trail. Or walk from Jaffa.

This ice cream shop couldn’t have happened in Israel:

http://new.ba-bamail.co.il/View.aspx?emailid=2805&memberid=738116
.

June 28th, 2010, 7:46 am

 

Henry said:

Given Syria Comment’s fondness for LATMA’s videos I thought it would be appropriate to call your attention to their latest work.

Here they cover the Islamist weaponry and strategy.

June 28th, 2010, 12:23 pm

 

almasri said:

Henry,

We’ve seen quite few of these videos recently. Fondeness is an overstatement on your part, I’d say. In fact they are becoming boring refelecting a zionist frame of mind afflicted with derangement – which is quite normal for zionists and zionism.

But here is something more real for you. NATO losses in Afgahnistan have reached a record last month with over 100 killed – just yesterday 7 killed. Not bad for the valiant Talibans I’d say. Petraeous replacing McChrystal didn’t seem to make much difference.

CIA has confirmed information that Iran has enough fissile material to make at least two bombs by 2011

USA is running out of Iraq 2 months ahead of schedule with only 50,000 soldiers left right now. Turkey and Iran and posssibly Syria are of course moving in to fill up the void and rid the Iraqis of the Yankee spell. The end of Western civilization appears to be well within sight triggered by economic failures and Israel’s end will not be any different of course. It is time to fill up the dumb bin of history.

Hey and one more thing. The Muslims are planning a huge Islamic Center right in the middle of Manhatten not too far off from the grounds that you consider ‘holy’.

June 28th, 2010, 1:21 pm

 

norman said:

Tome Friedman , today on GPS was pleading for president Obama to save Israel from itself and from future war crimes that will be charged with if it continue it’s path by forcing Netanyahu to give and settle the Mideast conflict , he was calling for president Obama to give cover for Netanyahu with his government and his people that he is forced to give ,

It is what i have been saying for a long time that for the Israeli leaders to reach a settlement they have to be forced to justify their compromise to their people , that could be militarily , economically or legally , the question is will president Obama jump ahead and try to save Israel from itself , will see!!,

June 28th, 2010, 1:30 pm

 

Henry said:

Norman,

Please don’t post the same message twice. Such repetition is distracting and needless to say does not add anything new to the discussion.

Thanks.

June 28th, 2010, 1:38 pm

 

norman said:

Henry,
Neither do you anytime ,

June 28th, 2010, 1:58 pm

 

almasri said:

Thank you Norman for sharing this important information. I do not look at it as repition. It is in fact a reminder.

However, as Arabs we should not be overly concerned if the Israeli entity destroys itself. In fact, we should be happy and encourage it to do so. It will simply save us the effort.

June 28th, 2010, 2:09 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Thank you Norman. I don’t remember reading your post before.
Anyhow President Barrak Obama has been proven not being capable of enforcing his views or wishes in accordance with US interest upon Netanyahu. Which means he will not be able to save Israel from itself, even if he wished to do that. Both middle-east policies of the USA and Israel are wrong and misguided, and will eventually result in more damage to both than could be contained by either government. The tail is wagging the dog and the dog is out of touch and out of control. Next stop Vietnam (oops Iran).

June 28th, 2010, 4:02 pm

 

Norman said:

Almasri,MONTAGNARD ,

Thank you , both , i agree with you , Who lives by the sword die by the sword , (( Israel )) ,i do not think that they will change in time ,

June 28th, 2010, 8:20 pm

 

Norman said:

Jad , Where are you , look at this , any thoughts ,

سورية: إقصاء 1200 معلمة منقبة ‘حفاظاً’ على العمل ‘التعليمي العلماني’

6/29/2010

دمشق ـ يو بي آي: أصدر وزير التربية السوري علي سعد قرارات قضت بنقل نحو 1200 مدرسة ‘مُنقَّبة’ إلى وزارة الإدارة المحلية، وتحديدا إلى البلديات في إجراء يهدف إلى وقف نمو التيار الديني المتشدد في سورية، والحفاظ على العمل ‘العلماني الممنهج’، على أن تتبعها خطوات مماثلة في وزارات أخرى.
وقال وزير التربية ان ‘إبعاد المنقبات من السلك التربوي كان أمراً لا بد منه وستلحقها بقية الوزارات في هذا الأمر’. ونقلت صحيفة ‘الوطن’ السورية الخاصة ان سعد، وخلال اجتماع عقد الاحد مع رؤساء مكاتب الفروع النقابية للمعلمين برئاسة عضو القيادة القطرية لحزب البعث الحاكم رئيس مكتبي التعليم العالي والتربية القطري الدكتور ياسر حورية. وقال إن ‘إبعاد 1000 منقبة من السلك التربوي نصفهن من المتعاقدات بساعات خارج الملاك كان أمراً لا بد منه لأن العملية التعليمية تسير نحو العمل العلماني الممنهج والموضوعي، وهذا الأمر لا يتوافق مع متطلبات الواقع التربوي لتتكامل الإيماءات والحركات وتعابير الوجه وإيصال المعلومة للطلبة وسيتم النظر بجميع الاعتراضات المقدمة من المعلمات مع حفظ الحقوق لهن’.
وأوضح وزير التربية أنه التقى ‘العدد الأكبر منهن وجاء نتيجة قرار سارعت لتطبيقه التربية وتناولت شائعات سرت بين شرائح المجتمع المحلي بشأن إقصاء 2400 معلمة عن التعليم في كل المدارس’.
ولاقى القرار، الذي اتخذ منذ فترة ليست بالبعيدة، ردود فعل متباينة، اتجهت معظمها نحو الترحيب به، على خلفية تخوف الشارع من نمو ظاهرة التطرف في دولة علمانية تدفع في اتجاه سيطرة الإسلام المعتدل، ورحب موقع ‘نساء سورية’ الإلكتروني بالخطوة ونشر مقالا افتتاحيا تحت عنوان ‘نعم لتوجه وزارة التربية بإخراج ‘العاريات’ من التدريس’.
وجاء في المقال إنه و’منذ سنوات بدأ غزو الظلاميين/ات (الإسلاميين المتشددين والإسلاميات) إلى المجتمع السوري تحت تأثيرات مختلفة (…) ووصل الغزو فعليا إلى مواقع مهمة، منها وزارة التربية حيث دخلت العاريات المسميات بالمنقبات ليبثثن أفكارهن ومظهرهن المتطرف أمام الطلاب والطالبات بأعمار مختلفة، خاصة الصغار منهم’.

June 28th, 2010, 8:33 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman How would firing 1200 teacher, who are women, how could this stop the salafist movement in Syria?
Why do always take revenge from women,who has little power?
I believe protecting women just like in protecting women from being killed by their family claiming honor killing,would have been better policy,I am sure this policy will cause severe resentment.

June 28th, 2010, 10:20 pm

 

Norman said:

Majid ,

i think that the Syrian government is worry about school children allow their teachers that they look up to and imitate in things that has to do more with customs and imposing the well of men on women by covering all their head not just their hair , look at this from Elaph , they are talking about complete cover which i think that you agree has nothing to do with Islam ,

http://www.elaph.com/Web/news/2010/6/574540.html

June 28th, 2010, 10:27 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Majed

Don’t you think that it is awkward and abnormal for an educator to hide his or her face from the students in class? The students not only look up to their teacher but they look also for clues, and part of teaching is a human interaction where some of it is spoken and some is expressed by gestures, body language and face expressions. The role of a teacher/educator is too important to be taken lightly.
We should be able to balance the freedom that a person has to practice his or her religion and the protection of their religious views, with their duty to perform a public task, such as teaching students without any religious prejudice. This can be done when the teacher/educator keeps their religious views and practices private, and concentrates on the best way to teach the subject at hand.

June 28th, 2010, 11:19 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman and Montagnard
This does not answer my question,also the influence of religion in the middle east is so strong,no one should under estimate it.It is taught at homes and small family and friends meetings.
The principle of liberty and freedom is violated,and frequently the women pay the price.

June 29th, 2010, 7:40 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Alawi and the Sunni jihadists.

http://www.tnr.com/article/world/75854/move-assad
.

June 29th, 2010, 9:53 am

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Majed

The teachers were not fired, they were transferred to municipalities under the ministry of local government.
Most professional jobs require a dress code. Some jobs require uniforms such as pilots, policemen, firemen, doctors, nurses…
I am assuming that there is a dress code for the teaching profession, and if that is the case, the teachers should be held to such a dress code.
If the teachers were not fired but were transferred to another job that has a more tolerant dress code, it seems to me that the government didn’t act in a capricious way, but went out of their way to find a solution to help the women, while looking for the best interest of the students and their learning environment.
I agree with you that women rights must be protected in Syria as they are occasionally the subject of discrimination and abuse.

June 29th, 2010, 10:05 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Norman (re. 22)

More fundamentally than preventing the niqab, Syria needs to replace its Shari’a based personal status law by a modern law that preserves Syrian women’s human rights and dignity.

That a Syrian Muslim man can marry four wives, divorce any one of them without giving reason is primitive. That two women equal one man in inheritance, legal testimony, or as witnesses in a Syrian court of law is an insult to not only Syria’s women but to the whole society.

It is deplorable that in a Syrian Shari’a court of law the combined weight of the testimonies of Syria’s sophisticated first lady plus that of Syria’s well educated Vice President, Dr. Najah al-Attar, is equal to the weight of the testimony of one man, whoever he might be.

It is regrettable that a proposed draft personal status law (May 2009) failed to put an end to such shameful practices. Maintaining the existing Shari’a law–even as Syria, paradoxically, tries to propagate an image of gender equality and modernity is a national embarrassment, especially after fifty years of a supposedly secular Baath Party.

The claim by Syria’s apologists and propagandists that Syria is secular and modern will remain false until that Shari’a based personal status law is abrogated, just like the case in Tunisia and Turkey.

Elie

June 29th, 2010, 10:09 am

 

jad said:

Dear Norman,
I read this news couple weeks ago, well, how come the number is that high ‘1200’ in the first place and to make the thing worse it is happening in 300 schools allover the country? What was the ministry of education doing all this years? Sleeping?

The way I see things today is that Syria is becoming more for the radicals than for its moderate citizens, very scary fact.
Haven’t you read about the latest ‘creative’ project they come with? Mall only for women!!!!! I have no clue where all this segregation and this close minded ‘wahabi’ trend is taking Syria to…not to enlightenment for sure.
I totally agree with Elie in his comment, instead of dealing with the result of radicalism in its superficial phase i.e. ‘niqab’ in the educational system why not EDUCATE the people first, make them aware of the true Islam instead of pushing them toward the dark ages, let them appreciate a tolerant and enlightened version of Islam, make that embedded in the education system, and convince people that secularism is the right way for our country’s rich and mixed society.
IMPROVE and UPDATE the personal status law, give Syrian women and men their full rights to be equal and true builder of their country, abolish any discrimination against women in the law itself and come with a set of workable civil rules.
Our justice system is a reflect of our nation and as long as this system cement the discrimination values we will never ever build a true society that is naturally preventive of any ‘foreign’ and ‘backward’ values founded solely to destroy the country social fabric.
Niqab by itself with all the backward and negative impression it has regarding women is the least of our problems, the government should deal with the root of the problem not the results.

June 29th, 2010, 1:33 pm

 

idit said:

The question- What Effect will Turkey’s Switch to Israeli Opponent have on Syria and the Regional Balance of Power?

The answer –
further marginalization of Syria- a country of no economic and military importance, now trapped between greater power ie – Iran and Turkey

“In other words, despite the hyperventilation of the Assad regime’s courtiers, the Turkish and Iranian power drive leaves Assad with ever-shrinking room for movement, as he becomes the junior partner not just of Teheran, but also of Ankara. This is quite apt in historical terms, as it was always the natural status of Syria, when it was subdivided into statelets, to act as a buffer between the traditional imperial centers in Anatolia, Persia and Mesopotamia, and Egypt.”

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=181595

June 29th, 2010, 4:08 pm

 

trustquest said:

Racep Tayyip Erodogan aim to be the top 7 economies and wants better democratic standards to his people and good relation with neighbors. But what was interesting what he said about tyranny and dictators, he does not want to cater for dictators and tyranny but he is aiming to be a democracy advocate unlike the undemocratic Arab leaders.
See his interview with Charlie Rose to know the real Erodogan not the way some has been trying to paint him as friend to dictators and corrupt leaders.
http://www.charlierose.com/

June 29th, 2010, 9:36 pm

 

Norman said:

Elie, Jad ,

I agree with you about ending Sharia laws , the question is how to do that , with Syrians not asking loudly to do that , it will be difficult for any Syrian government to do that , when women in the US went out in demonstrations women got the right to vote and when Martin Luther king went out and demonstrated with his people , blacks got the civil right act and then the voting act , blacks and women did not get their rights without asking and fighting for them , so for any Syrian government to do anything Syrian women and even supporting men should show that they are willing to demonstrate and get out in the streets for these rights , so give president Assad and the Syrian Government and even the Baath party an excuse to end Sharia laws, until then Syrian Men are controlling their women in the name of Islam ,

GOD help people who help themselves and Syrian women should stand up for themselves , they will find a lot of help from the Syrian government and many other silent Syrians , but they should show their resolve ,

June 29th, 2010, 9:49 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

The claim by Syria’s apologists and propagandists that Syria is secular and modern will remain false until that Shari’a based personal status law is abrogated, just like the case in Tunisia and Turkey.

Elie,

American professors have to earn a living. Please keep this in mind the next time you find it necessary to discredit the most progressive Baathist state in the ME;)

AP

June 29th, 2010, 10:42 pm

 

Nur al-Cubicle said:

Via El Pais: Venezuela, Malaysia and Iran are building a refinery in Syria

June 30th, 2010, 1:15 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To Norman,

“With Syrians not asking loudly to do that, it will be difficult for any Syrian government to do that” (meaning replacing Shari’a law).

Syrians cannot ask loudly for political or religious reform. Syria’s national discourse is dictated and shaped by the government. Reformers risk being jailed on incredible charges like “weakening the national morale, spirit, or whatever”.

For religious reform to emerge in a country like Syria the president should take the lead. That should not be too difficult since, we are told, the Baath Party is loved by the populace and the President enjoys 95% + popularity in referendums. Even if there would be opposition to Shari’a reform, the state should be able to enforce its will, just the way it does on every thing else.

However, it seems that support and maintenance of a “social Islam” in Syria is as much a government policy as it is a government policy to fight and persecute “political Islam”.

Why the support for “social Islam”? Because, Syria, like other Arab republics and monarchies, exploits Islam. Islam demands that Muslims must obey their Muslim ruler, even if the ruler were a non-representative dictator. Thus, Islam becomes the psychological, the spiritual instrument in Arab rulers’ arsenal to help perpetuate their dictatorships.

In 4:59, the Quran orders: “Obey God and obey God’s messenger and obey those of authority among you.” This verse contributes to the culture of obedience to hierarchical authority in Arab societies–the male over the female, the father over the wife (or wives) and children, the teacher over the student, the employer over the employee, the ruler over the ruled, the ulama over the masses, and so forth.

Under such conditions, instead of wading in the muddy waters of Shari’a reform, a more rewarding strategy in Syria has been to uphold the influence of “social Islam”. There are, of course, risks in this use of Islam to legitimize authority. One is that the country’s society is more stagnant and its progress even slower. The other is that the regime is riding a tiger but which may someday turn against it and devour it.

By contrast, attempts at secularization and modernization in Syria date back to the country’s first coup in 1949, led by General Husni Al-Zaim. During his short four-and-a-half-month rule, Husni Al-Zaim set in motion fundamental changes akin in some respects to the Ataturk reforms in Turkey. For example, the process of breaking up the awkaf or religious endowments and of substituting modern civil, criminal, and commercial codes for Shari’a law was advanced. Regrettably, Husni Al-Zaim’s rule was cut short and sixty years later Syria’s personal status law is still that of seventh century Arabia.

To Akbar Palace,

I recall reading on SC an interview that Prof. Landis’ had given a while back in which his views on Syria’s religious realities were very similar to my own.

Elie

June 30th, 2010, 10:16 am

 

almasri said:

Norman, Elie,

You either do not understand Islam or are both seeking to distort it.

Your simplifications imply that Muslims are either stupid or incapable of coming up with social reforms that reflect their faith. Your simplification while appreciated, it is best to leave the problem to the believers in the fait as they’re the best to deal with such problem. You may criticise what you may not like, but when you go so far as to suggest elimination, then you will only receive closed ears regardless of intentions.

The phenomenon of niqab and other such manifestations is in fact no more than a political statement rejecting the so-called secularism of a government that does not represent more the 5% of the population. I do not deny some niqab-wearing individuals are firm believers in the practice. But the promoters of such practice have the single objective of making such statement in an environment which prohibits any form of free expression, particularly political.

Norman, the statement “ending sharia laws” which you made should not be coming from someone like you. Sharia laws are here to stay and they’re forever. Non-Muslim Arabs, when making such statements, will only gain alienation from Muslim Arab compatriots.

Husni Zaim and others who failed in their so-called secular reforms failed precisely because of the unpopularity of their doomed attempts. Current dictators understand these failures and therefore are not willing to go the same route.

June 30th, 2010, 11:43 am

 

jad said:

A shady move by this suspicious government of Outri;
I think it is a cheap manoeuvre to make any ‘law’ that Outri’s government take regarding our personal life to be legitimate by this new religious related ‘office’ and not to allow anybody from any sect/religion in Syria to challenge it…this government won’t stop playing this game, would they? I don’t trust them at all.

جديد عطري: إحداث “مكتب شؤون الأديان والمذاهب”.. برئاسة هناء عفاش
دمشق- سيريانديز
أصدر المهندس محمد ناجي عطري رئيس مجلس الوزراء القرار رقم /3184/ القاضي بإحداث مكتب يسمى “مكتب شؤون الأديان والمذاهب” يرتبط برئيس مجلس الوزراء.
وحدد القرار مهام المكتب بتنظيم الأمور والمعاملات المتعلقة بشؤون الأديان والمذاهب ومتابعة القضايا التي تحتاج إلى موافقة أو مصادقة من رئيس مجلس الوزراء.
كذلك كل ما يكلف به من قبل رئيس مجلس الوزراء.
كما أصدر عطري القرار /3185/ كلف بموجبه الآنسة هناء عفاش العاملة لدى الأمانة العامة في رئاسة مجلس الوزراء “رئيسا لمكتب شؤون الأديان والمذاهب” إضافة إلى عملها.
سيريانديز
الإثنين 2010-06-28

June 30th, 2010, 12:37 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

The attack on Islam is not fair.to call it seven century backward religion.christianity and jewish religion is much older .and The people in Syria are 90 % muslems.they must be free to choose what they want.those who do not believe in God they are free to do that.but they should never be able to enforce their ideas on people who believe in God.the question is the freedom.
Shariaa rule does not apply to non muslems.
there are things that has been mentioned.and they are regrettable.this is political forum and not religious one.

June 30th, 2010, 2:00 pm

 

MONTAGNARD said:

Majed:

Just keep in mind that whenever you have a philosophical or religious disagreement with somebody, and the issue is what is best for Syria and the Syrian people, you need to look at their point of view without necessarily agreeing with it, and discuss its merit on whether it is better for Syria. Sometime there will be a conflict between an absolutist religious view and an evolving civil view and you as an intellectual, yet religious person, will have to deal with the conflicting views, and maybe seek further guidance.
What you call an attack on Islam, I see as a criticism, of applying a religious law in a civil case, given that the civil law evolves with changing of the civil societies, but sometime the interpretation of religious law does not.
You are right that Christianity and Jewish religions are older than Islam. We can learn from the experience of other societies, when they departed from imposing religious laws to civil laws, that evolved with the enforcement of civil liberties, equality and justice.

June 30th, 2010, 3:07 pm

 

norman said:

Majid,
I agree with you

June 30th, 2010, 3:17 pm

 

almasri said:

Elie, Norman,

You either do not understand Islam or are both trying to distort it.

Your oversimplification of issues implies that you either consider Muslims as stupid or are incapable of social reforms that reflect their faith. You are welcome to criticise what you do not like, however, when you suggest elimination then you have crossed the line and you would only receive deaf ears. As non-Muslims you are not entitled for such suggestions and you may well absolve yourselves of any duties towards reforming the faith and its laws and leave the efforts to its adherents.

Wearing the niqab is no more than a political statement by groups who feel have no other means to express themselves (particularly on the political level) against a regime which represents no more than 5% of the people. I do not deny some woman may do it out of sincere belief. However, the promoters of the practice have one aim in mind: making a political statement in a repressive and dictatorial environment.

Norman, the statement you made about “ending sharia laws” should not come from someone like you. Sharia laws are here to stay. Such statements as yours would only create a gulf between Muslim and non-Muslim Arabs which I do not believe you would like to happen.

Elie, Husni Zaim’s so-called secular reforms failed because they were and still are unpopular. Current dictators therefore avoid following similar routes.

Montagnard,

The good of Syria is decided by the majority of the people of Syria which Majed clearly indicated is 90% Muslim. Little bit less pontification on your part would gain you a wider audience among Muslims as well as credibility when it comes to constructive criticism. Also here is the answer concerning yours and Norman’s view about the niqab wearing woman playing a model role for the students. The people of Syria who are majority Muslims have the right to demand the enforcement of an environment which ensures the propagation of the values they believe in and particularly for the newer generations. One of these values is the practice of chastity which is endangered by the current practices of so-called western secularism. How about segregating classes if you do not like women teachers wearing niqabs in classrooms?

June 30th, 2010, 4:01 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie said
that Muslims must obey their Muslim ruler, even if the ruler were a non-representative dictator
This is distortion of Islam.in Islam dictetorship is not accepted.and the representative must be elected

June 30th, 2010, 4:47 pm

 

Norman said:

Almasri,

i think that you are overreacting , if you look at my note you can see that i mentioned that for anything to happen in Syria about Sharia laws and Niqab and anything else it has to come from the people not from the government or the president , so if the Syrian women want to end sharia laws they have to lead the way and not ask the government to do it for them ,

One other thing , the niqab has nothing to do with Islam as it was in early Islam as it is hard to believe that the women who fought along side the prophet and i believe they did , were wearing a niqab or covering their faces ,another thing about Sharia law , do they have that in Turkey or Bosnia , are these good Islamic countries does Erdogan’s wife wear the niqab , Isn’t she a good woman or you do not think so because she does not ,
By the way , a good man is not the man that does not look at another women because he can not see what she looks like , a good man that can look at many women and does not lust for them ,

by the way being not Muslim does not deny me the right to discuss Islam as it is the heritage of the Arab world that i consider myself coming from , Islam is as important to any Arab as the Judeo Christian values that the west claim for themselves ,

June 30th, 2010, 9:05 pm

 

almasri said:

Dear Norman,

You did indicate a desire to end sharia laws which is unacceptable to any Muslim. If you still believe I overreacted, I apologize.

I actually welcome your criticism of Islam as I indicated in my previous comment. In fact, I consider many of your views very favorable to Islam. What I object to was your indication of a desire to end something which is fundamental to Islam and even to Arab civilization as a whole.

I do realize that niqab is not an Islamic tradition and has nothing to do with sharia laws, hence my interpretation of the phenomenon as an expression of a political statement in an environment that prohibits political freedoms.

Your questions about Turkey and Bosnia and their relations to sharia laws need to be put in proper perspective. Turkey’s secular laws have been imposed upon it for over seventy years by a military junta which appointed itself the guardian of secularism. The story is not over in Turkey yet. Whether secularism will survive in its current form in the future remains to be seen. This was the reason for the alarm raised by the military in the recent events which led to the showdown with the government.

Will the AKP reintroduce Islamic laws into turkey’s legal code in the future? We do not know. Will Erdogan’s daughter continue to be obliged to study in the US in order to wear an Islamic hijab while Erdogan’s wife travels with the PM all over the world meeting heads of States while wearing the hijab? We do not know. But this is clearly a dichotomy that needs to be resolved within Turkey one way or another.

You may even say the AKP may get replaced by another party in the next elections. Every thing is possible. My feeling based on Turkey’s 12% economic growth in 2009 and a projected 8% to 10% growth in 2010, the AKP will be the most likely winner in next year’s elections. In this case, I can assure you Islamization of the Turkish laws will be on the agenda.

The AKP is proving to be a challenge to Arab dictators first and foremost as well as the agent which seems to have resolved the dichotomy between democratization and secularism in islamically dominated societies. Turkey was able to get nowhere by relying on the secularism of Ataturk. Instead it receded into a military dictatorship not much different than any Arab dictatorship or monarchy. Only when an islamically oriented political party that reflects the true character of the people of Turkey was Turkey able to make its presence felt in the region and beyond. AKP basically reconciled Turkey with its history. Will the Arabs follow suite and reconcile themselves with the same history? You may say the Arab people lack the secular experience of Turkey. But why should the Arabs adopt something which is totally alien to their culture as you and Elie seem to advocate? What the Arabs need most is a way to domesticate their dictatorships in the same manner that AKP was able to domesticate Turkey’s military

Enforcing alien secularism on a population that is hostile to such ideology requires the efforts of a huge security apparatus as we saw in Turkey before AKP. And even in this case, the society will recede into despotism and will not advance. Tunisia, which Elie mentioned as an example, is perhaps the only Arab State which can compete with Syria in the size of its security apparatus on a per capita basis. We all know the upheavals that it went through in the last twenty years that are still far from over.

June 30th, 2010, 11:43 pm

 

Norman said:

my dear Al Masri,

I do not criticize Islam but criticize the way many intrepid Islam and practice it , my feeling is that the reason that Turkey is having trouble getting in the EU is not because it is a majority Muslim country only but because Muslim Turkey and it’s government which gives a good impression of Islamic governing and can spread Islam in the West and that is what they fear most , people with Niqab and strange cloths will not scare them , people like Erdogan and his wife and the success of the Islamic government of Turkey is what is going to change the Western world view of Islam , and surrendering power if they lose will make it clear that contrary to what Israel is trying to tell them about the scary Islam , in reality Islam spread around the world because it is tolerant and has a libertarian quality with free religion and equality to all with lower taxes ,

July 1st, 2010, 12:16 am

 

almasri said:

Europe has lost its appeal to the majority of Turks, Norman, even though some Turks may still have some nostalgic European dreams given their large numbers in Germany and other countries in Europe.

I will say again what I said before. Europe and the West in general will never come out of this economic crisis. This is their end and Israel will meet its doom along with its creators. Did you follow the recent joke of the Toronto G8/G20 circus? Have you noticed that the supposed leaders of world economies no longer have any means of control? It is free for all i.e. save your skin the way you find it most suitable. The capitalist West has entered its final downward spiral which will lead to its destruction and the reasons are of its own making. There will be poverties as never seen in history in most so-called advanced countries. Few institutions will get richer and will have super freedoms to move funds around with no real governmental control. The system will eventually eat itself

When the crisis began, the Europeans were the first to propose the adoption of an Islamic banking system. And they even conducted feasibility studies on how to adopt it. They realized the benefits of such system as a result of the unprecedented crisis created by few financial institutions – mostly American institutions while the regulations or lack thereof that allowed them to suck the world economy was given to them by zionist functionaries in the US treasuries and federal reserves back in the late 90s.

Eventually, the European countries will have no choice but to line up with applications to join the new order which will be headed by Turkey as the only way out of this poverty spiral created by America and its zionist puppets. Each application will be looked at on its own merits for qualification.

That is the real reason Israel is scared and not because Muslims may or may not transfer government power peacefully. They do not really care about Democracy. Actually, they are the authors of tyranny worldwide with their evil plots.

July 1st, 2010, 3:04 am

 

jad said:

لا للنقاب، لا لثقافة التصحر والغباء
نضال نعيسة
الحوار المتمدن – العدد: 3050 – 2010 / 7 / 1

لا أمن ولا أمن مع الإسلامويين والمتأسلمين وتجار الدين ممن يقدّمون الشكل على الجوهر والطقوس على حقيقة ما في النفوس. لقد كان هذا ديدن هذا التيار المتحالف تاريخياً مع الكهنوت السياسي الذي جير ووظف القوة العاطفية والزخم الإيماني القوي والرؤى الأسطورية المتجذرة لدى هذه الشعوب في سبيل خدمة مصالحه السلطوية على مدى 1400 عام من تاريخ المنطقة والنتيجة القاتلة أن خرجت شعوبها وكل الحمد والشكر لله من التاريخ والجغرافيا، صفر اليدين ومن دون أي إنجاز.

فالنقاب، وكما نعلم جميعاً، هو، وقبل أي شيء آخر، ثقافة وعادة صحراوية بدوية ونمط عبودي تبضيعي وتشييئي وتنميطي وتجنيسي وتسليعي للمرأة، فرضته ظروف العيش القاسية القاحلة المعزولة في الصحارى النائية وتحجر التفكير، في زمن ومكان ما، وهي لذلك تعكس تفكيراً وطريقة حياة محلية وخاصة بزمان ومكان وفاقدة الصلاحية لم تعد ملائمة، وغير قابلة للحياة، ولا يجب ربطها بأية قداسة أو إعطاؤها بعداً قيمياً لا تستحقه، في ظل ولادة قيم وأفكار وطرق حياة وأدبيات جديدة فرضتها طبيعة تطور الحياة المنطقي. والنقاب، بالدرجة الأولى، هو زي غير قانوني على الإطلاق، من الناحية القانونية. ونعلم جميعاً من يتلثم ولأي سبب يتلثم ومن هو الذي يحاول ألا يكون معروفاً بين الناس أو “يتخفى” دائماً لسبب ما. ولا يمكن لأي إنسان أن يعيش هكذا متخفياً، وراء أقنعة طوال حياته، وسط الناس في مجتمعات تتطلب الاختلاط والتعامل المباشر وضرورة أن يكون الشخص معروفاً للجميع. وإذا كانت القيم الحياة القبلية والصحراوية والبدوية المغلقة والمتوجسة من كل شيء استطاعت أن تنتج هذا النمط السلوكي، فهذا لا يعني بحال انسحابه وضرورة تقبله وإمكانية تطبيقه في مجتمعات اعتادت على الشفافية والانفتاح. وما يبدو مقبولاً وضرورياً في زمن ومكان ما، قد لا يبدو مقبولاً في زمن ومكان خر.

لكن، اليوم، وبحكم شيوع الثقافة البدوية وتمدد الثقافة الصحراوية ورموزها الكبار بفعل السطوة البترودولارية ، وبتواطؤ وتحلف معلن بين هذه التيارات الظلامية ومن يقف وراءها مع قوى الشر والاستعمار العالمي والإمبريالية الأميركية وضلعها الأول إسرائيل لإبقاء هذه الشعوب في حالة من الجهل المطبق والبداوة والبدائية وإعادتها لسيرتها الأولى فأجمل هدية تقدم لإسرائيل هي وجود شعوب ضعيفة جاهلة ضائعة شاخرة مفككة تتصارع على الفتاوى والتحريم والتحليل، استطاعت هذه الثقافة التي كانت تعاني سكرات النفط قبيل اكتشاف النفط أن تعود للحياة والتغلغل والنفوذ إلى مجتمعات أخرى مع امتلاك وسائل الإعلام وماكينات دعاية جبارة التي استطاعت أن تؤثر في العقول لتضخ تلك الثقافة مرة في مجتمعات لم تستطع أن تمتلك بدائل ثقافية. لكن بكل الأحوال، إن هذه السطوة الإعلامية والقوة المالية البترودولارية لن تجعل لا من تلك الثقافة، بالضرورة، ولا من أصحابها قوى شرعية أو مقدسة يجب أن تفرض نفسها على مجتمعات أخرى، هم أحرار في مجتمعاتهم لكن المجتمعات الأخرى حرام عليهم ومسدودة أمامهم وأمام توغلهم الشيطاني. ولا يمكن لتلك الثقافة الرثة الفارغة من أية مضامين قيمية وجمالية وإنسانية أن تكون بديلاً عما تطمح وتصبو إليه شعوب المنطقة من تحرر وعصرنة وتحديث وحياة تليق بالبشر البني آدميين، لا أشباه البشر المعلبين بأطر ثقافية وفكرية متحجرة وبائدة، أو مظاهر شكلانية رثة ومقززة كالنقاب والدشداشة والغترة والعقال التي فقدت وظائفها الحيوية والإنسانية وأصبحت تعبر وبكل أسف، عن نمط ظلامي قهري أسود جلف معاد لكل قيمة ولكل جمال، ومتطرف في معاداته للإنسانية جمعاء، ولعلها واحدة من فضائل النفط أن كشفت كنه وطبيعة تلك الثقافة على ذاك النحو المجرد غير العقلاني وغير الإنساني وشديد الغباء.

وهناك إشكالية كبرى بدأت تظهر ملامحها في المجتمعات العلمانية وهي استغلال قوى الظلام والتطرف لمناخات وقيم العلمانية وتسامحها مع الجميع في أي بلد من بلدان العالم للتسلل إليها وفرض ثقافتها عليها بحجة ممارسة الحرية الشخصية. فهذه الثقافة غير المتصالحة أبداً لا مع نفسها ولا مع الآخر، وحين نقول بأنها غير متصالحة مع ذاتها، نعني أن الانشقاقات والخلافات والتذرير داخل التيار الديني والصراعات المزمنة فيما بين أجنحته المختلفة هي أقوى من أي صراع مع أي كان، نقول هذه الثقافة ونمط العيش لا يمكن أن تكون حلاً لأي مجتمع كان إن كانت هي تعاني وتتصارع مع ذاتها وتسبب هذا الكم الهائل من التشرذم والتحلل والانقسام والصدام، فكيف ستكون علاجاً وحلاً للآخر؟

يتذرع كثيرون بأن النقاب يقع تحت يافطة الحرية الشخصية وممارسة خاصة بالمنقبة وهو حماية وعفة لها. وللرد على ذلك لا بد من القول أن للحرية الشخصية شروطها وضوابطها فالحرية ليست مطلقة لاسيما إذا تعارضت واصطدمت مع الآخر وقيمه وهددت وجوده. فالانتحار يقع أيضاً ضمن إطار الحرية الشخصية ولكن هل يسمح لأي كان بالانتحار؟ ألا تعارض حتى ما يسمى بالشرائع السماوية قضية الانتحار وتكفر من يقوم بها رغم أنها حرية للمرء للتصرف بجسده وحياته وروحه؟ كما لا يمكن لقطعة قماش أن تكون مقياساً للشرف أو أن تتحكم بغرائز الإنسان الطبيعية والحيوية التي تتطلب جملة ومنظومة متكاملة من الآليات التربوية والتثقيفية والعلمية أعقد بكثير مما يراه أصحاب الحلول الجاهزة والسريعة والسحرية من أن قطعة قماش قد تكون حلاً لمشكلة الفضيلة التي لم تجد لها البشرية حلاً حتى الآن، ولن نتكلم البتة عن حالات البغاء والشذوذ والانحراف الجنسي والميل نحو الأطفال والمثلية والسحاق في نفس تلك المجتمعات التي صدّرت لنا كل هذه المصائب والآفات. وإذا كانت قطعة القماش حلاً سحرياً لقضايا الشرف والأخلاق، فما هو الداعي إذن للشريعة والقوانين وكل ذاك الركام من الفقه حول الفضيلة والأخلاق؟

إن حماية المجتمع السوري المنفتح والعظيم من خطر الثقافات الدموية الهدامة والتكفيرية هو مسؤولية وطنية وأخلاقية وأمنية كبرى تتطلب الحل والعلاج والتحرك على كافة المستويات، بعد أن تفشى الطاعون الظلامي وتسرطنت البداوة البترودولارية في عموم المنطقة. ومن هنا فقد كان قرار إبعاد المعلمات عن سلك التعليم نظراً لما لهذا السلك من أهمية في قولبة العقل الجمعي، قراراً حكيماً وشجاعاً للغاية ومنتظراً وترسيخاً لسوريا كقلعة أخيرة للعلمانية والانفتاح المجتمعي والوحيدة الباقية من بين ما يسمى بدول الوطن العربي، والمتسامحة مع كل أنماط الحياة والثقافات التي تجد لها مكاناً لائقاً ومحترماً في عمق المجتمع السوري، ، لكن هذا التسامح وهذا الانفتاح، ومن منظور علماني بحت، لا يعني غلبة وتسيد نمط أحادي على غيره ومحاولة فرض رؤاه وأنماطه الحياتية بقسرية تكريهية في مجتمع يتمتع ويتميز بثراه العرقي والإثني والطائفي، وتحت أية حجة وذريعة كامتلاك الحقيقة والنجاة وغيره مما نتحف به يومياً من تبريرات للتمدد والتسيد والاستقواء بغوغائية مستفشرة وثقافة الدهماء وأساطير التي لم تعد تقنع أياً كان. هذا الوضع الخطير يتطلب أول ما يتطلب الابتعاد كلياً حماية المجتمع ككل، ومحاربة الزحف الظلامي الأسود والممنهج، ومحاولة وضع كل الأطر القانونية للحد من خطورته على السلام والأمن المجتمعيين، حيث يجب أن تكون الغلبة الأولى والأخيرة لقيم العدالة والأخوة والمواطنة والمساواة. ونتمنى لكل المجتمعات أن تحذو حذو سوريا في منع النقاب، تلك العادة الصحراوية البدوية غير القانونية، والتي لم يكن لها وجود قبل زمن النفط الأغبر، وذلك حماية لمجتمعاتها من الانهيار والانقراض. وتلك الثقافة لم تفلح خلال 1400 عام في بناء إنسان ومجتمعات صحية متعافية ومتكاملة، حتى تفلح اليوم في ذلك، وفي واحدة من أسوأ حقبها، وأشدها ظلاماً وقتامة وسواد.

http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=221017

July 1st, 2010, 3:55 am

 

almasri said:

عندما يتجسد (الإقصاء) في كائن بشري .. (نضال نعيسة) أنموذجا !
من أبسط بدهيات المعرفة والثقافة التي يعرفها الصغير والكبير .. أنه كلما زادت معرفة الإنسان وثقافته كلما زاد انفتاحه وتوسعت آفاقه وكبرت نظرته وارتفع وارتقى في سلم الحكمة والهدوء والتواضع !
وهذا ما يميز المثقف عن غيره من عوام الناس ، المثقف الذي تبني عليه الأمم آمالها الكبار وتستند عليه في مسيرها نحو القمة والريادة !
لكن يبدو أنه لكل قاعدة شواذ .. ولا بد من وجود (مسخفين) بين المثقفين .. كلما ازدادوا علما ومعرفة وثقافة كلما التصقوا بطينة الأرض وضاقت عليهم معرفتهم بما رحبت !
لم يعد غريبا أن تجد (مسخفا) بين المثقفين .. مهمته أن يسير إلى الوراء .. وأن يمشي على رأسه مفسحا لقدميه احتلال مكان رأسه !
لم يعد غريبا أن تجد (مسخفا) وُجد (خطأ) في قائمة المثقفين وألصق نفسه بهم ظنا منه أنه لن ينتبه لسخفه أحد في زحمة الأقلام ! أو ربما ألصق نفسه بهم ظنا منه أنه فعلا يستحق هذه المكانة .. وما علم أن هناك (زرائب) وجدت لمثل هذه النوعيات من الأقلام حتى لا تؤذينا برائحتها !

عندما نتحدث عن (الإقصاء الفكري) بين المثقفين العرب فإنه لا يتبادر إلى ذهني إلا الكاتب السوري (نضال نعيسة) الذي سخّر قلمه للهجوم على الإسلام والإسلاميين والمسلمين وكل شيء يتصل بالأحرف الثلاثة (سلم) !
عندما نتحدث عن (التطرف الفكري) فلا يتبادر إلى ذهني إلا (نضال نعيسة) الذي يكره وبحقد أعمى كل ما هو آخر خاصة إذا كان الآخر إسلاميا أو حتى مسلما عاديا !
لم يترك المناضل الإقصائي (نضال) لا عالما ولا شيخا ولا مبدأ ولا فكرة ولا مذهبا ولا عملا و لا رأيا ولا موقفا ولا دولة ولا فتوى ولا حتى فطرة .. تمت إلى الإسلام بصلة إلا هاجمها وشنع بها وكأن بينه وبينها ثارات البسوس !
السؤال هنا .. هل تعتبر كتابات ومقالات وآراء المناضل الإقصائي (نضال) رأيا آخر يجب أن أحترمه وأستمع له ؟!
هل يدخل كلامه ورأيه ضمن إطار الرأي الآخر المطالبين بأن نحترمه !؟
إذا كان الجواب نعم فتلك مصيبة ! لأنه ببساطة لا وجود للأخلاق والأدب للرأي الآخر .. لم يعد هناك أي قانون حتى ولو أخلاقي بحت يمكن أن يحكم الرأي الآخر .. ولذلك يصبح السب والشتم والاستهزاء والسخرية وقلة الأدب والانحطاط والسفالة وكل هذه المصطلحات جائزة ومسموح بها في طرح الرأي الآخر !
وهكذا وبطريقة سهلة تتحول الآراء والسجالات الفكرية والثقافية إلى آلة إعادة تصنيع القمامة لا أكثر ولا أقل !
سوف يغيب الفكر .. ويغيب الوعي .. وتغيب الثقافة .. ويصبح الكتاب يتقممون الكتابة من المزابل والجيف ! أكرم الله القراء ..
ولكن هذا هو الذي سوف يحدث إذا تعمم (مذهب النضال الإقصائي) الذي يمارسه (نضال) !
أليس من واجبنا أن نتطهر من هذه الكتابات وهذه الآراء الحاقدة التي لن تجلب خيرا ولا سلما ولا صلحا لأي مجتمع ؟
أليس من واجب الجميع .. بمن فيهم الجهات الإعلامية من مواقع ومجلات وصحف أن تنبذ وترفض هذا اللون من الإقصاء والسخرية والاستهزاء بالآخر !؟
إن مجتمعا كالمجتمع السوري ليس بحاجة أبدا لمثل هذا النوع من الإقصاء وخاصة في هذه المرحلة ! لسنا بحاجة إلى تطرف فكري متدني يرفض الآخر بطريقة لا تمت إلى الأدب والأخلاق بصلة !
نحن بحاجة إلى مقالات وكتابات السلم والصلح والتآخي وصناعة الأمل والتسامح بين الجميع .. وإلا فلن يستفيد أحد من صب الزيت على النار إلا شخص أوقف حياته للفتنة والكراهية والعداء .. شخصا انسلخ من هذا الوطن ولبس ثويا عاريا!

http://all4syria.info/content/view/27123/104/

July 1st, 2010, 4:55 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To ALMASRI,

Imagine a way of life whereby not only two women equal one man in bearing witness and inheritance and a man is able marry four wives and divorce any of them without giving reason, but also a way of life that justifies:

– Misyar marriage contracts whereby the man and the woman live apart; the man visits the woman at her parents’ home for sex whenever he wishes. Please note that Misyar is not a fiction of the imagination. It is real. It is practiced rather widely today in Egypt and Saudi Arabia with religious justification from the highest religious authorities. It has been sanctioned by fatwas from Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin Baz, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (1993-1999) and the chairman of the committee of senior ulama, and from the Egyptian Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the grand mufti of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. Also, on April 12, 2006, the Mecca-based Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly permitted misyar marriage by declaring that “a marriage contract in which the woman relinquishes [her right to] housing and support money . . . and accepts that the man visits her in her [family] house whenever he likes, day or night . . . is valid.”

How do you like it if such a way of life becomes a part of Syria’s culture? Remember, there is no Islamic impediment to the application of such marriage contracts in Syria. And, if Syria’s government invalidates such marriages, Syria would be in violation of Shari’a law as determined by the just mentioned authorities. There is no middle way here. You either accept Shari’a law in its totality or reject it in total. God’s law cannot be apportioned between true and false.

– It is believed that “people who entrust the management of their affairs to a woman will fail” (according to Sunan Al-Nasai, tradition 5390, p. 2431). (All Hadith references here are from “The Six Books, Dar Al-Salam, for Publishing and Distribution, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1999).

– It is believed that most of those in hell are women (according to Sahih Al-Bukhari, traditions 304, p. 26; 3241, p. 263; 5197 and 5198, p. 450; 6449, p. 542; and, 6546, p. 549; and to Sahih Muslim, traditions 6938 to 6942, p. 1152; and to Jame’ Al-Tirmithi, tradition 2613, p. 1915)

– It is believed that women’s lack of intelligence is the reason a woman’s testimony in an Islamic court of law is equal to half that of the testimony of the Muslim male (according to Sahih Al-Bukhari, tradition 304, p. 26 and tradition 2658, p. 210; and to Jame’ Al-Tirmithi, tradition 2613, p. 1915).

– It is believed that the reason women are prohibited from praying and fasting during menstruation is due to their being deficient in religious belief (according to Sahih Al-Bukhari, tradition 304, p. 26 and tradition 1951, p. 152, and to Jame’ Al-Tirmithi, tradition 2613, p. 1915.)

Do you not agree that these stipulations reduce the Muslim woman to a sex object and that such a mentality downgrades the institution of marriage to an earthy context devoid of emotional, intellectual, or friendship bonds with damaging social and economic consequences? Do you not believe that such treatment of women defines a Muslim Arab woman’s view of herself as a lesser being? If you do, then please join me in calling for the abrogation of the laws that allow such a way of life.

– Imagine a way of life whereby it is religiously permitted for a woman to breastfeed a grown man five times so that she becomes able to show him her face at their work place in the future. This fatwa is justified according to supposedly reliable Hadith traditions, not by malicious propagandists at the CIA, Mossad, or some kuffar. The fatwa is based upon Prophetic traditions reported in Sahih Muslim (traditions 3600 to 3605, p. 923) and in Sunan Abi Dawood, traditions 2061 to 2063, pp. 1374-1375). Indeed, Sahih Muslim dedicates an entire section titled: “Suckling the Grown-up Man” and that Abi Dawood dedicates a similar section. The fatwa was issued in May 2007 by none other than the dean of the Hadith faculty at the Al-Azhar University. Further, a month ago or so, senior Saudi clerics affirmed the Egyptian’s fatwa. A minor detail was added, though, that the women should draw the milk into a cup from which the man drinks, instead of suckling him from the breast. The case of non-lactating women was not addressed thus far!

On the other hand, such rules and attributions contradict what the ulama have informed us about the most celebrated woman of all, the Prophet’s wife, Khadija. We are told that the Prophet’s first wife was the best born in Quraish, a wealthy and successful businessperson. We are told that Khadija employed young Muhammad in her business, that she proposed marriage to him when he was about twenty-five years old, and that she was about fifteen years his senior and twice a widow. We are told that for the twenty-five years of the Prophet’s marriage to Khadija until her death in 620 he remained monogamous to her, that she was the one person to whom he turned for advice and comfort, and that Khadija was the first convert to Islam. Such an image portrays Khadija as an emancipated, commanding woman of high standing in Meccan society, and in the eyes of her husband, a woman whom the Prophet treated with faithfulness and devotion.

That Shari’a law evolved to treat women as lesser beings and as chattel requires reconciliation with the Prophet’s own personal conduct. Which is the correct version?

ALMASRI,
I should hope that you would agree that a non-Muslim can point out to intelligent educated Muslims like the participants on SC contradictions and religious dogmatic arguments that affect the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims.

Elie

July 1st, 2010, 5:44 am

 

almasri said:

To Elie,

“please join me in calling for the abrogation of the laws that allow such a way of life.”

I am sorry. I cannot agree to your request. On the contrary, I call upon the reinforcement of the Islamic way of life throughout Syria, the Arab World and beyond.

Your information about Islam is tremendously deficient and cannot be taken as objective or as serious. I briefly read about your background and aside from your 30 year banking experience, I did not find any other meaningful credentials that would support your ‘claims’ to competency in Islamic knowledge. A banking history in KSA even as a CEO does not grant you such credentials. You probably should have spent some time in a religous institution instead.

There are proper avenues to seek such knowledge. We have the means to provide scholarships to study in competent institutions such as al-Azhar or even Medina where you can be supervised under the guidance of competent scholars. However, you seem to be past the age for qualification. But there are exceptions that may wave such deficiency. You may want to explore these options on your own if you’re interested in improving yourself in the subject. I strongly suggest Medina due to your past experience in the country.

You have turned a political forum into a religious discussion. I felt obliged to reply when I found that your attacks on the religion cannot be tolerated.

Of course, you have the right in the proper forum to discuss such dogmatic arguments in Islam as you claim. However, being a non-Muslim with an obvious lack of proper knowledge in the faith your opinion or presentations will be regarded as mere slanders, propaganda and misinformation. We have known non-Muslims throughout the Arab world (I am originally from Aleppo which is full of non-Muslims as you may well know), but none of them exhibited the level of hatred towards Islam, ignorance of its tenets and the will to defame it as you exhibit. If this was the result of a bad personal experience you have been through in KSA, it still doesn’t justify your attitude.

Therefore, excuse us if we lend you the deaf ear from now on.

July 1st, 2010, 6:26 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie
you did not respoded to my comment # 41
do you admit that you have distorted impression os Islam, as far as dictatorship?and election of representative?
I have another question to you.please answer it directly ,yes or no .please do not evade it,and do not lie
the question is have you ever cheated on your wife?or have sexual relationship with another woman?

July 1st, 2010, 7:25 am

 

norman said:

Majed

I did not expect things and questions like this from you!.

July 1st, 2010, 9:15 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
This is a question directly related to the subjects Elie talked about. I have seen people against legalizing Marijhuana and they smoke it themself,hypocracy is the subject.

July 1st, 2010, 9:51 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To ALMASRI,

Ranting and raving is of no use here and will get us nowhere.

Please dispute the references that I gave in 50 above or else enlighten the readers with your interpretation of those references. To me, they are very clear to even a layman.

Elie

July 1st, 2010, 10:32 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Elie Elhadj,

Good luck trying to modernize the Middle East.

I know it will be a long, arduous process.

But with your persistence, and the enlightenment of ME professors and Baathist sympathizers like Josh, I think we’re only, hmmm, centuries away?;)

Best,

AP

July 1st, 2010, 1:13 pm

 

jad said:

ما هي أسباب تزايد الغلو الإسلامي المعاصر··؟! بقلم فادي شامية

الغلو في اللغة هو ارتفاع الشيء ومجاوزة الحد فيه· ومنه قوله تعالى: يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ} أي لا تجاوزوا المقدار· وهو في الاصطلاح: · وفي الحديث الصحيح : ·
ومع أن الغلو ظاهرة قديمة، (وهي بالمناسبة، غير مقتصرة على الدين الإسلامي)، فإن تعقيداتها اليوم باتت أكبر، للأسباب الآتية: أ – العالمية: إذ صار في كل بلد، وفي كل حضارة طوائف غالية، يغذي بعضها بعضاً، وتسهم العولمة في تعميم أساليب ورؤى غالية، ولو كان أتباعها من أديان ومذاهب مختلفة·

ب – الاستنسابية: في التعامل مع المشكلة، إذ من الملاحظ أن كثيراً من الفرق الغالية تعمل برضا الدول والأنظمة التي تتوافق مصالحها السياسية معها، وعندما تختلف المصالح؛ تشن الحكومات الحروب على هذه الجماعات وعلى طروحاتها!·

ت – اختلاط مفهومي الغلو والجهاد: هذا الاختلاط قد يكون ضمن الجماعة نفسها، إذ يمكن لهذه الجماعة أن تمثّل روح الجهاد في الأمة في موقف أو فترة زمنية، وهي نفسها يمكن أن تصبح جماعة غالية تمارس العنف الأرعن في فترة أو موقف معين، الأمر الذي يؤدي إلى اختلاط كبير في المفاهيم، خصوصاً في زمن عز فيه النموذج الذي تقتدي به الأمة!·

ث – ازدياد الوسائط المساعدة: وعلى رأسها الإعلام المتطور الذي يلعب دوراً كبيراً في التعبئة والتجنيد، ولا سيما مواقع الإنترنت، إضافة إلى الأخبار التعبوية التي تفتقد في الغالب إلى المصداقية·

أسباب الغلو لكن ما هي الأسباب التي تدفع باتجاه الغلو أصلاً؟! ولماذا يتزايد أعداد الغلاة في عالمنا اليوم؟!

في الواقع، فإن الأسباب الأكثر أهمية للغلو في العصر الحديث ? لا سيما في الشق السياسي منه- تعود إلى ما يأتي:

أ – الأسباب الفكرية: ويدخل فيها ضعف العلم الشرعي، وانتهاج سبل متشددة، لا تتوافق مع الروح الإسلامية السمحة، وقلة الاتصال بالعلماء الثقات، وادعاء العلم مع الجهل به، والتشبث بالرأي·

ب – الأسباب السياسية: وهي من الأسباب المؤثرة جداً، لأن ما يعانيه العالم الإسلامي من ظلم، وهوان، وعجز، وفساد، واختلال العدالة العالمية ضده دائماً، تشكل كلها عوامل دافعة نحو الغضب والتطرف، خصوصاً عندما تختل العلاقة بين الحاكم والمحكوم، فيرى المحكوم أن الحاكم لا يعبّر عنه، ولا ينتصر للقيم والدين الذي يدين به·

ت – الأسباب الاقتصادية: غالباً من تشكل الضغوط الاجتماعية، والفقر المدقع أسباباً مساعدة على الغلو، الذي يصبح بمثابة الثورة على الواقع المليء بالحرمان، وانعدام فرص التعبير عن الذات·

ث – الأسباب النفسية: حيث تلعب الدوافع الذاتية في الشخص، وسيطرة الهوى عليه، وتجاربه الفاشلة، والشعور بالاضطهاد، والسعي وراء اعتبار الذات··· أسباباً مساعدة لظهور الغلو أيضاً· كما يمكن أن تكون بعض الشخصيات الغالية؛ مريضة بأمراض نفسية وانحرافات سلوكية خطيرة، بحيث تشكل الظروف التي يوضع فيها العديد من الإسلاميين، والتعذيب الذي يتعرضون له أحياناً، أسباباً دافعة لاعتناقهم أقصى المواقف تطرفاً· ومن المعلوم أن الغلو المعاصر قد ظهر أكثره داخل السجون، لا سيما المصرية تحديداً·

إزاء هذا الواقع، هل من سبيل للحد من الغلو؟ بالتأكيد نعم، فنشر الوسطية والعمل بها، وإصلاح الأحوال السياسية والاقتصادية في عالمنا العربي والإسلامي، ومقاربة حالات الغلو على قاعدة العلاج لا الانتقام، يسهم إلى حد كبير في الحد من الغلو في واقعنا الإسلامي·

http://www.ulworld.com/index.php?inc=show_menu&dir_id=4&id=5424

July 1st, 2010, 1:35 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AKBAR PALACE,

I agree with you. Modernizing the Arab world is arduous, even dangerous to those calling for reforms. Why? Because religious reform is the prerequisite for democratic reform, and religious reform is almost impossible in societies gripped with the clutter of believing in predestination, evil eye, angels, djinn, among other dogmas.

Nonetheless, a modern personal status law in Syria is a legitimate demand, because the Baath Party should become true to its secular roots. Almost half a century of waiting for secularizing this particular law is enough.

Elie

July 1st, 2010, 2:29 pm

 

Jad said:

جنرال إسرائيلي يقول “أخطأنا عندما أيدنا انسحاب سورية من لبنان”.. وباراك يؤكد أن الانسحاب من الجنوب اللبناني أجهض خطة إسرائيلية استهدفت إقامة دولة فلسطينية في الأردن
صحيفة الشرق الأوسط اللندنية – الأربعاء 30 حزيران/ يونيو 2010
تل أبيب: «الشرق الأوسط»
كشف وزير الدفاع الإسرائيلي، إيهود باراك، عن مخطط إسرائيلي سابق كان يقضي بترحيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين من لبنان إلى الأردن وتحويله إلى دولة فلسطينية بالقوة. وقال إن أحد الأسباب التي دفعته في سنة 2000 إلى الانسحاب من لبنان من طرف واحد، إجهاض هذا المخطط غير الواقعي.
وكان باراك يتحدث في ندوة عقدت في معهد أبحاث الأمن القومي في تل أبيب، الليلة قبل الماضية، بمناسبة مرور عشر سنوات على الانسحاب المهرول من لبنان. واستمع إلى هجوم كاسح على قراره المذكور من مختلف القادة الإسرائيليين السابقين، وكذلك من أحد قادة جيش لبنان الجنوبي الذي شكلته إسرائيل وعرف باسم جيش لحد. فراح يدافع عن قراره ويقول: «الانسحاب من لبنان وضع حدا لمأساة إسرائيلية دامت 18 عاما ودفعنا فيها ثمنا باهظا بأرواح خيرة أبنائنا، ومن لا يدرك ذلك عليه أن يسافر إلى الشمال ويرى كيف يعيش سكانها في السنوات الأخيرة بمنتهى الهدوء والاطمئنان».
وأضاف باراك أن هناك أسبابا أخرى للانسحاب، منها إجهاض الخطة الاستراتيجية الضيقة الأفق، بتمليك المسيحيين لبنان وتمليك الفلسطينيين الأردن، ومنها أيضا أن سورية نصبت لإسرائيل كمينا في لبنان، حيث من جهة حافظت على حدودها هادئة ساكنة رغم أن أراضيها محتلة (الجولان)، ومن جهة ثانية ساعدت كل من يساهم في سفك دماء الإسرائيليين في لبنان، وراحت تشد الخيوط من كل اتجاه على حساب أرواح الإسرائيليين واللبنانيين والفلسطينيين هناك، ومن دون أن تسفك نقطة دم سورية واحدة.
ونفى باراك أن يكون الانسحاب من لبنان في حينه مهرولا، وقال: «أنا شخصيا طرحت فكرة الانسحاب من لبنان في سنة 1985 عندما كنت رئيسا لشعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية في الجيش. وعندما أصبحت رئيسا للمعارضة، أي قبل أن أصبح رئيسا للحكومة، وضعت خطة لهذا الانسحاب. وعندما أصبحت رئيسا للحكومة نفذت هذا الانسحاب، وأقول ذلك باعتزاز. صحيح أن أخطاء كثيرة اعترت هذا الانسحاب، ولكنه من الناحية الاستراتيجية كان صحيحا. فالقائد الحقيقي يحسم القرار ما بين خيارين سيئين. والبديل عن الانسحاب من لبنان لم يكن ممكنا أن يكون أفضل. فلولا هذا الانسحاب ما كنا نستطيع القيام بعملية السور الواقي ضد الإرهاب الفلسطيني في سنة 2002».
وكان الجنرال في الاحتياط ورئيس مجلس الأمن القومي الأسبق، غيورا آيلاند، قد تكلم في المعهد نفسه مؤكدا أن إسرائيل ارتكبت خطأ فادحا عندما أيدت التوجه الأوروبي والعالمي بدفع سورية إلى الانسحاب من لبنان. وقال إن سورية كانت عنصر توازن هناك، وكان يجب على إسرائيل أن تبادر إلى مفاوضات سلام معها، يدخل فيه العنصر اللبناني.
واستمع معهد الأبحاث المذكور في المناسبة نفسها إلى غابي أبو رافع، مسؤول سابق في قيادة جيش لحد، الذي عمل في خدمة إسرائيل حتى انسحابها المهرول من لبنان في سنة 2000. وقال أبو رافع إنه كان بمقدور إسرائيل أن تنسحب من لبنان بشكل منظم من خلال اتفاق مع الحكومة هناك، لكنها ومن خلال جهلها بلبنان وانفرادها بالقرار أوقعت نفسها في هذا الخطأ ودفعت الثمن باهظا. وحذر أبو رافع من انسحاب إسرائيلي آخر مهرول من الأراضي العربية المحتلة (الضفة الغربية وهضبة الجولان السورية). وقال إن الانسحاب من جنوب لبنان أفاد حزب الله وأدى إلى بناء قاعدة إيرانية على الحدود الإسرائيلية. والانسحاب من قطاع غزة أفاد حماس وأقام قاعدة إيرانية على الحدود الإسرائيلية الجنوبية. وتساءل بشكل استنكاري: «هل بعد هذا تنوون الانسحاب من مناطق أخرى؟».

July 1st, 2010, 4:18 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie:

I will try and be brief. The average reader on S.C. will probably not have the deep knowledge required to answer your hand picked points about Islam satisfactorily, this will require a learned moderate scholar.

The problem I personally have: why is everyone attacking Islam when all this sort of things happen outside Islamic life. Lets face it, every single father I know in Canada (non-muslim) has allowed his daughter to date boys, get picked up at the house, they go out and screw around. This is the norm, correct? Many give them the whole basement to sleep over. When I ask the fathers how can they let this happen, being a new father to baby girls recently myself, all my elder friends respond: better under my watchful eye. Elie, I am not talking about one off, these are my close friends, and associates. 25 years ago, now that I think about it, I myself have slept over with girls while their parents were in the other room. And? What? The next day I got up and left. I did not know better then and that is normal in the west.

Elie, it is very primitive for a guy of your experience and knowledge to bring up the tiring 4 wives issue. 1% of Muslims have more than 1 wife, majority being in KSA (Wahabbis). Compare that to a majority of non-muslims having affairs. In my circle alone, I would say 60% have cheated and brag about it. Another 20% won’t admit it. So how is that different, please explain this to me in plain english. I think at least with Marriage, under certain circumstances, there cerain protections and rules.

Lastly, you can not quote from the Quran or Ahadith because the fallacy of this is you omit the context of the story where it applies. Anyone who does that, with any religion, is in my opinion trying very hard to distort the truth. What is your agenda?

Your other quotations such obeying the ruler, etc…are also same in Christianity (Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority), so again, what is your point, and why are you singling out Islam…perhaps that is why Majed is taking it personal.

Lastly, Elie, your ranting about muslim women treated as sex objects, viewing themselvers as lesser being…please I ask you to stop the distortion. Women are degraded much more in the West. All one has to do is open up the walmart or channel flyer and see the skeleton-like naked woman. How about MTV music videos with all male rappers sitting on a leather couch wearing a big gold cross with 2 girls on each side. But of course, this is only about Syria and Islamphobia.

July 1st, 2010, 6:51 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Husam,

You asked good questions to Elie. I hope you don’t mind if I interject.

IMHO, both sharia law and Arab despotism BOTH inhibit growth in the Middle East.

There is nothing wrong with religion or Islam. You just have to let people decide how they want to live. You can’t force people to live the way you want them to. If you want to live like a devout Muslim, then do what the orthodox Christians and Jews do, and surround yourself in these circles. That’s all. Don’t make the government force you to live like this. It won’t work.

July 1st, 2010, 8:00 pm

 

almasri said:

Majed @52,

I agree with Norman’s observation in 53 about not asking explicit questions regarding one’s personal life which may entail submitting a sort of voluntary confession about possible sins committed by that person in order to prove hypothetical hypocrisies. We do understand , however, Allah is full of Mercy and oft forgiving.

We must be straight to the point when we formulate our argument against obvious allegations an ignorant person may make about our faith. As in this case the person’s sources of ‘knowledge’ (or more precisely lack thereof) are mainly orientalists who we all know are outdated tools of 19th century colonialism that have been overused in attacking Islam.

The point that the route you’ve taken failed to prove was justifying our demand for laws protecting chaste practices in a society based on our values in light of an attack by a person alleging unequal treatment of the sexes in Islam and specifically treating women as sex objects notwithstanding the whole other tirade of half truths and outright lies. But this was the crux of his attack.

The point which the person blinded by his prejudices missed was Islam demands the practice of chastity that I referred to in comment 41 from both sexes as evidenced by the punishment imposed in the Holy Qur’an on both sinners when (Allah forbid) they fall into the sin,

http://www.alnsrah.com/vb/alnsraht532.html

Please note the section which advises against requiring such confessions not to be forced implying applying discretion in the matter as to even denying the actual occurrence – as Norman so quickly observed. Why it is so? There are many interpretations. The most convincing is the saying to the nearest meaning: “a believer does not commit the sin while he or she is in a state of belief (or in full control of his or her faculties.).” The implication here is that his or her rational faculties are taken away from him or her while in the state sinning.

Therefore, the perpetrator of such allegations against the faith can continue to live in his delusion imagining unequal treatment of the sexes based on half truth and deficient ‘knowledge’, and we should not worry the least about his intentions or past life. We ask Allah however to open his heart to the Truth and guide him away from his errors. He, nevertheless, does have the clear advantage over us, born Muslims, of a promise to a clean slate bill of health by completely purging his past life sins as a newly born when and if he submits to the Truth.

July 1st, 2010, 8:39 pm

 

Norman said:

AlMasri,

I want to ask you for some information about Islam , It seems to me that the Quran is the word of GOD and everything is the word of man , so if we can think of the Quran as the constitution that all laws should not contradict otherwise these laws should match the time and reflect the desire of the people and that is why i mentioned previously that for any change to happen in Syria about the Sharia law is if the people of Syria demand it and to say that Syria is a dictatorship and should shove civil status law on the people of Syria does not know that the Syrian government reflect the opinion of the Syrian people not through election every 4 years but on a continuous bases , that remind me with how naive Colin Powell was when he expected Syria to support the invasion of Iraq , because Syria is a dictatorship ,

Al masri ,by the way christian Arabs are as conservative as Muslims in regards to Chasity and that is a Mideast pattern , not Christian or Muslim ,

AP , I actually agree with you that people should live as they want , if they want to be religous conservative then be it but do not impose your way on others ,

July 1st, 2010, 9:12 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Islam is not the problem and never was

Norman,

Thanks. I like the American system as it pertains to religion.

Be as religious or as secular or as “hedonist” as you want; as long as it DOESN’T HURT ANYONE. If you don’t want your kids around kids with pins in their tongues, put them in private schools. That’s what I did for my kids…

July 1st, 2010, 9:37 pm

 

Husam said:

Norman, Elie (and A.P):

Sharia law doesn’t not apply to non-muslims. So no one is imposing anything; where is the beef?

July 1st, 2010, 9:40 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,

I did not understand the question you wanted to ask. But basically, what you said in 63 is correct.

Dictators (more precisely the dictators who have learnt the art of survival) operate within certain limits that they know are safe to operate within. Social reforms are not the arenas of a government which operates based on decrees from the top, particularly in a diverse society.

I have no doubt Christian, Muslim and Jewish Arabs share more traits in common than otherwise. Take zionism away and the ME will turn into an earthly paradise that the whole world will envy. The person who we differ with even though Christian by name is arguing in opposition to both points of view – he wants secularism imposed from the top even at the expense of others’ personal beliefs and freedoms.

You’re well aware Muslims do not impose their sharia laws upon non-Muslims. This is why you always end up with two or more sets of legal codes in most ME States. This is the price one has to pay for diversity and accepting others. It has been going on for few hundred years and we always revisit the ‘millet’ system which the colonialist deprived us of because of their greed, with no real understanding of the actual needs of our societies and thinking they were doing us a favour.

History does have a powerful inertia playing to its advantage.

July 1st, 2010, 9:57 pm

 

Norman said:

Al Masri ,Husam ,

When my grandfather died our house in Hama was sold and divided between his descendants , the men shares were double the women , Isn’t that Sharia law , needless to we are christian and that applied to us , i think in Syria the only sharia law that does not apply to non Muslims is the marriage and divorce law ,

The West always makes a big deal about the Ability of Muslims to marry more than one wife but if we look at the restriction that are there to decrease that we can see that it should be very rare and probably is advised in some cases instead of divorce ,

July 1st, 2010, 10:24 pm

 

Norman said:

AP,
wise words , keep them coming ,I wanted my kids to go to public schools so they would be exposed to all kind of Americans , so i moved to a good school district ,

July 1st, 2010, 10:30 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,

I really do not know why you had to divide an inheritance based on sharia as you said. Could it be there were no other laws at the time dealing with inheritance except those for Muslims? We should find out what the practise was during Ottoman. My guess would be the bishop or church or whatever Christian local official there is would have the final say.

A will is also enforceable under sharia law. If there was no local Christian authority that would be the most appropriate thing to do. Of course, people did not always make wills…

Multiple wives was an old age custom in the ME. We know many of the Jewish and earlier Prophets as well as high status individuals often had lot more than four wives. Islam legalized it based on a social need and is still valid up till today for those who can afford it and fulfill its conditions. I do not understand the Jewish law in this regard. Would Jewish men be allowed multiple wives (at least theoretically) based on the practice of their Prophets?

July 1st, 2010, 10:38 pm

 

Norman said:

Al masri ,

my case was in the early 1980 , i do not know if there are two laws now and what will happen if the parties disagreed on what kind of law to follow ,
I do not believe that church interfere in anything more than marriage and divorce , they do not want to get involved , they leave to civil law ,

July 1st, 2010, 11:03 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,

You may want to look at how it used to be under ‘millet’. This wiki article is quite extensive and suggests some ME countries (including Israel, Syria and Egypt) still adopt some form of it up to current days – again the force of historical inertia at play. However, if there is no Christian authority in a certain country or such authority is inactive (passive), administring the system is quite a challenge to be left to governmnet officials. Note also that since its introduction few hundred years ago, it went through different stages of development,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet_(Ottoman_Empire)

Considering the spread of ‘fundamentalism’ in the region, minorities were much better off under the system. I am not suggesting there should be a reintroduction of ‘zhimmism’ as the case was couple hundred years ago.

July 2nd, 2010, 12:25 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To HUSAM,
Re. 60

– The objection to a Personal status law based on Shari’a is not limited to the four wives issue alone. Far from it. The objection is against the whole corpus of rules that together combine to make a seventh century Arabian Desert culture unsuitable for the modern age.

The objection is against the state of mind Shari’a rules creates; particularly, denigration of women and violation of their human rights. It is in the Misyar marriage contract, it is in the Mut’a marriage contract (for Shii’tes), it is in the suckling the grown man fatwa, it is in the Hisba law that encourages Islamists’ to sue their liberal minded enemies to force them to divorce their wives, it is in attitudes against women over the ages developed by Ahadith like “people who entrust the management of their affairs to a woman will fail”, that “most of those in hell are women”, that “women’s lack of intelligence is the reason a woman’s testimony in an Islamic court of law is equal to half that of the testimony of the Muslim male”, that the “reason women are prohibited from praying and fasting during menstruation is due to their being deficient in religious belief”. From this last reference follows the common saying today that “women are light on brains and religion”.

– You say: “you can not quote from the Quran or Ahadith because the fallacy of this is you omit the context of the story where it applies”.

May I ask you to please enlighten us with the meaning of the references quoted in my (50) above under whatever context, absolutely, that you might find appropriate. To me, all those references are clear irrespective of context.

Please explain the contradiction between Shari’a rules on women and the Prophet’s treatment of Khadija. Which story is the true one? Is it the Prophet’s example with Khadija or those attributions that were put to His mouth? You and your experts might decide that the attributions are unsafe. Or, you might decide that the accounts of the Prophet’s treatment of Khadija are false. In either case, I should hope that you would have the courage to either call for the removal of the offensive Ahadith or declare that the accounts of Khadija’s marriage to the Prophet are dubious. You should be eager to remove such contradictions!

In June 2006, Turkey formed a committee of thirty-five religious scholars to study the removal of all Ahadith attributed to the Prophet that encourage violence against women. Turkey, yet again, is leading the way in Shari’a reform. Meanwhile, sadly, Arab clerics are busy issuing one shameful fatwa after another to the cheers of their mindless Islamist followers.

– You say: Your other quotations such obeying the ruler, etc…are also same in Christianity (Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority), so again, what is your point, and why are you singling out Islam”

Christianity was divorced from the state centuries ago. Islam continues to be the way of life today. Arab kings and presidents alike continue on every turn to have their palace ulama propagate that obedience to Waliy Al-Amr is a form of piety. Had Christianity not been separated from the state, Western civilization could still be in the sixteenth century. May I suggest that you look at “Arab Democracy is Fantasy” in SC :http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5517

– You say: “your ranting about muslim women treated as sex objects, viewing themselvers as lesser being… Women are degraded much more in the West.”

Western women have the freedom to choose any way of life they wish. Regardless of what the Western woman does or does not do Western laws protect her human rights; full rights, that is; not half the rights of Western men.

To AP,

You are so correct: “You just have to let people decide how they want to live. You can’t force people to live the way you want them to”.

Elie

July 2nd, 2010, 6:08 am

 

jad said:

بعد 64 عاما من الاستقلال.. متى يحين موعد استقلال النساء السوريات؟!
بسام القاضي

فيما تحتفل سورية، رجالا ونساء، بالذكرى الرابعة والستين لعيد الجلاء، ما تزال النساء السوريات اللواتي كن، وما زلن شريكات في كافة أوجه الحياة والنضال، منقوصات المواطنة في ثقافة ذكورية تسيطر على الحكومة السورية التي تؤكد رفضها اليومي لتأمين حقوق المواطنة لهن.

فحق الحياة للمرأة السورية اليوم، في 2010، منتهك بأشد أنواع الانتهاك صراحة: منح الذكور حق قتل النساء مع مكافأة بإعفاء (عمليا) من العقوبة إذا لم يعجبهم سلوكهن وادعوا أنهم قتلوهن “بدافع شريف”! وبحماية صريحة وفظة من المادتين 548 (المرسوم 37 لعام 2009)، والمادة 192 من قانون العقوبات السوري!

وما يزال حقها الأساسي بمنح جنسيتها لأطفالها منتهك كليا، إذ يحرم أبناء المرأة السورية المتزوجة من غير السوري من جنسية أمهاتهن بذرائع وهمية مثل “قرارات الجامعة العربية” أو “العادات والتقاليد” أو “حماية الوطن”! كما لو كن النساء السوريات هن عميلات ضد الوطن بالضرورة! رغم أن التاريخ أثبت أن جميع العملاء ضد الوطن كانوا “ذكورا”!

وما تزال المرأة السورية مجرد خادمة للرجل، ومنجبة لأطفاله، إذ يحق له أن يتزوج عليها مرة تلو مرة لأي سبب بما في ذلك أنها “لا تكفيه” جنسيا! ويحق له أن يطلقها كيفما شاء راميا إياها في الشارع مستوليا، بقوة القانون، على كافة الممتلكات التي حصلاها معا! ويحق له أن “يؤدبها” لأنها “قاصر” بالضرورة!

وما تزال أيضا محرومة من أي علاقة مع أبنائها إلا علاقة “المأجورة”! فلا علاقة لها، قانونيا، بأبنائها إلا كمنجبة ومرضعة ومربية! فيما لا يحق لها الإشراف ولا التصرف بأي جانب يخص أطفالها! ويستولي أي ذكر في العائلة، حتى العم والجد.. على هذا الحق لأن المرأة السورية، في نظر القانون، لا وجود لها كإنسانة ومواطنة!

وليس ذلك سوى غيض من فيض.. إذ إن الحكومة السورية، ومدعي الدين من الذكور الذين يسخرون الأديان لمصالحهم الخاصة وأفكارهم الظلامية، لا يكيفها كل هذا الظلم والاضطهاد للنساء السوريات، فتسارع إلى تشريع جديد تحت مسمى “قانون الأحوال الشخصية” لا يأخذ بالحسبان أي من التطورات الأساسية التي أنجزتها سورية في القرن العشرين! بل إن البعض يعمل بكل طاقته داخل الحكومة وخارجها ليكون القانون الجديد أشد وطأة وظلما وإجحافا بحق المرأة السورية تحت مسميات منافقة مثل “الشريعة”! وهذا القانون يعمل الآن فيه بسرية شبه مطلقة مع حرص شديد على عدم تسرب أي شيء منه للناس، الناس الذين أثبتوا أن سورية ليست مكانا ملائما للموتى، بل فقط للأحياء الذين تنبع أخلاقهم وقيمهم من المواطنة والمساواة، وليس من طول ذقن هذا، أو طول قفطان ذاك!

وللأسف، أن منظمات المجتمع المدني أثبتت أنها لا تقل تشبثا بثقافة العنف والتمييز، وانتهاك حقوق النساء، عن الحكومة السورية والظلاميين! فبينما ينشغل البعض بالثرثرة والمصالح الضيقة في هذا الاحتفال أو ذاك، هذا المؤتمر أو ذاك، دون أن يقدم أي عمل على الأرض، ينشغل الآخرون بالاهتمام بقضايا ليست أصلا مجال اهتمامهم، مستهترين بالنساء السوريات إلى حد أنهم يصدرون البيانات تلو البيانات في هذا الأمر أو ذاك، ويصمتون صمت القبور حين تقتل النساء بذريعة الشرف، وحين تنتهك حقوقها في القرارات المتتالية للحكومة السورية، دون أن يصدر عنهم أي كلمة! وهي المنظمات التي تدعي أنها تعمل في “حقوق الإنسان”، بل بعضها يقول أنه مختص في “حقوق المرأة”!

في الذكرى الرابعة والستين لعيد الجلاء، حان الوقت لكي تتوقف سورية، حكومة وأحزاب ومنظمات، عن الانتهاك الذي تمارسه يوميا ضد النساء السوريات. حان الوقت لكي تلغى كافة القوانين التمييزية. لكي تقر الحكومة عمليا، وعبر القوانين والقرارات والممارسات، أن المرأة السورية هي مواطنة على قدم المساواة مع الرجل. وكل تمييز بينهما على أساس الجنس (امرأة- رجل) هو انتهاك صريح لحقوق المواطنة، وحقوق الإنسان، وأبسط مبادئ العدالة مهما كان اسمها، دينيا أو لا ديني.

المرأة السورية هي شريكة على قدم المساواة في الحياة الواقعية. وكثيرا ما تكون مسؤولياتها ودورها أكبر من مسؤوليات ودور الرجل. وبالتالي فإن أي مبرر للاستمرار بهذا الانتهاك هو مبرر منافق لا هدف له سوى تثبيت السلطة الذكورية التي لا تنتمي أصلا إلى المستوى الحضاري من حياة الإنسان!

بسام القاضي، افتتاحية نساء سورية، 17/4/2010، (بعد 64 عاما من الاستقلال.. متى يحين موعد استقلال النساء السوريات؟!)
خاص: نساء سورية

English version:
http://nesasy.org/content/view/9063/381/

July 2nd, 2010, 12:06 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Norman,
Back to your first question, ‘Niqab’, which is a very foreign trend to the tolerant Syrian society, it is a backward creation of the radical Wahabis, here is an example of how some Syrians think about the subject:

نعم لتوجه وزارة التربية بإخراج “العاريات” من التدريس
بسام القاضي
2010-06-08
منذ سنوات بدأ غزو الظلاميين/ات إلى المجتمع السوري تحت تأثيرات مختلفة، ليس بينها إطلاقا لا تاريخ ولا ثقافة سورية التي كانت دائما بعيدة عن التطرف، خاصة أشكاله التي تلغي الإنسان كليا وتحوله إلى عبدا لتصورات مريضة بكل معنى الكلمة.

ووصل الغزو فعليا إلى مواقع مهمة، منها وزارة التربية حيث دخلت العاريات المسميات بـ”المنقبات” (راجع/ي الافتتاحية..) ليبثثن أفكارهن ومظهرهن المتطرف أمام الطلاب والطالبات بأعمار مختلفة، خاصة الصغار منهم! وحولت هؤلاء الدروس إلى حصص ظلامية بمجرد وجودهن “منقبات”! فسواء خلعن النقاب حين يدخلن المدارس (كما تفعل بعضهن)، أو أبقينهن داخلها، هن يروجن الفكر الظلامي المستورد إلى سورية والقائم على إلغاء الإنسان لصالح استعباده وإلغاء شخصية وهويته!

بل إن هذا الغزو بات مرئيا بوضوح حتى في قطاع التعليم العالي، فليسوا قلة من “دكاترة” الجامعة من يروجون على مرأى العين ومسمع الأذن أفكارا مريضة! بل إن بعضهم امتلك من الوقاحة ما يكفي لكي يروج أمام طلابه أن شيئا لن يحدث في سورية ما لم “يمر من تحت موافقتهم” كما لو كانوا هم الدولة! أو كانوا دولة داخل الدولة! فيما يدعون صراحة إلى “إخراج” من لا تعجبه سلطتهم القروسطية من سورية!

في مواجهة ذلك استيقظت أخيرا وزارة التربية في سورية لتقوم بنقل جميع المنقبات إلى خارج ملاك وزارة التربية. هذا الإجراء تسبب ببعض ردود الفعل “خارج سورية” من قبل من يريد أن يستغل كل شيء لمصلحة آرائه المسبقة، بغض النظر عن طبيعة الإجراء وأهدافه.

إننا في مرصد نساء سورية إذ ندعم بشدة هذا التوجه من وزارة التربية، نؤكد على ضرورة إخراج التطرف من كافة أوجه الحياة العامة، بما في ذلك الجامعات التي يقوم بعض دكاترتها على إجبار الطلاب على مواضيع معينة في رسائل تخرجهم، أو على تجنب مواضيع أخرى تحت طائلة الرسوب ورفض المشروع! وبما في ذلك أيضا بعض الإذاعات التي ادعت أنها “نضالية” وتحولت إلى مرتع للأصولية والتطرف تبثه كل يوم.. كما نؤكد على أن يكون هذا التوجه علنيا وواضحا، فهو صحيح ويساهم جديا في إنقاذ سورية من التطرف الأصولي الذي يأتيها من أطراف وجهات مختلفة خارج سورية يجد في الأزمات التي تعيشها مرتعا خصبا له!

ومن جهة أخرى، يؤكد مرصد نساء سورية أن “متاجرة” البعض بهذا الموضوع تحت اسم “الدين”، خاصة “خارج” سورية، هي متاجرة رخيصة ومفضوحة. فتعرية النساء عبر إلغاء وجوهن بـ”النقاب” هو سلوك ذكوري محض لا علاقة له بإسلام ولا بمسيحية ولا بأية عقيدة سامية. كما أنه ليس “حرية شخصية” بأي معنى من المعاني. ومحاولة البعض البائسة لجعله “دينيا” عبر تفسيرات غريبة لا تقل تزويرا وتزييفا وانحطاطا عن تفسيرات مثل “فتوى إرضاع الكبير”، هي محاولات لا تفعل سوى أن تظهر النوايا الحقيقية لهؤلاء الظلاميين في تحويل سورية -التي نجحت دائما ليس في تجنب الانحطاط فحسب، بل أيضا في المضي قدما، وإن ببطء وصعوبة- إلى دويلات طوائف يجدون فيه مكانا ليمارسوا أوهامهم بخلافة الله على الأرض.

http://nesasy.org/content/view/9061/110/

الحجاب حق شخصي.. والنقاب عري آخر!
http://nesasy.org/content/view/8088/110/

July 2nd, 2010, 12:18 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

* حقوقيون يؤكدون أن القرار شمل محجبات من غير المنقبات: إقصاء 1200 معلمة سورية بسبب حجابهن “إجراء استفزازي واستئصالي”

July 2nd, 2010, 2:48 pm

 

jad said:

Majed,
Where did you get this news from?

July 2nd, 2010, 2:57 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Jad
Levant news

July 2nd, 2010, 4:45 pm

 

jad said:

Hi Majed,
here is it:

تصريح إعلامي حول إقصاء عدد هائل من المدرسات على خلفية خيارهن
إقصاء 1200 معلمة منقبة ومحجبة عن وزارة التربية

انتقد الناطق الإعلامي باسم اللجنة السورية لحقوق الإنسان بشدة إقصاء عدد هائل من المدرسات من وظائفهن بسبب خيارهن والتزامهن بوضع النقاب.

وقال الناطق إن هذا الإجراء استفزازي واستئصالي ويتعارض مع نصوص الدستور السوري التي تحترم خيار الفرد وتلتزم الدفاع عنه وعن حريته. ومن الواضح أن السلطة الحاكمة لم تلتزم تنفيذ بنود الدستور السوري ولم تقم بالحوار مع عناصر المجتمع السوري الثقافية والدينية بل استبدلته بالإقصاء للبعض والتعسف في النقل من الوظائف وسن قوانين استئصالية ضد مكونات أصيلة في المجتمع والثقافة والدين.

وتابع الناطق قوله بأن السلطة في سورية وضعت نفسها في نفس الخانة التي تقوم بمثل هذه التصرفات المعادية والاستئصالية في الغرب، وبالتزامن معها، بينما كان الأحرى بالسلطة أن تقوم بعملية حوار مع المدرسات إذا وجدت أن في الأمر ما يؤثر على العملية التعليمية للوصول إلى الأصلح.

واستغرب الناطق أن تقوم السلطة بنقل بعض المدرسات المنقبات إلى وظائف غير مناسبة، كما حصل في بعض الحالات بنقلهن إلى مصنع للخمور مما يعني أن الأمر وصل بهذه السلطة إلى غاية التردي والاستهزاء. وأردف الناطق بأن السلطة تعللت بالنقاب بينما قامت بإقصاء عدد كبير من المحجبات غير المنقبات. وقال الناطق: هذا الإجراء يفند مزاعم السلطة بأنها لا تضيق على التنوع الثقافي والفكري والديني في سورية.

وتأسف الناطق من وقوف بعض الجهات التي تدعي الدفاع عن المرأة موقف الشامت والكائد وقال: هذا يدل على ضحالة ثقافية وحضارية وإنسانية وتعصب واستئصال ضد المغاير لرأيهم.

وطالب الناطق الإعلامي باسم اللجنة السورية لحقوق الإنسان في ختام تصريحه وزير التربية والجهات التي تقف وراء هذا القرار الجائر وغير الدستوري التراجع عنه وإجراء حوار مع المدرسات لما فيه مصلحة التعليم وبما لا يضر بمصلحة هؤلاء المدرسات.

اللجنة السورية لحقوق الإنسان
2/7/2010

http://www.shrc.org/data/aspx/d10/4180.aspx

July 2nd, 2010, 5:12 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Majed,
This news is a bit fishy and I wont take it seriously until I read something more credible from another trustworthy source.
These are my reasons to dismiss this announcement an call them BS:
1- I personally don’t trust the people behind the Syrian Human Rights Committee not even the people behind Levant news, they are not clear about what they want and they play on the religion/sectarian tune most of the times.
2- The way they wrote this announcement is full of vague and hidden messages to provoke people from the religion point of view especially when they include the veiled women to show that the move wasn’t toward the Niqab but also toward our average Syrian Muslim women which doesn’t make any sense.
3- They also did another miserable and cheap try to provoke Syrian Muslims when they proclaim that the Niqab’s wearing women were sent to work in an alcoholic drink’s factory.
It reminded me of the news they spread claiming that officers in Sednaya prison insulted the Holy Qur’an which didn’t fly too high and what appeared to be a far-fetched news.
4- they wrote this:
إجراء حوار مع المدرسات لما فيه مصلحة التعليم وبما لا يضر بمصلحة هؤلاء المدرسات
what about our Syrian students? Don’t we need to protect them as a society for their own better future? Why do we need to expose them to such radical unauthentic figures and unhealthy trend and brainwash them to become a definite failure future projects?

This news is nothing but a bad propaganda for personal gains and to support the radicals in our society, it has nothing to do with freedom or human rights whatsoever.

July 2nd, 2010, 5:54 pm

 

almasri said:

Even if all the dissmissed teachers were wearing the niqab, the decision by the minister is still illegal.

July 2nd, 2010, 7:51 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Is there a connection between this and the interview with Abdulrahman Al Cookie at Al Jazeera,that ended up with his imprisonment.

BTW
Mesyar marriage is not mentioned in Quraan, and up till now I have not heared that the prophet mentioned it it is like someone from Syria who came to USA and marry american girl when he wants to go back to Syria his wife refuse to go back with him and they end up divorcing, however his wife has full rights of any other wife,and the marriage is regular marriage,God said Muhassanaten GHayr Musafehaten, which translate marriage bound by contract,aknowledged publicly and it is not to commit adultary.
therefore this marriage is normal ,the choice is for the woman to end it,there is nothing denegrating to the woman.and those who criicise it ,they only want to distort Islam,and they make no sense.
Muta’a Marriage is forbidden in Islam.

July 2nd, 2010, 9:56 pm

 

Norman said:

Majed ,

Do you thing that some of the problems are that religious leaders issue Fatwas which have no basses in the Koran and can give a bad name to Islam when nobody contradict them like the Mataa and Misyar marriages and breast feeding an adult and others , ?

July 2nd, 2010, 11:24 pm

 

jad said:

نساء سورية
2010-07-02
لم يكن مفاجئا أن يصمت الكثيرون من مؤيدي إلغاء إنسانية المرأة عبر جعلها عورة وخطيئة وإثما عن الانتهاكات اليومية التي تجري باسم الدين والعادات والخصوصية.. وهم الذين صمتوا عن قتل نحو 200 امرأة سنويا بذريعة الشرف وبدعم من القانون السوري والعديد من رجال الدين! وصمتوا عن العديد من الشركات السورية الجديدة (بينها كل المصارف “الإسلامية”، التي ترفض توظيف أي امرأة غير “ملتزمة” بالحجاب!)! وصمتوا عن مشروع أسود طالباني كاد أن يودي بسورية تحت مسمى “مشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية”! بل، وطبعا، صمتوا عن الانتهاكات التي تجري داخل منظماتهم نفسها ضد النساء!

لكن المفاجأة هي أن تستيقظ إحدى هذه المنظمات الآن لتقف ضد قرار إقصاء التطرف عن مدارسنا، مدعية أن هذا هو “انتهاك لحقوق الإنسان”، وقائلة “وتأسف الناطق (الرسمي باسم اللجنة السورية لحقوق الإنسان) من وقوف بعض الجهات التي تدعي الدفاع عن المرأة موقف الشامت والكائد، وقال: هذا يدل على ضحالة ثقافية وحضارية وإنسانية وتعصب واستئصال ضد المغاير لرأيهم”.

ومن الواضح أن هذا “التصريح” يقصد به “مرصد نساء سورية”، الجهة الوحيدة التي عبرت علنا عن دعمها لهذا القرار.

من النافل الرد على مستوى الكلمات المستخدمة في تلك الإشارة. وهي تعبر فعلا عن جوهر تفكير المنظمة القائم أصلا على هذه التوصيفات (الشماتة والكيد..) فقد برهنت هذه اللجنة وغيرها أن علاقتها بحقوق الإنسان تنحصر فقط في كون هذه الحقوق شعار تتخذه من أجل محاربة النظام السوري. وهذه “الحرب” لا تعنينا بشيء. فالتزاماتنا واضحة وصريحة بحدود مجال عملنا، ومعلنة منذ لحظة إطلاق المرصد. لكن أن يصل استغلال هذا العنوان: حقوق الإنسان، إلى مستوى الصمت الأخرس عن العنف والاضطهاد الذي تتعرض له المرأة السورية بسبب القوانين، والمجتمع، والعديد من رجال الدين المسلمين والمسيحيين، ومن ثم تثب فجأة لتكتشف أن إخراج رمز الوهابية الأصولية من المدارس السورية هو “انتهاك لحقوق الإنسان”، فهذا ما يصح عليه القول: لقد هزلت!

وفي الواقع، فإن هذه المنظمة، وغيرها، مدانة كليا لأنها أثبت أنها تبيع نفسها لشيطان الأصولية ما دامت مصالحها الخاصة قائمة. وتلك المصالح هي بالضبط في استمرار العقلية الذكورية الاستبدادية. وهذه المنظمة، مثل غيرها، لاتعني لها الديمقراطية وحرية الرأي وحقوق الإنسان إلا طريقا قد يكون سالكا نحو “السلطة”، طريقا لا يشمل إلا قبيلة الذكور الأشاوس. لذلك لا تجد نفسها معنية (بدلالة خلو موقعها بالكامل) بأن النساء السوريات يسحقن من قبل الثقافة الذكورية التي تتبناها أيضا بعض هذه المنظمات السورية. ولا يخفى على كل متابع أن هذه الثقافة الذكورية تمارس على نطاق واسع في هذه المنظمات نفسها، وفي محيط أفرادها. فهم يريدون لأنفسهم الحرية والديمقراطية، لكن.. ليس للنساء! فالنساء، في الثقافة الخاصة بهؤلاء، لسن إلى خادمات لأغراض هذه المنظمات وأغراض الثقافة الذكورية المسيطرة عليها. ولا أدل على ذلك من سيل البيانات التي صدرت دعما للنساء اللواتي اعتقلن لأسباب تتعلق بالرأي أو بموقفهن السياسي، بل وتم تحويلهن إلى “رموز نسائية” في الوقت الذي لم يكن في اعتقالهن أي سبب يتعلق بكونهن نساء! وبالتالي فاعتبارهن كذلك هو تمييز صريح ضدهن كما لو أنه من الغريب وغير المقبول أن تعتقل المرأة مثل الرجل، لأنها امرأة! بينما يخرسون خرسا مطلقا على القتل اليومي باسم الشرف، وعلى سرقة الإرث والراتب، وعلى الطلاق التعسفي، وعلى الزاوج المتعدد بلا قيد ولا شرط، وعلى حق المرأة السورية بمنح جنسيتها لأطفالها، وعلى ألف عنف وعنف تعاني منه النساء السوريات!

لقد قلنا سابقا أن النقاب ليس من الدين في شيء، وفقط عندما يعلن رجال الدين هؤلاء أن من حق كل ذكر أن يشتري مايشاء من النساء كأمات وملكات يمين، وأنه يجب على كل امرأة تعمل مع رجل أن ترضعه حتى لو بلغوا عشرات في صالة….. عندها يصير تزييفهم مقبولا بأن النقاب، الشكل الوهابي الأصولي من الحجاب، هو إسلامي.

وتعرف اللجنة كما يعرف كل سوري وسورية أن الطريق هو باتجاه واحد: يمكن لكل امرأة أن تتحجب وتتنقب، لكن الويل والثبور ينتظر أية امرأة محجبة أو منقبة تفكر بأن تخلع الحجاب والنقاب فالرد يبدأ من السجن في المنزل والضرب والإهانة والحرمان من التعليم والعمل.. ويمكن أن يصل إلى القتل! وهذا، بالطبع، ليس انتهاكا لحقوق الإنسان لدى المنظمة تلك! فهذا لا يخدمهم مرتين: مرة لا يخدمهم في تسخير حقوق الإنسان من أجل صراع سياسي، ومرة لا يخدمهم لأنه يهدد سلطتهم الذكورية نفسها بالخطر. وهذا ما يؤكد بالمطلق، وهو ما يعرفه “العاملون” في “حقوق الإنسان” جميعا، أنه لاحرية شخصية في هذا الأمر. كما أنه من الغريب أن تتنطح مثل هذه المنظمة لتتحدث عن الحرية الشخصية في ارتداء النقاب في أماكن العمل، وهي التي تدربت وتعلمت على أيدي خبراء أوروبيين، وتعرف جيدا أنه لا يمكن لأي امرأة عاملة في أي مكان في أوروبا أن تذهب إلى عملها بما تشاء من لباس! وادعاء البعض أن القرار لم يطل “العاريات” اللواتي يكشفن أجسادهن في المدارس السورية هو ادعاء باطل كليا. فالمدارس السورية لا تضم أبدا نساء من هذا النوع. لكن هؤلاء يطلقون هذه الأوصاف على كل امرأة لا ترتدي الحجاب، أو ترتدي “كم قصير” في الصيف، أو تنورة (حتى إذا ارتدت الحجاب)!….. ومع ذلك، سبق أن قلنا بوضوح أن المنقبات والعاريات وجهان لعملة واحدة. ولا يحتاج الأمر إلى ذكاء لمعرفة أن هذا يعني أننا ضد الحالتين في العمل. لكن، بالتأكيد، ليس ذلك “العري” الذي يقصده الأصوليون والمتطرفون.

بكل وضوح نعيد القول أن النقاب إلغاء لشخصية الإنسان ولا يقع إطلاقا ضمن حريته الشخصية عندما يمارسه في العمل. أيا كان هذا العمل. فالعمل يعني بالضرورة التواصل الإجباري مع الآخرين، ولا تواصل بين الناس دون وجه. أما أن ترتدي النقاب في البيت، أو في الشارع، فهذا شأنها سواء كانت مجبرة (كما هي في الواقع، بإجبار مباشر أو غير مباشر)، أو كانت غير مجبرة. أما أن تدخل إلى أي مكان عمل، فهذا ليس من حقها. لأنه من حقي أن أرى وجه من أتعامل معه مهما كانت قناعاته الخاصة.

كذلك، فإن تجاهل أن النقاب هو عنف صريح ضد المرأة، وهو تطرف أصولي، ولا يمكن فصله إطلاقا عن جملة الأفكار والتصورات المرتبطة به، هو تجاهل النعامة. فالمنقبة هي امرأة تتصرف وفق نظام محدد يتضمن إعلان أنها عورة وأن أي تواصل مع الآخر هو خطيئة. وأغلب المنقبات في سورية يرفضن حتى مجرد الحديث مع اي “ذكر”! فهل هذا يحتاج من “عتاة الثقافة والحضارة والإنسانية”، ومدعي حقوق الإنسان ممن ينتقلون من دورة إلى مؤتمر ومن ورشة عمل إلى…. هل يحتاج إلى شرح؟

ببساطة لم يعد مقبولا من أي منظمة من مدعي حقوق الإنسان دفاعها المستمييت عن التطرف والأصولية باسم هذه الحقوق. فليس من حقوق الإنسان أية دعوة للعنف والتمييز، والنقاب ليس دعوة للعنف والتمييز وحسب، بل هو عنف صريح وواضح وتمييز صارخ يقول أن المرأة هي عورة وإثم وخطيئة ويجب حجبها عن الأعين! وبالتالي فإن هذه المنظمات تقوم، بهذه الطريقة، هي نفسها بخرق حقوق الإنسان. ولا يغير من الأمر شيئا أن هذا يخدم سياستها تجاه “النظام” أم لا. فمن يعمل في حقوق الإنسان يجب أن يضع هذه الحقوق في الصدارة، ولا يسخرها سياسيا بحيث يقبل هذا الحق أو يرفض ذلك، يصمت عن هذا ويصرخ تجاه ذاك.. حسب “الجهة” التي يصدر عنها.

والأمر نفسه ينطبق على المنظمات التي تقول أنها تعمل في مجال “حقوق المرأة” في سورية، فإن أيا منها لم تصدر بيانا واحدا أو تكتب مقالة واحدة توضح فيها رأيها من هذا الموضوع! فكأنها، مثل تلك، تخجل من أن تدعم توجها ما لأنه يصدر عن الحكومة؟! أو ربما هي أيضا “تتقي” غضب الأصوليين المتطرفين فتآثر الصمت، مثلما فعلت في مرات سابقة، بانتظار “انكشاف الغيم”!

إن المزاودة من قبل منظمات حقوق الإنسان في هذه الأمور باتت مفوضحة وعلنية. مثلما هي مفضوحة وسخيفة تلك الردود الطائفية القذرة التي يقولها البعض تحت الطاولة ردا على رأينا العلني. فقد أثبتت هذه المنظمات عبر السنوات الماضية أن رؤيتها تنحصر في “الصراع على السلطة” (إذا صحت تسميته بالصراع!). وأثبتت أنه ليس في معاييرها لحقوق الإنسان حقوق المرأة السورية. ومن المفيد في هذا الإطار تأكيد أن “الطائفية” هي أخصب الأراضي للعنف والتمييز ضد المرأة، أيا كانت أسماء الطوائف المعنية، وايا كانت اعتباراتها. وهذا ما يمكن للجميع أن يراه بنظرة واحدة في محيطنا.

مرصد نساء سورية يعيد تأكيد أنه يدافع عن كل فكرة وتصور وسلوك يخدم التخلص من العنف والتمييز بغض النظر عن مصدره. فإذا صدر عن الحكومة سنكون معه مثلما كنا ضد الحكومة في الكثير من التصرفات والقرارات التي تنتهك حق النساء السوريات. المعيار الوحيد هو هدفنا الواضح والصريح بالعمل من أجل مجتمع خال من العنف والتمييز، وليس تسخير هذا العمل من أجل خدمة أهداف وغايات أخرى مثلما يفعل البعض.

إذا، نعم: نحن ضد النقاب بكل صراحة ووضوح. وهو تمييز صارخ ضد النساء حتى لو خرجت بعض النساء لتدافع عنه. فهو عنف وتطرف موجه بحد ذاته ضد المرأة المنقبة نفسها أولا، وضد المجتمع ثانيا. ونحن مع قرار وزارة التربية ذاك، ومع تعميم هذا القرار على كافة أماكن العمل. وكذلك مع قرارات صارمة ضد الكادر التعليمي في التعليم العالي التي تروج العنف والتمييز والطائفية بين الطلاب، وتجبر الطلاب والطالبات على البحث في مواضيع محددة وتجاهل مواضيع أخرى لا تلائم تصوراتهم الظلامية تحت طائلة العقوبة التي تعني أن الطالب/ة قد لا ينجح في مادة الدكتور المعني لأعوام!

والمرأة السورية ليست بحاجة لمثل تلك الثرثرات السخيفة التي تحاول تسخير قضيتها لغايات أخرى. بل هي بحاجة ماسة لمن يخجل على نفسه فيتوقف عن تأييد العنف “المشيخي” و”الإفتائي” ضد المرأة الذي بات مرضا حقيقيا يهدد كل شيء في هذا البلد.

*- لسنا معنيين بأن يقتصر عمل هذه المنظمات على مجالات بعينها، فهذا شأنها. لكننا نقترح عليها أن تغير أسماءها من “حقوق الإنسان” إلى المجال الخاص الذي تعمل به. لأن حقوق الإنسان تشمل كافة الحقوق وليس فقط حقوق المعتقلين.
وحين تريد هذه المنظمات أن تصمت على كل الانتهاكات التي تجري للنساء السوريات، ليس فقط من قبل الحكومة السورية ولكن أيضا من قبل رجال الدين والمجتمع والقوانين والأحزاب (موالية ومعارضة) والناشطين ومنظمات حقوق الإنسان نفسها، فالأولى فيها أن تصمت أيضا عن كل ما يخص هذا الموضوع، فلا تتمنطق دفاعا عن العنف الممارس ضد النساء السوريات باسم الدين.

*- رابط بيان المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان (محجوب في سورية)

http://www.ahewar.org/news/s.news.asp?nid=545683

July 3rd, 2010, 12:05 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
Suckling of adult no one heared the prophet say it not even his other wives only Aaisha, who was a child and it is quite possible she misunderstood the prophet since she was a child,it is not accepted by Musslems,and it contradicts all the other teaching of Islam.
Aaisha made mistakes,proven,such as battle of Camel where 10,000 muslems died,she used to quarrle with the prophet,she was jealous person,and I do not think she told the prophet the truth when she told him that the food cooked by other wife caused bad odor from his mouth.these are all documented things,and because she was a child when she supposedly heared that statement,not all Ahadiths she mentioned should be taken as islamic.there is great doubt about this Hadith.
I do think that the people who interpret Quraan took from each other,however Bukhari was not arabic,he learned arabic well but being not arabic put some limitations on his ability ,Turmuzi was not arabic either,and that left us with some interpretations that now ,that we studied arabic well,we have to look at it again,some non Arabs were allowed to interpret Quran because of political reasons,in a unacceptable way, such as Shiite and Alawi and Druze,not to mention Qaramita and Assassins etc.

There are people who says those who interpeted Quraan are men so it came biased againsr women.
Also Islam did not regulat divorce finacial split,he left it to the society, I do not believe a woman lived with a man 30-40 years and at divorce she get nothing,I do not think it is Islamic which is a compationate religion.

July 3rd, 2010, 1:53 am

 

almasri said:

Majed,

You need to give Bukhari from among all other compilers his proper dues. Being non-Arab cannot be considered as an impediment for his and other compilers abilities to fullfil the task they took upon themselves. Do not forget Abu Hanifah was also non-Arab.

The body of hadith grew exponentially the first two hundred years after the death of the Prophet until the number of alleged ahadith surpassed a million or two. Bukhari sifted through it and reduced it to few thousands that were considered authentic. He further developed the scietific system for classifying the strength of the authenticity of the hadith which is very essential to any proper study of this branch and even to the ability of making proper fatwas. He exerted monumental efforts and travelled the length and breadth of Muslim lands in search of authenticity.

The recent so-called fatwa of adult suckling is wrong as you pointed out. Here’s a study based on reason and ‘trusted’ sources proving the point,

http://islamtoday.net/bohooth/artshow-86-134624.htm

July 3rd, 2010, 2:26 am

 

Norman said:

Majid, Al Masri,

you said , :
The recent so-called fatwa of adult suckling is wrong as you pointed out. Here’s a study based on reason and ‘trusted’ sources proving the point,

Who who is there and what is the mechanism in Islam to strike such a Fatwa that make the West laugh at us ,

Jad , The more people write and express their views the more pressure is there to change , I noticed that Islamic banks have a dress code that prevent non Muslim from employment ,
Is that discrimination in employment and majid and Al Masri , should that be permitted ?,

doesnt that divide the people and create hatreds, Should other banks deny Muslim or other minorities employment ,

for Syria to advance it should have what is there in the US ,anti discrimination laws in employment and housing , that is the only way to mix the people , and prevent fear from each other ,

July 3rd, 2010, 8:17 am

 

Norman said:

It looks as my friends beat me to starting a cancer center in Syria ,I am glad , what is good for Syria is good for everybody ,

http://www.4shared.com/video/u7XWhCc9/Title_01.html

July 3rd, 2010, 9:09 am

 

Mika Angel-0 said:

From where I sit, there is no shift in the balance of power in the Middle East unless China would want to flex its economic muscle.

With the austerity drive in EU and the war footing ‘euphoria’ in USA, we leave it to the Chinese to be wooed.

Kyrgyz is the starting point.

From where I sit, I see that Syria will be a major power in the commerce of the Middle East.

But then, hey, we are talking about sex and adults.

Good day to you, Doc.

July 3rd, 2010, 9:21 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Jad,

Thanks for the items you posted. They are topical and timely.

As the discussion turned to Bukhari and Tirmithi, I would like to add my two cents here as well.

By the end of the ninth century the Ulama succeeded in enshrining the Sunna as a source of law equal to the Quran; notwithstanding, that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.

Hundreds of thousands, possibly a million, of often contradictory traditions in favor or against every imaginable thing were put to the mouth of the Prophet by thousands of sometimes dubious transmitters. Eventually, a few thousand were accepted as authentic, with six collections elevated to canonical rank by Sunni Muslims.

The most revered collection is that of Al-Bukhari (d. 870). Hitti states that Al-Bukhari selected out of 600,000 traditions he collected from 1,000 sheikhs in the course of 16 years of travel and labor in Persia, Iraq, Syria, Hijaz and Egypt 7,400 traditions. A close second in importance is the collection of Muslim (d. 875) with 7,600 traditions. The other four are those of Ibn Maja (d. 886); with 4,300 traditions, Abi Dawood (d. 888); with 5,300 traditions, Al-Tirmithi (d. 892); with 4,000 traditions, and Al-Nasai (d. 915); with 5,800 traditions.

It remains impossible to know with absolute certainty whether every word and comma in every attribution by every memorizer over more than two centuries was perfectly authentic. What is known, however, is that during that period the generations of Hadith attributers and collectors were witnesses to momentous doctrinal, legal, and political conflicts.

Aside from the great Arab conquests, which established one of the world’s largest empires in a relatively short time, major intra-Muslim conflicts erupted. There were four civil wars, seven state capital cities, and numerous violent political and religious rebellions. These events spilled rivers of blood and divided the nascent Islamic nation into many factions and sects. Under such circumstances, it is fair to say that some attributors, not to mention the collectors, had financial, political, career and other personal interest in the outcome, or they might have simply forgotten what was said or heard.

The first Muslim civil war was from 656 to 661 between Ali and Muawiyah. The second (680-692) was during the reigns of Muawiyha’s four successors against another claimant of the caliphate, Abdullah Bin Al-Zubair, who in 683 was recognized as a rival Caliph to the Umayyads in parts of Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria, until he was killed at Mecca in 692. The third civil war culminated in 750 with the destruction of the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus and the advent of the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad. The fourth civil war (811-813) was between Al-Amin and Al-Mamoun. Additionally, there was the cataclysmic event in 680 that eventually shook the foundations of Islam and caused a permanent split between Shiites and Sunnis to this day: namely, the rebellion and the resulting killing of Imam Hussain Bin Ali at Karbala, Iraq.

The first capital was Medina. Medina remained the capital during the rule of the first three Caliphs (632-656). In 656, Ali, made Kufa, Iraq his base. Muawiyah made Damascus his capital in 661. The Abbasids moved the capital to Iraq, transitionally to Al-Hashimiyyah before Baghdad was built, starting in 762. In 836, Al-Mu’tasim (833-842) moved to Samarra. Al-Mu’tadid (892-902), moved back to Baghdad in 892. Meanwhile, Cordova became in 756 the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate in Spain, rivaling and eventually outlasting the Abbasids in Baghdad.

To uncover the truthfulness of hundreds of thousands of Prophetic sayings and actions, which supposedly had occurred ten generations earlier, must have been a daunting task.

To put this challenge into perspective, the assertion that Al-Bukhari (810-870) examined 600,000 traditions, let alone one million, means that, even if he had spent forty years of his sixty-year life exclusively on the one and only task of compiling the Sahih, working 14-hour a day without taking a vacation, a sick day, or working on anything else he would have had to investigate an average of more than forty traditions every single day, or one tradition every 20 minutes. But, Al-Bukhari wrote 21 books in addition to the Sahih. If we take Professor Hitti’s statement that Al-Bukhari spent 16 years to produce his Sahih, then he would have had to investigate the provenance of an average of 103 traditions every single day; or, a tradition every 8 minutes. In addition to confirming the exact text of every Hadith, Al-Bukhari had to ensure the personal integrity of the thousands of attributers over ten generations. Even if the number of the traditions involved were half as many; or one tenth, the likelihood that every tradition in Sahih Al-Bukhari is authentic requires a great act of faith to accept. Was Al-Bukhari aided by assistants? The answer is that the nature of the task was such that Al-Bukhari alone could have judged the integrity of the attributers.

The volume of traditions attributed to some memorizers is bewildering. Abu-Huraira reputedly transmitted 5,374 Hadiths, Aisha transmitted 2,210, Anas Bin Malik; 2,286, and Abdullah bin Omar; 1,630. Other transmitters with large volumes of attributed traditions include: Ibn Abbas; 1,710, Jabir Bin Abdullah; 1,540, Abu Saiid Al-Khudari; 1170, Ibn Masud; 748, the second Caliph Omar; 537, and the fourth Caliph Ali; 536.

Some of these figures are heavily in dispute. Whether these disputations are true or false, whether the Prophet’s teenager wife Aisha, who when the Prophet died was 18 years of age, possibly 15 years, could have remembered accurately all 2,200 traditions is impossible to tell.

Additionally, the six canonical collectors lived under Abbasid rule during the turbulent decades of the 800s. The Abbasid Hadith transmitters, upon whom the six collectors relied, were in turn reliant on transmitters who had lived for almost one hundred years under the rule the Abbasids’ great nemesis, the Umayyads. Abbasid politics and fervent hatred of the Umayyads could have played a role in choosing or ignoring attributers, as well as altering certain attributions considered pro-Umayyad.

To add to the controversy, Shi’a Muslims disregard the Sunni Hadith collections altogether. They have their own. Shi’a collections differ from the Sunni collections in that they emphasize the Prophet’s naming of Ali as his first successor. Also, while the Sunnis record the sayings and actions of the Prophet, the Twelver Shiites, the great majority of the Shiites today, record the sayings and actions of not only the Prophet but also those of the twelve Imams. Additionally, for a tradition to be credible it must be transmitted through one of the Imams. Shiites do not consider Abu Bakr, Omar, or Uthman, along with the Prophet’s companions who supported these Caliphs as reliable transmitters of traditions.

Elie

July 3rd, 2010, 10:53 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

El Hadge said
that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law.
you keep making mistake after the other.correct yourself please.
Also the first civil war was in 656, the battle of camel, this weakened Ali a lot.

Al Masri;
Abu Hanifa was born and raised in Kufah, Arabic was his first and only language.Bukhari and Tirmizi , arabic was there second language

July 3rd, 2010, 12:30 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,

In order for the Muslims to start making good Fatwas as they used to and stop entertaining the ‘West’, we need to eliminate Israel and zionism. May be when the ‘West’ shows come signs of boredom with the spectacle, they would help us in eliminating this entity instead of continuing to rely on orientalists in order to extend outdated colonialism by selectively pointing out perceived deficiencies.

Al-Azhar, the oldest living university in the world, was hijacked twice in history. It was hijacked during Crusader times and then cleansed by Saladin when he defeated the crusaders. It is now hijacked since Sadat set foot in Jerusalem based on another Islamically false fatwa allowing him to do so. Many false and ridiculous fatwas followed since then, and are even of more importance than the ones discussed here – example allowing interests on money and shaking hands with zionists by the highest authority in the institution. These clearly islamically false fatwas are not entertaining to the Westerners. They are instead encouraged and are not worthy of criticism from the orientalists points of view since they fall in line with their agendas – hopeless 21st century colonialism.

July 3rd, 2010, 12:58 pm

 

trustquest said:

Jad,
I think it comes under personal freedom and nobody business to tell others what to wear; but I do not understand what type of Nigab is rejected by Syrian’s authority to punish 1200 teachers for that.
Is it this type:
http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/05dD8HR9YocaI/340x.jpg
or is it one of the two types showing in this link,
http://www.themuslimwoman.org/entry/deplorable-plight-of-women-in-syria/
I would like to mention that when I lived in Syria, one type of covering called, Mandeel, very original cultural dress, has many degree of restrictions and it was going to vanish by the sixties and now I see it coming back strongly and this is a signal of the segregation of part of the populations from participation by the autocratic system which does not share power and think they can make people behave and dress their way.

I wonder why not Mr. Education minister creates incentives for changing dress or design working dress and why not asks the Syrian Mufti, to make Eftaa, directing the Muslim women to show their faces and explain that to them using the controlled media or why not come out and say that the dress does not represent the teaching of Islam. But to transfer 1200 women for this reason would be a base for future violence and hate. Which also makes you think that those wearing Nigab do not trust their Mufti?
Authority main problem is of their own making, they try hard to stop the free flow of information which is the essential way to root out extremisms, like the new electronic media law: http://all4syria.info/content/view/28485/161

July 3rd, 2010, 3:42 pm

 

Norman said:

Al Masri ,

That is exactly what is wrong with system as it is now where the Uloma can make Fatwas to justify the surrender of the leaders without any accountability , probably violating the Koran in the process and that is probably what Elhadj is pointing to that the Uloma is obeying the leaders and justifying their moves , as i said previously it should the Koran that is the reference that laws are not to contradict , otherwise laws should match the sentiments of the people ,

July 3rd, 2010, 5:25 pm

 

almasri said:

Dear Norman,
(@93)

What Elhadge is pointing out is as ‘entertaining’ to the Muslims as these so-called fatwas are ‘entertaining’ to the ‘West’….

Elhadge’s agenda is very clear to any Muslim with the least intelligence. It is déjà vu. Notice his withdrawal from an outright demand to end the Islamic way of life to a mere attempt to enforce a so-called personal status law based solely on secularism – compare comments 50 and 58.

There is no actual contradiction in the Muslim law and its various sources. That is why I said PERCEIVED deficiencies in my previous comment. Any orientalist who had studied anything of substance about Islam in western schools would have to come to admit that any of the collected hadith in the recognized books, regardless of the strength of its authenticity, is historically and scientifically far more authentic than any of the four currently ‘official’ books of the New Testament. Even the Shia rely on some if not all the collection books which Elhadge denied outright proving once again he is out to distort the faith. The Shia even teach these collections in their institutions in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere. As well as Azhar incorporated Jaafari school of thought into its curriculum long ago.

As I pointed out before, this is not the right forum to discuss such issues that require the collective efforts of great number of dedicated scholars. That is why there are such forums under the Islamic World Conference who debate such subjects and there are representative scholars from all the recognized schools of thought in Islam.

Suffice it to say, no Muslim can claim to be part of the faith if he denies the applicability of the Islamic law in his life and does not demand its fulfillment in the society at large from any government ruling in a majority Muslim State.

The possibility that Oulama may endorse surrender as you said is not a new discovery. It goes way back to the early days. It is part and parcel of the life of Muslim communities as periodic trials for reasons unknown but to Him alone but also with a known Merciful promise of renewal and reinforcement of the faith ever coming to pass since the beginning and through the ages.

الآية التاسعة من سورة الحجر في القرآن الكريم

{إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر وإنا له لحافظون}

July 3rd, 2010, 8:17 pm

 

jad said:

Hi Trustquest, (I didn’t see you here in a while, I hope everything is good on all fronts 🙂

“I think it comes under personal freedom and nobody business to tell others what to wear;”
I agree with you on that right as long as it doesn’t have any direct influence on my kids at school in their years of learning, I want my kids to have the freedom I and you had during our education years, our teachers weren’t in ‘Niqab’. I still remember their faces until today and I appreciate their friendly smiles and their help in any subject I needed help with, so why to deny that to my and to any Syrian kid and force them to deal with an ‘anonymous’ and unfriendly piece of textile that will hide the comforting smile of a Syrian woman? It is unfair and a crime to force people’s kid to deal with such problem so early in their lives, we already live in a mad and ugly world, the least I can do is to let our kids to have a normal life if not better at least as mine.
I’m used to see my grandmother wearing the scarf and I don’t have any problem whatsoever with what any woman wear in her house and neighborhood as long as it wasn’t forced on her, at the same time I have big problem when I see something is forced on our Syrian culture and Syrian society by a backward radicals from the Gulf and Egypt where they already screwed their own countries and society with their twisted mentality and now they want to force it on us.
Mandeel or Mlaye wearing in Damascus and some part of Damascus suburbs like Duma, Jobar and Harasta, is an authentic clothing style and even women wearing the Syrian mandeel do partly remove it from their faces when they get into any shop to buy anything or when they meet people they know or visit their houses, and I used to see that all the time when I used to go to al 7amidiye’s women souk with my mother, so even with our own version of conservative hijab our Syrian women were and still confidence enough to show their faces to people they talk to so why to be so closed minded at school and cover the faces in front of the student? It’s not right.

The second issue I have with Niqab is that it actually destroy the woman personality, it makes them ‘nakira’ in the society, as if they don’t exist or if they are ghosts without any faces, I agree with Mr. Quadi when he compared wearing a niqab by being naked and that women are all ‘3awrat’ that we need to cover them, this has nothing to do with Islam and it makes our women less of human and makes our men one tenth of true men, it is not Syrian at all and it shouldn’t let in to our society in the first place, we are more authentic than that.

I strongly believe that our women are our partners in everything so when we let someone to use them for political reasons or when we let them down or when we leave them without the true support they need in any case they want, let it be changing the Syrian constitution to give them the full right they deserve or to stand against the honor crimes or to stand against those radicals in forcing a niqab on them we don’t deserve to be called men at all, we are traitors for our manhood, for our believes and for our humanity.

July 3rd, 2010, 9:59 pm

 

Husam said:

Norman:

Quick note: You can judge for yourself, but the history lessons given by Alhadj shows that although he may have read a few (baised) books on the subject, he himself is clearly baised and his agenda is questionable. I hate to say it, but I do agree with Almasri, some of the fatwas coming out are not without political influence. And, that such subjects are better debated on a proper platform.

He is not the first to pose such question, that seem like ahaaa, there you go Islam is backward, unjust, yadayada…he would be proved wrong and discredited within seconds by knowledeable scholars with just mere logic as has already been done a thousand times over.

July 3rd, 2010, 10:01 pm

 

Norman said:

Al masri said ,

(( Any orientalist who had studied anything of substance about Islam in western schools would have to come to admit that any of the collected hadith in the recognized books, regardless of the strength of its authenticity, is historically and scientifically far more authentic than any of the four currently ‘official’ books of the New Testament. Even the Shia rely on some if not all the collection books which )),

The christian who follow the new testament literally are the christian fundamentalist and they are very few minority and most Christians do not think that if you are not christian you will not have a chance of heaven , so that is a big difference , apparently you think that the hadith is as important as the Koran in setting the way of life ,are there people who do not ,

(( Suffice it to say, no Muslim can claim to be part of the faith if he denies the applicability of the Islamic law in his life and does not demand its fulfillment in the society at large from any government ruling in a majority Muslim State )),

That scares minority Arabs and can create factions and divisions ,

About Al hadj and what he means , we had another discussion previously and my understanding that he does not think that in Islam women are to be treated the way they are as that practice contradicts the practice of early Islam of women ,

he might be wrong but not malicious ,

July 3rd, 2010, 10:12 pm

 

almasri said:

Dear Norman,
(@97)

“That scares minority Arabs and can create factions and divisions ,”

Why???!!! You cannot prove that – neither based on the current status of minorities in most Arab States that still apply Islamic laws including Syria nor based on historical treatments of minorities. By minorities here, I mean adherents of recognized faiths. Secularism is not recognized in Islam as a recognized faith entitling it to any special status. If a Christian or Jew is living in the Arab world, then he or she will be treated as such and accepted. Once he or she demands secularism and seeks to enforce it in the society at large with its majority Muslims, then factionalism and divisions are initiated by the Christian or Jew who abrogated his faith. The same logic would apply to a ‘muslim’ who may fall into this abyss.

“About Al hadj and what he means , we had another discussion previously and my understanding that he does not think that in Islam women are to be treated the way they are as that practice contradicts the practice of early Islam of women ,

he might be wrong but not malicious ,”

Assuming he is not malicious for the sake of argument(even though it is clear to me at least as well as to Majed and perhaps to Husam) what right does he have to demand ending Islamic way of life based on his perception of the status of Muslim women in the Arab world? He and his likes are trying to create a case out of none in my opinion. By making such demand he immediately declares himself an enemy of the faith.

Reforming Islam comes from within through its own adherents. Believe me the Muslims have lot more talented specialists than what Al hadj achieved in his quest of orientalism after retirement.

July 3rd, 2010, 10:42 pm

 

Norman said:

This is refreshing ,and something we all agree on ,

ForbesWoman Q&A
A Love Letter To Syria
Stephanie Dahle, 06.25.10, 3:50 PM ET

It was 2004, America’s war with Iraq was raging and displaced Iraqis were pouring into neighboring Syria. Tensions between America and Syria were high. Yet Stephanie Saldaña, 27, chose to leave behind her life in America and move there. She had just graduated from Harvard Divinity School and set off to Damascus as a Fulbright Scholar to study the role of Jesus in Islam.

Saldaña embraced her new community. She settled in Damascus’s Old City, living among Christian, Jews and Muslims. Despite her nationality, her new Syrian neighbors welcomed her. She studied the Quran with a female Muslim scholar, befriended an Iraqi refugee and rented a room in a beautiful but decaying house.

Saldaña experienced a whirlwind of emotions after spending a month at a monastery in the middle of the desert and, not incidentally, falling in love with a resident novice monk, Frédéric, whom she eventually married. Saldaña writes about her year in Syria in her moving memoir The Bread Of Angels: A Journey of Life and Faith.

Now living in Jerusalem, Saldaña spoke to ForbesWoman during a vacation in the French Alps about her transformative year abroad and why her memoir is a love letter to Syria.

How did you decide to study in Syria?

I traveled to the Middle East for the first time just after I graduated from college, and I fell in love with the region as a whole: with the Arabic language, the hospitality of the local people, the ancient churches and mosques. Yet Syria always stood apart as a country with an incredible history and culture that was relatively unknown to most Americans.

When I began to study the relationship between Christianity and Islam in the Middle East, I was drawn to Syria as a place where Muslims and Christians had lived side by side for centuries, sharing not only their daily lives but also sacred spaces. I originally traveled to Damascus to research the role of the Prophet Jesus in the lives of local Muslims. Little did I know that my entire life, faith and future would be transformed in the process.

What happened to you there that was so transformative?

I was running away from a broken heart and from the trauma of many years spent in and out of the Middle East as it descended into chaos. In that sense the journey began on an extremely difficult note. I was also one of very few Americans in Syria at the height of the war in Iraq.

At the beginning of my journey I moved into a traditional Arab house in the Old City, where I was quickly adopted by my neighbors, in particular a 73-year-old man who took me on as his granddaughter. I spent a month in an ancient monastery in the desert confronting the demons of my past and struggling to change my life. I was accepted as a pupil of a famous female sheikh, who not only taught me the Quran but also a great deal about friendship.

I met so many people–Muslims and Christians, Syrians, Iraqis and Palestinians, monks and nuns and ordinary shopkeepers–who taught me lessons that I desperately needed. And I fell in love. It was the year that changed everything for me.

——————————————————————————–

Who is this book written for?

The Bread of Angels has sometimes been called a “love letter to the Middle East,” and there is some truth to that. I wanted to thank the extraordinary people I met, in the most unlikely place, who taught me how to find hope in the midst of chaos.

I also wanted to introduce Americans to a different and more complex Syria than the one we read about in the news. In the end, the book is about my journey in search of life and love, and of the people who guided me along the way. I hope that readers who have little interest in the Middle East will be moved by the story.

What are common misconceptions that Americans have about the region and Syria in particular?

Syrians are the nicest, most welcoming people you will ever meet. I was constantly invited to meals, offered rides and given gifts. Sometimes taxi drivers wouldn’t even let me pay the fare because I was a guest.

There is this notion in America that Arabs, and Syrians in particular, are violent and anti-American. In my experience, Syrians almost always separate the policies of the American government from the people. I was often asked questions about the American government, but as an individual I was welcomed and treated with respect and kindness.

Syria is also not nearly as serious as one would expect. Locals love to make jokes about everything from waiting in line to political situations. They greet one another with terms of affection such as: My love! My heart! Almost all of the songs on the radio are love songs. It couldn’t be more different from what we expect from watching the news.

Let’s turn it around: What are some common misconceptions that Syrians have about Americans?

The misconceptions are so varied. I heard many young women complain that Americans fall in love, get married, get divorced, and get married again too easily, which they felt was unfair to families. From American television I suppose this would seem to be the case. A taxi driver, when he heard that I was from Texas, was immediately concerned about my safety, due to the cowboys and Indians. One widespread comment was that America is a dangerous place, due to the amount of guns and crime. I always responded that Americans feel that Syria is dangerous!

What are you doing now?

I’ve been living in Jerusalem for the past several years, writing and teaching literature at Bard/Al Quds, a liberal arts college for Palestinians. At the moment I am taking a break in France, reading, writing and spending time with family before I return to the Middle East in the fall. I won’t say more, for risk of giving away the end of the book.

Become a fan of ForbesWoman on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @forbeswoman.

July 3rd, 2010, 11:02 pm

 

Jad said:

‘Why???!!! You cannot prove that’
Is that a joke? All minorities based on religious or ethnics are treated badly in all and every Arab or majority Muslim country in the world.
Secularism is not a religioun it’s the idea that letting people from any minorities in the west to be treated equaly without the need of Sharia being implimented hence all of you guys living there and freely asking for it to be strictly implimented in your countries of origin and on your women why don’t you go back and live in those heavens?
Dr. Elhadge has all the rights to write all his ideas and his main point was that today’s Islam need some more research and that if we want to go forward we need to question our mistakes.

July 3rd, 2010, 11:16 pm

 

Norman said:

Al masri,

a couple of notes , minorities are treated well in Syria and that is because in Syria you are considered as Syrian no matter what your religion is ,and actually in Syria most of the things that we see in KSA are not seen in Syria ,

About secularism , it not a religion it just means that anybody can practice any religion he wants as long as he does not impose on others and that whatever any-body’s religion he is considered Syrian with all the rights and the obligations ,

Finally , I d o not agree with you that Islam needs reforming but the the understanding of Islam does and that should come from within , it was never meant and can ever be done by outsiders of the faith , It should be done in the open and finds common principles that unite the faith instead of dividing it between Shia, hanafi, Sofi, Sunni and others , I say it again , the Koran is the refference ,

July 3rd, 2010, 11:41 pm

 

Norman said:

look at this , and look who is in the comment section , and i thought he is on Mars ,

The rise of Syria, despite a US ban
Michael Jansen

For Syria, the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict is an existential issue.

Officially ostracised and boycotted by the US, Syria is increasingly asserting itself as both a regional and global player. Although last month the US once again accused Syria of supporting ‘terrorist groups’ and renewed sanctions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the French and German foreign ministers, and Washington’s ally, King Abdullah of Jordan took the road to Damascus with the aim of strengthening ties with Syria.

Furthermore, in spite of Washington’s official negativism, a delegation from major US high-tech firms went to Damascus to examine the prospects of participation in Syria’s rapidly growing free market economy. Leading the delegation were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief technology adviser and a member of her policy planning staff.
German firms have also sent high-profile executives to Damascus to discuss business deals while western financial newspapers and journals have teams in Syria to investigate investment prospects.

The road to Damascus is not one way. President Bashar al-Assad is also reaching out with the aim of expanding Syria’s circle of friends and extending its influence beyond West Asia. Last weekend he, his British-born wife Asma and a large group of ministers began a visit to Latin America, his most ambitious overseas tour since taking office in 2000.

Influence

The journey takes him to Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, where there are large and influential Syrian emigrant communities, and to Cuba, an old comrade. Many of the Syrian emigrants in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are businessmen, engineers, and doctors. Argentina’s former President Carlos Menem is of Syrian origin.

In Venezuela, Dr Assad cemented relations with President Hugo Chavez, who shares Syria’s antipathy toward US policies. Dr Assad called on Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to launch a joint effort with Turkey to broker a deal between Syria and Israel over the occupied Golan. Dr Assad has also been signing trade and travel deals with his counterparts and urging them and emigrants to invest in Syria’s transformatory 2011-15 development plan.

In West Asia, Syria has built strong economic and trade ties with Turkey, achieved rapprochement with Lebanon, and restored relations with Saudi Arabia. To the east, Syria has retained traditional ties to India and cultivated connections with Malaysia and China. Syria has reached out to Europe and is in the process of drafting amendments to the EU association agreement.

But Syria has not been able to engage the Obama administration in dialogue because Washington conditions normalisation on Syrian disengagement from Iran, Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement, and dissident Palestinians and Iraqis. Syria welcomed President Barack Obama’s call a year ago for reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim worlds but accuses him of not addressing Arab and Muslim grievances.

Syria focuses on Obama’s failure to persuade congress to accept the appointment of Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria or lift embargoes on some items on the US sanctions list. The US decision to drop its objection to Syrian observer status at the World Trade Organisation is seen as a positive move although Damascus seeks full membership.
To demonstrate that it can be useful to the West, Syria helped free 15 British sailors seized by Iran in 2007 and BBC journalist Alan Johnston held by Hamas-affiliates in Gaza in 2008. Syria has persuaded Hamas’ Damascus-based politburo chief Khaled Mishaal to accept the idea of a Palestinian government not led by Hamas, go along with the 2002 Arab land-for-peace plan, and agree to a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Nevertheless, the US has not respond to his overture by opening a tentative conversation.

For Syria, the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict is an existential issue. Suleiman Haddad, head of the foreign relations committee of the Syrian parliament, pointed out to Deccan Herald, “We are a rich country, we have oil, agriculture, tourism, and an ancient culture but we must spend a large percentage of our budget on defence”. Israel is 45 kilometres from Damascus.

“Syrians want, real comprehensive peace. We expect more from Obama. The Americans must know that there will be no peace in the world if there is no peace in West Asia”.
Any deal must be based on “an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and control over its borders, airspace, and coast. There must be a solution to the refugee problem and Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan to the line of June 4, 1967.
If Israel gives these things, there will be no problem between the Arabs and Israel. But if this does not happen, the majority of the Arab people will take an extreme line and move close to al-Qaeda. We don’t want to reach this point.”

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User Comments
[ Post Comments ]

By: Farid Ghadry
On: 01 Jul 2010 10:01 am

You may need to run some numbers on the Syrian economy before writing an article praising the Assad regime. Example: Syria spends $81,588 per Israeli citizen on defense while Israel spends $30 per Arab person on defense.

July 3rd, 2010, 11:58 pm

 

Mika Angel-0 said:

Dr Landis,

Music!: Keroncong

Regional Power Balance Shift

…With the exception of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Levey is the highest-ranking George W Bush administration holdover in the Barack Obama administration. The retention of the architect of financial sanctions against North Korea was a signal that Obama was much enamored of them as the “smart power” alternative to military force as a coercive instrument of American policy. Hopefully, the results for the US this time will not be as dire as North Korea’s rush to the atomic bomb occasioned by the sanctions campaign of the Bush administration.

Certainly, the US dollar is still king and the threat of ostracization from the US financial system is a real and significant worry … but not necessarily for America’s enemies. North Korea and Iran have already been cut off from the US financial system. The real threat is to America’s allies and “strategic competitors”, such as China, who do not toe the line in a satisfactory fashion.

Sanctioning of third-country financial corporations has a dismal history under the Bush administration. The Obama administration appears to be taking steps to avoid duplicating the mistakes of its predecessor but, given the inherent contradictions of sanctions, may nevertheless be doomed to repeat them…
(Chinese Blowback From Iran Sanctions? By PETER LEE)

July 4th, 2010, 1:12 am

 

almasri said:

Norman,
(@101)

“…It should be done in the open and finds common principles that unite the faith instead of dividing it between Shia, hanafi, Sofi, Sunni and others , I say it again , the Koran is the refference ,”

Again, let’s assume for the sake of argument, the Qur’an becomes the only reference as you’re saying, would you be happy to live in Syria or any other Arab country with an Islamic Law based on this reference that will apply equally on you as well as on any other Syrian or Arab? You would still in this case be adhering to whatever faith you adhere to right now – Christian I suppose?

I’ll have to clarify something that you may not be aware of. The command for a Muslim to apply the Law in his life and in society is Qur’anic.

This may sound redundant. But this assumption does not indicate willingness on my part to accept it should happen.

July 4th, 2010, 2:25 am

 

Norman said:

AL Masri,

You are tiring me , smart move , about practicing my faith , i do not practice any faith i just do not hurt others and do to others what i want them to do to me and help others , i learned Christianity from school , I just think that you can live anyway you want and i can live anyway i want and as long as we are not hurting each other then everybody should be happy , the laws should be debated and approved and as long as does not contradict the faith ((Koran)) , and do not restricts non Muslims and treat them as second class citizens , there is a restriction on the faith of the president to be Muslim , you can call for changing that to show how much you consider non Muslim as equal,

About the civil status law in Syria , last year when they were trying to change it i did not see any reason to change something does not seem to be broken ,i felt they should change laws that people call for them to be changed , the civil status law as it was , was acceptable to all parties as they all practiced their own way ,

July 4th, 2010, 8:29 am

 

Husam said:

Someone explain this to me:

I personally find Niqab to be too extreme. However, I am uncomfortable sitting, watching, working with woman who’s cleavage and undies are in my face. I find that to be a security concern too, the logic: the more they reveal, the more likely they will be attacked, raped, degraded, etc….So, as Niqab is offensive, degrading, backward, insulting, etc… so are some of the far left liberal woman who bear-all. If you ban the extreme right, will you not ban the extreme left (nude beaches, etc…)?

By banning Niqab, this act in itself gives carte blanche to KSA to ban whatever they want (i.e. dress code).

Are we truly a free society (regardless of where you are)?

July 4th, 2010, 10:35 am

 

Norman said:

Husam ,
yes they should banned too as their freedom contradict with public safety, mini skirts and low cleavage are banned in my office , then i am a dictator in my office and i love it ,

July 4th, 2010, 10:47 am

 

almasri said:

Norman
@105

Sorry if the ‘open’ discussion made you feel tired. But it was you who asked for an open discussion of the subject. My preference was for conducting such discussions in a proper forum.

I didn’t ask for a life story in my previous comment. Further, I was not suggesting you would be treated as equal in all respects as a citizen as you came to enjoy (or think you enjoy) wherever you live even as to become President or hold high office in a country governed by laws referenced from the Qur’an as you yourself asked for. Furthermore, you could still be non-practicing in the faith department if that is what you prefer.

I still need to clarify something that you may not be aware of. A non-Muslim cannot hold any office of authority if we were to enact laws derived from or even non-contradicting the Qur’an. We know for a fact, that Syria and many Arab countries have many times violated this rule, and non-Muslims held some sort of executive authority. So what are you complaining about?

I still would like to know if you would live in a society with Islamic Laws conforming to the Qur’an with no hadith. In other words personal, criminal, property laws etc would apply on you as well as the Muslims as they conform to the Qur’an now that you know the limitations that would impose on minorities. In other words, minorities may not be able to hold office of authority among other things perhaps.

July 4th, 2010, 12:29 pm

 

norman said:

AL Masri ,
No , and statements like these make the minority fear Islam and open Islam to the West accusations that it is not inclusive of others , that is not the Islam that spread all over the world , in early time ,
I actually enjoy our discussion with my limited knowledge .

July 4th, 2010, 2:21 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,
(@109)

Thank you for the last comment. I too enjoyed the discussion with you. It wasn’t my intention to make you appear to be of limited knowledge in this subject. We know that. And we all have limited knowledge. Those who admit it are people of virtue you can trust regardless.

The subject of inclusiveness and the degree of iclusiveness allowed in Islam to non-Muslims is a complete topic by itself. People however always fear what they’re ignorant of.

I particulary thank you for your patience and I also apologize again if at one time or another during the discussion I appeared tense, non-compromising or any of that sort.

I believe I owe you another explanation which you may not be aware of. The requirement for the Muslim to follow the example of the Prophet (PBUH) is also in the Qur’an. I would rephrase myself on something I said in a previous comment. Any orientalist who studied anything of substance in Western schools would have come across this self evident truth because the verses commanding following the Prophet’s example are many and scattered throughout. So once again the attempt of Elhadge to convince the Muslims that Muhammad’s (PBUH) role in Islam is a mere transmitter of the Message is an outright distortion of the faith that a 10 year old Muslim would laugh at. So, I hope that will give a clue that the apparent contradictions that Elhadge is using as propaganda tools against Islam are just in his mind due to his deficient knowledge.

For allowing me to go through this discusion, I have to reveal to you one of the scerets of the Holy Qura’n. I know that your Arabic is excellent and should have no problem understanding these two verses from the Book,

سورة الإسراء الآيتين ٤٥ و ٤٦

وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا
وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا

(You wouldn’t want to hear these verses recited by a ten year old girl because your heart will simply melt.)

Clearly, these two verses apply to Elhadge and his likes among the orientalists and hence Allah’s Merciful promise as I pointed out in comment 94,

الآية التاسعة من سورة الحجر في القرآن الكريم

{إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر وإنا له لحافظون}

July 4th, 2010, 3:37 pm

 

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